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Old 07-31-2010, 05:50 PM   #31
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A good example of a solid operation is RC Excitement in Fitchburg, MA. The owner is a patient, clear thinking business man. With an indoor carpet, indoor off-road, and outdoor track there is always something to do, rain or shine. He has all the parts to support the popular vehicles and very knowledgeable employees. I think one of the biggest keys to his success is his employees. He has two or three guys that bend over backwards for him. They are merely extensions of the owner allowing him to accomplish the ridiculous tasks that running a business like that entails. The racers help make it happen too. If it's time for a track change eight or ten guys will show up to help spread the workload out. It's a really great scene and worth looking at or talking to the owner about.

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Old 07-31-2010, 06:53 PM   #32
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my lhs doesnt stock any losi 8ight parts at all.
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Old 07-31-2010, 06:54 PM   #33
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my lhs doesnt stock any losi 8ight parts at all.

say what
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:16 PM   #34
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say what
When i lived in PA mine didnt carry anything but traxxas parts, and he hardly EVER had people in there other than me and some friends of mine.. and was still running strong SOMEHOW.
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:25 PM   #35
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The LHS i race at only sales what the Owner Drives Last year it was all Kyosho Stuff and now this year he is running Losi so that is all the parts he keep in Stock now are Losi and i run Mugen so i am Out of Luck.
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:25 PM   #36
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When i lived in PA mine didnt carry anything but traxxas parts, and he hardly EVER had people in there other than me and some friends of mine.. and was still running strong SOMEHOW.



yea thats weird that he is still open just selling traxxas parts .
there must not be racers, around where he is located at just bashers.

what was the name of his store ?
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Old 07-31-2010, 10:42 PM   #37
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yea thats weird that he is still open just selling traxxas parts .
there must not be racers, around where he is located at just bashers.

what was the name of his store ?
Most hobby shops don't sell any race cars, they thrive on Traxxas cars and thats what sells. No point in getting race equipment, especially if there isn't a track. There is a hobby shop right by my track and pretty much all they sell is Traxxas. Bashers are 95% of the hobby.
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:13 PM   #38
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Most hobby shops don't sell any race cars, they thrive on Traxxas cars and thats what sells. No point in getting race equipment, especially if there isn't a track. There is a hobby shop right by my track and pretty much all they sell is Traxxas. Bashers are 95% of the hobby.




dam bashers are 95% of the hobby ? i been to one hobby store, in nj and they dont have a track, but they do sell race cars like the losi eights rc8 etc.

and have tons of race tires

but there is 2 tracks around there area.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:58 AM   #39
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I think that is the problem with a lot of Hobby Shops. None of my local shops carry parts for anything you would race except for Traxxas Slash Parts, IE Xray,Kyosho,Losi,Mugen etc...So I can go there, not find what I'm looking for, have them order it, have to go back to pick it up days later and pay more for it than if I just sit here in my room, make a few mouse clicks and have it show up at my door 2 days later for less money. I think the best route would be to get the track or tracks up and going and start taking suggestions from the racers as to which parts they would like to see carried in stock on site. Make a determination from the suggestions and start with that. I think another problem with LHS's wanting to stock 1/8 parts is the fact that they don't really break that often unless you really smuck something hard and they tend to sit on the self longer than say Traxxas parts. One thing I wish my LSH did was carry bearings that were reasonable. Maybe work with Avid or something to see if you could get a little break on their bearings. I know they are only a 1.00 but if my LHS had them in stock and sold them for 1.25 instead of the 4.00-5.00 each they want for their bearings, I would think they would sell. Especially on race day when someone needs one. They may still sell the 4.00 bearing that day but I bet it will be the last time. Good luck and I hope it works out for you.
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:12 AM   #40
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imho, it is not commercially viable to setup a hobby shop to sell racing or pro gears, most hobbyists will be happy to bash their cars and trucks around their backyard and those are the same people that will and can support a LHS, they probably make up the majority of the entire hobbyists populations... my LHS is selling futaba s9351 servo at USD160 a piece, if i were to buy from them, i can probably afford only one kit and no spare parts...

for the real enthusiasts and racers, online hobby shop is the better way...
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:38 AM   #41
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Set up a nice race track, and have a side store selling consumables like fuel, glow plus, tires, rims, body's, tools, etc.
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:10 AM   #42
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I'd say open up a couple tracks and stock consumables like fuel, bearings, tires, glow plugs, batteries, some electronics and such. Trying to keep parts for certain brands is almost impossible when they change every 3 months. Very few lhs' stock Kyosho, Xray, Tamiya, Yokomo because they are constantly updating things. Why would I stock parts for a car that will be outdated in just a few months. Leave chassis parts to a few successfull online shops and stock items that racers eat through on a daily basis.



