Results 1 to 33 of 33
  1. #1
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. 08kgraves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    castalia ohio
    Posts
    5,297

    how to start a hobby store?

    so i was thinking that i would love to start up my own little buisness and open up a hobby store since theres no good ones in the area. the only one around really has a very very limited selection sadly. but i know i would have to go through and get a buisness licence and what not but how would one go about getting a companies product in to sell? like Traxxas for example? because there the biggest so i would carry the best selection of there products and like to be able to atleast order parts from others.

    input anyone?
    there's no life like a LOW LIFE!
    Drag It!

  2. #2
    RC Qualifier
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Beautiful SoCal
    Posts
    889
    One sprouted up near me. He saved up 20 grand. He started it for him and his airplane buds. I went there before the franchised hobby shops around here since he cared and always helped me find a solution. But he went under within a year or two. Make sure you do tons of research. I would imagine you would have to do all kinds of rc to stay in business..ie planes, boats, cars, multiple brands. But if you want to start business with a company find their support phone number and phone them up. They'll take care of you. Here is traxxas's contact page.
    Jesus, Lights, RC, Minecraft, LoL

  3. #3
    RC Racer
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    239
    I spent a few months arguing with hobbytown about opening one. They were stuck on selling stupid so I gave up but email them and ask questions, free advise http://www.franchiseclique.com/franc...FQK5KgodzTXi3A

  4. #4
    RC Qualifier
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    572
    There is a ton of overhead. My friend started a shop last year. He bought left over inventory from a previous mom and pop shop. He told me that traxxas and other RC makers demand that you buy a certain amount of their product. Plus trying to compete with Internet sales makes it almost impossible to survive. I personally would rather spend a few extra dollars to support a local business and have face to face interaction and support but most prefer the " bottom dollar". Good luck. One key thing is to get familiar with your core customer base and carry the parts for their machines plus fuel, batteries, chargers etc..... Takes "BIG" dollars. I also considered this venture and would cost close to 80 thousand with building and stock. Wasn't worth the risk. Would take 20 years to turn a profit in my opinion plus countless hours sometimes unpaid if no sales for the day. Give it much consideration !!!
    uh oh.... that didn't sound good

  5. #5
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    1,683
    Independent hobby store business plans don't normally make compelling investment reading, they tend to be lifestyle businesses rather than money making ventures

    As mentioned carrying stock is perhaps the biggest single cost that you have & turning it over frequently & at decent margin will be the biggest issue. You could sensibly do reduced margin internet sales to boost turnover but the same common problem you'll have is visibility to potential customers

    Getting market penetration shouldn't be underestimated & marketing is expensive generally speaking, without raising your profile your customers won't easily find you...it's a catch 22 - you need to speculate to benefit. Not sure how big your vision of the potential sales area is but the population of Castalia is finite & how far will customers travel even if they know where you are? Position is everything

    If you need to raise finance to make it happen, any lender will need these & many, many more questions answered before they get serious

    Franchised ventures have a significantly better chance of succeeding but I would anticipate some tight parameters before they commit to you, they want their brand to succeed after all & you will need to demonstrate some relevant business experience

  6. #6
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    South Jersey
    Posts
    8,230
    Quote Originally Posted by 08kgraves View Post
    the only one around really has a very very limited selection sadly.
    Possibly a big clue as to whether it's a worthwhile business venture. There may be a real good reason that your LHS has such a limited selection. Could be poor management, but it could also be a lack of interest in the area. Worth looking into before taking the leap.

  7. #7
    RC Qualifier
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    traxxasland
    Posts
    449
    I wish I could open a hobby store but the thing is you need allot of cash

  8. #8
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Hibernating in my basement, trying to see just how many RC projects i can work on at one time!!
    Posts
    1,545
    I was a store manager of a Hobbytown that went out of business. The major reason was our lease was up and the property owner suddenly wanted a 30% increase in rent and a five year commitment. This was in '08 when the economy was really tanking. Yes, you have a better chance with a franchise to help with advertising and getting everything going, but you have to put up major bucks and you have to carry a certain percentage of different hobby segments to have their name on the front of the store. At the end, I was the only employee left as the owner was trying to save funds wherever he could. He thought about moving the location, but didn't want to risk everything he owned and figured it was a good time to retire. Unless you have a ton of cash to be able to do this venture on your own, good luck, because bank loans are not handed out like they were a decade ago. You'll have to show a great business plan with a cost/profit analysis and show that it would be a viable venture for a lender to give up the cash. Banks being to loose with their funds is a big reason our country is in the mess it is. Their a bit more careful now. Only the biggest and oldest hobby shops have been able to last out this storm of our economy and if you manage to start one up, I hope you can succeed. Its really tough with the internet because (as I heard a thousand times) why should I wait for you to order a part when I can have it shipped to my house? Now that I've moved, I don't have an RC hobby shop within less than a 45 minute drive. Once I find them, I will try to give them my business, because I know how hard it can be.
    Slash BL-Pede-E 4Tec-FLM EMAXX-Wraith-AX-10-SCX-10

