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 Average income for an FFL?
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Red223
Advanced Member

USA
8152 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  01:49:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What is the average annual income for a Federal Firearms Dealer?

interstatepawnllc
Advanced Member

USA
9086 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  02:04:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was making so much money I had to hire a Jewish accounting firm just to keep track!

Don't "F" with kitty!!
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timberbeast
Advanced Member

USA
3256 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  02:06:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Which one?
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Hangfire
Advanced Member

2888 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  02:27:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I only lost a few thousand a year...but at least I still have the Guns and Stuff to show for it!!!..

Love them Pre-64's!!!!-Bob
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MVP
Advanced Member

Equatorial Guinea
21942 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  03:41:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hangfire

I only lost a few thousand a year...but at least I still have the Guns and Stuff to show for it!!!..

Love them Pre-64's!!!!-Bob



What Hangfire said!!!
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nunn
Administrator

USA
35785 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  06:54:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I show a profit three out of five years, just as I was told to.

SIG pistol armorer/FFL Dealer/Full time Peace Officer, Moderator of General Discussion Board on GunBroker. Visit www.GunBroker.com the best gun auction site on the Net! Email gpd035@sbcglobal.net
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chappsyny
Advanced Member

USA
3539 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  09:21:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Since I operate out of my home with no overhead and keep a "real" job for benifits and such, I'm operating ever so slightly in the black. I'm having some success with gunshows, but there isn't a whole lot of $ to be made anymore around my area. If I was doing this as a main source of income I'd be pretty unhappy as I'm lucky if I pull in a few hundred a month.

New Hampshire, USA - "Live Free or Die!!!"
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MIKE WISKEY
Advanced Member

7904 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  12:12:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
VARIES FROM MONTH TO MONTH $.02 TO $.03

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n/a
deleted

36304 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  12:27:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I niavely (sp?) thought you were supposed to make money at this too The worst part about having an FFL is that you get to see all these nice guns go through your business and you don't get to keep any of them!...and you still don't make enough money to buy any of your own I would almost guarantee you that I have less guns than any other dealer out there...and here I thought my personal collection would grow tremendously

Eric

All American Arms Company

www.galleryofguns.com
VIP Code: AAAC

Veteran Owned and Operated
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pickenup
Moderator

USA
22769 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  3:07:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You’re supposed to make money with an FFL???
I never did.
But then, I didn’t try very hard either.

The gene pool needs chlorine.
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MFI
Advanced Member

6878 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  3:26:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have a store front and operate 7 days a week. Income last 15 years is minus dollars. After you get done paying electric, payroll taxes, insurance and misc fees there really isnt anything left. And you guys wonder why us business people get all crazy when we hear the words Walmart and backyard FFL dealers. We are getting killed by these guys. They give everything away for $10.00 and a sixpack over cost and they maintain regualr jobs also so they dont care.

God gave us all a gift. Have you found yours yet ?
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mark christian
Administrator

Panama
19006 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  6:31:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You'll never get rich in the retail end of this business. Want to have a small gun business? Just start a big gun business and wait about a year...it will get smaller before your eyes! Years ago the old excuse for dealers was that the "kitchen table" guys were killing their profits. Well these kitchen table guys, all 200,000 of them, have pretty much been gone for a decade thanks to Bill Clinton and company and the same dealers are still crying the blues about no profits. Now Walmart is the gun dealer's main villian and Wally ain't going nowhere! In 25+ years I have honestly never seen any figures provided by anyone which mentions the average personal incomes of FFL holders derived from firearms...and you are not going to learn my own income here either.

"Nothing can ever be made 'idiot proof' because idiots are simply too clever"!
Mark T. Christian
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select-fire
Advanced Member

42226 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  6:38:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Most dealers I know have a main job . Kinda like a supplemental income as I see it.

" It Ain't Over till its Over"
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duckhunter
Advanced Member

8413 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  8:52:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Almost enough to pay for the license.

I WOULD RATHER BE DUCK HUNTING.
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mrmike08075
Advanced Member

USA
2891 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  8:55:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"WILL WORK FOR GUNS"

the shop owner (my boss) is the ARMORER for the county, and runs there range facility as his primary job...

i manage a book store as my primary job...

but... i "WILL WORK FOR GUNS".

best regards, mike.

