Opening Your Own Skateboard Shop

Open your own skateboard shop
Open your own skateboard shop. Eric O'Connell / Getty Images

Starting your own skateboard shop is easy, hard, rewarding and frustrating. How great would it be to own a skateboard shop, hook skaters up with gear, and get the latest and greatest stuff for yourself! It's not an easy business, but it can be quite rewarding. Here's some advice on setting up shop thanks to Grant Cardone and Tom Hopkins.

Getting Started

To get off the ground, you'll need:

  1. Business license
  2. Credit card for purchasing inventory
  3. Supplier: Find the closest skateboard distributor to your town -- you will need multiple suppliers
  4. Location: Start with the smallest building with the lowest rent; you can expand later.

How to Start a Skate Shop

The shop needs to be in a great location with plenty of parking, ideally as close to the local skatepark as possible. This way the skaters are always close to your shop in case they break a deck, need parts or want to just stop by the shop the see your new products. You need to have a lounge area with a couch and chairs for the skaters to have a place to sit and talk to other skaters. A television playing skateboard videos is also a great idea. Also, consider installing a snack or a drink machine.

Setting Up Shop

You will need these items to get started:

  1. Glass case for products
  2. Slat wall for decks
  3. TV- DVD player for watching skateboard videos
  4. Tools for working on boards (sockets, skate tool, razor blades, screwdrivers, Allen wrenches)
  5. Bearing press (this is very important for building boards quickly when you have a busy Saturday or during Christmas)
  6. Workbench


You need to carry only quality products with a variety of products in different price ranges. You can stock lower price decks but make sure they are good quality boards made of rock hard Canadian maple. You will also need to carry pro boards for the better skaters, but most beginners don't want to spend $150 on their first skateboard. Most beginners want a board for $59 or less to start out with and upgrade as they get better. Also stock some nice price completes (especially during Christmas), but 99% of your inventory should not be built so skaters can choose their own setup for a custom-made board. To be successful, you need to have lots of choices. Sam Walton (owner of Wall-Mart) once said, "The more choices you give people, the more they will buy."


The best way to advertise is with stickers and shop t-shirts. Don't waste your money on radio advertising or newspaper ads when you first start your business. The stickers are a great way to get your name out there and every skater will plaster them on all their skateboards and their cars. They will also wear your shirts to the skatepark. Another way to advertise is to create a fan page on Facebook. All the skaters will be glad to be your friend and you can post bulletins on specials and any events you're organizing. 

Opening Day

Your best day for business will be Saturday. Open early at 8am to get ready before the customers show up and offer a free giveaway at noon. Consider giving away a skateboard, wheels, posters and stickers. Have some food and drinks on hand and you may get 100 skaters show up the first day. Schedule a skate demo with the best skaters in town if you have the room on your parking lot. 


You can have the best-looking shop and the greatest products, but if you don't have sales training, you will never make it. We're not talking about being a fast talker and pressuring customers to buy. Rather, it's about taking care of the customers' needs and wants. Tom Hopkins, a famous sales trainer, once said, "Become an expert adviser, not a salesperson."


Service needs to be your main goal. You need to have the best attitude and the best service in town. If you want to learn more about selling and having a great attitude for success, read Grant Cardone's book, "Selling -- "The Secret to Success" available at Amazon. Grant says, "An individual that combines a great attitude with a great product becomes unstoppable."

Events, Demos and Trips

The best way to assure repeat business is to show the skaters you care about them and actively promote skateboarding.

Events: Have at least two events each year. The most important day to have an event is Go Skateboarding Day on June 21 every year. Inquire with the local businesses, churches and restaurants to see if they will sponsor the event. Food, refreshments and prizes make for a great day of skateboarding.

Plan a trip: Try planning a trip to a popular skatepark. Rent a couple of 15-passenger vans and drive the skaters to a well-known park to skate. Louisville Extreme Park in Kentucky, and the DC Skate Plaza in Kettering, Ohio are two East Coast locales with great skateparks to visit.

Start a skateboard team: Try to find the best local riders and sponsor them. Give them free products, team shirts and schedule some demos. Take care of your team riders. For example, take them to lunch after the demos for a job well done and pay them if possible.

School and church demos: This is the best way to get your name out there and it makes a huge impact on kids. Take your team to the demos (wear the team shirts) and impress the kids. 

Master List

You will need a master list of customers and log all their names, phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses. Send them all a newsletter at least four times a year on specials, events and new products.

Additional Recommendation

  1. Your busiest day is Saturday and you will need help. There is no way you can build all the boards, sell products and take care of all the customers. The busiest time of year is Christmas. You will need help during Christmas. You will be building boards nonstop from 9 till 5.
  2. Hire an employee that is passionate about skateboarding and who can also build boards and answer questions.
  3. Be sold on your product. Make sure you know your product -- know the sport of skateboarding and be able to answer questions without hesitation.
  4. Don't overbuy on decks. The companies change graphics often and the boards get outdated quickly
  5. Overbuy on grip tape, bearings and hardware. Don't ever run out of these products!