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Questions Regarding buying out a Game Store UPDATE PAGE 6

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Posts

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Oh yeah, don't buy stuff at the store, either. Find a distributor that will give you a deal, or at least offer you non-grocery prices.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    You don't get days off. You will probably be open 10am-10pm is the typical I've seen. Every day.

    Are you ready for that?

    Are you closed on weekends? What does that do for your clients? If you're closed when they want to shop, you're no longer better than amazon.

    The stores current hours are Wednesday through Friday 6:30-10 Saturday 3-10 My new hours would be Wednesday-Friday 2-10:30 Saturday 12-11 and Sunday 12-8 Closed Monday and Tuesday. I think this increases the stores hours while still giving me two days off and I don't foresee that hurting business as it is a large increase int he time the store is open.

    It sounds like you are pretty sure about this, but I would highly suggest you try to actively talk yourself out of this. You should be approaching this from a business perspective, and being as critical as you can to every part of this - from the inventory, to the books, to the requirements.

    Keep in mind that you're suggesting working 45 hours simply running the store per week, and figure you're going to spend at least that much time in addition to running the store doing other business related tasks - ordering / restocking, cleaning the store, maintaining your e-Commerce storefront, etc. Most people can't work 70+ hours a week and still do another part-time job on the side. The demands of running a business day-in and day-out can't be understated, and you aren't going to be able to afford to hire staff for quite some time.

    Being closed on Monday and Tuesday doesn't mean you have two days off a week.

    I'd very, very strongly suggest you spend some time running the story yourself before committing to purchasing the business. Even a week or two managing it will give you a better idea of the scope of what you are doing, and if it's something you can do long-term.

    bowenPsykomaBelruel
  • Liquid HellzLiquid Hellz Registered User regular
    It sounds like your leaning towards getting into this which can be great, but it can also be a miserable dreadful pain in the ass failure. Owning your own business is extremely stressful but can be very rewarding as well. My two cents:

    Do everything by the book. Get a lawyer and an accountant involved with the purchase of inventory, takeover of lease, insurance etc. You want this all in writing so if it does extremely successful your pal doesn't come back wanting more later. It can also protect him from a failure, creditors wont be chasing him down, etc.

    GET A WEB PRESENCE. Its not hard, you sound young. If you know anything about the internet you can buy a domain and build a website. Do some googling on SEO optimization and bam your good to go.

    Reach out to other local businesses and business owners. If you have any local networking groups join them and make friends (BNI, NPI, YPN, Rotary, Chamber of commerce, etc). You have a space. You can pimp this space out to anyone and anything. Other businesses that don't have B&M locations would be happy to use your space to promote themselves. Example: I know a local art gallery owner who has all kinds of events for different gatherings of people. Realtors use her studio for presentations, insurance agents use it for trainings, local charities host food drives, you get the idea. Don't worry about making money from the people you offer the space to. Make money from the people that attend the events and now know where your located, what you sell, who you are. Maybe they will come back to buy a gift for someone they know, or buy something themselves. Its about getting asses in the door. Good luck!

    What I do for a living:
    Home Inspection and Wind Mitigation
    http://www.FairWindInspections.com/
    bowen
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    this thread makes me want to start a game store now

    except the $17,000/yr part

    bowennoir_bloodA Dabble Of TheloniusdavidsdurionsZilla360Giggles_FunsworthKafkaAUzepherinPlatyThe Betgirl
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    Not to be dismissive of any of the advice posted here, but the following is a link to the biggest RPG and TTG forum out there, specifically their industry subforum where post your situation, plan, and thoughts you've developed there, and you'll be getting feedback from people who own/manage/run game stores as well as general advice.

  • Chake99Chake99 Registered User regular
    The idea of trying to run it for a bit I think is a really good one. Also if you aren't getting through on google that could probably build business up somewhat.

    Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta.
    bowen
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    I don't have a whole lot to add to what everyone else has said. But for what it's worth, I've run my own accounting practise for the past 3 years or so. We do bookkeeping and taxes for small businesses like you. So I have experience helping people in your kind of situation, as well as running a business myself.

