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  #1  
Old 02-07-2009, 5:38 PM
glockfu glockfu is offline
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Default Profit Margin for Gun Store vs. Other Retail Store

I am seriously considering opening a gun store. I've always wanted to open a store but was never sure about what kind of store. I think I've decided on a gun store. How are profits from a gun store compared to any other retail business?
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2009, 5:44 PM
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Prediction: When you find out what is entailed in opening a gun store in CA, especially in a major city, you will quickly desist.

Prediction 2: You will not open a gun store.

Prediction 3: If you do open a gun store, Calgunners will flock there if you sell OLLs and understand current CA law.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2009, 5:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glockfu View Post
I am seriously considering opening a gun store. I've always wanted to open a store but was never sure about what kind of store. I think I've decided on a gun store. How are profits from a gun store compared to any other retail business?
you have our support if you open one. All the gun stores right now are busier than ever. Open one up in socal!
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2009, 6:19 PM
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Get yourself a couple of legal pads and scratch out a business plan. It will take awhile to complete. Lots of reseach and government interfacing.

The last line on the last page will tell you if you are destined to sell guns or popsickles.

File for your FFL and COE now. Might just do an 03 FFL C&R to see if they uncover anything about you that you ought to know about.

Then go see the planning commission (bring money) and tell them what you want to do.

Legal pad, pencils, calculator and perseverance.

Vick
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2009, 6:20 PM
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From what i've heard, gun stores profits are very small. You have to put in alot of work to please customers and you're only making $10-100.

It's still a sweet setup, if you have the gut for it, do it!
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2009, 6:23 PM
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How do you make a small fortune in the gun business?



Start with a LARGE one!!!
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2009, 6:35 PM
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OK, now the serious reply. You'll find your profit margins from as low as 5% on some items up to 50% on others. I wish all the 50% profit margins were on all high dollar items, but it's just not the case. That being said, I make a comfortable living selling guns. Not rich, just comfortable. It also keeps me from having to get a real job!! And what ohsmily said is correct. At least Item #3. Calgunners will flock to you if you deal in OLLs and know the law. If you handle internet transfers for a reasonable fee, you'll do good business.

As for opening a store, your first stop is to get a storefront. The ATF won't even consider a new application without a storefront. The second thing is you need to be in the business of dealing firearms to make a profit. The ATF will also not even consider your application unless that is your reason form wanting an FFL. Next, go to your local plannig commission and find out what their requirements are for opening a gun store including what permits the city requires. Once you know that and can meet them, apply for your FFL with ATF. Mine took about 30 days from first interview to having my FFL in hand. Once you have that, apply for your city permit(s). When you have those in hand, apply with CA DOJ to get on the centralized dealer listing. That should give you a good start in deciding if this is what you want to do. If it is, I wish you luck. PM me if I can answer any other questions for you.
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2009, 7:08 PM
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I think the mistake some make in opening up a gun shop is they stick to guns only. You need to see what the market is as far as what else you can offer in your store in your area. I would also recommend a "Kitchen Table FFL" at first to wet your feet, then transfer your FFL to "Brick and Mortar" or get another FFL for the new address. Selling guns is not what makes you rich, guns are the bait, the rest is where the money is at. I am currently in the process of applying for an FFL, let me tell you it is not for the faint at heart, you have to be vigilant and persistant, not with the ATF as much as with the State.
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2009, 7:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt. Speirs View Post
I think the mistake some make in opening up a gun shop is they stick to guns only. You need to see what the market is as far as what else you can offer in your store in your area. I would also recommend a "Kitchen Table FFL" at first to wet your feet, then transfer your FFL to "Brick and Mortar" or get another FFL for the new address. Selling guns is not what makes you rich, guns are the bait, the rest is where the money is at.
Re-read my 2nd paragraph above. The only way to get a "kitchen table FFL" out of the ATF is to live far enough away from civilzation (50+ miles from your house to the nearest town of ANY size) that opening a brick and mortar store is impractical. The Clinton Administration went out of it's way to eliminate 90% of those kitchen table FFLs. It won't fly these days.
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2009, 7:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FortCourageArmory View Post
Re-read my 2nd paragraph above. The only way to get a "kitchen table FFL" out of the ATF is to live far enough away from civilzation (50+ miles from your house to the nearest town of ANY size) that opening a brick and mortar store is impractical. The Clinton Administration went out of it's way to eliminate 90% of those kitchen table FFLs. It won't fly these days.
Not true, I live in a city of 80,000 plus.
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2009, 7:24 PM
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Then you are more than a little lucky. Dealing with the L. A. ATF, you would have been shot down in a fast minute.
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2009, 7:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt. Speirs View Post
I think the mistake some make in opening up a gun shop is they stick to guns only. You need to see what the market is as far as what else you can offer in your store in your area. I would also recommend a "Kitchen Table FFL" at first to wet your feet, then transfer your FFL to "Brick and Mortar" or get another FFL for the new address. Selling guns is not what makes you rich, guns are the bait, the rest is where the money is at. I am currently in the process of applying for an FFL, let me tell you it is not for the faint at heart, you have to be vigilant and persistant, not with the ATF as much as with the State.
Let us know how that goes. Applying for and FFL and having a FFL are a world apart. I really hope you get it. You have some big b@$@ for going for your dreams. Good luck.
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  #13  
Old 02-07-2009, 7:42 PM
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GlockFu, where are you located?
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2009, 1:27 AM
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I'm located in Northern California. I've talked to a couple of business loan officers and am starting to explore options. It's been a life long dream to own a buisiness (I'm not that old) and I'm not afraid of hard work to get this thing started. I know there's a lot of hoops to jump through but I'm not too worried about them. I'm more concerned with the long term which is why I'm curious to see how this industry would compare to others.

