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Having read a post tonite about someone wanting to start a pro shop I too thought I would start a post. My dream as always been to open a small sporting goods store. Selling archery and bowhunting supplies with some fishing supplies and live bait. But is seems that in Kansas and Missouri many of the pro shops only survive a few years. I guess my question is can someone make any type of living in the business? What type of money would it take to get started?

I am currently a school teacher that would love to do something along the lines of an Archery Shop. Any ideas is appreciated.
 

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You know, I've often thought about that too. It would be a nice second career. The thing is, I have a real passion for archery and I think that if it became a job rather than a hobby, eventually the fun would slowly slip away and it would become somewhat painstaking to supprt and supply archery but not partake as much as I would like to.

Now don't take that the wrong way - I'm not trying to dissuade you from what you want to do; I'm simply offering something to think about.
 

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i know pse has a school for people interested in starting up a shop with the in's and out's of running an archery business. i am not sure about any other schools but i know there are a lot of knowledgeable people who can let you know if there are other schools. and it will take some cash but maybe a smalll ouot of home business might work to cut your overhead and working out of your house or garage you just need to make it accessable to patrons or like a friend of mine did he had a small building in his back yard and set up a shop with what was needed from saws to racks and worked out of his house for years. just a thought
rob k
 

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i too have thought of starting a bow shop with most emphasis on target supplies b/c all the ones around here are far away. the problem i see is most people want stuff right now. that means you have to keep alot of different inventory. that spells alot of start up capital. and when that hot new product turns cold, you are left holding the bag. granted, you could always order the product for them, but in this day and age of e-commerce, most people could just order it for themselves, which in turn takes away your business. i never saw where the reward was worth the risk, so i never persued that venture.
 

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I don't know anything about the sporting goods industry, so take this with a grain of salt.

I have noticed with acquaintances who start small businesses, that the owner needs to count on providing the VAST MAJORITY of the labor for quite some time. You need to be able to work for free for many months. Payrolls can be a deathtrap to a starting business.

You also need to plan for a lot of things going wrong money-wise. I have watched so many people plan everything out very carefully, then get torpedoed by the slightest unplanned problem. You can't count on everything going perfectly.

It is very sad to watch someone's "dream come true" turn around and cost them their home.

My hat is off to the people who have made their small businesses work. It is a very substantial accomplishment and the result of seemingly endless toil, as they well know.

Scott
 

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If your thinking of quiting your job to pursue a archery only pro shop.......your nuts! There is not much money in archery only, unless your in a very large city that has a allot of hunters. If your going to do it you need to be into fishing gear, hunting gear, shot gun shells, etc. etc. etc. Then you will need to do custom work such as custom arrows and strings to bring customers to you and keep them from ordering from cabelas and the others (they never realize that when shipping in figured into the cost they are paying more).
If you like to shoot and plan to run a small shop by yourself, you may be better off as a school teacher.
 

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The reason many archery shops fail is just plain old economics. It takes a lot of capital to finance your inventory. Everything that is hanging on the walls costs money. Each month it devaluates about 1 1/2%. In other words, if you buy even one bow for $100, and it doesn't sell for a year, you need to sell it for $180.00 just to break even. If you sell any products at or below cost, you have actually lost money because your inventory is taxable and any carryover is amortized as a loss against any taxable income. As you grow, your customers expect to see more inventory. For an archery shop to do say $500,000. in sales, you would need to carry about $125,000 in inventory. This inventory need to turn over at least three times during the year. Assuming you sell everything you buy, you would still need to "float" the original $125,000 for the life of the business. It takes several years to earn enough profit to cover your insurance, mortgage and property tax, range fees, target costs, payroll, construction costs, worker's compensation, sales tax, utilities and cost of goods sold just to get to a point where you can actually earn a profit. Then consider shipping charges, shrinkage(theft) and promotions.
Now if you have enough capital to get started, and you have a solid long term business plan, you can be competitive if you are able to find a location with plenty of traffic. Most successful business rely on a percentage of their sales from walk-in business. Bottom line- it takes money to make money. Many smaller shops in a given area actually hurt the legitimate shops, making it tougher to expand at a nominal pace. What happens next is that the basement shop outgrows the basement and moves into a larger space. Now they incur all of the expenses of the original local shop, causing their prices to skyrocket just to stay alive. This causes another basement business to sprout up, ultimately flooding the market, leaving the area with small fragmented businesses with little or no hope of any growth potential. Most small archery shops don't make it past the first two or three years. As a consumer, it is important to understand why service costs a few dollars more. If your local archery shop has a range for you to shoot in during the winter months, or a 3-D range with thousands of dollars of targets to shoot at, understad that they can't survive unless you actually buy product from them. Bottom line- support your local archery shop.
 

