The amount of money needed to start a motorcycle business varies depending on how large you want the business to be and the services you plan to provide. Before you jump into beginning your own business, do some planning and set some goals to determine how much you may need to get started.


While every motorcycle shop is different, you're generally looking at start-up costs in the region of $50,000 to $60,000.

Plan the Motorcycle Business

If you want to strictly sell motorcycles, consider where your dealership will be located. Demographics play a vital role in how successful your business will be. It will also determine how much money will be necessary to secure a desired location. You many want to buy or lease a space larger than what you intend to have in the event your business grows in the future.

Take some time to research different venues where you want to run your business. Typically, a space holding 20 motorcycles will begin at $2,000 a month to lease. You likely will have to pay the first and last month's rent and a security deposit up front. Also, incorporate buying motorcycles as well as selling them. You will generate more business and increase traffic if you offer to buy, sell and trade motorcycles you have in stock.

Save Money By Starting Small

Start small. Consider starting your motorcycle businesses in a garage or backyard of a house. You can steadily save the money you accumulate by offering motorcycle repairs and other services to customers. You may want to invest in buying old motorcycles, refurbish them and sell them to customers. Save the money you earn and put it toward the business you plan to operate.

Initial Investment for Starting a Custom Motorcycle Shop

Beside the lease, other start-up costs include:

  • Engines, motorcycle parts for repair services
  • Motorcycles and accessories
  • Shelves, display equipment, office furnishing 
  • Legal and accounting fees
  • Insurance
  • Website hosting

While it's possible to keep these costs down, if you're planning a large dealership, then your investment will be significantly higher. Be sure to budget carefully in your business plan.

Licensing and Permit Costs

You will need a state permit to run a business in your location. A license is required as well. Each state has different fees for permits and licenses. Every state is different so visit your state’s Department of Business and Economic Development to find out about applicable taxes and fees information.

Employees and Taxes

You can cut costs when starting your motorcycle business if you plan to operate your business alone. If you plan to hire employees, you will need to purchase an Employer Identification Number (FEI). FEI permits you to hire employees and collect sales tax from customers, which you will pay to the state where your business is located.

Marketing the Business

When your motorcycle business is in its beginning stages, it will behoove you to hire a publicist or marketing company to increase traffic to the business. Most marketing professionals charge by the month, while some ask for a one-time fee. Again, the amount you pay depends on what company you choose and the services you request from the company.