How does one become a knife dealer??

Jun 2, 1999
I was wondering what needs to be done in order to become a dealer to buy factory (or custom) knives from a distributor. Is all that is needed a tax license or business license?
All you really need is a business name, and a tax ID number. It also helps if you enjoy knives, and enjoy people that enjoy knives.
It's not a get rich quick business, but it can be alot of fun and you get to meet alot of great people. Good luck!
After the Business name ad Tax ID# IMO the most important thing you need is a target market. This will help you determine the types of products you will carry and help focus your funds while business builds.

Also, look at the competition. Can you offer someting that they are not offering?

Hard work.

After getting the tax number stuff taken care of, the very next thing you need if you want to be a serious dealer is...

A web site!

Better make a good one too.

Actually having the money does not go without saying...alot of knife suppliers, even custom makers are shying away from the tiny guy selling knives on the side out of there homes or swap markets.A tax ID and license are the easy parts. Larger companies such as Benchmade, Spyderco ect. want store fronts, bussiness credit lines ect. This protects the authorized dealers that invest in complete lines of knives from being undersold. Giving just anyone a wholesale price will quickly ruin a company. And to get the best prices eliminating the middle man is the way to go, if possible. Many may also have buyin plans to become authorized. This may include signage, advertising guidelines,pricing policy, protocol and warranty policy directives. While distributors are also bound to some of these guidelines, its not withstanding to say that they all follow those guidelines. But why buy wholesale for just a little less than Joe public can get from a discount house. I feel the best way is to have a good price, after all thats what attracts buyers, service usually sells the products and for repeat sales. Alot of people start small bussinesses, without good inventory trying to sell before they buy...This the hard way to go. Ever wonder why infamertials say, allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery? They are selling before they buy! So remember if you plan to get into a bussiness you need enough doe to do it will need much more than a 20 or 30 knives to be successful!!! As someone stated, the internet has helped the small guy more than anything. And you will need a site, of course..but thats the easy part..gotta have a gimmick, something to tempt me to buy from you...bottom line is its very hard to compete with say a strong established discount knife store, who buys thousands of knives....I'm sure Mike Tuber and Sal Glesser could shed some light on this...But hey, this is America and all is possible, With the right knowledge, right lines, a good investment, and alot of hard work, its all possible!!
Give yourself a couple years to get rolling..The knife bussiness is a tough road, lots of competition, but lots of fun if you are a knife nutt!!!
Best of luck,
Sincerely Bart

[This message has been edited by Bartman (edited 03 July 1999).]
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Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

About becomming a dealer...

Call me sometime next week and I can give you all the inside info. I have been there and done that since I started WOW 9 years ago with one table at a flea market.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

The first thing you need to do before anything else is RESEARCH. Need to find out local restrictions for businesses, license, permits, etc. Then find out what sort of market you are planning on appealing to. Go to local gun/knife shows, watch what sells, speak to dealers, visit flea markets, cutlery shops, hardware stores. Any place that has a knife for sale. Then get a tax ID# so that you can research and contact wholesalers for dealer information. (They will not assist you until you have that ID#. Next step, getting all the necessary paperwork, (permits, license, etc.) And somewhere during all this, you need to figure out how you are planning on running the finacial aspect as it takes money to make money. Last but not least, patience and determination.It's not an easy road to travel, but usually a rewarding one.

Both Bart and Jonathon have offered some sound advice.

Serious long term knife companies like Spyderco and Benchmade want to work with serious long term dealers. The closer the relationship, the better.

"Quick buck fly by night knock off companies" don't care who they sell to as there is no long term plan (other than to make more money). I believe that you should decide (as mentioned before) what kind of dealer you want to be.

Selling "good reputation" companies (Benchmade, Chris Reeve, Spyderco, etc.) probably won't be too successful at a flea market table any more than selling "knock offs" at a knife show.

There are many diffeent types of companies making knives and many different types of knife buyers. Be all things to all companies and all buyers? Not possible. Not enough years in one lifetime.

Whatever you do;

Maintain consistency and honor in your business practices.

Pay your bills on time.


Work hard! Have fun! Be successful!

How old does one have to be to become a knife dealer?


Self improvement is a hobby of mine :).

Just a little update: Today I convinced my mom to let me become a knife dealer. She told me I nedd to research this more(Whatever that means)and then I could become one. She also knows how to follow the steps to get all the paper work out of the way.

Also thinking of a name...

There is the warm and informal one "Uncle Adam's knife place"

Or the patriotic one. "Blood, Guts and Glory knives"

And last but not least, the new age name. "The chop shop"

Anyway, sorry for rambling. I thought it would take alot longer than it did to convinse my mom to let me be one.


Self improvement is a hobby of mine :).