Do you own a marine aquarium, or want to own one? Do you love fish and other aquatic life? Are you looking for a way to subsidize your hobby, or even turn it into a part or full-time business?
If so, you might consider selling coral as an online business venture. You’re probably asking yourself how something like this would be possible, and if there’s any profit to be made selling coral on the internet, but this is actually a growing and thriving business in the US and Canada.
If you’ve owned your own marine aquarium, you’re no doubt aware of the cost of maintaining this hobby, and keeping an aquarium tank stocked with healthy fish and coral. Marine aquariums have sometimes been referred to as “money pits” by their owners, and for good reason, as quality marine life is expensive (and a challenge to keep healthy and alive).
Which makes starting your own online coral business such an attractive proposition. If nothing else, it can help subsidize your hobby, and could possibly lead to some extra cash, or even a full time business at some point down the road.
As you may know, the marine aquarium hobby is burgeoning, and not just for privite owners, but many businesses like restaurants and doctor’s offices are installing aquariums as a way of improving the ambiance of their establishments. And so the market for wild caught fish, live rock and coral has expanded as well, and should continue to expand over the coming years, making this a profitable small business opportunity.
And it’s not just aquarium owners who are potential buyers of these marine products. How many times have you been into a pet store, or live fish store, and come away disappointed because they didn’t stock any live rocks or coral? You might have inquired about this, and were told that “live coral is too hard to keep” or “we can’t find a good supplier.”
Which just shows the market potential for selling coral online, and to retail fish stores as well. The next time you’re in a live fish store, or LFS for short, have a look at what they have displayed in their tanks.
Take note of the price their asking for their products, and ask the manager of the store what he or she would be willing to pay for quality live rock and coral. Generally this will be half or less of the retail price, as store have to make a profit, in addition to rent, employee costs, and other expenses.
Then explain to them that you’re in the business of selling live coral, and offer to sell them some of your livestock to see if it meets their needs. Many fish store owners will be delighted to have a quality supplier in their area, especially one who will deliver the product and check in from time to time to see how things are going.
Benefits of Selling Online
In addition to selling your live rock and coral to offline retail stores, you should also consider selling livestock on the Internet as well. With the Internet, you have access to thousands of potential customers all over the country, many of whom enjoy the benefits of shopping for products online.
There are many benefits to the business owner as well. For one, selling live coral and rock online allows you to reach a market without the need of an expensive store front. You can work from a spare bedroom, a basement, or a heated garage (all tax deductible, of course).
You can work your own hours, come and go as you please, and you’re not stuck paying utilities or insurance on a separate business property. There are a number of options for online selling.
You can start your own ecommerce website, such as a Yahoo store, and sell from the site directly, or you can sell on an existing site like Ebay, where there are thousands of eager buyers waiting to purchase your livestock.
Just remember that selling on Ebay entails fees, and you’ll have to abide by their selling restrictions and guidelines.
Once you’ve decided to give selling coral online a try, you’ll need to learn the proper procedures for rack farming live rock and coral. This is a topic that’s beyond the scope of this article, but a number of good books have been written on this subject, so you’ll want to stop buy your local library and find one that details the entire operation.
You’ll also want to start detailing where you’ll be setting up your reef tanks and other farming equipment, how much space you’ll need, how much electricity will be required, and make sure your spouse or significant other is on board with your new business venture.
And of course there’s the matter of start-up capitol for your new business. Before you spend a dime of your own money, or you look to get a small business loan, make sure to draw out a detailed business plan. This will allow you to anticipate your expenses and needs, and is a necessary first step in securing a loan from a bank or other financial institution.