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Thread: Opening a coffee shop

  1. #11
    FORT Fogey Muduh's Avatar
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    giz, I managed a book store and heard that line about a dozen times a day. The whole time they were running their mouths about reading all day, I was busy doing displays, cleaning shelves, windows, floors, bathrooms, whatever, and wondering if the fools were even watching.

    I love to cook and always, always wanted to own a tea room. I just knew that it was more work that I needed to take on.

    Whatever your decision, I'm sure that many of us will be around to encourage or to listen while you vent, when needed. Just give it lots of thought before committing yourself to anything.

  2. #12
    giz
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    Aw thanks Mudah. You're a sweetie. It's good to have somewhere to vent. I think some days I'd be on the funny farm if it weren't for my friends at FORT.

    I think bookstore customers think the books get shelved and ordered by bookstore fairies. They also used to say "it must be fun to talk about books all day long". That drove me slightly crazy too. There were very few intellectually stimulating book conversations going on. There was "I need something for my 6 year old niece", "what do you have about incontinence" and attempts by guys with long beards who patently did not wash EVER to engage us in conversations about tantric sex books. It was okay work, great colleagues, beautiful discount, but it wasn't all people think it is.

  3. #13
    FORT Fogey snoopy's Avatar
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    Giz, everything taken into consideration, just remember that Starbucks was a small local startup business in Seattle once upon a time. Failure or success will remain an unknown unless the effort is made. No one ever made it without risk or fear of failure.
    Go Tigers!

  4. #14
    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giz View Post
    I want to make lots of money, I want to be flexible in my hours, and it would be nice to do something that would not cause people to flinch (as they do with the cleaning).
    Giz, why do they flinch about you doing cleaning? Do they think it's beneath you/them? I hired a cleaning service for our house about 2 years ago...it's not cheap but it's well worth it to me because of the time it saves me to do other things (and frankly, I got sick of cleaning the house). AND, it took a while to find people who could do a really good job cleaning...so if you have that many customers, that means you're THAT good at what you do! I value that service more than I do many of my colleagues! Don't let people make you feel bad about what you do. It's an honorable job!

    BTW, did you make a decision about your house (from the home buying thread)?

    Snoopy's Starbucks comment was a really good one...but on the flip side of that, remember that you'll be competing with the Starbucks. I like my Starbucks, but it's hard for the mom and pop coffeeshops around here to stay in business competing with the likes of them (and Caribou and Seattles Best etc.).

    MyRosieDog--now everytime I see your name, no matter what the topic is, I think of Neal from Rockstar and his big blue eyes and how I liked him for exactly the same reason you didn't!
    Last edited by Lois Lane; 05-05-2006 at 11:26 PM.

  5. #15
    giz
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    My clients love me, friends (not the best ones) flinch. Perhaps they feel it's beneath me. The kids go to private school and I think many of the mothers are sheltered from some of our realities. So it's perhaps wierd for them to socialise with a domestic. Or something. (My dad always said that a job you do with pride is worth taking pride in, but I'll admit the flinching does get to me sometimes).

    The amazing run-down dream house sold very quickly. Now I can't go on that street again for years as I suspect they will renovate it's soul away. I hate rich people who move here and wreck our heritage houses! Go back to Winnipeg! (joking. sort of).

  6. #16
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muduh View Post
    Newf pointed out something that I had intended to. If the cafe is open for 4-5 hours a day, then plan on putting in close to twice that. By the time you do all your prep work and get some cooking done, serve the meals till closing time, then clean the cafe and order supplies, do books, and everything else involved, you'll be lucky to get out in even that amount of time.

    If you like your cleaning business, and can make a good living at it, I wouldn't think of changing. Running a cafe, by yourself is a huge undertaking.

    Besides, you are going through so many changes in your life right now that you don't need a lot of added stress.

    I know that this is all negative but I really want to point out some disadvantages. I've had my own business, not involving food, and it made for some long, long days, believe me.
    I agree 100% with everything that Muduh says, giz.

