I’m really not sure what category this belongs in but I’m looking at potentially vending my first expo this year. The show isn’t until November so I have six months to plan and prep.
First off I’ll need an acrylic display case and light bar. I know ARS is out of stock currently. The Next Level displays are absolutely amazing but out of my budget for my first show. I could possibly borrow one from a friend but I’d rather have my own. What other companies can I look at for a quality display case? I will primarily have hatchling ball pythons to start with.
Secondly, I will need signage so people can easily identify me. I was thinking a tablecloth with my logo and a standing vertical banner to place behind the table. I already have business cards created so no worries there.
Beyond that, I don’t know what else is required or helpful to have as a vendor. I have never been on that side of a show. What do you guys have as a checklist? I’m completely open to all suggestions, advice and tips! I am aware I will need to acquire a permit for the state of Georgia. I have to look more into it and I’ll be asking my local breeder friends what steps I need to take to obtain it.
Aside from the things you’ve mentioned here are some important items.
-Large Hand Sanitizer
-Paper Towels and Spray Bottle with water. They will poo in your displays and on potential customers sometimes.
-Deli cups and snake bags for animals you sell
-Pink and Blue chalk markers for labeling sex/morph/price. You can use labels but on good sales days it’s a lot faster to just wipe off a display lid and replace the animal with another.
-Display case substrate (lots of options here you just want to have extra)
-Lighting to show your animals…in their best light lol
-Some change for cash customers
-Fuel for you. You will not have time to stop and eat.
Make sure you have a resale license/sellers permit/sales tax permit or whatever your state calls it. The show promoter will require a copy of it.
Think about whether you’re going to leave your animals in the displays overnight or if you’re going to pack them up and bring them back to the hotel. If you’re leaving them overnight how cold is the room going to get? You might want to install heat tape. Sometimes you’ll have to pay extra for power but most shows at least have it available. I leave mine overnight. Most shows are very secure. I have friends who regularly leave $50k+ in animals in the displays overnight.
If it’s out of town, you want to make sure you’re staying at the hotel the vendors are all staying at. If not call ahead and explain that you’ll be suspiciously carrying large totes full of snakes through the lobby to make sure no one flips out. If I don’t stay where everyone else does I pick a hotel room that has it’s own door directly to the parking lot, and get a first floor room. Saves a ton of effort or explaining.
If I think of anything I missed I’ll try update this.
The ARS displays are the ones I planned to get but they are out of stock and have been for awhile and personally I dislike the style of the Animal Plastics. I prefer the completely clear and easily viewable from anywhere besides the front and top.
Thank you for the detailed checklist! I do have hand sanitizer on my list now since I watched the Snake Discovery video that was shared here. My business partner will be vending with me so it will give us breaks for the bathroom or anything else that pops up. I’ve also added snacks and chairs! Thank you for mentioning to bring clean and mess free food. I would have ended up packing something sticky
I truly appreciate this list! Extremely detailed and you explained the why behind it. I did add all of these to my checklist! And for my first show it will only be 35-40 minutes from my house. I will be bringing the snakes back home and whatever else I don’t feel comfortable leaving. I hear a lot of horror stories regarding people stealing animals overnight and I’d rather not risk it. Since I live in Georgia I think perhaps next year (2023) I might try vending the Daytona FL show if I have the inventory. That would probably be the only time I would have to bring them to the hotel but of course we would be staying in the hotel for the show. I honestly wouldn’t have thought about that if you hadn’t mentioned it. Thank you!
Credit cards are a dangerous form of payment in this industry. Most credit services will not back the seller in a dispute. Especially Square. I lost count a long time ago of how many people have lost the money and the snake to CC transactions. Unfortunately, too many people in the hobby now know that disputing credit card purchases are an easy way to scam breeders out of a snake. I only accept PayPal, cash, or checks because too many of my friends have been burned that way.
What about these apps they have now a days. Like cash app and Venmo? If I’m not mistaken Venmo is ran by PayPal. Just curious if those would be another safe alternative as well. I’ve used em for friends and family but not any kind of sale.
I used Venmo quite a bit last year and didn’t have any issues. To be clear, Paypal isn’t really a ‘safe’ method but it’s still somehow become the industry standard. Nothing in Paypal’s TOS covers live animal sales, which obviously goes for Venmo as well. The dispute scam can still happen with Paypal like it does with credit cards, but since most of the big name breeders use it, customers expect you to use it as well. If you don’t use friends and family, you have a little more recourse if someone tries to scam you. If you use friends and family you gave that money away they don’t care if you got anything in return.