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Posted: 4/7/2002 1:35:08 PM EDT
Will be getting mine soon. Working on the various permits, etc. Any advice on starting out would be greatly appreciated. My goal is to turn this into a full-time business and expect months to a year or so to transition into it. I'm tired of the doc biz and yearn to be my own boss. I plan to start out drumming up some local business and doing gunshows to get my face and name known as well as spread some business cards around. Eventually will have a separate place of business with other supplies, ammo, etc. Would very much like to get into mail order as well-ie parts and accessories, etc. FWIW, I'm way up in northern WI. Near Eagle River. Thanks for the advice, guys.
Link Posted: 4/7/2002 2:36:07 PM EDT
Get someone or yourself to do a website, create an online shop. Link yourself to as many sites as possible. Gunownership and the internet make a perfect couple. Good luck Kuiper
Link Posted: 4/7/2002 9:05:40 PM EDT
Your first problem will be discovering everyone knows what your dealer price is on every item. Your second problem will be 99% of your customers will believe that is the retail price and want to know if you can get it for them "at dealer cost." Your third problem will be discovering a few hundred places on the internet selling at $3.00 above dealer price. Your fourth problem will be people who think a 10% markup is highway robbery. Any more than 10% is a felony, punishable by law in their eyes. Your fifth problem will be eating and paying your bills. Your sixth problem will be people who don't want to "buy from you" but want you to order a rifle from one of your suppliers and "transfer" it to them for a couple bucks. More or less like tipping a waiter for bringing food. Your seventh problem will be people who say "If you wanted to make a profit you should have gone into a different business." I gotta try that one on my next plumber. Your eighth problem will people who want top dollar for their prebans but want to buy one cheap. "You will only give me X amount of dollars for my preban? You are trying to rip me off!" OR "You are charging X amount of dollars for that preeban? You are trying to rip me off!" I'm still trying to figure out how to aquire prebans at "dealer cost." Your ninth problem will be a complaints that you don't have a certain firearm in inventory. This is related to your other problem that those guns you do have in inventory haven't moved since you got them. Except of course to be handled excessivly with the comment "This one doesn't look new..." Your tenth problem is realizing you could havge taken the money you paid for your FFL, Occupational License, Code and Zoning Permit and related other startup costs and actually bought guns cheaper as a NON FFL. All you gotta do is find a FFL and have him get whatever you want. 10% of $150.00 is only $15.00. You might even find some poor browbeaten loser who will do the transfer "for a few bucks."
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 5:25:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SteyrAUG: Your first problem will be discovering everyone knows what your dealer price is on every item. Your second problem will be 99% of your customers will believe that is the retail price and want to know if you can get it for them "at dealer cost." Your third problem will be discovering a few hundred places on the internet selling at $3.00 above dealer price. Your fourth problem will be people who think a 10% markup is highway robbery. Any more than 10% is a felony, punishable by law in their eyes. Your fifth problem will be eating and paying your bills. Your sixth problem will be people who don't want to "buy from you" but want you to order a rifle from one of your suppliers and "transfer" it to them for a couple bucks. More or less like tipping a waiter for bringing food. Your seventh problem will be people who say "If you wanted to make a profit you should have gone into a different business." I gotta try that one on my next plumber. Your eighth problem will people who want top dollar for their prebans but want to buy one cheap. "You will only give me X amount of dollars for my preban? You are trying to rip me off!" OR "You are charging X amount of dollars for that preeban? You are trying to rip me off!" I'm still trying to figure out how to aquire prebans at "dealer cost." Your ninth problem will be a complaints that you don't have a certain firearm in inventory. This is related to your other problem that those guns you do have in inventory haven't moved since you got them. Except of course to be handled excessivly with the comment "This one doesn't look new..." Your tenth problem is realizing you could havge taken the money you paid for your FFL, Occupational License, Code and Zoning Permit and related other startup costs and actually bought guns cheaper as a NON FFL. All you gotta do is find a FFL and have him get whatever you want. 10% of $150.00 is only $15.00. You might even find some poor browbeaten loser who will do the transfer "for a few bucks."
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Do you ever do anything other than complain? If you hate having an FFL so much then get rid of it, but for Christ's sake quit whining.....
