Arachnopet buiness...how profitable?

Professor T

Arachnodemon
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Apr 11, 2003
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Is it possible to run a business just selling arachnids and myriopods, and have no other source of income, and raise a family?

Is arachno-business, breeding, exporting, importing strictly a second job?

Do you have to sell reptiles, amphibians, and exotic mammals too in order to make a living at this?

Is this a labor of love soley, or is there good money to be made on a consistant basis?

I appreciate your honest answers! Thanks.
 

Botar

Arachnoprince
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Code Monkey has commented on this topic before and as usual, was pretty thorough and specific. To make a living in this field is difficult. As a side business, you can make some money, but it seems to be more of a labor of love.

I've started a small home-based business in this area, but it is more of a way to justify my expenses and make enough money to sink it into more stock/supplies. I can't really ever see turning over enough of a profit to make it worth the effort, but since I enjoy the effort, it is working out nicely.

Bottom line, don't get into it thinking you'll make money. Where few have had success, many more have failed.

Botar
 

Brandon

Arachnobaron
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A good friend of mine is a Spider dealer, and ill tell you from my own experiences with him that it is a labor of love. If you do what you love then you are happy. Enless you are moving thousands of spiders you arnt going to make all kinds of money.

Sincerely,

Brandon
 

Nixy

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I've been working on attempting to find a way to start my own invert shop here.
Physicaly.
I don't have a desire for online sales.
I just want a little place I can sell a few bugs to epople that don't have computers that's bright, clean, and has the critters in the best of care. With education being a standard.
In other words.
the opposite of a pet store.....
Getting started....
Now theres the thing.
I don't know where to start on the business end. LOL.
So if you dealer have any hints to pass this ol gal I'd sure be apreciative.
I'm not out to get rich.
Hell.
I just want to do something I love.
If I break even, or can add a few things to my girls collection now and then. Put gas in my car.
Then I'll be happy.
 

Code Monkey

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I've talked some numbers with a few dealers and it's not even slightly feasible that you'd want to attack this as your sole income. Brandon hits upon the economy of scale problem.

I'm not sure how long you've been keeping inverts, but let's say you're someone like me who's been doing it for over 20 years. Other than a scant handful of people that I've bumped into at a petstore and one or two shopowners themselves, I've never had contact with someone in the flesh who keeps even one tarantula, let alone someone you could call a hobbyist (which is, of course, who you want for a customer). Then I compare that to the number of dog, cat, ferret, even less frequent pets like rabbit, chinchilla, or snake owners that I've known and run into in my day to day life, and the problem of the size of a local market becomes apparent.

Of course that leaves the internet, heh. You then join the ranks of the dealers who are all competing for the business of the same few thousand hobbyists online. We do represent a lot of purchasing power collectively, but we're still not going to keep anyone rolling in money. You also need to consider that you're then going up against established dealers like Swift and Hoke with multiple years experience, contacts, and reputations.

At any rate, as a supplemental income for a hobby you already love, it can be nice, but as a living, eh. My "psychotic" father makes a nice living on his hobby of beekeeping - and works as much as 18 hours a day, 7 days a week at age 60. So, I guess if you're willing to work like a dog, attend every exotic/herp/invert convention or expo within a 12 hour drive, and maintain a stock of several hundred to several thousand inverts, and figure out a way to distinguish your business, you could make a poor living at it.

You could also just ring groceries at McDonalds for about the same money with a lot less effort and keep your own inverts in the time you'd actually have ;)
 

pamandron

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Ron is getting ready to open up an Arachnid and Reptile store in a few weeks, hopefully. Our main goal is to keep it fun, and supply quality t's in our area. Here in Indiana you can't walk into a pet store and find very many species. We know going in that we are not going to get rich quick. We don't want to get rich, just to share our love of arachnids and reptiles. As long as we can pay the rent on the building that is all that matters. We will both keep our day jobs and open the business at night. So maybe in a few months, I can let everyone know how we are doing. We are not interested in doing on-line sales, we just want a store for people in Indiana that can buy stock without having to pay shipping charges or have to wait until the weather gets warmer. Wish us luck, Pam
 

Buspirone

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Try to gain a relationship with the teachers and other faculty of local schools and offer free educational demonstrations to pimp the hobby and your business. Children and teens will really be your bred and butter if you plan to open a store front and survive unless you have no real overhead.
 

belewfripp

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Thinking about this subject I can't help but come to the conclusion that it is probably better to keep it moderate and try and sell/trade out captive-bred animals to the actual dealers for wholesale prices or else for trade. That way you don't go over your head, hopefully, and can make enough to cover some of the expenses you already have in terms of supplies and feeder animals.


