So, you have fish,,,,how do you get stores to pay real money for your
When I began selling fish to the retail outlets in Orlando I had no idea how difficult
it would be to break the store credit wall. After all, I was a breeder,,I had all of my business and wildlife liscenses,,,I
was a business and I had no problem selling mass quantities of fish to the wholesalers. I couldn't understand why stores didn't
want to pay for fish.
This is why I always tell people not to take store credit,,,it creates a trend that
hurts reputable breeders of quality fish. This is what I did,,,
I made up bags of guppys,,,I used the standard size bag that you get in a fish store,,,I
put six pair of guppys in each bag,,,
I had business cards made,,nowadays it is easy to do that on any PC.
I found out what day and time the owner of the shop would be on the premises.
I dressed myself nicely,,that is,,I didn't go into the stores in blue jeans and an
old t-shirt,,,I wore what I would wear on a nice golf course.
I walked into the store and approached the owners with confidence,,and respect.
My spiel was something like this,,,,,,,
"Hello sir/ma'am,,,,My name is Bill,,,,listen,,I noticed you do not have any guppys
in your tank." If they had guppys in the tank I would go, "I noticed you have fancy guppys there,,,let me ask you,,,do you
have a problem with them holding up?" In either case you have gotten the owner to acknowledged that they either do not carry
guppys because of health issues or the ones they do carry fall apart and die.
At that point I would pull up the bag of guppys and tell them that I lived locally
and bred guppys. Before they could give me any objections or before they could start with the boring policy of trade I would
tell them the following.
"Listen, I am a breeder and I can supply you with pretty and healthy guppys.
Here,,take this bag of guppys free,,that's right no charge,,,no obligation,,,let's put them in this tank here,,," I would
try to place the bag into a tank of my choice,,my choice being any tank that did not have sick guppys in it. It usually worked.
I would then tell them, "Take these and here is my card,,I am a professional breeder.
If you lose these you haven't lost anything. If they don't die and you sell them then all I ask is that you give me the chance
to sell you local healthy guppys. I deliver to you whenever you need them. And my price is competitive with anything you are
used to paying. "
I would then leave the guppys with them with as little chit chat as possible. I usually
gave them 5-7 days and I would discreetly visit the store to see if the guppys were sold yet,,,more often than not they were.
I would then seal the deal by going to the owner and saying,,,"Hi,,,I'm Bill,,I see you sold my guppys,,shall I bring you
twenty pair today or tomorrow? They all said yes.
So what do I charge for my guppys??????
Pricing your guppys requires you to come to terms with a few facts. You
should try to find someone who will show you a wholesale price list,,,you will be shocked at how little stores actually pay
for fish. If they are buying direct from fish farms in florida then the prices are very low. In the midwest and up north alot
of stores are buying fish from wholesalers and jobbers that are buying from the farms,,if the stores are buying from these
suppliers then the stores' cost is higher.
Alot depends on your part of the country. I had the luxury of having a good relationship
with many of the farmers here in florida so I knew what the stores in central florida were paying. If you cannot get
a price list,,then try to visit the stores well in advance of your sales pitch,,,try to make friends with anyone in a retail
shop,,just casually bring up cost and just ask someone,,,"just out of curiosity,,what does a store pay for a pair of guppys?"
DON'T ever ask this just before you attempt to sell a store fish. Don't tell the person that you are asking this question
to that you are planning on breeding and selling fish
Remember one of my rules,,NEVER tell anyone that you are PLANNING on breeding or
selling fish UNTIL you have fish to sell. It will kill your reputation before you have a chance to prove yourself.
So what do you charge? Here in florida, retail shops pay alot less for fish than
they do in Pennsylvania,,or Illinois. Alot has to do with economy and cost of shipping. The farms here in florida work very
hard not to cut each other's throat,,and you shouldn't cut theirs either.
Stores here in florida pay anywhere from a dollar a pair to a dollar seventy five
a pair,,depending on where the fish come from and what quality they are. I would charge 75 cents a pair when they were just
mixed fancy guppys. I would ask a dollar a pair for delta tail guppys that were all of the same,,, such as the red tuxedos.
If the fish that I was selling were a large show type guppy then I would ask $1.25 to $1.50 per pair. I tried to
offer multiple price levels,,,in other words,,I wouldn't sell a store 75 cent pairs of fancy guppys for three months
and then tell them all I had was $1.50 ones. I would always have the cheaper ones and then give them the option to buy more
These prices may have made you fall out of your chair. That is why I said you needed
to come to terms with a few things. If you live in the northern states, you should be able to get considerably more per pair,,the
northern stores pay alot more per pair.
You will be the best judge of where you need to go with your pricing. Just remember
BE FAIR, DON'T undercut the wholesalers by too much,,,,,AND ALWAYS SELL HEALTHY FISH!!!!!!