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Great post, Jim! Hit it right on the head.

Another thing is that you also now have to compete against every Wal-mart, Cabelas, Bass Pro, etc, etc, etc. And you will not get the same pricing as them unless your pockets are very deep and you own a huge warehouse to keep the freighter-load of stock in you'll need to buy to get that pricing.

Of course then you will have to find a way to unload all of that stock in the coming 11 months (or less) before the new products come out. IF you work hard you may possibly break even or even garner a meager profit, but the way the industry is heading the only ones who are truly making any money nowadays are the manufacturers, mega-merchants, buying groups, distributors, and larger stores who can order large quantities of inventory and gain significant price breaks. Everyone else gets nickled and dimed to death by paying higher dealer prices on inventory. Ain't no bed of roses when it comes to product.

So--

The only way to be able to compete is to provide unequalled customer service---something that the larger stores cannot do because they have the 19 yr old college student working for peanuts and could care less about the stuff they are selling. This service costs you time but doesn't hit the wallet directly. Once people realize your commitment, you will gain more trust from them, especially if you have a solid background of technical knowledge behind you! (very important to start with!) Things will further fall into place if you do. Plan on some VERY long hours--I regularly put in 16 hr days during the busy season, even tho I am only open half of those--the work needs to get done sometime to keep customers coming back. They hate to wait.

If you plan on an indoor range, plan on paying through the nose for insurance too,(if you can find a carrier--getting harder to find them!) nevermind the costs associated with heating it in winter or cooling it in summer. In summer it is mostly empty anyway as everyone is outdoors..... Not always a smart move unless you can run two or three full-roster leagues and offer kids' instruction classes or have some other brainstorm to generate income.

Lastly, you MUST make your money. Everyone wants to be your friend, and lots of times you yourself will want to give something away for nothing because it only took you a few minutes. Remember---time is money, and you must get paid for your services---all of them! Do not cut your own throat for a sale--as Jim pointed out above, if you are not making money you will not be in business long.

It isn't for everyone, I can tell you that. Nor is it something you will make a fortune on in a short period of time unless you have deep pockets to begin with and are located in just the right area. I made much more money when I was working as a construction supervisor and when I ran my own construction company. But I thought it would be easier for me/more fun to run an archery business and website---wrong!:D I put in more hours now than I did with the construction, go figure! Might not be as physically demanding, no, but the hours are still there regardless. Good luck if you decide to carry on, but be aware that it takes a boatload of hard work and commitment to do it right. Good shooting, Pinwheel 12
 

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Davik,

I am with you 100%!


If you want to own a shop, you have to offer something others can't. From dealing with shops in my area, the things they can't/won't offer that you can is CUSTOMER SERVICE. Treat your customers with respect and give them your time. I have found that archers are fairly loyal customers....as long as the loyalty is returned. It is a shops dutyto provide service after the sale. That is concept that shops in my area have a hard time grasping.
 

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3D DAD In my opinion, the best place to open a shop is in an area wth MANY bowhunters. More money is made in archery from bowhunting than anything else. There are not many pure target shooters out there. Most archers hunt as well. I do not believe an archery shop with emphasis on target archery would survive long unless you have a VERY successful youth program. IMO an archery shop MUST have bowhunting equipment to survive.

look at PSE for example, They do not advertise much with the target bows like a Mach 11, nor do they have as great a pro staff like Martin and Hoyt that shoot target. They make the Majority of thier money on the cheap Wal-mart hunting bows.

Lancaster archery is another example. They have al the target stuff you can think of in the catalog, but walk in the store and what do you see? Bowhunting equipment. No target bows on the wall, camo clothes, scents, etc.

a shop having target equipment in stock is a sign to me that they must know quite a bit about archery. From my experience a pro shop with all camo bows and dead animals all over the place with NO target equipment is not very knowledgeable.

Funny story, a friend walked into a new DICKS sporting goods that opened up last year. They had a sign for Hoyt bows, with brace height, string/cable length all mixed up. Come on, if they don't know what string length or brace height is, chances are they are going to sell you the wrong bow. Maybe with 4 inch too long draw length or wrong arrow size.
 
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