Start a kitchen and bath store by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your kitchen and bath store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
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:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a kitchen and bath store?
Retail stores may cost up to $50,000 to open, depending on your location and chosen stock of inventory. You’ll need to account for not only the cost of the mortgage/lease and products, but also staff salaries, liability insurance, and technology (e.g., cash registers, payment processors, etc.)
What are the ongoing expenses for a kitchen and bath store?
Owners will need to factor in the following expenses
- Raw cost of new products
- Mortgage/lease of store
- Liability insurance
- Staff salaries
Who is the target market?
The target market can be anyone with a kitchen and bathroom they need to stock. While big chain stores and websites may have much of the market cornered, there are still ways for independent stores to reach different segments of the population.
How does a kitchen and bath store make money?
Kitchen and bath stores make money by charging a markup on most or all of their products. Owners may sometimes use loss-leading products to attract people into their stores. Once they're in, they have an opportunity to discover higher ticket products that will bring more profit to the owner.
How much can you charge customers?
Home chefs and decorators are willing to spend big for the most coveted of cooking tools or latest bamboo bathroom caddy. A five-piece set of soap and lotion containers can cost as much as $80 or more. High-end pots and pans can cost well over $1,000 for a 10-piece set.
How much profit can a kitchen and bath store make?
The average profit of a Bed Bath & Beyond is around 35%, but profit percentages will vary greatly based on what you sell and how you sell it. If you can’t check the prices of your direct competitors because you’re selling something truly unique, base your prices on the materials of the product, skill it took to make, and current demand.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Consider selling interior decorating services in conjunction with your products. Offering interior decorating services not only helps bewildered homeowners plan the look and functionality of their home, it can also promote a variety of stock to those who could use it the most.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your kitchen and bath store is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
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!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
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 other 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.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
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.
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.
How to promote & market a kitchen and bath store
You can promote your business online or via radio and television ads. If you’re planning to get into the real estate market, you’ll need to network with your local agencies to find out more about what they're looking for. Consider hosting a grand opening party where people can make their own smoothies in your blenders. This can be a great way to meet people and impress them with your products.
How to keep customers coming back
Your customers are looking for quality goods, but they’re also looking for new products they can fall in love with. Changing your inventory while keeping the most popular products is a great way to entice people to keep coming in for whatever they need. Homeowners and apartment dwellers can get bored quickly, so it may not take very much convincing to switch things up. As with any retail store, customer service should go above and beyond so that customers feel comfortable asking questions and learning more about your products.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Kitchen and Bath Store In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This business is perfect for someone who understands the true functionality of a kitchen and bathroom. Far from just being a place to cook dinner or take a shower, these rooms can ultimately define the tone of a home. In fact, new home buyers or apartment renters are more influenced by the appearance and amenities of the kitchen and bathroom than any other feature of the home.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a kitchen and bath store?
Most days will be spent selling supplies, stocking new inventory, and analyzing sale patterns and traffic. Owners may also need to train and manage their employees, handle customer conflicts or emergencies, or devise a strategy to best promote their business.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful kitchen and bath store?
It’s going to take someone with a lot of innate business savvy to open a kitchen and bath store. Having some experience working in the industry plus an MBA or general business degree is a great place to start.
What is the growth potential for a kitchen and bath store?
Big box stores, such as Wal-Mart and Target, have made it much more difficult for smaller businesses to penetrate this particular market. To make matters more complicated, owners are also competing with online shopping behemoths like Amazon. However, a business that taps into the different needs of a community or population can still stand to grow. For example, selling goods at near wholesale prices or offering unique, custom pieces for wealthy customers can be a successful strategy.
TRUiC's YouTube Channel
For fun informative videos about starting a business visit the TRUiC YouTube Channel or subscribe below to view later.
Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a kitchen and bath store?
The prognosis may not always look good for someone who wants to enter a saturated market, but there are always ways to test the waters before diving in. You may want to begin selling certain products online in local communities. You’ll get an idea of what people in your area want, what they don’t want, and why they’re making their decisions. Some people will base their decisions on price alone, but most people have a vision of what they want their kitchen and bathroom to look like.
As in any business, owners should find ways to serve customers that are different from those of their competitors. When a shopper walks into Bed Bath & Beyond or IKEA, they’re confronted with aisle after aisle of products they may know very little about. When they shop on Amazon, they have to go through page after page of products, price comparing and analyzing for hours. Most people don't have the kind of time they need to do the job correctly.
Streamlining the experience by offering a more select inventory at reasonable prices can make people feel less overwhelmed. Another option is to offer free interior decorator advice to customers so they can enjoy a more personalized experience. Finally, you may want to learn more about your local real estate market to see if you can wedge your way into the business of home stagings. Agents and sellers rely on stagings to showcase the full potential of a property. If you can rent appliances, furnishings, and decorations at a reasonable price, you’ll have a rock-solid source of income.
How and when to build a team
If you’re operating a normal store with typical hours (as opposed to selling exclusively online or running a specialty store), you’ll need to hire a manager or an employee to keep up with general sales and stock. Look for employees who excel at interior decorating or design.