When you plan to start an office supplies business in India, plan if you want to start this business stocking stationary and books alone, or other supplies, such as, printers, cartridges, Xerox, and fax machines. You can start a store that sells these supplies or provides services, such as, refill and repair of printers, cartridges, Xerox, and fax machines. Apart from this, office supplies could also mean being an authorized deal of selling computer software and hardware peripherals. You need to acquire licenses from the respective companies to sell their products. You also have to find wholesale suppliers for the products that you want to sell in your stores.
Start your business
You could either have an online store or a physical store that sells these supplies. You can provide your products and services to a variety of offices, like IT companies, schools, colleges etc. Since, most of these companies need a customized stationary with the names of their companies printed on them; you can find a supplier who prints company names on stationary. Once you have decided what kind of services you want to offer and what kind of office supplies you want to sell, make a business plan and raise a capital for the same. You can utilize this capital to buy your stock and also pay the lease amount if you are planning to establish a physical store to sell them. You have to spend on the furniture, manpower, and registration of your shop.
What you need legally
You need to apply for a PAN, TAN number, register with sales tax, and also acquire relevant licenses if you are selling legal software and computer peripherals at your store. You could also be a franchisee selling computer software, computer peripherals, or any other branded office supplies. You can plan how many employees you want to hire for your store. Usually, not more than two or three people are needed, so you do not have to register with Employee Provident Fund, etc for hiring less than ten employees. You can start this store like any other retail store and acquire Shop and Establishment Act license, and other registrations like VAT, service tax, TAN etc. For any kind of business in India, a current account in the bank is a must.
Plan your store
You can start this business of office supplies in a small store or in a mall, by leasing that space and paying a monthly rental that is decided between the landlord and you. If you want to start a customized supplies business that not only sells office stationary, but also art stationary, such as, canvas, brushes, paint, varnishes, photo papers, a variety of art pencils, calligraphy materials, inks, etc, then these kinds of supplies are registered under separate category when you go for a registration. You need a trademark registration done for your store. You also have to specify the list of categories in which you will be making the products available at your store. Only those products that you have been listed in the trademark registration must be sold. Selling anything other than that at your store will be considered illegal.
To sum it up, the following are the requirements to start an office supplies store:
- PAN and TAN Number
- Trademark registration
- VAT registrations
- Shop and establishment act license
- Service tax registration if applicable
- Current account in bank
- A billing system
- An accountant
Almost all the retail stores need these licenses and registrations. There is a standard set of documents most of the stores and retail businesses need, except that the category of their trademark registration changes according to the type of items they want to sell. For instance, clothes, shoes, accessories, etc, come under a separate category as compared to stationary items. You have to look into the category that fits your business and choose that category for trademark registration.