How To Start A Vape Business: A Business Guide
When Oxford Dictionaries names "vape" the word of the year, you know the industry is exploding in mainstream culture—and you might be wondering if you should start a business to get in on the action. Though it has recently become controversial, the numbers indicate that this isn't a passing fad—by 2025, the vaping industry is expected to be worth $61.4 billion. It stands to reason that entrepreneurs, both new and established, would want a piece of this lucrative industry and would be interested in learning how vaping businesses can help young entrepreneurs.
When an industry reaches this level of popularity, In 2018, sales of vapes wholesale supplies and related products totalled nearly $4 billion in the United States alone, representing a 24% increase over 2022. and they remain one of the fastest-growing business trends today. If learning how to open a vape shop interests you, the following are some of the first steps you should take to get your new business started.
However, starting a vape business is not always the easiest business venture. It's a highly competitive field with a reputation for being in a highly regulated and volatile retail space. So, if you're thinking about how to open a vape shop, keep these factors in mind as you go through the process.
Vaping Regulation at the Federal, State, and Local Levels
Before you can get into the physical details of how to open a vape shop, you must first understand the rules. The federal regulations are fairly simple. State and local regulations differ from state to state and city to city. For example, some cities currently prohibit the establishment of a vape shop near a school or park. In fact, many cities across the country are considering legislation along these lines.
One of the most important factors to consider when deciding how to open a vape shop is the level of taxation in your area. Some states have excessive taxation levels, making brick-and-mortar vape shops unable to compete with online prices at all. Finally, you'll need to do some research to learn about the laws and regulations that apply to your chosen location.
Make a business plan
It is critical to prepare a business plan before opening your vape shop. A business plan is a written description of your company's objectives and how you intend to achieve them. Your plan will assist you in determining the purpose of your business and will serve as a guide for staying on track once you've opened. Most business plans include information about your company and brand, a competitor analysis, marketing plans, and financial projections.
Don't worry, you don't need an MBA to write a business plan. A quick Google search will yield numerous standardized business plan templates to assist you in getting started.
Select a Location
The location of your vape shop, like any other brick-and-mortar retail business, will have a significant impact on its future success – or lack thereof. Choose a location with 500 to 1,500 square feet of space. Check that it has prominent signage as well as the appropriate design and layout for consistent branding. Finally, research the local competition and act accordingly; the last thing you want is to open a shop in an area that is already overrun with such establishments.
Determine your startup costs
You should also be aware of the startup costs associated with opening a vape shop. The costs of opening a vape shop can vary greatly, but here are the essential expenses you'll need to consider before you open your doors:
- Renting a retail space
- License and permit application fees
- Enrolling in a commercial insurance plan
- Payroll and tax costs, particularly if you intend to hire employees.
- The first inventory
- Retail shelving, counter space, and a POS system are examples of business equipment.
Find dependable suppliers and place orders for high-quality inventory
It's critical to find a reputable, trustworthy supplier who sells products that your customers will enjoy. The last thing you want or need is for your supplier to run out of the items you sell or to be untrustworthy. Try doing some preliminary research online or asking around at your favourite vape shops to find a vape distribution channel to work with.
When ordering inventory, make sure you're not just picking products that you'd like to use. Even if you serve a niche community, you want to reach the greatest number of people possible. Conduct some market research and ask around. What exactly are vapers looking for? What do they think vape shops are missing right now, and what would they like to see in a new one?
You should sell at least one type of rechargeable e-cigarette or an e-cigarette starter kit to beginners. You should provide several vape kits that allow for customization for more experienced vapers. Finally, keep a wide range of vape supplies on hand, including batteries, mods, and, perhaps most importantly, a wide range of vape liquid or juice.
Select a vape-friendly POS system
Investing in a vape POS system is one of the most crucial decisions you can make when starting a business. A good retail POS system will not only provide a friendly checkout experience, but will also allow you to capture customer information, optimise staffing, and manage and reorder your inventory more efficiently. Starting a business takes time, but using a POS system allows you to save time and focus on the aspects of your business that are most important. Look for a POS system with built-in RACS compliance, as well as age and quantity restrictions, for your vape shop.