    My initial reaction is that this sounds like a pretty low-risk opportunity. Not no-risk, of course, nothing is. But generally if you want to own a business like this, you have to worry about long term leases, build out, getting customers in the door the first few months, and on and on. So if this is something you'd be interested in doing, this is not a bad opportunity.

    And like I said, everyone else has made some good points. The one piece I would specifically emphasize is the time commitment. It's basically universal for all new business owners that you spend all of your time on your business. It's hard to even describe all the non-obvious things you have to do that take so much time. But certainly keeping the books, buying inventory, working on the website, and a zillion other things that you don't even think of. Someone mentioned expecting to plan on spending as much time working off-line as you spend at the store. That may be a bit excessive, but not necessarily. So if you want to be open 40 hours a week, you could well spend a good portion of your waking hours dealing with store related business.

    Which is why owning a business is not for everyone. But on the up-side, the equity you're building belongs to you, rather than someone else. For some people, that makes all the difference. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

    Ziac45Cambiatabowenzagdrob
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    You don't get days off. You will probably be open 10am-10pm is the typical I've seen. Every day.

    Are you ready for that?

    Are you closed on weekends? What does that do for your clients? If you're closed when they want to shop, you're no longer better than amazon.

    The stores current hours are Wednesday through Friday 6:30-10 Saturday 3-10 My new hours would be Wednesday-Friday 2-10:30 Saturday 12-11 and Sunday 12-8 Closed Monday and Tuesday. I think this increases the stores hours while still giving me two days off and I don't foresee that hurting business as it is a large increase int he time the store is open.

    Those hours sound annoyingly erratic for customers. If you want to make money at it, you'll have to be open more often. Customers will not remember complicated opening hours. If the store is closed, Amazon is always open.

    For a start, open all day Saturday even if it kills you. You don't just want to be selling to the bros that you know. You also want grandma who knows that her little grandson loves Warhammer - and she's going to be shopping on Saturday morning.

    You seem to be focusing on being open for late night events. This is maximum fun for you in terms of your social life but will it bring in actual money? You might do better opening 10am-7pm every day, taking Monday off, and staying open late on Saturday to run game nights. That way you'll be snaring more people who want to actually buy your stock, and less people who want to play D&D for 5 hours and maybe buy a coke. If the game nights prove to make plenty of money, then you could do Friday nights too.

    The previous owner treated it as a hobby and had a day job. Is that what you want? Or do you want it to be your real job? In which case, throw your all at it for 6 months and if it doesn't pay off, get a real job. Don't just half-ass it as a way to get more miniatures buddies.

    PsykomaIrukabowenEsseeNobodyDonovan PuppyfuckerBelruelzepherinPlatyRainfall
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    While obviously I don't have numbers the only advantage a game shop has over Amazon for RPG's is immediacy (and that's not true in new releases) and offering play space/community. Without providing those you can't expect much in sales. Of course, as I said before D&D is in a drought right now...

    WRT Magic you're in much the same situation except a booster draft is guaranteed to sell 3 packs a participant. Those events turn around money. They also can't be run at 2 pm on a Wednesday if you want people with money to show up.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah those hours definitely need adjusting. Weekends should definitely be an all day thing, that's when most people do their shopping.

    You might also consider a relocation to a main hub like a mall. Check leases on mall space, see if it's comparable, move your shit there.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    I'd probably expand your hours to be more weekend friendly. Wed-Sun 10:00am-11:00pm

    As Jasc said, you want to squeeze as much money from them as you can on their tourneys and stuff. This isn't about being a dick, it's about making a dollar.

    Sell chips, soda, candy and whatever during these events. Mark it up like you're a corner store.

    A can of soda costs you 25 cents? Sell it for 1.25.
    A bag of cheez-its costs you half a dollar? That's 1.50.

    Have group discounts. Oh you guys want to have a party? Here's a discount package with a 24 pack of soda and a whole thing of assorted chips for $25. Your out of pocket would probably be $8 for that. Of course, no outside food or drink for insurance and liability purposes.
    I can't hit the agree button enough to this part.

    Tournaments are a big draw so make the space for it so you can hold 40, 60, 80, 100 people. A once a month MTG seal deck or booster draft tournament even at 40 people is going to be a profit driver.

