making a living...[store owners comments are appriciated]

Discussion in 'Frags' started by HxCxHaley, Aug 18, 2009.

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  1. norg.

    norg. Kole Tang

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    haha. you sound like me. except i am seventeen and i already know im going to school for marine biology.

    good luck!
     
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  3. Triplemom

    Triplemom Pajama Cardinal

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    This is very true - the same goes for my LFS owner. Also, when the economy "tanks, :)P)" a lot of people cut back or drop out of this rather expensive hobby. I wanted to be a marine biologist (but ended up an accountant)!
     
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  4. Newreef15

    Newreef15 Horrid Stonefish

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    lol same with me execpt i am going to school for marine biology and i am 17
     
  5. Dr.Fragenstein

    Dr.Fragenstein Panda Puffer

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    I can say this about A. making a living selling frags or B. making a living owning/working a LFS...
    A. To make anykind of living selling frags you would need to SELL A RIDICULOUS amount, like a hundred a day.. Unless you are selling all high end stuff straight to the consumer. If you are wholesaling or even just suppling LFSs you will need an obscene amount of tanks to really make some money. I know you are all thinking you don't need to do that much, or hey let the kid have a dream! I am all for it! Do what you love, and help save a reef... BUT like I said unless you are getting $30+ for frags direct to the consumer selling to a LFS, unless they are selling hundreds a day will most likely end up in boon/bust situations. They might buy 10 softie frags on week then they won't for a month, or what have you. Don't get me wrong working in the industry you know how it all works...At the end of the day, even if you are selling super rare aussie acan frags, someone will come along with the same stuff as you and offer free shipping or charge $10 less, its inevitable.
    I'm not trying to be cynical but the fish industry is VERY cutthroat!

    B. Owning a pet store/LFS... Don't let anyone kid you there is very little money in the pet industry. You are not making money hand over fist unless you live in a large city where people do not price shop at all or never use the internet. Even take high end dog food... that $60 bag of whatever and bits will fetch the retailer MAYBE $10... Lots of food to sell to keep on the lights!
    Same with fish, once you start factoring in electricity from all the tank, water and utilities rent and so on, you need to be doing VERY well to really do well. Its a great job helping people out and socializing if I may, but like stated, hours aren't the best, customers aren't always the best, and after a while you don't want to change water in tanks anymore...

    Good luck, don't listen to me, I didn't mean to be a downer, just a realist!
     
  6. oceanparadise1

    oceanparadise1 Fire Squid

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    I use craigslist to sell frags and by offering packs, im able to pay my rent,and pay for the hobby and my RGE, making a living, not really, helping out a ton......yup
     
  7. johnmaloney

    johnmaloney 3reef Sponsor

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    another reef addict huh? If you want to make money coral fragging the best way is to be VERY VERY large. The immense cost of running a business in this field means if you are going to do it, you have to do it on a mass scale. Advertising costs, losses, risk, insurance (sky high - lots of water around electricity and possible flooding lead to outrageous premiums), and compensation for your time means you have to be moving a good bit of coral, and since they grow slow, you better have alot of them. At minimum you need 5k gallons of shallow tanks to run an aquauculture facility. You will work around the clock, (and worry about the tanks while you sleep), but I know most business owners do. Personally I clock in over 100 hours each week, and I always feel I am falling behind.

    While I also gave up recently on keeping my own tank, (well I have one, but FOWLR doesn't count - despite the awesome fish I have - :) ) it is not for losing my passion for the hobby. I still love it, I love the water etc... You would have to. At least what I do, swimming 30 hours plus each week, loading heavy gear all day etc.. you would have to love it. (Become a scientist, they dive for an hour on only clear days and just kind of lounge around - :) Suppliers have to dive on each day they have to eat. In the cold murky wave and rip tide dangerous water, you earn every penny - trust me on that. I have been banged up more than I can remember and have a ton of scars -( the SW heals the cuts quick though... :) ). I have had many a fisherman try to join the ReefCleaners crew, to find out that as much as they thought they loved diving they couldn't hack the hours, and the bodily stress. The supply side is very hard, and when you come home after 10 hours of straight fishing, you have to do another 5 hours of putting them into the tanks, and then another 6 hours of catching up with customers. 3 hours of sleep on a good day and then you better get back at it. But your situation would be different, this is just the side I know.

    The upshot is, if you work in a field that you love, it doesn't seem like work. I graduated law school, passed the bar and then decided that even though I enjoy the law, I wanted to be in and around the water. I gave up a better salary, (there is very little money in this field compared to others when you consider the investment of time and money), my free time and any social life I once had to this business. For me, I had no choice, there was nothing else I could think about. Do I regret it? Not at all. (Although it would be nice to have a social life again - :) )

    3 years down the road if the bug is still biting you, then do it. In the mean time if you are building up your frag inventory and investing in new tanks, (commercial, if you are going to do aquaculture you don't need fancy tanks made of glass/acryllic, get something nice and sturdy and cheap), it wont go to waste, as you can have your own decked out reef tank to enjoy when you come home from the 9-5. The tanks you collect along the way can always be sold, you should be buying them cheap so it will be easy to get the money back. If you cant sell it for the price you paid, you paid too much.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
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  9. lunatik_69

    lunatik_69 Giant Squid

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    In addition to all that has been said, an LFS makes most of their money from dry goods and custom made tanks. You would not be able to survive on corals and maintenance alone. I've pondered on opening up my own LFS for the LONGEST time, but I dont think that am ready for that at this point in my life. I've "played" with retail for 17+ yrs before and I hated it, opening a LFS would just bring me back to that and become to hate my hobby. I agree that by doing something you love isnt "working", but that sword becomes double edged at some point in time.


    Luna
     
  10. Dr.Fragenstein

    Dr.Fragenstein Panda Puffer

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    So either you sell obscene amounts of high end corals, your clientiele are getting ripped off or your rent is VERY low? How do you do it if I may ask?

    True and not true... LFS have good margins on say food and dry goods like that but when it comes to glass boxes-custom or not- filters, skimmers and so on, the margin is low. I dont make more than $20 on a $100+ skimmer.
    Tanks, heck you don't do much more than break even selling glass....
     
  11. oceanparadise1

    oceanparadise1 Fire Squid

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    Nope not ripping any one off rent is 675, rge 200ish and whatever i need in the hobby, i have a lot of colonies and sell a couple packs a week at variying prices, there is a HUGE demand for corals in rochester. I have never had a problem with this hobby maintaining its self.

    Should not make assumations :) its not as hard as people make it out to be, then agian i also have a busniess degree and my gf has a marketing and advertising degree so we are business people. I def dont rip people off and i dont sell any high end corals. You would be suprised how many 150 dollar frag packs i can sell locally
     
  12. Dr.Fragenstein

    Dr.Fragenstein Panda Puffer

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    Don't get me wrong Ocean I wasn't implying you WERE ripping people off... I also know the market, not YOUR market but familiar with the biz. How many pieces do you have in your prop tank that you can sell so much weekly...

    Bill at live coral, live coral for sale, aquacultured live coral - Midwest Saltwater is a friend of mine and he sells HIGH end acans and things like that, he has a couple 8' prop tanks in his house, granted its not his full time work he has 1000s of gallons in his house. I can't imagine him selling packs weekly without A. running out of stock or B. having to continuosly order wholesale.