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Old March 23, 2005, 12:39 AM   #1
w4klr
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Thinking of starting a firearm store...

I've noticed a few things in the past when shopping for firearms:

1. Many of the ones I like, are never in stock to look at and hold.
2. Many stores are in bad locations.
3. Many are not clean, and bars don't give me the best feelings.
4. Prices are usually ridiculous.

For those of you who live in Broward County, FL... I'm thinking of starting a full service gun store in Weston, right off of I-75. I like this location because it is easily accessible from a major highway, and Weston is full of wealthy people.

I'd stock brands such as Springfield, Colt, HK, Glock, S&W, Bersa, Taurus, Kel-Tec, Winchester, Remington, Bushmaster, Armalite, Kahr, Kimber, Sig, IMI, Ruger, Marlin, Mossberg, CZ, Beretta, Benelli, have at least 1 of every model for display only, and sell at a small cost above what it costs me, I beleive more can be made in a higher quantity of sales, not prices.

The as for security, the store would be clean, a tile floor, white walls, all manufacturers posters will be framed, and there will be 2 rooms. One is my general office, the other room, a vault lined with concrete and steel with a vault door. The store security system would be in the vault itself, so you have to be inside to arm/disarm. Motion detectors in all rooms of course.

All firearms will be taken out and put back in the vault as the day ends or begins, and along with selling firearms, of course ammunition as well, along with law enforcement gear.

And to top all that off, a consistent series of GunBroker listings and/or an online store.

I have big plans, problem is, most of them suck I'd really like to get into it.
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Old March 23, 2005, 12:40 AM   #2
w4klr
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WRONG FORUM, just realized I wasn't in the general discussion forum.
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Old March 23, 2005, 12:46 AM   #3
azmax
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hmmmmm

w4klr: I like your idea, Some (actully most) gun stores really suck ! I think you have the right idea and would make a killing and how fun would it be to go to work everyday! Do you have a business plan together, if not do so and start pitching it to pottential investors. if they are Gun enthusiasts even better. Let me know I may be interested in such a venture, I was thinking more along the Internet route as I live in PHX.
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Old March 23, 2005, 12:55 AM   #4
w4klr
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Actually, this all came up as a daydream at work yesterday when I should have been getting an arrest warrant...

I'm still researching options between distributors, licensing, if the yuppy neighborhood has zoning laws against firearm dealers etc. It will be a while before I even make a decision as to whether or not I do it.

But think about it! How do you feel when you go to a small gun store that is also a pawn shop on the side, where the carpet has mildew and you have to ring a doorbell to get in? I hate it!

I think many business that begin as a protest to the mainstream (insert business type here) often do better because they know what to improve on.
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Old March 23, 2005, 01:03 AM   #5
azmax
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Your so right, I feel scummy being in some of these stores. You need a gun just to walk in LOL. It doesnt help our image either. Google the Scottsdale Gun Club. WOW, is that a facility or what?
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Old March 23, 2005, 01:27 AM   #6
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You should add a gun range on it too. If gun sales are down, the range will keep briging in te business.

I own my own busness. (2 years now) I build performancce & race engnes. Owning / starting you're own business is a pain in the ass, but in many ways it's worth it.

Get a plan research competition, and how well thay do. Talkto people, and plan. Dont just jump in.

Good Luck!
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Old March 23, 2005, 01:28 AM   #7
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Sounds good. I would go with wood floors if possible although. Better on the feet and much more enjoyable esthetic wise.
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Old March 23, 2005, 01:55 AM   #8
azmax
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Ditto on the wood floors
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Old March 23, 2005, 03:05 AM   #9
elmrich
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I know what you mean when you're talking about a dirty, nasty gun store. The gun store where I live is really dirty looking and has a deer skull with dried-up blood on it in the doorway as you enter. I guess they are proud of it. The gun and ammo prices are rediculous also.
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Old March 23, 2005, 10:13 AM   #10
Edward429451
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I heard it through the grapevine that if you call it a sporting goods store instead of a gun store, the insurance will be cheaper...

