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Old 04-11-2007, 03:21 PM   #1
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Starting a LFS?

has anyone ever started a LFS?

i am being convinced to try, since i have always thought of trying and the ones around here are not very good.

plus i need a job
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Old 04-11-2007, 03:31 PM   #2
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The only lfs around me that survive are the ones that sell pure bred puppies (at $1100+) or specialize in large birds (both have good profit margins) and sales of other supplies/stock is less than 30%.

Do the increasing price pressures of the internet most lfs have gone out of business not being able to compete and only the big chains can make it. If you have the kind of money to start up a lfs then it's best invested in other capital IMO.
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Old 04-11-2007, 04:26 PM   #3
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plus i need a job
Most business owners I know that have started up any business don't see much money the first couple years. They're either operating at a loss until they get up and running, or are pouring the $ back into the business. The ones that survive seem to have a tidy little nest egg to live off for a while.

So... if you need a job because you need money - starting a business probably isn't the way to do that!

There are a few fish/coral only stores around me that are locally owned, but as tecwzrdb mentioned, the internet has pretty much eliminated their sales of hardware, so most don't stock much except for fish, testing kits, and additives. Don't know how they survive, but glad they do.
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Old 04-11-2007, 04:35 PM   #4
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both LFS around here are doing great! (they are parter ownershiped by the two same guy's) and both carry fish/coral/inverts etc as well as lights, filters, books, tanks, and lots of other things, and both do great!
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:12 PM   #5
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I have thought about it as well but where I live pet stores don't do well. There are only a few thats been open for over 5 years. Plus I don't care for hamsters, rabbits, birds, etc. Just fish and plants.

Also I have a family to support and lets face it, as a general rule, you don't get rich running a pet store.

If you are interested in self-employment just try to think of something people want/need and think about how you can sell it to them. Like my father-in-law says "Everyone out there has a little extra money. You just have to find a way to squeeze it out of them".
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:13 PM   #6
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I`ve talked to my LFS and he said he does not make money on solely selling fish, corals and supplies. He said he makes his money and pretty good money on maintenance visits and installations.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:45 PM   #7
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When considering starting any new business, first scope out the available market. Keep in mind that your startup captial is only the beginning. You will need to have credit available to pay bills until you are able to make money. Businesses can't operate in the red for long before they go under. I run a business and can tell you, you most likely won't see any good returns for the first couple of years for starters. And that is only if you are able to bring in the business and keep your costs down, while remaining competitive to larger chains and online stores.

Take into consideration the population of your area and the amount of lfs's already servicing the area. You will need to research advertising opportunities to get the best value for your money. You will have to contact suppliers to find out what kind of payment arrangements you will be able to make for supplies and livestock. IMO if the market is there, it would be best to go into business with another person you can trust that would be able to provide some financial backing, taking the pressure off you to gain capital. Research the amount of upstart costs, renting a space, purchasing tanks, filtration and equipment before approaching a bank for loans. If you decide to go for it, good luck. But definately do a ton of research first.
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by melosu58
I`ve talked to my LFS and he said he does not make money on solely selling fish, corals and supplies. He said he makes his money and pretty good money on maintenance visits and installations.
Duh... I'm hitting myself over the head for not thinking of that with regard to one of the LFS I was thinking about. Now that I think of it, I bet they do a killer business running that little van with their name on it all around, servicing all the doctors/lawyers tanks' in town! And if you think about it, if they're going to have any "inventory" for the tanks they service (fish/corals/etc) then why not store that inventory in a storefront open to the general public? I bet his retail sales pay for the storefront. It's like getting a warehouse for free. Duh... I'm slow today.
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zagz
Keep in mind that your startup captial is only the beginning. You will need to have credit available to pay bills until you are able to make money.
And have a lot....it is very expensive to start a fish shop these days...you would be surprised at just how much you have to put into a decent amount of startup dry and livestock alone.

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, you most likely won't see any good returns for the first couple of years for starters. And that is only if you are able to bring in the business and keep your costs down, while remaining competitive to larger chains and online stores.
The one exception to this rule is to find a smaller town that is growing fairly quickly and does not have a decent local pet shop...then move in, and do fish better than anyone can imagine...with decent prices and excellent service....and then you may see a decent return after only 8-10 months.

Quote:
You will have to contact suppliers to find out what kind of payment arrangements you will be able to make for supplies and livestock.
...and expect to have to pay 100% up front fror everything for the first couple of years....most pet suppliers do not extend credit to new independant businesses.

Quote:
IMO if the market is there, it would be best to go into business with another person you can trust that would be able to provide some financial backing, taking the pressure off you to gain capital.
This will also enable you to man the shop 8-12 hours daily without hiring any additional staff to start (staff are very expensive). Adding additional services, like tank maintenance, may provide enough extra income to keep you going the first year.

Quote:
Research the amount of upstart costs, renting a space, purchasing tanks, filtration and equipment before approaching a bank for loans.
Estimate a bit high, and forget nothing....having to go back and beg for additional funds is beyond hell.
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:53 AM   #10
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Yikes...I have thought about having my own pet store too...but until I win the lottery I'll keep my day job!
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