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Old 04-03-2012, 03:09 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Cleveland OH / Palestine WV
Posts: 1,330
Default Online sales

I have a little project car - a Chrysler Sebring convertible.

I've come up with a little modification for it similar to what is offered for other vehicles. There aren't any others on the market yet, but the market is pretty small for this vehicle.

Anyhow, my costs currently will run in the $55 range to put together a kit. Similar kits for other vehicles run in the ~$60 to ~$150 range, depending on the car.

Once I have the instructions written up and printed, there won't be many other costs beyond simple receiving, assembly, packaging and reshipping. Something my wife and I could do pretty easily. I'd be pretty ecstatic if we sold 100 kits over the course of a few years. Doubtful I'd ever be in a position to order enough in quantity to get my price much below $55. My wife's a homemaker and looking for a little extra income. We can put kits together at night and she can label the boxes and ship them as she goes about her daily errands.

Kit would consist of about 10 parts, 8 of which I'd get from the same supplier, and the other 2 from a different one. I'd need to modify the last two slightly (just a little bending to adjust the angle and file the edge of an ear slightly.

Thinking of charging $85 and including free USPS shipping. There's a Sebring convertible forum that has a classified section where I could sell them, or there's ebay. I also have the capability of building my own site (I host a large web site for a living, and my wife was a developer). I'd probably stick to just paypal for payments, even though there are some downsides to that.

There's some drilling necessary to mount it and to prevent peripheral damage, I'd have to strongly recommend a simple drill stop. Also thought about buying some approriate-sized drill bits and stops in quantity, assembling them together, and including them in a higher-priced package. Maybe $100. I haven't priced the drills yet, but three different sizes are needed and all three need drill stops.

I'm not looking to start an aftermarket empire. This is kind of a hobby for me, and a way to get our feet wet with online sales - I have a few other ideas I could pursue if this works OK.

Thoughts are welcome on the above, but what I really am looking for is advice on all the peripheral stuff that I don't know about.


- Should I set up some sort of business entity with separate bank accounts?

- What do I need to do about income taxes, sales taxes, etc. Would going through ebay take away some of those headaches vs my own site or casual sales? I think I'd be best served picking one selling method to start - either ebay, my own site, or forum classifieds and then directing all sales to that particular point.

- Do I need to worry about insurance or liability or any regulatory issues? I notice a lot of car parts are sold "for off road use only" (nudge nudge wink wink). I suspect this is to get around something, but am not sure what specifically.

- Is it even worth doing? If I sold 100 at $30 profit over raw materials, I'd maybe clear $15-20 each after covering all my costs (not counting our labor). So that's $1500-2000. Not chump change, but if it takes two years to do, and that income is on top of what I already make (so is taxed at the highest rate), I'm not sure I'll net all that much. I'd like to do more than break even when all is said and done. Is this a common income stream level for online sales? Perhaps having another entity would be more attractive tax-wise? Or maybe I should run all the income through my wife and file separately?

- Pricing. I struggle with this. Price too high and don't sell any. Price too low and it's not worth the time.

- Branding. Is it worth coming up with a name and a "brand" for lack of a better word even though it's just the two of us at the kitchen table. Is there a downside to coming up with a brand?
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

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Old 04-04-2012, 12:55 PM
jackem Male jackem is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Western Colorado
Posts: 7

I suggest you consider looking at this differently. Instead of establishing the infrastructure to put together kits, market them, ship them, etc. try wholesale first.

Find a company that sells like items and see if you can get them to sell your stuff. You would get a small percentage with each sold.

I developed this type business for myself. I went to my boss at that time and made a deal to sell our products online. I now handle emails, phone calls, etc on the sales end of things but, more importantly, deal with problems after the sale.

The best part of doing business this way is my office is my cell phone and my computer - anywhere I can get cellphone service. We lived on a sailboat for the last 5 years and it was our home and my office had a million dollar view...

Just an idea...

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