Getting an FFL

This is a discussion on Getting an FFL within the FFL Dealer Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Just because someone likes guns doesn't mean they are cut out for business. If you don't have business skills, don't start a business. Been seeing ...

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Thread: Getting an FFL

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Just because someone likes guns doesn't mean they are cut out for business. If you don't have business skills, don't start a business. Been seeing too many "I want an FFL so I don't have to pay for transfers and get guns cheaper" types on forums lately. Yikes.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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  3. #17
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    I've owned 3 businesses before (not gun related) and it is tough work and little pay. It takes several years to get a positive and steady cash flow coming in. I looked into opening a gun shop by me since we don't have one but unless I am willing to put up 150K for inventory it isn't going to be successful.

  4. #18
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    Any retail business is tough, involves long hours and dealing with plenty of competition. Gun store owners are retailers but most are not in it just for money. Most are involved because the store has been a family business for a generation or more, the owner is an avid sportsman with a passion for firearms, collecting or he might be primarily a gunsmith that only sells a few guns at retail. There needs to be a compelling reason other than money to even consider the business.

    150K is pin money and won't buy much inventory. Firearms are are not the only items needed for a successful gun business. Accessories, supplies and ammunition are also essential. 150K is a drop in the bucket even for a startup. Forget about bank financing for what is considered high risk business for at least the first two years even if your store, by some miracle is wildly successful.

    In my case, I was a licensed professional in a practice not at all related to firearms or retail sales for more than 30 years before I ever considered becoming an FFL. I'm still engaged in that profession and a couple other business ventures. The gun business would not otherwise be possible.
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  5. #19
    Senior Member Array TZArmory's Avatar
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    There are more and more local restrictions based on your city, county, and state. The federal part is not hard, it was the county government that was lengthy and problematic. Once we got through that the rest was clear sailing. It allows us to Duracoat easily via mail order and sell product. ATF is looking harder and harder at FFLs that do not do much volume as they don't have the staff to do the regulatory check ups. They want to know that you are truly going to be engaged in the business, not just building your collection.

  6. #20
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    Facebook and Social Networking has become another important means to market and advertise.
    Actually, Facebook is part of the problem.

    That what is keeping me backlogged.

    Story:
    I was opposed to it at first, as I just wasnt a facbook "geek". My oldest son (28) was on it and insisted that I get a page. He went on and on and tried to convince me to do it. One of the reasons that I didnt was because I didnt know how, so one day I told him to go ahead and make me a buisness page. He did.

    In a matter of days, I started getting questions about custom builds and then orders. I started posting some pictures of some of the things I was doing and that got even more sales rolling in. Its a great idea to post pictures so others can get an idea of what they want, or to help someone figure it out if they arent sure.

    So,yeah, I 've got a Facebook page, but I dont have a reqular website since I still work for a living at two other jobs.
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  7. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Actually, Facebook is part of the problem.

    That what is keeping me backlogged.

    Story:
    I was opposed to it at first, as I just wasn't a facbook "geek". My oldest son (28) was on it and insisted that I get a page. He went on and on and tried to convince me to do it. One of the reasons that I didn't was because I didn't know how, so one day I told him to go ahead and make me a business page. He did.

    In a matter of days, I started getting questions about custom builds and then orders. I started posting some pictures of some of the things I was doing and that got even more sales rolling in. Its a great idea to post pictures so others can get an idea of what they want, or to help someone figure it out if they aren't sure.

    So,yeah, I 'vie got a Facebook page, but I dint have a regular website since I still work for a living at two other jobs.
    Well I'm glad you did the Facebook "business page." I mentioned that to you as an alternate to a website a few months ago. The problem with Facebook is that you have to have a personal account before you can create a business page. There are now some ways to limit what you share with others if you want. Once you get 30 likes, you can use Facebook.com/<hotguns>. Don't blow it though by trying to advertise on Facebook. For now they tolerate gun pictures on personal and business pages but ANY weapons paid ads are are against Facebook's editorial policy. If you attempt to actually advertise, sooner or later they will find you, usually sooner, and can then tell you to remove your business page too. Facebook is not gun friendly. Low profile is best approach.
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  8. #22
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    I dont actually advertise. I just show what I'm building and that pretty much takes care of it.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  9. #23
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    QUOTE=TZArmory;2341334]There are more and more local restrictions based on your city, county, and state. The federal part is not hard, it was the county government that was lengthy and problematic. Once we got through that the rest was clear sailing. It allows us to Turncoat easily via mail order and sell product. ATF is looking harder and harder at FFL's that do not do much volume as they don't have the staff to do the regulatory check ups. They want to know that you are truly going to be engaged in the business, not just building your collection.[/QUOTE]

    I recently had occasion to speak to my field office in St. Louis. I asked about a mandatory 6 year rule for inspections. They laughed and said what rule? They laughed out loud! They said, we don't have the time for that especially if you have a clean record and have no reason for us to visit you.

    Latter I had to call Industry Operations in KC. I mentioned the same 6 year inspection rule. They said, I don't know about St. Louis but we inspect Every FFL Every 5 years or less. So it does depend some on the region and even the field office.

    I know ATF seems to be are more harsh regarding the FFL's conduct of business on the east coast. The field inspectors seem to be short and kind of snippy if an FFL asks a question. In theory, all field offices are supposed to conduct their operations the same. In practice that is not necessarily so.

    Your city or county will often have a considerable amount of impact on weather an FFL license is granted or not. The ATF does very through background investigations particularly with local officials in charge of zoning and those who grant business licenses.

    My business license specifically states that I am not to do any casting, forging or plating? They are referring to gun smithing. I'm not zoned for electro plating or painting, same as my area is not zoned for auto body shops.

    I would assume that if I started creating any disturbance with paint smells, chemical smells or smoke, it would cause a problem. Either the city could report it to ATF or just not grant me a business license. Either way it could effectively shut me down as an FFL.
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  10. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    I dont actually advertise. I just show what I'm building and that pretty much takes care of it.
    I knew you didn't. Heck, it took all this time just to get you ON Facebook.

    Actually, I have a business page but I don't understand Facebook, and don't much care for it. I can't see why others are so compelled to share their lives and pictures with every stranger on the planet.
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  11. #25
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    Wish I knew more about guns and shooting because Ive always wanted to own a small business. This dosnt seem as costly or difficult as I thought it would be.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIGP250 View Post
    I knew you didn't. Heck, it took all this time just to get you ON Facebook.

    Actually, I have a business page but I don't understand Facebook, and don't much care for it. I can't see why others are so compelled to share their lives and pictures with every stranger on the planet.
    I would blame reality TV. Have you ever noticed how many people are addicted to that garbage? It all started with Survivor and Big Brother, since then we have become quite a voyeristic scociety. Ironic considering how many of these people are the same who whine about privacy.
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  12. #26
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    I would blame reality TV. Have you ever noticed how many people are addicted to that garbage? It all started with Survivor and Big Brother, since then we have become quite a voyeristic scociety. Ironic considering how many of these people are the same who whine about privacy.

    Good answer. I agree with you about how people react to their privacy too. It doesn't make much sense.
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  13. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIGP250 View Post
    Actually, I have a business page but I don't understand Facebook, and don't much care for it. I can't see why others are so compelled to share their lives and pictures with every stranger on the planet.
    I've got a personal FB account, but I use it to keep in touch with HS classmates and out of state family. I have everything set to private so only my friends can see my posts and pictures.

    I have a business page in the works, but haven't published it yet. Still working on getting things together.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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