    40 people x 6 booster decks 240 booster decks 4 dollar cost, 2 dollar dealer cost, so $480 for a small event. By itself.

    But with a $10 entry fee, with the winner taking home something costing $350 or hell even cash.
    100 sodas and snacks being sold. for another $100

    and related sales and trades your looking at $1,000. For larger tournaments bigger prizes bigger crowd draw.

    So make room, move shit to the back fung shui the store so that you can do this.

    Demos free play, getting people into the store is important. Constantly have things going on, whether or not the event itself brings in extra money. Get people to the store.

    This could be a steal or you could be buying a sinking ship. Be very careful, but if you pull the trigger maximize income potential. Squeeze every penny you can before people leave.

  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    You don't get days off. You will probably be open 10am-10pm is the typical I've seen. Every day.

    Are you ready for that?

    Are you closed on weekends? What does that do for your clients? If you're closed when they want to shop, you're no longer better than amazon.

    The stores current hours are Wednesday through Friday 6:30-10 Saturday 3-10 My new hours would be Wednesday-Friday 2-10:30 Saturday 12-11 and Sunday 12-8 Closed Monday and Tuesday. I think this increases the stores hours while still giving me two days off and I don't foresee that hurting business as it is a large increase int he time the store is open.

    Those hours sound annoyingly erratic for customers. If you want to make money at it, you'll have to be open more often. Customers will not remember complicated opening hours. If the store is closed, Amazon is always open.

    For a start, open all day Saturday even if it kills you. You don't just want to be selling to the bros that you know. You also want grandma who knows that her little grandson loves Warhammer - and she's going to be shopping on Saturday morning.

    You seem to be focusing on being open for late night events. This is maximum fun for you in terms of your social life but will it bring in actual money? You might do better opening 10am-7pm every day, taking Monday off, and staying open late on Saturday to run game nights. That way you'll be snaring more people who want to actually buy your stock, and less people who want to play D&D for 5 hours and maybe buy a coke. If the game nights prove to make plenty of money, then you could do Friday nights too.

    The previous owner treated it as a hobby and had a day job. Is that what you want? Or do you want it to be your real job? In which case, throw your all at it for 6 months and if it doesn't pay off, get a real job. Don't just half-ass it as a way to get more miniatures buddies.

    So I can safely say that going by the hours you suggested here would hugely hurt the business. This is not about getting me more miniatures buddies the majority of the stores income comes from running evening events such as Magic and Yu-gi-Oh Nights. Those can't begin to at least 6 after people have gotten off work. I have spoken with the owner of one of the most successful gamestores in the state and his hours are very similar to this. The only difference being opening a bit earlier on weekdays and closing a bit earlier on weekends. But if I were to move my hours to 10-7 I would have no after work events and be basically shooting myself in the foot. Again I want to stress none of this is about getting me more miniatures friends, it is all about getting people in the door for events which will lead to purchases. Magic night is guaranteed money when running a draft or a constructed list. Warhammer nights will be slower but getting people in and playing will lead to them seeing new releases/picking up a new unit for their army. People just can't do those things if the store closes 2 hours after they get off work.

    I also want to say no part of this plan has anything to do with my social life. Working every night till 10 is not going to do that any favors. I did not think of my friends when designing the hours I thought of the events and when the majority of the business will be done.

    Ziac45 on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    If you think opening more hours will hurt your business you should definitely not be doing this.

    7:00 is the wrong time, for sure, use my times.

    Also you can have tournaments after closing time, that's just your official "The store is closed, and no sales will be processed" time.

    Sure you share hours with another store (lololol competition? you're fucked), but you want to be better not similar.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    JaysonFour
  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    So just to address some things. I am going to consider opening even earlier in an effort to get more people in the door but I cannot close earlier. The gamestore I spoke with will be three hours away from the one I will own and not exactly competition. They do not do much business in the morning which is one of the reasons I feel I can not be open too early on weekdays. Tournaments need to be going on during store hours so I can get the sales and so that people can come in and see a thriving gaming scene which in turn can get them interested in the hobbies.

    Furthermore there is a limit to what mark ups I can do. I cannot buy a cheap can of soda and sell it for over a dollar. The store can only exist with the good will of the community and a mark up is fine but hugely ripping them off is not. That would give the store a bad reputation and convince people to not only buy their snacks elsewhere but maybe their cards and miniatures as well.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    You can't run a business then, I am sorry.

