How to Start a Small Business Selling Computer Parts

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Computers play such a central role in business and personal operations that keeping a computer functioning is mandatory to success. This creates a good market for computer parts, both new and reconditioned, just about anywhere in the world.

  • File legally mandated paperwork required to start a computer parts business, including selecting a legal name and obtaining business licenses.

  • Be prepared for lean financial times at the beginning by having a cash reserve of three or six months, with 12 months being the optimum situation. A cash reserve for purcashing computer parts may also be needed.

  • Conduct market research to determine which kinds of parts are needed in the targeted geographic or business and industry areas. Selling to the public might mean a diversified computer parts product line, whereas concentrating on selling parts just for computers in the health field, the product line might be more specialized.

    The market research should include finding out what other computer parts and service companies in the area offer and at what cost. Most computer parts stores also sell service time to install or repair computer systems and networks. This type of service can generate up to $100 per hour.

  • Determine the target market or customer. It might be better to start out with one or two specific groups of customers such as the home user, the home office user or mobile computer users. This will allow you to begin with a minimum level inventory, which requires less of an initial cash outlay and opens the door for expansion.

  • Find several reputable and dependable computer parts suppliers. They should offer name brand parts as well as lower-cost alternatives. Select suppliers that have workable return policies and reliable delivery. Suppliers can be found online as well in many of the well-known computer magazines. It is also productive to attend local business group meetings such as Chamber of Commerce meetings to network. Networking with others will help locate computer parts suppliers, build relationships with those suppliers as well as helping to find and build relationships with potential customers.

  • Negotiate credit terms and minimum order amounts with the selected parts suppliers. Success for a new computer parts business often depends on getting good credit terms such as paying for items within 30 days. When first starting out, inventory amounts should be kept at a minimum, so negotiating small order amounts with good discounts will also be helpful.

  • Purchase a computer parts installation and repair tool kit. The type of tool kit will be determined by the type of computer parts being sold.

  • Obtain certifications from computer parts manufacturers and service organizations such as CompTIA A+ certification, which is the industry standard certification for computer parts and service.

  • Start marketing. Good places to start selling parts include local schools, hospitals and doctor's offices. To help generate sales, get marketing materials printed such as business cards, brochures and possibly coupons which will all give the small business a more professional look and feel.

  • Contract out business services such as bookkeeping and website design. This can save a small business from having to hire additional employees in its initial stages and keep the owner free to focus on computer parts consulting and servicing.

    If the business finds a need for software support and training from its customers, these types of services can also be contracted out with other small businesses.

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