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ASK Cubby

ASK Cubby- 04.02.2015, Version- Rip’n Questions, Toot’n Answers

“Comment on your story

Hello. I can no longer comment on your stories because I do not have a facebook account AND I never will have one. But I wanted to email you the comment that people should read.

I wanted to start a hobby shop. Then I found out to become a dealer I had to buy from a hobby distributor. By doing that it would cut my profits so much I could not afford to keep the doors open. How can an LHS survive on little profit? My LHS owner works at UPS part time to live his dream of owning a hobby shop!!

Stay Warm 🙂

Phillip P.”

Cubby- Big congrats Phillip, your email has just been proclaimed as “Letter of the Month”, shoot us your snail mail and shirt size for the hook-up on a brand spank’n new BSRC t-shirt.

And ya… I hear ya on the FB commenting. It exists to help start meaningful conversion about the posts, but in practice people just don’t like having to sign in to FB to leave a comment. And… a lot of people hate FB as much as I do, so they simply don’t have an FB account. Expect some changes in our commenting in the future (I can only hope). But… there is one upside to the way it is now, it has kept down the amount of industry peeps posing as Joe Blow consumers from railing on gear from companies other than their own.

About opening up a hobby shop…

You don’t “have” to buy from a distributor. There are several manufacturers that will sell directly to a hobby shop. However… that could mean a number of large opening orders, along with minimum order sizes that might be more than you are wanting to spend. The other big downside is that many of the biggest names in our industry are not available that way, they are only available from one of the “Big 3” (Great Planes, Horizon, HRP) distributors.

Most hobby shops do go with a distributor (or 2 or 3, or even more). They are able to order dozens (hundreds really) of different manufacturers from one place, sometimes with volume discounts. And while some items don’t have much margin (like car kits), other items do provide a decent profit to help keep the doors open and food on your employees tables. But still… even if a $10 bottle of CA glue is a high profit item, you’ll need to sell a whole lot of them to pay for rent, electricity, insurance, etc, etc, etc.

Yes, I know of a number of hobby shops that are making good money, but like any other business it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and a good business sense to do so. Too many people have rushed into owning a hobby shop and made stupid mistakes like not having a good inventory, not marketing enough (or at all), putting a hobby shop in an already saturated market, etc, etc. If you truly love the hobby and decide to open one up, Do Your Homework First and be smart about it. Half-assing any part of the location, inventory, staffing, or marketing, can (and probably will) lead to failure. If you do it right you can enjoy a great job with enough money to put your kids through college.

“Sharing some thoughts death of a salesman

Dear Cubby

Your article entitled “death of a salemsan” got me all worked up. I was in the Car audio industry for 5 years prior to opening my hobby shop about 5 years ago. So the comparison of what car audio manufactures were thinking to possibly what the RC indsurty is thinking/heading {too big to fail/ full of bs} is very interesting.

I am very liberal and like talking about the health of the industry I am in. I can’t believe how many suppliers/ wholesalers in this sector are completely and utterly out of touch and insensitive. I would like to think we can all treat each other as customers and friends, but the boat has been very shaky the past 2 or 3 years.

I used to work for a large independently owned electronics store. I worked in Car audio sales. The car audio department was ran by smart people and the products were great, that was secondary to why working in that industry was rewarding. It was fun.. not to mention the reps were awesome, giving us kickbacks, injecting passion into our sales, taking us out for dinner and MAKING US FEEL LIKE WE WERE PART OF SOMETHING.

I traded a shaky industry that was rewarding for an ok industry that is not rewarding… I wouldn’t say I have regrets but I had higher hopes. Identifying the root of this problem and how to avoid it will take some doing. I don’t want to say too much as I do have a business to run and don’t wish to start throwing people/suppliers under the bus. When i am asked amongst the business community and amongst my peers “what do you like about the products you sell?” I say “I like the products…. and nothing else” soo you bet they ask me follow up questions and I answer as transparently and openly as possible. I did not want to post this on the biqsquidrc page for a few reasons however I wanted to chime in and give you my 2 cents

keep up the good work and feel free to follow up with me if you like


Cubby- Ya ya… I know I like to keep “ASK Cubby” light and bubbly and all, but this week I decided to include a more serious letter. I get a few of them every week and usually discard them, but to change things up I am posting this one.

Yes, I know “C.” asked this one not to go up, but it was well written and very sincere. I edited out several parts of it as to not give away the person’s location or true background, but the the gist of the letter remains real.

I too spent my time in the trenches of mobile electronics, luckily in their glory years of the 80’s and early 90’s. I got to see first hand how fast products could fly off the shelf at full retail, then I got to see how the industry was decimated a decade later. I don’t personally think that rc is going down that path, if anything I think the rut rc is in is mostly due to the overall economy, but because I’ve seen it happen before in car audio, I Really don’t want to see it happen to rc.

In any industry there are easy, often short term ways to make money, then there are harder ways that tend to keep the money rolling in for decades. Yes, there have been a bunch of companies in rc that have taken the easy/short term route to making money, and that worries me, a lot, every day. However, while I certainly don’t have all (or any) of the answers to keeping rc healthy, thankfully our industry has a lot of smart people that are working their asses off to make sure our hobby will be around for decades to come.

And there it is folks, yet another ASK Cubby. Shoot me whatever non-sense is rolling around in that heads of yours, Cubby at BigSquidRC dot com is my addy. If your letter hits the big time you’ll win a sticker pack, if yours is like Phillip’s and you win “Letter of the Month”, we’ll send you a free t-shirt.

YOUR Cub Reporter

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Posted by in Ask Cubby, cubby on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 11:20 am