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Hi guys!

I'm looking at the possibility of starting a bike shop, primarily focusing on online sales. What are the major bike parts suppliers/wholesalers that businesses are using? Any website addresses? Also, do you know any "stipulations" that they require to acquire an account? Storefront, deposit, membership fees?? Anyways, thanks from a fellow mountain biker! Shred on--
 

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QBP and BTI are the two biggest ones.

To be honest, having been there before, I would recommend getting a job at a bike shop, if you haven't already. See how it goes first. The bike biz isn't easy now, whether it be lbs, online, or LBS with online. If you have the experience, you can run a better shop on your own, but if not, you're going to have a tough time starting off.

First thing is you're going to need to go to the business dept. offices and register a company or a corporate identity. Likely all the names are taken, unless you can think of a good one, and then do a d/b/a (Doing Business As), so bring money and list of a bunch of names. You don't have to use them for your storefront name.

Once you have the letter and all that and tax number, you can start opening accounts. Keep accounting on your quarterly, even if you're not up and running, more than exploration. If you didn't even open the business, still declare it on the tax forms because if you ignore it, you'll just end up getting a penalty tax in the thousands as they estimate. So now you got the business and tax ids, so now you can speak to the distros. Then you have to work on such things as computer systems for accounting and inventory. Wouldn't hurt to take a one-semester night accounting course or a few business courses in a semester, such as accounting and management.

I should also add that you should research even before going to the business dept. Check out sites, see how they operate, jot down names for their website makers, then there's hosting, bandwidth, and lots of other stuff. The website stuff and testing it is kind of tough and moreso than people give credit for.

Then you have to figure out the line and speak to manufacturers. It would likely be a good time to start a business sometime after Interbike, where you can meet with manufacturers and distributors direct, make appointments, and other stuff. It gives you a feel in one shot, without a lot of wasted time on what they require.

I'm oversimplifying it, and if it was as easy as I was saying, I'd be running my own bike shop now. However, I don't really like the bike industry after learning about it in different levels, and then working in the retail end.
 

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Quality Bicycle Product - aka QBP - www.qbp.com - various bike products and industry's biggest supplier

Hawley USA - www.hawleyusa.com - various bike products

J&B Importers - various bike products - http://74.8.32.132/ no kidding, that is their web address

KHS Bicycles - KHS, Free Agent, and Manhattan bicycles and general bicycle products catalog - www.khsbicycles.com

BikeMine - www.bikemine.com - tires, saddles, and control components mostly

Those are the big ones that come to mind most readily. There are many other specialized suppliers that focus on certain products like clothing, lights, or tires. Often, this could be the manufacturer itself.

The only supplier I am aware that requires a storefront is QBP, at least thats how it was a few years ago for somebody I know. They are a company that believes in supporting local shops, so some online businesses can be considered a threat. You will also likely have to start out, at least with some, using your own personal lines of credit to purchase parts. Once you become established, then suppliers can issue you a line of credit. I am not aware of any membership fees or deposits.
 

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Forget about QBP if you don't have a storefront and insurance, etc. They're cracking down and making it a real hassle to open new accounts, they're also dumping grandfathered accounts if you don't order enough.

I'm gonna say if you have to ask these questions you shouldn't even be thinking about opening a shop. Also if you think you can do mailorder a bunch of distributors are cracking down on folks doing that too. Shops are pissed about folks running mailorder out of their bedrooms over Ebay and are complaining to the distributors.

Like Jerk Chicken said get a job in a shop and go from there.
 
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