Good luck to you.
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Old March 23, 2005, 10:22 AM   #11
w4klr
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Quote:
Google the Scottsdale Gun Club. WOW, is that a facility or what?
Wow, that is freakin impressive... I've gotta call my real estate agent and arrange a move

But on the tile, I'd like to beleive that colors make the demeanor of a sitation also, a black store or darker store may not be as welcoming for say a woman looking for a small peice for her purse, or to bring a father and son in for a plinking gun. The wood floor is good looking of course, but I think tile or tile lookalike (linoleum) will require simple sweeping and mopping, as opposed to polish or re-stain later down the line.
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Old March 23, 2005, 11:13 AM   #12
shaggy
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Well you know what they say; the fastest way to end up with a million in the gun business is to start with two million.

For a moment, stop and think about your monthly overhead costs - rent (or mortgage & contruction costs), all the necessary business licenses, fees, utilities, insurance, etc. Add in how much profit you need to take out each month just to survive and pay all your personal bills. Add in the costs of personal and business taxes. Add in at least 10-15% of that total for contingencies and other costs I've probably forgetten to mention.

How many guns do you reasonably expect to sell in a month? Break it down by days. At how high a markup per unit?

Basically you need to write yourself out a business plan. An HONEST business plan that takes an unbiased view of how you will likely perform, not one that makes wild and unattainable projections based entirely upon how much you think you can do. Do some market research. Unless you've got a lot of capital to start with and can afford to live without income from the business for a good while, you're probably going to end up being the same type of store you're complaining about.

And sure, I know there's probably a lot of 'wealthy' people in that area, but that does not always translate into lots of sales. For example, I have no qualms about spending $5k-10k or more on a gun I like, but I don't buy too many guns (ie. low volume). When I do buy something, I find the deal I like and pay my FFL $50 or so to do a transfer. If you think people with money are spendthrifts, you've got another thing coming.

I'm not trying to dissuade you and I do wish you the best, but I had an FFL and its not as easy as you may think. Charge someone $30 over your cost and they'll still be whining about how you overcharged. Have at least one of every model for display? That takes a HUGE amount of money (just stop and think about all the various models and makes) and its a sunk cost that will not turn over to improve your ROI one iota.
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Old March 23, 2005, 11:35 AM   #13
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I think that all the costs of insurance and zoning problems are why most FFL's just sell at gun shows.
Here in MINN there are a number of guys who make their entire living just selling at shows. One guy I talked with last weekend had brought in about 20 large as of noon on sunday. I dont know what percetage he clears but it sure seems like a better approach than opening a store to me.
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Old March 23, 2005, 11:50 AM   #14
Wallew
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Time for a reality check. Competitive mark up for most firearms is less than ten percent. You will NOT make any money trying to mark firearms up higher than that, because regardless of how 'crummy' the other guys are, your customers will go to the ends of the earth to save a few lousy bucks.

The idea of having a shooting range though MIGHT just be the way to go. Clean, well lit, have an RO (yourself - if you aren't trained, you can get training) on site at all times.

Sell guns as an aside. The firearms business is VERY COMPETITIVE. VERY.

Go to the business closest to you that sells firearms. Have a LONG chat with the owner, if he/she can spare you the time, which is doubtful.

GOOD LUCK. Not saying it won't work, just saying that most firearms sellers go out of business in the first five years, as do resturantuers.

You want a good example of what you are talking about doing. This would be a great model for you to follow.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...72#post1521372