  9. #9
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Davenport, Iowa Quad Cities
    Posts
    2,470
    You can go through Great Plains, Tower and Horizon for inventory and purchase it one day and it's there the next. Just have to have so much in sales for free shipping. This way you don't have to keep so much in stock of various kits or rigs. You can also keep on hand the typical spare parts of major brands. Start a facebook page or dotcom about your inventory and services etc. You can start small and grow bigger depending on how it works out. Set up flyers in areas that you know rc folks would see them.
    Thrash It, Bash it, Break it, No Regrets!!!

  10. #10
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. 08kgraves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    castalia ohio
    Posts
    5,297
    man....... you guys are really kind of shooting me down here lol.

    as far as location goes it wouldnt be in castalia if possible. my ideal location would be on one of the major roads that anyone and everyone who goes to cedar point would see. for those of you who dont know cedar point is the largest roller coaster amusement park in the world, and its like 15 min. from my house

    the little hobby shop that is here doesnt really advertise and its not in a very good location. its downtown, but no cedar point traffic really goes that way at all. i mean dont get me wrong, there some of the nicest people around but they dont really even know rc at all. (one guy had to look up a part number to even know what i was talking about for a spur gear) they used to sponsor me back when i was like 13 for racing bmx bicycles though lol.
    there's no life like a LOW LIFE!
    Drag It!

  11. #11
    RC Qualifier
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    572
    It's really quite simple.... Supply and demand. Is there a high demand in your area for R/C ? Also consider developing a track to run or a field to fly. Advertising is paramount ! You want to reach your core enthusiasts which actually are adult males or kids with rich parents because this addiction is not cheap.. I alone have spent over 8,000.00 in less than two years .... But then again, I'm an R/C junky. Lol
    Don't want to burst your dreams, just go into this venture with eyes open and do all of your homework
    uh oh.... that didn't sound good

  12. #12
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. O.G.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    South of St Louis
    Posts
    5,986
    The LHS owner I knows makes most of his money off the outdoor track he runs next door to the shop. Maybe you should consider that in your cost projections. I think most of the work in opening a track is sweat instead of dollars but it could earn you some money. He keeps the shop open on race night selling parts.

    Another guy I know from a different track bought a big enclosed trailer like you see lawn companies using, and stocked it with parts for a different race track and sets up shop on the parking lot. I guess he has to get permission from the track owners to do that...
    My Black & Blue Rally is faster than your color...

  13. #13
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    1,683
    Quote Originally Posted by 08kgraves View Post
    man....... you guys are really kind of shooting me down here lol.
    I wouldn't say that, if you hadn't already considered some of the problems then now is the time....BEFORE you invest

    There are pros & cons with any deal, you've just got to find a way to mitigate the cons. Sometimes this isn't possible & these are the deals you let go

    There are a lot of small business resources available. Do some research & you'll find there are basic business tenants that work consistently, if you have these checked off & you're prepared to work hard, you have a good chance at succeeding. One question that hasn't been mentioned but you will need to honestly answer is "am I really interested in turning my passion into my profession?" this may sound stupid but when the gloss has worn off & you're interest has become saturated, will you be able to face the daily grind?

  14. #14
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Usquam sed hic
    Posts
    1,568
    Marketing is everything, get some CD's from the big guys in that field and learn how to do it effectively.
    Matthew 7:7

  15. #15
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. harry697's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    South Jersey
    Posts
    8,230
    Quote Originally Posted by O.G. View Post
    The LHS owner I knows makes most of his money off the outdoor track he runs next door to the shop.

    +1. Forgot to mention that yesterday, but a track next to a hobby shop is pretty much a win win. That is, as long as you know how to build and operate both. Charge people to race on your track and charge them again to fix your car when you break it. And believe me, people break their cars on the track. Even the best guys who rarely crash or break parts are still gonna be in the shop buying tires, batteries, fuel, gears,etc.

  16. #16
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Usquam sed hic
    Posts
    1,568
    Sounds like a good business idea man, take your time.
    Matthew 7:7

  17. #17
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. 08kgraves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    castalia ohio
    Posts
    5,297
    i would really love to do this, i think its going to take a few years and alot more money though............. and research lol
    there's no life like a LOW LIFE!
    Drag It!

