How to Start a Smoke Shop - By Alexandra Solis
Think Before You Act
So you want to open a smoke shop. But where do you start? Do you just pick a spot and open up shop? Or is there a better way of starting off? First of all opening a smoke shop is not going to be something easily done overnight.
Federal and State Law
This is the first most important step to take. BE AWARE OF THE LAW. There has been many instances where smoke shops get shut down because they do not have the correct requirements as stated by law. Things you will need:
- A business licence
- A license to sell tobacco products
Check with your state and county to see if there are any other specific requirements you must fulfill before opening up shop.
If you’re thinking next door to your house would be a great place for a shop, think again. Location is key to getting customers. Chose a place where your shop can be easily seen such as major streets. This can also include areas with a moderate level of traffic. Your shop should be easily accessible to any type of customer. Also, customers should be able to spot your shop easily.
Name and Logo
Give your shop a name. It would be best for the name to be in a way related to the products you are selling. But if you want to make it fun and your own then by all means do so. Just don’t name your shop something completely out of the way that it will confuse customers.
For your logo, it is best to get in contact with sign making companies to see how creative you can get. Many times a logo can be too complex and can’t be done.
The equipment you need is all the basic stuff you need for your shop. A good basic list would be:
- Display counters
- Cash register
- Credit card machine
You can also add in a table, chairs, and an ashtray if the state allows smoking inside. When you are setting up your equipment make sure you follow your states fire safety regulations and guidelines.
Purchasing inventory is going to be crucial to keeping your smoke shop prospering. Know and understand what are some of the current trends within the smoking community. Good questions to ask yourself would be:
- What products are mostly being used for smoking?
- Liquid Sci Glass carries a wide variety of options for methods of smoking such as bongs and pipes.
- Are customers more interested in a certain type of bong shape?
- Do customers prefer vaporizing their smoke or do they prefer wraps?
Asking questions like these will help you in knowing how much of a certain product you should order to suffice the customers needs. You should also have accessories available. These can include:
- Glass accessories
- Cigarette accessories
- Rolling papers
- Vape accessories
- Glass pipes
- Novelty items
Keeping a wide variety of options to choose from will keep the customer happy in not limiting their options. Think about other forms of smoking, such as hookah, and consider having products such as those in your shop.
Make sure to keep track of all your finances:
- Cost of renting/ owning your location
- Cost of inventory
- Cost of equipment
- Employee pay rate
- Federal and State taxes
Balance is key to having a stable smoke shop. You don’t want to be overpaying for products that won't sell.
Open For Business
Plan out what days of the week your shop will be open. Observe which days are high in traffic to gain the most attention. Don’t forget to create a sign to post on your shop the hours it will be open.
Visualize yourself as a new customer entering your shop. How would you want the shop to look? How do you want the atmosphere to be? Organize your inventory so it is easily browsable by customers. Certain things customers will be looking for are:
- Name Brands
It takes more than one person to run a shop. Hiring employees will give you the liberty to focus on other smoke shop needs. Remember, your employees must be over the age of 18 to sell tobacco products.
In short the most important things you will need are a business license, tobacco license, and inventory. Keep in mind to always check ID. It is a small mistake many shops do that can cause them to shut down immediately.
Good luck and stay blazed.