Online "discount" gun dealers


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TenRingGuns.com
February 25, 2012, 01:43 AM
I don't mean for this to cause an uproar but I'd really like your thoughts on this matter.

What do you like or not like about them? Do you buy from them? Why or why not?

I'm frustrated to say the least. Customers call me all the time and say they found the gun online for almost nothing and want me to sell them a gun for that price; impossible.

Anyhow, just wanted some insight from you all.

Happy shooting,
Tom

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Voltia
February 25, 2012, 01:51 AM
Most gun stores overcharge. Most of them don't have anything other than the most mainstream of selections. Just like all trade goods, firearms are going digital; if you can't offer the same gun for the price of their online quote, shipping, and a transfer fee, you'll be left in the dust.

While I don't mind spending a few extra dollars to support local business, it needs to be just a few, not a lot, and the business should deserve it, which means nice people, good selection, and no BS from the gun store I choose to patronize. If your price is 100 dollars above what I can get online, or you don't have what I want, or you are anything but polite and supportive of what I want to get/do/buy, then online I go.

Shadow 7D
February 25, 2012, 01:58 AM
discount??
add shipping
add transfer

Want a discount
Get your Class 3 FFL
a Collector of Curio's and Relics and buy from the distributors.
there's a discount.

lobo9er
February 25, 2012, 01:59 AM
But your tom and offer the lowset price around?

LOWEST PRICE: Although price isn’t everything, we beat our competitor’s prices. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing you’re getting one of the lowest prices around.

hipoint
February 25, 2012, 02:02 AM
I agree, I'll support a local business over a large scale retailer any day of the week, but when the cost differential gets to be too great, then it isn't worth it anymore. Growing up my mother ran a retail establishment, she quit the business to pursue other things, but she kept her profit margin very small on each item, that kept her store the most busy and profitable in the entire town whereas all the other businesses squeezed every cent they can out of anyone unfortunate enough to wander in their doors...

not saying anything about the O.P. as obviously I don't know them but if you can't compete with their prices then something is wrong, perhaps you need to be buying the stock from them? If you have good enough deals people will come to you and the difference will be made up in volume. Anyone would rather purchase a gun they can hold and look at first over a gun they've never touched.

Every gun store in my town charges MSRP for their guns, even the USED ONES! I'm sure you aren't that bad, but when I can purchase a gun for hundreds of dollars less online, then I'll do it.

Retail is hard, I wish you luck in keeping your store open, too many of the smaller businesses are going under now.

DAP90
February 25, 2012, 02:03 AM
The fact of the matter is online sales are here to stay. Even if they start collecting taxes online dealers will still have a price advantage due to volume sales.

I’d say if you can’t beat them, join them. For every customer that calls where you can’t match the price offer to do the transfer for X; where X is something you can make a profit on and the customer can live with. That’ll get them in the store where maybe you can add some boxes of ammo, scope mount fees or something.

TenRingGuns.com
February 25, 2012, 02:18 AM
Confused Lobo? I offer the best price for my customers where I'm at. But my customers come back because of the service I provide them.

TennJed
February 25, 2012, 03:08 AM
Confused Lobo? I offer the best price for my customers where I'm at. But my customers come back because of the service I provide them.
Honest question for you as a gun shop owner. Do you shop at chain pharmacies (walgreens, CVS) or chain supermarkets (walmart, kroger, target) or eat at chain resturants (chilis, outback ect)

Those places drive the mom and pop resturant and local store owner crazy.

Best thing you can do is be innovative. The industy is changing and you will have to change also. Find a ninch, what that is I do not know or I would do it myself. Maybe offer reloading classes, or package deals with holsters and ammo to go with purchased guns. See if you can find a local leathersmith or holster maker and have high end custom holsters to go with the guns. I know I would pay a litter more to buy local if it came with a nice holster and some ammo (gonna have to buy them anyway)

It is far easier to change oneself than change someone else

smalls
February 25, 2012, 03:36 AM
My LGS has an indoor range, and if you buy a gun there, you get a 6 month membership. With the membership, you pay half price to use the range. That's a pretty nice bonus, and is worth paying a little more for a gun than buying online. They've got pretty good prices, too, though.

happygeek
February 25, 2012, 03:44 AM
What do you like or not like about them? Do you buy from them? Why or why not?


For the most part, love them. The last three guns I've bought were from three different online distributors, two of whom strike me as being mom & pop operations. The last three were also all C&Rs so I just had them shipped to me.

In an ideal world there'd be an FFL type similar to the 03 that'd allow me to buy any firearm. Unfortunately the 68 GCA doesn't have such a provision so if I buy online I have to have it shipped to someone else, then drive over there and pay $25 or more extra. Because if a gun is 49 years old NICS has to check me out, but if the gun is 50 years old a check by the ATF suffices. Makes perfect sense.

In all fairness it says on your website you're charging $25 for transfers, which is about the cheapest I've seen around here.

JohnBT
February 25, 2012, 09:33 AM
"Do you buy from them? Why or why not?"

No. I want to see the exact gun I am buying because every one is slightly different and I don't want to trust to random luck in order to get one of the good ones. And I really don't want to have to post questions here such as, "Is the front sight crooked on my new gun and how do I send it back to the factory? Will they fix the scratches on the barrel too?" :)

You know all of those posts about FedEx and UPS shipping problems? I've never had to ship a gun - the dealers do it for me.

John

Malachi Leviticus Blue
February 25, 2012, 09:37 AM
I'm not an FFL, but am in Sales & Engineering. My customers could go On-Line an purchase similar products, sometime the same products for maybe half the price. I don't worry about loosing customers that want to go that route. The customers I do business with are willing to pay extra for my service, support, troubleshooting, extensive inventory and application expertise. They trust, and count on me to know the right product for their application, proper technique, relevant codes, and standards and they know I will stand behind my products. There will always be those prospective customers that are only looking at the price tag period. I wouldn't worry about loosing them. Offer your customers just a product in a box and you are going to have a tough time as a small local business. Give them a complete package and you could do very well.

BBDartCA
February 25, 2012, 09:42 AM
Freight, FFL transfer costs, and in some states where FFLs must collect local sales tax for out of state purchases, makes it very hard to justify online "discount" gun purchases purely on economics. So local retailers are somewhat protected by these facts. Rare guns, niche items, etc. are a different story.

mgmorden
February 25, 2012, 09:52 AM
Any amount of shipping, tax, and FFL transfer for me never break $50 in total. Compared to online, I almost never see new guns locally for any less than $100 more than what I can get online.

As such, I don't buy new guns locally - ever. Its a capitalist society - I look out for me, my, and mine. Whatever keeps more dollars in my pocket is what I do, and that means buying online these days.

Gator 23
February 25, 2012, 10:17 AM
Great posts. This is like a focus group for Ten Rings Guns! Price matters for me. I purchase online from reputable dealers who deal in high volume and can save me money that I need for other life expenses. We all know budgeting is very important to many Americans now given this recession - no corporation, company, or local business is going to change that - they have to adapt to it to survive. In terms of damage and having an opportunity to inspect the firearm, my online dealers allows returns if I see an issue with the item before completion of the ATF paperwork at my local FFL's store. As a firearms purchaser, if I am getting value for that extra $50 or $100 for a LGS purchase (like others stated - e.g. holsters, range access, shooting classes, gunsmithing services (scope mount, sites installation, discounted trigger work, box of ammunition, cleaning kit...) Survey your customers and see what THEY would like as extras to their purchase. Thinking about my recent firearms purchases over the last few years...here are things that may have drawn me to a LGS vs online dealers. For example, all .22 youth rifles come with a free two hour youth shooting class offered once a month; select auto pistols include discounted night sights (10-20%) and FREE installation; hunting rifles include discounted scope bases/rings and FREE installation/bore sighting. These are just a few ideas for me that would have made my LGS more appealing. Find out what "extras" your customers value within each firearm line/category and set up appealing packages that add more value to your stores products and services.

zkc1677095
February 25, 2012, 11:20 AM
Modern firearms are a commodity, pure and simple, and like all commodities, I shop by total out-the-door price. As such, about 90% of my purchases are made on-line from one dealer: Bud's, who typically offer free shipping, no sales tax shipped to my state, and pretty darn good service to boot. Additionally, my FFL does $10 transfers, so the transfer fee is always less than sales tax would be in my area.

The remaining 10% of my purchases are usually near-impulse, on-sale purchases from one of the big box sporting goods establishments in my area.

Doxiedad
February 25, 2012, 11:29 AM
I usually purchase my guns from my LGS. For my Glocks they were like $30 more than what I could get them for online so I bought them locally.

When I went to purchase my AR15 the wanted $1270 for a S&W M&P 15A and I got one for $895 including shipping and transfer.

When it comes to several HUNDRED dollars I'll just go online, for $30-$40 I'll buy local.

Just my .02

lonehunter
February 25, 2012, 03:31 PM
Tom, I have always bought from LGS or used from someone face to face.

My ? is about your transfer fee. There is always a lot of discussion about transfer fees as far as the cost verses the amount of work you have to do for one.

Do you feel that your making money on it at $25.00?

Thanks,

Jeff

Bloggerguy
February 25, 2012, 04:08 PM
I get the same thing. Sitting back selling guns on the internet seems to be fairly easy. I try to keep the prices low enough that you just end up buying a gun at my store.

firesky101
February 25, 2012, 04:28 PM
I know nothing about what distributors charge, so take this with a grain of salt. Maybe you need a different distributor. My favorite FFL usually beats the online big boys, and he is not exactly a volume dealer. He orders 1-2 guns at a time as the customer wants them, his FFL is a side business to his welding shop.

edit: checked out your website, great example KLCR-357 only $4 more at your shop then buds. I would buy at your place.

Byrd666
February 25, 2012, 04:38 PM
Though I've never purchased a firearm through an online"discount" dealer yet, there will be a time in the very near future when I do. There are a few items that just can't be had anywhere else for the same price. Even with transfer fees and all added to it.

But for the purposes of comparison, they are a great place to start. The selection and variety of the online dealers is almost hard to beat. If you, as a dealer, had the same variety of arms and accessories and only charged 10% over cost for arms and 10-15% over for ammunition and all, then I would almost have no choice but to shop at a brick and mortar dealer.

And for what it's worth, my two pistol purchases have been made at just such dealers. And they even showed me the original p.o. from the distributor when my order was placed so there was no question about it. I really do prefer to deal with a human than a machine to begin with.

Safetychain
February 25, 2012, 04:43 PM
I have never bought a firearm from the internet though, I have been really tempted. The type of problem I recently ran into was when I really wanted a particular new gun and went to the GS closest to me. His procedure was to have the guns in a case with a tag, usually turned down where you have to handle them to see the price, with 'his cost' and 'sales price' on the tag. I had checked the night before at a few online sites to get the typical lowest average to stop from being jerked around and have a start for negotiations. His 'his cost' price was more than $100 over what the online average was. I was being jerked around. Actually I found and bought the same gun in a shop across town for exactly $100 less than the first shop's 'his cost'. I can't imagine the distributors of new, fairly recently produced guns could vary, obviously, over $100 as the second shop wouldn't be selling a popular gun for no profit. I don't believe I will ever buy anything from that first shop. That type of bullpoop is what drives people to the internet. For you to make a living, be honest with your customers and don't expect them to finance your nest Lamborghini.

Hey that statement was supposed to be "bought the same gun in a shop across town for exactly what the first shop's 'his cost' was." Sorry mixed up the numbers in my head.

Safetychain
February 25, 2012, 04:52 PM
I have never bought a firearm from the internet though, I have been really tempted. The type of problem I recently ran into was when I really wanted a particular new gun and went to the GS closest to me. His procedure was to have the guns in a case with a tag, usually turned down where you have to handle them to see the price, with 'his cost' and 'sales price' on the tag. I had checked the night before at a few online sites to get the typical lowest average to stop from being jerked around and have a start for negotiations. His 'his cost' price was more than $100 over what the online average was. I was being jerked around. Actually I found and bought the same gun in a shop across town for exactly $100 less than the first shop's 'his cost'. I can't imagine the distributors of new, fairly recently produced guns could vary, obviously, over $100 as the second shop wouldn't be selling a popular gun for no profit. I don't believe I will ever buy anything from that first shop. That type of bullpoop is what drives people to the internet. For you to make a living, be honest with your customers and don't expect them to finance your nest Lamborghini.

mgmorden
February 25, 2012, 05:05 PM
Want a discount
Get your Class 3 FFL
a Collector of Curio's and Relics and buy from the distributors.
there's a discount.

As a C&R holder, there is one problem there (at least as a handgun person): my local regular FFL charges $15 for a transfer. Thing is, guns going to HIM can go USPS for less than $10. Guns coming to me have to come via UPS or Fedex at around $25 each.

Since I'm not home during the day, I usually have to end up driving to the shipping hub (which is farther than his shop) to pick the gun up anyways.

As such, for handguns its usually a wash on cost whether I order it myself or have it tranferred through him. Pretty much the only reason I still maintain my C&R these days is for discounts at MidwayUSA and Brownells :). If only we could get the law changed to allow C&R holders to receive via USPS that would be different, but I doubt that'll happen anytime soon.

Well Now
February 25, 2012, 05:23 PM
I have bought 5 guns from local shops, once paying more than a reasonable cost because the gun was not one that was readily available. I have also bought 4 guns online because of the greater savings offered over buying locally.

surveyor
February 25, 2012, 05:24 PM
What do you like or not like about them? Do you buy from them? Why or why not?

what I like about on line..
easy to see what best cost would be in a perfect world, usually no tax and free shipping..

do I buy from them..
not usually as my tastes are more used than new
I prefer to see and handle what I'm going to buy
I prefer to deal with my LGS as the service is a lot more personal
I like having a lay away program available to me
my LGS is pretty competitive to price, but the thing that puts them over is the sales tax.. so its not a level playing field..

If my LGS is within 75+/- of the online price (OTD) I'll go with them
it makes it harder on some of the upper end models close to !K though..(think kind of like a sliding scale.. higer price gold cup I'm willing to allow more than a kel tec)

I have got some great deals, fair deals and ok deals with the LGS but that's ok it all evens out..

to some, its price only...
to others its fair price and good service..

when i'm looking for something new, yes I check the online merchants, get a price..
but I also ask my LGS what they can get it for as well..(cash and carry only)

gfpd707
February 25, 2012, 05:33 PM
discount??
add shipping
add transfer

Want a discount
Get your Class 3 FFL
a Collector of Curio's and Relics and buy from the distributors.
there's a discount.
My shop charges $25 transfer and no shipping charges from buds. Meanwhile he has the same gun in the display case and is asking msrp. I like supporting the locals and do but i am not going to pay way to much.

mrcooper
February 25, 2012, 05:37 PM
I never buy from my LGS the owner is a real JERK :cuss::cuss::cuss::cuss:

walt629
February 25, 2012, 05:45 PM
I shop on line to get a better idea about what price I should expect when I go to the gun shop. The local shop I deal with will do everything they can to get me the gun I want at 'near' the same price. They are straight up front that their goal is to maintain customer satisfaction but at the same time they are in it to make a profit.

Their deal is, they will get me the gun I want for the cost of the FFL transaction plus 10 to 15% of the cost of the gun depending on what they have to go through to get it to me plus shipping cost and insurance.

Sounds like the same deal I'd get from the online guy but they will take a gun in trade on the new purchase, whereas the online guy won't. So if I want to trade up and the gun is online somewhere, I can do it without the hassle of having to sell my trade in myself or put it into consignment.

Plus I have the relationship with the gun shop and that in itself goes a long way when needed.

Bloggerguy
February 25, 2012, 05:49 PM
Another reason for people to purchase online. Gun store owners think they can say and do whatever they want. They cant do it. They WILL go out of business if they have that way of thinking. Its a hobby shop. Not a grocery store....

Online purchases are smoother. No problems most of the time and nobody trying to change your mind.

Once again my .02

Shadow 7D
February 25, 2012, 06:06 PM
You can get long guns on a C&R via USPS just not handguns, and yeah, when you are looking at buying them and shipping starting at $50, it's kinda a wash with them, or some of them.

35Rem
February 25, 2012, 07:20 PM
In todays world (what's the gas price today?) I have to make every penny count. New guns, I do buy online. I've bought used guns online, too, as some things you just don't find locally.

DeepSouth
February 25, 2012, 07:44 PM
I had a pretty good deal worked out with my guy. I would find the best price I could online and he would normally match it, if he did I bought it from him even though with the addition of taxes I normally spent a little more. If he couldn't match it or at least come close he would transfer one for me.

He old me once I seemed to always get a good deal but he still made more money selling me one than transferring one, he charged me $10 for a transfer most others he charged $20. Unfortunately he changed jobs and the guy that took his place seems to be a lot quicker to "just do a transfer" I guess he doesn't want the hassle of ordering and everything.

In short I would rather do business with the local guys but if will save 75+ dollars then that's kind of the cut off for me and they normally seem to understand where I'm at and appreciate the fact that I would rather buy from them.

trex1310
February 25, 2012, 11:24 PM
As a general rule I buy locally. Price is never the deciding
factor. I will buy online if my LGS doesn't have or doesn't want
to order something. The LGS will then handle the transfer. I only
do business with one LGS. The other stores seem to be owned by
complete jerks. If you want to lose my business, insult my intelligence.
I also don't like the gun store owner that is trying to emulate one of
the Mongol Motorcycle Club members. Long hair, tats everywhere,
leather vest and a 1911 in a holster doesn't impress me at all.

writerinmo
February 26, 2012, 12:25 AM
I buy to get the best deal. My name isn't Rockefeller, I don't have money to spend frivolously. But I just bought a few guns and ended up buying two of them from an LGS for the simple reason that his prices ended up costing me less than buying online. I was looking for a Ruger P95. Bud's had them for $319 with free shipping. Factor in the $20 transfer, $339, no sales tax. No one in my area had one. Finally hit JW Firearms to check with them, they had the Ruger for the exact same $319 everyday price. As I was purchasing that one, I spotted the Phoenix Arms HP22A that I have been looking for which is sold out all over as well. $149...

Well, those two left with me, the total was just under $500 all said and done.

The next day however, I did order a Saiga in 7.62x39 from Classic Arms, as they just beat the pants off everyone else at $312 (Until the day after that I saw them in Centerfire's catalog for $299.) Ordered it late Friday, they took the money out of my bank account on Monday and shipped it, Thursday I went to my local FFL and picked it up, $25 for a "facilitated sale".

Online, I can find out whether a supplier has what I am looking for. Locally I either spend a lot of time driving around, or emailing or calling them and asking if they have it. Sometimes they have one, but won't hold it till you get there and you risk someone else buying it and making the trip for nothing.

