Tropical Fish and Aquarium Rental Business

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This idea may be new to you, or sound impossible, but you can earn large profits by starting your own tropical fish and aquarium rental business. This is an easy business to launch, you can operate it from your home, and start-up costs begin at under $5000.

You might be wondering who your market would be for renting tropical fish and aquariums. But if you’ve ever spent time waiting in a doctor or dentist’s office, you’ve no-doubt noticed that many waiting rooms have aquariums.

And potential clients don’t end with the medical professions – there are many restaurants, lawyers, accountants and other businesses who rent tropical fish and aquariums for their offices. Aquariums provide soothing entertainment in offices and waiting rooms, and clients and employees alike find them nice diversions during a stressful workday.

And it’s often times less expensive and time consuming for businesses to rent fish and aquariums rather than buying and the tanks outright. It’s not uncommon for established tropical fish and aquarium rental businesses to earn $60,000 per year or more with an ever-growing client base.

Some advantages of this type of business;

  • Low start-up costs. As mentioned above, you can start an aquarium and tropical fish rental business for $5000 or less, making this one of the least expensive business to get off the ground.
  • You can work from home. Many of these rental businesses operate out of a basement or a garage, and all you need to get started is enough space to set up 5 to 10 tanks.
  • You can set your own work schedule. Since you can operate out of your home, and you won’t have to be in one place for a set number of hours during the day, you’ll have the flexibility to work when you want, and have more time for your family and other commitments.
  • In many parts of the country, you’ll have the aquarium rental market virtually to yourself, as competitors are typically few and far between. This often results in more business than you can handle at some point, which is always a nice problem to have.
  • You could eventually expand your business into a retail location, and start selling tropical fish and aquariums to the general public, along with fish food and other supplies.

Some potential challenges with renting tropical fish & aquariums

  • You’ll have to pay to replace fish on a regular basis. As anyone who’s owned an aquarium knows, tropical fish are very sensitive to a variety of factors. And the people renting your aquariums might not feed and take as good care of the fish and equipment as you would, and unfortunately the fish sometimes suffer as a consequence. So plan on having to replace at least some of your inventory on a regular basis.
  • As a small business owner, you’ll also be responsible for your own advertising and marketing. You’ll have to get the word out about your business, and it helps if you’re good with people, and can explain the benefits of aquarium rentals to prospective clients. This sort of “cold calling” can be tough for a lot of people, but eventually word of mouth should kick in and you’re marketing chores should become less the longer you’re in business.

Getting your aquarium rental business off the ground

Typically you’ll want to be someone who has a background in fish keeping, or at least is willing to learn. If you’ve owned aquariums in the past, and have learned how to set up and maintain them, especially salt water aquariums, then this type of business will be a lot easier for you to get off the ground.

You’ll want to draw up some sort of business plan, and sit down and decide exactly what type of equipment you’ll be supplying to your customers.

The easiest route – at least in the beginning – is to purchase complete aquarium kits that come with everything necessary except for the water and the fish. Then later as you gain more experience you might be able to buy the units piece by piece and save money.

Expect to spend some money here. Most freshwater aquarium kits (including the tank, air pump, filters, lighting and stand) start at $250-300 and up. If you find a good retail aquarium shop in your area, you can sometimes get a deal by buying in bulk, or promising to buy all of your setups and fish from them in the future.

But don’t worry about having to buy 10 or 15 aquarium units all at the same time. One great thing about the tropical fish and aquarium rental business is that you can add equipment as you sign up new clients, and use the money coming in from your existing clients in the meantime.

You might want to stick with freshwater aquarium setups, at least initially. Salt water aquariums are a lot more work to maintain, and can be a lot more expensive if something goes wrong and your valuable fish don’t survive. Then, as you gain more experience in the business, you can begin to offer saltwater setups to your better clients, and offer to train them so that your investment is better protected.

You’ll also want to develop a marketing plan for your business. You won’t have to do expensive newspaper or TV advertising for this type of business.

Some inexpensive ways of getting the word out include making up flyers and handing them out to restaurants and offices in your area, advertising in smaller neighborhood newspapers, running ads on Craigslist or other online bulletin boards.

Soon you’ll have more business than you can handle, and you’ll be well on your way to making a very good living renting tropical fish and aquariums to businesses in your area.

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