Do you want to start a skateboard shop? If YES, here is a 10-step guide on how to start a skateboard shop business with no money or experience. A skateboard business is a store that sells skateboards, skateboarding apparel and other skating necessities. Some of the well-to-do skateboard shops have been known to sponsor local riders and promote skateboarding locally through skate videos and demonstrations, often referred to as demos.

Operating a skate shop allows a business owner to pursue his love for all things skating while using the marketplace to earn a profit. That passion is important as the income potential from a skate shop may only be as much as $30,000 per year, especially early in the store’s business life. But later on, this amount is bound to increase.

The skateboarding culture was first introduced in America in the mid-1940s. Today, the culture encompasses the values of artistic expression, mutual respect for fellow man, social networking, and respect for the planet. Despite its popularity across the globe, there may not be enough skating businesses that can pass on the culture or keep the industry alive and bubbling.

So if you are a skating enthusiast, you should probably start considering going into the skateboard business. Here is how you can go about setting up your own skateboard shop business in the United States.

10 Steps to Starting a Skateboard Shop Business

1. Put together your business plan

Whenever you are starting a business, even one as small scale as a skating board shop, your business plan should be a high priority for you. You need to write a workable business plan for your new business. Before you proceed, you should first decide what your business will focus on: whether you will go mobile or maintain a brick and mortar location.

You should equally determine your target market, whether you are going to serve businesses or car owners in general. Research existing skating board shops and evaluate how well, or not, they’re meeting the needs of the target market.

Define ways that you can set yourself apart from the competition by offering lower rates, specialized services or by showcasing your expertise. Choose a business name that will attract your target market and differentiate you from competitors.

Make a list of supplies you’ll need and ways in which you’ll market yourself. Set your prices by researching what other competitors charge. There are loads of other things that will make your business plan comprehensive, so you need to make some research before you start.

2. Set up your legal entity

When opening a skate shop, there is always a need to keep in mind the legal processes related to starting a business. Often there are quarrels afterwards over legal contracts. In such a scenario, it is better to prepare the documents with everything related to your skateboarding business in a systematic manner to avoid any kind of problem in the upcoming future. Even a minor mistake can mean the end of your skateboard business. You can’t risk that.

If your business is expanded already and you are not short of money, then it is better to hire a lawyer that will manage the legal aspect of the work for you.

A lot of small businesses prefer to start with being a sole proprietorship until they grow bigger. This can work really fine for them, but it may not work for your business. One little mistake can do a lot of damage and if you are found liable, they could go after your personal assets (house, bank accounts, cars, etc). This can spell doom for your business.

Setting up an LLC is cheap and easy, especially since it will be just you. The LLC is a separate legal entity so they can’t go after your personal assets if something happened (unless you don’t pay payroll taxes, are malicious, commit fraud, etc.). The point is that it is a good barrier between you and the liability created by your business.

For the minimal cost to set up an LLC and renew it annually, the protection is invaluable. It also makes you look more professional. There are other business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC’s, and DBA’s. You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.

3. Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business. In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It’s really easy and free. You need to pay taxes to the government, so this is a necessity.

4. Pick a suitable Location

To understand how to start a skateboard business, we first need to talk about the location of the skate shop. This is not only about skateboard shops but can apply to opening any kind of store. You need a prime location and that makes all the difference.

In every city, there is a centralized hub which every person visits for shopping related activities. To accentuate your shop, prime location is important. With location, parking area also matters. In fact, parking has become a cumbersome problem for shoppers these days.

So before starting a skateboard business, you must keep in mind the parking area. Good parking space attracts a lot of people these days. They prefer shops and other places that offer good parking facility, so keep this in mind.

5. Make a pitch to Suppliers

When you sell a product, you need people who supply you at reasonable prices. This has become important issue these days and there is a need to throw light on it. When you open a skate shop, you need many products and accessories related to skateboarding.

Your potential customers will want good products at a good price. This is possible only if you have contacts with good suppliers who can deliver quality products. Make sure you find the right supply company when you start a skateboard business. Sometimes, people overlook this important aspect of opening a skateboard business. But in the broad scenario, it becomes really crucial to pay heed to this aspect.

6. Put together your Inventory

You need to carry only quality products with a variety of products in different price ranges. You can stock lower price decks but make sure they are good quality boards made of rock hard Canadian maple. You will also need to carry pro boards for the better skaters, but most beginners don’t want to spend $150 on their first skateboard.

Most beginners want a board for $59 or less to start out with and upgrade as they get better. Also stock some nice price completes (especially during Christmas), but 99% of your inventory should not be built so skaters can choose their own setup for a custom-made board.

To be successful, you need to have lots of choices. Note that the more choices you give people, the more they will buy. Once you know the size and layout of your new space, it’s time to start purchasing the necessary items to set up shop. A few items you’ll need are:

  • Slat walls for displaying decks
  • Tools for working on skateboards – skate tool, razor blades, Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, and sockets
  • Workbench
  • Glass display cases for accessories
  • Fixtures and shelving for clothes and shoes
  • Music system
  • TV/DVD player for skateboard videos
  • Credit card machine
  • Cash register

The biggest mistake new entrepreneurs make is carrying products in only one price range. While you’ll need to carry some complete sets, the bulk of your clientele will want their own custom board, so stock your inventory with all the necessary accessories.

Your inventory should include decks for all experience levels, which wholesale for $10-$25, wheels, which will put you out about $7/set, and trucks which start at $12/set. Build a relationship with a brand that manufactures products you believe in, ensuring you deliver a quality product every time.

Your inventory should also include a small selection of skater apparel and shoes. Inventory will be your biggest startup expense and can range anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, depending upon how much merchandise you want to start out with.

7. Open a business bank account with credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection in your skating board business. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business’ name (instead of yours), have better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more. This separates your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection. It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.

8. Apply for insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial well being in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, there is a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage.

9. Plan your marketing strategies

In order to get enough attention, it’s better to advertise your skate shop and products on various platforms, including social media. That’s because every business must have an online presence these days in this world of advancement and technology. The best way to advertise is with stickers and shop t-shirts. Don’t waste your money on radio advertising or newspaper ads when you first start your business.

The stickers are a great way to get your name out there and every skater will plaster them on all their skateboards and their cars. They will also wear your shirts to the skatepark. Another way to advertise is to create a fan page on Facebook. All the skaters will be glad to be your friend and you can post bulletins on specials and any events you’re organizing.

10. Get them coming back

The best way to assure repeat business is to show the skaters you care about them and actively promote skateboarding. You can achieve this in these ways;

  • Events

Have at least two events each year. The most important day to have an event is Go Skateboarding Day on June 21 every year. Inquire with local businesses, churches and restaurants to see if they will sponsor the event. Food, refreshments and prizes make for a great day of skateboarding.

  • Plan a trip

Try planning a trip to a popular skatepark. Rent a couple of 15-passenger vans and drive the skaters to a well-known park to skate. Louisville Extreme Park in Kentucky, and the DC Skate Plaza in Kettering, Ohio are two East Coast locales with great skateparks to visit.

  • Start a skateboard team

Try to find the best local riders and sponsor them. Give them free products, team shirts and schedule some demos. Take care of your team riders. For example, take them to lunch after the demos for a job well done and pay them if possible.

  • School and church demos

This is the best way to get your name out there and it makes a huge impact on kids. Take your team to the demos (wear the team shirts) and impress the kids.