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7 Steps to Starting Your Uniform Store

8 min read
Uniform Market June 10, 2016

Uniforms are in constant demand for various professions and industries.

And, depending on your location, you might find that there aren’t that many options for people to purchase uniforms needed for their business and their employees.

If you’re thinking about how to open a uniform store, we’ve listed seven steps you need to take in order to successfully open your storefront and start your business.

Steps to Starting Your Uniform Store

1. Target a Niche

2. Make a Business Plan

3. Get the Appropriate Permits

4. Find Retail and Storage Locations

5. Purchase and Personalize Your Merchandise

6. Get a Website

7. Market Your Business

 

 

1. Target a Niche

Before you start your uniform store, you’ll need to know what types of uniforms your business will specialize in.

Are you going to sell one niche only such as scrubs and healthcare uniforms, or will you focus on a variety of industries like healthcare, construction, and law enforcement? 

Depending on the industry, uniforms can vary wildly in appearance and in the function they serve.

For example: retail clients typically need uniforms that distinguish employees from shoppers.

Then again, development and assembling gear improves employees’ well being, while medical clinics and centers use garbs to counteract the spread of germs.

You should have a clear understanding of which industry you will pitch your products to and what needs you will address before you start a new business.

Understanding who your audience is and who you’re going to target is step one in getting your uniform store started.

2. Make a Business Plan

All businesses, regardless of your industry or what you sell, will need a business plan.

A business plan is a vital tool for laying out how you’re going to run your business.

Laying out a plan helps you to create goals that you can reach to improve your business and your sales.

Make sure to include the following in your uniform store’s business plan:

  • A detailed description of your niche: A good niche statement highlights everything that makes your business special from the rest. It communicates your extraordinary pitching position to the world and lets your target niche know what you can deliver.
  • Startup costs: The cost of your brick-and-mortar store, geographic location, the first month’s deposit, insurance, utilities, licensing fees, etc all account for initial startup.
  • Monthly expenses for at least the first three years: Compile a list of how much you’ll be spending a month on your business, as well as your employees on staff.
  • A three-year profit analysis: The entrepreneurial world changes too quickly to have a 5-10 year plan. A three-year analysis seems to be the sweet spot for creating a vision that gives you that “just-right” gut feeling to see where your business currently sits.
  • Analysis of other uniform stores - these are your competition: Before you launch a uniform retail business in your area, it’s important to see who your competitors are. Make sure you completely comprehend the competitive landscape and where your new business will fit in.
  • Growth plans: These are the activities that you will execute that will help manufacture your business and determine its growth. You might need to discover an area for your new business or buy a site that your clients can visit. Each activity should move in the direction of satisfying the remainder of your strategy.
  • Plans for marketing your business: There must be marketing ideas in place that will help deal with the current niche in your business that allows you to make your mark in that niche. This business plan might include advertising or other tools that are centered around building your business.

Keep in mind that banks and other advance suppliers normally expect you to present an exhaustive marketable strategy before they approve any loans.

Be sure to include the type of uniforms your store will be selling (i.e. industrial shirts and pants, coveralls, shop coats, official vests and overcoats, medicinal lab coats, school outfits, etc).

3. Get the Appropriate Permits

When starting any kind of business, you must have the appropriate licenses and permits to operate.

In opening a uniform store, you may need to get a resale permit, an assumed name certificate, DBA (doing business as”), or a sales and use tax permit.

Rules for obtaining these permits vary from state to state, so make sure you know the process for the state you live in.

Apply for a business permit from your neighborhood district.

This serves to enlist your business with your city or region.

If you state has sales tax, you will need to collect sales tax on any items sold - so apply for a tax account with your state department of taxes.

Also apply for a tax identification number (TIN) or an employer identification number with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

On the off chance that you are not yet secure with all the authorizing prerequisites to open a uniform store, you can contact the Uniform Retailers Association (URA), a not revenue driven exchange affiliation committed to the development and thriving of the independent uniform retailer.

4. Find Retail and Storage Locations

Before you can start your business, you need to have a base of operations.

This will obviously vary based on the type of business you’re opening but in the simplest sense, if you’re opening a brick and mortar location you’ll need to look for a retail storefront for your business.

If you’re going to be operating an online uniform store the you may need to consider some type of warehouse or storage option for your merchandise.

