How to Become a Motorcycle Apparel Distributor

by Chris Gilliland

Motorcycles have risen in popularity substantially over the past few decades and has given rise to a new breed of two-wheeled culture. With motorcyclists hailing from a long list of venues, including motocross, road racing and the ever-present chopper scene, it's only natural to find apparel suited to riders. If you've ever dreamed of joining in the fun and becoming a dealer or distributor for the large selection of motorcycle protective and fashion apparel, you have some work to do. At times, it may seem difficult, but it's well worth it.

1

Obtain business and sales licenses. This is one of the most important items required by any company or supplier that you may be interested in becoming a dealer or distributor for. For most counties, applying for a business license requires completion of an application form and payment of a small fee. Sales licenses authorize you to sell products commercially and collect any sales taxes that are applicable to your state. It will become your responsibility to report your sales tax returns, filing on either a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Additionally, you will be required by the county to have the original licenses visible and available at the location of your business.

2

Identify your particular target customer and do some research to find apparel companies and suppliers to match. For example, applying for a dealership or distributorship for "Hog'n Choppers, Inc." if you plan on selling sport bike racing apparel. Compile a list of businesses that work well with your customer base so you have options. If one company rejects your application, move on to the next.

3

Determine the requirements placed by a particular supplier before applying. Some suppliers are willing to work with smaller, home- or Internet-based businesses and will operate on a cash basis. Larger suppliers, however, require a complete storefront and trade references detailing the suppliers that you are already a dealer or distributor for. If you have the financial backing and an operational storefront, pursuing a larger supplier can net considerably lower inventory prices, as well as providing you with a line of credit with the supplier.

4

Complete the application and submit it to your chosen suppliers. With the Internet available just about everywhere, suppliers often allow the applications to be completed online or through e-mail. If you are accepted. you will need to furnish a copy of your business and sale and use tax licenses. There may be additional paperwork for you to complete and return before you are officially recognized as a dealer or distributor.

5

Place your first order and stock your inventory. The initial amount of your first order will be determined by the supplier. Some suppliers require a large initial investment, between $250 to $1000, while others may not have any requirements at all. Once the order is made and stock is received, you are officially in business.

About the Author

An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman's Garage.

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