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 5:33:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/8/2002 5:34:04 AM EDT by SteyrAUG]
Originally Posted By Ponyboy: Do you ever do anything other than complain? If you hate having an FFL so much then get rid of it, but for Christ's sake quit whining.....
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It was mostly a joke. But in your honor... Your eleventh problem will be guys like Ponyboy who expect you to deal with the above ten problems, but don't believe you have anything to complain about. Never mind the fact that if you went to Ponyboys job and tried anything like this, he'd probably lose his mind. PB, don't you have anything better to do than whine about my posts?
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 5:48:35 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:
Originally Posted By Ponyboy: Do you ever do anything other than complain? If you hate having an FFL so much then get rid of it, but for Christ's sake quit whining.....
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It was mostly a joke. But in your honor...
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Just like the last 50 times you've posted something similar? I'd go dig up your old posts, but you deleted them all last time somebody made you mad and you ran away. Remember?
Your eleventh problem will be guys like Ponyboy who expect you to deal with the above ten problems, but don't believe you have anything to complain about.
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Nope, because I don't deal with crybabies.
Never mind the fact that if you went to Ponyboys job and tried anything like this, he'd probably lose his mind.
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Yes, I'd lose my mind laughing at you.
PB, don't you have anything better to do than whine about my posts?
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Nope, it's my day off.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 6:54:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Ponyboy: Just like the last 50 times you've posted something similar? I'd go dig up your old posts, but you deleted them all last time somebody made you mad and you ran away. Remember?
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Yes, I have on more than one occassion pointed out the pitfalls of being a FFL. And nobody ran away.
Originally Posted By Ponyboy: Nope, because I don't deal with crybabies.
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But apparently you expect us to.
Originally Posted By Ponyboy: Yes, I'd lose my mind laughing at you.
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Thank you for proving my point EXACTLY. YOU would not put up with it. Why would you expect us to?
Originally Posted By Ponyboy: Nope, it's my day off.
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Then it might be a long thread. But seriously, what is your beef? I'm not allowed to complain about bulshit? About 95% of this forum is US complaining about bullshit. Or is it just FFLs? And more specifically which of the ten don't you agree with? And why?
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 8:29:18 AM EDT
Steyr Aug pretty much summed it up. After a year of doing gunshows I finally realized I was in the business of handing out business cards. Of maybe 4000 business cards handed out in a year I would guess I had 2-3 people contact me and this was for info only not for a sale. I do much better attending shooting events, and demonstrating products at shooting events than I ever do at gun shows. I do better on the internet buying/selling products than I do at gun shows. If your intention is to deal in a bunch of old used crappy guns than attending gun shows will allow you to pick up a bunch of old crappy guns for cheap prices. Then you can haul them back and forth from your shop every weekend to try and sell them. The most succesful shops seem to be the ones that are involved indoor rental range, with on site gunsmithing.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 8:59:03 AM EDT
Having financed more than a few small businesses in my prior life, and worked in a gunshop as well, I need to point out a couple of things. One, you are NOT your own boss. This is the biggest myth about owning your own shop. Everybody that walks in your front door is your boss and you'd better treat them that way. The bank that finances you will be your boss. The supplier you owe money to is your boss. The town planning and zoning commission is your boss. And I imagine ATF will have a few suggestions for you as well. Two, plan on two to three years before you take any money out of this business. Any money. Hopefully your significant other has a good enough job to pay the mortgage and buy the groceries. Three, you will quickly discover friends you didn't know you had or ever wanted. Friends that think you should sell to them at cost. Because that's what friends do. Four, you can't run a storefront operation on a 10% markup. It won't fly, no way, no how. Retail firearms is a tough nut to crack. There are still enough gunshows out there to make your life miserable. If your within 30 miles of a WallyWorld you can forget about ammo sales or low end shotguns and rifles. Your dealer cost on an 870 combo will be more than WW sells at retail. I don't know what the northern Wisconsin market is like but in cental Iowa retail stand alone gunshops are getting scarce. Go slow on this.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 11:05:41 AM EDT
SteyrAUG is on the mark. Funny how you never hear anyone that actually has an FFL arguing with your points. As a gun dealer (for at least another week) his exaggeration is not too much to the extreme.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 11:47:55 AM EDT
Add to this the obvious problem of never having time to actually play with your guns. Too busy doing friggin' paperwork! I've had great experiences with almost everybody I've ever dealt with in the biz except for one gunshow customer who refused to pay sales tax because it wasn't part of the deal. Got mad, ripped up the yellow sheet and left. Probably an undercover with the State Comptroller, who knows. Days like that make you want to hang it up though . . . .