    A cheap can of soda would be buying walmart brand and selling it for $1.50

    Vending machines already sell for more than that, with brand name.

    I am telling you now, don't do this unless you can be Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to making a dollar. I'm not saying be a dick and treating people like shit, but you are running a business and you need to make money.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    DevoutlyApatheticzepherinNobodyCambiataZilla360DarkewolfeDonovan PuppyfuckerBelruelzagdrobASimPersonJaysonFourThe BetgirlA Dabble Of Thelonius
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    There should never be a time that sales will not be processed :) You want people to impulse-buy stuff while waiting for their turn in the game.

    If the place is more an event space than a store, try to keep inventory lean - you don't need a stock of expensive and well-thumbed RPG books or board games that are rarely bought. Maybe get a cafe-quality coffee-maker and a chiller cabinet for nice snacks as well as drinks.If you want people to come to your place after work, they'll need food, and you want to get that money, not the cafe next door.

    Clean the toilets every day.

    bowen
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    So just to address some things. I am going to consider opening even earlier in an effort to get more people in the door but I cannot close earlier. The gamestore I spoke with will be three hours away from the one I will own and not exactly competition. They do not do much business in the morning which is one of the reasons I feel I can not be open too early on weekdays. Tournaments need to be going on during store hours so I can get the sales and so that people can come in and see a thriving gaming scene which in turn can get them interested in the hobbies.

    Furthermore there is a limit to what mark ups I can do. I cannot buy a cheap can of soda and sell it for over a dollar. The store can only exist with the good will of the community and a mark up is fine but hugely ripping them off is not. That would give the store a bad reputation and convince people to not only buy their snacks elsewhere but maybe their cards and miniatures as well.

    If $2 for a can of soda during an event is a "huge ripoff" to your customer base, you will never be able to make money off this venture.
    Walk away

    bowenDevoutlyApatheticNobodyCambiataGiggles_FunsworthDonovan PuppyfuckerzagdrobASimPersonJaysonFourThe BetgirlA Dabble Of TheloniusJulius
  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    You can't run a business then, I am sorry.

    A cheap can of soda would be buying walmart brand and selling it for $1.50

    Vending machines already sell for more than that, with brand name.

    I am telling you now, don't do this unless you can be Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to making a dollar. I'm not saying be a dick and treating people like shit, but you are running a business and you need to make money.

    I am going to say that you are wrong on this. I appreciate the advice you have given and more hours is a good idea. But marking a can of soda up to over a dollar is ridiculous. By selling a can of soda for $.75 I double the amount of money I spent on the soda. More money is better but I don't believe it is worth upsetting customers which I guarantee it will.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Typically you do 3x wholesale cost. You have operating costs, you're not just making a profit on the soda, you're making a profit on your business. This is the biggest rookie mistake, and one I've made too (though it wasn't my money I was playing with).

    That's the issue. No one's going to be upset with a $1.25 soda. No one gets upset about $5 beers in bars when they can get one for $2 at home, are they?

    You've got to cover the cost of the soda, plus some profit, then cover the cost of keeping it cold, then cover the cost of transporting it, then cover the cost of the person selling it (you), then cover the cost of the building keeping it secure.

    Trust me when I say it's more than 2x the cost of the soda.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    EsseezepherinNobodyGaslightCambiataDeebaserDarkewolfeGiggles_FunsworthDonovan PuppyfuckerBelruelzagdrobASimPersonPlatyThe BetgirlA Dabble Of TheloniusJulius
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    You can't run a business then, I am sorry.

    A cheap can of soda would be buying walmart brand and selling it for $1.50

    Vending machines already sell for more than that, with brand name.

    I am telling you now, don't do this unless you can be Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to making a dollar. I'm not saying be a dick and treating people like shit, but you are running a business and you need to make money.

    I am going to say that you are wrong on this. I appreciate the advice you have given and more hours is a good idea. But marking a can of soda up to over a dollar is ridiculous. By selling a can of soda for $.75 I double the amount of money I spent on the soda. More money is better but I don't believe it is worth upsetting customers which I guarantee it will.

