$18K - Gun Shop? - Page 2

$18K - Gun Shop?

This is a discussion on $18K - Gun Shop? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm not a SBO and never have been, but I have to agree with everyone else -- $1,900/month for 2,400 square feet is waaaay too ...

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Thread: $18K - Gun Shop?

  1. #16
    Distinguished Member Array stanislaskasava's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    I'm not a SBO and never have been, but I have to agree with everyone else -- $1,900/month for 2,400 square feet is waaaay too much if you only have $18,000 cash. You wouldn't even be able to stock any merchandise for your grand opening.

    I don't think you can afford to rent a retail space. No way, no how. So you either need to find a few partners, or do business from your garage. Either way, empty space won't make you money.

    What is the smallest (cheapest) space available? Your show floor should be more like ~500 square feet; assorted merchandise along the walls, gun case/register looking towards the door, long guns on the wall, behind the case. Safe in the back room. Simple.

    You should start off selling only 'essential' merchandise, that every gun-owner (or first time buyer) wants. No specialty doo-dads or accessories that will end up sitting for a few months. Choose things that will be high turnover, and can be re-stocked very quickly (darn near instantly). If you can re-stock quickly, you don't need to have cash tied up in excess inventory. I hate stores with perpetually empty shelves. If an item doesn't sell in a month or two, don't re-stock it. Pick something else.

    What you need is people coming in all day, every day, and giving you their money. Establish yourself by choosing a central location and prices so low, that customers tell their friends. In other words, profit is not your main goal in the initial phase of starting a business. Building momentum is.

    I suggest stocking concealable pistols and revolvers (10 total), basic shotguns and rifles (5 total), common ammo, basic cleaning supplies, paper targets, ear plugs/muffs, shooting glasses. Just what people need to buy a gun and go shoot it. Don't rip anybody off, you want them coming back for more. Besides, Wal-Mart is just down the road. Don't make it worth their time to drive there.

    Maaaaybe a discounted 'combo meal' of a gun, belt, factory IWB holster, HP ammo for your 3 most popular handguns. Maaaaybe include CPO Sigs in your inventory (since your name is Sig229).

    Good luck!

  2. #17
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    !8,000 will get you about 20 to 30 firearms and then your broke til you sale something,You will be competing with other shops and some major retail chains that buy in huge quantities and can under sell you,you might look at getting an FFL and buying guns for people at cost + percentage,that way you have no inventory and not too much invested
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

  3. #18
    Member Array Phantoms's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Maybe think of starting an online only business. If successful and profitable, then transferring it over to a brick and mortar.

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  5. #19
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Ain't near enough cash, man. Get a job in a gun shop first, learn the biz inside out, backwards and forwards, and save your money. The time will be right some day.

    Running your own business is madness, by the way...many of us lacked better alternatives!
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."

    Gary D. Mitchell, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man and the Rifle, P. 103, NAL Caliber books, 2006, 1st Ed.

  6. #20
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    I won't get involved with the other problems of starting a business, but I will tell you this. To buy stock from one of the really big distributors - Sports South or RCR - you must place an initial order of $30,000. That automatically means that you will be buying from distributors who are smaller and who by definition charge more for stock. This means lower profit margin. This doesn't even address the small amout of stock you would be able to afford.
    atctimmy likes this.

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  7. #21
    Array SIXTO's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Thats not even enough to cover personal expenses to get your business off the ground. I hate to rain on your parade, but I'd rather some dude gave you bad news on the internet than to hear how you lost your 20k.

    The biggest mistake new business owners make is not having enough capital to operate for a decent amount of time. Most people think that the shop is open, therefor cash flow must be there. That can't be further from the truth.

    If it were me, I'd poke around and look for a turnkey service business to operate in the meantime, gaining experience as a business owner, and raising capital for your ultimate goal, the gun shop.
    "Just blame Sixto"

    I reserve the right to make fun, point and laugh etc.

  8. #22
    Senior Member Array Sig229's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Thats not even enough to cover personal expenses to get your business off the ground. I hate to rain on your parade, but I'd rather some dude gave you bad news on the internet.
    No problem at all. I appreciate your advice.
    I wasn't clear in the first post, but my living expensive would already be covered so, I wouldn't need to count those in as part of the financial risk.

    I am going to take the advice of many and either come up with more capital and try to learn the business of dealing guns more.

    Thanks again to everyone who posted.

  9. #23
    Member Array Bart's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    I am going to take the advice of many and either come up with more capital and try to learn the business of dealing guns more.
    __________________________________________________ ___
    Much more capital. You want to be sure that you own the business, not the business own you. And if the profits aren't high end, you just end up buying yourself a job.

