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Is gun cleaning a good business?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by XDMHMMWV, Mar 22, 2010.


    XDMHMMWV Member

    Long time lurker, 2nd time poster.
    I want to get a business started and I have been trying to find a niche market.

    I can do computer repair, network setup/configuration, Linux training, System security, leather holster construction, Cummins diesel repair/modifications, but, there are already too many people in the market who can do the same things.

    So, I thought about gun cleaning. For startup costs I am looking at $2,000 to get started.
    200 for FFL. Good for 3 years
    60 per month for insurance. Good for 1 year
    600 for ultrasonic tank (hand gun size) with chemicals and supplies
    200 for business license
    300 for advertising on local websites and at gun stores.
    640 for security

    I thought to charge $10 per handgun, and 20 for a long gun. This would be to clean, and oil with Remoil.
    If a person wants a detailed lubrication (gun butter on the rails and barrel, polish on the furniture, the charge would be $8 dollars more. If a person has clean guns, and just wants them lubricated, the charge would be $10 for a detailed lubricating.
    I could include free pickup and drop off for 5 or more guns, and within a 10 mile radius of my home. Otherwise there would be a transportation fee. Unless they wanted to drop them off in person.
    The local gun shop charges $35 dollars per gun.:what:

    I live in Boise, ID, and there are 280,000 people within an hours drive. 52% are gun owners, and figuring 2% of those would the service, that is 2,912 customers. Now, if each of those people used only the $10 service, and they either had two guns per year to clean, or had their guns cleaned twice a year, that is $58,240 per year.

    What do you guys n' gals think:confused:? Bad business plan? Is getting 2% of the gun owning population to use this service, too high to hope for in the current economic environment? Would people not use the service because they would not want other people to know what guns they have? Would most of you shy away from a business like this because of a " You toucha my gun, I smasha you face" mentality i.e. a gun is too personal a thing? Or is it just too much fun to clean your own guns:D
  2. Dravur

    Dravur Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't rely on it as a major source of income. Most gun guys clean their own guns and the people who aren't really ""gun guys" tend to never clean their guns.

    You also have to take into account advertising... materials and your time. If you can actually make more as a greeter at Wal-mart than you can doing this... there's your answer. These are all reoccurring costs as you will probably have to advertise long time to get a good client base.

    There is probably a reason that your local Gun Shop charge $35 for a cleaning. More than likely, they couldn't make it worthwhile at a cheaper price as they have to take someone off the floor to do it.

    If you can add some gunsmithing services in, it might help.

    But, this may be something you can do to make some side money. Whatever you do, don't quit the day job unless this starts making trunkloads of cash.
  3. Daveboone

    Daveboone Well-Known Member

    Perhaps a service such as what you are thinking would have a "sometimes" market...
    like at shooting range, or competition. Myself, I Prefer to do my own cleaning. Handling and caring for the gun is part of the enjoyment and familiarizing with the guns. Gunshops do this service, usually for owners who are unfamiliar with firearms. You also may run into problems with not having a reputation or proven expertise for dissasembling firearms.
    I am sure different sections of the country have localized populations where such service may go over better though.
  4. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    I agree with this. Those that don't clean their guns will only bring them in when they quit working.
  5. searcher451

    searcher451 Well-Known Member

    If you want to establish a true niche operation, get yourself a good sonic cleaner and provide specialized service. Most guys are happy to clean their own firearms -- many of us even enjoy it as much as shooting. But for a real good, deep-down, clean-to-the-core service, the kind that you can't get with a bottle of Hoppe's and a nore snake, you might be able to attract some attention. One of the local concealed-carry trainers provides this service locally, and he stays fairly busy, I'm told.

    Just a thought -- good luck to you.

    XDMHMMWV Member

    Dravur "....don't quit the day job" That is the problem, I don't currently have a day job.
    Searcher451, thank you , I was planning on using an ultrasonic tank. Doing it by hand would take too long for that kind of pay. LOL If I may ask which side of Oregon are you located on?

    I may just have to find another niche market. Just which one is the question:confused:
  7. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    I had intended to start bluing for the public but decided against it. I have a seperate building for the business but not a seperate address and I didn't want to open my home to government inspection.
  8. Gunfighter123

    Gunfighter123 Well-Known Member

    I think you may do well at it. For a $2000 startup cost -- I would think that MANY shooters would take advantage of a $10 per gun ultrasonic cleaning ---- MANY revolver owners have NEVER taken the side plate off etc. etc.

    I was part owner in a gun shop in the mid-80s ----- way back then I charged $10 per firearm to clean --- mostly not takeing the actions out of the stock etc. ---- the local farmers drove me CRAZY with cleaning their hunting/tractor guns ---- I also made very good money doing simple repairs/ replaceing parts and I'd charge extra money to "test fire" and sight in their firearms ---- that was the BEST part of the whole job --- being PAID TO SHOOT !!!!!!!!
  9. zorro45

    zorro45 Well-Known Member

    gun cleaning business

    I like your idea, but I'm not a big fan of ultrasonic cleaning. My guns have specific lubricants at specific points for a reason. Maybe I am fanatical, but I think my 45 works better when the rails are greased just so slightly with one compound, and the other parts with something else. I'd like to hear what an expert would think. Also, doesn't this strip the lubrication out of the assemblies that you do not take apart for routine cleaning (field strip) for example, the trigger assembly?
    Also, for liability reasons I would feel a lot better if you were a certified
    S+W, Glock, Sig etc. "armorer" so that I would be reasonable sure that the next time I went to the range, my gun would go bang and I would not look silly, or whatever-----. You might be setting yourself up for a liability issue. For example, at S+W, they will only clean S+W guns for you. Does that make sense?
    Best of luck to you.
  10. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    I assume you are working out of your home. Check zoning although I don't expect an issue there. You'll have to buy at least one safe to store the guns in at night or until the customer picks up the firearm.

