Starting a Archery Shop
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Hi there. Im a young energetic guy about ready to graduate from college this upcoming spring and I am studying business management. Id like to start a archery shop. I dont know everything there is to archery but I think I know enough to get a good start. My question is that if there is any pro shop guys on this site that own there own business i d like some ideas on how to get started, how to get a liscense to sell a certain kind of bow, and whatever else you think that would help. I am planning on starting small and still working my fulltime job that I have already. Its gonna be a "hobby job" in a sense. My family owns an old bowling alley building and I was hoping that in the future that I could get a big enough store going to move into that building. My other idea was that my dad has been doing taxidermy for the past 30+ years and was hoping to get him to move into the building with me. That way we would have a good customer base in a sense. Any advice would be greatly needed. Thank you for your time.
Hi, I recently opened a pro-shop that I run after my day job also, there are a few things to keep in mind: 1. excellent service is the most important thing you can have, a bad name gets around faster than a good one. 2. know what you are selling, there is only one thing worse than saying you don't know about a product, and that is pretending you know about it. As for products, if you contact manufacturers they will give you their distributors, and away you go. One other thing you should prepare for is being busy with your hobby job, you probably won't get much time to hunt. I hope this helps and good luck to you. Mark TECC Archery
If your going to school for business mangement then you should know the importance of a sound business case. Base your desicions on sound business practices and not what you want. Don't invest more than your willing to lose and that includes time. Good luck.
I owned a archery business for 3 years. Just like you I started it as a hobby. It did not end that way. Just prior to the season we were always real busy, so I wasn't able to hunt much. During 3-D season we set up shop and sold product there. We started small and when we closed we were selling over 100,000.00 a year. Our business was growing by about 10-15 percent a year. The problem, both me and my wife were putting in some long hours and niether one of us drew a paycheck. Everything went back into the business. Our accountant told us that after three years we have yet to turn a profit. The competition is fierce. Don't get me wrong you can make money at it but thinking that it is going to be a hobby is wrong. PSE use to offer a dealer school. Both my wife and I went and it was very helpful.
Thanks for the help. any more things to add?
It's tough! I did mine as a 'hobby' too for many years! My shop was open in 'pm' after hunting hours. I never sacrificed my hunting time for the 'hobby'! The money made went into my bow hunting fund to offset my costs of bow hunting.
But....if you want to make money you have to about live there. A shooting screen and full service sales and repairs and even a indoor/outdoor shooting facility helps greatly! (but your time to hunt will be minimal at best).
You can contact "ARCHERY TRADE ASSOCIATION" (ATA) and they can guide you to other outlets for Archery related items and manufacturers and wholesalers and guidelines for a archery business. ATA puts on a 'show' every January.....this next one is in Colombus, Ohio (I think). You have to be a Manufacturer or Dealer or associated with those things to get in and it's NOT open to the General Public. You need 'documentation' to get into the show.....or go with another archery shop owner that is REGISTERED and will be attending.
Good Luck on your quest! -}}}}}}}}}---------->
im not saying this based on direct experience, but i have had a few friends that started their own businesses because they thought it would be great to turn their hobby into one. only one has not regretted it. two of them, like myself, loved riding horses and doing some local rodeoing(calf roping etc.)and trail riding on weekends we had all kinds of fun. both of them now have became blacksmiths and after dealing with horses 5-6 days a week for 10 hrs a day neither of them have been on a horse in over a year. not saying this to keep you from doing it if your heart is set on it but from what i have seen just be prepared because sometimes your hobby becomes a job and the appeal of it wears off.
Lots of great advice. I yurned as hobby of mine into a business and you should be prepared for two things: When all your buds come by and say "hey were hunting Bear Swamp tomorrow, we'll meet you at 4 am" be prepared to say sorry, I gotta work....everytime.
Second, unless you have been shooting all your life, and still even then, go to the PSE mechanics school, and any other school you can get into. If word gets out that you don't know way more about mechanicking than they do forget it. Guys can go to Dick's or BassPro or any other big box store for amatuers.
You have to know more and be able to explain it. There are some guys that will steal your knowlegde and expertise but there are way more guys who just want to "turn the key and go" who will realize the value of your experience and prefer you do it. Which is why you will have to say no to hunting and other fun. Your season will be through half of July, all of August, most of September and October thern slow until a small Christmas rush, then slow until the following July.
You can use the bowling alley to your advantage. People will come to shoot in the winter indoors but you have to make target equipment part of your inventory not just hunters. Target guys tend to shoot all year, including 3D, but hunters sometimes only care about hunting season.
