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Starting A Guitar Store

This is a discussion on Starting A Guitar Store within the Music Man Guitars forums, part of the Gear Talk category; Hey there everyone, I hope this thread isn't too noob sounding, but I think it would be awesome to start ...

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    Schpock is offline Registered User Newbie
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    Starting A Guitar Store

    Hey there everyone,

    I hope this thread isn't too noob sounding, but I think it would be awesome to start a guitar store but just have no clue how to do it. Ideally I would like to start out online using Ebay or making my own webpage and I have been researching things about ecommerce but it seems like as far as buying the products to sell, it is very hard to find wholesale music suppliers. Is there anyone on here who owns there own guitar stores and would like to give me some insight on how to get started? I would love to hear everyone's input because I've been researching online for ever and it seems like I can't really find any specifics about selling musical products. Thanks for your time! Zach

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    gerry d's Avatar
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    Hey man, good luck if thats what you want to do... I tried it and it turned into the most stressful thing I've ever done... if you want my advice... DON'T do it.... but if you really are set on this then you need to be aware that it's very difficult.

    1.. make sure you are well financed.. (you won't make money for a long time)

    2.. get a good accountant.. essential in my book

    3.. do your market research.. target your customers and see who else is selling to them, look at their pricing and see if you can compete..

    4.. get your advertising budget in place...

    5.. be prepared for long hours with little or no job satisfaction for a long time..

    6.. be prepared for hard times... retail is getting tougher every day... if you are going to sell online then be aware that there are companies with really large budgets with a lot of buying power... they will get larger discounts than you will get from distributers... so they can still make more money than you will even if they price stuff cheaper...

    7.. this is probably the worst part..( I lost my love for the guitar when I did this, believe me you will not want to touch a guitar away from work....)

    sorry to be so down on this idea... but I would never do this again... it almost killed me.... I'm so happy I walked away from it.... I don't think I'm a businessman... I love to play, and I so nearly lost that...
    2005 candy red Luke

  3. #3
    tommyindelaware's Avatar
    tommyindelaware is offline Registered User Senior Member
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    definitely realize the reality first.
    if managed & finianced properly.......it doesn't have to be a nightmare. but........it is a VERY competitive business.

    have you ever worked in a guitar store ?????
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  4. #4
    Colin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerry d View Post
    1.. make sure you are well financed.. (you won't make money for a long time)

    2.. get a good accountant.. essential in my book

    3.. do your market research.. target your customers and see who else is selling to them, look at their pricing and see if you can compete..

    4.. get your advertising budget in place...

    5.. be prepared for long hours with little or no job satisfaction for a long time..

    6.. be prepared for hard times... retail is getting tougher every day... if you are going to sell online then be aware that there are companies with really large budgets with a lot of buying power... they will get larger discounts than you will get from distributers... so they can still make more money than you will even if they price stuff cheaper...

    7.. this is probably the worst part..( I lost my love for the guitar when I did this, believe me you will not want to touch a guitar away from work....)
    8. Get good security measures and insurance. (imagine if you lost all your stock?)

    9. be prepared for aggresive customers, remember the old saying "the customer is always right"? They believe it even if you don't.

    10. first impressions count, so do it properly the first time.
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    TNT's Avatar
    TNT
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    At times I think I have a guitar store here in my home!!

    Showcasing "Musicman Guitars, Basses and Strings" will help considerably!

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    Tim O'Sullivan's Avatar
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    Good luck - its tough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schpock View Post
    Hey there everyone,

    I hope this thread isn't too noob sounding, but I think it would be awesome to start a guitar store but just have no clue how to do it. Ideally I would like to start out online using Ebay or making my own webpage and I have been researching things about ecommerce but it seems like as far as buying the products to sell, it is very hard to find wholesale music suppliers. Is there anyone on here who owns there own guitar stores and would like to give me some insight on how to get started? I would love to hear everyone's input because I've been researching online for ever and it seems like I can't really find any specifics about selling musical products. Thanks for your time! Zach
    I saw this a few days ago, been thinking about posting a reply....

    here goes, I have been in and out of workng in music stores and buying and selling for almost 20 years,

    Some of my best advice to you - don't open a shop the overheads are too high, I've seen some of my friends near suicide at the thought of closing the family business, putting on a brave face and trying to keep a failing shop going- it'll kill you.

    If you have a passion for gear, buy and sell as a second income, you can sell through ebay the paper and where ever you like - and there's minimal cost.

    Some of the finest kit I ever bought came from pawn shops and back door deals, it's a blast, but if you plan to make it your day job it'll hurt - a lot.


    Hope that helps

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  8. #8
    Fusionman is offline Registered User Junior Member
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    Listen, here's something else you can with your money...like give it all to me so it doesnt go to waste!!

    Seriously, theres about a thousand better things you can do than open a music store. I worked in one (a major chain store too) for 5 years and it was the most difficult, frustrating job Ive ever had. And unlike a GC sales person, I was salaried so I really didnt care too much how much I sold.