Everyone stocks Traxxas because they've got a marketing department that has their thinking caps on, simple as that. Their name was on real SC trucks before anyone else, in department stores before anyone else, and they've got more ads in magazines than anyone else.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:29 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by xrayeddy View Post
I'd say open up a couple tracks and stock consumables like fuel, bearings, tires, glow plugs, batteries, some electronics and such. Trying to keep parts for certain brands is almost impossible when they change every 3 months. Very few lhs' stock Kyosho, Xray, Tamiya, Yokomo because they are constantly updating things. Why would I stock parts for a car that will be outdated in just a few months. Leave chassis parts to a few successfull online shops and stock items that racers eat through on a daily basis.



Everyone stocks Traxxas because they've got a marketing department that has their thinking caps on, simple as that. Their name was on real SC trucks before anyone else, in department stores before anyone else, and they've got more ads in magazines than anyone else.
I would disagree with part of that. When was the last time they changed the design of the 808 Arm for example? I ran the 808 for years and the Arms fit from the first one up till the 10 spec. A lot of parts stay the same. They may lengthen the chassis and make a longer center shaft or change the radio box around but F/R CVD's, Pins, Arms, Hub carriers and a lot of other common parts seem to stay the same. But again, they don't break often and I think most Racers know enough to carry spares on hand. Agreed, Traxxas parts sell because the are popular among beginning bashers and Racers and they will get broken. Nothing against Traxxas, I own one. But when you're clearing triples and quads with a Lipo'd, brushless 4x4 Slash, something is going to break sooner or later but it sure is fun doing it!
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:21 AM   #44
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that would be me i shop at smaller online stores

1. there cheaper than amain
2. the shipping is about $2 to $3 cheaper than amain.
3. the bad thing about smaller online stores, is the consumer service isnt as good an sometimes they send your things out late.
I will put our customer service and communication against anyone
We usually ship same day if the order is in my 3pm EST
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:53 AM   #45
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LOL...I love all the pesimistic optimism guys. Would you say that the profit margins on the business are less than 5-10%? Is there really not a way to devlop relationships with manufacturer reps to obtain product directly from them?

I certainly am not looking to lose my small fortune() on this or my investors money for that matter. I am thankful for all the feedback thus far. I love talking business, especially the business of a hobby I enjoy so much.

-Dan
Hi Dan,

There's so much I have to say about this that I don't know where to start. but I will start with a few bullet points:

1) if you make your hobby your business...then you don't have a hobby any more. Personally, when I had my retail store, I almost stopped racing all together, and even when I'm at the track...it feels like work.

2) As many have already mentioned, there really isn't a huge profit to be made in this industry at the line of a LHS. You'll always be squeezed between the cost from your distributors and guys like Amain. Amain is doing such a great job at what is almost a perfect retail business model for this industry that.....

3) if you're going to start anything retail in this industry now you either need to have the bankroll to compete against Amain (financially, industry relations, and IT resource) or you start a local mom and pop shop that serves this need of a hobby shop in your local area.

4) in general, the rate at which the shops (online, local) that is starting up, plus the amount of manufactures (big and small) that is trying to break into this industry is far greater than the rate at which the customer base is growing in this industry. So per manufacture, or per shop, there is less and less customers available to sell to. That is why you see such a huge push to present our hobby to new customers in the past few years (all the traxxas, AE, Losi collaboration with Short Course racing and motocross) and really only until recently we have a vehicle (Slash) that is presentable and easy to relate to by the general public. So right now, the "pie" is not getting any bigger, but there are more people out there wanting a piece of this "pie"

I had my own retail/mail order/online shop for about 7 years (2000-2007) before I sold it and started something else. We had a pretty good thing going as well, but to put it into perspective....I once put in an order on a Friday night with Amain, and then decided to put in an order Monday as well. Over the weekend they moved about 600 orders (I don't think that includes what they sold locally at their shop and track), when we had our online shop, during our best months of our best years, we moved about 600 a month.

As far as margin, from when we started in 2000 and to when we sold it in 2007, it erode from around 25% at the beginning to less than 17% by the time we sold it....I can't imagine what that % is like now. So again, like many have said, do it for the love of the hobby, and....I personally would not get "institutional' type investor involved with this industry on a large scale...the return simply will not be there. As far as developing manufacturing relationship and support for your business venture...no offense, but they rather hold on to their current relationship (good, bad, or ugly relationship) so they can continue to make their $$ than to take a chance with someone new. In general, the distributor and manufactures in this industry are quite short sighted and only cares about what $$ they can get now. We even had distributor told us before that they can not open an account with us, because they have two large accounts near by and the two accounts told them if they sold to us, they stop buying (welcome to R/C politics) Even if you get distributors and manufactures lined up to work with you...you will need quite a bit of time to develop your own customer base (again, because Amain is doing such a great job, how are you going to drive customers to your business and away from Amain?) that you need to be prepare with some $$ to burn for a couple of years.

Lots more to think about before you leave the corporate world and take the entrepreneurial plunge

Steve W.
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