I am a part-time police officer in Western NC. The local tactical supply shop closed down recently (not because of lack of demand) and I want to fill that gap. There isn't another shop nearby with similar merchandise, so all of my fellow cops are buying online. I've gotten all of my paperwork in order and found some suppliers. The suppliers that I've found seem to keep low inventory (lots of things out of stock) and their prices aren't as good as those of the larger distributors.
The problem I'm having is that I don't have a brick and mortar store and the good distributers won't talk to you until you do. I am a student and have a full-time job (the police thing is only a couple of days a month) and don't have the means to open a store. I have the time to run a small on the side business as I'm young, single, and can devote any amount of time to this project that it requires.
My plan is to take orders and sell equipment to police, fire, and rescue squads in the area as well as individuals (cops buy police stuff CONSTANTLY). I can beat the heck out of online prices because I don't have much overhead and some of the orders will be quite large. I've been promised a chance to bid on equipment orders for three departments already if I can get my suppliers in line.
Assuming that I simply can't (won't) quit my full time job, can anyone help me think of a way to get around this problem? I'm considering speaking with local sporting-goods stores in the area and asking them to let me use their business to order goods and store items for a cut of my profit. Any other ideas would be appreciated.
#1. "RE: Need some advice...." In response to Reply # 0
Have you looked into a domain name and website for your business? A great place to start would be www.myhomeoffice.ws. Check it out and see how it might accomodate what you're trying to accomplish. Good luck and God Bless... Jim firstname.lastname@example.org
#2. "RE: Need some advice...." In response to Reply # 0
I seems your main problem is working with large distributors to get the best pricing, but you don't have a store. If this is the case, consider partnering with an existing store that does not compete with your products and services. Maybe a re-sale shop or boutique of some kind. Offering a percentage of profits to help pay the rent might entice an existing store owner to share space with you, as well as get a little extra police protection.
#3. "RE: Need some advice...." In response to Reply # 0
To be totally honest I am unsure what the legalities are to do this out of a home based business. If you have all the township approvals that should be enough for the distributors. If you want to contact me one on one I will contact a few of the distrubutors and see what the reasons are behind it. I am curious myself and would be happy to help you out.
#5. "RE: Need some advice...." In response to Reply # 0
I am quite uncertain as to exactly what the rules are for selling the sorts of supplies you are talking about.
I do believe that you could do something like this out of your garage for starters, though...
Since you already have buyers though, I would begin by getting your suppliers in line. If you can't do that quickly, then you're screwed. Ultimately, the reason that the existing shops don't carry stock and inventory, is probably because they don't have huge demand for it.
Having a list of immediate at your fingers suppliers when the demand does hit though will be infinitely valuable to these departments, I would think.
You'll want a simple webpage listing the products that you have access to and market that locally, driving the qualified traffic to it for info.
Good luck with it, but you might not even need to have a bricks and mortar to make some serious coin at this.