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    HeatherP's Avatar
    HeatherP Posts: 77, Reputation: 1
    Junior Member

    Feb 2, 2015, 10:47 PM
    Want to open a small reptile shop, where to begin
    I have a lot of experience with the animals I plan to house, however I have little to no experience with the business aspect of it.
    I have tried looking into how to get started, what permits I would need, and how to go about getting them. However I cant seem to find anything solid.
    What I'm looking for is any information and links would be greatly appreciated.

    A little more info.
    I hope to open in long beach, California.
    It would be my boyfriend, my adoptive mother and myself running the store, no one else.
    We would be offering reptiles, snakes, lizards and some frogs. Supplies, and feeders, live and frozen (Fish, crickets, worms, mice, rats)

    I would like to know what permits I need, places I might be able to acquire the supplies to sell in the store, and anything else I might need to know for starting a small store. Not in a rush, I want to learn everything I can before I make another move.

    Also if there are people who can help with this kind of thing, contact info, or again, links, would be appreciated. Thank you.

    If you need any other information, please let me know, I will gladly give any information I might have.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,701, Reputation: 1438
    Internet Research Expert

    Feb 3, 2015, 02:34 PM
    Im going to say this with the best of intentions. Please do not give out any identifiable information to a stranger on the internet no matter how much desire the express in helping you.

    With that said, as far as supplies and such your going to have to learn local laws and regulations for keeping animals. On top of that you might want to start at your local animal shelter or the zoo for contacts. With regaurd to the food required and where to get it you may depending on the size of the store think about raising your own. Mice, rats and crickets can be easily managed and you can have plenty in no time with the right care system. Getting animals and clearing customs is another hurdle your going to have to jump through as well as documentation of all transactions and where the animals had come from. It is your responsibility to keep up with both local AND international laws on endangered species.

    As for starting the business you can check your local rotary clubs and see if they off mentors so you can see what paying the bills are like and what to expect and place into your business plan. Your going to need one as well as insurance.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Feb 3, 2015, 05:42 PM and are great resources for starting a business. You would need to check with Long Beach's Consumer Affairs dept for licensing issues.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
    current pert

    Feb 3, 2015, 05:57 PM
    You can't possibly get the answers you need all in one spot. You say you have time, so use it - start a notebook. FIRST look at federal laws about selling wildlife, which snakes are under. Then go on the website and look at laws for pet stores. Then go in person to the Long Beach City Hall, and start asking questions about not just business permits but specific permits for pets. And they are going to want to know WHERE you will be leasing a storefront, because each street and location is different.
    You will need to download forms from about sole proprietors or partners (no employees! don't have them!)
    It's WORK.
    Getting suppliers won't be easy. Who wants to tell you their sources, when they are in competition with you, unless it's far away?
    Then there's FUNDS - you need to be prepared to lose money for the first 6 months! Rent, utilities, advertising, liability insurance (snakes, not cheap) and supplies - money flowing out, few customers coming in! Have you checked out ALL other similar stores within the city? Heck, the big box pet stores like PETCO sell what you are selling, and they can buy 10,000 frogs at a time. At a discount you will never be able to afford.

    Sorry for being a wet blanket, but it's all true.

    (Snake breeders often start out from home, selling one or two here and there.)

    The only ways you can compete are location and providing extra knowledge that the average pet store employee doesn't have. There is no way you can compete on pricing.
    odinn7's Avatar
    odinn7 Posts: 7,691, Reputation: 1547
    Entomology Expert

    Feb 3, 2015, 10:34 PM
    Joy is correct that many breeders often start out from is the same way with tarantula breeders. You should really never need to actually import any reptiles as they are probably all captive bred here. I can't really speak for reptiles but I know with tarantulas, there are specific laws on importing so all that is actually available are US captive bred specimens. With tarantulas, you can get almost anything from Mexican Red Knees to Goliath Bird Eaters all bred in this country and I'm fairly sure it will be the same way with snakes and reptiles too. A big step you will need to face is finding out what reptiles you can actually have in your state and city...again I point to tarantulas as an example....In NYC, it is against the law to own a I am sure there are similar laws about reptiles, you will need to check with your state and city.

    Sourcing your animals could be as simple as finding an online breeder. I know of a few and they can all be found through Google. Many of these people do this as a hobby and for some money on the side so this may be an option for you to source from.

    Sorry I couldn't help you with the business end of it...well, actually, I could say this: I was in business for myself and I learned something. Whatever you think it's going to cost, triple that. Prepare yourself for much work and heartache.

    Good luck.

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