If you are passionate about cars and being self-employed, opening an auto parts store is one way to reach your career goals while being surrounded by something you love. Opening any business involves risk, but if you do your research and plan carefully, running your own auto parts store could be a rewarding and fulfilling venture.
Items you will need
Licenses and permits
Research your local area to determine the need for auto parts in your area. If your community is saturated with auto parts stores, evaluate their services. You can offer the auto parts that they do not. You can also consider offering parts for different types of motorized machines, including motorcycles, lawn mowers, and other machinery.
Develop a business plan that demonstrates your goals and aspirations for your auto parts business. For instance, highlight your intentions, if any, to expand your store and any means you will use to increase your profits. You should also state the more important information that investors will be looking for, such as your monthly expenses and predicted cash flow. For free examples of business plans, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration online.
Obtain start-up funds for your auto parts store. Apply for federal and private grants. These are available to just about everyone and never have to be repaid; however, the application process is tedious. If you prefer a quicker route, apply for a small business loan at a bank or credit union. Speak with family and friends about offering becoming an investor in your auto parts store. Don’t be afraid to show them your business plan as well. Your professionalism will play a large part in convincing reluctant brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents to invest in you.
Find a suitable location for your auto parts store. This should be accessible and preferably close to heavily populated areas. This will help your business stay alive due to the constant patronage of your consumers. You can buy, build or lease a store. All three options have their perks, such as being able to avoid paying for expensive structural repairs by signing a lease instead of real estate documents.
Visit your local courthouse or municipal office to apply for the proper licenses, permits and a federal tax identification number for your auto parts store. These documents must be obtained for the legal operation of your auto parts store. Consult your local Small Business Administration for questions or concerns regarding the necessary paperwork you must complete.
Find a supplier that can keep your shelves stocked with auto parts. You are going to need oil and air filters, windshield wipers, car covers, floor mats, coolants, and other items. Before making any final decisions and placing orders, shop around for the best prices. Make sure that you take good care of your relationship with your supplier as he has the auto parts that you plan to sell to make a living.
Determine how many employees you will need to help you operate your auto parts store. You can seek the help of an employment agency who can interview and hire workers on your behalf. Your employees should have customer service skills and knowledge of auto parts and their functions.
Advertise the grand opening of your auto parts store through your local paper and with plenty of signage. Create a website that contains important information, such as your store hours and contact information. Consider allowing your consumers to order their auto parts online. This will increase your sales and help you reach consumers across the country. Consider renting a billboard as well.
Always remember to deliver quality customer service and stand behind your automotive products. Stay on top of the automotive industry and keep yourself and your staff educated about any changes or recalls. Competitive prices paired with quality parts and service make for a lucrative auto parts store.