By - sourcaffeine
I have been flooded with messages, emails, instagram DMs and so forth on how to open a disc golf store. Tips, ideas, advice, etc. Keep in mind I am not a business graduate. I don't have any degrees, and no real business expertise I can offer. This post isn't how to run a business, but the best tips I can give to be successful running a disc golf store.
Pictured above is my first day opening (with racks!). I subleased a small corner of a game shop. They had a recent break in, which is the reason for the wooden door.
Also pictured is an image from a few days ago. Grown quite a bit, with over 200 molds in stock, among other things.
For those looking to do the same, here is what I can offer based on solely on my experience:
- Start small. This is a retail environment and like any retail, it can be difficult to keep up with demand, inventory, and capital.
- If you're starting small, build up at least 2-5k in funds for inventory so you can make (somewhat) sizable purchases. If you ARE starting a brick and mortar, I'd recommend double that.
- Register an LLC and make purchases from any manufacturers that don't require a brick and mortar, like Discraft, Prodigy, Discmania, and Gateway. Sell these items at your local events and see if it is something you even enjoy doing, as a full time business and NOT just as a side hustle.
- Don't mark up your prices to match those found on eBay and Facebook. Charge fair prices, between 40-45% margin, and you'll see customers come back. On the other side of that coin, don't sell yourself short and sell so cheap you're not getting the return you need to make profits.
- Like any other business, find things that you don't just buy for a buck and sell for two. Find other outlets for revenue. Run local events, get involved in your community, ENHANCE your local courses, work with the parks departments, do whatever you can to build your brand nd get your name out there and improve the scene.
- Don't skimp on shipping. Individually bag each disc being sold online. Ship in boxes with 3+ discs. Use QUALITY bubble mailers (3/16" minimum bubble size) for single and two disc orders. This will cut your returns to virtually none.
These are the biggest pieces of advice I can give out. A lot of the ends and outs are how to run a business and not specifically related to disc golf, so I'll leave those to real experts, which I am not. If there is a question you have that isn't covered, please post in comments and I'll try to address it.
Thanks as always for your support and keep huckin'.
>Don't skimp on shipping.
Different industry, but I got into selling things on the web a couple years ago. Sorting out and simplifying your shipping is what's going to make or break you.
If you're shipping discs, it's faster to learn (shapes, sizes and weights are consistent). If you're shipping more random sizes and shapes, don't be afraid to lose on a particular order as long as you can learn from it and improve what you're doing to make it workable.
This is solid advice. Given the majority of items are discs, Uline is great. 9x9x4 and 9x9x6 boxes with 4mil 9x9 poly bags makes shipping for discs almost idiot proof. I also save the paper packing material from my wholesale orders to re-use when there are 4 or less discs in a box so they don't rattle around.
Here's my advice step by step.
1. Buy discs
For something like disc golf, getting involved in the local community is essential. It was interested to see the local stores and who does well based on how involved they are.
If I were you I'd consider setting up a lost and found for local players. Act as a drop-off spot for any found discs. Players will appreciate that. Also consider buying used discs for resale.
Finally, a comment. I'm kind of surprised by your margins. Other people I know that sell aren't getting those kinds of margins - granted this was kinda before covid and such - but they were getting closer to 25%, and that was buying direct from Discraft, Innova, etc and selling at higher prices than I could find online.
One last thing - lemme know when you start carrying Kastaplast and I'll be your favorite customer!
>e know when you start carrying Kastaplast and I'll be your favorite customer!
I have already installed a return bin at the local course (across the street), and we have returned over 1000 discs so far since install about 6 months ago.
I can't speak to what others are doing, but I am basing my margins on gross not net. For full disclosure, most start type plastics will cost around $8.75-$10 depending on manufacturer, and I sell for between $16.99-19.99.
There is only one distributor for Kastaplast right now in the US and they are not accepting new dealers unfortunately. As soon as that changes I'll be bring them in for sure.
Bulk order everything.
