There are plenty of folks out there who would like to have a beautiful aquarium in their home or office, but simply don’t have the time or inclination to purchase, install and maintain one. If you are not already doing installation and maintenance of aquariums in homes, offices, banks, nursing homes, hospitals, etc., you are missing out on a very good source of revenue and profit for your store. No matter how you do it, this is a good business to be in.
How you decide to offer installation and maintenance is up to you, but there are two basic business models that most stores follow. The first is to offer complete installation and maintenance in-house, done by staff persons who are on the payroll of your store. This method takes advantage of the fact that you can show potential installation and maintenance customers the full options of tanks and fish that are available. It requires additional staff, vehicles, equipment and supervision, but it also allows you more control over that aspect of the business—and more profit.
The second way to handle aquarium installation and maintenance is through a separate independent individual or company. In this instance, you need to have an agreement with the installation/maintenance person or company that your store can be used for showing tanks and fish, and that you receive some kind of compensation for any projects where your store was involved.
Your store involvement can be as casual as referring potential customers directly to the other person or company, or for your store to be actively involved with a sale. In either case, you need to establish a relationship of trust with the installation or maintenance person, which can take a while. In addition to referral fees, most stores work with these partners on equipment and livestock, usually offering them a good discount from the retail sales prices.
Whichever way you decide to handle installation and maintenance, you need to promote that aspect of your business with photographs, videos, a web presence and a list of satisfied customers. Even in the recent depression/recession (I love the TV show “West Wing” in which they referred to the recession as “the bagel”), high-end fish tanks were a very constant source of revenue for many stores and individuals. While some smaller customers, such as banks, hospitals and small offices, did, in fact, give up their aquarium maintenance service, the really high-end projects persisted.
I know installation/maintenance folks and companies all over the country who have been doing large projects in the hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2008 and now. Also, the very popular TV show “Tanked” has stimulated interest in large custom aquariums. As I pointed out to my wife when we watched the shows, they never tell you how much the entire project cost—or how many people had to watch it through the first couple of weeks.
Installation and maintenance is good business; don’t miss out on your share of it.