Adrian
 

Nixy

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I've worked as a teacher. (art,, pre. K - 5)
Didn't make crap but loved the job till it became such a nightmare of burocratic bull that made me twitch and administratores that made me want to scream, cry and shake them.
That made me say, Ok,,, I have an ulcer now. Time to move on.
So...
Started custom painting. Custom body alterations, classic restoration and collision repair/ refinishing...
Flat rate.
Weeeeeeeeeeeee!
What can I say. It's a pain in the butt if your quality minded. Which I am, so I never thought about getting rich at it.
I loved the job and the people were Always Totaly happy, and usualy estatic about the work and the quality.
My body just rather has decided it can't take the extreme temperatures of the typical body shop anymore. And painting has become Painful in the extreme. I just can't do a production spray gun for hours on end anymore, and wetsanding and buffing out a finish,, well. It's agony.

But...

I'm used to working hard, and working hard hours, always was a workaholic,, always early to work, always late leaving. At one point I had No sick days in a thre year period. I averaged one sick day a year after that.
The only reason I'm a stay at home mother is because my husbands injury Demanded I stay home and take care of him. Because he couldn't handle the twins schedual after the third stroke.
But he's better and I am itching to be back out and Doing.
But I want my own place to do.
Not be rich,,, just good hard work and the feeling of doing something well and right.

Anyway.
Dats me.
 

Valael

Arachnodemon
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756
I wonder about people such as Kelly Swift, Pat, Todd, and Hoke make enough money to "live off it" They seem to sell quite a few spiders (Especially Swift..)
 

Godzilla2000

Arachnoangel
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Mar 14, 2003
Messages
947
Originally posted by Nixy
I've been working on attempting to find a way to start my own invert shop here.
Physicaly.
I don't have a desire for online sales.
I just want a little place I can sell a few bugs to epople that don't have computers that's bright, clean, and has the critters in the best of care. With education being a standard.
In other words.
the opposite of a pet store.....
Getting started....
Now theres the thing.
I don't know where to start on the business end. LOL.
So if you dealer have any hints to pass this ol gal I'd sure be apreciative.
I'm not out to get rich.
Hell.
I just want to do something I love.
If I break even, or can add a few things to my girls collection now and then. Put gas in my car.
Then I'll be happy.
I've been meaning to ask you how "Operation Breeding Emillias" is going for you. Any success yet and were the Schultzes a help for you?
 

Code Monkey

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Originally posted by Valael
I wonder about people such as Kelly Swift, Pat, Todd, and Hoke make enough money to "live off it" They seem to sell quite a few spiders (Especially Swift..)
I know John Hoke runs a wrestling equipment company as his primary income, and Pat is still a teenager working long hours for commission on moving high volume while, I assume, that his overhead is low to nil. I would be extremely surprised to learn that there is anyone, barring people like Paul Becker who also run a physical pet store, that are making a full time job out of this.
 

MrT

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I live in a city of 5 million people, and theres only about 5 shops with inverts. 1 has a good selection, that I know of. The rest just dabble in it. Theres not enough spider people out there to make a living selling inverts. Sad but true. :(

Ernie
 

Godzilla2000

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Originally posted by MrT
I live in a city of 5 million people, and theres only about 5 shops with inverts. 1 has a good selection, that I know of. The rest just dabble in it. Theres not enough spider people out there to make a living selling inverts. Sad but true. :(

Ernie
I thinkl that has alot to do with peoples' fears and superstitions abot Tarantulas. I had my sister and her frienmd come over and they were both terrified of Gypsy. Plus they had to express this with loud decibels which terrified Gypsy to the point of fairly trying to leap out of my hand. And then my neice at the top of her lungs (She loves my spiders but the girl has lungs on her.) Gypsy's name terrifying the poor thing even more. I really need to tell people to speak with softer voices in my house.
 

Weapon-X

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Messages
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re

i have talked to a few dealers myself about this, frank somma told me you won't get rich from doing it, and a mistake that some that are starting out do is not charge full price for some things that should be charged at full, also the real money comes from captive breeding and selling the offspring.
 

Baphomet

Arachnosquire
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Feb 22, 2003
Messages
65
It all depends on your definition of "good money". Yes, you can make "good money" selling inverts...but if your idea of "good money" is paying a mortgage, car payments, insurance, groceries, etc...in other words, as a SOLE source of income; don't quit your day job.

I have met many over the years who make "good money" selling inverts...but it is money earned to rectify their hobby and to add to their collection(s)...not as a sole source of everyday living expenses.

