Anyone own a music store?

Scott Baxendale

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
3,784
Athens Ga
Not a bad idea, I have started to think about looking around ebay and other sites for used guitars that might need work, but it's hard to find them when you have to sift through 100s of dedicated ebay shops, new guitars and people selling at retail price for their NOS or recently purchased guitars.


This is something that I've been considering, actually attaching something else to the shop to supplement income as well. I was thinking of maybe a general media store (we don't have one) like for games, movies, vinyl, etc. with a music store attached with instruments and accessories. I've also floated the idea of having lesson rooms in the back for private lessons that teachers can rent out so they can get the lessons out of their home and into a professional space. All-in-all I would like to transform this idea into a hang-out/music store where people can come and chill, play some music, and buy what they need instead of driving 90 miles just to be told "We don't sell guitars anymore."


Definitely will be operating by the book lol my girlfriend would personally arrest me if she found out I was cooking books or selling fraudulent merchandise lol
Buy from local sources. Facebook marketplace, goodwill, Salvation Army, Craig's list, yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets are all better sources than eBay or reverb.

Place an add that says: “I buy broken guitars for cash” and you will get results.

Having racks of records, sheet music, accessories and other non musician items might seem like a good move but usually isn’t because of how much floor space it takes up and how much money is required to invest in it. Focus on guitars or focus on being a coffee or record shop but do not do both. It’s like carrying many brands of strings, you will have thousands in a upfront investment that will pay you back in a very slow trickle. I worked at the Denver Folklore Center and they had a big selection of sheet music and music books. One 10 foot long rack with bins on both sides filled with sheet music cost over $30k in up front money. He would sell a few items each week totaling about $20-50. It takes several years to pay back that $30k at a few dollars at a time. Where a used guitar they might cost you $100 upfront that you can spend some time and parts on and resell almost immediately for $250. Making a quick $100 in profit. This is the model and formula you need to make a living at this.
 
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davi3blu3

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 26, 2021
42
Nashville, TN
You can start small by buying used guitars, fixing them and then flipping them. As you build up your skills you can slowly expand until you have a small store’s worth of inventory.

I think this is a great place to start. You can start with a small investment, run it out of your home, and it will give a chance to hone your skills and LEARN THE MARKET. Maybe you'll notice a lot of interest in your local area, helping you quantify potential demand for a brick and mortar, but maybe you'll notice other hotspots you can ship to - you aren't tied to location like you would be with a storefront.

Also you can identify niches. There are a lot of people flipping guitars online, and a deep knowledge of certain brands and hardware etc can set you apart. I have a good friend who does this by staying away from Fenders and Gibsons - he's had great success focusing on Steinbergers, Rickenbackers, and models that have a small but dedicated following. Some of that stuff is really hard to find, but when he does he has experience of what the market wants and will pay for. Important skill to develop for any aspiring entrepreneur.
 

Rickety

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 6, 2021
80
Devils Lake, ND
Buy from local sources. Facebook marketplace, goodwill, Salvation Army, Craig's list, yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets are all better sources than eBay or reverb.

Place an add that says: “I buy broken guitars for cash” and you will get results.

Having racks of records, sheet music, accessories and other non musician items might seem like a good move but usually isn’t because of how much floor space it takes up and how much money is required to invest in it. Focus on guitars or focus on being a coffee or record shop but do not do both. It’s like carrying many brands of strings, you will have thousands in a upfront investment that will pay you back in a very slow trickle. I worked at the Denver Folklore Center and they had a big selection of sheet music and music books. One 10 foot long rack with bins on both sides filled with sheet music cost over $30k in up front money. He would sell a few items each week totaling about $20-50. It takes several years to pay back that $30k at a few dollars at a time. Where a used guitar they might cost you $100 upfront that you can spend some time and parts on and resell almost immediately for $250. Making a quick $100 in profit. This is the model and formula you need to make a living at this.
Flipping guitars actually sounds like a pretty good starting formula. I don't have a ton of time to dedicate to it yet so making a small amount of money at a time on restorations and fixes sounds like a pretty good way to start getting my foot in the door.

I think this is a great place to start. You can start with a small investment, run it out of your home, and it will give a chance to hone your skills and LEARN THE MARKET. Maybe you'll notice a lot of interest in your local area, helping you quantify potential demand for a brick and mortar, but maybe you'll notice other hotspots you can ship to - you aren't tied to location like you would be with a storefront.