  18. #18
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Emaxx2.0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    West Palm Beach Fl
    Posts
    4,054
    You can also build a track, offer rentals like some Traxxas slash and B-Day party events for kids. Make the kids the focus. And research your area about brand loyalty. If everyone around you is a Losi fan you will have no business selling Associated.
    Simply the best. The beautiful Traxxas SRT and TCP

  19. #19
    RC Qualifier
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Beautiful SoCal
    Posts
    889
    Quote Originally Posted by 08kgraves View Post
    i would really love to do this, i think its going to take a few years and alot more money though............. and research lol
    And that is what we are here for. To help you see everything about this you may have overlooked. It always helps to get more perspective.
    Jesus, Lights, RC, Minecraft, LoL

  20. #20
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. O.G.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    South of St Louis
    Posts
    5,986
    Quote Originally Posted by 08kgraves View Post
    i would really love to do this, i think its going to take a few years and alot more money though............. and research lol
    I'll be your first customer if you give me the standard traxxas forum discount of 20% Lol

    Sent from the cockpit of my Jeep Wrangler
    My Black & Blue Rally is faster than your color...

  21. #21
    RC Racer
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    G.R. michigan
    Posts
    150
    ill be your first employee if you pay for my room and boardlol
    i tried horses, but i prefer nitro's

  22. #22
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. 08kgraves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    castalia ohio
    Posts
    5,297
    well shoot.......... havent even picked a name yet and already have employee's and customers lol, this might go some where soon
    there's no life like a LOW LIFE!
    Drag It!

  23. #23
    RC Racer
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    G.R. michigan
    Posts
    150
    oooooh............. cool name
    cedar traX hobbies,
    you could even put up a figure 8 track and have demolition derby's once a month

    lol, i do think the track is a must though, i went my lhs and broke the antenna off my receiver, i went in to spend the $30 on one so i could go back to racing my little brother.
    the next day i repaired my receiver
    you need probably i would say 4-5+ acres, and maybe a parking lot across the street and you could become a HUGE name in the rc business hosting ROAR and ACOR races, as well as other small modified races,you could make alot of money charging participation fees.
    btw. what is your average population?
    i tried horses, but i prefer nitro's

  24. #24
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. 08kgraves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    castalia ohio
    Posts
    5,297
    well from what i just found it says the population of sandusky itself is 25,000 people. but if you include a 15 mile radius from sandusky then it says there are 112,000 people. and all of this isnt including the thousands of tourist around for cedar point, or the other attractions like water parks and what not. plus were right on the lake which brings people alone.
    there's no life like a LOW LIFE!
    Drag It!

  25. #25
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Davenport, Iowa Quad Cities
    Posts
    2,470
    There are 2 lhs's within a 15-min drive of me. One is downtown Davenport and the Other is across the mississippi outside of town. The one downtown has better prices and a much more friendlier atmosphere. However the one with the track has more business because everyone races there and they stock every part. The lhs downtown doesn't stock but a few things like some batteries, plugs, chargers etc while the other has everything under the sun for rc. But going through Great Plains gets you what you need the next day. I think the track is a great way to draw folks in and keep them coming.
    Thrash It, Bash it, Break it, No Regrets!!!

  26. #26
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    1,683
    Quote Originally Posted by 08kgraves View Post
    well from what i just found it says the population of sandusky itself is 25,000 people. but if you include a 15 mile radius from sandusky then it says there are 112,000 people. and all of this isnt including the thousands of tourist around for cedar point, or the other attractions like water parks and what not. plus were right on the lake which brings people alone.
    I would use population statistics & ignore the tourists - you can't rely on tourists, they're going somewhere, have time pressures, have budget pressures etc

    Be good to get hobby participation statistics to use as a general guide for potential customer numbers. It will be less than you think. Have a look at this;

    www.rcuniverse.com/Webguide/WebSavvy.pdf

  27. #27
    RC poster
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    3
    have diversity!

  28. #28
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    1,784

    how to start a hobby store?

    A friend of mine opened an LHS in my area around 10 months ago. It's the only one within 35 miles. There's also a big RC/MX track park about 10 minutes away. Most of his business comes from building relationships with customers, and getting them together to build a racing and bashing communities. He and the track work together to boost business together.

    If he had just tried to stock and sell trucks, planes, parts, etc..., he'd have gone under a while back. It's the relationships and support for customers that keep them coming back.

    Don't think he's raking in the money though. He does it because he loves it. I'm glad he does it too, because it's connected a lot of locals who love this stuff, including myself.

  29. #29
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    1,162
    The easiest way is to find yourself a distributor. The one that is used by many in canada carries all the name brand and none name brand. Then all you have to do after you build your inventory is make up a weekly order big enough to get yourself free shipping. Usually that is quite easy a few hundred $. This way you do not have to go to each manufacturer and get a distribution agreement from all of them and then create big enough min orders from them when sometimes you only need a small part for a customer.