If profitability is comparable to average retailers, I'm going for it. I've been looking for something to jump into for quite sometime now. Other interests I've had I found to be not very profitable by talking to the folks in the business. So, that's why I wanted to get feedback from people directly in this industry.
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  #15  
Old 02-08-2009, 1:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FortCourageArmory View Post
OK, now the serious reply. You'll find your profit margins from as low as 5% on some items up to 50% on others. I wish all the 50% profit margins were on all high dollar items, but it's just not the case. That being said, I make a comfortable living selling guns. Not rich, just comfortable. It also keeps me from having to get a real job!! And what ohsmily said is correct. At least Item #3. Calgunners will flock to you if you deal in OLLs and know the law. If you handle internet transfers for a reasonable fee, you'll do good business.

As for opening a store, your first stop is to get a storefront. The ATF won't even consider a new application without a storefront. The second thing is you need to be in the business of dealing firearms to make a profit. The ATF will also not even consider your application unless that is your reason form wanting an FFL. Next, go to your local plannig commission and find out what their requirements are for opening a gun store including what permits the city requires. Once you know that and can meet them, apply for your FFL with ATF. Mine took about 30 days from first interview to having my FFL in hand. Once you have that, apply for your city permit(s). When you have those in hand, apply with CA DOJ to get on the centralized dealer listing. That should give you a good start in deciding if this is what you want to do. If it is, I wish you luck. PM me if I can answer any other questions for you.
Thanks, you may be hearing from me soon.
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  #16  
Old 02-08-2009, 2:45 AM
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As FCA said, make sure the city you wanna storefront in is ok with issuing your city permits before securing your lease, etc. for the storefront. I had a friend who was told no problems only to get his FFL and have the city refuse the local permit which of course means no state permits which really just = a big waste of time and money.

If you plan on selling/buying used guns, don't forget applications for your secondhand dealer's license in addition to the usual federal, state and local ones.

Lotsa BS to jump through, but if you can plan it properly and do your homework first, you may be able to limit the headaches as well as the initial out of pocket expenses. It can take upto 6 months to square all the permits away and you have to secure the lease for the storefront first, so plan/save/budget accordingly.

Might wanna work/volunteer at one of your local shops to see if this is the business type for you. TMs always hiring.

Good luck, it's always nice to follow your dreams.

