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[SELLING PRINTING SERVICES] Should I open a store front?

 
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Old December 31st, 2009 Dec 31, 2009 12:41:42 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Should I open a store front?

I wonder if you've been in my position and are now in a store front.

I work in my basement. I'm pretty steady, but always slow in the winter. Very busy in late fall and early summer.

I'm interested in getting a store front down town.

Pro's are...
  1. That it's out of my house. I can go home and "leave" work when I'm done.
  2. I'll have more space, can offer more
  3. Possibly more customers/work
  4. Possibly can have a higher income
  5. I've always wanted to have a building on a Main Street
Con's are...
  1. It costs more to have a 2nd building
  2. I probably need an investor to help make it happen.
  3. Building will take away some of my income
  4. May not make as much $ with this new expense
  5. It would be less flexible than what I do now.
Any thoughts?
Have you been through this? Did your earnings improve or stay the same? Did it make a difference?

Thanks,
JVK
 
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Old December 31st, 2009 Dec 31, 2009 1:05:14 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

in 2001 we started out in a 10x12 spot on our patio.We both worked 40 hour weeks for the state of California.Within 2 years we opened an "after work hours" store front on our main street. My wife quit her job a year later and worked the storefront fulltime.Now it's 2009 and we have 2 locations...5 employees not including us and work like there is no end....we used to have the winter slows...but right now I'm doing a last minute order as we were supposed to be closed for 2 weeks after Xmas.I'm supposed to be getting on a cruise ship to Mexico on the 1st but the phone just keeps ringing!!!...be careful what you wish for...our life used to be simple...now it's ran by the beast we created.
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Old December 31st, 2009 Dec 31, 2009 2:08:38 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Screenanator
in 2001 we started out in a 10x12 spot on our patio.We both worked 40 hour weeks for the state of California.Within 2 years we opened an "after work hours" store front on our main street. My wife quit her job a year later and worked the storefront fulltime.Now it's 2009 and we have 2 locations...5 employees not including us and work like there is no end....we used to have the winter slows...but right now I'm doing a last minute order as we were supposed to be closed for 2 weeks after Xmas.I'm supposed to be getting on a cruise ship to Mexico on the 1st but the phone just keeps ringing!!!...be careful what you wish for...our life used to be simple...now it's ran by the beast we created.
There are probably many who would like to have that kind of success. Myself included.
 
 
Old December 31st, 2009 Dec 31, 2009 2:41:23 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrinterJVK
I probably need an investor to help make it happen.
Stop right there! I highly encourage you only to make a move when you can pay cash and still have cash left in the bank for operating expenses. Do not go into debt in this down economy for a big gamble. Obviously opening a store anytime is a risk, down economy or not, my advice is that you do it with money that you can afford to lose, not with money you will be stuck paying back if the store fails.
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Old December 31st, 2009 Dec 31, 2009 3:35:09 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bornover
Stop right there! I highly encourage you only to make a move when you can pay cash and still have cash left in the bank for operating expenses. Do not go into debt in this down economy for a big gamble. Obviously opening a store anytime is a risk, down economy or not, my advice is that you do it with money that you can afford to lose, not with money you will be stuck paying back if the store fails.
X2 on that....our VP-540 Roland we bought 2 years ago was the first lease/payment. Everything else was paid for when ordered. Don't fall into the overhead trap. If we closed tomorrow the Roland would be the only debt we have...PERIOD...we didn't do it with small business loans...equity lines of credit....blah blah blah...we did it by living lean...working hard....and extra effort.....DO NOT take on investors....at times they will swim like sharks and seduce like french women ....but they are all there for your money you work for....good luck
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Old December 31st, 2009 Dec 31, 2009 3:41:55 PM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtnview
There are probably many who would like to have that kind of success. Myself included.
John...it's a double edged sword....YES...we own this place...but it owns us at times. The reason we have success is because we don't quit.I've worked literally 3 days straight with no sleep.We put our customers needs above ours....we work on their schedules....we listen...and we adapt. I've missed my sons school functions. Had to say no to parties or nights out with family or friends.And at what price? YES...we make good money....YES...it feels good to go into COSTCO and not be on a budget...or not really care about the price of gas while driving SUV's and big trucks.YES...it feels good to take first class vacations or go to the ISS Shows just for the fun of it and stay in nice hotels.
Success is easy.Life is hard.
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Old December 31st, 2009 Dec 31, 2009 8:33:40 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

Thanks for all the input from all of you. Good info. Thanks again.
 
