Making the hobby into a business

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by ulster exile, 17 Mar 2008.

  1. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Just curious...how many of you had considered making use of your aquascaping talents for business purposes like Tom Barr does? Do any of you actually do this on the side currently, ie setting up or just designing 'scapes to a given design requirement or even maintaining them as well?
     
  2. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Cant say I have, dont have enough experience yet. I also think that if you turn this hobby into a business it stops being pleasurable as you have the stress of things not working out. That said it would be fun to set up an ultra massive tank, like Tom's behemoth tank! I wouldn't know where to being when scaping that!!

    Sam
     
  3. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    I think it would be great.
    Design and fit a tank.
    charge loads for it.
    Give the owner instructions.
    Go home.
    If something goes wrong blame the owner. lol
    Easy money.

    I wish Id though of it earlier.

    andy
     
  4. Lisa_Perry75

    Lisa_Perry75 Member

    Messages:
    778
    Location:
    Southampton
    I know someone who did that. They then could get their own fish tank stuff at trade prices :D
     
  5. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    I've been offered three jobs setting up and maintaining planted tanks. It doesn't pay well enough though.

    I've considered setting up my own business but cannot afford the risk with my present family and financial commitments.

    If I was single it would be a different story.

    But I'm happy with my RAF career and freelance writing etc. Not many get the chance to set up nice planted tanks in proper photo studios and get paid for the privilage... :D
     
  6. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    I used to buy and sell skateboard stuff so I could buy shoes (I'm not joking) so for ages I used to get everything at cost, its relatively easy in the skateboard buissiness since its such a small scene, I'd imagine it's the same in planted tanks, I agree with George though, it's never going to cover all the bills.
     
  7. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    I'd rather set up my own shop that specialises in planted aquaria rather than fish because there isn't enough plant shops, my local maiden head stock quality plants, co2 systems (nutrafin & JBL Pressurized) nutrafin plant gro, normal aquarium lighting so none of the big brands.

    I would stock nutrient rich subsrates like AS, eco-complete, over head luminaires, various fets including top brands like tropica, variety of co2 systems, and plant accesories like tweezers etc. I would also stock rocks that would look good in a scape and not those 'glitter' ones and lots of wood like redmoor.

    I'll keep dreaming... :rolleyes:
     
  8. Luketendo

    Luketendo Member

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    463
    Location:
    West Sussex, England
    Basically walk-in aqua essentials.
     
  9. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    Yep! :D
     
  10. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Interesting responses, thanks :)

    I wasn't particularly thinking about the aquascaping supplies business because it seems a very hard way to make money with the variety of internet based companies you can choose to buy from - it's not the niche market it appeared to be in the past. It was more of the aquascaping design/set up and/or maintenance service I was thinking of.

    By the way, just to point out to those that don't know me - I'm not planning anything of this sort for myself, I'm too new to this hobby and far too lacking in skill to go down the road I was describing. But if I did have the skill/talent/knowledge, I would certainly think to use it to supplement my income from my day job.

    TBH I look at most of the tanks on here and think, "I'd pay for a beautiful scape like that" in the same way as I'd buy a painting (or print!) I particularly liked, so I wondered why more of these wet canvas' weren't for sale ;) It's not a great analogy, but I hope you get my drift!
     
  11. Aqua Essentials

    Aqua Essentials Sponsor Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,386
    Location:
    Devon
    I think it's a very interesting subject and probably one many have dreamt or indeed dream about. I remember speaking with a colleague many years ago about this subject and it certainly comes with its difficulties. From recollection, he spoke about the difficulty of dealing with customers face to face and how demanding some are - many don't care about the fish and their environment, they just want a particular type of tank, with certain fish and decor -algae was unacceptable. They also wanted it stocked immediately and any problems to be rectified straight away regardless of what time of day or night it was. Some of the issue when installing tanks into public places such as shops, hotels, bars etc came when staff (with no experience) had to feed the fish. Everyone wanted to feed them even though it was supposedly one one persons job so you can imagine how that story ended...

    There are a couple of companies in the UK that already do this but I don't know on what scale. Would be good to hear their side of the story.
     
  12. I was thinking about a design/installation business when I leave college, but the recent couple of tanks have put me off that, and I'd always worry about buggering it up! :rolleyes:

    Tom
     
  13. Sandra

    Sandra Newly Registered

    Messages:
    21
  14. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Messages:
    782
    Location:
    Leicester
    I'm seriously concidering setting up a planted tank equipment shop, not on my own but as a division of an existing LFS. Theres always opportunities for the customer who prefers a walk in service. Coupled with healthy fish for the standard aquarist its a pretty good bet that 'joe/joanne public' buying neon tetras would see a planted tank and want to strive to have a great scape or biotype like the onw they saw down the shop. After all, thats what got me hooked albeit a photo on the internet.

    Internet stores are great but its always better to be able to see the stock, talk about it and be able to pick something up when your in a rush.
     
  15. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Interesting to hear Aquaessential's take on it. Hadn't considered the awkward customers though I suppose that it is possible that the very best could be a bit more selective about their clients once a reputation had been established :?

    Tom - had already presumed you would! Sure you don't want to practise on somebody else's tank before you start charging money though :lol:

    Nice link Sandra - it's a shame that their gallery shows only fish pictures thought given that they are advertising the whole thing and not just a 'fishtank for hire' type service.

    Aeropars - that sounds like a cool idea. I agree that there are some things, like rocks/wood etc that I just wouldn't buy online 'sight unseen' but I think the problem is that an awful lot of people are happy to buy brand names or items from the cheapest place online, where the overheads are perhaps not as dear as a shop.
     

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