    What kind of business insurance is only $60/month? Your liabilities are actually quite high considereing someone could break into your "house" and take a lot of customer guns.

    The dollars are a little low for anything other than something most would consider a part time job. Admittedly, $52K is nothing to sneeze at. How many do you think you could do in one day? If you can net more than $200 a day, it may be doable but remember you will be paying rather high federal taxes on this self employment income.
  11. Andy_C

    Andy_C Active Member

    Would there be a chance to be working with local gunshops instead of competing with them or just advertising at them? Would the shop that charges $35 be willing to pay you $10 or $15 for guns you pick up from them and clean? Or if the paperwork is too much can you take cleaning gear around and have a day at each of several local shops where you provide a service that they do but would rather not, or that they don't even offer now? Or if they already have the stuff but you are able to do it well without them pulling a guy off the floor so they have you come in and freelance for them? It may be worth checking with some of the shops and see what may come of it.
  12. Nicodemus38

    Nicodemus38 Well-Known Member

    actually no intelligent, or unintelligent person, will send you a 3-4000 dollar handgun or rifle so they can pay you 10-20 dollars to "ultrasonically" clean it. its one of those things that sounds like the old style :

    ill bury a 120 gallon tank of oil in this here stream, put a tiny hole in it so it drips and make sure that a local kid out fishing sees the oil slick. then ill come through claiming to be an oil prospector, and charge them 5 grand to do a test of the oil slick, and run away that night the check gets cashed.

    hey, ill steal a car from the local valet parking lot so i can do a drive by on this cocaine dealing competitor of mine, thus allowing myself to improve my business as well as be unidentified.

    ill sucker in some idiot to let me "clean" his weapon and while he thinks im cleaning it, ill kill a few people and return it to him. or ill simply claim i got robbed and sell it on the street for a few hundred.
  13. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

    I agree with the above posters. Gun guys clean their own and I don't know anyone that would pay someone else to clean their guns.

    And you also would need some insurance against claims you wrongly reassembled the gun or damaged it.
  14. acdodd

    acdodd Well-Known Member

    Cleaning my guns is part of shooting them.
    I wouldn't pay someone to do it for me.
    That said you might be able to make some money by having a mobile service and going to gun shows and shooting matches.
    I'm thinking about a knife sharpening service.
    I work in a hospital so there are a lot of potential customers with dull kitchen knives.
    Good luck in whatever you decide.
  15. gym

    gym member

    I don't think it's a good idea. Most gun people want to maintain possesion of their own firearm. Giving an expensive pistol to someone you really don't know isn't an appealing idea, at least to me.

    XDMHMMWV Member

    These guys seem to be doing well. I contacted them and they said they are looking at franchising. http://extremeguncare.com/ContactUs.html

    leadcounsel The issue of insurance was covered in the first post. Insurance is through the NRA

    Nicodemus38 Your comments made no sense, are you implying I am attempting to commit a crime?:scrutiny:

    Andy_C good point, but, I don't think they are getting much, if any, business as it is at $35:what:

    22-rimfire insurance is from the NRA

    zorro45 That is why I was going to offer a higher priced service that went more in depth in lubricating, then just using Remoil.

    Gunfighter123 thanks

    It seems there are more nays, then yays. Thank you everyone for your time and thoughts. I'll look elsewhere for income ideas.

    acdodd A lot of dull kitchen knives? I hope you are talking about the surgical kind, and not the kind that mad wives use.
  17. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    I tried to question this too but only got the "Server busy" message. I could only scratch my head trying to figure out what the heck he was talking about.
  18. Zack

    Zack member

    I think it would be great if this was at a gun range. You know, shoot some guns drop them off at the cleaners and keep shooting your other guns. Once you are done shooting pick up your gun! so thats less you have to clean when you get home.
  19. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    One of my best friends is a gunsmith, he says that most of his work is cleaning to prevent damage to guns, repairing guns damaged due to poor maintenence, and cleaning guns that the owner thought were broken but were really just dirty.

    Why not just take some time and get certified as a gunsmith?

    XDMHMMWV Member

    And the pendulum swings the other way. LOL:D
    I looked into becoming certified as a smith, but I would have to move out of state to the college, would be looking at a $20,000 bill, 2 years of my life, and from what I have read, there is no money in it. :( I would have to go into custom gun making and spend several years making a name for myself.
    Besides, I am over halfway through a bachelors in Business Admin degree at the local college. I am wasting enough time and money with that:banghead:

    Besides, what's the point of becoming a smith when your friend just said that most of the work he does is cleaning, and small repairs. LOL I think your friend wasted his time learning to become a smith.Granted it is a great trade to have under one's belt.

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