But I would like to point out something about many of those who sell inverts (or any animal) for profit. They do so because it is/was a hobby that they truely enjoy and love first and foremost. If you approach this trade with the sole purpose of making money; the quality of your stock and devotion to the animals when times are lean will suffer.

I sell snakes. I got my first snake when I was 10, and have been fascinated with them ever since. Twenty-six years later, I still love snakes, and now hatch-out almost 900 snakes a year.

This is a hobby and love that grew and grew until I reached a point of either having to cut back, or try to earn a few dollars to pay for my ever-growing collection.

Times have been good, and times have been bad...but all the times have been spent with an animal that I have never lost an interest and love of.

Get to know your animal(s) for their beauty (and hopefully your own personal interest) first; then try your hand at making a few extra dollars dealing with the animal(s) that you enjoy.

However, also be prepared for a LOT of hard work and initial operating costs as well. To do well, you have to have a decent (as opposed to large) collection.
This takes money.

You also need suitable housing for your collection.
This takes more money.

There is also an issue of feeding your stock.
This, too, takes money.

You also need to tend to you ever-growing stock.
This takes time.

Unless you have a rich uncle who just willed you his fortune, all these resources are something you have to be able to meet. Heating, food items, substrates, tanks/enclosures/housing, business liscense(s), taxes, husbandry, ect. require more than a single sale of a $20.00 Avicularia avicularia per day.

…start slow and know you will never hob-nob with Bill Gates or Donald Trump by getting into this business. ;)
 
Last edited:

rknralf

Arachnolord
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Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
664
A small twist...

On this subject, I have to agree with belewfripp that a good course is to captive breed and sell the spiderlings to established dealers for some money or trade for additional tarantulas. This is what I would like to do in my spare time. The only thing I would hope for is to somehow cover the cost of my hobby and allow for some expansion of current tarantula family.
The question I have though, is do you need a business license if you want to write it off on your taxes? Since I spend a lot on crickets (about $40.00/month) I would like to write some or all of this off as a small business expense wince most of it goes to my many spiderlings which I would hope to sell to some dealer. (Right now I have 130 tarnatulas, 95 which are spiderlings that I hope to sell/trade and 35 in my personal group)
I talked to the local city rep, who freaked that I even keep tarantulas, asking "Is it even legal to keep them in ...". I replied that the local pet shops sell them, to which she replied "Do they sell them legally?" Needless to say I saw where the conversation was going and decided to punt. If someone has some pointer for this as well, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks!
Ralph
 

Nixy

Arachnoprince
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That's what I get when descussing a business venture involving T's with anyone.
That wide eyed disbelieving look and a visable shudder then the " What kind of person would keep That as a pet?"
I mean yeesh...
Sometimes you can HEAR a mind just snapping shut.
 

Arachnopuppy

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Jul 22, 2002
Messages
715
Originally posted by pamandron
Ron is getting ready to open up an Arachnid and Reptile store in a few weeks, hopefully. Our main goal is to keep it fun, and supply quality t's in our area. Here in Indiana you can't walk into a pet store and find very many species. We know going in that we are not going to get rich quick. We don't want to get rich, just to share our love of arachnids and reptiles. As long as we can pay the rent on the building that is all that matters. We will both keep our day jobs and open the business at night. So maybe in a few months, I can let everyone know how we are doing. We are not interested in doing on-line sales, we just want a store for people in Indiana that can buy stock without having to pay shipping charges or have to wait until the weather gets warmer. Wish us luck, Pam
Hey Pam, when is Ron's shop going to be? My brother lives in Indianapolis. I visit him sometimes. I may even visit your store some day.
 

Botar

Arachnoprince
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Re: A small twist...

Originally posted by rknralf
The question I have though, is do you need a business license if you want to write it off on your taxes?
Ralph
Ralph,

It will depend on your state's regulations. As far as federal income tax is concerned, if you are a sole proprietorship you do not need to register or file as a business. You will file all of your business expenses/profits (if any) on your individual tax return.

In Kansas, as long as you are not selling retail in the state of Kansas (internet sales excluded so far), you don't even need to collect state sales tax. In other words, no state sales tax ID number. In order to purchase stock wholesale, you are provided with a "Multi-jurisdictional expemption certificate" that you fill out and provide to your supplier so that you may make purchases free of sales tax. Since most of my stock is purchased via internet or from individuals, sales tax is not an issue either.

Depending on how much money you are making, you may have to pay quarterly estimates. Fortunately (depending upon how you look at it), I don't make enough to have to bother with that at this time.

I hope that helps. It took me quite some time to get those questions answered. Getting answers from the government is not an easy task. I know, I'm part of the machine.

Botar
 
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