Only thing I could add to your shipping bullet was including stickers, I’m a sucker for stickers. Well, I order two discs from you, they came today annnnnd... there were stickers!!
I think everyone loves stickers and I try to include them with every order. Good call on adding it to the list. It's easy marketing.
I’ve been there! Got some new and used from you! Keep it up!
You forgot one:
Don’t forget to post on Reddit every month or two to remind the community that your store exists and generate additional sales volume.
Haha nothing but love man, glad to see you are loving the dream and sharing for others that may want to try to do the same. Wish you all the best.
>ng but love man, glad to see you are loving the dream and sharing for others that may want to try
The sales generated from reddit are actually relatively small. When I first started out they were quite sizable because I was doing 1-2 sales/wk. Now that things have grown quite a bit, posts on reddit are more of a means of providing updates and insights. I've been absolutely flooded with more questions via DMs than I can keep up with. It's literally 10-15 messages/day on both Instagram and Reddit.
But you're right that Reddit did give me the quick boost in sales to help grow things initially. :P
I started a small business a few years ago. I think you yelling into the void of reddit is great. Sometimes you have to get your ideas out. Doesn't matter if it's infront of the mirror, in the shower, on a napkin, talking to the dog, etc. Just talking out the plan until it's smooth and makes sense is super super important.
Starting a business is super stressful. We're here for you dude.
You hit the nail on the head. As a single owner/employee of this business, I often need a place to vent out ideas and thoughts, and Reddit seems to be one of the few places good for that.
I appreciate the support, as I often times have no idea what I am doing. Getting some encouraging feedback really helps quell those doubts.
Think about using an alt account for work. It's not a shill account, but it'll keep your shitposts separate from your store.
This is good advice in any professional setting.
Just got a couple pigs from you, shipping dept is working well ;)
Glad to hear it!
You must have got the last ones! I just tried. Pigs and Darts are hot commodities right now apparently.
Griplocked might have your back!
What makes the Pigs so wanted, out of curiosity.
Ricky Wysocki throws them, and throws them well.
The Pig is the only putter I've found that I can putt with consistently. Then because of their soft plastic (which I like the feel of) they wear down relatively fast. Not sure if this actually answers your question but it's just my experience.
Caltrop zero soft is \*chef's kiss\* as well
I generally don’t putt with my pig(too over-stable for me). I specifically use pigs for upshots because i can count on it almost always sitting down wherever it lands. It just sticks. My local corse has 4 baskets on the side of steep hills and the rollaways are devastating(I’m talking 50-250ft rollaways) the pig is just predictable.
That's what the nova does for me. I'm going to try a nova only short course round tomorrow and see how that goes!
Reasons posted and I have a good buddy who talked me into trying them out. R-Pro’s are reasonably priced and worth the spin as it were
I have a blizzard pig which I adore. I can throw it from the pad on a dog leg left at 220' or so and park it more times than not. I also can't throw a zone forehand b/c of the thin rim. The pigs are very wide rimmed and I can side arm confidently for upshots and park it most times. Just overall very reliable and you know exactly what it is going to do.
fyi, supply chain issues right now. a party store next to 36 hole disc golf course where I live ordered 150 discs and received 35. owner said like with all his other vendors (beer, liquor, food, etc) he's having a hard time getting stock and prices are going up 20-35%.
IMO Discraft is the only one with real issues. Every other manufacturer is pumping along quite nicely. Discraft limits to 25 discs/mo and they're mystery boxes.
The store looks like it's coming along nicely, keep on keeping on with it!
Can't find Latitude Opto Air anything....
Can't find Prodigy D1-4 Air anywhere...
From here it feels like there are still lots of issues with firms other than Discraft.
The air discs probably sell slower and are more difficult to make so since demand for everything else is so high it is likely low priority
Still running FNM? Cause that's a dg store I'd go to ...
Friday night magic?
yeah, the board in the first image has a bunch of MTG events noted.
Only if they run pauper for FNM
If they are I'm totally there with my artifacts/myr deck. It's the only cards I kept when I sold everything of years ago.