Do not underestimate the enormity of this undertaking. Part timer thinking MAY pay for your own equipment, which you will buy from yourself at cost, but not more. Full timer thinking will launch you on a fun career that, of itself, will likely not set you up for a good retirement. Good luck!
I am six years into doing what you plan to do.
If you're doing this as a hobby, fine. Do it from your garage.
If you plan to earn a living, you better be the first, biggest, and smartest archery shop within a 100 mile radius, and you better carry ALL the major bow brands, and you better have EVERYTHING in stock. And forget about hunting yourself for the first few years.
You will make 70% of your income from July 5th through November 1st, 5% in December, and 25% during winter league season. Be prepared to be open until well past 10pm during August and September.
a lot of good points here, makes me glad I don't own a shop... just take advantage of those who do
It is a quite simple prosess. You can become a millionaire. All you have to do is start with three million.
I owned/operated a part time shop from my home for 2 years & then went into a rented building large enough for 15 indoor lanes. I carried several BUT NOT ALL major brand Bows & LOTs of accessories, arrows PLUS serviced everything-Bows, refletching ect.. This lasted nearly 6 years & I had 1 part time employee & then I expanded, adding ANOTHER shop/lanes in a town 75 miles away with a full time manager & 1 part time employee & made my part timer a full time employee in the 1st shop. I HAD a FULL TIME job all during the 1st 8 years. I was full time Archery Business for nearly 18 years. You will NEVER carry everything everyone wants so you must make choices that serve your business best. You will never have the best price a customer wants. You will have little time for your own archery/Hunting UNLESS you schedule TIME AWAY. I used summer Sundays for outdoor tournament shooting & sometimes would make 2 in a day so potential customers KNEW me & where my shop was. They ALSO know what caliber shooter you are so shoot well. i had special newspaper type flyers made with "specials" & the things offered by my shop I would leave "with permission" from the tournament officials. Be able to service "even" tackle you did not sell-you just have a posted FEE for all services (saves debating what your going to charge). NEVER bad mouth a product you did or do NOT SELL. Organize leagues for your lanes starting right after the early DEER SEASON is over. They will be small to start as some are still hunting but will soon FILL UP. This can & IS a good income during the cold months. I had 3 different leagues 3 nights per week-3 man teams. That was 45 shooters at one shop & 60 at the other (3 lines)Basically like bowling. I also carried ONE line of MUZZELLOADER & accessories & a decent selection of medium priced fishing supplies/terminal tackle & live bait through the summer. It was VERY tough but I enjoyed it. Can't say my X-wife did. You give up alot as far as personal time for your own Archery/Bowhunting to start but IF things are going to work, they will fall in place. YOU must make SMART business decisions-competition IS tough & customers want the BEST for the LEAST. Good Luck. Oh, I did it back when there were MANY LESS Archers/Bowhunters than today. 1964 to 1982. Pic is front of my 1st full time shop-1964-65. I had just gotten back from Ws. weekend Bowhunt-late season. 6 pointer with a recurve. GOOD LUCK.
Best advice I've ever heard about doing what you love for a living:
"If you have done a market study on the businees (that you like) prospect and have indeed identified that the tendency for profit is viable, proceed. Othewise, stop. Now identify the business prospect that IS most profitable, devote youself to THAT, and allow it to FUND the thing that you love."
Gross exaggeration of the situation: Joe HATES being a ____, but he makes a million dollars each day, and has 1/2 the year off to do whatever he wants. He'll retire at 35 years old, and do whatever he wants.
There is some wisdom in what bow shot says. I've turned fun into work before and it ruined the fun for me. Like you, I went to college, got a good job that pays somewhat well and that I could tolerate. Doing so allows me the flexibilty and income to hunt almost as much as I want. (Unfortunately the wife part gets in the way sometimes!) I don't think I could have been able to do near as much of what I love had I actually gone into business doing it.
I just stopped in to see a gentleman who started an archery shop a few months ago. He quit his job to follow his dream. I wondered how one goes about opening an archery store and found this insghtful post from 7 years ago
For those of you still on bowsite since this 2009 post, do you have any fresh comments. A bow shop seems like a very tough business, but I am seeing some big ones that must be doing well.
Would be great to hear if Animal Killer pursued it.
Sounds like a romantic thought but a bad idea. Or at least s very high risk idea ft marginal reward.
concur with 'bou.
That said, I am constantly amazed by thinking that the market is saturated with, for example
a) Hunting Clothes
c) Game cams
Yet every year there is a new kid on the block fighting an uphill battle to crack into the market, and surprisingly some of them make it.
