Start a school supply store by following these 10 steps:

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a school supply store?

A store space must be rented or purchased. Alternatively, you can launch the business online in the form of a website. If you take the online route, you must pay for the domain name and website maintenance. School supplies ranging from staplers to paper, book covers, pencils, pens, markers, binders, and beyond are necessary. Budget money for marketing along with a website, point-of-sale systems, retail display fixtures, inventory tracking software, a business license/permit, insurance, and labor. A handful of laborers will be necessary at the company’s launch. Laborers include cashiers and those who stock the shelves. You can add more people to the payroll as the business grows.

What are the ongoing expenses for a school supply store?

Ongoing expenses include store rent, employee wages, supplies, insurance, utilities, high-speed internet, and marketing. If you opt to rent your store rather than purchase the site where it will operate, you will likely spend between $700 and $1,500 or more per month in rent. The exact figure hinges on the location of your store and its size. Most employees will earn $8 to $12 per hour. If you hire a marketing professional, store manager, or accountant, they will earn a salary in the range of $30,000 to $50,000 or more. The cost of supplies hinges on the size of your store and the number of customers you attract. Budget at least a thousand dollars per month for supplies and adjust the figure accordingly as time progresses. Budget at least a couple hundred dollars per month for utilities including high-speed internet. Allocate at least $200 or more per month for marketing efforts.

Who is the target market?

The preferred client is a parent with multiple school-age youngsters. In some instances, teachers shop for classroom supplies on their own. Both of these customer types are inclined to spend a significant amount of money at your school supply store business.

How does a school supply store make money?

The business makes money by selling school supplies to students, parents of students, teachers, and schools.

How much can you charge customers?

Your school supplies will sell at a wide range of prices. Something as simple as a bookmark will sell for as little as fifty cents. A fancy binder portfolio will cost upwards of $30. However, most school supplies fall in the price range of a couple of dollars to $10.

How much profit can a school supply store make?

A school supply store has the potential to earn a profit of $20,000 to $50,000 or more in the first year. Grow the business, add another location, and profits can double in the ensuing year(s). Develop the business across the region and it is possible to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars or even a profit in the million-dollar range.

How can you make your business more profitable?

You can branch out by selling academic texts, backpacks, and toys like fidget spinners. Consider offering sales through your website. Customers can either pick up their online orders in-person at the brick-and-mortar location or you can deliver the items to the local purchaser. You can also try to sell office supplies along with holiday and party items to keep your store busy during the months in which school is not in session.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our School Supply Store Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

It’s very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorshippartnershiplimited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your school supply store is issued.

STEP 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!

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

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 another financing in your business’s name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • 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.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a school supply store. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For more information about local licenses and permits:

Certificate of Occupancy

A school supply store is generally run out of a storefront. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a school supply store.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your school supply store will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

STEP 7: Get business 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 wellbeing 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.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

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

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren’t feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we’ll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic’s free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

Step10 How to promote & market a school supply store

Market your school supply store across an array of mediums. Advertise in the local paper and on local radio. It is also advisable to build a highly polished, easy-to-use website that appeals to youngsters, parents, and teachers alike. Optimize all of your online content for search engines (SEO). This means the website should be laden with keywords and key phrases pertaining to your locale, your inventory, and your customers. The website should also feature a regularly updated blog and links to your social media accounts. Update your social media accounts several times per week with information about sales, new inventory, special offers, and links to information that relates to academics.

How to keep customers coming back
The best way to attract customers is to position the business by several schools, universities, malls, and other businesses/organizations that attract youngsters. If your store is located far away from prospective customers, it will prove awfully difficult to attract a steady stream of business. Once you pinpoint the perfect location, get your name out there through a wide-ranging marketing push. Advertise in the local paper, on local radio, in flyers, on billboards, and on the web. In terms of retaining customers, make sure your inventory is high-quality and your prices are competitive with other local school supplies stores. Make sure you have a wide array of supplies that appeal to grade school students, junior high school students, and university students.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

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