Attention Anyone who works at a Gun Shop or Shooting Range

Attention Anyone who works at a Gun Shop or Shooting Range

This is a discussion on Attention Anyone who works at a Gun Shop or Shooting Range within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I would like to pick at the brains of some of the knowledgeable people on this forum. If you work at a gun range and ...

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Thread: Attention Anyone who works at a Gun Shop or Shooting Range

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array dsee11789's Avatar
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    Attention Anyone who works at a Gun Shop or Shooting Range

    I would like to pick at the brains of some of the knowledgeable people on this forum.

    If you work at a gun range and know about the inner workings and behind the scenes of managing a Gun Shop / Range, I would really appreciate it if you would PM me.

    I tried looking online at some other threads on other forums but all the threads are just saying Don't do it, its too much money, it'll never work.

    Well I'm not looking for people to tell me that its going to be hard and difficult. I already know this.


    I am not sitting in my moms basement planning this. I am fortunate enough to be involved in the planning with someone who has the finances.







    Thanks!
    Exodus 22:2 "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array LanceORYGUN's Avatar
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    A gun store can survive in tough economic times. It just has to be prudently well managed, just like any other business.

    And just like starting up any business, a solid business plan is essential. So that is the first important thing to do: create a well thought out formal business plan document. Your local chamber of commerce may be able to refer you to resources to help businesses starting up, so be sure to contact them. City and County governments may also have programs to assist new business development, so check and see if your local governments have anything available to help out too.

    One thing that I can tell you is that location is very important. Your store needs to be easily accessible, and have decent parking. If you are off the beaten path, it is going to be most difficult to compete. I've known fellows that have worked at a number of local gun stores where I live, and I know that in the case of two stores that failed, poor location played a major role.

    In one of those cases, a previous gun store had even failed at their location. Yet, the new owner bought the business, even though it was way out on the edge of our metro area. Just looking at it from a common sense standpoint, that store looked doomed to fail from the start, in my opinion. The guy was super knowledgeable about guns and selling them too, and had worked as a manager at another very successful store. He just lacked some basic business skills, though, and failed to recognize that the store's location would be a handicap. It was open for two years, before he finally had to give it up. His wife's mother had heavily invested in it too. Every time that I did manage to go there myself, I was the only person in the store.

    You also need to take a hard look at competitors in your area. Now if there are no competitors nearby, that is truly great news. But if there are, then you need to come up with some strategies to differentiate yourself from them that will give you a competitive edge.

    Advertising is going to be very essential too. So being creative in ways to get the store's image out in the public is most important. Try to think outside the box to get the most bang for your buck. Our most successful local store runs ads on popular conservative radio talk show programs. They also participate in popular local community events, which are always looking for corporate sponsors to help out. A number of these are also sponsored by local TV stations, which then gets them some limited exposure on the event web sites and on TV ads promoting the events. They also did some very limited TV ads from time to time with the top local cable provider, on TV shows that would appeal to gun owners.

    The people providing the financial support also need to be realistic, and understand that if they want to make a quick buck, investing in a gun store is not a good route to take. It takes time to build most businesses. There are very few that are instant hit wonders. And virtually none in this market.

    So even if everything is done right, don't expect to become profitable real soon.

    Good luck to you in starting your business.

    .

  3. #3
    Member Array chivvalry's Avatar
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    Only thing I can add to that is make sure anyone you hire is articulate, friendly and outgoing, knows their ass from a hole in the ground about guns, and also knows enough to acknowledge they don't know it all. Customer service is critical to any retail business.
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
    You are not paranoid if They are actually out to get you, however, They probably are not and you probably are.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array JAT40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chivvalry View Post
    Only thing I can add to that is make sure anyone you hire is articulate, friendly and outgoing, knows their ass from a hole in the ground about guns, and also knows enough to acknowledge they don't know it all. Customer service is critical to any retail business.
    So true, walked out of a few shops due to idiots at the counter.
    While people are saying "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, ... and they will not escape. 1Th 5:3

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    I refuse to buy guns from people who are 'know it alls' ----- unfortunately that describes way to many people in that business.... :-) Good luck though, this is a good place to get started.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

  6. #6
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    Array SIXTO's Avatar
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    I've managed the largest retail store and shooting range east of the Mississippi. I've also been involved with new range start ups. Shoot me a PM if you have specific questions. Since you are in Ohio too, I can give you the scoop on specific markets.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array CCWFlaRuger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAT40 View Post
    So true, walked out of a few shops due to idiots at the counter.
    Same here!
    "You will not rise to the occasion and you will not default to your level of training. You WILL ONLY default to the level of training you have mastered."
    -Ruger P345; LCP
    -Mossberg 590A1; Model 42
    -Phoenix Arms Raven

  8. #8
    Member Array HiPower9's Avatar
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    Customer Service > Prices

    I can already beat just about any gun store with the internet... But customer service keeps me going back. Stress this and stress it hard. A little "mom and pop" place (New Frontier Armory) opened up recently in Las Vegas and has gained a HUGE following by having great service. As their volume increases, the prices get a little lower... Now they are on par with most internet stores and the services is just as great. I've done a ton of business with them and I will continue to do so.