http://www.scottsdalegunclub.com/
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Old March 23, 2005, 12:12 PM   #15
rallyhound
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Wellew, I disagree about firearms being maked up 10 percent. I regularly read shotgun news and attend guns shows as well as visiting retail shop regularly.
Guns at show and at retail sell for way more than shotgun news advertised prices. I'm guessing that ffl's often do better than advertised prices as well.
Like any business the goal is to buys right and sell right.
One example in shotgun news is a Siaga 308 that KY Imports has advertised for $239.00. I saw 2 of these sell at a gun show for $329.00.
I understand that the show seller has costs as well, table, tranportation, time, maybe a helper at the show, but there is money to be made if you do it correctly.
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Old March 23, 2005, 12:24 PM   #16
shaggy
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Quote:
One example in shotgun news is a Siaga 308 that KY Imports has advertised for $239.00. I saw 2 of these sell at a gun show for $329.00.
I understand that the show seller has costs as well, table, tranportation, time, maybe a helper at the show, but there is money to be made if you do it correctly.
Thats quite true, but most gun show buyers will have that same copy of SGN in their hands, so they know exactly what it costs from KY Imports and many of them will expect to pay only $30-40 more than that. My guess is they guy selling them at $329 isn't making many sales, but the kitchen table dealer with no store or overhead who can do it for $20 over cost + shipping will. As Wallew said, its extremely competitive and many gun buyers would rather travel 30 miles to another dealer to save $20-30 than pay a little more for the convenience of having it right there.
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Old March 23, 2005, 12:30 PM   #17
rallyhound
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So the 150 or so dealer at these shows are doing it for fun or are they making so money as well.
At least one I know sold over 20k last weekend, even at 10 percent, not a bad weekend
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Old March 23, 2005, 05:05 PM   #18
Arc Angel
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Quote:
I'd stock brands such as Springfield, Colt, HK, Glock, S&W, Bersa, Taurus, Kel-Tec, Winchester, Remington, Bushmaster, Armalite, Kahr, Kimber, SIG, IMI, Ruger, Marlin, Mossberg, CZ, Beretta, Benelli, have at least 1 of every model for display only, and sell at a small cost above what it costs me, I believe more can be made in a higher quantity of sales, not prices.
Fine, now you’ve got at least, $350,000.00 of (hopefully) your own money out on the table; and you’re going to need an additional, $200,000.00 held in reserve in order to make, ‘inventory corrections’ and reorder additional supplies and newly discovered accessories within 6 months of opening the place.

Quote:
As for security, the store would be clean, a tile floor, white walls, all manufacturers posters will be framed, and there will be 2 rooms. One is my general office, the other room, a vault lined with concrete and steel with a vault door. The store security system would be in the vault itself, so you have to be inside to arm/disarm. Motion detectors in all rooms of course. All firearms will be taken out and put back in the vault as the day ends or begins, and along with selling firearms, of course ammunition as well, along with law enforcement gear.
Sounds great; but the initial concept is naïve; and I can promise you, if put to the test, it’s NOT going to work!

Quote:
And to top all that off, a consistent series of GunBroker listings and/or an online store.
Forget about any strong reliance on, ‘GunBroker.com’; it’ll never live up to your required expectations; and as for that website? You’ve got one of two ways to go: Hook up with a major wholesaler and piggyback onto his website, or start your own internet entity from scratch, shell out another, $15-20,000.00 and wait for 18 to 24 months while it (hopefully) catches on.

I’ll offer one last opinion on setting up your own shooting range: If the gun shop is successful, then, go ahead and do it; as a stand-alone facility, though, forget about it! I, also, couldn’t help to notice that you have overlooked training and education; two things you should definitely get into BEFORE moving ahead with that range; and you haven’t mentioned a word about the kind of personnel you would staff this facility with? Let me assure you the quality of the people you put behind the counter can increase or decrease gross sales by as much as 30 or 40 percent!

Just as long as it isn’t in my neighborhood, I’d love to see another good gun shop come into existence; and I’m not a big fan of the, ‘Super-Size Sporting Goods Store’ approach and those inevitable high prices that result. I wish you well.
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Old March 23, 2005, 08:34 PM   #19
mohomesteading
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Start small and focus on an untapped market

I am a Class 01 FFL dealer in rural Missouri who does mostly gunsmithing. It is not an easy task, but if you have the drive to do it, follow your dream. I read all I can about products, accessories, ammunition and trends in hunting and gun ownership.

It is better to start slow and seek out an untapped market in your area. In my case, it is a good gunsmith that does destroy customers' guns. I also focus on left-hand friendly guns and items useful for competitive shooting sports. Additionally, I focus on new shooters and women buyers.

One thing that you have to keep in mind is that no matter how cheap you sell your guns for, Wal-Mart will pretty well out sell you on price. You can't sell on prices, you have to sell on value added by your services.