Figured it would always be great for pauper and casual kitchen table play.
I don't, I just sublease from those guys. They are just doing some casual magic events, most commander I believe, every day of the week except Monday.
Ah man, it seemed like a great overlap of hobbies that are much more expensive than they should be.
Truer words have never been spoken.
I'm having a hell of a time getting my online shop started up. The Canadian distributor for several mainline brands will not give wholesale rates to online only stores right now. They can't keep up to demand. But hey next month I should receive my first order of MVP and maybe then I'll start making sales. Right now I'm selling things at retail cost for CA which is higher than US but I do have several limited run discs and unique things so far. 🤷
I've seen your success on here and been very inspired. Thanks for sharing it!
I wish I could be of more help for Canadian retailers, but it's not in my space. I know Aceruns is a CA distributor for a lot of brands and like many distributors and manufacturers, they have closed the door to new retailers for the mean time.
I think the biggest hurdle a lot of manufacturers have is customs issues. I'd be willing to bet if you called up a few manufacturers and asked nicely and made a sizable enough order they'd work with you. Prodigy and Latitude specifically have been great to work with.
Yep that's who! I love them and they're my local shop. But nah can't support online retailers right now. And I get it, it's just making things harder to start.
Getting stuff from the states isn't too bad though. My previous work was in customs. UPS does it for a small charge for a smaller order I'll just pay them for it. The shipping is the killer though. I suspect it'll cost me ~$2/disc to ship them here.
Shipping back to the states is affordable. Shipping within Canada is kinda nuts. But yeah just need to start making sales I guess and need more stock for that.
My site is a marketplace so anyone can list on it. I'm targeting primarily people who dye and/or sell limited edition discs on eBay.
Getting people to use it instead of eBay and Etsy will be the hardest part. I asked the mods here if I could post about it but I hadn't gotten a reply yet so I hadn't posted about it. I'm also going to start doing some outreach to dye artists and sellers on eBay but I have to walk the line of spamming and getting banned so we'll see how growth goes over the next few months.
That sounds like an awesome idea. I think a lot of the people in facebook buy/sell/trade groups would be a great audience for these sorts of sales, as would the r/discexchange subreddit.
Good luck on your venture. Drop a link and I'd love to follow along.
It would be an easy way for anyone who wants to try setting up their own online disc golf pro shop without investing in shopify up front. Once you get volume it would make sense to switch over to shopify however with our fees being 8% you'd need to do around $400/m in sales to make it worthwhile to pay shopify the $30/m. A good target to start out with I think and see if you can do it.
I also plan to handle all the outreach and advertising so in that fee it would (eventually) be easy to get started selling right away because people already use the site. That's the eventual goal at least. Gotta get the ball rolling first.
I can do some pretty links like https://discd.art/ yourshopname . It was a lot of work to get to this point, and so far we've only done a handful of sales, but the more people learn about it the more we get the ball rolling, and hopefully I'll have more discs to sell at a reasonable price instead of just trying to make $1 a disc and buying at Canadian retail prices 🤦
It's really a killer idea though. This is very similar to what TCG Player does with trading cards.
Thanks! I just needed *something* on the site, until the big orders came in. We'll see how the next couple months go
I remember when you first posted about opening your store. This is awesome to see! I think I’ll check out your online inventory c:
Let me know if you have any questions or need help!
I still remeber the day 1 post, thats crazy. Keep up the hard work!
Is this viable as a side business, or is it way too overwhelming for that?
I'm starting a new job next week, but have been considering getting into online disc sales for a few months now. I was just hoping it wouldnt be impossible to do both, and that it could be some extra income on top of my full time job.
It can be pretty difficult to do as a side gig, if you plan to open a retail shop that is. If you're just doing it out of your trunk at events and such, it can be fairly profitable, but the volume is so much lower IMO it's not worth it. Everyone I know who sells at local minis tells me they see an average profit of around $50 per mini, which is frankly too low for me to invest so much time and effort in.