    Other stores? Lots of "one and done's".

  9. #9
    Member Array Knapper's Avatar
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    Lance nailed so much of it.

    I have to add that one of the reasons so many people tell you not to do it is because..it's kind of hard to explain.
    I owned a trucking business - and it was such a huge headache, that whenever anyone asks me about it, I always tell them to just run from it, too much headache, no money in it...etc.

    However, here is the thing. I've got no training or education in business management, even though my experience in the trucking industry goes back to when I was a child. I learned how to drive a stick in a Peterbilt - I've been around them forever...
    ...that experience means ZERO when it comes to running a business.

    For those telling you not to do it, I have to wonder two things. 1. They failed and don't want to see anyone else make those mistakes and have trouble admitting it was them, not the business.
    Or 2. They are competition, and don't want to see another shop edging into the business.

    If you want to be successful there are some other things to also consider. I would think about offering NRA approved training programs in your store, from basic First Steps to carry classes, defensive classes, etc. Take the time and money to take the trainer classes so you have more to offer than just guns and range time.

    And business classes would be a great idea.

    Good luck
    Knapper
    I'm an artist, and if you give me a tuba I'll bring something out of it.
    - John Lennon

  10. #10
    Ex Member Array Kerby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knapper View Post
    Lance nailed so much of it.

    I have to add that one of the reasons so many people tell you not to do it is because..it's kind of hard to explain.
    I owned a trucking business - and it was such a huge headache, that whenever anyone asks me about it, I always tell them to just run from it, too much headache, no money in it...etc.

    However, here is the thing. I've got no training or education in business management, even though my experience in the trucking industry goes back to when I was a child. I learned how to drive a stick in a Peterbilt - I've been around them forever...
    ...that experience means ZERO when it comes to running a business.

    For those telling you not to do it, I have to wonder two things. 1. They failed and don't want to see anyone else make those mistakes and have trouble admitting it was them, not the business.
    Or 2. They are competition, and don't want to see another shop edging into the business.

    If you want to be successful there are some other things to also consider. I would think about offering NRA approved training programs in your store, from basic First Steps to carry classes, defensive classes, etc. Take the time and money to take the trainer classes so you have more to offer than just guns and range time.

    And business classes would be a great idea.

    Good luck
    Knapper
    This is the key; I have been in shipping and ship repair since I was around 17 (27 years), I know as much or more about ship repair than most people I meet. I run a ship repair business with the knowledge from a under graduate degree in Business I got by going to night school in a crappy unknown school..

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    The only gun store around here that has expanded features great customer service and knowledgeable people and good to great prices. When I wanted to buy my last pistol I went to a few places and most were the typical gun store jerks. I asked one guy how much he would charge to do an internet transfer. He quoted me a fee that would negate any savings I may have seen to, in his eyes, persuade me to buy from him. I called the aforementioned store and they matched the price, I picked the gun up within a few days. I still refer people to the store. The guy who wanted to charge me $35 for the transfer lost a fee for doing 5 min of paperwork and any chance of me purchasing from him in the future - his shop is usually empty. Think about how much profit you make on a gun sale from your inventory with what you get for doing a bit of paperwork on internet transfers when deciding on your transfer fees and the time involved in each - also think about the other sales that may go with the gun in terms of holster, ammo, etc.

    Business in general: pay special attention to cash flow and maintain a healthy cushion, a ton of orders for future delivery doesn't pay the utility bill tomorrow.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Brass63's Avatar
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    35$!! Here in Jersey, the lowest transfer fee I can find...even for long guns, is 40$.
    And most charge 75$, and offer that 'service' with a snarl.
    Good/polite service is a thing of the past out here.
    Have as large an inventory as possible, and make customer service top priority.
    Your customers will find you.
    The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.

  13. #13
    Member Array chivvalry's Avatar
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    Just did a pistol purchase from a fellow on another board and the transfer fee was $26 at the store I used. Store isn't the closest to me but so far I have bought a rifle, a pistol, some ammo, and done the transfer there.

    Because they, so far, seem like decent people and are friendly... oh, and their prices are fair.
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
    You are not paranoid if They are actually out to get you, however, They probably are not and you probably are.

  14. #14
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    A couple of random thoughts. Unless you're buying an existing business, be extremely cautious about being under-capitalized - that is the bane of most small businesses. Plan on no profit, even a loss in your first year of business - will you have enough cash to sustain your business? See what the Small Business Administration can off in terms of business plan guidance. That's a service you've already paid for with your taxes.

    Next, not only should your counter staff be knowledgeable, they need to have a thick skin to deal with the self-professed experts who walk in and loudly "demonstrate" that no one in the store knows half of what they know. While there are certainly a lot of rude gun store clerks out there (lots of stories posted here about them), I guarantee you there are a whale of a lot more rude people coming in as potential customers (none of us here, though). Your counter people need to be able to handle those clients with grace and diplomacy.
    Smitty
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