A GOOD LGS is hard to find unless you've already spent a bucketload of cash with them, you don't get any special treatment.

wojownik
February 26, 2012, 01:12 AM
I'll leave the names out ...

LGS #1 - tacticool staff pretty much ignores potential customers that are either (a) not regulars and/or (b) tacticool. Tends to price at or above MSRP, selection is heavy on black rifles and HK pistols, and not much else. Very high FFL transfer fees for the area, and actively discourages transfers (one of the staff actually said the tired statement that "if we don't have it, you don't want it").

LGS #2 - good ole' boy staff, very quirky, pretty opinionated, especially if you ask about a gun he doesn't have in stock, or doesn't like. Not much new stuff, but a fair amount on consignment at OK prices. Shop is a real mess though - disorganized, cluttered - like a army surplus shop after an earthquake. Friendly about doing transfers, but can also be disorganized during the transaction.

LGS#3 - staff with very professional demeanor, friendly but businesslike. Good selection of handguns (well rounded, for anyone from the cowboy action shooter to the IDPA/IPSC crowd). Well organized store. Good selection of accessories. Experienced gunsmiths on staff (including a manufacturer-certified armorers), at reasonable labor and parts rates. Friendly and very smooth FFL transfers.

LGS#1 and #2 soured me on the whole idea of local shops. LGS#3 brought me back home.

Though LGS#3 is quite a bit out of my way, they have become my one-stop shop for all manner of accessories and services. Though a lot of my purchases have been either transfers, they have gotten my business for the transfer, for the leather, and for a fair amount of a bit of maintenance services. Example: When I transferred a Sig p6 online though them, I ended up picking up a holster, having the sights replaced, and tuning it up.

In fact - and maybe this is the punch line - he's probably made a lot more money from me in services than he ever would in margin on firearms purchases.

TennJed
February 26, 2012, 03:11 AM
As a general rule I buy locally. Price is never the deciding
factor. I will buy online if my LGS doesn't have or doesn't want
to order something. The LGS will then handle the transfer. I only
do business with one LGS. The other stores seem to be owned by
complete jerks. If you want to lose my business, insult my intelligence.
I also don't like the gun store owner that is trying to emulate one of
the Mongol Motorcycle Club members. Long hair, tats everywhere,
leather vest and a 1911 in a holster doesn't impress me at all.
Just curious, did the long hair guy insult you or is it just his looks? Everyone has their own standards and I am not questioning yours, but I have come across too many of people in gun stores who are either uneducated on firearms, sleazy salesmen, or they insult my intelligence.

If I can find one who is knows his stuff, is honest, and actual tries to help I would be more than happy to support him (or her) regardless of looks.

Teachu2
February 26, 2012, 03:38 AM
I located a transfer FFL locally who charges $25 and is open when I need him. He did nearly 2000 transfers last year. The LGS's charge $100+ on transfers from another dealer, and are at or close to msrp on new guns. If they would meet me halfway, they'd get my business. When it costs 20% more to buy from the local dealer, who has to order it after I pay for it - well, I feel kinda stupid rewarding such behavior.

I'd be more understanding if they stocked the guns, or even would order one in on approval, but they provide the same level of service I get from Bud's - almost. They seem to be a bit slower...

I used to fly radio-controlled model airplanes. Seemed like every time I wanted to make a major purchase, it had to be ordered - and at a higher cost than I could order it myself, and with a longer wait. About fifteen years ago, a local guy took over a losing hobby shop and immediately cut the prices to at or below mail-order. It didn't take long for his business to explode - he owned the market here for ~8 years, and made very good money doing it. He got maximum discounts from his distributors because he was selling a large yearly volume, and so his profit margin was adequate. His philosophy was that he'd rather make a small profit than loose a sale. He sold the place and the new owner tried to charge more - he lost his investment.

Gun stores cannot survive just selling guns. The profit is in the accessories, range time, trade-ins, and consignments.

olafhardtB
February 26, 2012, 07:55 AM
One good reason to buy on line is you can find used stuff that you can't find at your LGS. You might have a Savage 22/20 model 24,or a pre 64 model 94 in 25/35 or a colt doubie action 32/20 etc but I can't count on it. I can find them on the internet in a few minutes. But I can't lay it away. I would like to be able to find it on the internet, pay a deposit and layaway fee, get it ordered, pay it out, pay the transfer fee and pick it up. I would like point out that a lot of people who post here don't know squat about running a store including me.

Davek1977
February 26, 2012, 08:16 AM
I have purchased guns both ways...in fact my two purchases were one of each. I didn't feel shameful or dirty ordering a Doublestar AR from Bud's, when the locals hadn't even heard of the company. My last purchase was a Ruger SR9C last week. I priced it at Buds and a few other online shops. I walked through the local gun show last weekend, looking for the rare deal. The gun show prices were at least $50 higher than Buds. I was almost resigned to ordering from Buds when the local shop tagged their SR9C at $470, and the cheapest at the show was nearly $450. However, I checked Runnings Farm and Fleet...located just across the street more or less from my house....and found it at $429....Buds was cheaper, but would have fallen within 5 dollars after transfer fees, and by purchasing then and there, I wouldn't have to wait. When the local guys attempt at being competitive, instead of flat out ripping a guy off, its much easier to do business with them. When they apparently feel they need to make almost $100 more on the same gun as their competition, be it local or online, its not hard to decide where I'm shopping. I'm a reasonable guy, but won't pay unreasonable prices just to say I got it locally

o Unforgiven o
February 26, 2012, 08:21 AM
Not all of us have a LGS to shop at in the first place. I don't believe there is a single gun shop within 15 miles of me that stocks any guns at all, save for the small selection of used stuff. So the way I see it, if it has to be ordered I might as well be the one to order it, and save a good amount of money at the same time. Consequently, I have only ever bought guns online, specifically from Bud's.

Elkins45
February 26, 2012, 09:54 AM
Truthfully most of my gun purchases in the last 10+ years have happened at the fairly regular gun shows we have in Lexington or Louisville. National Gun Day is going on right now in Louisville and the only reason I'm not there today is because I didn't get home until very late yesterday from an out of state meeting.

I've bought a couple of guns from Bud's but I picked them up at the Lexington store. I'm about to find out how hard it is to find an LGS to accept an online transfer for the first time because a bunch of guys on the Accurate Reloading forum have found an importer to bring some left-handed Zastava Mausers into the country. Unfortunately the importer is in Las Vegas so I'll need to find someone local who will do the transfer.

PRM
February 26, 2012, 10:11 AM
I've had good experiences with internet sales on both guns and ammo. Finding an FFL to do a transfer is no issue either {For transfers, Gun Broker has a buyer's tab. Follow the links and it will show you everyone by zip code who will do it and what they charge.}. Our local LGS(s) are pretty much staffed by opinionated, arrogant jerks, and are grossly over priced on their stock. The deciding incident for me was when I ordered a new firearm and it came in defective. The owners son became upset and irate when I would not accept it, stating he had shot a lot of loose guns (defective - breach loader that had excessive play on lock up) in his time (21 year old) and I should take it and be happy. I haven't made a purchase at one in over five years now.


Bottom line:

1. I haven't missed doing business with them.

2. They obviously haven't missed me since they are still in business.

3. We both seem to be happy.

LiquidTension
February 26, 2012, 10:42 AM
I haven't bought anything online in many years. There are several local shops with reasonable prices and ever since PSA opened up a retail store I can get new guns at internet prices locally.

walt629
February 26, 2012, 11:02 AM
Having read what is already posted here, I've come up with a couple of question for those that purchase on line.

How do you know the gun you're buying will fit your needs? Did you go to the local shop, handle the weapon, get the answers, then buy on line? or are you buying with the hopes that it will fit your grip, have the smooth operation you think it will, etc.?

If you are doing that, aren't you cheating the LGS of the profit from the effort they put into selling you the gun you seek? They get you the information and then you go on line to buy it cheaper without considering the services that were just provided to you would be part of the purchase price they are offering the gun for.

I have a hard time buying anything without at least holding it in my hand first. Obviously some will say they have a friend or a range buddy that had what they wanted so they went on line...... and so on.

But the majority of us would see a gun in a magazine and say I want that. As soon as you step foot into a LGS and use any of their services we are adding to the overhead that they need to cover and therefore adding to the cost of the guns they have to offer.

Is anyone taking that into consideration in the discussion?

jrdolall
February 26, 2012, 11:37 AM
I will buy new guns from online retailers but probably not a used one as I know many people get rid of guns for a good reason. I will buy used because I can look at the actual gun. With NIB I dont see the real advantage of holding the gun.
Retailers, including LGS stores, absolutely must realize that their business model needs to change if they want to thrive. I have several LGS to choose from within 30 miles from me and all are different. One of the smaller ones, actually a pawn shop, had 5 Mosin Nagants on the shelf last week. All were in medium to poor shape and he had from $159-$229 on them. I am thinking $79 for a couple of these and I would strip down the wood but he would not budge. Said they are getting hard to find. The same shop I bought two used 9MM pistols a couple of months ago because he did a package deal.
The nicer shop near me NEVER has what I am looking for. S&W bodyguard revolver? Not in but coming later today. He got in S&W Bodyguard in .380 Semi and tried to get me to buy it. I had the money in my pocket to buy a Ruger 9mm compact, ?SR9c?, because he had a sign with a good deal. We just sold the last one. I need a magazine for a Browning Buckmark. Be in next week. I need a box of 6.5x 55 shells for a Swedish Mauser. We usually carry them but are out. These are all actual events in the past couple of months. Last week I bought a 10/22 mag that he actually had in stock and he charged $32. I can buy it online for $20 but I wanted it right then.
You might want to call the stockholders of Sears, Blockbuster, Waldenbooks, Circuit City and a lot of other brick and mortar major chains and ask them how they feel about the internet. Gun stores will either adapt by offering services that the online guys cannot offer, as many people have stated, or they will continue to struggle with losing sales. They need to use the advantages THEY have and convince customers that it is worth $50 to buy from them.
$500 in sales at 10% margin is $50. $2000 in sales at 5% is $100. $10,000 in sales at 0% is $0 and $0 in sales at 50% is $0. You dont always have to be the cheapest but you must be competitive. Hi Point 9mm for $139 is no profit but if the guy buys a couple of boxes of ammo and an extra mag then maybe you make $15 and sell him a holster?

AABEN
February 26, 2012, 11:38 AM
Most gun stores overcharge. Most of them don't have anything other than the most mainstream of selections. Just like all trade goods, firearms are going digital; if you can't offer the same gun for the price of their online quote, shipping, and a transfer fee, you'll be left in the dust.

While I don't mind spending a few extra dollars to support local business, it needs to be just a few, not a lot, and the business should deserve it, which means nice people, good selection, and no BS from the gun store I choose to patronize. If your price is 100 dollars above what I can get online, or you don't have what I want, or you are anything but polite and supportive of what I want to get/do/buy, then online I go.
A gun dealer needs to make 35% on what ever he sales to make a living and to keep his doors open this the lease he cam make. Do you discount your labor?

JoeMal
February 26, 2012, 11:59 AM
Here we go again......this has been beaten to death 10 times in the last month

Most gun stores overcharge. Most of them don't have anything other than the most mainstream of selections. Just like all trade goods, firearms are going digital; if you can't offer the same gun for the price of their online quote, shipping, and a transfer fee, you'll be left in the dust.

While I don't mind spending a few extra dollars to support local business, it needs to be just a few, not a lot, and the business should deserve it, which means nice people, good selection, and no BS from the gun store I choose to patronize. If your price is 100 dollars above what I can get online, or you don't have what I want, or you are anything but polite and supportive of what I want to get/do/buy, then online I go.Couldn't have said it better myself

Local shops are overpriced, their staff is terrible, their service is terrible (unless you're a good 'ol boy that hangs out there all day), and their selection is terrible. Plus you pay taxes.

When I can buy a gun for $100 less online, get exactly what I want without waiting, and pay a $25 transfer instead of $50 in taxes....which do you think I'm going to do?

35Rem
February 26, 2012, 04:05 PM
instead of $50 in taxes

Don't expect this luxury to last much longer. States are already cracking down on internet sales tax "losses".

FourTeeFive
February 26, 2012, 04:16 PM
From your FAQ:

Q: Do you have a store?

A: No, not currently. This isn’t my full-time gig although I hope to have a store eventually.

So I'm confused. You're an internet dealer complaining about internet sales?

I'm not that far from your location, but hadn't heard of you. Since you don't have a store I'm not sure what you offer that I don't get from the various gun dealers in the area.

Bubbles
February 26, 2012, 04:41 PM
Don't expect this luxury to last much longer. States are already cracking down on internet sales tax "losses".
Yep, and it's actually quite easy for states to force dealers to collect and remit the tax, as 1) we're already registered with the state anyway, and 2) if a law gets passed saying we have to do it, adhering to all state and local laws is part and parcel of keeping the FFL.

Very few states will neglect to tap this source of revenue, as they can do it without "raising taxes". Don't expect the NRA or anyone else to lobby against it either, as it's not an RKBA issue, and it's very hard to make the case in favor of tax evasion.

mgmorden
February 26, 2012, 05:11 PM
The tax issue I don't even see as that major. I report the purchases at the end of the year anyways, but even if I didn't, even with the addition of sales tax and transfer fees the local shops around here STILL charge more (in many cases a lot more).

Buds price on a Kel-tec PF9 for example around $250 shipped. + $15 transfer and 7% tax ($17.50) and the total is $280.50.

Last one I saw in a local shop: $375. Plus 7% tax ($26.25) and we have a total of $401.25.

It ain't the sales tax that's the problem.

oneounceload
February 26, 2012, 05:26 PM
I always give my local transfer guy who has a small shop the chance to meet or beat the price from a place like Buds. Most of the time, he can. Since, like buds, he carries a small inventory, his carrying costs are minor, thus his markup can be lower and he can make a profit and still beat Buds

Voltia
February 26, 2012, 07:50 PM
A gun dealer needs to make 35% on what ever he sales to make a living and to keep his doors open this the lease he cam make. Do you discount your labor?

Pardoning your mutilation of the Queen's, I THINK you're trying to say that he needs to cover overhead and this should be expected to be the "least he can make", or maybe "pay the lease."

35% (your number) on a 1000 dollar gun is 350 dollars. I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars over wholesale price just to keep a local gun store in business. Also, I call BS on your figure of 35%. A successful gun store moves MUCH product, yet their overhead remains the same. A successful gun store would be able to get by with a slimmer profit margin, as they would be selling quantity.

That being said, other than being able to inspect before you buy, online sales are better. It comes closer to you, it's cheaper, the selection is better, etc, etc. Am I supposed to 'feel bad' and 'support' a gun store? Of course not, it would be like refusing to deal with email because you like the postal service.

Lastly, dealing with your insinuation that I should discount my labor, you should realize that a firearm is a good, not a service. Thus, I can get the same good from elsewhere and it is not somehow 'more special' because it went through a gun store. Capitalism means that, when someone finds a better way to do your thing, you either adapt, or lose. This is not a socialist country, I don't have an obligation to support outdated methodology, and I can shop where I choose. End of article.

Steel Talon
February 26, 2012, 08:13 PM
Can't argue buying guns on line is a great way to save money. However, you still need to find a local to handle the transfer. $25.00 is all fine and good but I'm seeing higher transfer fees. And some dealers saying you want that model then buy it from me..

surveyor
February 26, 2012, 08:28 PM
Tom,
in post 26 I was discussing a LGS I deal with, brick and mortar store, inventory, set hours, deals in new, used, special order..
he would rather sell a gun he has than do a transfer..

he has competitive prices..
case in point, a Para gi expert stainless..
buds had it for 585 with free shipping, No tax.. through another dealer (no storefront, no inventory, website showing distributors stock) I can get transfers for 15, so its 600 OTD...this dealer has no problems doing transfers and is happy doing them..

LGS had it for 600, + 5 backgrd chk, + 42 tax.. so its about 50 bux more..

it starts to add up on a more expensive item..

But he had it in stock, and we both can't help that at a brick and mortar I have to pay sales tax.. I still dealt with him as I thought price was good..and I want him to stay in business

each business has its niche..no problems about that.. for hard to find items, I'll go with the no storefront, no inventory,web based as they tend to do better follow up on backordered items than the LGS..

case in point..22 conversion for 1911.. put in a ask to be notified when in stock again request at small non stocking dealer, and told LGS to put one on backorder for me at same time 11 months ago.. each time I went in LGS I asked about it.. I got a email from non stocking dealer it was available..last week.. told him to order it..

went to LGS and told them I found one..price about the same within 20 bux from both places, but service was better at one..

for things I want to pick up and hold, feel to see it it meets my needs, the LGS if within 75 +/- diffrence OTD.. for used LGS for special order on accessories, LGS gets them for 10% over cost.. can't be more fair than that..

granted items are goods, but the fact that someone stocks them, offers accessories on hand, has new and used items, offers lay away, and gunsmith services, and competitive prices is more a service, so I'll pay more for that..

for a purely I have held the item before, and know what I want, don't need after sale service, the dealer who has no stock and does a lot of transfers is the cheapest way to go..

I've done both..

still anytime I want something new, I'll ask the LGS what is there price on it first..
lots of times they can match the interworld, other times not so..

for items from the interworld or online auctions, I'll use the other non stocking dealer..

the LGS is usually closed on weekends as they travel for shows.. so you never know what they have come across in trades..

jef2015
February 26, 2012, 08:36 PM
My LGS is doing what I think is going to be the future of many of the small brick and mortar gun stores. He built a web site which shows his distributor's stock. The prices are great, some are better than Bud's.
I think it's win - win. The LGS is getting great exposure through the internet, he doesn't have to keep an inventory of every gun and I am sure he makes more than just a transfer fee. The customer may not be able to handle the firearm before the purchase, which is a downside of all internet purchases, but can take solace in the fact the seller is a lgs who should handle problems that may arise after a gun purchase.
I think it is a great idea and will give this small local store a chance to succeed in a very competitive market.

InkEd
February 26, 2012, 08:57 PM
I'll pay a little extra to get it immediately and from a local store. However, I have a about $60 max on it. Usually my LGS (well, the one I still shop at frequently) is within about $35 of the final price (including transfer) compared to online. They have only missed one sale to the internet from me in the last two years. They do alot of volume and thin margins with a LARGE inventory.

lobo9er
February 26, 2012, 09:14 PM
Maybe you should join the craze and sell online? offer lowprice transfers keeps people coming in and maybe picking up other gear too.