Also you can identify niches. There are a lot of people flipping guitars online, and a deep knowledge of certain brands and hardware etc can set you apart. I have a good friend who does this by staying away from Fenders and Gibsons - he's had great success focusing on Steinbergers, Rickenbackers, and models that have a small but dedicated following. Some of that stuff is really hard to find, but when he does he has experience of what the market wants and will pay for. Important skill to develop for any aspiring entrepreneur.
I think I am going to start with some less... 'prestigious' brands like what you listed, also maybe Jackson, and Gretsch.
 

Dadocaster

Dr. Stratster
Mar 15, 2015
26,267
Sachse TX behind the cemetary
A lot of them are crooks. Buy low/sell high is their motto.

This is not what a true Mom & Pop music store is, however.

All of these were mom and pop.

1. Was caught by an employee gluing 300 dollar labels inside 100 dollar student violins.

2. Idiot with family money bought the small chain I worked for and ran it into the ground in 3 years. Banks came after him and padlocked the locations to liquidate. Idiot had squirreled away many thousands of dollars in inventory hidden in his home.

3. Another fairly successful idiot claimed he only paid himsel 1000. bucks a month but the whole family wore rolex and he paid personal bills out of the business including tuition for his kids.

Different industry entirely that I worked in, family owned also commited fraud.

All this I encountered by about age 25.
 

Scott Baxendale

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
3,784
Athens Ga
All of these were mom and pop.

1. Was caught by an employee gluing 300 dollar labels inside 100 dollar student violins.

2. Idiot with family money bought the small chain I worked for and ran it into the ground in 3 years. Banks came after him and padlocked the locations to liquidate. Idiot had squirreled away many thousands of dollars in inventory hidden in his home.

3. Another fairly successful idiot claimed he only paid himsel 1000. bucks a month but the whole family wore rolex and he paid personal bills out of the business including tuition for his kids.

Different industry entirely that I worked in, family owned also commited fraud.

All this I encountered by about age 25.
The music world, just like the internet, is a den of thieves.
 

Scott Baxendale

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
3,784
Athens Ga
Yeah, and as I've explored more about this idea I've thought that it would be a good idea to do that as well, we have a couple of schools who rent their equipment from a site that's about an hour and a half away.

Also, e-commerce is something that I'm going to throw into the list of things to learn about.
When I started out I worked in a store that made most of their money with band instrument rentals.
 

Dadocaster

Dr. Stratster
Mar 15, 2015
26,267
Sachse TX behind the cemetary
When I started out I worked in a store that made most of their money with band instrument rentals.

If my ears were not too borked for doing sales stuff, I probably have a wide enough range of experience to get a gig selling to schools. I know something about nearly everything, played brass, marching band, choir, guitar, bass, little piano and after the years with Boyo I know a lot about drums and drumlines and such.

I may need a job soon. But I don't really want to work 40 hours a week.
 

Clickitysplit

Strat-O-Master
May 25, 2021
603
Temecula, CA
I think your passion for this will be the driver that gets this thing moving but surviving is truly a numbers game. Be good at them please. Consider partnering up with someone local who’s experienced in running a small business, or at the very least, cutting a realistic business plan. BTW I’d order from you online. :thumb:
 

jimrockcity

New Member!
Aug 28, 2021
3
Batavia IL
I don't know anything specific about music franchises. But, most franchise deals require you to have a fairly large pile of assets, have a significant amount of money to invest, and be willing to accept a salary with limitations on possible earnings. It can work, but it's not usually a lower cost approach for the ones I've looked at and may or may not be worth dedicating your life to.
Correct.
 

PCollen

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2014
3,450
Florida
The reason I ask is because I live in an area that should have some kind of mom and pop music store, we have about 7,500 people and we're a central hub for a few smaller towns around us when people don't want to drive all the way out to a bigger city area.

I'm sick of not having what I need near me, especially in an area that sees bad weather that can inhibit deliveries from online orders for days. I've been thinking about opening a business in this town for a while, I've thought about a restaurant, a bowling alley, a movie theater, you name it. We do have a small music scene here, a couple of local bars will host local musicians to come and play, and we have a casino in the neighboring Native American reservation that hosts live bands as well (quite frequently I might add) so the demand is somewhat there, and may increase if there's a readily available music store in town.

My question to you is this... how difficult was it to open a music store for you? Is there some avenue you need to go down to procure contracts with brands like Gibson, Ibanez, and Fender or is it all out of pocket purchases? Any and all advice is welcome. (Please save the 'My advice... just don't do it' posts, because it's about more than just the money in this case.)

There is typically a very large up front order requirement, and also a requirement for periodic sustainment orders. Just as in the automobile business, the Dealer is the prime customer of the manufacturer and owns the product he sells, and it's up to the dealer to deplete his inventory (sell it) in time to accept the next sustainment order.

