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How to Become an Aftermarket Parts Dealer

Starting any business can be a challenging experience, no matter what type of business you decide to go into. The automobile industry, for instance, has seen better days, but aftermarket parts dealers are usually fairly successful. So, how do you get started selling car parts? Do some research, visit some government offices, and follow along for some great tips to get you on your way.

To establish a business, you should first contact an accountant. Most accountants can handle all aspects of starting a company for you, from a basic LLC to a full-blown corporation, telling you the pluses and minuses of both. Or, you can start one yourself by going to your local Department of Revenue and filling out some paperwork. This may cost some money in fees, so take that out of your $500 fund.

Apply for a resale license at your local Department of Revenue. This is going to allow you to purchase parts from a manufacturer tax free, then resell the parts to a customer. Although you're not paying tax on the purchase, these goods will be taxed upon resale. For example, if you buy a muffler, and then sell that muffler to a customer, you will charge them tax, thus satisfying the government's needs.

Call manufacturers and explain that you are inquiring about becoming a dealer or distributor for their parts. You can find these companies through a number of different means: Internet searches, magazines ads, or just seeing what brands your competitors stock. Find companies that make the products you want to sell, then contact them about selling their products. Manufactures have systems in place to allow other companies--such as yours--to resell their parts. Sometimes, it requires a "buy-in," which means that you have to buy a certain amount of product before you can get discounted pricing. Although this can be daunting for a new business, not every manufacturer has these requirements.

Stay positive and be persistent. The key to selling parts is knowing what your customer wants and providing them with a part that either your competitors don't have or that you can sell them at a lower price. This is going to involve a lot of networking, phone calls, and making friends in the industry, but once you do, you'll be a parts dealer.


Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.