    The point you're missing is they are not buying the soda, they are paying for the heat, the light, the space that they're using to play the game instead of cramming into a small apartment or the parents basement. If they have half a brain they know this. If they give half a damn about having a local store they'll be okay with this. If they have neither they are probably not a person who is going to be giving you money rather than using you as a free play space.

    Vending machine prices are fine. A buck for a can of soda is fine. I probably wouldn't go movie theater level but inflated is absolutely reasonable.

    Edit: The bar analogy is spot fucking on. That's a really good comparison.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
    EsseeCambiataA Dabble Of Thelonius
  • chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
    Look at everything you are selling - the only thing you can really control the price on without driving people to Amazon are impulse buys like snacks. Hike the price of a pack of cards and people will go somewhere else. Hike the price of a soda and people may grumble but being thirsty will win out.

    Doubling your money on a soda is not enough when you are making minimal profit on your key items.

    Cambiata
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    You guys aren't accounting for the very clear difference in cost of living that the OP is dealing with. I'm not sure exactly where he lives, but it's pretty clearly not an East/West coast metropolis and likewise price control can be exercised accordingly.

    If his audience isn't willing to go over $1/can of soda because there simply ISN'T enough money floating around, he's likely going to be a better judge of that than you are. Also, it sounds like frankly the 2x/3x debate isn't so earth-shattering that you should be making comments like "You cannot run a business," Bowen. These are logistics that can be tweaked.

    My advice to the OP is along the lines of everyone else. This is a reasonable opportunity that is lower on the risk scale thanks to your familiarity with the store and the previous owner. That said, you are VASTLY underestimating the time commitment, and you should expect it to take over your life. If you are ready for that, do your research and move forward with the proper legal framework in place (LLC, etc).

    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
    JasconiusTPSoumotti886alltheolive
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Even in bumfuckia Arkansas, vending machines will still be priced at ~$1.25 for a can of soda.

    In NYC they're like $3-5, depending which corner store you're near.

    He may not be able to get away with 1.25, but 75 cents isn't going to cut it, either. And that's also part of the business, finding the price point. When his rent goes up (and it will), guess what else goes up?

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    Cambiata
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Heartlash wrote: »
    You guys aren't accounting for the very clear difference in cost of living that the OP is dealing with. I'm not sure exactly where he lives, but it's pretty clearly not an East/West coast metropolis and likewise price control can be exercised accordingly.

    If his audience isn't willing to go over $1/can of soda because there simply ISN'T enough money floating around, he's likely going to be a better judge of that than you are. Also, it sounds like frankly the 2x/3x debate isn't so earth-shattering that you should be making comments like "You cannot run a business," Bowen. These are logistics that can be tweaked.

    My advice to the OP is along the lines of everyone else. This is a reasonable opportunity that is lower on the risk scale thanks to your familiarity with the store and the previous owner. That said, you are VASTLY underestimating the time commitment, and you should expect it to take over your life. If you are ready for that, do your research and move forward with the proper legal framework in place (LLC, etc).

    The soda issue is just a piece of a larger puzzle and it is a big deal in this hobby. What do you buy a magic card that is selling at $40 for? The answer is certainly not $40. The answer is probably not even $20, not in cash at least. Even low overhead online buyers can't really hit 50% on those prices and he is assuredly not them.

    The real answer is whatever the person selling it will take but no more than 30% of what you can sell it for.

    If that answer makes you uncomfortable you have got to avoid the fuck out of a business where you'd be continually pressured on these decisions. It's an adversarial transaction at heart and it has to be for the market to function.

    bowenDeebaserEsseezagdrobA Dabble Of Thelonius
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Typically you do 3x wholesale cost. You have operating costs, you're not just making a profit on the soda, you're making a profit on your business. This is the biggest rookie mistake, and one I've made too (though it wasn't my money I was playing with).

    That's the issue. No one's going to be upset with a $1.25 soda. No one gets upset about $5 beers in bars when they can get one for $2 at home, are they?

    You've got to cover the cost of the soda, plus some profit, then cover the cost of keeping it cold, then cover the cost of transporting it, then cover the cost of the person selling it (you), then cover the cost of the building keeping it secure.