What other dungeon is so dark as ones own heart, what jailer so inexorable as ones own mind.
contact me at the shop at waltsgun@aol.com best regards, mike.
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Moe Howard
Advanced Member

Chile
31394 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  9:04:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
one of the indoor ranges I go to had 80,000 bucks in sales last month ,the last week of October he sold 120 guns ,I visit many of gun shops frequently ,some I don’t because they still have the same stock as last time ,some I go to keep all the latest gadgets in ,and have a large stock ,and do great business ,and make a comfortable living ,but they have been in business for awhile ,and if your thinking you have enough friends to support it ,this is a bad ideal ,the moment you don’t give them a gun at cost or little above you will loose most friends


nothing pi$$es me off more than to see a billboard sign that’s says “GUNS” ,and pull off the road only to see half the amount of guns I own ,or the ones they do have are highpoints ,and llama’s


- .... . / --- -. .-.. -.-- / - .-. ..- . / .-- .. ... -.. --- -- / .. ... / .. -. / -.- -. --- .-- .. -. --. / -.-- --- ..- / -.- -. --- .-- / -. --- - .... .. -. --.


... --- -.-. .-. .- - . ...
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TheBrassMan
Senior Member

1496 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  10:58:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My father-in-law made most of his money on ammo and accessories.
I've been thinking of getting my FFL, but I do not think I could support my family on it.



Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it state: "Seperation of Church and State".

"Those who beat their guns into plow shares; will plow for those who don't."



"Isaiah 5:20  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

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mark christian
Administrator

Panama
19006 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  11:04:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Pardon me if I am incorrect Brass Man but was your father in law the fellow who had the firearms business in Florida for over 20 years which was wiped out by the hurricane? What, if any decision was made about having him (or you) reopen that business? Good gun shops are getting few and far between these days. If this was not your father in law then I appologize.

"Nothing can ever be made 'idiot proof' because idiots are simply too clever"!
Mark T. Christian
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DancesWithSheep
Advanced Member

14351 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2004 :  11:14:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The brothers B&B of North Hollywood made more money in a year than Bolivia.
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TheBrassMan
Senior Member

1496 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2004 :  7:25:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes it was my father-in-laws shop that was distroyed by Hurricane Charley.
Problem with trying to reopen is that there are no more reasonable places to lease.
Retail space is now at a premium because so many places were distroyed.
I would love to start a new shop but getting the FFL and the backing to start the place.

From what my father-in-law says is that you need to have a place of business
to get an FFL now. Also you can not use a residental address.
So what do you do?


Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it state: "Seperation of Church and State".

"Those who beat their guns into plow shares; will plow for those who don't."



"Isaiah 5:20  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

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mark christian
Administrator

Panama
19006 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2004 :  8:41:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is no BATFE regulation (no matter what people continue to say) which prohibits operating a firearms business from a non commercial property, including your own home. All you need is a fixed location with an address, even a shed out in your backyard will suffice. Local zoning plays a part in all of this but I'd be willing to bet that your father in law could easily get a variance (if needed) based on the numbers of years he was in business before his store was wiped out by the storm. I'm sure there are plenty of other small business owners in his same situation who are trying to pick up the pieces of their business by operating from their homes until commercial properties are available again at a reasonable cost per square foot. It sounds to me like your father in law had a number of very loyal customers and I'm sure that they would like to see him back in business, even if that meant operating out of his garage. Good gun store are so hard to find these days that I just hate to have one fade into oblivion when there may be a way to keep it going, if the interest is there to do so. Of course your father in law may not feel like starting all over again from square-one at his age and retiring may look pretty good! As one dealer to another I wish the man good luck no matter what he decides to do.

"Nothing can ever be made 'idiot proof' because idiots are simply too clever"!
Mark T. Christian
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TheBrassMan
Senior Member

1496 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2004 :  9:20:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My father-in-law is 69. He doesn't feel like he can start over.
My brother-in-law who's name the shop was in wants out of the gun business.
I do want to start a shop here. We need a shop like my father-in-laws was. The other shop I and alot of others think
is a front for something else.
That shop started out as an Army/Navy store. Then about 3 months later he started carrying high end handguns and long guns.
But it seems that what he is charging for them is alot less then most
mom and pop shops do. He has to be losing alot of money on them
So something seems fishy.

But I would like to start a shop like my father-in-laws was like, where
People could come in and just chat and hang out for a time. He didn't
enforce the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act either.
One of the few places that you could come in and smoke.

The more I think of this the more I want to do this.

Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it state: "Seperation of Church and State".

"Those who beat their guns into plow shares; will plow for those who don't."



"Isaiah 5:20  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

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drobs
Advanced Member

USA
20238 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2004 :  9:30:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh I think the owner or our shop does pretty good but he has the range bringing in alot of income.

Cough Cough horse, airplane, motorcycles cough cough.

Regards,

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eastwood44mag
Senior Member

2370 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2004 :  10:02:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I always had more money than sense (and I'm dirt poor), so I'll end up applying for my FFL as soon as I find a permanent full-time job.