Zach S
February 26, 2012, 09:32 PM
Most accessories are purchased online since I'm not local to the dealer I prefer - otherwise I'd have him order it. I used to have him order the stuff when I was in there every weekend.

I've purchased two firearms online. One was a CNC AR45 lower, transfered at my then LGS. The latest was a STI Spartan in 9mm, pending shipment and transfer. I couldn't find a 9mm 1911 locally.

oneounceload
February 26, 2012, 09:34 PM
LGS had it for 600, + 5 backgrd chk, + 42 tax.. so its about 50 bux more..

You can't hold the tax against him - that is simply collected and passed through - and more and more states are requiring the collection of sales taxes as folks are not voluntarily paying it (like they are required to do)

and the background check is the same anyway

JD Armory
February 26, 2012, 09:43 PM
As a part time FFL who has a small commercial storefront, I've found my prices, even with about a 15% mark up for profit, are pretty well in line, and often lower, than most online stores after transfer fee. The one exception is some of the more expensive guns (maybe $900 or $1,000+), where the 6.5% sales tax I have to charge really starts to add up and I can't compete with Bud's. I do live in a state where people are supposed to report their out of state purchases, so that shouldn't matter, but of course most people don't.

I don't get angry with people who buy online and transfer through me, I have the lowest transfer price in town for a reason. Before I agree to do a transfer, I usually try to convince them to buy through me if I can get it for the same price or less, oftentimes that works. The rest of the time people end up coming back and buying something from me after the see how low my prices are.

drsfmd
February 26, 2012, 09:45 PM
1) Most gun shops margin on new guns is 8%-12%... and customers begrudge us that little smidge of profit.

2) Many FFL's are refusing to do transfers on new guns... if they can get it for you, they aren't going to let you transfer one in through them.

3) Look up "use tax" for your own state. Most of you already owe the tax on the online sales, and are tax cheats for dodging them...

Jeff H
February 26, 2012, 10:51 PM
and the background check is the same anyway

Curious. What states charge for background checks?

wojownik
February 26, 2012, 11:20 PM
Well, the great Commonwealth of Virginia, for one, charges for background checks, $2 in state residents, $5 out of state.

So, for me, the shipping + transfer fee + VSP fee typically that boils down to around $57 all-in on top of the Internet price. So, if the LGS is, say, even $80 or so above Internet price, it's worth it to see the actual item I'm buying beforehand, and get support from a good local vendor (one of the three I mentioned in a previous post).

But if the LGS is much above that, then going with the Internet seller makes the most sense.

oneounceload
February 26, 2012, 11:42 PM
Curious. What states charge for background checks?

FL charges for each gun purchase

duns
February 27, 2012, 12:34 AM
... no sales tax shipped to my state...
In my state (TX), I understand that a "use tax" has to be paid by the purchaser if a taxable item is bought out of state and the vendor did not charge Texas sales or use tax.

kenjabroni
February 27, 2012, 01:38 AM
I have bought 3 guns. Two at one shop and one at another one. Where I have bought my last two, I also shoot at their range. They are always busy as heck it seems but do their best to answer any questions we have. I think supporting places like that and paying a few more bucks than these online shops is definitely worth the experience. We get to see and hold many more weapons by doing this. Heck last week we walked in and they put us on the list for the range before we even asked. I think if you can find a shop that does its best to work with you and help you out then you should return the favor.

TenRingGuns.com
February 27, 2012, 03:21 AM
I love the discussion and interesting insights you all are posting here!

Honestly, what I see happening in the future, is that one won't be able to buy a gun online. I can't remember the piece of legislation but I recall a state that was going to ban online gun sales due to "security" issues.

The tax issue is the other kicker, all the states want a piece of the pie. I could states not just taxing them but taxing them more than other items.
In the great state of WA, you've got to pay "use tax" on all firearms purchased out of state, new or used. This policy is sure to come to your state if it hasn't already.

My main argument to anyone considering buying online is this: you'll be paying for the price of the gun, shipping, the FFL transfer fee, as well as use tax. When all is said and done, you're better off buying the gun from me directly. So far, my customers have been realizing this dose of reality make their dream of buying a gun for a few dollars above cost more of a hassle than what it's worth.

Saw a few comments about my transfer fees. My transfer fees are super low, $25. First, I hate gouging customers and I like helping people out. But when things get busier, like they have been recently, I'll be raising it; it's just not work my time. That's really what it boils down to, time. Other dealers in my area charge at least $50, most $75. One place even charges an extra 10% if they sell the gun you're transferring through them.

Business has been good so far (last 5 months since I've been open). But time has been the biggest factor for me so far and working full time, school full time, and family, make it hard to do anything. I spend a lot of time with each of my customers, researching products, answering questions, etc. I'm launching a new website here shortly where my customers can buy online; this will be a huge time saver for me.

Keep the comments going, I love reading what you all think about this issue.

bsheets20061
February 27, 2012, 04:08 AM
i have found that most of my lgs around here cannot compete with online gun sales as most of the sites i use offer free shipping with the purchase. I still patron their stores and have my firearms shipped to them paying a tansfer fee $10.00 for 5 minutes of their time they are more than happy to do it, the much cheaper gun free shipping and small transfer fee online is usually the optimal way to go for me, but I buy most of my ammo from them and from time to time buy one of their nice used items. This is a virtual world the online game is getting easier and easier maybe its time to expand to online sales and shipping?


forgot to mention I see the opposite for online sales, eveything in life is becomming more internet based i see sales skyrocketing further.

Pietro Beretta
February 27, 2012, 05:00 AM
California firearm prices are completely outrageous, I did make friends with a firearm shop owner (who later sold the business) and that would allow me to get a half way decent price. Still I would find much better deals through buds than my local dealers. When your saving 100 - 175 dollars, after delivery and transfer, its being a smart consumer.

All the normal FFL dealers in my area wanted to charge upwards of $50-80 to do a transfer. That's when I took my time to find a FFL that had no problems doing transfers for $25, he didn't own a shop they ran their business out of their house, and they were the nicest couple I ever met.

Come up to Oregon and the firearm prices are totally reasonable and maybe $25-50 over buds, totally reasonable and now I like to shop locally.

Still when someone doesn't have what I want available, I am going to get it where I can, that's how I am -- I want what I want and if I can afford it I want it now. Being in Oregon, we don't have sales tax so that's not an issue.

Another thing I like about buds is their Layaway program, and buds always has better offers on firearms I want to sell than the local shops.


That being said, I definitely understand that brick and mortar stores are more expensive because you get a level of personal service you cant get in an online transaction.

Davek1977
February 27, 2012, 05:25 AM
: you'll be paying for the price of the gun, shipping, the FFL transfer fee, as well as use tax. When all is said and done, you're better off buying the gun from me directly

this simply isn't true in my opinion. The MAJOR online retailer most often referred top her is of course Bud's...which charges NO shipping on firearms. My transfer fee is $20, and tax, if paid, still routinely fails to add up to the total my local dealers come up with as a "out the door" price. Sure, I've had them, like you, tell me when all is said and done I'll be paying more online, but most often, that simply is not the case, and simply mathematics can usually prove it in a matter of seconds. There are reasons to buy local, but the idea that "you'll pay more buying online" is VERY VERY rarely one of them in my experience. It chaps me to have someone tell me "Oh, you're better of buying from me" when two seconds with a calculator can turn them into a liar. If you insist on lying, at least lie to me in a way I can't disprove in seconds. Being played for a fool is rarely conclusive to long term business arrangements

mgmorden
February 27, 2012, 09:20 AM
Honestly, what I see happening in the future, is that one won't be able to buy a gun online. I can't remember the piece of legislation but I recall a state that was going to ban online gun sales due to "security" issues.

All legistlation discussed for such things has been not for online purchasing as from Buds, but online purchasing from sites like Armslist where purchases are ARRANGED online but paid for and done face to face.

It's just another veiled attempt at them tackling the so called "gun show loophole" (aka private sales).

Online sales transferred through a dealer are here to stay. You can put your fingers in your ears and yell "la la la" but it isn't going to stop them. Acting as a transfer agent becomes profitable through volume. Selling guns still can be profitable too, but learn from the big boys (and in essence, BECOME one of the big boys): you need to SELL online, have a good working website, and have a functional inventory system. You also need to embrace volume sales. Making a 3% profit on $10 million in sales is a lot better than making 20% on $500,000 in sales.

drsfmd
February 27, 2012, 10:22 AM
forgot to mention there is no tax for online purchases in ohio unless purchased from an ohio based dealer, I see the opposite for online sales, eveything in life is becomming more internet based i see sales skyrocketing further.

Totally 100% incorrect. 10 seconds with my friend Google showed me that you do indeed owe tax on internet purchases...

Ohio Use Tax laws (http://tax.ohio.gov/divisions/sales_and_use/index.stm)
Specifically From the FAQ (http://tax.ohio.gov/faqs/Sales/sales_basics.stm#A5)

The most common situation that gives rise to a use tax liability is when an Ohio customer makes a mail order purchase from an out-of-state seller. Use tax is also due when the purchaser improperly claims exemption from the sales tax or if the sales tax paid is less than the total use tax in effect in the county where the item is used or benefit of the service is received.

Tim37
February 27, 2012, 10:23 AM
i guess theres enough competion around here it keeps the prices competative with the online stuff i have yet to find something that i can order on line that i couldnt get for just a few bucks more local. the main thing i would save on is taxes. i have a ffl that said he would transfer for $20 bucks and i still havent found a deal i couldnt pass up if i just call around i can usualy find it for aroudnthe same and get it that day.

drsfmd
February 27, 2012, 10:35 AM
the main thing i would save on is taxes.

Suggestion to the moderators... how about a sticky on use taxes? We've got bunches of folks here willingly admitting that they are tax cheats because they don't know or understand the law...

Tim37
February 27, 2012, 10:45 AM
ok i will pay up for all my ebay and amazon purchase as soon as the police show up at my door. but i will request them bust the meth lab down the road first. who care look at how many people dont pay taxes every year just becauswe there rich enough to hire a accountant to get around it. personaly i think i pay enough taxes every year.

FourTeeFive
February 27, 2012, 12:24 PM
To TenRingGuns:

You said:
My main argument to anyone considering buying online is this: you'll be paying for the price of the gun, shipping, the FFL transfer fee, as well as use tax. When all is said and done, you're better off buying the gun from me directly. So far, my customers have been realizing this dose of reality make their dream of buying a gun for a few dollars above cost more of a hassle than what it's worth.

Since I live near you I went to your website and found this:
Q: Do you have a store?

A: No, not currently. This isn’t my full-time gig although I hope to have a store eventually.

So what service are you providing that is any different than me buying online and having it shipped to an FFL for transfer?

Black Butte
February 27, 2012, 12:34 PM
personaly i think i pay enough taxes every year.

I doubt big government is concerned about what you "think." As it wastes more money, it will be looking to us to make up the difference. Somebody please tell me why the US has to pay every oil-rich country in the Middle East a billion dollars annually in "aid."

Derek Zeanah
February 27, 2012, 12:51 PM
What do you like or not like about them? Do you buy from them? Why or why not?

I'm frustrated to say the least. Customers call me all the time and say they found the gun online for almost nothing and want me to sell them a gun for that price; impossible.

Anyhow, just wanted some insight from you all.
From my perspective, the problem is that the traditional retail sales model is failing. We live in an era when you can get better selection, better price, and (often via customer reviews at places like Amazon) better purchase guidance from online retailers than from a local store. Not only can they buy in bulk and leverage their purchasing power into lower costs of goods, but taxation authorities haven't caught up with the Internet yet so most people get an additional immediate 6-10% discount because sales taxes aren't being collected by online retailers.

Local book stores are dead and dying, unless they can develop a local following that transcends the traditional general interest bookstore (being the local comics/gaming shop works; being the local gay/lesbian hangout would probably work too.) You just can't compete unless you offer services that can't be purchased online at a cheaper cost, because there are tons of people who are happy to fondle your inventory, make up their mind, then go to Bud's and buy from the local guy with the cheapest transfer services. That's just how it is.

I make a habit of buying something every time I go into the local gunstore. I won't waste money on poorly priced items ($36 for 20 rounds of 9mm Golden Sabres? Not on your life), but I'll buy other essentials there (targets, reasonably priced ammo, gunsmithing services). I also tend to look there first to see if they have something in inventory that's similar to what I'm looking for, and they will sell new firearms that they order directly for ~ 5% markup which I think is fair. Unfortunately for them, I tend to go used.

It's really a business question rather than a gun question. "What can Best Buy do that would make customers spend money there rather than Amazon or NewEgg?" is the late 20th century/early 21st century problem. Figure that out for your niche and you'll do fine. Fail, or ignore it, and you'll find yourself hanging on by your fingernails and after 10 years you'll realize you'd been better off working for minimum wage instead.

Capitalism can be a *****.

TITAN308
February 27, 2012, 12:52 PM
As someone already pointed out and businesses continue to fall into the same pit trap every single time.

In this day and age it would do you well to hop onto the online/digital market. If they can do it - you can do it. I don't think anyone minds paying a few bucks extra as long as the store has CS orientated staff (haha I know right?) and are just nice to be around in general.

Hey who remembers beepers? How about home telephones?

Yea, learn from history - everything changes.... everything. Keep up and adapt or fall to the way side.

CZguy
February 27, 2012, 01:41 PM
Yea, learn from history - everything changes.... everything. Keep up and adapt or fall to the way side.

The only constant, is change.

I don't like it, but I have to accept it. ;)

Teachu2
February 27, 2012, 02:48 PM
Some definitions of my own:

FFL holder - a person who is named on a Federal Firearms License, allowing them to engage in the business of selling firearms. Kitchen-table, gun show, major national retailer - all gotta have it. Requires compliance with federal, state and local rules and regulations.

Transfer dealer - FFL holder who charges a fee to receive a firearm from another FFL holder or private party, process the transfer paperwork in accordance with the law, and release said firearm to the buyer after the appropriate check and waiting period.

Kitchen-table dealer - FFL holder who sells guns to friends and family as a sideline, has income from other sources. Usually has little or no new inventory on hand. ATF has really discouraged such in recent years. May also do transfers.

Storefront dealer - has a place of business separate from their living quarters, with regular hours and open to the public during those hours (although access may be controlled).

Stocking dealer - has inventory on-hand for examination and immediate sale.


Some folks delude themselves - a person who holds a FFL but has a job elsewhere, doesn't stock firearms, doesn't have a storefront, and is a part-time "dealer" shouldn't expect to charge the same prices as a person who invests in a storefront, inventory you can walk in and examine, employees and works there full-time (or hires a manager to do so).

Of course, delusions are not confined to kitchen-table FFL holders (I've been there, done that - twice!). Shops that don't stock guns but expect to charge MSRP up-front to special-order the gun you want are delusional. They are providing transfer dealer services in that instance, not stocking dealer services.

On the sales tax issue - California has finally realized how simple it is to collect sales tax on Bud's sales. The transfer dealer is now required to do so, and you have to have a transfer dealer. Those that don't will lose their CA resale permit, which will get their FFL pulled.

TITAN308
February 27, 2012, 03:04 PM
What I find sad is that my local Academy Sports retail store generally has a huge selection (in comparison) of both pistols and rifles over an actual "Gun Store". I still deal a lot with one of the local stores because he is a super nice guy and isn't a snob when I want to ask how to fix something or if he can locate something for me.

A lot of gun stores have the "lol noob" attitude when you are trying to educate yourself.

Edit: I think a majority of us have noticed that with the rise of weapon (and weapon related) sales we have discovered the local gun store industry was ill prepared for such a surge in new customers. This is apparent by their lack of social skills with newbies and customer service know-how in general.

lobo9er
February 27, 2012, 06:27 PM
Id say raising your prices for transfers is a bad idea, but your time and business. As soon as my LGS raised theirs I found a part timer that has a FFL to do transfers for me at the price I was paying. Nothing personal, but just like they are trying to make more money, I am trying to save more money. I still buy from them but they loose on my transfers. And they also loose on the box of ammo or whatever I would buy when I pick up the piece.

Teachu2
February 28, 2012, 12:51 AM
Id say raising your prices for transfers is a bad idea, but your time and business. As soon as my LGS raised theirs I found a part timer that has a FFL to do transfers for me at the price I was paying.

It never ceases to amaze me how businesses will spend dollars trying to attract NEW customers while trying to get an extra nickel out of their existing ones.

Back when I started in commission sales, an experienced salesman told me "You take care of your customers, and they'll take care of you." No truer words were ever spoken in that arena - give outstanding service and you get repeat business + all their friends.

Breakmyfootoff
February 28, 2012, 03:02 AM
When I'm going to buy something, I do call the local dealers. If they have it in stock, and the total price difference is within 50.00 of what it would cost me to get it online then I buy it locally. That being said, I dont waste their time if I'm not serious about buying from them. Like someone mentioned earlier in the thread, I wont go ask them a lot of questions about a gun or ask to fondle it if I have no intentions of rewarding their customer service with a sale. If I'm going to buy a gun online, I research the gun online. Guns are one of the few things I dont mind buying without holding first. Even if I decide I dont like the way the gun feels, guns arent hard to sell with minimal loss of investment.

wojownik
February 28, 2012, 12:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim37
the main thing i would save on is taxes.
Suggestion to the moderators... how about a sticky on use taxes? We've got bunches of folks here willingly admitting that they are tax cheats because they don't know or understand the law...

Well, hold on there ... there are at least 6 or 7 states that do not sales any sales tax or use tax.

Several states that do charge use tax limit that to cases where the on-line retailer maintains some form of presence in the respective state (whether warehousing, distribution, fulfillment, etc). Virginia, for example, just yesterday passed a bill (pending governors signature) along those lines.

Calling out people for being "tax cheats" is not correct in all cases, and is not high road as a blanket accusation.

drsfmd
February 28, 2012, 12:51 PM
Well, hold on there ... there are at least 6 or 7 states that do not sales any sales tax or use tax.

Several states that do charge use tax limit that to cases where the on-line retailer maintains some form of presence in the respective state (whether warehousing, distribution, fulfillment, etc). Virginia, for example, just yesterday passed a bill (pending governors signature) along those lines.


To the residents of those states, I apologize... for the rest, I stand my ground.

If the company has a presence in your state, it's sales tax, just like you'd pay in bricks and mortar stores, it doesn't matter that it's being mailed to you.

TenRingGuns.com
February 28, 2012, 07:00 PM
BREAKING NEWS*****

Cheaper Than Dirt, Buds Guns, and all the others will be in for a BIG surprise in a few days and will now be REQUIRED to raise their gun prices.

