How to Open a Vape Shop: Starting Your Own E-Cig Business

24 Aug 2017
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Vaping360 via Flickr/Creative Commons Image Credit: Vaping 360

There’s almost no industry poised for more growth in today’s economy than e-cigs and vaping. Despite increasing regulatory pressure from the FDA and other government agencies, e-cigarettes are increasing in popularity as more and more people use them for recreation, as a smoking cessation aid, and more.

As vaping becomes more popular, so do vape shops and e-cigarette lounges. Modeled on the traditional cigar lounge, these establishments sell a variety of vaping and e-cigarette products and allow patrons to vape and socialize.

If there’s unmet demand for a vape shop or e-cigarette lounge in your community, you might be thinking about opening your own. Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step toward starting a successful business. But it’s far from the last.

Here are some tips on how to open a vape shop for interested would-be entrepreneurs.

Come Up with a Business Plan

The first step toward really opening a successful vape shop is mapping out a detailed business plan. Questions to ask when building your plan could include:

  • What sort of branding do you hope to employ?
  • What kinds of products and services will your shop offer? Will you strictly be a retail venture, or will you offer a vaping lounge and other services?
  • Where would you like to open your business? How much space do you think you’ll need, and what is average rent for commercial space at that square footage?
  • How many employees do you predict you’ll need? How much will you pay them?
  • How do you intend to market your business?

These are just some of the issues you’ll need to consider.

Financing Your Vape Shop

If you’re independently wealthy, congratulations, you can skip this section. If not, you’ll need to come up with the money for your business some other way. Startup costs for a new e-cig business can run upwards of $50,000 or more.

How you cover startup costs will come down to one of two basic options (or some combination thereof):

  • Financing: Take your business plan to a bank and ask for a business loan. Depending on how strong your plan is and how convinced they are you’ll be able to pay the loan back, they may be willing to cover you.
  • Crowdfunding: If you’ve got a knack for online marketing and have a lot of generous friends, crowdfunding could be the way to go. Start a Kickstarter or GoFundMe account and ask for donations to open your shop. Offering incentives helps here—for instance, donors who pledge at least a certain amount might receive a lifetime discount on e-liquid.

Stocking Your Vape Shop

Once you’ve got a working plan and some seed money (not to make it sound too easy), it’s time to set your actual location up. Once you’ve signed the lease on your ideal space, filling it up comes next.

There are plenty of wholesale vaping and e-cigarette suppliers out there. Shop around to find the one that best fits your budget and needs. VAPRO Supply and VaporBeast.com are two popular suppliers. There are plenty of others, though, so be sure to shop around!

You’ll want to buy enough inventory up front that you’re not in danger of running out of stock too soon after your grand opening, but not so much that you needlessly spend startup capital that could be better spend elsewhere.

Business Insurance

Before you open your doors, you’ll need to make sure your business is insured. Talk to an insurance agent about what kinds of commercial insurance your business might need.

Liability to cover you in case a product you sell malfunctions, in case of an accident on-site and medical coverage for any employees are some things to consider. Commercial lines insurance might also be a good thing to think about.

Rather than buying your insurance online or through a single provider, we recommend working with an independent insurance agency who will work with you to find the best policies from among several providers.

Get a Great Point of Sale System

Clover POS System Terminal

Another thing to consider when opening a vape shop or e-cig lounge is getting the right point of sale system.

POS systems for vape shops and e-cig lounges can be more than just a cash register. A great POS system can be the backbone of your business. That’s why we recommend a Clover™ point of sale system.

Clover™ POS systems offer numerous benefits beyond most others, including sleek modern design, flexible payment options including EMV chip cards, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet, and a proprietary App Market.

On the Clover™ App Market you can find software applications to help manage inventory, automate marketing, integrate your sales with accounting tools like QuickBooks and Xero, and much more. No other POS platform even comes close.

To learn more about purchasing a Clover™ point of sale system for your new vape business, contact Turnkey Processing.

Other Considerations

These are just some of the biggest concerns when opening a vape or e-cig business. The devil is always in the details, and if you need additional guidance you may consider visiting a specialized community like VapeMentors or a professional business consultant.

In the end, if you’re passionate about your new business and you’re willing to work hard to make it a success, you’ll be two steps ahead of most of the competition. Good luck!