    Trust me when I say it's more than 2x the cost of the soda.
    Agreed, if you feel that is a bit much, go with the bottles of Soda for $1.50. The margin on those is pretty big still. Sodas will make you a killing.

    If you start routinely having 100-200 players in your store multiple times a week get a soda machine. Then your Soda costs drop. $1.50 for a big ole fuck you cup of soda costs you 7 cents in Soda and carbonation, 9-13 cents in cup.

    However sell drinks. That is where a big portion of profit comes from...if you can get a liquor license sell beer too. Drinks have a healthy profit margin, and can make the difference. In many places they are 40% of the profit.

    bowenCambiata
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular

    Those hours sound annoyingly erratic for customers. If you want to make money at it, you'll have to be open more often.

    I'm not seeing it, especially Bowen's follow up, because the biggest complaint I see about game store hours over multiple shops is that the hours aren't friendly to the biggest consumers of non CCG buyers. Morning weekday hours for games stores are pretty much a waste, anyways, and using GW stores as an example, the biggest complaints come from people who want to get a game in, pick up some more models after classes/work are done for the day, and the store closes too early to really useful. Looks like he's got things in line in that regard.

    Ziac45bowenCambiata
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    Ziac45 wrote: »

    I am going to say that you are wrong on this. I appreciate the advice you have given and more hours is a good idea. But marking a can of soda up to over a dollar is ridiculous. By selling a can of soda for $.75 I double the amount of money I spent on the soda. More money is better but I don't believe it is worth upsetting customers which I guarantee it will.

    The customers that it would upset are bad customers that aren't paying you. You aren't starting out with a nickel in your pocket and aspirations to be "Ziac the Kindly Soda Charityman", you are going into five figures worth of debt to run a business.

    Let's look at some numbers here. Assuming a can of soda costs 35 cents and you have 100 people for your magic event buying 2 sodas each.

    At 75 cents a pop (this is not a pun...goddamnit...crap...it is a pun) You are generating 150 in revenue, but only $80 in profit.
    However at $2, even if you only piss off the cheap and/or penny less "customers" and only sell 150 cans, you are clearing $248 in profit which is more than 1% of what you are expecting to take home annually.

    just from soda.

    bowenCambiataGiggles_FunsworthA Dabble Of Thelonius
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    For instance, I've paid $5 for 2 soda bottles in upstate NY and I'm probably middle road cost of living compared to Ziac's area.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Seriously though, chips and soda will probably be 20-50% of your profit margins.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    If you feel guilty making a profit, a shop is not for you. Cheap people are never happy. If you sell at cost price, they'll whine it is not free. If you sell for free, they'll whine that it's not cold enough.

    As for game shops having to be open late, this is news to me. All the game shops I have haunted have normal business hours.

    For instance, the Compleat Strategist, a store that is in Manhattan and so must have stratospheric rents, has 10.30am-6pm hours every day except one and is closed on Sunday. Yet they've been in business decades. They have a lot of games run in the store.

    The game night is important to a game store. But try and keep it to one or two nights a week. This makes it special. It's better to get 50 people one night a week than 10 every night. It makes it a social event that people make time for, and invite friends, rather than just turning up if they are bored. It also keeps you from killing yourself with late nights.

    The people who turn up at 10am to buy books may be fewer than those that turn up to complain about the price of cokes at 10pm, but they are more profitable. They intend to *buy*, and those are the most valuable types of customer.

    Donovan PuppyfuckerDeebaser
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    I've had some experience here but I haven't had anything to add beyond what has already been said. I think there has been some very wise and conservative advice here.

    The only thing I would point out is on the hours open front. As has been mentioned you will be doing a lot of work that is not exactly related to the store being open and running. However, in my experience in a game store situation, since you are going to be doing all this extra work any way you might as well do it all at the store with the door open and sign flipped to "yes, we're open" even if it is not a part of your posted hours say in the early morning hours before lunch. You just might grab a customer or two that will pay for the rest of the day's operating hours.

