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How to Become an RC Distributor
Remote controlled (RC) vehicles have grown in popularity since their initial introduction in the 1950s. Today, millions of remote controlled cars, trucks, tanks, planes, helicopters, boats and other toys are sold every year in the United States alone. With so much popularity, it's inevitable that some entrepreneurial RC enthusiasts will take on the challenge of becoming RC distributors. Fortunately, with Internet access around the world and relatively low star-up costs, getting started as an RC distributor has never been easier. . .and the rewards have never been greater.
Decide what types of RC products you’ll distribute. Will you carry all types of vehicles, or specialize in one or two, such as cars or boats? What brands will you carry: many, or only those for serious enthusiasts? Identify products you'll love selling and those with a suitable profit margin.
Write a business plan outlining exactly what your business will look like, who your competition will be, what your budget and expenses will be for the first one to three years and a detailed marketing plan you can follow to grow your business from startup to successful operation.
Choose a name for the business that's simple and memorable, and ideally one that highlights a quality you'd like to have associated with your business. "High-Speed RC" might attract committed enthusiasts, while "Dave's RC Shop" might appeal to a more general crowd. Your name should be unique and informative.
Register your business name with your secretary of state's office. Unless you're doing business under your own given name, you must file a "Fictitious Name Registration" or similar document with the secretary of state to legally use it for business.
Request an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by visiting their website and completing their instant EIN application. Your EIN serves as a unique identifying number for your business and is required whether or not you anticipate hiring employees (but not if you are a sole proprietor doing business under your own name).
Get a vendor’s license by contacting your local city or county tax office. Requirements and fees vary widely from state to state, but many suppliers will not work with anyone who does not have a valid EIN or vendor's license number. What's more, failing to get a vendor's license violates the law.
Establish ordering accounts with RC manufacturers or wholesalers who carry the products you'd like to distribute. Most will require your personal information as well as your vendor's license number or EIN number before you can place an order. Be aware most suppliers will not extend credit for new businesses.
Order your initial product stock from the manufacturers or wholesalers you've chosen, and prepare it for sale by correctly pricing it for the local retail market.
Follow your marketing plan to launch your new business. Whether retail, mail order or internet-only, an RC distributor's means of marketing are limited only by his imagination. National or regional RC publications, events or conventions would be excellent places to start.
Mike Andrews is a freelance writer and serial entrepreneur focused on small-business and entrepreneurship for average people. He holds a bachelor's degree in biblical studies and a master's degree in theology and has appeared in a wide array of print and online periodicals including "HiCall," "Mature Living" and "Caregivers Home Companion."