For reference, I am full time at this, and expect to see around 40% margin. I currently do around 10-12k/mo in gross revenue, so not a whole heck of profit in it.
If you're selling rare or hard to find discs at a hefty markup, you'd probably do better with a wider audience like on facebook market places.
gotcha - I was just thinking of doing online and local tournaments to start, but wasnt sure if it was going to completely take over my full time job, which I know is paying me more than I'd end up profiting running the online shop. It was ideally just something to supplement and go with my interest in the sport as a whole.
Good to know though, it's something to think about for sure.
>eally just something to supplement and go with my interest in the sport as a whole.
I'd recommend just grabbing 50-100 popular discs and giving it a shot. Every manufacturer can recommend you their best sellers and easy movers. I'd call (not email), as they can better help you that way.
With that said, if you have the mindset you're not going to get rich off it, and it's something that wouldn't take up your time as you're already at those events, it's a great way to get your name out there and bring in a little side income.
perfect! That sounds good to me.
Yeah was never something I was intending to use to make a lot of $$ off of, haha. Though if it took off and I could eventually transition to a B&M, maybe I would. But yeah, for now, I think the 50-100 popular discs is the plan.
Good luck! Let me know if you run into any snags.
thank you, will do!
Let's talk about numbers.
I'm assuming you are making profit by now.
How are the sales going brick and mortar store vs e-shop?
Are you advertising?
Are you thinking about expanding?
Hey, I noticed you have quite a lot more space. Doesn't it crowded with 2-3 different groups in there? I've been to a few shops where you have to stand and wait to move forward to the next rack. Maybe do smaller sections all over the shop and move your desk back a bit?
I am confined to the space I occupy. The entire store is around 3200sq/ft but I only take up about 250sq/ft, but it feels a lot bigger given the overall size of the store.
Regardless, it's much better than when it was a 10x10 area where it felt hard to breathe in.
Man I love the story of this store! I hope my blog can be this type of success story some day.
I appreciate the support! I checked your blog out and it looks like some growth is on the way. Stay consistent and keep quality over quantity while releasing consistent material. Keep posting things even when audience drops and I am sure you'll blow up in no time. For me, getting past the small minority that is negative and focusing on the overwhelming positivity keeps me going.
Thanks so much for the support too pal! I am only a few weeks in and I am loving the process. Disc Golf has the best community of any sport I have ever played. I’m doing my best to be consistent, but it can be hard when working a full-time job too. I am passionate about it though, so I know it will be worth the grind!
When I first opened the store I had less than 100 discs and less than 1 paying customer/wk. It almost seemed silly to sit there all day watching youtube videos with no customers coming in. Over time grinding it out and improving things, the fanbase and customers came in. I am still no big retailer, but I also don't have to dump more capital into it, quite yet.
Wow… what was the main factor that keeps you going through the tough times? That must have been so tough!
Personally I think I am just too stubborn to quit. My girlfriend is also super supportive and really doesn't let me give up easily.
Aww that’s amazing. Well I wish you all the best! If you’re ever in Canada shoot me a message and we can go play a round!
I have to say that your website is great. Even some of the longer standing disc retailers have much worse websites.
I appreciate that! I am always looking to improve the website function and aesthetics. One of the big challenges I have is Shopify isn't really ideal for the type of listings I'd like, but I try to make it work as best as I can.
I can definitely tell effort has been put into the site. Looks great.
While it certainly isn't necessarily easy to learn how to work within the Magento system, I can honestly say I loved the functionality of it all once I learned how to use it.
Shopify is super easy for stores to get off the ground but often it lacks some of the customizations and product types that some web retailers absolutely need to have.
I found this out the hard way in the e-commerce cigar industry.
So awesome to see your growth man! Keep it up
I see the broom is still going strong.
Stronger than ever!
This is awesome! Was this mostly a solo operation or do you have partners? I'm dreaming of saving up for the next 10ish years and opening my own disc golf course - love seeing stories of disc golf businesses opening!