    Basically, never be closed if it is a possibility at all to be open. If someone drives by looking for your operating hours but you just happen to be in the store at 7:30am then you should be open and begging that customer to come in.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    bowenPowerpuppiesEl Muchozepherinzagdrob
  • CogCog Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    The best FLGS I ever frequented had their gaming area segregated and secure-able from the merchandise area, and had a bathroom, vending machines, arcade machines, pinball machines, gaming tables, a few beat up but serviceable copies of the most popular tabletop games, and wargame terrain available, with a separate exit directly to the outside.

    The 'store' was open from 10am to 8pm weekdays and 10am to 10pm on weekends. The gaming room was open until 11-12pm daily. A sort of 'last call' at 11pm and when the last group finishes their game, it closes. The owner entrusted a few of his regulars to lock the separate exit on their way out, with the explicit understanding that any single one person was capable of ruining it for everyone.

    It was a pretty fucking awesome place to game. Owner was a total dick, but he made bank.

    Cog on
    bowenCambiataZilla360zepherin
  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    The gamestore I spoke with will be three hours away from the one I will own and not exactly competition. They do not do much business in the morning which is one of the reasons I feel I can not be open too early on weekdays.

    You have to look at it this way... depending on how close that store is ; every sell they make at hours when you are closed is a potential sale lost to you during opening hours. That is the sad truth about brick and mortar in this day and age. Stores are for impulse buys and "I can't wait til tomorrow for what I want today" mentalities. If it's Monday, I can buy from amazon and have on tuesday, go to your rival store and buy it on monday or wait til Wensday evening to buy it from your store. See the problem?

  • CogCog Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    useless4 wrote: »
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    The gamestore I spoke with will be three hours away from the one I will own and not exactly competition. They do not do much business in the morning which is one of the reasons I feel I can not be open too early on weekdays.

    You have to look at it this way... depending on how close that store is ; every sell they make at hours when you are closed is a potential sale lost to you during opening hours. That is the sad truth about brick and mortar in this day and age. Stores are for impulse buys and "I can't wait til tomorrow for what I want today" mentalities. If it's Monday, I can buy from amazon and have on tuesday, go to your rival store and buy it on monday or wait til Wensday evening to buy it from your store. See the problem?

    I have driven an hour (each way) to buy something because the local store was closed. I would have driven further. Instant gratification fucking rules.

    Cog on
    El MuchoGiggles_Funsworth
  • motti886motti886 USARegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    For instance, I've paid $5 for 2 soda bottles in upstate NY and I'm probably middle road cost of living compared to Ziac's area.
    bowen wrote: »
    Even in bumfuckia Arkansas, vending machines will still be priced at ~$1.25 for a can of soda.

    That... really doesn't sound anywhere near like "middle road cost of living". The convenience store/gas station down the street from me sells certain bottled name-brand soda occasionally at a 2/$2.50 deal (saves a small amount of cents). Vending machines here sell *bottled* soda at $1.25.

    At any rate, I think the discussion about the exact price point of Ziac's soda is a lot of sound and fury. I think the advice that edibles are going to be a source of profit is good, but I think too many people in this thread are following the Games Workshop line of logic of "squeeze every last penny from the customer to the greater detriment of the overall business" or assuming that they know more about Ziac's store's socio-economic area than he does; if it's in anyway like my area, then, no, the soda prices being posted in this thread will simply not fly.

    As far for Deebaser's suggestion that people who balk at heavily inflated soda/snack costs being bad customers: that just seems like a lot of rubbishy bad advice. Yes, crunching numbers and making a profit is the name of the game, but Ziac is talking about running a game store, not a "captive audience once you leave the grounds you can't come back in" concert venue - he may very well be competing with the 7-11 or local equivalent a short walk away. Johnny Gamer may drop plenty of cash at the store purchasing Magic packs, but will refuse to pay double what other places charge for something 'unnecessary' like snacks.


    Moving away from all that, I think the advice that there's more of a time sink to this than just the posted business hours is probably pretty spot on. I've never ran a business, but from my lol-so-comparable experience being an officer in a WoW guild and various student clubs 'back in the day' is that there's usually more behind the the scenes work than a person expects. I can only imagine what running a business would be like in that regard.

    Clean the toilets every day.

    This. One thousand times this. Nothing is worse than getting hit with an urge, only to find out that some sort of slime beast of Nurgle has been living in the bathroom the past several days.

