Retail Product Sales

Retail Product Sales

In the U.S. there are three types of retail product sales businesses. Those that provide services, those who provide products, and those that provide both. Typically nurses provide services and have incidental products that support the service, e.g., books, CDs, documents, reports. Products sold by nurses often include patient care items, wellness products, cosmetics, health foods, and nutritional supplements. A product sales business is usually operated from a home office and products are sent to the customer. The sales may take place on a website, at events, or in retail establishments. Providing a product does not always require designing, manufacturing, and/or selling the product. Most common products are not patented. You can patent your product and then sell the patent to a manufacturing company rather than manufacture it yourself. In the US, the typical royalty is 5% of the net.

How much does it cost for a nurse to start a home-based retail product sales business?

Startup costs for nurses in product sales are about $5,000 for a home office, not including the investment in products.

Does a home-based retail business have a good future?

The future for this industry is good if the products continue to remain in demand and the nurse keeps up with the needs of their customers. Cosmetics and wellness products are projected to have a good future.

How much money can an RN earn by selling products?

Earnings are limited by the number of products a nurse can sell. Sales can be done without any physical interaction over the Internet on an international level. The income is unlimited.

Do I need any special education to start a home-based retail business?

Business education is recommended for nurses to understand the business aspects of being self-employed or a small business owner. The association provides this education customized for nurses. College and community business courses do not understand the nursing community. Advanced nursing courses do not teach the business side of self-employment and small business ventures.

What are some terms used by home-based retail businesses?

  • Cooperatives – An existing business that allows another similar business to affiliate with it and others, usually in a network of similar businesses.
  • Dealers – Individuals who purchase the right to sell products put out by other companies, such as vitamins or holistic medicines. The individual often advertises themselves as an authorized dealer. A distributor sells to dealers and a dealer sells directly to customers. The terms are often used interchangeably.
  • Licensees – Individuals who purchase the right to use the seller’s trade name and certain methods, equipment, or product lines.
  • Multi-level Marketing – This is very popular with individuals looking for a part-time, flexible business. The best-known are Avon, Tupperware, and Mary Kay Cosmetics. Typically the individual purchases a sample kit and receives the opportunity to sell directly to family, friends, and personal contacts. Not all states regulate multi-level marketing. At the time of this writing, 25 states had laws in place. The state laws differ in content and definition of terms.
  • Vending Machines – An individual who contracts with a vending machine company. The company provides the machines and the locations; the individual restocks them and collects the money.

Should I become a DBA, LLC, or a corporation?

The legal structure for a product business can be a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation of one or more. Sole proprietors, LLCs, and S corporations are considered self-employment by the IRS. The regular corporation is an independent legal entity separate from its owners and provides the greatest tax deductions and protection of personal assets. The NNBA recommends that nurses become incorporated to take advantage of tax deductions. Providing your services as a LLC and/or corporation does not relieve you of responsibility for your nursing actions or protect your personal assets from judgements related to your actions as a nurse. You are personally responsible as long as you are a licensed RN.