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Old 05-20-2015, 12:21 PM   #11
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Fish selection is usually where Mom & Pop shops outshine Chain stores. If you can become a model store for "hobbyists" opposed to the general public and make the store more money, it may change things. ( You can't make a lot of money on $.99 fish but you can with higher ticket items if they are kept properly and advertised properly.)
Actually you probably make the most on .99 fish. .99 fish are probably very common and your cost for those fish are probably .10-.20 cents. You probably make the most profits on the .99 fish. Plus people are probably buying a lot of .99 cent fish. The more expensive fish(more popular) there is probably less margin. Just an educated guess.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:27 PM   #12
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Actually you probably make the most on .99 fish. .99 fish are probably very common and your cost for those fish are probably .10-.20 cents. You probably make the most profits on the .99 fish. Plus people are probably buying a lot of .99 cent fish. The more expensive fish(more popular) there is probably less margin. Just an educated guess.
Add longer shelf time and fewer demand. One point I'm not understanding is why there is a bashing on businesses saying they are behind $$$. Of course the reason why they exist is $$$. Even there are so many Charity organizations exist purely to make money.

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Old 05-20-2015, 12:38 PM   #13
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In the end it's always about money. Find a way to educate people and make sales to look good in the managers eyes and you will be set. After all, you were hired for your "expertise" might as well use it to your advantage.


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Old 05-20-2015, 12:42 PM   #14
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Add longer shelf time and fewer demand. One point I'm not understanding is why there is a bashing on businesses saying they are behind $$$. Of course the reason why they exist is $$$. Even there are so many Charity organizations exist purely to make money.

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Me too!

Petsmart for example, was able to easily get me into the fish keeping hobby. Yes they are big box. Yes they have teenage employees working in the fish department that don't care. But at my local one there are 2-3 good employees there I look forward to seeing.

When I got my GBR there, one of them asked me what fish were in my tank now. I told her I had come community fish. She said I would probably have a problem because it was a Cichlid and may be aggressive to them. I was impressed she said that and cared to ask. I explained their temperament and how if kept alone it should not be a problem based on my research. She was really appreciative of that information. It was a nice give and take.

You can make money, provide a good product and provide good customer service. Those things don't have to be separate. A mom and pop or big box can do all of these things if they put their mind to it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:48 PM   #15
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I could see a manager giving me trouble over this...but I am not going to let any slip while I am there. If that means I quit on day 1, then I am ok with that.
Sounds like you are going in there ready for a fight. I would ease into this let people get to know you. Make small changes over the course of a year. You are going to be seen as the "new person" not part of the crew for at least 6 months.

Also refusing sales is a bad business practice. Might be good for a single fish but bad for store and will give a bad reputation which will make a store suffer and they wont keep a manager that does that. Education is a better practice and don't stock fish that can't be kept in regular aquariums like Bala sharks, RTC, Colombian Shark Cats.

Remember not everyone is as into fish as us fish nerds most people just want something that looks nice.

Tips for improving.

1. Give weekly 15 minute all hands on deck meetings and teach something about a fish or keeping fish. Ask a question about the previous weeks session to see who remembers.

2. Tell your staff its ok to say " I don't know but I can find the answer" nothing worse than fish store employees giving bad advice.

3. Rotate new fish in as often as possible so many box stores have the same old stock.

4. If fish look sick put a sign up that says "not for sale these fish aren't up to our standards." until they are back to health.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:48 PM   #16
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Actually you probably make the most on .99 fish. .99 fish are probably very common and your cost for those fish are probably .10-.20 cents. You probably make the most profits on the .99 fish. Plus people are probably buying a lot of .99 cent fish. The more expensive fish(more popular) there is probably less margin. Just an educated guess.
Having been both a wholesaler and a retailer myself, I can assure you you don't make that much on a $.99 "quality" fish. You need to sell a lot of them ( which is why most chain stores stock so many of them and not higher ticket items ) and they are usually the more popular fish as well so selling lots of them is easier. If you look at a "hobbyist" store vs a "Chain" store, you notice a very different clientel. One cares more about the quality of the fish being bought while the other worries more about the price they are paying. This has been my experience in my 40+ years career in the fish biz. Maybe things have changed of late? I just haven't seen it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:55 PM   #17
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Sounds like you are going in there ready for a fight. I would ease into this let people get to know you. Make small changes over the course of a year. You are going to be seen as the "new person" not part of the crew for at least 6 months.



