hi ya gazjeffery
I'm only a newbie
to the fish world. I started with a fighter fish ... as we all do
We were going away for the weekend so I asked my 4 year old surrogate grand daughter if she would look after NoNamus for us. She was so taken with him that I asked her Mum if I could buy the 2 girls a fish of their own.
That I did.
But like many fighters he died after about 4 months.
The girls were devastated & cried for a week. I then struck a deal with Janie that I would buy them a small aquarium for Christmas.
Shopping time came & I ended up buying far more than I anticipated.
I set their tank up & was so excited I disappeared back to the lfs
& got a smaller one for me & my den.
I didn't know that I actually had to plan for the tank other than I wanted one. MY lfs
didn't say to me ... so now you have the tank .... go home & set it up & come back later for your fish.
Do you know what was sooooooo important to me during this time
The tanks were clean & the fish healthy.
firmly put his thumb down on me & told me exactly which fish I could put together, how many schools I was allowed to have, & once I made my selection limited without any doubt whatsoever, the total number of fish I was allowed.
Then, when I wanted plants, he set about plant recommendations to suit the tank & the fish selection, explaining that the particular plants would aid my fish health & colour.
His attitude was to look after the fish first, then look after me & make a sale second.
I no longer go that store for stock, but I still go for advice & supplies. Aaron had an accident & the store has moved premises, so the variety of fish are not quite the same.
But do you know what was absolutely fabulous about their tanks
They colour coded them with sticky spots - colours each for non-aggressive, another for semi-aggressive, another for aggressive, and another for special requirements or loners. So on looking for fish, you look for the dots first & the fish second. This "labelling" took away any confusion on my part & gave me instant recognition of what I could or could not do - subject to advice.
My new lfs
is a one stop locally owned fish shop. The husband makes tanks to order together with cabinets & hoods if you wish. They are a wonderful source of advice, have healthy fish, are meticulous about removing any sick fish as they chatter to you (not many I might add), constantly feed vegetable matter to those who are partial to it, & the tanks are pristine.
On top of that, they have all foods & a huge range of equipment & plants.
They are fairly sparse on ornaments.
Ornaments are not for me, but ornaments were obviously important for my wee surrogate grand daughters.
And ... I should imagine that these accessories would give a decent return.
From other lfs
's I have appreciated being able to see what the ornaments will look like if they are able to be attached to airpumps. Some ornaments look disgustingly tacky on the shelf, but hey ... they look great in a tank.
I would have thought that you could approach the ornament & airpump suppliers for samples. It would be in the interest of both of them to "flog" their products.
Big pieces of driftwood.
The home cannot de-tannin large driftwood. OK - so you do it & charge a bit more.
Offer a good range of rocks & driftwood.
A tank may not contain only fish.
The younger market will go for coloured pebbles & ornaments.
The other market will go for natural ... & what does the natural want
... driftwood & rocks. All sizes & shapes of both.
I'm a "natural" & I will pay any price to achieve what I want. If I see a rock or driftwood that I want ... it's M-I-N-E.
Money to Spare.
OK - I do have money to spare. But I'm still careful & run around the lfs
's for opinions, equipment (very important for the customer so that one can be sure that the resultant purchase if the right one), & different varieties of stock.
No Money to Spare
There will be those who don't have money to spare & will try to get the most out of their $. Be truthful & shift them down a tank size or gently suggest they come back later. Business wise - give them the option. They will respect you for it.
The bargain hunters.
It will always be good for you to hear what the bargain hunters say. When they come into your store & say .... I saw that filter at another store for "x"$'s less ... the best answer is to counter by saying "do you think you are comparing the same model?" Remember, the customer may look at the filter & assume that every filter looking like it is the same filter ... not realising that different models/suppliers are available.
Otherwise ... they are bargaining ... it's up to you to close the sale without discount.
If they are bargaining, it may well be that they like your store, your fish, your plants, your ornaments etc. So they'll come back anyway. Sell yourself, sell your knowledge, the quality of your stock, & the integrity of your equipment.
One Stop Shop
If you make yourself a one stop shop ... the newbies like me will drive all around town & then decide they will luv you. Once a newbie or an oldie finds you, they won't even drive around to the other stores.
Always remember ...
the first tank may not be the last tank or only tank;
we all started from somewhere;
you need to deal with peskie newbies like me & knowledgable oldies;
repeat customers is where the real money comes from;
how may people on this site have multiple tanks
the first tank may not be the last tank (fighting fish to 18 L / 5 gal
tank to 112 gal
/ 445 L tank.
the first fish are not the last fish;
the first plant is not the last plant;
the first ornament may not be the last ornament (addition or change);
and last but not at all least since it's the most important of all .... information, advice, help - especially coping with someone like me who has been homeworking for eons for my 2nd tank & confronts you with .... on my website they are telling me this & this & this. My lfs
has coped with this sooooo well & have helped me. Sometimes agreeing & sometimes disagreeing with enthusiasm. (Bit hard on a novice, but I live in the semi tropics of Australia which I think introduces another reasoning to any discussion).
(probably a sigh of relief from you)
my order would be:
no dead stock but if there is one - remove it in front of the customer;
sick stock out the back where no-one can see;
no end to patient advice even if the same person haunts you for weeks on end - they are planning & probably will be your most lucrative market;
don't ever reduce your level of opinion to make a sale - educate & if start money is a problem - do a small good range & diversify later;
a few ornaments, rocks & driftwood to start
& then get stuck into it later.
... always remembering that the key to success is not just your stock - it's your knowledge.
I cannot know what your financial situation is, but usually on starting a business, money is a problem.
Go slowly & concentrate on quality & repeat business.
Consolidate then grow.
Talk to your accountant - (did you guess ... I'm a little pen pusher). You must find a financial balance at the start-up of your business. An enormous % of business fail in under 5 years. The failure rate results from under capitalisation, bad business location, lack of knowledge, failure to understand the needs of the industry.
Whatever you do ... don't go into this with adequate capital & don't overstock. Get your cash flow working & go slowly .... slowly ... slowly. Think of it as cycling your tank.
Remember, if someone has to go elsewhere for the little extras which are soooooooo important, you run the risk that the next place may take your place as their favourite lfs
I also reckon constant monitoring of sites like this will help you in your business.
I hope I've helped you - if you are leaning to this industry - chances are you are a fish freak Please do not forget the early days that got you where you are today.