How to Open A Vape Shop
It is no secret that vaping is no longer a trend but a better alternative to cigarette smoking, cigar smoking, and traditional joint smoking. Vaping allows users to express personal style, use discreetly and while at school or work, or challenge themselves with vaporized smoke art competitions. There are unlimited flavors and vaping products coming onto the vape market each and every day. In fact, the global e-cigarette and vape market size is expected to reach USD 67.31 billion by 2027. So, it is no wonder that more and more people are exploring investing in a vape shop, either a traditional store or an online opportunity, to help provide customers access to great vaping products world-wide while increasing their income potential. But how is it done? How does one person go from liking vaping to actually opening a vape shop?
The first thing you need to do is create your vape game plan. There is a lot more that goes into creating a successful vape shop business than picking a clever name and throwing products up on a shelf. I always suggest people start with the basics, which means developing an outline for your vape shop through a well-thought out business plan. Yes, a business plan for your vape shop should be the first step. While you are creating it, the business plan for the vape shop will help you to identify challenges and opportunities within your vape business before they arise. Once you identity these challenges and opportunities you can have a plan in place for should they ever come up. Remember, prevention is the cure for the unexpected. But what goes into a vape shop business plan?
Start with the business plan basics for your vape shop. The name is a good start but deciding if you want a traditional location or an online business is important. You have to consider your in-person and virtual competition, too. What is going to be your overhead? How about advertising costs? WIll you have employees? If you will have employees are you aware of what your payroll tax expenses and obligations will be? And what about the liability of employees having access to sell the vape products? Will you train them to sell the products legally and how to identify minors?
There are so many questions to address when creating your vape shop business plan that once do you do create it, you will more likely want to get with a business attorney to review the business plan and address and potential legal issues and legal obligations. Also, your plan should address Federal obligations. There is no Federal tax on vape products right now but what happens if this changes and there is a Federal tax, like with traditional nicotine products? You have to be willing to be prepared for anything - which is why writing a business plan is much like writing an owner’s manual.
Next, is to develop a marketing plan for your vape shop and this is where things can get tricky. Vape shops don’t have a lot of regulations right now, but marketing vape products is highly regulated and you have to make sure you are complying with all the rules when it comes to vape products and the publicity and marketing efforts you are including you in your plan. First, you have to make sure your health statements are in compliance with FDA regulations. This is extremely important because not making sure you are in compliance can lead to fines and even your vape shop being shut down. Second, you need to make sure that you will comply with the FDA regulations on any tobacco retailer requirements. Even if your vape products only contain zero-nicotine products and e-juices, you will still have to make sure your vape store meets all the legal requirements and regulations. This step is in addition to local county, city and state licensing needs. Finding out not only what you have to do but how much each effort is going to cost is a big deal because it helps you vet and prepare for the amount of work and the cost of each license that will be required with your vape shop business.
Your next step is to identify with any costs related to the start-up of your vape shop business. Sure, the cost of the product is to be expected but what about other costs? What about remodeling a traditional vape shop? Advertising expenses? Uniform expenses? Donating to local community endeavors? Utilities not included in rent? All of these expenses should be outlined in your business plan and then reassesses with a financial advisor. It is recommended that vape shop owners start their business with at least fifty thousand dollars dedicated to operating expenses for the first six months of the business’ life.
A vape shop, while it can have low overhead, shouldn’t be started with a lesser amount in case of an unexpected emergency. Now, this said, if you are starting an online vape shop business then your expenses are going to be significantly lower and the fifty thousand dollar number will change to something lower. Remember, just have enough to operate your business for six months - with an emergency fund maintained- should a customer never set foot in your door.
Starting an online vape shop may sound like a less expensive and more profitable idea, but it also comes with its set of certain challenges. For example, there are so many new vape shops popping up online every day that competition can be expensive. You need a good social media following and amazing actual media pick-ups and these things can take time. And buying online advertising can become expensive- as expensive as owning a traditional vape shop. Plus, a vape shop that has an actual location is limited in when it can sell. You have set-hours. An online vape shop business is a twenty-four hour commitment. Orders come in all the time, which can be a good thing but it also can be a double-edge sword. Further, you will not have just one state to deal with when it comes to selling vape product regulars. With an online store, you still have to deal with the regulations in your state but you’ll also need to be sure you’re complying with the rules and regulations where you’re shipping your products to.
Getting a business lawyer involved in your dream to start a vape shop is a good initial investment either before or after you write your business plan and then your marketing plan. You want to make sure you don’t have to pay any fees or fines along the way and a business lawyer will help you achieve this. Remember, the industry is growing and shows no signs of letting up soon. You want to own a vape shop business that is successful, which means doing things right from the start.
So, what is next? Actually putting your money where your mouth is and deciding what day you will open your vape shop. You can host different celebrations for the opening of your vape shop and sometimes the product lines you carry can help you with their already subscribed email list of fans. Some vape product companies will even help sponsor and offset the cost of your vape shop’s official launch. The goal is to get known by vape users in your marketplace. If you are opening online, you want to have incentives for people to click through any pre-event ads and to give you their contact information, such as email address or social media handles, so you can continue to market to them when your vape shop is running specials. Developing and then taking care of your customers is crucial because it is what will help expand your business. Remember, word of mouth is the best form of marketing and it is free.
Opening a vape shop isn’t hard but it is not entirely easy, either. There is a lot of responsibility and regulations associated with opening a vape shop but the financial reward can be very enticing. The vaping industry is continuing to grow and there are more and more vape products and e-juice flavors coming onto the market each and every day. Paired alongside with the CBD market, vape product options will flourish well into the next decade regardless of what happens with the currently challenged economy. If you start a vape shop out on the right foot, taking steps to create a business plan and research expenses and liabilities, and having enough of the comfort cash to get you through the first six months even with no customers, you will likely be successful. And, as your business grows, continuing to invest in different and new product lines is always a great idea!