A new archery shop started in my city and so far they seem to be making it.
Items I see that appear to be leading to their success:
a) Had a financial backer (manager didn't have to foot the entire startup bill himself
b) Existing archery shop had burned a lot of folks who were looking for a new place to go, only other options were chain stores that didn't really have the expertise for tuning, etc.
c) New shop incorporates a HUGE indoor range with paper and 3D targets to 40-yards, probably 20 lanes
d) New shop hired on the best of the shop mechanics from existing archery shop
One other problem with trying to start a shop is getting rights to "brand name" bows - often the big names have clauses for certain distance from current shops that carry their lines, etc.
Wow!, it doesn't seem like it has been that long since this thread started.
My shop was never intended to be a full time shop, but it became one. I had two 40 hour a week jobs. Too much! I don't think I ever had a net gain of more than $10,000 a year. If you do the math, 40 hours a week making 10K a year isn't much of a wage. It doesn't help that I gave away free tuning and coaching labor to everyone under 18 years of age, and to everyone who bought a bow from me.
But then... I was never in it for the money.
I had to close a couple years ago. The time commitment was just too great, Especially when I don't possess the ability to say no to people who ask for help.
So now I've been closed for almost three years, and I still have several guys a week come to me for help during August and September.
After owning a shop for 12 years, I will tell you this. Your hunting time will be cut to almost zero. I'm sure it's better now, but in the 90s, anybody with a tax number was setting up a garage shop. They'd sell to buddies at cost so the could shoot cheaper. Bows were set up wrong, arrows fletched poorly. Then the junk would come into my shop for repair. They would act like I was robbing them because we'd charge for repairs. My policy was, I repair what I sell at no cost, not someone else's screw up. Good luck, it's not all it's cracked up to be.
I forgot i started this thread 7 years ago. Where do i start. One thing is for sure, i wanted to quit many times along the way. My archery shop didnt fair too well the first 2 years. i think i did a total of 12 customers outside of friends and families. I was probably my best customer haha. Fast forward to today, i slowing turned my shop from a retail operation to a string building business. seemed much easier to do that from the garage than a archery shop located in a rural settings.
So now i deal with a doz large and small dealers. One being a very large box store and a couple large shops and a lot of small and mom and pop shops. I deal with over 300 string sets a year and growing filling in my dealer network, retail customers, online and local plus i still do the archery shop side of it. so it never ends. I have been doing it for 7 years now and havent stopped or slowed down. Then i was single now im married with a daughter being born about 4 months ago. I am shooting semi professionally through the NFAA and USA Archery scenes along with bowhunting. My shop is still located in my house, just a much bigger shop now.
Here is our website: http://glaciallakesarchery.com/
Our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TallTineBowstrings
Stop on over and give me a like or order up a set of strings if you want. I have fully enjoyed this crazy ride but finally have turned some nice profits, made great friends, and doing what i love. I still work a full time job during the day but i set my own hours and schedule so 32 hours a week isnt bad for being on call most times.
It was nice to look down memory lane with this post. Thanks Phillip Johnson Animal Killer
We are practically neighbors Phillip.
Although I have never owned or run any type of business, I would like to share with you some of my personal insights learned through years of experience as an electrician often pressed into side work by family, friends of family and by friends of friends, most of which think I make enough money ay my actual job that I should do work for them at illegal immigrant wages.
Reality #1-PEOPLE ARE CHEAP!!! Todays America wants everything for next to nothing but what's worse is people today expect and often demand expert services and workmanship for what THEY think it's worth. Most peoples single most important factor they use to govern where they shop and what they buy on price more than any single other factor.
Things to keep in mind when starting a business that is presently dominated by major chain stores and price driven by highly competitive internet archery stores.
The first question to ask when starting a business (or developing a product) is does it fill a need or satisfy an industry "pain".
If it does, begin writing your full business plan and proceed from there. A business plan is your single most important thing in starting a business as it will be a road map or guide along the way for those first few crucial months. It is expected to change along the way. The other most important thing is to pay yourself. The business plan will help you allow this. Otherwise, you can go into burnout and quit.
Good luck to anyone who is willing to take the leap to being your own boss!
the bank will be your boss.
If the bank is your boss, then you don't have a solid business plan...
Five year's for me to make a profit . By then I was sick of people .
It's romantic to do what you like for your job, but remember when hunting season is going on and your customers need supplies you have to be in the shop and not out hunting. If you don't mind working while everyone else is hunting go for it. Sell bows/products you can't buy at the big box stores and above all else customer service is critical. Good luck!