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How to Start a Motorcycle Parts Business
Motorcycles are a niche market in transportation. Motorcyclists prefer to ride instead of drive, for several reasons including saving money on gas, beating traffic gridlock, the feeling of freedom on the road, the rush of two-wheeled performance, affordable insurance, or all of the above. Starting a motorcycle parts business gives you an opportunity to break into this niche motorcycle market. If you are a two-wheeler enthusiasts, starting a motorcycle parts business can allow you to work within your passion, meet local motorcyclists and also provide an in-demand service.
Register your business name as a corporation, LLC, partnership or sole proprietorship with your state government. Then obtain a federal tax ID number from your Secretary of State or an IRS representative. A federal tax ID is free after registering your business. It will authenticate you to motorcycle parts wholesalers and distributors as an official business owner when you apply for a wholesale license and distributor contracts.
Visit successful motorcycle part stores in the area to get an idea of how much inventory they carry, what kind of services they offer, building features, and prices on popular products such as exhaust, body fairings, protective gear and tires. Use the product prices from the most affordable motorcycle parts stores as a reference when choosing a parts distributor and while marking up the wholesale product price to create a profit margin.
Decide on which motorcycle parts you’d like to carry in the store and which ones will be available for order. This will help cut down on initial inventory costs and monthly overhead. Motorcycle parts are normally specific to a brand, make or model so it may be in your best interest to carry universal products like tires, stickers, clothing, and protective gear in store while ordering specific parts after a customer requests them.
Order price catalogs from motorcycle part wholesalers like Parts Unlimited, Nimco or Custom Chrome. Use the price catalog(s) to categorize your projected inventory in broad headings such as performance, OEM and cosmetics. Once you have broad product categories, break them down into sub-categories such as engine components, transmission products, regular maintenance, protective gear, and bodywork.
Decide on which motorcycle parts you’d like to carry in the store and which will be available for order. This will help cut down on initial inventory costs and monthly overhead. Motorcycle parts are normally specific to a brand, make or model so it may be in your best interest to carry universal products like tires, stickers, clothing and protective gear in store while ordering specific parts on a request basis.
Call a real estate agent after deciding on the general area of operation and requirements of your business location. Requirements can include square footage, a rear garage if you plan to install the products you sell, maximum monthly rent, parking spaces, and included fixtures such as track lighting and air conditioning.
Present your small business plan to bank lenders with an emphasis on why your motorcycle parts store is superior to the competition for additional start-up capital. They will want to see a solid business plan, projected earnings, inventory costs, your knowledge of motorcycles, previous financial records, and an impassioned presentation on why you will succeed as a motorcycle parts retailer.
Advance your market penetration by creating an online motorcycle forum for riders in your area. Advertise at local motorcycle shows, meets, and events, and slip business cards into the seat of every motorcycle you see parked around your business area.
Catering to a niche market within motorcycles such as sport bikes or cruisers may increase the odds of breaking into the motorcycle parts market. Research the competition and see where there could be a small business advantage or untapped sales niche.
Sean Russell has been a freelance writer since 2007, with experience featuring retailer product on blogs, creating press releases, SEO and publishing to the writing style of hundreds of websites. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing and business, and achieved a California Real Estate license. He also enjoys motorcycling.