Honestly, I don't why this racket went on as long as it did. At least it's over and me and every other FFL will now be able to compete.

Midwest
February 28, 2012, 07:14 PM
BREAKING NEWS*****

Cheaper Than Dirt, Buds Guns, and all the others will be in for a BIG surprise in a few days and will now be REQUIRED to raise their gun prices.

Honestly, I don't why this racket went on as long as it did. At least it's over and me and every other FFL will now be able to compete.
What are you talking about?

OTR
February 28, 2012, 07:17 PM
So should I hurry up and place my order on Bud's or CTD:rolleyes: Please explain yourself or go elsewhere.

Bojangles7
February 28, 2012, 07:26 PM
I've only bought one firearm online and will probably buy more online in the future. Sometimes the LGS just doesn't have what I want. Others, I won't do business with. For instance, we have a LGS with a nice range that I usually visit for shooting rilfes. The owner refuses to sell any AK pattern rifles because of some personal bias. When I asked what they would charge to transfer one, they said $100. :what: I will never buy anthing from them except time on their range now. It's a shame too because they usually have quite a large selection, something the only other LGS does not.

TITAN308
February 28, 2012, 07:28 PM
How can you force an organization in a free country to charge more. The manufacturer sets the price when selling to them. So short of all the manufacturers bumping their price tag to businesses, I'd like to see how that would ever happen.

At least it's over and me and every other FFL will now be able to compete.

I've been pretty neutral so far, but this one statement makes you sound like a snotty brat. You are not entitled to anything. In this country a product is only worth what a customer is willing to pay. Get with the times or get run over by the times.

Man up. Your grand pappy's store isn't going to survive if you are still stuck on grand pappy's business plan.

My wallet tells you what to do, not the other way around. If you don't like what my wallet has to say - that is fine and your free choice to ignore Mr. Wallet - but my wallet will go talk to someone else.

Teachu2
February 28, 2012, 07:30 PM
BREAKING NEWS*****

Cheaper Than Dirt, Buds Guns, and all the others will be in for a BIG surprise in a few days and will now be REQUIRED to raise their gun prices.

Honestly, I don't why this racket went on as long as it did. At least it's over and me and every other FFL will now be able to compete.
__________________
Ten Ring Guns
Tom Fast, FFL Dealer
(425) 516-2848
Info@TenRingGuns.com


Just out of curiousity, how long have you been a gun dealer?

CZguy
February 28, 2012, 07:43 PM
BREAKING NEWS*****

Cheaper Than Dirt, Buds Guns, and all the others will be in for a BIG surprise in a few days and will now be REQUIRED to raise their gun prices.

Honestly, I don't why this racket went on as long as it did. At least it's over and me and every other FFL will now be able to compete.

I can't for the life of me figure out what could possibly make someone post that.

But I'd like to give you a chance to expand on those thoughts, so go right ahead...........Explain.

chevyman097
February 28, 2012, 07:55 PM
I have a strong feeling....tenringguns is not a fan of free market.

TITAN308
February 28, 2012, 08:01 PM
Well if he won't answer here, maybe we should all call his store and ask what he meant?

Edit: Granted I did not compare all the listings, but on their website under "Smoking Deals" are guns priced at....well...just about the same price as everywhere else I looked.

Honestly I think the buyer now a days is more informed and purchase savy. Probably does not play well with businesses that are use to making a good profit off the ignorance of the consumer.

"Smoking Deal" heh

Midwest
February 28, 2012, 08:06 PM
I checked his website and found nothing at all that relates to what he posted about. Just a blog going back to November 2011 and stuff he has for sale. hmm

http://www.tenringguns.com/

Seattleimport
February 28, 2012, 08:06 PM
My transfer fees are super low, $25. First, I hate gouging customers and I like helping people out. But when things get busier, like they have been recently, I'll be raising it; it's just not work my time. That's really what it boils down to, time.

I encourage you to revisit this time/value calculation.

How much time does it really take to manage a transfer? 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Even if it's a half hour, that's a pretty decent rate.

Then consider the cost of goods sold for that transfer: the price of the form. In other words, effectively zero. Consider the physical space required for that form. The amount of lighting and display required. There's no inventory cost; it's pure margin.

Now consider that by definition, a person is required to visit your physical store in order to complete the transfer. Do you know how many hundreds of dollars in advertising is typically required in order to achieve 1 store visit? Instead of having to pay for that advertising, the transfer customer pays YOU.

So: don't give up on transfers. In fact, do everything you can to encourage people to do transfers at your store. Make it easy, make it quick, make it hassle-free. Make it your primary business! You'll never have to worry about being "out of stock" (a common complaint in this thread) because the *customer* provides the exact stock he's looking for, and bears the entire cost in locating, sourcing, and delivering that stock directly to your door. And then he gives you significant $ for doing all that hard work for you.

Now that he's paid you for patronizing your establishment, sell him your wares. He's got a brand new gun; offer to fill it up! Sell him ammo, a case, cleaning supplies, accessories. All high-margin, broad-appeal inventory that's difficult or unsatisfying to purchase online.

It amazes me that a store would be hostile to transfers. Heck, if I had a store, I'd set up a desk and computer so customers could shop online and ship to my store. Make it as easy for them as possible. Customer gets what he wants (low price, infinite selection) and I don't have to deal with bulky and expensive firearm inventory, or bear the risk of having that inventory sit (and depreciate in value) for months before it sells.

FourTeeFive
February 28, 2012, 08:19 PM
I still don't get what he's complaining about when his website indicates he has no storefront and it isn't a full-time business for him. So his fixed costs are extremely minimal compared to a brick and mortar location.

TITAN308
February 28, 2012, 08:33 PM
And thus the mystery begins... (well at least until a Mod comes around. Clicky Clicky)

Don't lock me bro!

JohnBT
February 28, 2012, 08:53 PM
"How much time does it really take to manage a transfer? 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Even if it's a half hour, that's a pretty decent rate."

How much time? That's entirely dependent on how many times the buyer has to call or stop by to get it arranged. And then how many times the buyer calls or stops by to ask, "Is it here yet? Is it here yet?" And so forth through the pick up and paperwork. Suppose it's damaged in transit. Lost? Oh dear.

Sure, some deals are smooth as silk. The rest of them would drive me nuts. No wonder some places charge $50 or $100 for a transfer. It's the aggravation tax.

TenRingGuns.com
February 28, 2012, 09:05 PM
Alright, here's the skinny. I made my earlier post from my phone after I had just gotten off the phone with my suppliers and learned the news which I believe is significant.

People have been buying guns online for a while now but what I learned several months ago being a new dealer irritated me. A customer did a transfer from Cheaper Than Dirt but the receipt and packing was from one of the suppliers that I use; there wasn't even a receipt from CTD in the box!

Cheaper Than Dirt, Buds, and all the other dealers that prostitute guns for dollars over cost have been drop shipping their guns directly from the wholesalers. That's how they can sell for so low, they do volume sales.

When you place an order on CTD, an electronic order is automatically sent to a wholesaler and the gun is shipped from that wholesaler to the FFL you provided. The "warehouse" you see on CTD's website is the location of the wholesaler, it isn't CTD which is why shipping and time varies due to the various wholesalers that CTD and other use.

The problem is this: any normal FFL who has a shop or who hopes to open one soon (me) can't compete, it's impossible. Analogy: In the same way US businesses who want to stay in the US can't compete with their competitors who send jobs overseas to avoid taxes and to hire cheap labor. Those business are either forced to join the crowd or close their doors (generally speaking).

This was why so many FFL shops in my area are refusing to accept transfers from these online discount dealers, an act of protest if you will.

Anyhow, I find it ironic given this thread which began from my frustration at this issue, that today I learned that SSI and RSR will no longer allow firearms to be drop shipped. As Will and Wes told me today, this drop shipping ended because of the backlash the manufacturers were getting as well as the complaints from FFL dealers trying to stay in business; I'll post the email Will will be sending out to all the dealer as soon as I receive.

There you go. That's the big news. It'll be interesting to see what happens to those dealers because their costs are going to increase dramatically. I'm still figuring out my business strategy but I'll be keeping it as I originally intended: offering the best service around while also giving my customers good prices.

As for the comments posted thus far, I love em'!

mgmorden
February 28, 2012, 09:05 PM
This guy has come in several times to give the thread just enough push to keep it going and stoke the flames.


My guess is that if TenRingGuns actually exists, this guy isn't actually the owner, and just co-opted it as part of a clever trolling identity.

Scimmia
February 28, 2012, 09:13 PM
When you place an order on CTD, an electronic order is automatically sent to a wholesaler and the gun is shipped from that wholesaler to the FFL you provided. The "warehouse" you see on CTD's website is the location of the wholesaler, it isn't CTD which is why shipping and time varies due to the various wholesalers that CTD and other use.

And this is different than what you're currently doing how? You're taking orders then having the distributer ship to the FFL (you) to go to the end customer. I don't see anything different here.

Sorry, I'm not going to pay an extra 30%-40% just to deal with a local guy. That's what the difference is around here, and they do the same thing for most guns, order from the distributer when you order the gun. I have a local FFL dealer that does transfers for $10. I'm not sure why you keep pointing to your $25 transfer fee as being so great, that's pretty average.

You know, there are a lot of distributers out there, if some won't drop ship, others will. It's called free market.

Tim37
February 28, 2012, 09:14 PM
ok shops around here dont have a problem competing. they may not be able to beat them but they get close enough that i dont have a problem paying 10 or 20 bucks more. if they can do it why cant you?

Teachu2
February 28, 2012, 09:18 PM
Alright, here's the skinny. I made my earlier post from my phone after I had just gotten off the phone with my suppliers and learned the news which I believe is significant.

People have been buying guns online for a while now but what I learned several months ago being a new dealer irritated me. A customer did a transfer from Cheaper Than Dirt but the receipt and packing was from one of the suppliers that I use; there wasn't even a receipt from CTD in the box!

Cheaper Than Dirt, Buds, and all the other dealers that prostitute guns for dollars over cost have been drop shipping their guns directly from the wholesalers. That's how they can sell for so low, they do volume sales.

When you place an order on CTD, an electronic order is automatically sent to a wholesaler and the gun is shipped from that wholesaler to the FFL you provided. The "warehouse" you see on CTD's website is the location of the wholesaler, it isn't CTD which is why shipping and time varies due to the various wholesalers that CTD and other use.

The problem is this: any normal FFL who has a shop or who hopes to open one soon (me) can't compete, it's impossible. Analogy: In the same way US businesses who want to stay in the US can't compete with their competitors who send jobs overseas to avoid taxes and to hire cheap labor. Those business are either forced to join the crowd or close their doors (generally speaking).

This was why so many FFL shops in my area are refusing to accept transfers from these online discount dealers, an act of protest if you will.

Anyhow, I find it ironic given this thread which began from my frustration at this issue, that today I learned that SSI and RSR will no longer allow firearms to be drop shipped. As Will and Wes told me today, this drop shipping ended because of the backlash the manufacturers were getting as well as the complaints from FFL dealers trying to stay in business; I'll post the email Will will be sending out to all the dealer as soon as I receive.

There you go. That's the big news. It'll be interesting to see what happens to those dealers because their costs are going to increase dramatically.


So because YOU have decided to sell guns, the folks who have worked long and hard to build profitable businesses JUST LIKE YOU HOPE TO DO should have the rules changed to accommodate YOU - and at the customer's expense!

So if a 5'2", 220 lb 18 year old wants to play in the NBA, should they set a player height limit of 5'3? AND raise ticket prices?

Well, good luck selling that!

TITAN308
February 28, 2012, 09:23 PM
As for the comments posted thus far, I love em'!

Fantastic marketing strategy.

JohnBT
February 28, 2012, 09:29 PM
"have been drop shipping their guns directly from the wholesalers"

This is not news. Even I know it and the only guns I've mail ordered in 50+ years have been a new Cooper Custom Classic .22 and very nice Remington Model 76 lever. The first I gave to my father and the second to my uncle.

John

Teachu2
February 28, 2012, 09:52 PM
And the guns I've purchased from Bud's, shipped from Bud's warehouse - you know, WAREHOUSE...that other building you don't have, where you do shipping, receiving, and backstock for the storefront you don't have...

Bud's should be complaining about YOU.

wojownik
February 28, 2012, 09:59 PM
Wow, so disappointing that a generally well-thought out thread gets rerouted into near trolldom.

I would love to see a copy of that e-mail. Though many brick and mortar businesses may not like the new dynamic of the e-commerce world, there is nothing new here (it has been going on in many retail sectors for over a decade).

And there is nothing improper or illegal about what Buds or the Internet retailers or wholesalers are engaged in. On the other hand, I have a serious concern about - if true - what is being alleged here as a potential attempt to restrain the trade of the e-retailers, by potentially affecting supply, affecting prices, or otherwise attempting to control the market to the detriment of purchasers or consumers of firearms. If this verbiage sounds a little familiar, I'm pretty much typing in the definition of restraint of trade from the Sherman Anti Trust act from memory.

Any action that would be an attempt to limit trade, sales and transportation in interstate commerce could potential be dealt with rather harshly under a range of existing anti trust regulation. I'm not trying to flame this. Rather, I have a very real interest in seeing the text of the purported e-mail, as I extremely curious how the authors would frame this without running afoul of a range of business regulations.

TITAN308
February 28, 2012, 10:14 PM
In a nutshell I am suppose to just believe that every manufacturer of firearms has adopted these supposed new rules.

No one can force this decision, it has to be made willingly.

Or are you saying the government gets to tell them how they make their sales to dealers? Not that I don't think our government won't do anything - but even that is hard to swallow.

The obvious reason the BS flag goes up because at the end of the day one method generates faster revenue than the other. I'm so sure these manufacturers "care" about FFL complaints.

Businesses exist to make money. Not be your friend. And if you not being their friend does not harm their ability to make money you will be told to pound sand if you cannot adapt.

TenRingGuns.com
February 28, 2012, 10:38 PM
The government has nothing to do with it.

Gun manufacturers and FFL dealers complained to the wholesalers about getting screwed over e.g. conflict of interest for starters. The wholesalers, not wanting to lose their customers (FFL dealers like me), then scrapped their drop ship program.

That's it.

TITAN308
February 28, 2012, 10:43 PM
Why am I to believe that FFL dealers account for more dollars than the single user with cash in his pocket and an internet connection.

There will always be someone in town to do the transfer.

TenRingGuns.com
February 28, 2012, 10:45 PM
When was the last time you walked into Smith & Wesson and bought a gun?

TITAN308
February 28, 2012, 10:51 PM
I get the idea. You propose if there is no one to accept and transfer the gun (FFL) then online sales cannot be sustained.

That is not how it works. If all the FFL dealers in one town stopped accepting online orders in protest, some other average Joe is going to drop $700 on a FFL and capitalize on your loss.

Being a bully in the market does not work anymore.

Not to mention widdle away what customer base you have.

Enjoy the double edged sword. Not my idea of an enjoyable business model.

Tim37
February 28, 2012, 10:59 PM
When was the last time you walked into Smith & Wesson and bought a gun?

October 27 2011

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/21_39_71/products_id/62623

i paid 398+tax at my local. if i would have purchased it from buds it would have been a dollar more. but i would have skipped out on the tax. so i would have saved my self 15 or so bucks.

TenRingGuns.com
February 28, 2012, 11:16 PM
No, not proposing anything Titan.

It is what it is, that's how a person buys a gun in this country. You have to go through an FFL.

In the end, it's all back to service. Read the comments on any one of those guys' Facebook pages, there are more negative comments than you would think.

Anyone can sell a gun for cheap, very few offer quality service.

Zombiphobia
February 28, 2012, 11:33 PM
I prefer to buy my guns from the local stores unless:

- They don't have it
- Won't/cant get it
- want to over-charge
- are rude, insult my intelligence or taste in firearms
- I walk up to the counter and am ignored while the staff chat with people who aren't even doing business

Byrd666
February 28, 2012, 11:49 PM
TenRing - That post # 104 was very interesting for and to me as I'm in the process of putting together a business plan for my future shop and getting my stuff ready for my FFL app.
But what I really find funny, if you will, is that some shops don't want to do the transfer. I mean, 20-25-30 bucks for a small amount of work, seems like easy cash for the shop owner to me.
You learn anything more, please pass it on as this is very interesting stuff to know.

Robert
February 28, 2012, 11:52 PM
I am going to have to order the next rifle I buy no matter where it comes from. There are at least two guys in town that make their walking around money doing transfers, at your amazing price of $25, so I have no need to go to the LGS. I am going to order it from whoever can get it for me the cheapest. If it is the LGS fine, but I really doubt it.

very few offer quality service.
What service? I know what I want and I know what I am willing to pay for it. If you can do that great. If not I will find someone that can. I am not really sure what other service I need. There are a few good smiths in town and the internet is chocked full of every doo dad possible. The fact that I don't have to waste gas and deal with the people at the LGS is good enough "service" for me.

Life, and business, is not fair.

jef2015
February 29, 2012, 12:16 AM
I am absolutely sure distributors are looking out for tenringguns.com best interest. I mean, they have only had the best month in the history of gun sales. They should definitely restrict the most high volume gun sellers on the internet. How do they say it on ESPN? "C'mon man!!!"

TenRingGuns.com
February 29, 2012, 12:17 AM
Hi Byrd
Hopefully this will give you some things to think about. $25 transfer is cheap, super cheap. I do it partly because I like helping my customers out and but also because I want people to experience the service they'll get from me over the other guys.

Gus, believe me, your the exception not the rule. I've spent time on the phone and emailing back and forth answering questions and giving advice to most of my customers so that we can find the right product for them. They want advice, they want knowledge, they want someone watching out for them. That's what I give them.

Guess what? It works, my customers love me. I take my time with each of them and give them a one-to-one experience.

Best month ever Jef? No, not yet anyway. We'll see what my new site does; my current site was built by me and isn't cutting it.

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 12:24 AM
Anyone can sell a gun for cheap, very few offer quality service.

I go to a gun show, I buy a gun from a private party, I walk out of the show with said gun, what "service" am I getting or missing?

I go to a gun show and buy a gun from a dealer, I complete the papewr work and pay for said gun, I walk out of the gun show my gun, again what "service" am I getting or missing for that matter.

Gus, believe me, your the exception not the rule. I've spent time on the phone and emailing back and forth answering questions and giving advice to most of my customers so that we can find the right product for them. They want advice, they want knowledge, they want someone watching out for them. That's what I give them.

