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Do I want a FFL?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Gadsden, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. Gadsden

    Gadsden New Member

    Feb 26, 2006
    south-central Pennsylvania
    For some time, I have been considering applying for a FFL. Some questions come to mind and it seems that this would be the place to find answers.

    1. How much hassle is it to actually get a license?

    2. Is it feasible to run a home/web based business, or is a store base the way to go?

    3. What about these guys on the net offering so called "FFL kits" for a fee?

    4. What about BATFE? Are the horror stories true?

    5. General pros and cons of a firearm related business?

    So, enough to start with. Feel free to encourage me or shoot me down. I appreciate your input either way.
  2. waterhouse

    waterhouse Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Round Rock, TX
    I'm heading out the door shortly, but I'll try to do a better job answering in the morning.

    On a federal level, if you can fill out paperwork, get your fingerprints done, write a check, and have patience it isn't that bad. Understand that you are dealing with a government agency and they work slowly. Check your local laws first. If there are any state, local, or even neighborhood association (if running it out of your house, for instance) rules against it they won't give you a license.

    Depends on what you want to do. I prefer home based, for minimum start up costs and low overhead. I keep a small inventory and do mostly special orders. On the other hand, I am working on getting another job and I only planned on doing this for a little while, so I didn't want a store. Your wants/needs/funding will determine this.

    I used one of the $20 ones, but only because I didn't know better. Just save your money and keep asking questions here. If you feel a burning desire to take $20 out of your pocket, send it to me.

    Some of them are. Actually most of the horror stories are. But there are very few of them. I have found every agent I've personally dealt with to be quite pleasant. If you keep good records and follow their rules you will likely stay out of trouble.
    You get to play with guns all day and meet some really great people. You also get to learn more about different sorts of guns than you ever thought possible. You get to go to sleep at night knowing there are more guns in happy hands because of you. If you offer dirt cheap transfers people say nice things about you and even invite you hunting on their property or bring you beer on your birthday. Fun stuff.

    You will get a strong desire to start thinking of the business inventory as your own. Avoid this mentality or you will go broke. You might have $20,000 worth of 1911s in the safe, but every time you decide not to sell one because you like it you are losing money. On the other hand every time you take in used guns in a trade you can go shoot them without devaluing them, so you get to shoot all sorts of fun stuff that you never would have bought with your own money.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2006
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Elder

    Dec 31, 2002
    Getting an FFL is the easy part.

    If you just want to deal in guns as a hobby and so you can play with guns or get wholesale prices for your buddies, forget about it. You will soon find that you are losing money hand over fist and your significant other will not like that at all.

    If you really think you can make money as a dealer in your area* forget the home idea. Aside from zoning laws, it is a royal pain to have people coming to your house, parking on your flower beds, tramping dirt all over the place, etc. Get a business location, conform to all the zoning and local licensing rules, and do things right.

    But first, take a course in running a small business (lots of community colleges have them). That is the hard part, and the reason most small shops fail is that they are run by hobbyists, not businessmen. If you don't want to become a businessman, don't open a business.

    *Did you do a market survey? If not, why not?


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