A supplement store sells dietary supplements, vitamins, protein powders and health foods to customers. Typically, these customers are either shopping to fulfill fitness needs, health needs, or dietary needs. A supplement store might operate alongside a grocery store, or even within one. Most, however, operate independently.
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Learn how to start your own Supplement Store and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a Supplement Store by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Supplement Store
- Form your Supplement Store into a Legal Entity
- Register your Supplement Store for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Supplement Store
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Supplement Store
- Get Supplement Store Insurance
- Define your Supplement Store Brand
- Create your Supplement Store Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your Supplement Store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.
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 Supplement Store?
Supplement store start-up costs include a $40,000 franchising fee. Expect to pay $4,500 on equipment, $4,000 to $6,000 on signage, $30,000 on fixtures, $50,000 on construction and another $50,000 on opening inventory. Expect to pay about $2,000 on promotional and marketing materials. To be safe, expect to pay between $180,000 and $200,000 to start a supplement store.
What are the ongoing expenses for a Supplement Store?
Expect to pay about $2,000 per month for a retail space. Every year, supplement restock products can amount to as much as $100,000. Monthly utility costs, on average, are about $300.
Who is the target market?
As a supplement provider, your target market will be sports enthusiasts, gym-goers, health gurus, health-conscious individuals, the elderly, those with disabilities, and those who utilize nutrition as a daily health tool. These consumers are typically found at sports complexes, outdoor recreational areas and health provision buildings.
How does a Supplement Store make money?
A supplement store makes money by selling sports nutrition products, dietary supplements, health products and health foods. Some supplement stores may sell fresh shakes and smoothies. To make additional money, a supplement store may connect with a local fitness complex. In doing so, they can secure additional premises sales while garnering additional revenue from a complex’s courses, sponsorships and memberships.
How much can you charge customers?
Supplement costs vary greatly. A small bottle of Vitamin A, for example, might only cost $7. Performance-centric protein powder, meanwhile, can cost as much as $70. Customers should be charged fairly, however, because supplement stores which are “overpriced” don’t last very long.
How much profit can a Supplement Store make?
The average supplement store can make $100,000 per year in income. The industry’s average profit margin is around 38 percent. Maintain a consistent profit margin, as source product costs can easily cut into your store’s profits.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Start an affiliate program. Promote your products via nearby fitness centers. Then, offer discounts for gym-goers who enter your store via word of mouth. If you can network efficiently, you can design a program capable of sustaining growth. Whenever the chance arises, invest in your own product line. In doing so, you’ll reduce sourcing costs. If you’re knowledgeable in supplements, you can also create superior products which are well-priced.
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 Supplement Store Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
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 Supplement 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:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
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
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report 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 best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
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.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
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
Most states require retail businesses to obtain a seller’s permit. A seller’s permit enables states to record and collect taxes from the sale of taxable goods and services. More information can be found here:
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a supplement business. 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 information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A supplement business can be 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 supplement business.
- 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 supplement business 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.
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.
How to promote & market a Supplement Store
Promote your supplement store by establishing it near health care facilities and local gyms. When possible, network with local fitness complexes. To increase your store’s revenue, you’ll need to remain active in the fitness community. Create a website after your grand opening. Share links with online social networks. Give out coupons when possible. Marketing success, by and large, will be determined by your store’s ability to capture an audience’s attention via sports complexes, grocery stores and health providers. It’s a good idea to use print advertisement, too. When possible, offer coupon deals and distribute paper discount codes to nearby retail outlets.
How to keep customers coming back
Customers will return for well-priced products and quality supplements. Because the Food and Drug Administration regulates supplement prices, many supplement stores offer rewards programs to reduce overall costs.
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. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2022 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Supplement Store in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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Is this Business Right For You?
Anyone who’s excited by sports, diet or health supplementation will do well in this business. Operating a supplement store requires a high degree of knowledge about the human body. For this reason, an undergraduate degree in exercise science, fitness, fitness health, or even biology is useful. A lot of supplement store operators work at fitness centers.
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 Supplement Store?
A supplement store is a retail space, so it typically handles customer purchases, stocks products, performs audits, and handles customer requests. Customers should be assisted, and products should be arranged by supplement section—for example, sports supplements, joint care supplements, dietary supplements, and so on. General maintenance includes mopping, sweeping and vacuuming. While a supplement store’s products are all contained within cans, jars and bags, a supplement store must still uphold the cleanliness standards other grocery stores are expected to meet.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Supplement Store?
Research the type of nutrition products you’d like to supply. Supplement stores might be rare in your area, but those staffed by knowledgeable staff tend to succeed. Your supplement store should also have a mission statement, listed goals and a plan to achieve said goals. Break down your start-up costs, break-even analysis numbers, and financing basics.
Also, contact other nutritional suppliers. Get competitive quotes, and aim to beat the competition’s price while growing your business. Before you franchise, you’ll need to secure high profits. Ideally, establish your supplement store in the same complex as a gym or a medical complex.
What is the growth potential for a Supplement Store?
A supplement store has quite a lot of growth potential. In fact, large business entities like Vitamin Shoppe operate on a national scale. Many supplement stores open their own line of supplements. By supplying the most popular brand at a good price, a supplement store can achieve decent success as only a local entity.
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 Supplement Store?
Successful supplement stores thrive on consumer trust. For this reason, it’s unwise to promote supplements beneath the ruse of superior sports training. While you can absolutely sell sports nutrition, you should stock, promote and sell products based on their health quality, reliability and adherence to federal Food and Drug Administration goals. Many supplement stores lose customers due to overpriced products, false advertisement and an inadequate selling structure.
How and when to build a team
A supplement store owner should hire at least two employees before conducting a year of business. Between sourcing products, operating a register, marketing, management, financing, stocking, and supplement promotion, a supplement store’s owner has a complex, often busy, schedule. By hiring several employees, a supplement store owner can assure quality services while growing and scaling effectively.