Just what kind of customers have you got anyway, that they need all that advice, knowledge, and watching out, and you are the one that can provide all that?

chevyman097
February 29, 2012, 01:03 AM
I wonder what he would think about my(very successful) dealer that only charges me 10 bucks for transfers. I bet he wants to put him out of business too. Free market sucks dont ya know. lol


Tenringguns...R you mad? tell us r you mad? I think u mad.

TenRingGuns.com
February 29, 2012, 01:15 AM
LOL! Good one Chevy.

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 01:21 AM
Hey there tenring, still waiting for an answer to my questions.

chevyman097
February 29, 2012, 01:22 AM
It is a pretty good one. He makes tons of money. You wanna know the first tip. He isnt on a forum complaining(see he is too busy in a real shop to worry about forums). He takes money from anyone willing to pay it. Doesnt cry if they order online. Has plenty of all the latest goodies in stock, accessories, ammo. Has a used firearms section. takes pawn. Does CCL classes. Has a range out back. See there are real dealers, and there are wanna be dealers. Some just cant cut it. Its a dog eat dog world.

tarosean
February 29, 2012, 01:32 AM
Hmmmmm Chevy sounds a lot like mine....

Are you located close to me?



<-----

JR24
February 29, 2012, 01:32 AM
Ugh where I live the ONLY LGS charges about ... $200 over places like Buds. Last time I was there they wanted $700 for a LNIB XD40 (NOT XDM) Also they charge $200 transfer fee. So I do my shopping in a different city.

CZguy
February 29, 2012, 01:58 AM
Guess what? It works, my customers love me. I take my time with each of them and give them a one-to-one experience.

I admit that I'm missing something here. My LGD has handled a few transfers for me. I fill out the paperwork, he calls it in, I pay him, we BS for awhile, I go home.

What exactly are you doing differently during your one on one experience, to make your customers love you?

olafhardtB
February 29, 2012, 02:09 AM
I have two words " Wally World "

TenRingGuns.com
February 29, 2012, 02:11 AM
"Testimonials" page Jc

Scimmia
February 29, 2012, 02:17 AM
TenRing, I'm still trying to figure out what's different about what you're doing vs what you're upset about them doing.

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 02:20 AM
What's your question JC?

Check out my post on this thread, its the 125th post. Be sure to note there is more than 1 question.

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 02:38 AM
http://www.yelp.com/biz/cheaper-than-dirt-inc-fort-worth

Check out the above link, some like CTD, some don't. Have you listed any negative testimonials?

How bout this link? Pretty high rating.

http://www.bbb.org/fort-worth/business-reviews/sporting-goods-retail/cheaper-than-dirt-in-fort-worth-tx-91030021/

Here's a rating for Bud's

http://www.bbb.org/lexington/business-reviews/guns-and-gunsmiths/buds-gun-shopcom-in-lexington-ky-184205327

Doesn't get any higher.

Zach S
February 29, 2012, 03:52 AM
Cheaper Than Dirt, Buds, and all the other dealers that prostitute guns for dollars over cost have been drop shipping their guns directly from the wholesalers.
Dollars over cost? I havent looked in a while, but the last G19 I looked at in a LGS had a price tag of about $525.

Here (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/21_43/products_id/73204/Glock+19+Compact+9mm+Auto+Fixed+Sights) is the same gun, at Bud's, for $500. If that's dollars over cost than I'm amazed there are still brick and mortar gun stores around.

Fact of the matter is, if you do two transfers for $25, you've made the same money as would have made if you sold one Glock 19. But you didn't have to shell out $475 to buy a pistol, to sell, to make that $50. In one of these threads over the past few years, an FFL mentioned he preferred transfers for this reason.

Something else, when you LGS owners tell someone on three different occasions that "We cant get it, but if you find one online, we'll be happy to transfer it," you may want to mention you won't accept transfers from a major online retailer. This, among other things, caused a LGS to lose any money I would have spent there. You can say its not a big loss, but just across the state line, at the dealer I used to use, who's store I still frequent despite the two hour drive, I'm greeted with "Hey Zach, hows you're little girl doing?" when I walk through the door.

Sure, some deals are smooth as silk. The rest of them would drive me nuts. No wonder some places charge $50 or $100 for a transfer. It's the aggravation tax.I heard of one store that would quote $50 for the transfer, but would only charge you $25 if you weren't a pain in the butt. Now, I don't know if there's any truth to it, but after seeing guys hanging out in the store because tracking said "out for delivery" and answering the phone several times to hear "Hey my name is Impatient, did my gun come in yet?" I could certainly understand it.

Shytheed Dumas
February 29, 2012, 07:14 AM
Seattleimport hit on the answer to all your problems in post #100. Instead of fighting a battle you can't win, work with it. Make your store the transfer go-to in your area that everyone knows about, and do all you can to make it a great experience.

What I will add to Seattleimport's concept is to stock and sell all the things people might need for their new gun; ammo, scopes/rings/mounts, slings, red dots, targets, cases, "Protected by Smith & Wesson" signs, whatever. Offer 'good' and fast gunsmithing services. The inexpensive transfer brings your target audience in your door, and you have everything they could possibly need or want at a fair price and you make money.

Want more? Buy, sell, consign and trade the daylights out of used guns... a lot of people constantly look for deals on used guns. Outside of online auctions, I don't see much going on in the world of online used firearms, and I think it's because people want to inspect a gun for themselves. Your store could be the permanent gun show in town.

In short, make the discount outfits work for you instead of trying to take them on.

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 09:12 AM
Ill state it once again.

My local Academy Sports retailer has a better selection of guns than my local gun shops.

My first tip to gun shops - actually stock stuff.

oneounceload
February 29, 2012, 09:21 AM
My first tip to gun shops - actually stock stuff.

And that costs money - and a lot of it. Then they have to put up with the touchy-feely folks who want to handle it before buying from Bud's who has the gun dropped shipped and therefore has lower inventory carrying costs -that's a tough thing to swallow.

I suspect when internet sales start to require sales tax being collected, it might have an impact or two

My local guy can beat Bud's every time - he uses a different distributor - and he orders on an as-needed basis, even if that means ordering one gun a day for several days in a row; he keeps his inventory down to a minimum of stuff, meaning he can lower his profit margin a little, stay competitive, make a living, and help with issues if they arise

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 09:31 AM
So I don't get it - which way do you want it.

Most order online because gunstore selection blows chunks.

Gunstore does not want to stock because people are "touchy-feely"? (omg - a business having to deal with customers? What a concept!)

The consumer is going to buy one way or the other - why be on the crappy end of the deal. There is so much stuff in this thread that makes absolutely no sense. That or some people have some really bad business models or something.

mrcooper
February 29, 2012, 09:44 AM
I never by new guns, center fire rifles need to have around 200 rounds shot before they shoot good, I buy used because of no paper work and also I can buy 2 used one for the price of one new one, and one big factor is my local gun dealer is a big so and so.:cuss:

oneounceload
February 29, 2012, 09:49 AM
Most order online because gunstore selection blows chunks.

Nope, most order online because they perceive they are getting a better deal. many small dealers will do the direct order in - if it comes in and goes out in one day, they inventory costs are minimal

Gunstore does not want to stock because people are "touchy-feely"? (omg - a business having to deal with customers? What a concept!)

Yep, except there a lot of folks who have desire or thought to even want to buy from the dealer - yet they expect him to outlay the cash so they can "take a test drive" with the gun so to speak before buying online - most small dealers can't afford that

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 12:39 PM
Yep, except there a lot of folks who have desire or thought to even want to buy from the dealer - yet they expect him to outlay the cash so they can "take a test drive" with the gun so to speak before buying online - most small dealers can't afford that

Do you have any statistics (or anything really) to back this claim?

For all I know this is just an excuse to not stock inventory.

Regardless, someone will buy whats in the display case.

That is like going to a car dealership and they don't have cars for you to test drive, BUT they can order one for ya!

Like I said before - I think the surge in firearm (and related items) ownership over the past 5 years has completely steamrolled the gun shops in the sense that most of these businesses have no idea what customer service is, or how to deal with the general public.

Prior to the explosion in the market they were probably use to dealing mainly with regulars and now lack the social skills to operate like a retail store.

Instead of adapting to the market most of them are stuck in grand pappy's business model and either can't handle it, or refuse to.

This isn't some big secret - I am sure almost every single member here has "that gun shop" in their town where they are socially inept and would just assume not sell you gun for whatever reason.

Welcome to the mass market - get your act together or go out of business.

The days of having your clique group of regulars is over.

Your shop is in trouble if the local retail store has a better selection in their display case than you do.

It has nothing with pricing or anything else.

YOU stink at running a business and don't want to admit it, but want to blame countless other factors on why you are doing so "bad" in the market.

People like this piss me off. Just another part of the entitlement crowd. Boohoo make them play by our rules.

If you can't afford to stock a couple of display cases with different models then I suppose you didn't have the proper start up funds in the first place now did you? Part of your marketing expense budget should be the display of numerous weapons to entice the client. why would anyone opening up or running a "gun store" not consider the display of as many models as possible as party of the standard expenses.

Tell you what guys, I'm going to open up a Pool Table store and have only 2 models. But I can order you anything you want!

drsfmd
February 29, 2012, 01:40 PM
Do you have any statistics (or anything really) to back this claim?

I see it every time I'm behind the counter. It's the reason why we won't do transfers from new lines that we're dealers for. We also get people who want to spend an hour fondling, disassembling, etc the gun in the display case, then have the nerve to ask for one that's untouched in the box.

We get the guys who want to put a gun from the $79.00 "junk" rack on layaway and want to know how long they have to pay it off.

We also get the guys who buy a Mossberg 500 and expect us to throw in a "couple of flats of ammo". Sheesh... We're making less than $40 on the gun. You get no free extras, much less "a couple of flats".

If your LGS seems jaded and distant, it might be because they have to constantly deal with tire kickers, dreamers, and idiots.

On the other hand, those constantly chided about "good old boys" that hang around? One of them spent over $100,000 last year, and has said that he wants to buy a new Krieghoff. You've been wasting my time asking dumb questions about a $79 used H&R Topper for the last 90 minutes, keeping me from getting other work done. He's got a pocket full of cash and is ready to buy... darn right you're getting dropped like a hot potato.

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 01:53 PM
So basically you are confirming my statements.

A client is a client.

$75 gun to one person might be expensive. You don't know their financial situations.

No one is denying there are some very horrible customers in every industry. However treating the guy with a fatter wallet with more respect is still no excuse.

So yea - you confirmed what I thought.

Very elitist. Very close minded. NO CUSTOMER SERVICE KNOWLEDGE.

Your job is to open the display case and hand me a gun to inspect. Maybe I am scoping out something a buddy has been looking for.

But instead of telling my buddy where to go buy the gun, you acted like a donkey's rear end, and thus I told the friend to go elsewhere because I don't want to subject my friend to a business that has no idea how to handle customers.

Is it really hard to understand why you have a clique group of customers? You basically give one criteria to be in that clique; money and lots of it. Anyone else can pound sand.

And thus here we are. Whining about loss of business or refusing to accept transfers in protest.

I know its a funny idea - but perhaps stabbing yourself in the eye is not the best course of action.

/derp

FourTeeFive
February 29, 2012, 02:20 PM
Gus, believe me, your the exception not the rule. I've spent time on the phone and emailing back and forth answering questions and giving advice to most of my customers so that we can find the right product for them. They want advice, they want knowledge, they want someone watching out for them. That's what I give them.

Just what kind of customers have you got anyway, that they need all that advice, knowledge, and watching out, and you are the one that can provide all that?

I'm still confused by this. TenRing is not a brick and mortar gun shop. I guess my local transfer guy will give me advice if I want it, but I don't want it. So what EXACTLY are you providing if you don't have a retail shop and you've only got a website?

Any of us here can get an FFL and launch a website. And some of us can probably give excellent advice if it is desired. What are you providing to your customers that adds value?

P.S. - I'm not too far from where TenRing lives, and the only way I heard about him was from reading this forum. So where are all of these customers needing advice coming from?

drsfmd
February 29, 2012, 02:20 PM
No one is denying there are some very horrible customers in every industry. However treating the guy with a fatter wallet with more respect is still no excuse.

If I've already spent 90 minutes talking with you, how much more time do you think is reasonable to spend before I need to move on to other customers? It's not about respect, it's about making money. I'm not there to chat, I'm there to move product. The more product I can move, the more money the shop makes. The more high-dollar product I can move, the greater the profit. If there's no one else in the store, it might not make a difference that you've agonized for the last hour and a half, while I patiently answered your dumb questions. But when I've got someone hot-to-trot over a $13,000 gun, and you hemming and hawing over a $79 gun, I can't justify letting the "fat wallet" go and lose that sale just to keep you happy.

Panzercat
February 29, 2012, 02:22 PM
Troll is troll. Do not feed the troll.

Teachu2
February 29, 2012, 02:25 PM
The biggest part of selling a product (any product) is educating your customers. "Dumb questions" my eye - that was your opening to teach your customer something of value, which then gives that customer the chance to value your services. Do that, and they'll be back for a $500 gun, and a $1000 one...

Treat every customer like the $100K one, and you'll end up with more sales - and more $100K customers.

CZguy
February 29, 2012, 02:31 PM
One of the reasons that I go to my LGS is that he treat's everyone the same. And I'm one of the good old boy's who buys a lot from him. I cam remember being new to the sport in the 1960s and being made to feel dumb for asking questions. I want to support new people coming into our hobby.

He also has no problem doing transfers for me at a reasonable price.

TITAN308, has a good grasp of the business....take the emotion out of it.

drsfmd
February 29, 2012, 02:33 PM
The biggest part of selling a product (any product) is educating your customers. "Dumb questions" my eye - that was your opening to teach your customer something of value, which then gives that customer the chance to value your services. Do that, and they'll be back for a $500 gun, and a $1000 one...

Treat every customer like the $100K one, and you'll end up with more sales - and more $100K customers.

Of course... hence why I spent 90 minutes with said customer rather than brushing him off after 5 minutes.

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 02:49 PM
You keep referencing a single customer, but you give off the vibe that this is how you treat every customer who isn't dropping a sack full of money on the counter.

You have not clarified otherwise, so I am just based off the gut feeling.

Based on peoples unending stories about the attitude problems of their local gun stores, I am hesitant to think the consumer is the problem, but rather the business is not used to the increased traffic and they are just, for lack of a better term, ignorant to how businesses operate outside of their clique buyers.

I bet 95% of this forums membership can describe a "horrible" gun shop in their town.

I wonder if you would be so kind as to volunteer the data on the foot traffic of your store in 2011/12 in comparison a few years ago.

drsfmd
February 29, 2012, 02:53 PM
It's not my place to post sales numbers here... I don't own the shop. I'll suffice it to say that they have gone up dramatically over the last 5 years.

357reloading
February 29, 2012, 02:58 PM
Texas state sales tax is about 8%. I dont mind paying the tax if the store price is reasonable.

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 03:03 PM
It's not my place to post sales numbers here...

He didn't ask for sales figures, he asked for foot traffic. Entirely different.

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 03:04 PM
I did not ask for sales number.

Just estimated foot traffic.

But you answered my inquiry.

My only suggestion would be to hire more staff if you cannot serve the client as much time as they need.

The only person in charge of your reputation is you.

You have no idea if your lack of sales is due to horrible customer service. You may think you are being a good employee when speaking to someone about a $75 gun - but you might not realize your facial expressions that others can pick up on. Or tone.

Classic pitfall for a company. It is everyone elses fault. Wait - that's society as a whole...

Lack of staff? Nope.

Attitude of staff? Nope.

Lack of Inventory? Nope.

Inflated Prices? Nope.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Its all the consumer. Yup!

drsfmd
February 29, 2012, 03:06 PM
He didn't ask for sales figures, he asked for foot traffic. Entirely different.

Fair enough. We deal with several hundred customers every day. At any given time, there is at least a dozen customers in the store.

drsfmd
February 29, 2012, 03:09 PM
My only suggestion would be to hire more staff if you cannot serve the client as much time as they need.

With the amount of time I spent with that fellow (and the countless others like him) we probably LOST money on that gun...

Are you suggesting that if a guy wants to show up as soon as we open the doors and stay there until we lock up at night while dominating the time of a clerk with questions about a $79 gun that it's appropriate to spend the entire day with said customer?

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 03:17 PM
I'm having a hard time imagining someone spending 90 minutes on one gun.

Are you saying the customers who "hang around" are a problem - or people are talking to you about one single gun for 90 minutes?

If its a loitering issue then put a polite sign up discouraging such activity.

There is a whole industry dedicated to instructing people how to tell others to "stfu and gtfo" in a tactful non-offensive way.

Why am I even having to elaborate on this? This is business 101.

How many staff have you taken on since the spike in the industry? :scrutiny:

And if need be hire someone at minimum wage (college kid or something) and have him be your "talk box".

You basically tell the customer, "Pardon me - I have some business attend to, but Joe here will be happy to continue this conversation and answer all your questions."

Joe is simply paid to stand around be your windbag absorber.

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 03:18 PM
Fair enough. We deal with several hundred customers every day. At any given time, there is at least a dozen customers in the store.

Thats only a partial answer, in comparison to a few years ago?

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 03:20 PM
Taking 90 minutes to decide on one firearm? In my 50 years of buying firearms I never taken 90 minuted hemhawing about a firearm.

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 03:22 PM
I too am getting a sense of exaggeration.

I've worked a lot of retail stores when I was younger and never had anything this bad.

Even if it did happen, no way its as common as being portrayed.

drsfmd
February 29, 2012, 03:22 PM
Thats only a partial answer, in comparison to a few years ago?

Thought I had already answered that in the initial response, but I'll say it more clearly-- foot traffic and revenue have both gone up exponentially.

I'm having a hard time imagining someone spending 90 minutes on one gun.

Are you saying the customers who "hang around" are a problem - or people are talking to you about one single gun for 90 minutes?

I am of course using an extreme example to illustrate my point. I'm not talking about "hang arounds"... our shop is generally too busy for that, so they go down the road to the guy who puts out free coffee and donuts and sells less guns in two weeks than we do in a day.

TenRingGuns.com
February 29, 2012, 03:23 PM
The biggest part of selling a product (any product) is educating your customers. "Dumb questions" my eye - that was your opening to teach your customer something of value, which then gives that customer the chance to value your services. Do that, and they'll be back for a $500 gun, and a $1000 one...

Treat every customer like the $100K one, and you'll end up with more sales - and more $100K customers.

Well said Teach, that's precisely what I do.

