How to Start a Rim Shop

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Have you ever considered starting a rim shop? The global tire market is expected to reach $211.5 billion by 2024, with a 2.4% compound annual growth rate. Rims are a critical component of tires, so the demand for these accessories will likely increase as well. Decide whether you want to sell rims online, open a brick-and-mortar store or both, and develop a marketing strategy accordingly.

To boost your chances of success, consider offering other services in addition to quality rims, such as car repairs and tire replacements. You could also sell additional products, such as wheels, body kits, wireless car chargers and more.

Research the Car Accessories Market

Most rim stores sell all sorts of car accessories, from wheels and tires to car seat covers. Therefore, it is important to decide what types of products you want to sell and then research each market thoroughly. Also, determine whether or not you want to provide additional services, such as wheel and tire fittings, car washing, auto repairs and so on.

Financial experts say that more than 3.2 billion tires will be sold worldwide in 2022. As the number of car owners increases, so does the demand for quality tires, rims and other accessories. Economic growth and rising incomes are fueling this industry. Popular brands like Goodyear, Michelin, Yokohama, Continental AG and Pirelli hold the largest market share.

According to Zion Market Research, the global car accessories market will be worth approximately $522 billion by 2022, with a 6.4% compound annual growth rate. Interior lights, driving lights, gas and oil additives, body kits, racks and window films are all in high demand. Online automotive parts and accessories sales generated over $5 billion in revenue in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.9% since 2014. Take this aspect into account — you could open an online rim shop to keep the costs low and pass on the savings to your customers.

Choose a Business Model

Most stores that sell rims offer other products and services as well. Depending on your goals, you can either specialize in rims or provide a variety of goods. If you choose the first option, make sure you offer various types and brands of rims. A large inventory can give you a competitive advantage and help you become the go-to choice for those interested in these car accessories.

Rims come in all shapes and sizes, so take the time to research your options and decide what you want to sell. Steel, alloy and chrome wheel rims are the most popular choices and can be painted in different colors to enhance their appeal. Chrome wheels, for example, are actually coated in chrome and not made entirely from this material. Steel wheels are relatively inexpensive but heavy, which may affect a car's speed and fuel consumption.

Once you have decided what to sell, determine whether you want to open a physical store, an online store or both. An online rim shop involves the lowest costs and requires less paperwork than brick-and-mortar stores. The downside is that it also limits your options since you won't be able to provide additional services like car repairs. A physical store allows you to offer more services, but it comes with higher expenses and may require certain business licenses and permits that are not needed for online stores.

Write a Business Plan

Take the time to draft a business plan before starting a rim shop. Choose a name and location for your store, set realistic goals and define your selling proposition. Research the local market and your competitors, see what they do best and how they promote their products and then come up with a better strategy. Estimate your startup and ongoing costs, determine whether you need external funding and make financial projections for your first year in business.

A well-thought-out business plan will keep you accountable and remind you about your goals. It also provides structure to your small business and makes it easier to measure your progress. This document can also help you attract investors and qualify for business loans. The more detailed it is, the better.

Cover the financial, operational and legal aspects of starting a rim business. Think about how many employees you will need, where you will get car rims, what brands you will offer and how you will promote your rim shop. Your business plan should also outline your mission statement, competitive advantage, income sources and sales strategy. Make sure you also include performance indicators and milestones you can work toward.

Register Your Company

The next step is to register your company with the state and decide on a legal structure. Depending on your long-term goals, you may opt for a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company or a partnership. With an LLC, you will not be personally responsible for the company's debts and liabilities. Additionally, there is less paperwork involved than with a corporation.

Once your business is registered, get a tax ID number from the IRS. This can be done online within minutes. Next, open a business bank account and apply for a loan or a line of credit if necessary.

Each state has different business licensing requirements — it all comes down to where your rim shop is located, what products and services you offer and whether you sell online or operate a physical store. For example, if you live in Michigan and sell used car accessories in addition to rims, you must get a used vehicle parts dealer license (besides a general business license). You may also need business licenses and permits for your warehouse and physical store. Reach out to an attorney or a state representative to determine what documents are required for your rim shop.

Promote Your Rim Business

The automotive tire market is extremely competitive, so you need to come up with an original marketing strategy. Consider your customers and their specific characteristics, such as their age, income and location. A brick-and-mortar rim shop, for instance, will likely target local clients, and therefore, it requires a different approach to marketing and sales than an online store. Also, adjust your advertising efforts based on whether you are targeting business clients, transport and haulage companies, car tuning enthusiasts or car owners in general.

One way to promote your rim shop to a local audience is to place banners around the city. TV, radio and newspaper advertising are good choices too, leading to increased exposure and brand awareness. Another strategy you may use is distributing flyers. If you are targeting business customers, consider sending introductory letters, brochures and catalogs.

Leverage the power of social media and online advertising to grow your rim business. For example, you can share photos of your latest products on Facebook and Instagram and use relevant hashtags to make it easier for prospective clients to find your posts. If you decide to sell wheels and rims online, set up an affiliate program to get leads and exposure. Furthermore, you could offer discounts on large orders, reward loyal customers with exclusive offers and form partnerships with car repair shops and other local businesses.

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About the Author

Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.