    Youll be selling to mainly a non-professional, hobby, at home player. Your balls will be broken in so many ways to Sunday that you wont be able to stand straight after a week. Every customer will try to chew you down on price. Almost 75% of what you sell will be returned. The general public will physically destroy your store stock. And the maunfacturers want you to buy in greater quantity than you will ever be able to move and still GC and Sam Ash will be given BETTER invisible end column deals than you will ever see. They will ALWAYS under sell you.

    I think you'd lose less money playing the lottery daily or gambling in Las Vegas for a living.

    Oh and forget having a life or being able to take a gig...you will need to be open 6 days a week 9 AM to 9 PM. Still sounds good?

    Dont be foolish...take a job at GC...I'll be surprized if you last a week


    Sorry for the out look but this is the reality of the retail business. Its about a pole position lower than trying to earn a living gigging (which I have done for the past 30 years, so again I know from experience.)
    Last edited by Fusionman; 12-15-2007 at 10:00 AM.
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  9. #9
    playitbyear is offline Registered User Newbie
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    I guess maby not everyone is cut out for the job. But I recently opened up a guitar store. I am only 20 so if your thinking you need to be super rich to start a store, THINK AGAIN. I have a store fully stocked with Takamine, Hammer, Dean and I have Access to just about anything (just not considered a Direct Dealer with them.) What it takes is lots of time and some drive. And no matter what do not take out a loan, or put things on a credit card. The stress that all these folks are talking about are the stresses of overhead your bills that you have to pay by the end of the month, not running a business. In the past week Ive sold 6 guitars and full PA system, and then your odds and ends. You just got to try to develop a few customers and take care of them, your a musician so you know your quest for equipment far out weights your wallet, that's who your market is. My second tid bit of advice is have a strong Student base. If you can completely cut your overhead and then still profit with students then you just made life easy. Now all your sales are just a bonus, and your just doing what you love. Last but not least, Make slow decisions don't open your store tomorrow make a plan and try to stick with it, its a lot
    of work to make a store function but when you get through it, its satisfaction at least if your an entrepreneur. I hope this helps and keeps your chin up.

  10. #10
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    funny talking about this, the stores in singapore have no refund/return policy like in america.. so they get away easier i think...
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    of course unless its damaged due to manufacture defect..
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    Like starting any business, you'll need a proper business plan. Just the act of trying to write one will highlight the potential difficulties.

    Starting a Business | SBA.gov

  13. #13
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    I agree with Gerry D.'s comments A LOT
    But...
    I came out of college with a degree in Economics and had a few job offers. A life long friend, and mentor give me the opportunity to buy a music store with him in my hometown. The store had really gone down hill financially. So we planed to turn it around. They had two tube amps in the store. (yikes!)
    Two years later, we are rocking and rolling! The store before I brought it maybe sold 1 or 2 music mans a year. I sold 5 in 3 months. In a small town in SC, were fender and peavey is king. Thats pretty darn good. But you cannot make money just selling guitars. Thats the problem we are facing today. PA and Live Sound is probably 65-75% of our business, and growing everyday. I've got two really great partners, and a great install guy that works over 40 hours a week. Myself I think I clock around 70+ a week. All my friends say "it must be nice to sit around and play guitar all day" HA! I wish it was that simple. Its a lot of hard work and its a lot of headaches. And some days I feel like all I did was chase my tail. And there is NO WAY i could do this on my own. There are times you WILL get hammered and beaten down and wonder WHY AM I DOING THIS!?....Then there are those other times...And those other times might be months apart. Like selling a kid his/her first guitar and seeing the smile on their face. Really talking shop with a great player. Meeting an Idol (I met Sully Erna from Godsmack). Trust me this ain't for the faint of heart. And I don't know in 10 years,if I'll still be doing it (i'm 25). I think I will be and I hope I will. My one word of advice. IS..... BRANDS!!! You're not going to sell anything if you don't have the stuff people want and know. Beware of...."Yeah its just as good as a SM58"...85% of your customers will buy an SM58 and not know the difference. Good luck and I hope I was a bit of help.
    Btw Companies like Musicorp and KMC here in the States will set you up an account if you have a retail license. And you can buy G series Taks and all that stuff.
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    First I think you really have to look at your location, if you are in a a few miles of a chain store you will get put out of business real fast as I have seen this happen often, also have seen chain store come in and close down established small stores. Lessons and tech work are really the staying power of smaller stores more so than selling guitars, most succesful ones I know have been around decades and have guys that have been coming in since they were kids. I would say weigh all the options and if you feel you could make it work then give it a shot, but heed the warnings of what everyone has said. I do not want to sound gloomy and if my heart is into something I go for it, but use your head and look at every angle.

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    How come a 4 years old thread is coming back to life?
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