Mark,

Are there any regulations of stocking a shop (i.e. My buddy got his FFL years ago, before the Clinton BS all began, and he doesn't have anything in stock--it's all special orders. Are new applicants allowed to do the same, provided they can stay in business?)? Thanks.

O Lord,
grant me the Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can,
and the supreme firepower to make the difference.
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mark christian
Administrator

Panama
19006 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2004 :  10:18:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Special order dealerships are fine as are internet only sales, but you cannot get an FFL specifically to sell at gun shows, the regulations are very clear about this. There is nothing in the regulations that say you have to maintain any inventory at all, but you will need to sell some guns (dealer to dealer sales are fine) or else you probably not be allowed to renew your license. In most cases there is no reason to keep hundreds of firearms sitting around when guns can be quickly shipped from wholesalers directly to your door when ordered. The Clinton era witch hunt on FFL dealers (eliminating 200,000+) still has people thinking that there are no FFLs being issued, or that you can't get one to operate from your home, or that you had to have been grandfathered in to remain in business, ect, ect... None of this is true but as long as people continue to believe it then Clinton and his pals score big time even though they are gone from the scene (forever I hope). My best guess was that half the 200K who gave up their FFLs could have easily kept them if they had choosen to jump through a couple of small hoops and paid a few extra bucks to get whatever local licenses or permits they needed. It is not as easily to become licensed as it was 25 years ago when I got into this business, but even today it is not impossible, you just need to be prepared to put out some effort.

"Nothing can ever be made 'idiot proof' because idiots are simply too clever"!
Mark T. Christian

Edited by - mark christian on 12/07/2004 10:19:45 PM
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STRIPPER-TIPPER
Junior Member

USA
349 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2004 :  10:56:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is a gunsmith not too far from me who does around 1600 repairs a year. He has 5 smiths last I talked to him. He operates a store front in a well to do community ,so he must not be doing bad in the $$ dept. The charge is $100 to clean a gun. He has a few hundred to do to do. There are alot of very wealthy people here in CA. $10,000-$100,000 shotguns are not rare. I know a stock maker whose minimum charge is $3500 ,and has more work than he can handle. You need to look at it as a bussiness and not a hobby. You need to spend money to make money. And most of all be good at what you do. Want to make just a little money? Have poor customer service. Your time is worth something. Others come to you because they can't or don't want to do it themselves.They are willing to pay to have it done. I think more dealers are done in by themselves than by the "competition".Provide what the big retailer can't- personal service and a better selection.
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pagunparts
Junior Member

USA
186 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2004 :  11:07:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The biggest problem "dealers" have, is running their operation like a "business", and not just as a "hobby".

Most start-up FFL's have the dream and the desire, but lack the business acumen and skills to keep it sustained.

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Red223
Advanced Member

USA
8152 Posts

Posted - 12/08/2004 :  12:16:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the replies all. When I got my C&R license the ATF told me I should just go ahead and get my dealers license then, I had no need at the time. I've been contemplating an FFL for some time just for extra income and with the career swap I'm going thru soon I think I'll just go ahead and get it for the possible extra income.

I've noticed there are very, very few Class III FFL's and may just go for that to be one of the only FFL's in the State to deal with silencers. Are there any extra hoops for Class III over a dealer license?

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eastwood44mag
Senior Member

2370 Posts

Posted - 12/08/2004 :  11:30:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hell yes!

For starters, it's $1000 instead of $200. You'd better have a big clientelle (sp?) if you want to go Class III, not to mention not caring if you no longer have a personal life.

O Lord,
grant me the Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can,
and the supreme firepower to make the difference.
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admin
Administrator

1653 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2004 :  8:38:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Funny you should ask: as NSSF members (ALL OF YOU DEALERS SHOULD BE) we just received our 2004 NSSF Industry Intelligence report. They just did a survey of FFL holders within a 55 mile radius of an existing mega-store (Walmart, etc). The point of the survey was finding out how the gun stores feel about and compare to the mega-stores. However the following info is in there:
Gross Revenue
10% < $50K
10% $50K-$100K
25% $100K-$250K
5% $150K-$300K
10% $300K-$500K
5% $500K-$750K
35% $750K+

However, of all of the above 55% had been in business more than 15 yrs. I would assume that the older stores tend to make more money than the 1 yr old places

Keep in mind that this is GROSS revenue, not net. New gun margins are pretty bad: 10% is a number we see a lot. You can do well with used guns if you have a good area and use tools like GunBroker.com. Still, overall margins are likely to be well under 30% before payroll, rent, utilities, etc.
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