Register the Business
Register your business name with the state. You need a viable business entity to apply with wireless carriers, retail leasing companies and banks for financing. Go to the secretary of state’s website and perform a search to make sure you haven’t chosen a name that competes with another business. Complete the registration and file your articles of organization or incorporation. With this information, go to the IRS website to acquire a tax identification number.
Business Plan Development
Write a detailed business plan that demonstrates your understanding of the market conditions and how you plan to market and service clients. Even if you don’t have solid numbers on lease and employee costs, do research to determine the average costs. Include pricing for initial inventory and ongoing new inventory. A cellphone store needs displays with proper electric and internet accessibility. Expect to use anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 in startup capital to prepare your retail storefront. If you don’t already have this, look at small business loans or other private financing options.
Understand Carrier Contracts
Contact the wireless companies whose products you want to offer. Each authorized reseller contract is different. Verizon is much more comprehensive than T-Mobile. Most companies pay you per the terms in the activation contract. Read and understand the terms and conditions of the contract. Failure to adhere to the contract can result in termination while you still have a lease and inventory.
Apply as an Authorized Reseller
After you determine the carriers you want to offer, formally apply to become a reseller with each company. Your business plan will help demonstrate your vision and ability to successfully run a cellphone store. Because cellphone plans are based on credit, expect that your own credit to be run in the process. All of the carriers will want to see your personal sales experience and business ownership or management experience. Industry experience is preferred but not required. When you pass all the corporate hurdles, you are granted authorized reseller status.
When you have at least one carrier contract, you can find a location, sign a lease, and begin the buildout for your cellphone store. Landlords check personal credit on new business leases, so keep your credit clean and don’t finance a new car or apply for other loans until you have the business established. Look for a location with a lot of foot traffic, like a shopping mall or near a grocery store. Most cellphone stores highlight the latest technology with LED displays. Keep the store in line with the technology you sell – sleek and high-end. Develop the layout so people can shop for phones and accessories and look around while waiting for service or sales help.
Your landlord will most likely require liability insurance. Also, acquire a policy that covers business property and inventory. Cellphone stores are often targeted for theft, and you need to protect your investment.