Frank
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Old 02-08-2009, 4:18 AM
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Because of how difficult it is to obtain inventory right now you might want to wait a bit before getting into the firearms buisness.
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  #18  
Old 02-08-2009, 7:13 AM
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If you plan on selling/buying used guns, don't forget applications for your secondhand dealer's license in addition to the usual federal, state and local ones.
I've found that not every city requires this state-issued permit to sell used guns. Worth looking into with your local city PD. Just another hurdle to clear.....
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  #19  
Old 02-08-2009, 7:30 AM
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I don't know what other retailers are like, but I know I make anywhere from about 15% to about 40% on the vast majority of my product. I can make up to 100%, but that is rare and those are definitely not large ticket items.

The one thing no one is talking about that they should be is the paperwork. Not the usual paperwork of inventory and finance. The entire complex paperwork involved in selling guns.

If I could do another business where I made 100% profit or more without having to comply with hundreds of state and federal laws at the risk of committing misdemeanors and felonies, I would not be in the gun business.

And right now would be an interesting time to get into the business. I would think finding product to sell might be rather tough.

I know my gun shop will never fail. However, I also have another full time job so it is not my main source of income and it is a good thing as everything gets poured back into inventory and a new building. The only way I will lose my gunshop is if the regulatory agencies shut me down (which I try hard on the paperwork to prevent that) or I just get so tired of it that I quit.

And the very first thing you need to do is find a building location and ask your local business license agency if it is zoned for a gun shop. Do not even bother filling out your ATF Form 7 until you get local approval.
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Old 02-08-2009, 8:54 AM
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From a customer's standpoint: of my two favorite gun stores to go into when I lived in OC one had a re-loading/gunsmithing supply area in the back, the other had a huge selection of "other stuff," camping gear, clothing, etc.

I usually didn't buy guns from the store with the re-loading/gunsmithing supplies because of the poor customer service of the guys behind the counter. But they were close by and I would go in there to pick up supplies.

This should go for any business you get into, but... don't forget customer service, especially on the part of your employees. I think a lot of people on this list go out of thier way to go to store that have good customer service, often passing closer stores because of bad customer service (I know I do).
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FortCourageArmory View Post
OK, now the serious reply. You'll find your profit margins from as low as 5% on some items up to 50% on others. I wish all the 50% profit margins were on all high dollar items, but it's just not the case. That being said, I make a comfortable living selling guns. Not rich, just comfortable. It also keeps me from having to get a real job!! And what ohsmily said is correct. At least Item #3. Calgunners will flock to you if you deal in OLLs and know the law. If you handle internet transfers for a reasonable fee, you'll do good business.

As for opening a store, your first stop is to get a storefront. The ATF won't even consider a new application without a storefront. The second thing is you need to be in the business of dealing firearms to make a profit. The ATF will also not even consider your application unless that is your reason form wanting an FFL. Next, go to your local plannig commission and find out what their requirements are for opening a gun store including what permits the city requires. Once you know that and can meet them, apply for your FFL with ATF. Mine took about 30 days from first interview to having my FFL in hand. Once you have that, apply for your city permit(s). When you have those in hand, apply with CA DOJ to get on the centralized dealer listing. That should give you a good start in deciding if this is what you want to do. If it is, I wish you luck. PM me if I can answer any other questions for you.
The first thing that you want to do is contact your city and/or county zoning and license department to see if they will issue you a business license for retail/wholesale firearms sales in whatever location[storefront or your home] you are thinking about. The Feds and the State have no problems at all with issuing a license to a home or storefront firearms dealer as long as you are in compliance with all local/county zoning laws. Make sure that you home or place of business is at least 1000 ft away from any type of school.

