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Advice on starting a mc gear business

Discussion in 'Businesses and Service Providers' started by mattb, May 11, 2013.

  1. G'day All.

    I've just started researching this and figured I might post a question here for some hopefully more stream-lined and experienced advice compared to the government websites!

    I am looking to start a hobby business on the side selling a very small line of gear. I've done my research on the market, on what I want in terms of sales (small, maybe $1k a month), and I've found a manufacturer and am in the middle of getting a sample made and sent to start things off. The business will be simple: the manufacturer posts me a small quantity at a time - enough for a few months sales - and I sell them over eBay.

    I already have my own business that is part-time and unrelated, providing a service rather than products, so I am familiar with aspects of running a small, undemanding business as a sole trader, but am not familiar with selling goods.

    So I am still unclear on what I need to do to meet legal requirements as a sole trader with only a small profit, other than keeping good records and doing my taxes properly? Each time I import the gear it will be under $1000 and so, I believe, will slip in under the tax requirements for imports. There are to my knowledge no standards requirements regarding the gear. Is there something I'm missing or is it as simple as my other business from a government/law/tax point of view: just sell the items and pay my taxes as a sole trader at tax time?

  2. Let me guess your going to sling Pakistani made leathers with some foam padding and kevlar jeans to people like everyone else?

    the world/Australia has enough of those kinds of businesses. People are not stupid either, they can source this stuff directly off aliexpress and so on with out much trouble.

    Maybe there might be a segment in selling high end hand made gear from Europe and the usa to douchebags on cafe racers for a large price, but it would have a much higher start up cost and require a storefront in a trendy laneway or something like that.

    Speak to an accountant about your tax issues, not netrider, unless you want bad advice.
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  3. #3 mattb, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
    1) You have no idea what I plan to do so your post is presumptuous and assumes I'm dumb about this - unwarranted assumptions of stupidity reflect badly on the accuser - and 2) don't bother replying if you have nothing but negativity to offer. ;)

    And for the record, terrible advice on NR is often mixed in with great advice, and it's not that hard to sift between them if you have a brain.
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  4. i look forward to being proven wrong.
  5. I would be looking elsewhere for advice on starting a small business. If you are researching your potential market then make that clear, define your product range and record the responses.
    Every day another small business falls over, that's not to say you can't make it work, but the chances of failure are high, very high.
    Do a business plan, down to the dollar.
  6. #6 mattb, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
    Thanks Mcsenna. I'm not trying to conduct my research about the business itself on here. Rather I'm just hoping that while I wade through unclear government websites on importing and selling on a small scale, that anybody who has been down this path might have something to say from their experience. Hence I reckon a thread's not out of place but if it produces nothing then fine. I'm not putting too much weight on the replies here, but I do know there are some people with good information to share based on their experience and I'd love to hear from them. The business is very much 'on the side' and a matter of combining a currently unavailable (or at least a not very common within the price range) product with - importantly - my enjoyment of engaging in the design of it. I'm equally invested in the creative side as the hope of selling it (this won't be my first financially modest but successful but unusual and fun business). So I'm not betting the farm on it, indeed I only expect a trickle of business even in the long-term. If the business proves it can perform to my humble expectations then I will actually look to getting it made locally, if that's possible within the price, but I've found somebody who can make it now efficiently and affordably overseas and I'm exploring what is involved on that on the web tonight.
  7. If you're operating another business as a sole trader and you are registered for GST, the you start this gear business, also as a sole trader you will be required to collect GST on your sales.

    If you have a decent product AND know how to market there is money to be made through online shops... Most businesses fail on one or both of these requirements.

    Remember, cash is king. Plenty of small businesses go broke, not because they don't make a profit but because they just don't have cash flow... Not such a big deal for consultants working as sole traders, throw in complications of stock, storage, managing external suppliers, issues with internalional vendors and things get complicated.... Make sure you have the capital you will need.

    Early last year the ACCC changed the warranty requirements, they will apply to you and you cannot avoid them.

    Yes, if you are bringing in stock of less than $1k you may not have to pay GST, you should also investigate and tarrif s or duties that may apply. These may not apply on small orders but be aware they may track the volume you buy, the govt is keen to raise revenue.