Create a hot social media presence
Social media is essential for any retail company. It increases traffic to your store and is essential in developing a strong and personable brand. However, because search engines like Google and Bing do not allow vape stores to create ads, a strong social media strategy is essential to starting and running a successful business. It also goes hand in hand with the vaping community you'll be cultivating.
Ideally, you want your social channels to attract new customers while also keeping returning customers informed about store promotions and events. To make your small business social media strategy as effective as possible, you must first determine which social media platforms are best for business.
Hire the right people and put customer service first
You may discover that you require assistance in running and managing your vape shop. If that's the case, you'll need to hire the right people. Employees at vape shops in the United States earn an average of $13 per hour but check your local laws for the most up-to-date minimum wage figures. Once you've determined how many employees you need, post a job advertisement online or in your community to spread the word.
In terms of customer service, you must take two approaches: 1) provide advice and product recommendations that are tailored to your customer's specific needs, and 2) consistently provide excellent customer service.
That means being able to assist new vapers in selecting the appropriate starter kit just as well as discussing the intricacies of a new vape pen or vape mod with an experienced user. You'll also need to be able to speak to the nuances of the thousands of flavour and nicotine strength combinations of vape juice, just like a sommelier.
In terms of customer service and customer relationship management, you should develop policies that are appropriate for your company, but here are a few general questions to consider:
- In-store, how will employees greet and interact with customers?
- How do you plan to handle returns or exchanges?
- How will you handle disagreements and irate customers?
- Will you order products for customers that you don't have in stock?
- What programs will you implement to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty?
Once you feel comfortable answering these questions, make sure to document your policies and train your employees accordingly. While much of customer service may seem obvious, people can surprise you in the heat of the moment. The best way to combat this is to review customer service policies with your team on a regular basis and practice roleplaying as needed.
Create A Welcoming Environment
The atmosphere of your store is an important way to distinguish yourself and gain an advantage over the competition. This entails creating an environment that encourages customers to spend more time in your store safely. Consider adding the following elements to your shop to create a comfortable, inviting vaper lounge to help you achieve that goal:
- Couches and chairs that are comfortable.
- Music and/or television
- There is plenty of lighting.
- A place to sit outside (if your space allows it)
The most important takeaway is that when customers have several competing vape shops to choose from, they will naturally gravitate toward the one with the most welcoming atmosphere. While you can do a lot with the physical space of your location, your and your employees' attitudes can have an even greater impact.
The Final Step In Starting A Vape Business
You are now ready for the final step in starting a vape shop. Have fun, work hard, be adaptable, and enjoy the ride.
Have fun because this is your company. You work in an industry that is expanding and will continue to expand in the coming years. That is the reason for optimism and hope. You are in charge of your own destiny. I'm living my dream. There will be bad days and moments of doubt. This is unavoidable. Believe in your ability to overcome any obstacle.
Work hard because it will be difficult! There will be no guarantees or quick fixes. It's a battle for vaping customers. As a result, you must complete it.
Be adaptable to changes because today's hottest item will be out of fashion in a few months. Keep up with the latest trends. Your customers can be a great source of information about where demand is trending at any given time.
If you're determined to open a vape shop, we strongly encourage you to do so, but be aware that you'll face numerous challenges along the way, including prohibitive excise taxes, strict regulation of the product, regulations, competition from online sellers and traditional nicotine vendors, and difficulty securing funding.
But with a lot of research, a well-crafted business plan, and expert advice, we're confident you'll be able to overcome these obstacles. If you can keep your doors open while the FDA implements new regulations in 2022, you and your local vaping community will be pleased to own a piece of this $5.5 billion industry.
Have fun on the ride! You've progressed from wondering how to open a vape business to running your own company. That is an incredible accomplishment.