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Old 04-22-2005, 12:14 AM
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Starting my on E-speed shop....

Well, after much thinking, I think I've decided to try my hat at my own little auto parts business. My uncle owns a speed shop, and I've been handling his online sales for a while now. He has decided to move closer to my cousins (he's a grandpa now), so he's selling off the business. Since I already have his distributor connections, I think that I'm going to get my own business license and do some online sales under my own business name. I'm thinking at first that I'll start by setting up an EBay store, then perhaps in the future moving on to a full blown website with inventory listings. My distributor connection is willing to, at least at first, do drop shipments for me so I don't have to keep an inventory (I'll be doing this outta my home office).

Any advice or tips from anyone? I'm a little nervous about this all, I'm kinda worried that to be able to compete pricewise I won't be making any profits (especially on EBay). Really theres very little startup investment needed, all I need is a WV business license which is a couple hundred bucks (and considering that I'll be buying the rest of my engine parts, I'll save some money on my own goodies anyhow), and whatever online format I choose to take. I was considering a specialized in Fords angle, but I don't want to discourage other brand-customers, so I think I'll go in the general high performance direction (I want to keep the ricers to a minimum, I had some bad dealings with them on my uncle's behalf). My biggest concern is competing pricewise. I don't have any plans on actually having a store, although I'll do local advertising at car shows and such and do any sales I can from my home or on the phone. I really have low expectations, an extra hundred bucks a month would keep me happy as this isn't a necessary income for me.

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Old 04-22-2005, 02:55 AM
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If your expectations are not too high then go for it, because you probably won't be dissapointed. I don't have much experience in parts sales, but I am doing a similar thing with website design to make a few extra bucks each month. I didn't have the kind of network you already have, but I started offering a full ground up custom site including domain registration, e-mail setup and so forth for a price that undercut everyone else, with a low monthly charge for hosting and an additional charge if I have to regularly maintain content or update a inventory or catalogue. I am able to do a good job cheap because I'm working from home in my spare time and I'm not really relying on the income to survive, it basically helps me build my car and thats about it. (I'm not trying to advertise here so I won't even say what I charge).

I can understand how it might be tough to compete on ebay, but perhaps set yourself up to make money on shifting high volume rather than setting high margins.

I don't know, I hope some others can offer more specific advice, but I would encourage you to give it a go, you might be surprised, full scale full time business have started from humbler beginnings.

Rich
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Old 04-22-2005, 06:44 AM
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With your existing contacts to the suppliers, you are probably in the best position of all to assess your exact profit potential on Ebay. Since you already have ties with your suppliers, you know, or should be able to easily get, the exact cost per item of everything you are going to sell, your shipping costs and the Ebay fees (these are posted for sellers so there is no mystery). You can then go on ebay right now and see what price your competitors are selling at. The only unknown, it seems to me, is your overhead cost and your target profit margin. But you should have enough hard numbers in front of you before you start to determine if it would be a worthwhile venture.

Things in the speed parts business may have changed, but I was always under the impression that the drop ship model was not very competitive because you got the very highest price per item from the supplier. To compete with the low-buck supply houses (like the ebay stores) you needed to buy in large quantity, keep a rather healthy inventory, and thereby get the best price from the supplier. Like I say, this may have changed with todays world of the internet and the big brown truck.

Whatever the case, good luck with your new venture. Sounds like you are in a very good position to test the waters on this one.
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