For example, Bud's sells for cheap but wheres the service? These are a sampling of recent posts from their Facebook page by customers:

Hey Buds! My order, 382360 is on it's seventh day. Will it ship today?

order # 386296 been over 7 days still processing. Just wondering if it is going to ship soon? Thanks

A friend of mine purchased a Ruger LCP W/CrimsonTrace laser this past Sat. the evelation screw is missing . He works out of town wants to know should he return it to buds or send to Crimson Trace

Order #380134 been over 10 days since I ordered, got a long letter saying things were back ordered. Was the item sold when u had one in stock? Let me know a timeline please, I am used to buds being speedy an efficient.

Order #379032 I am tired of waiting. Can I cancel the order and get my money back?

Is there a shipping update for #386976? This item was moved very quickly to the shipping department on Monday after payment had cleared, but hasn't shipped yet. Thanks

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 03:28 PM
Thought I had already answered that in the initial response, but I'll say it more clearly-- foot traffic and revenue have both gone up exponentially.

Things must be pretty slow today tho, right?

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 03:31 PM
I am of course using an extreme example to illustrate my point.

Well how can you base yourself on an extreme example?

Or are you saying you feel the same way when its just 20 minutes spent and the customer does not buy is just as bad?

I'm not sure this conversation is even going anywhere.

You seem to display agitation when you are not rewarded with the instant gratification of a sale and don't show any concern or knowledge in rapport having a bigger pay off.

You guys sound like you are getting so much traffic and sales at this point you are not really concerned with addressing anything. Pound sand. Don't pound sand. Don't care, either way we have enough to be happy.

My final suggestion, as mentioned before - hire more staff, even if its just min. wage to help distract the people you don't really deal with.

You don't have to like a customer. You do have to pretend to like them.

I'm outtie.

drsfmd
February 29, 2012, 03:31 PM
Things must be pretty slow today tho, right?

Not there today, but thanks for playing :)

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 03:39 PM
OK, that explains it.

TenRingGuns.com
February 29, 2012, 03:47 PM
No, Titan is exactly right.

I've lost count of the feedback I've received by my new customers who had a bad experience at a local gun shop. They describe them as unhelpful, arrogant, or rude.

This is sad. Not only do shops like these not know how to run a business, (e.g. a customer who has money to spend is a customer plain and simple, it doesn't matter who they are, what they look like, or what they know or don't know) but it's a refusal on the shops part to take responsibility for their actions and offer decent service. It's like the customer has to prove something to the guys behind the counter before they'll even be acknowledged with a friendly "Hello."

Selling guns requires knowledge and the staff needs to be able to answer questions. For example, I know things because I was a cop that the average gun owner doesn't but I pass my knowledge on to my customers and learn something new. But I also learn from them too.

Rude shops like these won't be around for long, I guarantee you that.

GCMkc
February 29, 2012, 04:04 PM
It's like the customer has to prove something to the guys behind the counter before they'll even be acknowledged with a friendly "Hello."

I feel like this every time I walk into a gun store. It might be because I'm young (24) and it seems like they have this perception that I cannot afford guns or don't know diddly about them but it seems like the people at my local gun stores just aren't friendly. The people at Cabela's and Bass Pro have been way more friendly than any local gun shop. This is mainly why I shop for guns online and the fact that local store prices are jacked (Yes, I know they have to pay overhead to run a storefront).

Teachu2
February 29, 2012, 04:04 PM
I am of course using an extreme example to illustrate my point.

The danger in that is that others read it and may then consider you an extremist, or at least extremely irritable.

I used to manage a small locally-owned consumer electronics store. When I started there, sales were hovering around $1m a year. Eighteen months later, we finished my first full calendar year at just over $4m - while Circuit City and Good Guys were battling it out. I understand the frustrations of retail sales - it's not an easy job, usually.

I had a lookiloo who spent over two years "shopping" for a TV. I think I was the only guy in town who'd still talk to him, but eventually I sold him a TV. His wife wanted to kiss me - turns out he'd started shopping when their only TV had died....

You get all kinds, and you never know what surprises they'll pull...

TenRingGuns.com
February 29, 2012, 05:39 PM
I feel your pain GCM. I sell lots of guns to college students in my area and hear the same stories. Regardless, I still provide them with the best service that I can and treat them no differently than my LEO customers.

Anyhow, if there's anything you need, let me know.

JohnBT
February 29, 2012, 06:15 PM
"However treating the guy with a fatter wallet with more respect is still no excuse."

Is it okay that they call me by name when I walk in? :) I don't insist they drop what they're doing to talk to me because after 40 years they know I'll be around and if today isn't good I'll come back.

Actually, the manager of one shop just before last Christmas when the place was slam packed agreed with me that maybe they could arrange a "private viewing" after hours. Gun sales by appointment. What an idea. Uh-oh, is that elitest?

Another shop owner kept the place open past closing (while the employees fidgeted) to show me the photo album of the safari he went on and to try to get me interested in booking through them.

I don't see any of that as service. It's just retail with a smile.

John

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 07:04 PM
I started in the retail business at the age of 13 way back in 1956. The store normally closed at 6:00 pm, however if there were customers present the lights were not turned off till the last customer left, no matter how long it took. Then the lights were turned off and the doors locked and the cash counted. Normally on Saturday nights we closed at 8:00 pm but I remember many a Saturday night the cash wasn't counted till 11:00 pm.

If perchance a customer called the owner or myself at home the store was opened no matter what the hour and service was provided. I remember on one occasion when a well for a chicken house went dry, the farmer and myself worked till 5:00 in the morning to get it back on line and working.

In todays business environment how many retail business would be willing to offer that type of service.

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 07:14 PM
Couldn't resist... (so sue me! lol)

In todays business environment how many retail business would be willing to offer that type of service.

None, save one exception. The small business owner who knows every customer counts.

On the flip side. "The customer is always right" is the biggest line of garbage ever. The consumers have often times become as bad as the producer.

beatledog7
February 29, 2012, 07:25 PM
If I were a retail shop owner (I'm not), outside normal open hours I would strongly consider assisting customers by appointment, maybe even for an additional fee. That way, I can recommend a private sales consult to the guy who wants to spend 90 minutes hemming and hawing. This would have to be approached diplomatically, of course, but many customers appreciate the personal touch and like being treated like a VIP.

They are all VIPs if they have money to spend.

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 08:03 PM
None, save one exception. The small business owner who knows every customer counts.

Was not the case for the owner who I worked for. He owned one if not the largest retail business in town. Owned one of the largest farms in the county. But every customer DID count, but only from a service standpoint. Needless to say he was old school.

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 08:12 PM
Keep in mind I was referring to your question of businesses today, not of yesterday.

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 08:25 PM
Why should business practices change?

Give less and less service then complain about the big box stores taking over. Or in this case the online retailers.

Zach S
February 29, 2012, 08:46 PM
For example, Bud's sells for cheap but wheres the service? These are a sampling of recent posts from their Facebook page by customers:

Hey Buds! My order, 382360 is on it's seventh day. Will it ship today?

order # 386296 been over 7 days still processing. Just wondering if it is going to ship soon? Thanks

A friend of mine purchased a Ruger LCP W/CrimsonTrace laser this past Sat. the evelation screw is missing . He works out of town wants to know should he return it to buds or send to Crimson Trace

Order #380134 been over 10 days since I ordered, got a long letter saying things were back ordered. Was the item sold when u had one in stock? Let me know a timeline please, I am used to buds being speedy an efficient.

Order #379032 I am tired of waiting. Can I cancel the order and get my money back?

Is there a shipping update for #386976? This item was moved very quickly to the shipping department on Monday after payment had cleared, but hasn't shipped yet. Thanks
Did you bother to read the comments? Buds has replied to every one of those posts, including the last one, which shipped out shortly after the post.

IMO, the customers are just impatient. I got the jist from a recent thread that two weeks to be the norm for ordering a gun, and the OP was out of line cancelling the order after ten days.

While you cant get the level of service through a computer that you can face to face, I think buds is doing pretty well. Granted, they're not on par with Brownells, but I think Brownells sets the bar pretty high.

TenRingGuns.com
February 29, 2012, 09:07 PM
No way. Paying up front for a gun and then waiting 7+ days isn't being impatient. That's just bad service.

The problem is it's how they tend to do business. I'll bet if the customer knew they had to pay and then wait 7 days to begin with, they would've walked away and bought some where else.

I don't take a cent from my customers until my guns are in (if I need to order them), exceptions being if its a huge order. They tell me what they want, I place the order, then they come pick it up, and off they go.

Zach S
February 29, 2012, 09:34 PM
I'll bet if the customer knew they had to pay and then wait 7 days to begin with, they would've walked away and bought some where else.
Well, I would have bought locally, if I could have found locally. When I ordered my Spartan, I knew that it would take 5 to 7 business days for it to ship after my E check cleared. It was mentioned a few times during the checkout process before I hit the "Confirm Order" button. That doesn't seem unusual to me. I've been through the same thing with various other vendors, with various other products.

I don't take a cent from my customers until my guns are inThat's one of the advantages of a FTF deal. Not really an option for an online transaction.

TenRingGuns.com
February 29, 2012, 09:38 PM
Online is a little different, but, you could take a deposit instead of the full amount.

You could also place a hold of the amount on the card and not release it until the gun ships.

Little things like that go a long way. You also get the sense that Bud's isn't communicating with their customers. Big mistake. It's clear they aren't being up front about the potential (and probable) delays and not communicating at all when they occur.

I always err on the side of over-communication with my customers.

wojownik
February 29, 2012, 10:38 PM
I was sitting back thinking about this thread, and one factoid struck me. There's been a lot of references to budsgunshop.com. Point of fact, they are also a brick and mortar gun store in Lexington KY. So they are an LGS as well (http://www.thegunwarehouse.com/), with a shooting range.

Just sounds like Bud's nailed an optimal diversified business model in their niche. A well stocked LGS, with diversified services (range, etc.), complimented by a very robust on-line presence.

Strikes me as a very interesting - though "politically incorrect" - case study for someone to tackle in a business school class :D

As far as communications, I'm not sure what the issue is. Order something on line, get e-mail confirmation, wait for item to get delivered 7-10 business days later at your friendly local FFL. The amazon.com of firearms, handling - say - almost 300,000 online transactions to date? That's a guesstimate, they were over 200,000 transactions in 2009, and their business has been spiraling upward since then.

JohnBT
February 29, 2012, 11:13 PM
"I'll bet if the customer knew they had to pay and then wait 7 days to begin with, they would've walked away "

Nuts, what's a week? I spent thousands on furniture a few weeks ago, cheap furniture, and it won't be here unil mid-April. A week for a gun? Jeez.

John

jcwit
February 29, 2012, 11:14 PM
I had to wait a month for my Corvette to be delivered.

wojownik
February 29, 2012, 11:27 PM
LOL, I've been waiting for 6 weeks now for Gunvault to send me my replacement keys for my stupid Minivault.

TITAN308
February 29, 2012, 11:34 PM
I had to wait 20 minutes once at Zaxbys.

Do you have ANY idea how long 20 minutes feels when your so hungry you munch away on ice chips from the soda machine in anticipation.

Insane!

Teachu2
March 1, 2012, 12:04 AM
Online is a little different, but, you could take a deposit instead of the full amount.

You could also place a hold of the amount on the card and not release it until the gun ships.

Little things like that go a long way. You also get the sense that Bud's isn't communicating with their customers. Big mistake. It's clear they aren't being up front about the potential (and probable) delays and not communicating at all when they occur.

I always err on the side of over-communication with my customers.


If you are really interested in how your competition does business, go to their website and pick a gun. Go through the order process and read what is stated in the policies - then just don't submit the order. Or even better, buy a Hi-Point pistol or such, so that you get to see all the communications that Bud's sends a customer.

They quite probably sell more guns in a day than most non-storefront FFLs do in a year. I bought a S&W 686+ Pro from them after the locals told me that it was not available - even though it was on both Bud's and Smith & Wesson's websites. It shipped within the specified timeframe, with an emailed tracking number, to my transfer dealer. It was over $100 less than the best local quote. I was so upset at this level of service that I ordered three more guns from Bud's, including one that wasn't CA compliant. Bud's was very pleasant and effecient about that one, cancelling the order the same day. On the three I bought, they authorized the credit card when the order was placed, and charged it when the order shipped. Nothing wrong with that - and I get a minimum of three weeks to pay it off with no fees or interest, at the cash price!

Bottom line is since I'm going to have to wait 10 days anyway, I might as well wait 20 and save 15-20%. I don't need handholding, or even "expert" advice, as I research the gun in forums like this one, at the local ranges, and elsewhere.

My local gun shops want to charge me MSRP for the same level of service. That's like going in for a $25 oil change and when they hand you the bill, it's $175. When you object, the tell you "We charged you for an oil change, a transmission fluid change, and a radiator flush because we offer all those services - even though you chose not to make use of them!"

RhinoDefense
March 1, 2012, 02:42 AM
I'm an 07/02 FFL/SOT firearm and ammunition manufacturer. I don't sell firearms or ammunition other what what I make myself, except for rimfire ammunition because it sells, makes me money, and I don't load it.

For customers wanting other brands of firearms I do Title I transfers for $20 per firearm and Title II transfers for $50 per firearm.

I like doing transfers because it's less paperwork than buying it myself and less work since I'm selling a service and not a product. Smooth transfers don't take long, average 20 minutes (talking about Title I only) from customer arriving to customer leaving with a smile. The reason I charge what I charge is it takes time to process a transfer, do paperwork, and I have to hold onto those 4473s for 20 freaking years before I can destroy them. That takes up a lot of space and space costs money. Customers pay for that time, paperwork, and storage of paperwork with the transfer fee.

Best thing about transfers is I make money by spending a little bit of time and no cash. When inventory doesn't move, it is costing you money, not making you money.

Businesses exist to make profit; they do so by selling a product or service.

Being a manufacturer it allows me to keep my capital focused in my brand and not others. Transfers are additional revenue and profit, plus provide for marketing my own products. The wall behind the transfer counter is glass so customers can see the shop part of the building. There's a reason for that. I'm marketing to their curiosity which leads them to be interested in my products which I make a lot of money making and selling them.

When a firearm comes in for transfer, I couldn't care less what the buyer paid for it. I just want my transfer fee. If the customer paid less than wholesale for it, I still make my $20. I'm concerned with what I'm paid, not what someone else got paid.

Davek1977
March 1, 2012, 03:55 AM
As far as the "if they knew they had to wait 7 days, i bet they would have walked" comment....BS. I'll GLADLY wait a week for gun to come in rather than pay $100 more for it from the local dealer. As far as Bud's communication, considering the volume of sales they do, I've found their communication to be absolutely wonderful. A handful of negative comments doesn't dissuade me from doing business with a particular companyu, especially when i know those with negative experiences tend to be more vocal, and when you do as much business as Bud's does, sometimes the issue isn't on the company's end, but on the customers. If buds sold 3-4 guns a week, and had that many negative comments, I'd certainly believe there was an issue, but when the complaints are a tiny fraction of the overall sales, they don't carry nearly as much weight to me. I like Bud's, and would galdly do business with them again based on price and service. There are other businesses in this thread I'd refuse to do business with on principal, based on the attitudes revealed in this thread

I know things because I was a cop that the average gun owner doesn't Sorry pal, but in my conversations with many law enforcement officers over the years, I've concluded they know no more about guns than most avid shooters, and in many cases, know considerably less. Sure, some cops are "gun guys" ....and some give no more thought about guns than they do any other tool used on the job. The idea that "I'm a cop so I know more about guns than you" is the exact sort of elitist attitude that would immediately rub me the wrong way. When you start out assuming you are more knowledgeable than the person you are engaging in conversation, you've already made your first mistake

TenRingGuns.com
March 1, 2012, 05:49 PM
Hi Davek

Yes, customers will walk. You obviously haven't owned a gun business before.

Are you former LEO Davek? I detect a tone of agitation and defensiveness in you post.

Clearly, you're unaware of the 1000's of hours of training that LEO's receive. LEO's do know more about guns, tactics, etc. than most gun owners, there's nothing to assume, that's a fact. There are also things LEO's don't know/skills that need to be refreshed, but that's why they train. The job requires the ability to be continually learning new things all the time.

With the assumptions of an "elitist attitude" your making you'll most certainly be rubbed the wrong way.

CoRoMo
March 1, 2012, 05:54 PM
Here's one:
Say that you're looking for gun 'X' on Gunbroker.

Seller 'A' is selling it at $500.00 delivered.
Seller 'B' is selling it at $499.00 delivered.
Both have similar 'A+' ratings there.

By a show of hands, how many would buy it from Seller 'A'?

:D

Scimmia
March 1, 2012, 06:04 PM
Clearly, you're unaware of the amount of training that LEO's receive. LEO's do know more about guns, tactics, etc. than most gun owners, there's nothing to assume, that's a fact. There are also things LEO's don't know/skills that need to be refreshed, that's why they train.

Unfortunately, virtually every LEO I've spoken to, including federal level, know very little about guns. They're issued their Glocks, that's what they train with, and that's the extent of their knowledge. Many, or even most, aren't even good shots.

Few of them will admit it, though. Most subscribe to your theory that because they've had some training, they know everything there is to know, far more than the the little people - you know, the ones who have an actual interest in the subject.

I was out shooting with some friends and a Deputy Marshal over the holidays. Later that week, he took my brother to help him go gun shopping.

mdauben
March 1, 2012, 06:21 PM
My local store provides an indoor target range I can use when its too hot/cold/wet to shoot outdoors. They provide ammunition and supplies RIGHT NOW, and not in a couple of days. They provide a place for me to handle a new gun, get a feel for its handling and quality. All those things are worth something to me and I would hate to lose my access to them becuase the shop was driven out of buisness by on-line retailers. So, if the price difference is anywere near reasonable (which to me hovers around 10-15%) I'll by preference deal with my local shop.

When the price difference gets too large, I will cave in and order on-line, but luckily I have a large local shop that has the sales volume to offer near on-line pricing on most things, so its usually not an issue.

Teachu2
March 1, 2012, 06:25 PM
[QUOTE][Are you former LEO Davek? I detect a tone of agitation and defensiveness in you post.

Clearly, you're unaware of the amount of training that LEO's receive. LEO's do know more about guns, tactics, etc. than most gun owners, there's nothing to assume, that's a fact. There are also things LEO's don't know/skills that need to be refreshed, that's why they train.

/QUOTE]

As a former LEO, I have to agree with Davek. While most LEOs know more about firearms than most average citizens, they know far less than most firearms enthusiasts/gun nuts. They use a very limited group of firearms in a highly structured manner - and often not very well. In my academy class, I was the only shooter who broke doubles on the skeet range, as an example.