  10. #24
    Senior Member Array Lewis128's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Cape Girardeau, Mo.
    I gotta agree with the others. 18k won't cover your rent for the first year, never mind utilities, inventory, license fees, taxes, etc.

    2400 sq. feet is easily as big as the biggest dedicated gun store in my area.
    That's a lot of floor space to fill with $18k.

    If you're just looking to have a store-front to get your FFL, maybe you could start a limited partnership agreement with a local owner.
    From a business perspective, partnerships are VERY risky, you should have a lawyer assist you to limit your potential liability.

    There are a few other gun related ways to invest:
    1. reloading. There are quite a few people who reload for profit and not just cheap, personal-use practice ammo.
    2. gunbroker.com. I mean that in the generic sense of watching for good deals you believe you can turn a profit on and jump on them.
    Newspaper classified adds are a good place to find these. Also pawn shops, estate sales, and yes, gunbroker.com.

  11. #25
    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    $18,000 is no where near enough to get going. A hundred thousand might do it, since during your first year or two, you'll probally be losing money as you figure out what folks want.
    Les Baer 45
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  12. #26
    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Rhode Island
    Not enough money available for the startup. You would be broke and out of business within 6 months, is my guess. As many others have stated, lots of homework is necessary before starting any type of venture like this.

    My suggestion would be to apprentice at a gun shop first. Find a decent shop owner (away from your competitive area) and then go work for the guy for a few months. Be honest and upfront, tell him you are thinking about opening a store. I'll bet he would share pretty much everything with you and then you could truly see the whole operation.

    I'm a firm believer in finding someone who is an expert at doing something, then go learn from them and emulate their actions.

    'Be careful, even in small matters' - Miyamoto Musashi

  13. #27
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    Array oneshot's Avatar
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    Have you thought of running the busines from your basement , or garage first!!???

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  14. #28
    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    Central Florida
    You will need more money than that to get started There are a lot of small expenses involved such as a lease, inventory, taxes,fees,insurance and a good safe to put your inventory in during your closed hours. I have a good friend who owns a gun shop in a small strip mall and he lost two thirds of his inventory plus damage to the building because of a break in .He started with a lot more money then you have to invest.

  15. #29
    Ex Member Array hamlet's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    new york

    Know What You're Getting Into!

    Don't want to flatten your enthusiasm but I know pretty well the owner and his wife of the range and its store where i shoot. It's a state of the art place the owner moved to and had set up, from a smaller gun range and store he owned down the road. He does well, great range, computerized targets, can shoot just about any ammo with the backstop he has, including high-power rifle. Usually quite crowded, many off-duty cops shoot there, and Homeland Security leases a separate pistols-only 25 yd range for training purposes and regular office space.He also sells new and used guns and ammo at the range store, targets, safety equipment etc. and has several industrial reloaders for reload sales - (which are really cheap and great quality).

    But he is always just steps ahead of taking a loss, due to construction costs, start up expenses and loans at his new place. He and his wife are there 10:00 am to 10:00 pm 7 days a week, they hardly ever get a day off, Christmas and New Year and Thanksgiving Day only, have worries about reloading and regular ammo supplies getting to him with recent shortage, with liability issues and fears at the range, arranging resupply, group scheduling for the range, visits by the ATF, hiring reliable range officers, it's NY State so there are 10 million regulations and rules he must stay on top of, etc., etc., on and on, day and day and day in and out.

    His goal is to build business up even more and then sell the business and get out and retire to peace and quiet.

    So, it's not romantic running your own business, especially gun- sales, ranges etc. . It's all consuming, no-other-life for years. And if you don't do it all out you fail as a business. No middle ground on small business, no matter what they are.

    For $18,000, you could take $8000, buy some gun beauties for your collection, safe-queens - and shooters you've always wanted, and use $10,000 for safe investments of other types or just travel while you still have health and youth and some opportunity.

    Choice is yours and I hope if it's the store it's a fruitful endeavor, but go into it with realism and lots of forethought. Talk to owners of similar establishments. It's a lifestyle and getting a feel of that before committing to it is important.

    Best Wishes!

  16. #30
    Member Array aric's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    WA state
    IF you can use that 18k for a larger business start loan, give it a shot.

    If 18K is all you have go out and buy 1-2 firearms that you always wanted but could never get. Enjoy them and forget the hassle of struggling with a shop thats going to fail due to lack of capitol.

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