The location of your store can make or break your company.

When surveying locations for your uniform store, take a close look at the surrounding community - is it sufficiently expansive to help your business?

Is it included your objective market? Is the economy stable? Does the area have enough parking for your customers?

These questions should all go into your choice of location.

Moreover, ensure your month to month lease is in accordance with your marketable strategy's projected profit.

Almost all apparel store proprietors allot month to month leases to the areas of their properties.

Make sure that the size of your location and the month to month rental cost is compatible with the projections of the business plan you have in place.

5. Purchase and Personalize Your Merchandise

Purchasing merchandise for your uniform store is a very in-depth topic, and one we won’t be getting to in this blog post but is still worth mentioning as a vital, yet obvious, step in starting your uniform business.

The first step is to build an inventory of products.

Start by purchasing equipment such as hooks, clothes racks, uniforms, stock displays, sign holders, etc.

There are free wholesale directories that have purchasing information for different types of uniforms.

Also consider joining the North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD) as well as the Uniform Retailers Association (URA) to network with uniform suppliers.

Along with purchasing the uniforms appropriate for your niche, you’ll also need to know how you will decorate your apparel.

Can you invest in an embroidery machine? Or will you need to find local services that will decorate the uniforms for your customers? 

Remember that you can contact organizations, for example, Store Supply and Display Warehouse to buy gear and supplies at a discounted rate.

Regardless of how, you must have a way to decorate uniforms to cater to your buyer’s needs.

6. Get a Website

Today, every business needs a website, and as a uniform retailer you’re missing out on a huge segment of business if you can’t sell your merchandise online.

Many customers want to buy online instead of going to a store, so having an online uniform store is an advantage.

Along with having an online presence, using best practices for your website will go a long way to creating customer satisfaction and trust with your brand.

Make sure your website is responsive and optimized for the mobile user, has a clean and professional design, and is functional. Utilize SEO to optimize your site pages for specific keywords that your audience is searching for.

Having a business blog is also a great item to house on your website.

Blog content will help educate potential buyers and help you get found in search results.

Choosing an eCommerce platform for your website is also an important decision, but you have to comprehend which one (out of many) will work best for the promotion of your business.

To find which eCommerce platform works best for you, take the following into consideration:

  • What’s your startup budget?
  • How big is your business?
  • What’s your target market?
  • What types of products will you be selling?
  • Is your business a startup or an established venture?
  • Is your business strictly an online store or does it include a physical location?

Before you agree to a specific eCommerce platform, make sure you know who in your group will be overseeing it - and see which interface they like better.

Keep in mind that you’re going to  invest a great deal of energy in there dealing with your business, so if the interface is inconvenient or befuddling to you (or somebody in your group), that is going to present issues and wasteful aspects.

eCommerce platforms are supposed to make it easier to sell products and services to customers - and to make the customer happier by streamlining the exchange procedure.

If those key objectives aren’t being accomplished, then the platform is the wrong fit for your business.

Make sure choose the right hosting company, too.

After all the time, money, and effort spent putting into designing an online uniform store that will convert traffic into profitable sales, it’s important that your website is up and running all of the time.

7. Market Your Business

There are a number of ways to market your uniform business.

Start by sending coupons and/or fliers to local groups, sports teams, medical associations, launching a promotional website, or offering discounted shipping rates if you operate an online uniform store.

Market your business to the offices, hospitals, schools and other businesses that will be interested in your uniforms.

Bring along catalog samples and business cards on any visit.

Promote your uniform store in any distributions that line up with your brand image.

Another key component to marketing your uniform store is to offer uniform customization to any medical and healthcare facilities who might be in need of embroidery services.

The selling points of customizing uniforms helps the business expand their image, since each time the patient sees the therapeutic office's name on the medical caretaker's uniform, it builds a familiarity with your brand.

You should also consider building a relationship with a custom embroiderer who will customize the uniforms you sell. Offer this option on your website to stand out from competitors who do not offer customization on their uniforms.

Whether you want to stick with traditional tactics, opt more current digital, or utilize a combination of both, UniformMarket can help you in opening your uniform business.

Years of industry experience helps us understand the unique needs of individual retailers and manufacturers. We provide sales and marketing tools to assist uniform manufacturers

UniformMarket can help uniform businesses just like yours. Learn more about what we do.

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