FFL Holders – Don’t Fear Transfers and Internet Gun Sales!

This is a free public service announcement to FFLs everywhere: Firearm transfers are like free money!

The internet is here to stay. You can deny that all you want as your gun store folds or you can cash in on that fact. If you own a gun store that is actively discouraging transfers by pricing them exorbitantly high or refusing to do them all together, you are short-sighted and missing out on one of your best potential revenue generation methods. Transfers do not represent a threat to your business; they represent easy cash.

Think about it. The margins that you make on most of your firearms are pretty low. You have to take the time to order them, sit on the inventory, staff the store, and then spend the time it takes to complete the sale and transfer to the purchaser. That all adds up to a pretty small return on your time and money.

However, transfers are nearly pure profit. It only takes minutes for you to receive the firearm, hand over the 4473 to a customer, and then call it in. You don’t have to lay out any cash or sit on any inventory. In return for these few moments of your time, you get $25 (or possibly as high as $45 depending on going rates in your area).

Successful shops try to beat all of the other local shops prices on inventory. They should also be trying to offer the most competitively priced transfers. You should be striving to do 10 (or more) of them a day and to be known as the best place in town to do a transfer. That is smart business.

The internet and internet guns sales are here to stay, but so is the need for local FFL holders. So, get a clue and start cashing in on transfers.

10 Responses to FFL Holders – Don’t Fear Transfers and Internet Gun Sales!

  1. Dann in Ohio June 14, 2012 at 19:30 #

    I think we chatted about this once a while back… I agree…

    If an FFL averaged 10 transfers a day at twenty bucks… that’s $200 per day to rent some space on a shelf… and 10 customers coming into your store needing ammo and other accessories…

    Dann in Ohio

  2. Mike@Appalachian June 14, 2012 at 21:36 #

    I like the way you approached this (like my opinion matters), but from a business standpoint it just makes sense. I have cut ties with more than one gunshop through the years over transfer fees. Mind you these are places I had given my business to (to the tune of THOUSANDS of dollars) and they chose to break that relationship over 40 or 50 bucks. My worst experience was transferring a lower and a full gun (ones that he did not carry) at the same time (one form). One phone call, 5 minutes. What did I owe him? Why twice the normal rate of course because it was 2 transfers. So long jackass.
    I think it is emotional for some dealers, a kind of “Ill burn you for not buying it from me”. As a business owner I got it; I understand what it means to stay in business by charging reasonable rates for things. I also recognize when clients (myself as a client included) are being taken advantage of.

  3. Brad June 14, 2012 at 22:00 #

    I stopped dealing entirely with one FFL because of a similar experience to Mike’s above. They jumped from $25 to $50 (completely to discourage transfers),and in a conversation with the general mangler he admitted they considered transfers to be a PITA because transferees checked the UPS and FedEx websites and came in for their guns as soon as they were delivered. I asked how many transfers wound up buying an hour on their range, and some ammo, when their gun came in. He said “a few.”

    Since he considered it too much trouble to handle transfers I stopped burdening him with mine. I also stopped burdening him with all my sales transactions on in-stock guns, powder, primers, holsters and gunsmithing.

  4. Cigr June 15, 2012 at 09:12 #

    This is a big pet peeve of mine. The local gun store here charges $50 for transfers, specifically to discourage internet sales. They don’t like the way it cuts into their profits.

    At the same time, when they got a KSG in stock, they didn’t sell it in store, they put it up for auction on the net where it went for twice MSRP.

    • Matt June 15, 2012 at 09:14 #

      The funny thing is that it doesn’t cut into their profits at all. Most gun store guys get into the gun business because they like guns, not because they are business savy. They do better on transfers than they do on gun sales!

  5. Raoul O'Shaugnnessy June 15, 2012 at 15:04 #

    Pffft…we charge twenty bucks or a case of Coke, depending on if the store fridge is empty. We do charge a small difference if the person has a carry permit since that makes the job even easier for us by not having to go through NICS.

    • Matt June 15, 2012 at 15:11 #

      That is awesome Raoul. Feel free to post the name of your shop so any locals that might read here can stop by.

  6. Rob June 17, 2012 at 19:54 #

    I have always charged 25$ per transfer and go out of my way to make it easy for the customer…I’m thankful they bring their business my way and always tell them so.

    – Rob

    • Matt June 17, 2012 at 20:00 #

      Outstanding. You are the top of shop that will benefit when customers go looking for reasonably priced transfers after being burnt by higher priced shops.

  7. david June 18, 2012 at 02:49 #

    Congrats to all…….where I live (Puerto Rico) transfer fees are between $100 and $150…..so,a totally sick way of discouraging transfers!!!!

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