Just some food for thought, and go for it!
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Old March 23, 2005, 09:27 PM   #20
Craigar45
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I would have to agree with what arc angel said about staff. Good help is VERY hard to find, and I frequent the shops with the staff I like. The local range here has a pretty big shop, but every employee there has rubbed me wrong. I might look, but I wont pay their jacked-up prices. I guess I should add that price is almost the bottom line: If two shops have the same $900 gun for within ~$50 I would probably go to the place with the better sales people. And that shop is NOT the nice big one at the range. It is a little hole-in-the-wall. It is clean though
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Old March 23, 2005, 10:58 PM   #21
azmax
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Jeez; I think w4klr was simply throwing an idea out there, You guys picked apart his "idea" like a ****** off underwriter, I mean dont get me wrong there was some good input given but overall I think you guys were a little to negative and reacted like he was going to do this tommorow and this is his last and final draft of his business plan. BTW you should get out this site (link below). I go there on a weekly basis and it is jam packed all day, everyday and it happens to be awfully similiar (almost exactly) to w4klr 's idea.

www.scottsdalegunclub.com
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Old March 23, 2005, 11:41 PM   #22
Abby
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I always thought it would be fun (yes I said FUN - as in it's not something I really plan to do or would think about making a living on - just FUN to think about ) to have a little gunshop and trade largely in used firearms.

When I lived in MN there was a great hunt'n and fish'n store on Hwy 65 just south of 10. They had plenty of new guns, but the best things was that they had an OUTSTANDING selection of used firearms that turned over very regularly. I'd stop just to browse the new arrivals and would always leave with something - even if it was just more ammuntion.

It helped that their customer service was awesome. I bought several firearms there, a couple of which could probably have been had at Wally World a little cheaper. But I liked the place (wish I could remember the name so I could give them a plug )
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Old March 24, 2005, 12:30 AM   #23
Slash in NC
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Wish you luck, but been in the business myself for five years and it is not

easy.

The reason FFL's are in usually bad areas are usually zoning

laws. Usually won't let you drop a gun-shop next to Target. Even if they did

your rent a square foot would be very high.

The reason there are bars on the windows is people will drive a truck through

your store front to get your guns. As for taking out the inventory out of the

safe every morning, leave yourself a couple of hours before you open and

after you close and all that handling will scratch and ding the merchandise.

All the brands you list are great, but your competition will be getting them at

the same cost leaving you in a real competitive situation. Gun Buff's will know

their stuff and shop prices in a 100 mile radius driving down your margin. If

you can get good deals on used stuff that is the way to go.

We do guite a bit of internet stuff but you can't count on it being steady all

the time. $20,000 in a weekend is good, but if you are only making $20 to

$25 a $300 to $500 gun you can calculate the take before paying expenses.

There are always dealers at the shows selling for pennies over cost.

You have to find your niche, ours is servicing the high power community

among other things.

All that being said, I'm having the time of my life!!
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Old March 24, 2005, 11:56 AM   #24
w4klr
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As of right now, the whole idea is a string of thoughts and ideas put together, I really didn't expect to get jumped on by considering to help add to our community.

Although, I realize that relying on firearm sales alone is not enough to make ends meet and then some, I'd like to target the law enforcement community. There is only one LE dealer I know of around here that services local departments, and their prices are outrageous, and the staff is mediocre at best.

All in all, my ideal store would have firearms, duty/carry equipment, armor, holsters, helluva stockload of ammo, and an indoor firing line, an ultrasound cleaning machine (i think that's what it is?), and firearm rentals.

I mentioned that I'd stock at least 1 of every model... those would be the rentals to begin to pay them off.

I'd stock lots of Glocks (since all the agencies around here can only use Glocks).

My thought would be that if I stock alot of firearms that sell quickly, that covers me to meet a demand, and when someone is looking for something that isn't carried by other dealers, they at least have something in front of them to check out and test fire.

Anyhoo... its just a thought, maybe a midlife crisis?

And on the other hand, say I do fail, and I've got all of these guns that are paid for by loan, and have an FFL... I'd transfer them all to me, and have a stockpile of dealer priced weapons that I can pay off easily.
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Old March 24, 2005, 02:06 PM   #25
armabill
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A lot of work moving the guns to and from the vault every day.

Why not have them on movable racks and slide them in and out as needed.
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