The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking about starting a side job setting up planted aquariums and doing maintenance. I have not given this much thought other than there must be a lot of offices or people out there who would love to have a planted aquarium, but have no idea how to set it up or maintain it. I know there are a few out there who do this so I would love to hear from you! I have no idea how to get started or charge for my services. I started by posting an add on craigslist to see to probe for interests. I vision myself starting with one aquarium at a time and then possibly making this into a full-time business.

Look forward to some discussion about this idea.
Thanks,
Matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,614 Posts
It is a great idea helgymatt! Good luck if you start it!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,086 Posts
I've know several in the business. Like any business you can have the best product or service but without customers all that wont matter. Good friend of mine had a LFS for 5 years (RIP) and he had several people doing service as independent contractors. In other words they worked out of the store but the weren't employees. The understanding was as that all supplies and livestock that the service tech would use or recommend would come from the store. That way the store received revenue from the service without taking a percentage from the labor.

During those five years several people made pretty good money. But many of them didn't have the commitment to what was really their own business. Not showing up on time and not making the best of the situation. IMO in that position you need more than the ability to service a tank, you've also got to be a salesman. You've got to convince your client that they can't do without you.

I think this practice of referrals is pretty common in the trade since it keeps the stores liability and overhead at a minimum. For the person getting started in the business it gives them a jump start with prospective service customers.

HTH

SteveU
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
go for it man! good ideea ! make a site ( the internet is your friend ) put up the portfolio and the services and a phone number or fax number, email addreses and or if you have a budget for that print some flyers or visit cards ask some LFS owners to promote it ( if you know the game ) and you are in bussines in no time! Be smart the world is full with dumb people.... :p
 

·
Honeycomb Master
Joined
·
6,769 Posts
I've thought of doing the same exact thing when i get out of college. (few years away, hah).

My parents want me to be a veterinarian, which i'd also like to do, but i'd rather have something to do with aquariums. I think i'd rather do something that i'd really enjoy instead of doing something that i don't enjoy as much, but make more money.

But that's the words from a 15 year old, lol. I think what you're trying to do would be a lot of fun, and like you said, there are businesses out there who would like a planted tank. You just need to have examples of your work so people get an idea of what you can do.

Good luck! Keep us updated.
AzFishKid
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,349 Posts
I do it as a major part of my living about 60% of my pay is from doin tanks. You gotta be on point at all times. I think you should consider it cause you can make good bank, but you have a lot of expenses if you want to make it a real business. I'm in the process of setting up my llc and getting insurence and I gotta admit the prospect is exciting but there is a lot of legwork involved. If you need any help or have any questions, just ask me brother.
 

·
I ♥ BBA!
Joined
·
12,768 Posts
Matt,

I recently set up a tank for a friend in his office. He has people constantly asking who set up his tank and how much they would charge to do one. My suggestion is offer to set one up at a local business with the condition you can also put your card for it and if asked, the reception will lead them to your door.

I never set them up, but he still tells me people are asking for the service. So, it seems like there is a desire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow! Lots of good ideas everyone. Two great ideas of putting up a tank in an office with business card and referrals from LFS's. I didn't get much sleep last night because I was thinking about all of this. Two main points from an older thread from AHill I thought were valuable were - 1.) should have insurance and 2.) Money is in the "service", not a LFS.

Number 1 is the kicker - I have no idea how much insurance would be, but I could find out easily. Number 2 is good because with a service business, I image there is very little overhead - if any in the very beginning. Once things got started I could invision a larger vehicle, advertising, taxes, etc.

I may be messaging some of you to get some more info and advice.

This idea came into my head because I have always wanted to start my own business and this "seems" like a fairly easy one to get into without a lot of money. Also, since the job market sucks right now, my chances of getting a better job are low (even with a fresh masters degree). I kick myself everyday for graduating in may with a M.S. and bringing home just over $10/hr.

I think I'll talk to a LFS and see if I can find a friend who works in an office:)




Here are a couple shots of my tanks - I think this would make a good start to a portfolio - what do you think?







Whoa, forgot about this tank...


Oh, I had cichlids too:)


My first tank! Just two or three years ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,711 Posts
I've been thinking about doing this for a little over a year now as well. Too bad my favorite fish store closed down because I had good connections over there :( How much are you thinking about charging (if you don't mind me asking)?
 

·
Children Boogie
Joined
·
16,743 Posts
I'm not in the business of setting up tanks but
in terms of insurance issue, you can write up a contract that you make sure your clients agree to that any damages/accidents, the clients will have to pay for.

And might as well write up terms of agreement on payment and maintenance.

Nice tanks btw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm not in the business of setting up tanks but
in terms of insurance issue, you can write up a contract that you make sure your clients agree to that any damages/accidents, the clients will have to pay for.

And might as well write up terms of agreement on payment and maintenance.

Nice tanks btw.
I was thinking of this option also. I work for a tree care company and we have a contract that the client has to sign before we drive our boom truck on their driveway - it says if we crack their driveway we our not responsible for any damages. If this million dollar company can get away with that, I don't know why it wouldn't work for a small aquarium guy.