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 12:44:32 PM EDT
That is ONE benefit I forgot to mention. Met tons of cool people, not everyone is a ass. Get new shooting buddies all the time. Got to help first time buyers get the perfect gun. Nothing better than helping someone get EXACTLY what they wanted and for some reason, nobody else could get it. At least locally. Love being able to say "I can have that in 2 days" and seeing that look come across there face. Not uncommon in a marketplace where many dealers say "Not even sure they still make those anymore." BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, I love saving people from bad purchases. Getting them into a much better gun for the same or little extra money. Nothing better than being set up at a gun show, and having a past customer come up and say "Man I saw one of those at the table over there, thank you for talking me out of it. The one I got was WAY better." This is so much better to hear than "Man that gun I ordered is a complete piece of crap, won't even work." Course we don't hear that much since we got away from Hesse and Century guns.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 2:07:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SteyrAUG: Your first problem will be discovering everyone knows what your dealer price is on every item. Your second problem will be 99% of your customers will believe that is the retail price and want to know if you can get it for them "at dealer cost." Your third problem will be discovering a few hundred places on the internet selling at $3.00 above dealer price. Your fourth problem will be people who think a 10% markup is highway robbery. Any more than 10% is a felony, punishable by law in their eyes. Your fifth problem will be eating and paying your bills. Your sixth problem will be people who don't want to "buy from you" but want you to order a rifle from one of your suppliers and "transfer" it to them for a couple bucks. More or less like tipping a waiter for bringing food. Your seventh problem will be people who say "If you wanted to make a profit you should have gone into a different business." I gotta try that one on my next plumber. Your eighth problem will people who want top dollar for their prebans but want to buy one cheap. "You will only give me X amount of dollars for my preban? You are trying to rip me off!" OR "You are charging X amount of dollars for that preeban? You are trying to rip me off!" I'm still trying to figure out how to aquire prebans at "dealer cost." Your ninth problem will be a complaints that you don't have a certain firearm in inventory. This is related to your other problem that those guns you do have in inventory haven't moved since you got them. Except of course to be handled excessivly with the comment "This one doesn't look new..." Your tenth problem is realizing you could havge taken the money you paid for your FFL, Occupational License, Code and Zoning Permit and related other startup costs and actually bought guns cheaper as a NON FFL. All you gotta do is find a FFL and have him get whatever you want. 10% of $150.00 is only $15.00. You might even find some poor browbeaten loser who will do the transfer "for a few bucks."
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Comedy my ass,you are spot on 100 percent right!!!!
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 6:06:25 PM EDT
Good advice all around. I've talked to a few dealers at gunshows and paid enough attention around here that I have some idea what to expect. I intend to go very slow and will not give up my current job yet-as much as I'd like to. I have other ideas for making money as well. Tough up here, though. It is all very seasonal. My wife has a decent job that is reasonably secure and other than my mortgage I am now completely out of debt. Just paid off my med school loans. That was a mortgage, itself. I'm used to everyone being my boss and the gov't BS as well as paperwork currently. Don't think it could get much worse but as we said in residency "they can always hurt you more." Thanks everyone and keep the advice coming. I've learned enough in life to listen to those who've traveled the same path before me.
Link Posted: 4/8/2002 6:41:08 PM EDT
Forgive me if has already been mentioned: The local shop always has people that come in with very interesting firearms. The dad died and this was in his closet type of thing. One that deserve's mention was a full auto Thompson that the mans father had brought back from WW2. The owner of the shop turned a real shade of pale and told him to talk to the BATF but it was still cool to see that piece of history.
Link Posted: 4/9/2002 6:07:46 PM EDT
I think the smart gun dealer sets a fixed price for transfers, not based on prcentage. 10% is too low for a 10/22, but too high for a pre-ban AR-15. If I do all the legwork and arrange for the shipping, why on earth should I be expected to pay $100+ for the 10 minutes the dealer spent providing me with a copy of his lecense and filling out a 4473? That's simply not reasonable. I'm a lot more willing to return and support dealers in other ways when they don't gouge me on transfer fees.
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