I haven’t given an update on my online business in a while, so I figured it’s time. I got a lot of products up on my online store (about 110 or so), but still had a lot to add to get a full line of products. When our second baby was on the way last year, I started to evaluate the business model a little differently.
I was drop shipping my products, and started to imagine what it would be like if the business took off. I’d have to order a whole bunch of items, and keep the inventory somewhere in our house. Probably 200 or so items, and multiple of each, so I could ship the items out myself. Drop shipping wouldn’t be as viable of an option once I started selling more, because I would want to include my own packing slips, and the cost dramatically goes down when you buy in bulk.
So the time it would take to ship everything out would be a lot, and the margin just wasn’t there to make it worth all the time it would take (especially with two kids under two). Not to mention all the work it would take to get all the products up on my site. And all this work for just a few dollars per order.
So I decided to shut down the online store portion, and just keep open the custom installations. Throughout this process, I’ve found that the products aren’t where I’d be making the money. The revenue is in the labor of doing the actual installations. There’s less cost with this as well, as I already pay to have one site hosted, so a second web site doesn’t cost me anything extra. I just created a basic website talking about the installations, and replaced my online store (if you’re interested to see what it looks like, it’s http://www.archwayhometheateraccessories.com). There’s no merchant account to pay, no online store fees to pay, no SSL cost, etc. Just a basic website that doesn’t cost me anything extra.
Now the work I have to put in on a regular basis is basically non-existent, but I am still available to do home theater installations for people if they want. If you’re in the area I live and google “home theater installations,” I pop up as number one in the list. It’s gotten me a couple of calls so far, and hopefully more in the future. From what I’ve heard, big stores like Best Buy charge a fortune to do an extremely basic job (they don’t even install the speaker wire in the walls). I charge less, and make sure the job is done right. We’ll see how this new twist to the business goes.