There are LEOs who are very knowledgable about firearms - because they are enthusiasts, not because they are LEOs. There are also LEOs who are knowledgable about automotive design and performance, but not from the driving course they got.

AABEN
March 1, 2012, 06:41 PM
Pardoning your mutilation of the Queen's, I THINK you're trying to say that he needs to cover overhead and this should be expected to be the "least he can make", or maybe "pay the lease."

35% (your number) on a 1000 dollar gun is 350 dollars. I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars over wholesale price just to keep a local gun store in business. Also, I call BS on your figure of 35%. A successful gun store moves MUCH product, yet their overhead remains the same. A successful gun store would be able to get by with a slimmer profit margin, as they would be selling quantity.

That being said, other than being able to inspect before you buy, online sales are better. It comes closer to you, it's cheaper, the selection is better, etc, etc. Am I supposed to 'feel bad' and 'support' a gun store? Of course not, it would be like refusing to deal with email because you like the postal service.

Lastly, dealing with your insinuation that I should discount my labor, you should realize that a firearm is a good, not a service. Thus, I can get the same good from elsewhere and it is not somehow 'more special' because it went through a gun store. Capitalism means that, when someone finds a better way to do your thing, you either adapt, or lose. This is not a socialist country, I don't have an obligation to support outdated methodology, and I can shop where I choose. End of article.
I had a gun store for 8 years before I retired and started to trivial with my wife. YES 35% will keep the door open! If you think you can get by for less then OPEN your own dam store and see how longer you keep it up and make a living out of it!! Factory suggest a 50% mark up. So I can see that you have never own your own business.

TenRingGuns.com
March 1, 2012, 06:59 PM
Hmmm

Double_J
March 1, 2012, 07:39 PM
There is a man by the name of Chris Brady who made an audio training cd titled "you can't commoditize community." It is in this cd that he explains what personal relationships are, and how valuable they are in the world today. You can buy anything you want from the internet and have it shipped to you. The ONLY thing that keeps you from being driven out of business is your "community" or customer base.

You HAVE to build a good customer base, and keep it growing. This is done by either offering BETTER service than the other guy, or being cheaper. Should you go cheaper then what is to stop the next guy from dropping his price lower than yours? lets all say this together now...NOTHING! Having the lowest price will not keep you in business forever, someone with deeper pockets can take a loss and drive you out of the game.

Having a good customer base is about being able to take care of the customer. This means that you must find their needs. It can be broken down to these easy steps: make a friend, find a need, transfer a feeling. Making a friend is the most important part, if you fail here then the customer will have no problem finding someone else who will fill that role. Finding a need is also important, but it is a bit easier in that you know that the customer is interested in what you have to offer. Transferring a feeling is the hard part. You have to convey a feeling of trust and belief that you care about the customer, and not only about his money. You must believe in him and build him up, that way he will want to come spend time with you outside of the sale, and bring friends of his to you.

If you want more information about this topic please pm me. I will gladly get you some information on this topic.

jcwit
March 1, 2012, 07:48 PM
There are also things LEO's don't know/skills that need to be refreshed, but that's why they train.

I'll agree with the above statement for sure, most every LEO I've seen at the range sure needed more training/practice. Most were hard pressed to hit anything in a range environment let alone in a heated emergency/save you're life situation.

Here's another example.

Brick & Morter Seller 'A' is selling it at $500.00 delivered.
OnLine Seller 'B' is selling it at $449.00 delivered.
Both have similar 'A+' ratings there.
With seller 'B' you will need to spend additional $20.00 transfer fee bringing total to $469.00

By a show of hands, how many would buy it from Seller 'B'?

I would, now I have cash for a couple of boxes of ammo depending on make and caliber.

I need no one to hold my hand or teach me about the weapon, but hey, I don't consider myself average either.

TITAN308
March 1, 2012, 08:15 PM
Did I miss something?

I was under the impression that gun stores get a majority of their money from transfers and "misc items" for guns (like ammo, targets, etc etc) not the gun itself.

Kind of how like food places actually make very little on food, its made on beverages and booze.

For example the average price of a soda at a sit down joint is $2.49.

The box of syrup for the soda cost about $48.00 - $70.00

The box of syrup makes hundreds of sodas before it runs out. Even accounting for equipment to dispense and mix the soda with carbonated water - without even getting the calculator you can see where this is going.

Same concept with tea.

lol water + sugar + tea bag = $2.49 x alot

TenRingGuns.com
March 1, 2012, 09:15 PM
Not to digress but "training" is relative. The fact is small departments provide little to no regular training, they can't afford it. Medium to large departments on the other hand, provide a lot more; although recently due to economic factors, this is changing. That's my mistake for not clarifying for those unfamiliar with LEO issues like these.

LEO's do know more about guns, tactics, etc. than most gun owners, there's nothing to assume, that's a fact. What I said is a true statement. You can choose to infer whatever you think I mean by "gun owners" but don't infer something that I didn't say. I didn't say "firearms enthusiasts/gun nuts" like Teach said.

Anyhow, my point is that FFL dealers with an LEO/military background have a lot to offer their customers in the ways of service, knowledge, and expertise. We are more than willing to pass on what we learned on duty/patrol on to others.

Titan, I think it all depends on the shops business strategy. FFL fees vary in my area. But several of the more well known shops also have ranges and they make a lot of profit on that end even more so than on their guns.

bob barker
March 1, 2012, 09:32 PM
I'll leave the names out ...

LGS #1 - tacticool staff pretty much ignores potential customers that are either (a) not regulars and/or (b) tacticool. Tends to price at or above MSRP, selection is heavy on black rifles and HK pistols, and not much else. Very high FFL transfer fees for the area, and actively discourages transfers (one of the staff actually said the tired statement that "if we don't have it, you don't want it").

LGS #2 - good ole' boy staff, very quirky, pretty opinionated, especially if you ask about a gun he doesn't have in stock, or doesn't like. Not much new stuff, but a fair amount on consignment at OK prices. Shop is a real mess though - disorganized, cluttered - like a army surplus shop after an earthquake. Friendly about doing transfers, but can also be disorganized during the transaction.

LGS#3 - staff with very professional demeanor, friendly but businesslike. Good selection of handguns (well rounded, for anyone from the cowboy action shooter to the IDPA/IPSC crowd). Well organized store. Good selection of accessories. Experienced gunsmiths on staff (including a manufacturer-certified armorers), at reasonable labor and parts rates. Friendly and very smooth FFL transfers.

LGS#1 and #2 soured me on the whole idea of local shops. LGS#3 brought me back home.

Though LGS#3 is quite a bit out of my way, they have become my one-stop shop for all manner of accessories and services. Though a lot of my purchases have been either transfers, they have gotten my business for the transfer, for the leather, and for a fair amount of a bit of maintenance services. Example: When I transferred a Sig p6 online though them, I ended up picking up a holster, having the sights replaced, and tuning it up.

In fact - and maybe this is the punch line - he's probably made a lot more money from me in services than he ever would in margin on firearms purchases.
Sounds alot like my experiences... I have dropped $10k in the last 6 months at a gun shop because they have shown me great service. The guys are knowledgable, and the prices are comparable. I could buy on line and saved a few hundred dollars off of ALL my purchases, but I like the guys. They know my name when I walk in and give me great service, and they should! I have spent a few dollars in there. I have a gun shop near the house that is even nicer, with an indoor range. I shoot there all the time. I dont buy my guns from them though. Partly because they dont take American Express. This was the main reasn I chose the other shop. But they gave me excellent service, and I have stayed loyal.
Thats my other great beef with gun shops.. Why is everyone against American Express. I understand they charge a higher usegae rate to the shop, but Amex users typically spend WAY more money.

Teachu2
March 1, 2012, 10:30 PM
Actually, Tom, you said
Selling guns requires knowledge and the staff needs to be able to answer questions. For example, I know things because I was a cop that the average gun owner doesn't but I pass my knowledge on to my customers and learn something new. But I also learn from them too.



While I agree that you know things because you were a cop that the average gun owner doesn't, I believe that most of that knowledge has little or no value to your firearms customers in regards to their purchase. Now if you were an armorer or rangemaster or firearms instructor for your department, that is a different matter.

Perhaps you could enlighten me with an example of your LE experience/training/knowledge that would apply. I'm always willing to reconsider my position!

35Rem
March 1, 2012, 10:45 PM
There was a comment about not taking any money until the gun was transferred, earlier. BAD IDEA.

People back out all the time. There is a reason places require deposits.

35Rem
March 1, 2012, 10:50 PM
I almost forgot!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am-Qdx6vky0
"I'm the only one in this room, that I know of, professional enough to carry this Glock 40."

drsfmd
March 1, 2012, 11:03 PM
Most cops know Glocks, or whatever they are issued, and little else. I do know a few who are "gun guys", but I know far more who don't even know how to unload a gun that isn't a Glock.

JD Armory
March 1, 2012, 11:06 PM
To whomever said police know more about guns because they spend 1000's of hours training, you do realize very little training is on firearms right? Most of it is on all of the other aspects of the job of being a cop.

Now as a part time FFL, who does have a commercial shop (open most weeknights and weekends, also by appointment), I usually mark up firearms around 15% (some higher, some a bit lower). Ammo and accessories get marked up a bit higher, but not by much. I only charge $15 for transfers, which is about $10 cheaper than any other place in town. I find this covers all of the overhead easily, so I'm not sure why any gun store being run well would need a markup of 35% on firearms, much less the markup that implies on everything else, to survive.

As to what "services" I and other LGS' can provide to customers to differentiate ourselves from online sellers, there's not a whole lot a store can do. We do training for our state's concealed handgun license, the NRA's Refuse to be a victim class, and the NRA children's firearm safety class (its exact name escapes me atm). Additionally, we can do basic gunsmithing and offer cheaper shipping back to manufacturer's for warranty work than if a customer just mailed the gun on their own. We are also an NRA Freedom Center and are heavily involved in Second Amendment activism in the state, which some of our customers appreciate.

TenRingGuns.com
March 2, 2012, 02:00 AM
Great post Double J, couldn't agree more.

RhinoDefense
March 2, 2012, 02:01 AM
Did I miss something?

I was under the impression that gun stores get a majority of their money from transfers and "misc items" for guns (like ammo, targets, etc etc) not the gun itself.
That is correct. Retail gun shops make money on accessories and services, not on new firearm sales. New firearms average 10-15% gross. Have a gunsmith on staff? Cha-ching!

Davek1977
March 2, 2012, 02:24 AM
I detect a tone of agitation and defensiveness in you post.

Clearly, you're unaware of the 1000's of hours of training that LEO's receive. LEO's do know more about guns, tactics, etc. than most gun owners, there's nothing to assume, that's a fact. There are also things LEO's don't know/skills that need to be refreshed, but that's why they train. The job requires the ability to be continually learning new things all the time.


Nope, not the least bit agitated....just making a point that, by and large, the average cop isn't any more of an firearms expert than the average shooter. Others have echoed that sentiment, so if you're inferring I'm 'agitated" because I disagree with you, then many here seem "agitated." You act as though it should jusgt be assumed that because one may be LEO, that they are an expert in all things guns. The truth of the matter is far from it....some cops don't fire a shot that isn't required by their department, and the amount of "live fire" needed for annual qualifications is hardly enough to qualify someone as more knowledgeable than the guys out on the range every other weekend expending thousands of rounds annually. Like i said, sure, there are cops that are "gun guys" and people like the instructors or armorers for the larger department may very well be masters in their area of expertise......but, I don't buy the attitude of "I'm (was) a cop...therefore I know more than you". Thats a mighty presumptuous attitude to bring to a conversation.

JohnBT
March 2, 2012, 10:13 AM
Here's another example.

Brick & Morter Seller 'A' is selling it at $500.00 delivered.
OnLine Seller 'B' is selling it at $449.00 delivered.
Both have similar 'A+' ratings there.
With seller 'B' you will need to spend additional $20.00 transfer fee bringing total to $469.00

By a show of hands, how many would buy it from Seller 'B'?

______________________

And then there's Seller 'C' -

"Hey, JohnBT, where have you been the last couple of weeks? I have a shipment sitting in the back that we haven't priced and tagged yet to put on the shelves, but there's an XYZ gun I think you'd like and it's the only one we've been able to get. Want to see it? You can have it for $1200 which is $100 under list."

I'll take Seller 'C' who knows me and thinks about me from time to time.

jcwit
March 2, 2012, 11:08 AM
But seller 'C' did not exist in my example.

How bout seller 'D'
Seller 'D' known friend at the gun show says Hey Joe got a gun I bought a few years ago, never did like it, I'll let you have it for $200.00 being as I know you like these. I got it for $300 but somebody said they've gone up now, I just want to get rid of it.

I'll take seller 'D' who is a friend and giving me a great deal.

We can keep these maybe's going forever, all the way to 'Z'.

I've actually had similar sales happen to me as I gave the example above.

Ashcons
March 2, 2012, 12:00 PM
Hi TenRingGuns.com,

These types of threads are interesting because there is a line in the sand where the FFLs crowd on one side or the other: those who welcome transfers and the resulting benefits, and those who see transfers as a hassle with little or no value added to their retail establishment.

My income is limited and the gun hobby vies for attention for that limited resource with baby stuff, wife stuff, and bills (I am not an FFL or a retailer).

My attitude towards LGSes AND e-tailers is ambivalent. Whoever suits my needs gets my money and pricing factors into my needs. That said, most the LGS here do not like transfers and will not otherwise get my business (found that out trying to buy a C&R item that none of them had in stock).

What do you like or not like about them?

I like:
Quantity of inventory
Inventory browsing accessible any time
Concurrent research
Prices

I don't like that I cannot touch the inventory.

Do you buy from them? Why or why not?

It depends. If the local gunsmith who has won my loyalty can get a gun around the same price as the e-tailer, I will order from him; otherwise he is happy to transfer. Price is a big factor as my funds are limited, I generally research and have little need to take up any additional time.

I prefer to buy handguns from an LGS that stocks them. They're going to have to be somewhat flexible on pricing, but I understand that volume sales are going to beat the small guy every time, but I will be using his inventory to make my decision and want to support his carrying cost of that inventory. Some of your customers will not understand those things or won't care because price is their only factor.

FourTeeFive
March 2, 2012, 12:48 PM
Recently I went to Skagit Arms in Burlington, WA. This is about a half hour drive from TenRings location so it is an example of his competition.

I went in just to look around. They have some really good prices on Sigs that are about the same as if I bought from an online discounter and paid shipping and transfer fee. I checked out the Sigs and then looked through their used gun selection, which is pretty good. Done with that I went over to look at new Glocks. A guy who works there named Will asked if I'd like to see anything. I said "do you have any Glock 17L's?" He said "no, we get them in at times but don't always have them in stock. However, I have a recently traded in Glock 34 Practical Tactical that looks almost new; let me grab it for you."

He got the gun, racked the slide and inspected it, and handed it to me. I looked at it, handed it back, and he took the slide off and showed me how it looked like it hadn't been fired by any owners. I'm not a huge Glock guy and wasn't familiar with the 34 so I asked him about the difference between it and the 17L and a regular 17. He explained the barrel/slide length (I wanted longer than a 17), trigger pull, and ported slide. Nice gun. He said "It is $519 but if you're interested I'm sure we can do a little better". I paid $500 plus tax, did the paperwork, bought some .22LR ammo, and walked out the door. With paperwork and everything I was probably only there for 20 minutes or so total, including my looking around the shop.

This is what I want in a gun store. Good selection in a nice organized place. Friendly knowledgeable sales staff who are able to quickly understand what I'm looking for and offer helpful suggestions. And good competitive pricing. That is what gets my business and will make me a regular customer. Add to that a good used gun selection and I will come back often.

I wasn't really planning on buying anything that day but I was there at the right time and the sales guy was helpful and found me something he knew would interest me because he was listening. And he made a sale because of that.

When I do order firearms online it tends to be hard-to-find items that nobody locally stocks, or just amazing price deals that are hard to pass up. CDNN Investments does a good job with their catalog and sometimes has some great deals. If my local dealer has a similar product and the price is in the ballpark, I'll definite go with the local dealer. I have a relatively local guy that primarily does FFL transfers and charges $30 for those times I do order something online.

drsfmd
March 2, 2012, 02:32 PM
As I've said before, this is the classic any-two-of-three situation...

Good prices
Good selection
Good Service

Pick two.

nofishbob
March 2, 2012, 02:45 PM
\\
drsfmd wrote:
As I've said before, this is the classic any-two-of-three situation...

Good prices
Good selection
Good Service

Pick two.

I get all three at Bud's Gunshop.

Unless you define "service" as holding a customer's hand and helping him decide what he wants.

I don't require help.

I don't want to discuss what I want or why I want it with a stranger. I am an adult, not a child.

The service Bud's provides is a quick, predictable, no hassle transaction. Exactly what I like.

Bob

tarosean
March 2, 2012, 10:32 PM
In todays market... "I can order it" is the nail in the proverbial coffin for me. I can too..

TenRingGuns.com
March 13, 2012, 11:08 PM
Officially ends April 6th, expect to see price increases after that.

http://i41.tinypic.com/105p62u.jpg

crazy-mp
March 13, 2012, 11:40 PM
Almost all of the bigger distributors are getting away from drop shipping. Because of Buds and Cheaper than dirt. Expect their prices to be adjusted accordingly.

Cheaper is not always better, how many mom and pop stores are no more because of the Big Box stores? Yes your saving a few bucks but you have no customer service and nobody working for your business.

I love it when people come to me wanting a certain gun then it only takes me 10-15 minutes on the internet or phone to see if any of the distributors have it.

TenRingGuns.com
March 14, 2012, 01:12 AM
Thank you Crazy, perfectly said.

bikemutt
March 14, 2012, 02:03 AM
Cheaper is not always better, how many mom and pop stores are no more because of the Big Box stores? Yes your saving a few bucks but you have no customer service and nobody working for your business.

My observation is that mom and pop is no guarantee of good, or even mediocre customer service. While it's mostly true that big box stores are no better, at least I have no expectations of them.

Saying cheaper is not always better is all fine and good, and it may be true, but unless you can articulate a real value-add for me (or anyone) to pay more for a generally reliable commodity such as a gun, it's wishful thinking.

