Launching a retail enterprise is a time-tested business model for making money. A retail business can be operated offline from a brick and mortar space or online as an e-commerce operation. The latter of those two options is the least expensive. Either way, to be successful as a retail business, you must be able to obtain merchandise at wholesale prices. Genuine wholesale distributors sell their products only to established businesses. Prior to buying products at wholesale prices, there are certain steps that you must take.

Step 1

Apply for a federal tax ID number, otherwise known as an Employer Identification Number or EIN, from the Internal Revenue Service. You can get your EIN by applying online and requesting that the number be issued instantly for establishing business bank accounts and opening wholesale distributor accounts.

Step 2

Obtain a sales tax license for the state in which you live. In New York, this license is called a Certificate of Authority to Collect Sales Tax and you may apply online. Do an online search for your state's tax department or business permits website.

Step 3

Register your company name with the state in which you live. You can also file a Doing Business As or DBA form with your state government. If you're doing business under your personal name, this step isn't required.

Step 4

Open a business checking account at your personal bank or another local financial institution. You will need your EIN and business name filing for the account opening procedure. This step is really optional, but some wholesale distributors require business bank account information for their applications. If you don't currently possess a business bank account, they won't open a customer account for you. As a result, you won‘t get products at wholesale prices for your retail business.

Step 5

Apply for a business credit or debit card that you will use solely for your business transactions. Link this card to your business bank account. Be sure that it’s issued as a business account card, since this is what you'll use to buy products at wholesale prices from wholesalers.

Step 6

Search online for wholesale distributors who offer the products you would like to sell.

Step 7

Complete the buyer's account applications for all wholesale accounts you want to set up. Follow the instructions carefully for each submission. Some applications may be submitted online, although others call for the application and supporting documents to be mailed via regular mail.

Step 8

Purchase the products at wholesale prices you want to sell, using your business credit or debit card. Be sure to compare prices before you buy. Tabulate all costs associated with buying wholesale merchandise, including taxes and shipping fees. Keep all transaction records and receipts.

Shoes are products at wholesale prices
Credit: ortonesque