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Online "discount" gun dealers

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by TenRingGuns.com, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. TenRingGuns.com

    TenRingGuns.com New Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    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,
  2. Voltia

    Voltia member

    Dec 24, 2011
    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.
  3. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Senior Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Frozen North
    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.
  4. lobo9er

    lobo9er Senior Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Earth, Currently
    But your tom and offer the lowset price around?

  5. hipoint

    hipoint Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    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.
  6. DAP90

    DAP90 Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Denver, CO
    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.
  7. TenRingGuns.com

    TenRingGuns.com New Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    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.
  8. TennJed

    TennJed Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    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
  9. smalls

    smalls Senior Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Macomb County, MI
    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.
  10. happygeek

    happygeek Senior Member

    Apr 13, 2009
    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.
  11. JohnBT

    JohnBT Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Richmond, Virginia
    "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.

  12. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

    Jan 13, 2012
    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.
  13. BBDartCA

    BBDartCA Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    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.
  14. mgmorden

    mgmorden Senior Member

    May 22, 2009
    Charleston, South Carolina
    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.
  15. Gator 23

    Gator 23 New Member

    Oct 30, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    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.
  16. zkc1677095

    zkc1677095 New Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    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.
  17. Doxiedad

    Doxiedad Member

    May 1, 2011
    Charleston, SC
    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
  18. lonehunter

    lonehunter New Member

    Jan 30, 2012
    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?


  19. Bloggerguy

    Bloggerguy New Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    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.
  20. firesky101

    firesky101 Senior Member

    Nov 21, 2011
    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.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012

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