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Old 07-10-09, 04:55 AM   #1
sharp21
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Finding a wholesaler...

Im looking to start a mobile bike shop & will obviously be carrying a very small inventory, but want the ability to order pretty much anything.
What are some wholesale distributers I can contact to get the ball rolling? Ive already contacted bti-usa, but would preferably like to work with a canadian company
S.
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Old 07-10-09, 05:57 AM   #2
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It's not just a case of finding a wholesaler, it's getting approved.

Wholesalers don't want to get caught undercutting their customers. Consequently, they want you to look like a professional business before they will sell to you. A yellow pages ad is a common requirement that they can easily check. Photos of the business are also sometimes required. If you have a professionally lettered truck, I'd think that would be a big boost.

I do a little bike repair out of my home. I buy most of the parts that I need through a local LBS which gives me a substantial discount.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:58 AM   #3
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Quality Bike Products (QBP) is probably the biggest supplier in the US. You can contact them via their website.
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Old 07-10-09, 08:56 AM   #4
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Quality Bike Products (QBP) is probably the biggest supplier in the US. You can contact them via their website.
What he said.

However I find that smallish setups are too small for the biggest vendors. (i don't know how it would be with QBP.) So setting up accounts with a regional vendor as well would be wise. Different vendors sell to different sized outfits and expect a certain level of purchasing. So if you are just starting out you may not be ordering enough product to make a larger vendor notice you.


I checked QBP site
  • Web/Mail order accounts must have a physical retail location that allows the business to serve its customers face-to-face during regular retail hours"
this is what i run into in my business. all my customers are mail order so i have to use smaller vendors who will let me open accts.

Idea: since you are mobile, you may find a an out of area LBS which will let you piggy back on their acct. they would get a nominal percentage over cost for the favor. You place your orders with them and they charge you 10% over cost etc.

Last edited by EraserGirl; 07-10-09 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 07-10-09, 09:46 AM   #5
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Those are some great points, thanks.
QBP sure looks the business, but they do require a whole laundry list of stuff before approving a vendor.
I had thought about approaching the LBS, maybe Ill see if I can make that work. Ive got a pretty specific idea of what I want to offer though so Im not sure if that would work... Besides for mail order stuff of course
What about finding a "smaller vendor"? Ive been searching for local distributors but have been coming up blank.
S.
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Old 07-11-09, 02:46 PM   #6
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Try the Hawley Company in Lexington, SC.
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Old 07-12-09, 12:29 AM   #7
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Thanks for the heads up on that one, ill give it a try
S.
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Old 07-12-09, 12:37 AM   #8
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Go to your bank and open a business account, then file your name with the state. Ta Da! You're in biznuzz.
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Old 07-12-09, 12:50 AM   #9
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The big problem with opening an account is that they want pictures of your shop!
Im planning on custom lettering the van, so I'll see if that flys
S.
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Old 07-13-09, 12:57 AM   #10
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Bit of an update. Figure Ill keep all of my web research here so its all in one place.

orangesportsupply.com is a wholesaler out of Vancouver. Application form isn't quite so stringent.

Also, CanadaBicycleParts.com seems a good place for online shopping to avoid cross border duty, if you can read French...
Mec.ca carries made in Canada parts
Ramsays-Online.com is mailorder from Nova Scotia, but are going out of business...

http://www.bbinstitute.com/manual.htm is the most comprehensive repair manual going.

BicycleRetailer.com is the best industry website I have come across
S.
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Old 07-13-09, 12:58 AM   #11
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Brauns.com is Cdn, with online parts also
CyclePath.ca - Good specials on tires right now, lots of roadbike gear

jensonusa.com
UniversalCycles.com
Both of these are US but have price matching & the duty is included in the shipping
CambriaBike.com has killer deals, good to check for price matching
PricePoint.com
S.

Last edited by sharp21; 07-13-09 at 02:54 AM.
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Old 07-13-09, 03:48 AM   #12
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The big problem with opening an account is that they want pictures of your shop!
Im planning on custom lettering the van, so I'll see if that flys
S.
Don't forget insurance, I sell it for a living. Once you take that van and letter it with the name of a business it's no longer eligible for a personal auto policy. Call your insurance agent and ask him about a GL, general liability, policy. Don't forget to tell him about your van. You'll need a commercial auto policy also. There's a lot of expense involed in what you're planning. The first time someone gets hurt and sues you from a repair you botched, every shop does it, you'll be glad you have insurance. It will pay for cost of defense and anything you become legally liable for. That's a lot better than selling your house to pay for it.

PS, your homeowners policy doesn't cover you either.
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Old 07-13-09, 04:57 AM   #13
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Dont worry, Ill have those ducks lined up & quacking!

EuroAsiaImports might do some wholesale too
S.
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Old 07-13-09, 04:09 PM   #14
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The big problem with opening an account is that they want pictures of your shop!
Im planning on custom lettering the van, so I'll see if that flys
S.
Just photoshop yourself a storefront. Or even the van lettering.
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Old 07-14-09, 12:44 AM   #15
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I might be able to MSPaint myself a shop...
I think OrangeSportSupply looks promising though, plus Ive got a bit of an expansion plan out of the garage that I think will work out.
S.
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Old 07-14-09, 01:54 AM   #16
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Go to your bank and open a business account, then file your name with the state. Ta Da! You're in biznuzz.
Are you sure that works in your state? It doesn't here in New Jersey. I started a business a year ago. It was in computer consulting, not bicycles. I couldn't open my bank account until I could show my certificate of incorporation. I had formed an LLC, but I didn't have the certificate. My accountant had filed the papers for me, but he died suddenly. I had to do quite a runaround with the state to get my papers, but I eventually managed.

But it ought to be easier if you're a DBA (doing business as ...) rather than a corporation. Years ago, I worked as a mechanic in a bike shop that wasn't incorporated.
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Old 07-14-09, 01:47 PM   #17
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Dont worry, Ill have those ducks lined up & quacking!

EuroAsiaImports might do some wholesale too
S.
I used to work for Euro-Asia (20 years ago!). They used to have a strict "wholesale only" policy. I guess the online market has gotten good enough that they've loosened that a little.

BTW: don't try Photoshopping a storefront. It's been done, it gets checked, and any inconsistency will get your foolishness shared with the rest of the Internet.
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Old 07-16-09, 03:04 AM   #18
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Just buy from PBK, Ribble or Chain Reaction - quite likely cheaper than QBP and you don't have to worry about jumping through all the hoops (shopfront etc) that QBP want you to. No minimum order, you can buy as little or as much as you want. Downsides are you need to pay up front and have to wait a week for your parts.
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