How to Start a School Uniform Store
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For a variety of reasons, many school districts in the United States have a school uniform policy. Uniforms reduce violence related to clothing, promote school spirit and help teachers and administrators distinguish students from unauthorized visitors to the school. School uniforms usually aren't available at retail stores, which means parents often have to buy them a special stores. You can perform a valuable service in your community by starting up a school uniform business.
Write a business plan. Note the schools in your community that have a uniform policy. Be sure that there is enough demand for your business to be profitable. Craft your business plan to include how you’ll finance, market and staff your school uniform business. Address any concerns or threats that exist in starting your own business in this niche, for example, competition from other stores.
Find the right location. Look for a commercial or business space with enough room to operate your business. Seek a location with an extra room for measuring students and doing alterations on sewing machines. Decide how much storage space you’ll need for excess uniforms or excess fabric if you make your own. Make sure the site has adequate storage space.
Buy the uniforms. Seek out a wholesale supplier or manufacturer, such as Combex, that will sell uniforms at a bulk price. Mark up the uniforms to cover your expenses and make a profit. Make the uniforms in-house if you can turn them out quickly and if they require some customization.
Register your business. Apply for a business license from city government to register your business Register with the IRS by completing an application for an employer identification number, or EIN, also called a federal tax identification number. If sales tax is applicable in your state, complete the required forms from the state department of revenue. Obtain a state resale tax certificate if you plan to buy uniforms at bulk prices from wholesale suppliers.
Hire a staff. Find those with sewing skills to make alterations or new uniforms. Hire a receptionist or sales clerk to assist customers and consider hiring outside sales staff to work with schools.
Promote your store. Advertise the business to parents of children in schools that require uniforms. Meet with local school officials to learn what advertising methods are available. Ask if they can provide you with their students' names and mailing addresses if you offer a discount on uniforms.
Allison Dodge has been a writer since 2005, specializing in education, careers, health and travel. She has worked at educational institutions for more than 10 years. Dodge has a master's degree in education administration.