Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Yup, don't give me orange sunkist shrimp when I ask for cherries and of course in the bag on the way home, shrimp tend to go clear from the stress, so you don't know till a few days later.
Be knowledgeable on what is compatible with what. Don't say, sure, it should work in your current tank.
Ask people their tank parameters. Don't sell someone a bunch of crystal shrimp if they say their pH is 8.2. Don't sell them anything if they give you a cockheaded puppy look when you ask them their parameters.
If I was to do it, I would keep a limited variety of livestock but know each one inside and out, as well as plants instead of trying to have a huge variety that I didn't know the behavior, best water, etc. Its going to be hard to compete with the big stores that have everything but you best bet is to carve a niche in having good quality of a small variety of livestock that you know rather than a bunch of poorly kept species just to have the numbers. Try and breed what you sell instead of importing livestock all the time that could be sick, etc.
Carry products that not everyone carries. You can't get say fluval products the same price at petsmart because they buy 10000x times the amount you will and get a discount as such. Instead carry stuff like the netlea soil for shrimp and other products that the big stores don't carry.
My suggestion, start off from your home and see how well you can do. Get a dedicated phoneline or even cell phone, setup a small website, start breeding stock to sell, advertise online, participate in forums and groups in your area and get to be known, then go from there. Getting a full blown shop going is expensive and you have to figure, honestly to stock a little bit of tank, filters, food, etc, etc you can easily spend 20-30k on stock that is going to sit there until people know you.
I run an electronic repair shop, focusing on fixing pcs, and video game consoles. I went the route of having a full blown shop, stock on the shelves and its hard. You buy CPU's and RAM and stock them and 2 months later they are obsolete and dropped 40% in price. I now run my business from my home, have a business line and regular hours and only order parts when I need them or go buy them from local stores that I have arranged deals with saying I'll come here for all my PC parts, knock off like 10% or something for me. I'm also trying to get some shrimp breeding going just to have some to sell on the side to expand my aquarium addiction and since all my LFS's don't have a huge variety of shrimp and all the breeders are about an hour or so from me, it seems like a market I could get a little extra cash from.
Talk to your LFS, see if you can make a deal, see if you can fill a niche that none of them fill and then tell them, if people ask about this or that, if they can send them to you. Networking helps a lot with small business.
20g platy, , 2 x 10g shrimp, 3 x 20g shrimp, 7.5g shrimp and 1 great dane/mastiff puppy.
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