Davek1977
March 14, 2012, 07:59 AM
I tend to agree, Bikemutt. While all the people are harping about "mom and pop" stores and the evils of Big Box and Online retailers....I can't say I'm any more or less happy with guns bought through the local "mom and pop" shop, the "Big Box" stores, or online. My purchases have been quick and painless regarding all three, prices have been competitive, and my guns all WORKED, making the "service after the sale" less than a deciding factor. Considering today's guarantees and warranties, "service after the sale" typically means shipping a gun back to the factory,something I'm perfectly capeable of on my own. I understand paying a premium for services one might actually use, but the mom and pop shops don't really offer me anything I can't get elsewhere. I can call Ruger just as well as they can. I can affix a shipping label just as efficiently as they can. NOTHING the local shop is capable of doing is worth paying an extra $100 bucks just so that I sleep better at night "supporting a local business" at the cost of my OWN bank account. Why should I be so worried about THEIR bottom line as opposed to my own? I refuse to overpay simply because someone thinks that I should just to support "local" business. When local businesses start losing sleep on how to better my financial situation, maybe I'll return the favor, but when their mode of business is to separate me from as many of my dollars as possible, its hard to think of them too charitably.

35Rem
March 14, 2012, 11:32 AM
I'm pretty sure Bud's, Midway USA, Cabela's, BassPro, etc were all "Mom and Pop" stores at one time.

35Rem
March 14, 2012, 11:33 AM
Officially ends April 6th, expect to see price increases after that.

Oh yeah, do you feel better now? :scrutiny:

WinThePennant
March 14, 2012, 11:39 AM
Online shopping is here to stay. I really dislike when people try a gun out at a LGS, and then buy online to save a few bucks.

Online shopping will very likely wipe out the LGS. That's a shame, too, since the LGS is the backbone of the 2nd Amendment.

wojownik
March 14, 2012, 04:44 PM
the LGS is the backbone of the 2nd Amendment.
??? :confused::confused:???

I rather thought natural rights were the backbone of the 2A, not my local merchant.

But anyway, LGS' that innovate, diversify, improvise will likely continue. Those that do not, will have a tough time ... as would any business that does not reinvest and reinvent itself from time to time.

Buds is a LGS that innovated and became a major online retailer. And still is a LGS and range.

There is a new business model and ecosystem that is evolving here. LGS would do well to try and figure out how they fit into - and can capitalize on - that new ecosystem. Local FFL services will still need to be around for that part of the transaction. What revenues that FFLs lose from direct gun sales will need to be recovered somewhere else.

Pietro Beretta
March 14, 2012, 05:23 PM
Curious. What states charge for background checks?

Oregon (FICS); $10.00

Oregon State Police: Firearms Instant Check System (http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/ID/fics.shtml)

(No Sales Tax in Oregon; they just charge more for state income tax and property tax)

mgmorden
March 14, 2012, 05:25 PM
Officially ends April 6th, expect to see price increases after that.

Or they switch to a different distributor. Or they in effect become distributors themselves and start to house larger quantities of their merchandise onsite and do even more to cut out the middle man. There are plenty of online vendors not doing drop shipments that are still killing the LGS and their inflated prices.

As a revised quote regarding the internet, the free market interprets any such manipulation as damage, and routes around it.

Like it or not, you're not putting the genie back in the bottle. People buy things online now, and will continue to do so.

JohnBT
March 14, 2012, 05:29 PM
"Online shopping will very likely wipe out the LGS."

Nah or much of anything else. For instance, have you noticed how Apple had to close all of the Apple stores because of how all their hi-tech-loving customers only do on-line shopping? Right, they didn't. People like to see things up close and touch them and then take them home immediately.

The gun stores around here seem to be doing well if the lines of buyers are any indication.

John

WinThePennant
March 14, 2012, 06:16 PM
"Online shopping will very likely wipe out the LGS."

Nah or much of anything else. For instance, have you noticed how Apple had to close all of the Apple stores because of how all their hi-tech-loving customers only do on-line shopping? Right, they didn't. People like to see things up close and touch them and then take them home immediately.

The gun stores around here seem to be doing well if the lines of buyers are any indication.

John
Yeah, but Apple still gets the profit if you "try before you buy" an iPad. That's not the case with a LGS when you buy from Buds, Gallery of Guns, Gunbroker, etc. The LGS is basically carrying overhead for the online retailers.

Agsalaska
March 14, 2012, 06:37 PM
I am glad I picked up on this thread. I have not read all of the posts but enough to see that a lot of people have mentioned customer service and fair treatment key.

I have gotten to the point that I hardly ever go into a gun shop. It is hard to describe the gun store attitude to people who have not experienced it. Too often I find myself dealing with the most arrogant, closed minded people behind the counter. In my mind typical gun store employee is a big guy with a holier than though attitude telling me what I should be doing swearing up and down they would kill Hitler and are 150% prepared for the apocolypse and you should be too kind of tough guys. You can see it in the look on their faces. They are so good and so knowledgable that you should wait on them. I have lived in three major cities in the last six years and it is the same everywhere I go.

I will give you an example. I went into a shop about six months ago for the first time and enquired about a gun transfer. The employee, and this is more or less a direct quote, said "why would I transfer in a gun when I have all of these for sale." I left. I guess 'I am sorry but we do not offer that. What kind of gun are you looking for I may have it,' was beneath him.

But there is one shop in my city that doesnt treat people that way. And I am a buyer. They are nice people. There is no politics in the shop. They treat you with respect no matter who you are and what you want. They will definetely try to steer you in the right direction if you have any questions and will do everything they can to get you what you need.

Example one I wont pay for even if they are the cheapest. As I said on another post that is why I avoid gun shows like the plague. Example two I will pay a premium, albeit not a lot, over on line distributers.

I like the human touch over on line sales in all categories, not just guns. I am in a customer service business too. But I bet my on line % of overall commercial buying has tripled in the last two years.

Agsalaska
March 14, 2012, 06:51 PM
Now that I am on a rant I have another one.

A friend of mine who grew up in New England had never shot a gun in his life. We are in our mid thirties and he wanted to buy a shotgun for home protection. We went out to the dessert and shot a couple shotguns and pistols and he stuck with the shotgun. I was going to go with him but was out of town, and he ended up going to a pretty big gun shop. He left with no gun not completely turned off but questioning whether he really wanted to get in the gun game. he said that, for starters, he was raised a democrat and, though he now sees the light, is a little sensitive to the subject. They were saying anyone who voted for Obama was an idiot blah blah blah. Well his parents did. Then the sales guy is trying to convince him to put down 1200 bucks on a benelli(I think) semi auto 12 gauge. He wasnt satisfied that a 1300 defender was what my friend wanted. In 20 gauge blasphemy!! There is nothing wrong with trying to upsell products, but be professional about it. Apparently the fact that he was a starter, his wife is tiny, and he was more comfortable with a 20 gauge didnt matter. If you want real protection you have to have this!! My buddy just finally left.

I took him to the one shop I go to. He walked out with a Mossberg 500 18 inch 20 gauge(it was used, cheaper than the new defender, and is almost the same gun), 20 OO-buckshot, and a cartridge sleeve. He was comfortable enough to eopenly admit he had only once shot a handgun and that was with me. They talked to him a little about a class they teach and would be happy to answer any questions.


So I guess my point is if you treat customers like number one the On line retailers will put you out of business. I you treat them like number two you will probably do well.

Cesiumsponge
March 14, 2012, 07:20 PM
I am fortunate enough that my local gun store is one of the smaller, but well-known top tier stores known around the AR forum circuits. They offer fantastic prices because their sales are primarily web sales. There is no way a specialty store like that could survive on local sales as I'm sure 100 people will buy a Bushmaster or RRA for every Noveske sold, and they sell ARs and NFA items exclusively. By picking a niche market and catering to it with active sponsorship and representation on AR forums and excellent customer service, they crafted a national customer base and keep a local storefront for their local customers.

For a local store, they have fantastic staff who are knowledgeable. I hate most gun stores because I have a low tolerance for listening to tall tales or bad advice.

One reason to purchase online is simply tax and availability. For lower dollar purchases, transfer fees can often outweigh savings and I use local sources if they charge a reasonable price. That is okay for more common things but if you want niche items, good luck! For certain purchases like Accuracy International or Sako topped with a Hensoldt, there is simply no local dealers for that kind of hardware and when you're looking at almost $1000 in tax alone. I had to look to the east coast for a Sako and the Midwest for an Anshutz and Walther target rifle.

CZguy
March 14, 2012, 07:22 PM
But anyway, LGS' that innovate, diversify, improvise will likely continue. Those that do not, will have a tough time ... as would any business that does not reinvest and reinvent itself from time to time.

Buds is a LGS that innovated and became a major online retailer. And still is a LGS and range.

There is a new business model and ecosystem that is evolving here. LGS would do well to try and figure out how they fit into - and can capitalize on - that new ecosystem. Local FFL services will still need to be around for that part of the transaction. What revenues that FFLs lose from direct gun sales will need to be recovered somewhere else.

I agree, the only constant, is change will occur.

This is the literal definition of free enterprise.

B J Elliott
March 14, 2012, 08:00 PM
I have searched and searched but could not find a lgs that could beat my favorite online guns shop. I have bought at least 5 guns online with no hitch and much cheaper than the local gun stores around here at least in Middle Tn.:)

B J Elliott
March 14, 2012, 08:20 PM
Exactly!!!!!

TenRingGuns.com
March 15, 2012, 12:43 AM
It's unfortunate that some local gun shops don't provide the service they should, things like answering questions, making recommendations, and pointing customers in the right direction. But not all shops are like this, I know I'm not.

This is been one reason why I've been able to set myself a part from other dealers in my area, I don't sell my customers anything, I listen to what they have to say, answer their questions as best I can, and have a friendly attitude regardless of their background, experience, etc. Customers like this, who wouldn't?

While most folks here are "power users" of guns, many, many more are not and they appreciate the service aspect of gun sales. Good service is a lost art but it doesn't have to stay that way.

Gtimothy
March 15, 2012, 01:12 AM
I always support my local shops as much as I can and hopefully they understand why I have to shop around sometimes. My name isn't Rockafeller and I work VERY hard for what little the Government lets me take home! That being said, I spend a LOT of time doing research and comparing prices for everything I buy. If my local Gun shop has the gun I want to buy, I produce all of the information from where I saw it cheaper and allow them to do what they can to win my patronage. It might be as little as waving the transfer fee.... I'm pretty easy to make happy and service goes a LONG way in my book.

Cesiumsponge
March 15, 2012, 01:20 AM
Gun stores that are strictly LGS can't sell as cheap as online stores, but if a LGS takes to online selling and finds a good niche, they can increase their volume overall and possibly drop margins a bit. I'm sure Ten Ring Guns also comes across customers that simply can't be satisfied or have unrealistic expectations. Running a business really is a pain in the butt and I don't think most people realize that. I've checked his prices on the website and they're fair for our area. One only needs to wander over to a certain gun store in Bellevue if they want to see sticker shock.

There tends to be several categories of shoppers. Those that did their research and know what they want, the on-the-fence guys, and the ones that wander in and don't know what they're after. I tend to be the first because I hate driving around and wasting time learning on the go. I believe most posters here are also in this category. After all, a forum is for exchanging information and asking questions.

Of course, I think the majority of gun owners are the latter two because we don't have 50 million folks registered on gun forums and I've simply found that 80% of gun stores treat you like a neophyte in a condescending manner. I have no problem with treating all new customers as if it's their first time stepping foot in a gun store, but a lot of shops use it as an opportunity to practice their politician skills. In the early days, I would play along for fun...but it got tiring once I started hearing the tall tales, the bad advice, and old wives' tales about caliber this and brand that.

crazy-mp
March 15, 2012, 03:18 AM
Saying cheaper is not always better is all fine and good, and it may be true, but unless you can articulate a real value-add for me (or anyone) to pay more for a generally reliable commodity such as a gun, it's wishful thinking.

Some people are happy with cheap, others want the specialized attention that can only be had at a gun store that wants your business. I treat every customer that walks through my door the same no matter if they are looking for a Hi-Point or a 338-378 Weatherby.

I am one of 2 SOT (class 3) dealers in the county I live in, then you have to drive at least a hour to get to the next closest SOT, I have people driving 3 hours to buy from me, and I have not had a grand opening yet, word of mouth is better advertising than anything.

A couple of those people drive by dealers that ARE cheaper than me, but they treat their customers like crap and they would rather have that specialized attention I offer like letting you shoot a suppressor before you buy it, and not treat you like your the dumbest thing God ever stretched a piece of hide across.

So by your dollars and cents reasoning its better to be talked down to and get 0 customer service than pay 5-15 percent more and get better customer service and a dealer that will go out of their way to make you (the customer) happy?

JohnBT
March 15, 2012, 09:56 AM
"It is hard to describe the gun store attitude to people who have not experienced it."

The attitudes are wonderful around here. Good folks, helpful, friendly, I couldn't ask for more. Even the shops over in the Valley remember me and go out of their way to show me guns they think I'd like. Maybe it's a state by state thing if you have had a different experience where you live.

Even the local Bass Pro and Gander Mountain stores aren't too bad, but I'm talking about real gun stores, not chain stores.

I see Green Top's used gun selection is down to 13 pages. Sales are still booming it seems.

www.cpostores.com/greentophuntfish/graphics/guns.pdf

http://www.greentophuntfish.com/graphics/greentopteam.jpg

mgmorden
March 15, 2012, 10:15 AM
A couple of those people drive by dealers that ARE cheaper than me, but they treat their customers like crap and they would rather have that specialized attention I offer like letting you shoot a suppressor before you buy it, and not treat you like your the dumbest thing God ever stretched a piece of hide across.

Couple of things to keep in mind though: you're saying that they'd pay more for positive treatment from one local store versus negative at another. That's understandable, because there is a strong direct dislike of negative treatment.

HOWEVER, it seems that many more people are absolutely fine (and many PREFER) the emotionally neutral experience of dealing with a computer. When I shop at Buds there's no clerks there to "help", but there's also none whose time I'm wasting by looking and waffling about a gun for hours or even days on end. There's nobody to try and upsell me or talk me into something different. Even if they were being friendly there's nobody whose boring stories I have to smile and sit through. There's just a list of items, prices, and a nice "Add to cart" button. Online shopping keeps other people out of what I want to be a private decision.

With guns its clear cut - online is virtually always cheaper. With things like electronics and the like though, the price difference isn't always so high. Still, between buying at Best Buy or another big store, versus ordering online from somewhere like Newegg, I'll order online every time - even if the price is the same.

ErikO
March 15, 2012, 10:47 AM
I have a faily local gun shop that charges a fair price for transfers, does '30 days' for used gun purchases and will let you 'invest' in his store until the investment reaches the price of a new gun. He started out as a gunsmith working out of his basement and made enough to open a store front. Owes $0 to any bank for his business, no starter loan to worry about paying.

His prices are fair and he has no issue with transfering guns from Bud's at a $25 fee. Honestly, I'd have no problem paying an extra $50-75 for a gun from him as I genuinely want to see this guy succeed. I got a great deal on a stripped AR lower and he's confident that he can get a good price on the parts I need to finish out at least one if not more uppers for it.

Will I get some stuff from Model 1 or somesuch mailed to me? Sure, but largely due to the fact that it's outside the range of what he normally carries. Anything I can get from him I will, such as the AR armorer's tool I got from him for $10 less than I would have paid to have mail ordered it (tax was less than the s/h would have been and his price was $3 less to boot!)

Agsalaska
March 15, 2012, 11:03 AM
"It is hard to describe the gun store attitude to people who have not experienced it."

The attitudes are wonderful around here. Good folks, helpful, friendly, I couldn't ask for more. Even the shops over in the Valley remember me and go out of their way to show me guns they think I'd like. Maybe it's a state by state thing if you have had a different experience where you live.

Even the local Bass Pro and Gander Mountain stores aren't too bad, but I'm talking about real gun stores, not chain stores.

I see Green Top's used gun selection is down to 13 pages. Sales are still booming it seems.

www.cpostores.com/greentophuntfish/graphics/guns.pdf

http://www.greentophuntfish.com/graphics/greentopteam.jpg
It may be the areas I live in. I am rather close to ********** but fortunately not in it. The shops back in east Texas where I grew up and where most of my family resides are not like that either. They are all as nice as they can be.

After contemplating my posts last night I realized I should probably give a couple of shops here that I have not gone in a chance even though my current dealer does everything I need. But he doesnt have everything.

And Mr Fast. I appreciate your post. I spend time in Washington and will come check out TenRingGuns.

ForumSurfer
March 15, 2012, 11:18 AM
Here's how it works for me:

1. Research what I want. Check online prices and availability at buds and jetguns. Check Davidson's gallery of guns to see what a high price looks like.

2. Search the local stores to see if they have it because I want it now.

3. Clerk at store 1 comes across as a know it all and informs me of what I really want...loses my business.

4. Clerk at store 2 doesn't help me next even though I was here longer...loses my business. Really, I'm invisible in a retail environment. It might be due to my extremely laid back demeanor.

5. At store 3, prices are exuberantly high compared to online, like $625 vs $525. Of course I also have to factor in shipping and my $10 "back room FFL" guy. Lets face facts, I'm a shooter and if I can save $50, that's a few boxes of ammo.

6. Maybe stop by Gander Mountain for a glimpse at the absolute highest price you can find. Really...how do they sell anything?!

7. Stop by local favorite pawn shop where they know my name. He shows me what I ask for or show me a price for ordering it. He never beats bud's price, but it's close. He's good people, so I buy fro him.

I know I don't buy a million dollars worth of guns every year, but if you don't remember my face or name (small town) after I've bought 4 or 5 guns from you...then I won't buy another regardless of price or service.

The LGS isn't the backbone of the 2nd amendment, we are as a community.

LGS are here to stay and won't be replaced by online dealers. There just may be a large chunk of their business gone. I think online dealers keep LGS's in check.

Jaxondog
March 15, 2012, 11:44 AM
Could not have said it better

callenlee
March 15, 2012, 07:56 PM
I'm fairly new to the hobby but I've purchased both online and locally. I did my first purchase online, found a great local guy to do the transfer. He answered all of my questions about the gun and local ranges. We talked about another gun I wanted to buy a few months down the road and I was willing to buy because he got close to online with price which was good enough for me. As others have said, if the price is close I don't mind paying a bit extra for the gun and sales tax to support the local guys. The purchase didn't work out as he never responded to my messages when I was ready to purchase again.

My second two purchases were a Mosin 91/30 from a shop in town and then a CZ82 from a shop about forty minutes down the road. Both were great and I'd have no problem buying from them again.

My fourth purchase is a Ruger SR22 pistol from Buds. They had a good price on it, had it in stock, and they offered the layaway option.

Any future purchases I will probably try with the local guy who did my first transfer. Even though we had some communication issues with my planned purchase a few months ago, the way he handled things with my first transfer has earned him first crack at my business.

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