Also refusing sales is a bad business practice. Might be good for a single fish but bad for store and will give a bad reputation which will make a store suffer and they wont keep a manager that does that. Education is a better practice and don't stock fish that can't be kept in regular aquariums like Bala sharks, RTC, Colombian Shark Cats.



Remember not everyone is as into fish as us fish nerds most people just want something that looks nice.



Tips for improving.



1. Give weekly 15 minute all hands on deck meetings and teach something about a fish or keeping fish. Ask a question about the previous weeks session to see who remembers.



2. Tell your staff its ok to say " I don't know but I can find the answer" nothing worse than fish store employees giving bad advice.



3. Rotate new fish in as often as possible so many box stores have the same old stock.



4. If fish look sick put a sign up that says "not for sale these fish aren't up to our standards." until they are back to health.

That's some great ideas I like this ^^^


Caleb
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:10 PM   #18
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Having been both a wholesaler and a retailer myself, I can assure you you don't make that much on a $.99 "quality" fish. You need to sell a lot of them ( which is why most chain stores stock so many of them and not higher ticket items ) and they are usually the more popular fish as well so selling lots of them is easier. If you look at a "hobbyist" store vs a "Chain" store, you notice a very different clientel. One cares more about the quality of the fish being bought while the other worries more about the price they are paying. This has been my experience in my 40+ years career in the fish biz. Maybe things have changed of late? I just haven't seen it.
I am just curious, what do you think the wholesale price on a ".99" fish is?
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:54 PM   #19
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In my short experience I've been to 3 LFS 3 ******** and 2 *****stores. Of which only 1 ******* was good enough for me yo even stand there and watch the fish. And that's where I got my Orandas. I don't even want to talk about *****. And the LFS near my house for some reason always has sick Orandas. Rest of the fish seems to be okay, but the store stinks. The girl working there told me just buy the fish put a filter and you should be good !!! So I don't think LFS by definition means they know what they are talking. IMO if a hobbyist is in this business then he/she might do better a job of caring for the livestock. If it is a pure business person then they might treat the livestock as just an inventory than a living thing.
Back to OP's mission, being an hobbyist you will be a better person to deal with the livestock. At the same time just look at the overall culture of that business and tune your strategy to achieve your goal. As others said, you don't want go to extreme right away and loose the opportunity. Good luck in your mission.

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Old 05-20-2015, 02:04 PM   #20
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I am just curious, what do you think the wholesale price on a ".99" fish is?
Yeah Andy, how much do you sell your fish to the retailers for?


ps. Andy is probably the most experienced person here when it comes to the business of fish having been both a breeder and a retailer spanning decades.

The majority of those .99 fish are "bread and butter" fish and often is what pays the bills for a lfs. It is all the additional items; food, dry goods, etc that bring in more profit. Loss leaders, same as soda & beer. priced low to get you in the store.


I recently had a "discussion" with the owner a lfs who was constantly bemoaning how terrible business was.
The problem is that he has none of the common tropical, or "bread and butter" fish. He basically stocks what he likes, big cichlids, koi and fancy goldfish.
His salt section is more like a hatchery for ich, although he has some beautiful coral tanks.
Last time I was in there had had probably 70-100 4"-6" firemouth cichlids in there, who the heck is ever going too buy those, !??, he may sell one every 3 months or so. when I tried to suggest how to better utilize his floor space and stocking he got pissed off at me and complained that the little fish were not worth his time.


Funny thing is nobody is breaking down his door to buy what he does stock while a few miles away a store that always keeps all the "bread and butter" fish is ALWAYS busy from opening to closing.


sure the margins are low, but volume and add-on sales is how to make those .99 fish profitable.


Oh and I wasn't completely out-of-left-field criticizing that guy for how he ran his store considering he bought all the stock and equipment from the store I used to manage to start his.
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