    I'm sure you have worked out how you are going to pay your overseas supplier, currency, terms etc, how are you going to confirm the quality of the goods before payment? Maybe not a big issue given the low value you are talking.

    Finally, before you start you should work out at what point you are going to pull the pin if it fails... This could save plenty of $$.

    Good luck, sounds like you have come up with an idea of making some $$ through your hobby and something you enjoy.
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  8. oh its pillion dildos isnt it! i tried this but i lost my prototype if you find it please dont return it
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  9. Thanks for that, the sort of advice I'm looking for. I've not yet done much research on the ACCC warranty requirements so I'll have to check that out.
  10. Here's some advice that you are not asking for.
    However, it's advice which I think is very good considering the way the future is going.

    Sell tools.

    That's right, sell people the tools they need in order to work on their motorcycles/scooters. In this economy, a very big reason why motorcycle registrations (particularly scooters I daresay) is on the up and up, is due to economical concerns.
    As well as gear, you should sell people the ability to make their investment in their motorcycle work harder for their bottom line. To this end, sell them tools and put on reasonably priced DIY how-to workshops. Put together a small team of like-minded individuals to, together with yourself, run these workshops educating motorcycle owners on how to do basic maintenance tasks and on how to actually use the tools that you sell them. I'd be more than happy to lend a hand in this, just need a few more years' experience under my belt before I can start teaching more complicated stuff, but I'm all for being an essential part of a growing revolution.
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  11. oh knackers what shall we do with you oh knackers
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  12. If you end up doing thongs,im in need of a new one.
  13. Watch out blabbs, netrider is a different place these days.

    Also @Kernal, ever heard of supercheap? maybe repco springs to mind?

    You cannot be a copycat, there is no reason to purchase from a copycat vs the originator.
  14. #14 Kernel, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
    I really fail to see why selling tools and teaching people how to use them is a bad idea for business, not everybody can afford to sign up to the Kustom Kommune and the like.

    Supercheap and Repco are not motorcycle specific. Further more, they do not run motorcycle maintenance workshops, the only good local place I can think of who actually does that is 60 Degrees.

    Forgot to add -
    Many tools for motorcycle maintenance are very simple and cheap to make yourself, but not everybody has the resources to be able to fashion them. Invest in a welder and a few metalworking tools, enough to fashion things like fork tools (very simple to make, not everybody can make them!), maintenance stands, chain alignment tools (although the laser ones are pretty cheap anyway). You make simple things like these in your spare time, I reckon you're sure to at least make your money back on a good welding machine and metalworking tools.
  15. and you know how its done dont you, remember you drilled out the bolts on a carby instead of buying a simple Allen key?

    oh and 60% is a good place is it?
  16. How many tool are motorcycle specific? I doubt not more then ½% and even then it would a propriety item form the manufacture.
    @mattb Good luck with your start up look forward to seeing your products. Whilst I can not help you with your legal/ Tax questions we do have a couple of retailers on NR that maybe able to help you with these questions.
    I guess as part of your research the challenge of selling any sort of gear(clothing) would be sizing It's always been one of my stopping points of buying gear OS in case it does not fit.
  17. Very few tools are motorcycle specific, in fact i cant think of any that would be useful to a home mechanic, unless you want to sell paddock stands.
    As much as bikes are an easy way to get into home mechanics, the large increase in motorcycle numbers are comprised of; scooter riders and females, two groups that rarely like to get greasy. The rest are buying brand new machines that need dealer servicing for warranty People are also time poor and have better things to do then spend the day servicing their bike on the weekend. I would also be doubting the profitability of a maintenance workshop class. Unless you charged a high price i doubt it would be feasible for the student numbers you would likely get, and your customers would not be expecting to pay a few hundy to learn how to use the tools you sold them, they would want it for free.
  18. i can just imagine the abortion you would make with a "welding machine"
  19. I ended up using an angle grinder to simply cut the heads off the screws and threaded them out. Don't forget that it was a while since I did this, we all learn from experience, blame my old man for not teaching me anything about working with tools when I was younger. Considering I have done all of my learning in this regard over the past three or so years, I do know a fair bit.
  20. I laughed and laughed.Oh dear.