    Similar line of thought: air fresheners. For the bathrooms, for the gaming area. Sadly, cleanliness and gamers don't cross paths as often as it should.

    Ziac45HeartlashGiggles_FunsworthzagdrobSmrtnik
  • darqnessdarqness Registered User regular
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    Furthermore there is a limit to what mark ups I can do. I cannot buy a cheap can of soda and sell it for over a dollar. The store can only exist with the good will of the community and a mark up is fine but hugely ripping them off is not. That would give the store a bad reputation and convince people to not only buy their snacks elsewhere but maybe their cards and miniatures as well.

    Walk away. If you feel making $1.00 on a can of soda is ripping your customer off then you should NOT own a business. With that attitude you'll miss a lot of opportunities and profits.

    GaslightNobodyDonovan Puppyfucker
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Bottles and cans are both roughly 2 servings. You might be thinking about the 2.5 serving bottle (20 oz?)

    They should be sold at the same price. I bet you if you checked the servings on your bottle it's probably 14, compared to the 12 on the can.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • CogCog Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    Where the hell is a 20oz bottle not the standard for "bottle" of pop?

    Cog on
    motti886cabsyDaenrisBobbleSmrtnik
  • mr_michmr_mich Registered User regular
    There's something to be said for demographics -- if you're in a college town for example, it very well could be that having $1.50 sodas will dissuade enough people to outrun your increased margins. I think Bowen's point, while presented in a harsh manner, was that you need to be willing to find the tipping point. Not just on something like sodas, but on everything.

    You'll be selling MTG packs for like $4. Guess what, they're way cheaper than that for you and for your customers should they go on Amazon. Why is it ok to have a huge markup on MTG packs but not sodas? Speaking of MTG, you'll need to familiarize yourself with that fast. It's a big-ticket franchise in terms of profit margin, volume, and frequency of "fresh" updates that keep players coming in. Being able to host FNM or a release event for every set/block is one of the closest things you'll get to "guaranteed" revenue in a gaming shop.

    Knowing that you're from a miniatures background, I can tell you this as someone who does/did mini gaming on the super-cheap...minis don't seem profitable. For me there was little impulse buy, since it's not like you can pop open a box of minis and play with them right away anyways. You can get 20-30% off from etailers. Your minis (mostly) last you forever, so you don't need to keep buying a ton. People also have an axe to grind with a certain big-name mini company anyways. As much as I hate to say it, mini gaming seems extremely toxic for a game store at first glance.

    The only advice I can give you is that this seems like it could be a real opportunity if all of the details pan out and it's something you're truly passionate about. It will consume you; with hard work and diligence and covering your bases it will be rewarding. As with anything, you're going to discover things about yourself that you'll need to change and things about the business that you'll never be able to change. Your best bet is to fill the niche that people miss elsewhere -- a fun place to pickup gaming supplies and play games -- and profit off of it. It's a tall order, but it's certainly doable.

    Ziac45Heartlashbowenmotti886Essee
  • motti886motti886 USARegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Bottles and cans are both roughly 2 servings. You might be thinking about the 2.5 serving bottle (20 oz?)

    They should be sold at the same price. I bet you if you checked the servings on your bottle it's probably 14, compared to the 12 on the can.

    If this was to me, allow me to answer: the size of the bottles in question for both the vending machines and the convenience store I mentioned are 20 oz.

    Also, let's not derail this thread too much further about the cost of soda. I appreciate that many people posting in this thread apparently have very strong feelings on specifically how much soda should cost per ounce, but I think the thread is losing its point focusing so specifically on that.



    Per hours: depending on the necessity of the item, I've traveled the 2 to 3 drive distant stores before. Mostly for limited GW stuff that they weren't parceling out to the third party stores (the 40K 25th anniversary stuff is a good example). Which sort of leads me to a new thought for the OP: Ziac, assuming you do this, you should probably be aware that some customers are going to be wanting stuff you simply won't be able to get in and/or the distributor not getting in enough of the right stuff. Be prepared with some way of dealing with the irrationally angry customers in a way that will make them want to continue to buy from you and not the Internet. Not every gamer is worried about having that 'New Item' immediately and will be content to wait for it to be shipped to them.

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