I have been a fully licensed "kitchen table" FFL dealer since 1996. wholsale only though,I do not deal with the public,dont ask,I do not do transfers or deal with OLL.
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  #22  
Old 02-08-2009, 1:07 PM
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With commercial real estate also in trouble, it would be easier now than before to get a landlord on board with a gun store.
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Old 02-08-2009, 5:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garandguy10 View Post
I do not deal with OLL.
Why?
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Old 02-08-2009, 9:26 PM
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When I worked at Turners ages ago, profit margin on guns average 10%, where the money was at was the accessories and ammo, 40-300% was not uncommon, hey you had to get a cheap holster for your SA 1911, what they did not know was the $15 holster 's cost was $4.39
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:56 PM
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What's the average mark up on ammo?
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:26 PM
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so what were the initial startup costs for you guys? How much out of pocket expenses did it take before you actually started turning a profit and were able to support yourselves with just the shop, or do many of you have a second job like tenpercent? Sounds like a lot of work but a rewarding business because its a hobby as well.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:45 PM
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Good luck I hope you make a million bucks.
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Old 02-10-2009, 8:58 AM
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Good luck I hope you make a million bucks.
Ummm yea.... and that's what the this thread is about... making a million bucks? Thanks for the brilliant contribution
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Old 02-10-2009, 9:02 AM
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How is current availability from wholesellers on the more common items like Glocks, Sigs, HK's, Rugers, etc...

Sounds like there might be a bit of a back order but are we talking a couple weeks or more like 6 months?
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Old 02-10-2009, 9:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenpercentfirearms View Post
I don't know what other retailers are like, but I know I make anywhere from about 15% to about 40% on the vast majority of my product.
Shouldn't you be called "Fifteen to Forty Percent Firearms" then?
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:43 AM
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Well I guess you could start on your customer service first. I wish you good luck and hope you make a bunch of money and you bag on me. Great start.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:06 AM
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Well I guess you could start on your customer service first. I wish you good luck and hope you make a bunch of money and you bag on me. Great start.
Sorry if you weren't being sarcastic, I took it as a sarcastic remark... things get lost in traslation over the internet.

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Old 02-10-2009, 12:55 PM
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Sorry if you weren't being sarcastic, I took it as a sarcastic remark... things get lost in traslation over the internet.
Randy's a great guy - he meant what he said.

Frankly - why wouldn't you want to make a million dollars - that really isn't that much money.
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Old 02-10-2009, 1:21 PM
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Quote:
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Randy's a great guy - he meant what he said.

Frankly - why wouldn't you want to make a million dollars - that really isn't that much money.
Yea I apologize for that... my mistake.

Of course I want to make a million dollars but to expect that from a new business in profits would be an unrealistic goal. But hey, I'd take it
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Old 02-10-2009, 1:58 PM
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No Big deal good luck. I hope it works out for you because we all win.
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Old 02-10-2009, 2:56 PM
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Yea I apologize for that... my mistake.

Of course I want to make a million dollars but to expect that from a new business in profits would be an unrealistic goal. But hey, I'd take it
Just put your pinky in your mouth and say "one million dollars".....

The best of luck you!
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  #37  
Old 02-10-2009, 7:56 PM
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tenpercentfirearms tenpercentfirearms is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xrMike View Post
Shouldn't you be called "Fifteen to Forty Percent Firearms" then?
No, I tithe ten percent. Why in the hell does everyone think I only charge 10% over cost?
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Old 02-10-2009, 8:59 PM
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laguns laguns is offline
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I really don't have any advice for you but I would like to wish you the best of luck.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:47 PM
eccvets eccvets is offline
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I agree, you hit it on the head! better yet, if you do transfers at a resonable rate you'll get even more people to come in. Don't be like turners and charge 120-150 dollars for them when others are charging 35 bucks.




Quote:
Originally Posted by ohsmily View Post
Prediction: When you find out what is entailed in opening a gun store in CA, especially in a major city, you will quickly desist.

Prediction 2: You will not open a gun store.

Prediction 3: If you do open a gun store, Calgunners will flock there if you sell OLLs and understand current CA law.
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  #40  
Old 02-11-2009, 1:06 AM
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artherd artherd is offline
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Easy - start with $2mil

Gun business has to be one of the worst - low profits and insane regulation combined with hostile municipalities.

I've been tempted to do one right, but in the end I'd likely be better off blowing it all on strippers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by randy View Post
Good luck I hope you make a million bucks.
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