Aquarium Business

OARrocks

New member
Hi, i was wondering if someone could offer me some advice/suggestions.

I am recently expanding my current Aquarium business which because of the recent econ. turmoil has gone from a college side job to a full source of income since graduating. Up until recently i have been ordering tanks, stands, lighting, filtration etc. from my lfs for my customers but think it wise to start ordering for myself. This is my question, where do i look for good wholesaler's to supply me with the necessary equipment without buying retail.
If suggesting suppliers on this forum is going to cause a problem please email me your input fishy-business@live.com

Any input is appreciated.
 
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insane

New member
I have seen some local LFS's selling Bulk Reef Supply products. I don't think it is actually wholesale but you might want to check them out. The more you buy the lower the cost per unit.
 

FreakonaReef

New member
Most wholesalers will want you to have a store front and be able to prove you have a legit business with references before they will open an account for you. Talk with your local fish store and see if they'll sell to you at 10% over cost for your customers. I'm sure if ya give them enough business right now they would work with ya.
 

reefing102

Who Am I Here?
Premium Member
Most wholesalers will want you to have a store front and be able to prove you have a legit business with references before they will open an account for you.

I agree with the statement above.

I hope its Ok to post the link, but we use Loveland Pet Products to obtain most of the goods we sell in the store I work at.

(Mods - if the posting the link is against the UA, please edit it out)
 

bobparker

Independent thinker
you'll need a storefront address, tax Id # with business account info, and possibly some sort of business license. ...with the economy the way it is, it's easier than some may tell you.

VASCA Aquarium Supply
http://www.vascaaquariumsupply.com/


don't read too much into the home page, their inventory is extensive
 

foodog

New member
Reply

Reply

Most times you are going to need to fax in your retail license, business license, etc.

Furthermore, it is not wise to stock up on tanks if you do not have the capital. You're better off waiting for distributor sales, which usually last a month, and advertising those reduced priced tanks to your clientele once you establish an account w/ your dealer.

If there's a hot item on sale, ie nano cubes, you could consider stocking up on those if your funds allow it. Otherwise, large setups are going to put your capital on hold until you sell them. Money that could be sent on more liquid items.
 

crsaz

New member
vasca really doesn't have great prices(near retail) I would say if your serious and have atleast some spare income already go rent yourself a small(500-1000sqft) space in a industrial park they are usually very cheap and they give you a buisiness front and a place to put everything(around me a 1000sqft industrial office runs around $500 a month) once you get yourself all the business "stuff" tax id,resellers lisc. ect. you get the idea. after that get yourself some accounts with some major tank builders, lee-mar oceanic ect. same with the equipment get a wholesale liscense and you will be able to become a "distributor" and order from the manufaturer directly.
 

Sig45

New member
Before you invest beyond hobby level, speak with a business person and develop a business plan. Look at your local customer demographic and identify your competition.
Developing a co-op with your fellow hobbiest is a good way to attract business and reduce costs. You become more of a broker than store. Just a thought.
Maintaining inventory is very expensive and unnecessary. Most big suppliers can get you most anything in a day. Often they have monthly specials on items that can make you a decent retail profit.
I recommend having a stable consistent source of income( however so minor) before you go full force with a hobby business.
 

Butterz

New member
Good information guys.

I'm doing maintenance part time right now for a few public and residential places. Already talked to my chamber of commerce and working on a business plan. I'm dragging my feet about a storefront until the maintenance part will cover a comfortable % of my projected monthly costs.

One thing I have learned so far is do store evaluations of every store around you. There's some stores I have been to dozens of times and saw things I never noticed before when I did an evaluation. One store here has HOB filters and skimmers on every single of there 50+ salt water tanks. Think about the wasted money and electricity compared to a centralized system.

Another store saves money by having no lights on their fish only tanks. Which is understandable to save electricity, but it's hard to see the beauty and color of them.

Another has so much writing on their tanks, names of fish and prices, that it's hard to see into the tank.

Go around and really look close at your competition and find what you can do better than them. Also, store organization will do a lot. I'm tired of cramping my way through a lot of stores. I understand you need to stash as much inventory as possible on the stores, but do you really need to offer over 50 variaties of flake food?
 

old salty

Genius
Premium Member
Although the word "fishy" is spelled different, Phishy Business, an RC sponsor, may hold some sort of trademark on the name.

A wholesaler will generally expect you to purchase in bulk.

A large hurdle you may have to overcome is whether or not you are going to sell products you believe to be beneficial vs. selling a customer whatever they want to buy. Let's say that after all your years in saltwater aquariums, you regard Marine Salt X to be the best salt for keeping healthy reefs. Now, say I want to purchase 25 buckets of Salt Y, a product you believe inferior. Do you sell me Salt Y in order to make a sale, or do you stick to not selling products you believe to be inferior?
 

BigandUgly

Premium Member
A large hurdle you may have to overcome is whether or not you are going to sell products you believe to be beneficial vs. selling a customer whatever they want to buy. Let's say that after all your years in saltwater aquariums, you regard Marine Salt X to be the best salt for keeping healthy reefs. Now, say I want to purchase 25 buckets of Salt Y, a product you believe inferior. Do you sell me Salt Y in order to make a sale, or do you stick to not selling products you believe to be inferior?

I've been in sales for years. This is an easy one. You say "I believe Salt X is best because..., but if you would prefer Salt Y I'd be happy to get it for you."
 

Sig45

New member
With the huge warehouse stores online, don't go for everyday items your patrons can get cheaper elsewhere( wholesalers give large volume discounts to these stores and push you out of market place). Concentrate on a small, niche store that provides what others don't whether that's drygoods or livestock.
 
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