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Old December 3, 2012, 05:00 PM   #1
CTUAgent247
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Starting a gun shop?

Hi guys,

I'm 25 years old, ex-military, and having a very hard time finding employment. So I started kicking around the idea of opening a gun shop. That's in the future, but for now I was thinking of starting a website selling firearms accessories, getting my FFL, and then selling firearms off the site. Once I get enough business I'd open the shop. Any suggestions? All are appreciated.
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Old December 3, 2012, 06:44 PM   #2
Dr Big Bird PhD
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While I can't help you, if you sold good stuff at a marketable price I would support your online company.
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Old December 3, 2012, 07:07 PM   #3
1 old 0311-1
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For a brick and mortar shop you will need $1,000,000 to START. On line is the way to go.
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Old December 3, 2012, 07:11 PM   #4
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Here's a pretty long thread on the subject.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...ning+gun+store
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Old December 3, 2012, 08:08 PM   #5
Hunter Customs
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Quote:
Starting a gun shop?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi guys,

I'm 25 years old, ex-military, and having a very hard time finding employment. So I started kicking around the idea of opening a gun shop. That's in the future, but for now I was thinking of starting a website selling firearms accessories, getting my FFL, and then selling firearms off the site. Once I get enough business I'd open the shop. Any suggestions? All are appreciated.
You need enough money to allow you to buy at distributor prices so you can sell your wares at close to dealer cost, other wise I don't believe you will be able to compete with the big box stores or some of the internet sellers that's already out there.

Or you can specialize and get a license to sell full auto weapons that way you will not be competing with the big box stores.
Again you will need some serious money to get started.

Or you can become a gunsmith and offer services the big box stores don't seem to offer.
This will be the least expensive thing for you to do, but still won't be cheap.

By the way thank you for your service to our country.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter
www.huntercustoms.com

Last edited by Hunter Customs; December 3, 2012 at 08:16 PM.
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Old December 3, 2012, 08:34 PM   #6
CTUAgent247
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Getting a class 3 would be something i'd want to do but that is very expensive. As far as buying from distributors, that's one thing I was thinking of. I know with Glock you have to buy like 4 of their pistols but they're like 450 each, and I can sell them for retail value, but like you said there are a ton websites selling arms. I do need something unique. Right now I'm just trying to build a customer base.
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Old December 3, 2012, 08:37 PM   #7
CTUAgent247
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By the way thank you for your service to our country.


^I appreciate that. You're welcome and thank you.
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Old December 3, 2012, 10:21 PM   #8
ripnbst
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Become a table top dealer and sell to your local community. There is a guy on a local forum who does this who MUST sell 10 guns a week. Every time I buy from him there is someone else there filling out the 4473 too. Great guy and his overhead is minimal. That's the way to do it. You can keep your prices really competitive. Especially if you live in area with gun shops that are taking advantage of the current sellers market.
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Old December 3, 2012, 10:58 PM   #9
carguychris
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Quote:
Become a table top dealer and sell to your local community.
+1, and I suggest building your inventory with used guns and military surplus. People will pay higher-than-online prices for used guns and milsurp because they get to inspect the wares before purchasing. You won't have to sell at very low margins to stay competitive with places like Bud's.

Another advantage of going "tabletop" and is that transfers are exempt from sales tax in many states because they are considered to be a service rather than a taxable ware.
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Old December 3, 2012, 11:52 PM   #10
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Table top dealer? Do you mean selling out of the garage? I've never heard that term before.
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Old December 4, 2012, 10:45 AM   #11
Glenn E. Meyer
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You have to learn basic business skills. Do you have such? Do you have the capitalization to start. You need enough money. Can the projected income support you? See the referenced thread.

It is well know that:

1. Most new businesses fail
2. Most new business starters wildly overestimate their chance of success.

Think about this very carefully. You are entering a very competitive market. In San Antonio - two fancy joints opened up and flopped because of basic business incompetence.
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Old December 4, 2012, 12:45 PM   #12
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The start-up capital mentioned is a little over the top unless you plan to build a building.

You'll need inventory, for sure, but even if you had 200 guns that average $1000 each, that's $200,000. Even if you doubled that, which would be EXTRAORDINARY, in my experience, you'd be at $400,000. Another $100,000 in other inventory, which would again be extraordinary amounts, and you'd be at $500,000. Ordinary costs are never going to add to anything close to another $500,000, no where near $1,000,000 total.

Forming the company, insurance costs, lease, bookkeeping/accounting (PAY someone to do this!), etc, etc, several thousands, no doubt, no where near $1,000,000 total.

In the real world, I doubt you have $100,000 total inventory to start and you could certainly get started as a home-based dealer with no more than a few $1,000 total invested.
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Old December 4, 2012, 02:10 PM   #13
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Get a knowledgeable woman behind the counter for the ladies. Have a ladies night especially if you have a range that offers instruction etc. A few pink Kel tec won't hurt either.
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Old December 5, 2012, 07:46 PM   #14
Glenn E. Meyer
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Starting a range is complex. The NRA has resources about such.

In San Antonio, two indoor ranges failed - one couldn't get it's business model to work as they had thieving employees and a commando attitude. The second stopped half-built as they ran into permit problems they couldn't handle.

It's a tough business and I don't want to be negative but if one wants to support oneself and other employees - get a business plan and consultant.
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Old December 6, 2012, 02:55 PM   #15
CTUAgent247
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I appreciate all the replies. These are all fantastic ideas.
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Old December 6, 2012, 03:06 PM   #16
wizrd
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Internet sales at reasonable prices. Do not SELL or take in TRADE any junk guns.
We know what they are, brand names need not be mentioned here. One local home based gun shop of good repute doesn't even do gun shows anymore - the internet & FTF home sales are quite enough to sustain good business traffic. Good luck & keep us posted on your business.
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Old December 8, 2012, 11:03 PM   #17
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I know a few folks that started out working the gunshows and doing transfers for local folks and then working up to a propper store. If your going to do gunshows you need to find a specialty that you love and have low cost and high end products as the low dollar/high volume items usually pay your table expenses and If you can sleep in your truck and cook off the tailgate your expenses shouldn't be too high. A typical mid west show average turn is $1,000 to $3,000 per weekend with 90% accesories and reloading gear and some folks make a heap more.
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:46 PM   #18
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Prepare to eat a lot of beans.

The best strategy I have ever seen for wannabe retail gun dealers is accessories. Push the accessories. Sell the gun at enough margin to cover your costs, but never let a deal close without a "package". The package might be any combination of things like a case, sling, holster, spare mags, ammo, ear protection, eye protection, etc. If you just try to sell guns alone, you will fail. There are big gun retailers that have razor thin margins and they make up on margin.
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