For the Newbies................(From a sort of Newbie!)

It seems like everyday another person gets on here with a huge question like " How much did it cost to start your first year?" “How much profit did you make?” “How much capital did you need to start?” “How much do you pay yourself?” The fact of the matter is that it is nearly impossible to make this information relateable to someone else’s situation. The Think Tank draws vets and newbies alike from all different backgrounds going into completely different situations. For instance what might work or fail in New York City pizzerias will not likely apply to a small farm town Pizza shop in the middle of Oklahoma, or a ski town in Colorado, or a Pizzeria with a bar attached, or a gourmet pizza restaurant in Australia. My point is if you are looking for easy definitive answers for these vague questions, you likely won’t get a response that will apply to your situation (if you get one at all). Most of the vets are gonna try to be helpful to their industry peers, but will likely not feel comfortable giving you info without pertinent info in return. Things such as rent, overhead, labor costs , food costs, condition of equipment, type of equipment needed, advertising costs, and especially level of competition and serviceable population will definitely be different for nearly every shop. The only thing you can really do is assess your situation very carefully and make a business plan/budget.

:smiley: Amen!


Completely understandable. With that said, I posted comment “how much pay” mainly because I was looking for an informal survey on the topic. I thought it might be useful just to see a bit of data across the board from those who have started their own business. I phrased the question broadly for this purpose, in order to get a feel for what others have done in differing situations. From the startup side of things, I am definitely a noob, but in regards to experience in day to day operations I feel I have a decent amount, and may even have something useful to contribute. Again, I was not trying to hijack the site, and take away from the more experienced users, merely trying to utilize a wonderful resource and community.

Good post anselmospizza…I would like to add something. Not wanting to upset anyones dream but there is a harsh reality to the real world. I think we have all at one time worked that job where we thought…why am I making all this money for them? I can do this! All I need is $XX and I am good too go. If it were that easy then the world would have a hell of a lot more of everything. Managing a business is one thing. Starting and owning is something totally different. Now the harsh truth of it all. If you really have to ask the easy and upfront questions…then the other ones will knock you down and drag you out the back door and into your dumpster…that happening only if you budgeted for trash! Business ownership is for a certain type of person and that type makes up 1% of the people out there at best. Now I am not saying that person has his MBA and spent 25 years planning…I am saying it is a type of person and when you are that person…not only do you know it…but people around you also realize this and this is where the startup help comes from in a vast majority of small businesses. I had a guy work for my family for 17 years. Hardest worker I have ever seen. 100% reliable. Never questioned the worse of jobs and always worked until he was done. Had dozens of crazy ideas. Most off the wall. Had meetings with the city leaders to market some of them and was laughed out on most. Then one day he came up with using cow manure to make little statues that fertilize gardens as they degrade. 99% laughed. My father gave him $10k and fired him. He then contracted with local ranchers for free raw material. Had a plastic shop make forms for him to get started…and leased a small building on a farm with room for the raw material to be relocated too. He started off in local flower and garden centers. Selling 100% natural fertilizer. He now ships to 17 states and has sales of over $1mil a year with a 68% profit margin. I know almost every indie pizza owner out there would kill for those numbers. Now my point is that you do not need to be the most savy business person out there to make it…but you do have to be in that 1% that really wants it and is willing to make it happen. Even though his business is crap…he had every single factor figured out before selling the idea.

I think that one of the kindest things we do is sometimes disguised in the harshest posts. This is also true in the volunteer work I do as a SCORE counselor. When we provide a dose of reality to people thinking of starting up without enough $$ to succeed or with unrealistic plans for revenue or paying too much for a going concern we sometimes save that person’s life savings and those of the family members they would borrow from.

With that said, QFCMIKE hit the nail on the head. The kind of person that makes the jump to own a business is a unique breed. I have the utmost respect for anyone who pushes the whole pile of chips to the center of the table. For those people we can provide some good tips on what the odds are and perhaps help them decide when/how to go all in… but I doubt we either create or ultimately discourage them.

Manager vs owner… being a manager is one of the key training oportunities for ownership without doubt but they are far from being the same. A manager hits the time clock and heads home at the end of the shift. If things are going badly they look for another job. An owner is thinking about the business 24/7 and when things get tough they write a check TO the business. The difference is risk.

I am continually impressed with the information the vets around here share with new owners and people thinking of getting into this game.

yes great point Mike!