Old September 22nd, 2010 Sep 22, 2010 5:40:45 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

I was essentially going to post the same thread...so I will just bring this one back to life.

I understand the added burden of the additional overhead... But commercial real estate (at least where we live) is dirt cheap right now. Especially if you lease. There was a construction boom 1-2 years ago in commercial developments and now you can find half empty strip malls all over the place. "Buyers market" I guess you could say.

We would be leasing - and have the cash on hand. So financing isn't the concern.

What I would like to know, is that from your experience, how much of a sales increase did you see when you went from "your garage" to a storefront? Now that you have been in a storefront for awhile, approximately what percentage of your business is from "walk through the door customers"? Do you find that you larger accounts were earned through your storefront? Or your sales efforts? If YOU called the local high school and won the job to print their atheletic apparel...you probably would have gotten the job if you printed out of a warehouse in the back of an industrial park, your garage or a beautiful storefront on main street.

Homes don't have basements around here...our garage is not practical, so our only option is to rent/lease/buy a production space. We are currently debating between a warehouse/industrial location, or spend a little more for a storefront. Rent for the warehouse would be $750-$1000/month and we could get a storefront with about the same square footage for around $1,500.

Your thoughts?

Thanks!
 
Old September 22nd, 2010 Sep 22, 2010 10:55:58 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

Just looked at a great property. 1950 square feet. 450 office and 1500 warehouse. Above the 450 office is an additional 450 square foot mezzanine. All utilities are included. However, it is in an industrial park...

So customers could stop by to pick up orders or meet to discuss a quote/design, but I wouldn't expect any drive by business.

Hmmm...really torn on this...
 
Old September 22nd, 2010 Sep 22, 2010 12:26:56 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante2004
Just looked at a great property. 1950 square feet. 450 office and 1500 warehouse. Above the 450 office is an additional 450 square foot mezzanine. All utilities are included. However, it is in an industrial park...

So customers could stop by to pick up orders or meet to discuss a quote/design, but I wouldn't expect any drive by business.

Hmmm...really torn on this...
One thing to rem. is: will the industrial park allow you to have customers in and out like a retail store? Some industrial parks are for distributors only....

But, I would not rush for a retail store. I personally don't enjoy the retail model. I worked for a screen print shop with a retail store and the retail store was a thorn in our side every day, all day 7 days a week.... Most of our income was from production not retail. Now, if you want a small retail and a big production....

But it is all designed around YOUR personal market.
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Old September 22nd, 2010 Sep 22, 2010 5:09:10 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

The place we found can be accessed by the customer during normal business hours. Gate access...open during the day. Perfect model for " by appointment only". They could drive right up to your "store front", see your sign in the front window and walk through the front door. However, it isn't a typical strip mall. I said industrial, and that may have been misleading. Basically it is a "business park with dozens of other business in the same situation.

Thinking real hard....
 
Old September 22nd, 2010 Sep 22, 2010 6:06:47 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I open a store front?

we opened our shop 18 months ago and aside from a few bad months last year we have been able to pay the bills.

allow yourself 3 years at a location to become profitable so you can quit your job.

right now we have so much work we can't get it all done.

make sure you get yourself registered with the search engines. that will bring customers to you. if you are in a high traffic zone you will get many walkins also.
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Old October 25th, 2010 Oct 25, 2010 12:38:55 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default

I am in a similar situation as Dante and felt no need to replay this same thing again so let's fire it back up.

Dante have you moved to a spot yet? How has it been?

I currently work from my garage and I find it hard to be a legit business when I can't say stop by and we will sit down and look over some things. I offer embroidery, dtg, sublimation, and screen printing. I am not very busy but that is mostly due to not many people knowing I exist. I have been passing by an empty space the last couple weeks an can imagine that being mine. It is $750/month and I am not sure what sq ft. It is on the busiest road in my city and it is about 50 ft from that rd. I couldn't imagine it not increasing sales with walk Ins and drive bys.
I wouldn't be getting investors either it would be cash if I do decide to do it.
 






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