I need to write a business plan for sure!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've been thinking about doing this for a little over a year now as well. Too bad my favorite fish store closed down because I had good connections over there :( How much are you thinking about charging (if you don't mind me asking)?
I have no idea how much I would charge. Anybody else care to comment on what people pay for services like this? But how would anyone here know...were all do-it-yourselfers;) ha!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,008 Posts
helgymatt, you have potential
lol
Those are some nice looking tanks!!!

LLC with cost you about $500-$700 depending on where and who is doing it
Ins. about $1500-2000 yr.
Will need a nice website, by the way I have a guy (cheap) $250

promoting your site $600-1000
I suggest putting together a business plan

the problem is getting clients and them paying the $$$$$ for your work
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,709 Posts
I am thinking about starting a side job setting up planted aquariums and doing maintenance. I have not given this much thought other than there must be a lot of offices or people out there who would love to have a planted aquarium,
...
I started by posting an add on craigslist to see to probe for interests. I vision myself starting with one aquarium at a time and then possibly making this into a full-time business.
Matt
My background first. My uncle was a physician who loved having tanks in his office and finally gave up due to messes and no shows. I have worked the wholesale and retail sides of the pet industry. My goal is to discourage you because if I can discourage you - you don't belong in the business.

I see that you are in Ames. If that means you are a college student there are some professional offices that won't touch your services. Those will already have been stung by student labor that disappeared one day. If they want a tank now they'll only go for something from a large LFS.

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is how long do you think you can stand being on call for all sorts of small [The tank is cloudy today, you need to come in now and fix it] disasters. If you are a student, what happens to your accounts when you graduate? You can't sell them as they have little worth to anyone else with a bucket and hose who's looking to make some side money. Or will you be one of those "screw it I'm out of here" people who muck it up for others?

Oh, by the way, most nurses or receptionists are NOT going to do any feeding or dosing for you. Those that offer will test your patience and wallet as you replace what they messed up. Or they'll take over your account.

The following are real events that happened to me or acquaintances.
- Just before closing yesterday some kid dumped one of your bottles in the tank. Could that be why the fish are dead?
- I thought tsp meant table spoon.
- (Monday morning) I think the janitor unplugged your power strip and forgot to plug it back in Friday.

A question that will come up sooner or later is - Why, with all the very real looking artificial plants, should anyone go for your planted tank that will require potentially messy maintenance?

You will need insurance to work in many offices due to what may be in that office.

Craig's list might get you small deals, but what you want is a bunch of big deals all in the same building. Why would a business or health professional be wasting time reading Craig's list?

If you aren't discouraged by now, find the local plant servicing companies and convince them to utilize your business. They already have accounts that want real plants.

I won't wish you good luck as luck has little to do with a service business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My background first. My uncle was a physician who loved having tanks in his office and finally gave up due to messes and no shows. I have worked the wholesale and retail sides of the pet industry. My goal is to discourage you because if I can discourage you - you don't belong in the business.

I see that you are in Ames. If that means you are a college student there are some professional offices that won't touch your services. Those will already have been stung by student labor that disappeared one day. If they want a tank now they'll only go for something from a large LFS.

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is how long do you think you can stand being on call for all sorts of small [The tank is cloudy today, you need to come in now and fix it] disasters. If you are a student, what happens to your accounts when you graduate? You can't sell them as they have little worth to anyone else with a bucket and hose who's looking to make some side money. Or will you be one of those "screw it I'm out of here" people who muck it up for others?

Oh, by the way, most nurses or receptionists are NOT going to do any feeding or dosing for you. Those that offer will test your patience and wallet as you replace what they messed up. Or they'll take over your account.

The following are real events that happened to me or acquaintances.
- Just before closing yesterday some kid dumped one of your bottles in the tank. Could that be why the fish are dead?
- I thought tsp meant table spoon.
- (Monday morning) I think the janitor unplugged your power strip and forgot to plug it back in Friday.

A question that will come up sooner or later is - Why, with all the very real looking artificial plants, should anyone go for your planted tank that will require potentially messy maintenance?

You will need insurance to work in many offices due to what may be in that office.

Craig's list might get you small deals, but what you want is a bunch of big deals all in the same building. Why would a business or health professional be wasting time reading Craig's list?

If you aren't discouraged by now, find the local plant servicing companies and convince them to utilize your business. They already have accounts that want real plants.

I won't wish you good luck as luck has little to do with a service business.
Hmm... ba humbug I guess. You do bring up some very good points, but I must correct you on several.

I'm not in Ames, I graduated and now live in Des Moines. Not that it makes a big difference, but Des Moines is a city not a town, like Ames.

You have a good point about the negatives of a service business including crap hours, irresponsible secretaries, and "accidents"

However, I think many of these issues can be avoided by choosing the right customers and educating people. It won't be easy, but I don't think it's fair to discourage this by jumping to all the bad things that can and will happen. Every job has bad things that happen. Should we just discourage anyone who wants to deal with the public? My crew was cutting a tree down next to powerlines one day and a small limb caught the wind and fell on the line which led to big spark and the house on fire...business still went on! In fact, the customer had us back for more work and the neighbors as well because we handled the situation professionally and properly. There are lots of service businesses out there that make LOTS of money - I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that I would make a load of money fast...maybe not make any money at all, but thats the risk of every small business and entrepreneur.

Lastly, I don't understand your comment about fake plants. Why would anyone go for a planted tank? Thats an insult to everyone here. This forum wouldn't exist if ppl were not mesmerized and amazed by planted tanks.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top