  30. #30
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Nitronaught's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    18,514
    Quote Originally Posted by 08kgraves View Post
    so i was thinking that i would love to start up my own little buisness and open up a hobby store since theres no good ones in the area. the only one around really has a very very limited selection sadly. but i know i would have to go through and get a buisness licence and what not but how would one go about getting a companies product in to sell? like Traxxas for example? because there the biggest so i would carry the best selection of there products and like to be able to atleast order parts from others.

    input anyone?
    1. First 3 rules of ANY retail store. Location, Location, Location.... Your demograph is mainly teenagers and adult men. SO find a location where those people will be walking by.... I had my own retail business for a few years, EVERYONE has to buy food, so being in a place where there's a grocery store, some restaurants in the same complex is FREE Advertising... I'd say 70% of my business was just by walk in traffic or someone saying yeah I saw your place the other week....

    2. Inventory, it's crucial you know what is popular in your area so you know what to have in stock.. There's a careful balance, you don't want stuff sitting on the shelf that will go down in price when the newer model comes out. You don't want parts on the wall collecting dust, but you do want to keep your customers happy with Fuel, Glow Plugs, common parts that break on models.

    3. Get your customer base together and some good people to work with you.

    4. Be prepared to work nights, holidays, weekends... Most people still work daytimes and have weekends off. Holdays... That's when you need to be available.

    5. You have to make profit, watch the overhead as much as you can.

    6. Get you shop known at all areas where RC's are ran...

    7. A track is fine for ground RC's but at the cost of square footage, insurance etc.....

    Oh, and there's 3 major things you wil need as well. Money, Money, Money... Cause it take money to make money in most cases....

    Also be prepared to have no private time, work 7 days a week for many hours even when the store isn't open. I never worked harder in my life than when I had my own business....

    Best of luck and I hope this helps.

    A word of warning though... The Hobby Shop business's,,, HOw many do you think went out of business when the economy tanked...... Be prepared, cause when financial times get tough, people cut back on spending on these items. I watched many many LHS's is Florida close doors.... SO when things are good, put away for those rainy years.
    Last edited by Nitronaught; 06-05-2014 at 09:47 AM.
    Robin Williams
    He will be greatly missed...

  31. #31
    RC Qualifier
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    North Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    515
    As said above. Its a huge commitment so really take the time to do research. Its a big deal to make sure you're doing what you love to do because it will be 7 days a week and overtime. Not trying to discourage want you want to do but it will be a while before you get good people to work with you who know all about the rc hobby and can help out the customers. Remember it will take up most of your private time so it might be a bit of an issue to find time for yourself to get out there and have some fun with your rc's. Its awesome that you want to do this as we need more rc shops around to help support us rc guys and hope it works out well for you

  32. #32
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    N. Idaho... Da Sticks!
    Posts
    3,309
    Older thead here, did you ever open one up?

    Well, here is my two bits...

    Lots of great advice here, looks like Nitro has a good deal of experience in this area.

    Part of the key to competing with the internet is to give the customer something to go there for, in this case, great customer service and the ability to get advice face-to-face. But, it has to be good advice, and the employees need to be able to say, "I don't know, but I will find out for you.", or "I am not familiar with that model, I will get someone who is."

    From the LHS:
    "You know, the LCG (Slash 2WD) chassis really doesn't make that much of a difference"

    "Well, I am out of 45 turn crawler motors, but I have a couple Traxxas Titan motors that would likely fit..."

    "No, you are wrong, the front bumper for a 2WD Slash will fit on a 4WD Slash."

    - All examples of bad advice. This shop is only open because the there are a good number of RC'ers in this area and the other two hobby shops are in dangerous locations in Spokage. Also, the guy who said the first comment is a heavy smoker, there is nothing like going into any retail establishment and getting a good whiff of stale cigarette...
    Submarine Qualified, Chief Inducted, Navy Retired

  33. #33
    RC Champion
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Iowa City, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    1,440
    Quote Originally Posted by horseguy84 View Post
    oooooh............. cool name
    cedar traX hobbies,
    you could even put up a figure 8 track and have demolition derby's once a month

    lol, i do think the track is a must though, i went my lhs and broke the antenna off my receiver, i went in to spend the $30 on one so i could go back to racing my little brother.
    the next day i repaired my receiver
    you need probably i would say 4-5+ acres, and maybe a parking lot across the street and you could become a HUGE name in the rc business hosting ROAR and ACOR races, as well as other small modified races,you could make alot of money charging participation fees.
    btw. what is your average population?
    I would attend an rc demolition derby! Will anyone let me borrow their car?
    1:16 Slash VXL
    Stampede 4x4 3800kv
    Rustler VXL

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •