New vendor questions

Hello! This season has gone great for me this year, and I’m planning on vending my very first expo in August. I do have a few questions though. I’ve started to get all the supplies I’ll need for the show, such as a banner, backdrop, lights, tablecloth, deli cups w/ lids, creature care cards, and more.

My first question is is there anything that you bring with you to shows that someone may not think about? I’m pretty sure I got a good grasp on the basic supplies I need, but if there’s anything in particular you can think of I’d love to hear it!

Second, when do you pack up reptiles to go to the show? The show I’m going to is about a 40 minute drive from my house so luckily that’s nice. Should I pack up my leopard geckos the night before, or the morning of? Do they need any supplemental heat while they are packed up/at the show? I will be making sure there deli cups are spotless, but is there any other care requirements I should keep in mind while at the expo?

Third is what do you use to process credit card payments? I’ve been interested in square, but I’ve heard that some other breeders have had issues with it. I could just use cash and PayPal, but I want to make sure I don’t loose a potential sell because I can’t accept credit card payments. Also for cash, how much do you bring with you to make change, and how many different bills?

Finally, whats the minimum amount of animals that you bring with you? I have about 4 hatchlings big enough to be sold right now, and I should have at least 2 or more ready by the show. I know I won’t have a large number of animals, so I’m also planning on selling some succulents, stickers, and possibly some artwork of mine to help draw some attention. Do you think this will be enough? Do you have any tips to help encourage people to come to my table?

Thank you for reading this! I’d love to hear your thoughts : )

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Something reptile-related to set you apart from everyone else. When I go to expos I’m not interested in seeing rocks and stones and kids toys with two leopard geckos on their table. Maybe buy/build supplies and sell them. You could bring substrate, hides (coconut hides would be good, you can make them and they’re unique), anything that someone would want for their reptiles.

I personally would fatten them up and then wean them off food for a few days before. I would pack them the morning of but if you packed them the previous night and kept them warm it doesn’t matter.

I would add heat tape under their cups for the show. Shows are stressful enough and you should at least keep them warm. It will also keep their colors brighter and keep them more active which looks better for a potential buyer.

A lot. Think of what your prices are going to be for the animals at the show. If you’re going to be selling geckos for $80 then bring $20s. Bring a lot of 1s, you can’t go wrong with over $30 in 1s. Bring twice as many as you need. It’s better to have extra then not enough.

More than enough to pay for the table and make a decent profit for the time. I’m not going to spend a day at the expo and spend $50 in expenses for the day to have $150 of animals on the table. I don’t expect to sell every animal and I’ll likely end up selling enough to make a profit but it might not be worth the time. With the above example I’ll assume I sell half of the animals (plenty of extra room to exceed expectations). I made $75 revenue and $25 profit. I could have spent the day working and made more than that.

I would keep 90% of everything reptile related. Don’t go overboard on the succulents. Explain how they can be added to a desert terrarium and their care. Bring the ones that aren’t toxic to animals. You can bring some that aren’t for reptiles but not too many. Make some more stickers and art of reptiles. Again, you can have some non-reptile items but don’t go overboard. Keep track of how much you sell and everything that people inquire about. Keep track of everyone that stops at your table and ask them what they’re interested in. At least count how many people stop at your table and ask random people what they’re looking for. That will give you an idea of what you should bring to make more revenue.

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Make sure you have a resale license (which typically required you to have a real business set up) and know the sales tax rates for the county the show is in. You will usually have to have one before you can get a booth.


:arrow_up:This right here is a very important piece of information!

Very good mention @ballornothing


Bring hand sanitizer and ask all potential customers to use it before and after handling your animals. It is very easy for animals to catch a disease or parasite at a show and hand sanitizer helps (but does not eliminate the risk.)

Personally, I really don’t think it is a good idea to do a show with only 2-6 animals on the table. They could sell out in the first hour. Also, customers like to choose their animal from a variety. Many people will simply ignore your table when they see how few animals you have. Next time, I’d recommend waiting until you have 15-20 animals to sell, and make sure that number contains at least 3 different morphs, localities or species.


I use to vend at rock and gem shows. Our average CASH sale was $75 most shows, and I would bring $3-400 in the till. Accepting credit cards was very important. Square is great as long as you have good service for the phone.

Lapidaries seemed to be an honest bunch. We took personal checks and never had one we didn’t collect on. Prior to Square we had an old credit card imprint machine. Often, when folks realized we weren’t really processing the cards at the shows, their purchases got bigger. Still, never lost the proceeds on one of them either!


I took one small personal check for a corn snake in 2005, it bounced sky high and never came down.