How to become an authorized Fender dealer: https://ourpastimes.com/how-to-become-a-fender-guitar-dealer-12195696.html
 

Rickety

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 6, 2021
80
Devils Lake, ND
I think your passion for this will be the driver that gets this thing moving but surviving is truly a numbers game. Be good at them please. Consider partnering up with someone local who’s experienced in running a small business, or at the very least, cutting a realistic business plan. BTW I’d order from you online. :thumb:
Thanks! This is the exact reason why I'm taking this thing slowly and learning as much as possible before diving in head first. I've seen too many friends crash and burn with a business idea that they were passionate about but didn't take the time to learn about running a business. This is also why my other business ventures are shelved until I learn more, I know that I have the work ethic to actually do the work required, but I need to know that I have the knowledge to do it as well.

When I started out I worked in a store that made most of their money with band instrument rentals.
That's why I would definitely be trying to sell the local school on the idea, another way to supplement income. As I'm learning more and more I'm finding out that the income from guitar sales is not going to be the reason the business stays open, they will be a nice thing to offer to the community, but I gotta diversify my revenue stream to supplement.

There is typically a very large up front order requirement, and also a requirement for periodic sustainment orders. Just as in the automobile business, the Dealer is the prime customer of the manufacturer and owns the product he sells, and it's up to the dealer to deplete his inventory (sell it) in time to accept the next sustainment order.

How to become an authorized Fender dealer: https://ourpastimes.com/how-to-become-a-fender-guitar-dealer-12195696.html
Yeah, definitely will be going with smaller brands, unless by some miracle I become wildly successful and am able to open additional locations, but I would really just be happy with one store.
 

jtoomuch

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Feb 28, 2010
2,000
South Florida
I actually have an 'in' with the local police, my girlfriend of over 6 years is a police officer here in town, so I may have an inside view on the hot sheet and know what to look for, but I get what you're saying.

At the end of the day, this is a dream of mine that I hope to accomplish at some point, I don't have the know how just yet to do it but I'm learning a little bit at a time.
Good luck to you. I hope you can do it and be succesful.
 

joe_cpwe

Senior Stratmaster
Jul 21, 2015
2,660
WI, USA
No music store experience here...

I think the life blood of a small local music store is the people taking lessons. The store is an add-on to lessons, not the other way around.

There is steady income from teaching, and they need instruments. Thats why small stores are full if inexpensive gear. Also, they sell used gear on consignment so that not a strain on cash flow.

I'm not saying having LOTS of lessons happening guarantees success, but my hunch is you have no chance without that.
 

Scott Baxendale

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
3,784
Athens Ga
That's why I would definitely be trying to sell the local school on the idea, another way to supplement income. As I'm learning more and more I'm finding out that the income from guitar sales is not going to be the reason the business stays open, they will be a nice thing to offer to the community, but I gotta diversify my revenue stream to supplement.
I make most of my money exclusively selling used guitars or on repairs. Find your niche and focus on that. A big mistake is to get spread too thin. If you want to rent band instruments or PA’s then focus on that business model until it’s profitable before spreading into selling records or guitars, but if guitars are your passion then focus on that instead. Trying to do it all at once will set you up for failure.
 

Rickety

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 6, 2021
80
Devils Lake, ND
I make most of my money exclusively selling used guitars or on repairs. Find your niche and focus on that. A big mistake is to get spread too thin. If you want to rent band instruments or PA’s then focus on that business model until it’s profitable before spreading into selling records or guitars, but if guitars are your passion then focus on that instead. Trying to do it all at once will set you up for failure.
Oh trust me, I know that lol I tried to diversify too much and too fast with one of my side projects... got completely burnt out, lost focus, and ultimately let things slip into disrepair.
 

Hydr0

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 3, 2015
2,162
New York
If you haven’t done this already, I’d suggest to speak to the local schools, tell them your idea and gauge the interest. Make sure there is a market for what you want to do.

good luck! :thumb:
 

Rickety

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 6, 2021
80
Devils Lake, ND
If you haven’t done this already, I’d suggest to speak to the local schools, tell them your idea and gauge the interest. Make sure there is a market for what you want to do.

good luck! :thumb:
I can see this going one of two ways, either 1.) they show some interest and want to hear more, or 2.) they want me to produce a product that I don't have, in order to prove to them that I can supply their demands and I will be laughed out of the meeting. I think it would be better for me to secure at least one rental deal prior to opening a brick and mortar storefront by slowly acquiring high school band equipment and then making an offer.
 


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