This is entirely a solo operation funded entirely by whatever meager savings I had built up.
Congrats man! That’s so freaking sweet. Lemme know if you get any Sexton Firebirds 😂
120 on the way!
There goes your last two envy's!
Yo! Love this local shop. Got my upgraded bag here recently. Bon is home course for sure!
Keep it up, looks great
Thank you, I'll try!
Thanks for posting this! I wish I would've known about you last week! I drive within a few miles of of Gotta Go Gotta often, but they're always closed when I'm free, and their online experience isn't great. You can request certain disc & stamp preferences, but you get absolutely no clue what they do or don't have available. Next time I'm looking for discs, I'll be checking you out first!
Love the name btw 😁
>st certain disc & stamp preferences, but you get absolutely no clue what they do or don't have availa
Appreciate the positive feedback! One thing I definitely wanted to offer was players could see the exact disc they would get. Every single disc is photographed, and the disc you see, is the disc you get.
Bold move enlightening the competition :)
Also good demo - never heard of you but fair biz is fair biz, and I like doing fair business. Will be checking out the store here shortly. Got any leads on replacing my MD3 and FD3?
M3 and FX-2/Felon/Flare/Raptor in my order of mold preference if you don't want to go for a Firebird.
I agree with this and also add on the Fighter as a firebird replacement.
? supply selection // any advice on selecting brands? would you mind sharing any thoughts on just being a single brand retailer? Ex, only offering discmania? Perhaps with exclusive stamps? Thanks again // 👏
I think offering as many brands as you can is ideal, as it appeals to the largest audience. If you're looking to be THE retailer to go to for X brand, then that isn't necessarily a horrible idea, but all brands go through dips in popularity, and as such so will your business.
As an example, I sat on MVP for months, not selling a single item. Conrad wins worlds and I sold out of most MVP in under an hour.
🙌 Thanks for the re: advice! 🙌
How are your shelves organized?
Great to see the store getting healthy.
If you have any glow Envys, I'll buy one immediately. they're damn near impossible to find
For you and me both!
Always been a dream of mine
Thanks for sharing. This has been interesting to read through.
Find me a Maul and or a Northman please !!$ DM me if you do!! Will pay!$!$!
Down votes for wanting to find discs???
? Shipping & Return Policy ? //
I read over the griplocked return policy & that all makes sense but I am wondering, is the customer responsible for return shipping? How does that work? //
Any advice/pointers/info on setting up/looking into shipping? (Ups/usps biz account or…?) //
Finally, I guess I should ask if you would recommend a host/server? Cos i really like the shipping + payment option integration & navigation/shop setup. really clean, no frills.
Thanks in advance // 👏
>you would recommend a host/server? Cos i really like the shipping + payment option integration
Provided the return is accepted, the customer will be emailed a return label. The customer is responsible for packaging, and provided the customer received the correct item but simply wants to return it, there is a 15% restocking fee. This has only happened once so far for me, and the customer in question didn't want puddle topped pro Pigs despite that being clear in the description. In this case I emailed a return label and opted not to charge a restock fee as they seemed really upset at the ordeal and the time/effort to argue the point wasn't worth my time.
In the future as I grow, I'll likely make returns free, as I already offer this in-store even if the item is used (but undamaged), within 14 days of purchase. These discs go in a return bin. I've tried to follow the Dynamic Discs model on this as it is most effective I think.
> Finally, I guess I should ask if you would recommend a host/server? Cos i really like the shipping + payment option integration & navigation/shop setup. really clean, no frills.
bottom of the page says powered by shopify.
I've been considering starting an online disc sales shop, and shopify is the big one I see a lot of places using
Ah. Thanks. 🤓
How much on a x3 shipped
we get it, now quit spamming this subreddit please.
You're claiming spam, but I get almost nothing but positive feedback and requests for more updates daily. I make posts that comply with the rules and still have to answer hundreds of emails and DMs asking for updates, next steps, merch requests, etc.