    I've owned my own landscape firm for 16 years but before I created it, I worked in the "Green Industry" my entire life. I watched and learned where far bigger businesses than mine did wrong, sometimes so wrong they went out of business.

    What I learned is: Employess quit, machines break down, slow times and no money coming in SUCK!!! So, rather than have a store front, big trucks and endless employee problems and paperwork, I sub-contract out EVERYTHING!!! The only person that I'm directly responsible for is myself. If gas prices go up, it's the other person's problem. Employees don't work out; not MY problem! Four weeks of rain and unemployment of key people? Not MY problem, again! By subcontracting everything within site, from delivery of materials to the mass hiring of 17 employees to create a 6,000 square foot patio, the "buck" stops far, far away from me and is ultimately someone else's headache.

    If you get into the shop, you have perishable products right and left that you have NO recourse in throwing away if business is slow or client's tastes change for 2 weeks. I was an opening manager for Starbuck's for 6 years when I was starting my company (great tips and insurance!) and the amount of product waste was stoopifying!!! Plus, the set up and shut down of the store easily equals 7 to 8 hours each and every day. And don't forget the "DREADED BOOKKEEPER"...that's money out the door each and every day.

    Regarding your comment about clients flinching at your job: I get the same thing....from the [mod edit], plain and simple. I have clients that adore me, and I've become best friends with them. Then, I have client's for 16 years and they still refer to me as the "gardener. Right. A "gardener" with a Master's Degree and three Bachelor degrees. To those people, I'll always be the "hired help". To the other people that respect what I do and realize that my creating an amazing garden for them is as important as having teeth cleaned.

    If you want to capitalize on what you're doing now and greatly reduce the overhead, I'd start looking for some great women who you could pay $8-$10 per hour to clean more clients, and you bank roll the extra $15-$18.00. That way, you leave your work behind you, literally, at the customer's with sparkling homes; you have people working for YOU and increasing your income; you have NO store front to worry about; and no perishable products.

    Once I began to subcontract my jobs out to very trustworthy businesses, my income tripled in one year! Every single person working on the job is not only getting the landscape installed but is giving me a return of "x" amount of dollars per person, extra. Plus, the other businesses are making money that they wouldn't (because I won the bid on the job) and I'm employing 4-5 different smaller firms (irrigation/lighting/waste hauling) that also put money in THEIR pocket. It's been a Win-Win situation with this strategy since I began it, in earnest, 6 years ago. Before that, I tried to do everything with myself and a rotating crop of 3-4 employees that I was always having to "Mother Hen". No more.

    As a great, wealthy friend of mine said to me years ago, "Work SMART, not HARD." Little does she know how much I took it to heart and how it changed my financial future!

    Hope my bit of advice thrown into the pile helps you.
    Last edited by Amanda; 05-06-2006 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Using periods between the letters of a word you know you're not allowed to use here doesn't make it PG-13
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  7. #17
    Hypermediocrity Amanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambikins
    If you want to capitalize on what you're doing now and greatly reduce the overhead, I'd start looking for some great women who you could pay $8-$10 per hour to clean more clients, and you bank roll the extra $15-$18.00.
    With all due respect, if I hired an individual to clean my house and they sent in some subcontractor, I wouldn't hire them again. It would be different if I were going through an agency, where I knew I'd be getting one of however many different people, but if I specifically hired one person working for him/herself and they didn't show up while still pocketing 60% of the pay, they'd lose my business. And I doubt I'm alone.

  8. #18
    FORT Fan Brodie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda View Post
    With all due respect, if I hired an individual to clean my house and they sent in some subcontractor, I wouldn't hire them again.
    I agree... I would want to know exactly who was in my house and that the same person was in my house every time... I'd want them to have insurance and be bonded and all that other good stuff...

    giz, If you're serious about buying this coffee shop I would hire a good lawyer that specializes in small business purchases... Find out EXACTLY what the current owner is earning... A good business adviser can go through their profit and loss statements for the last few years and give you a good idea of how sound of an investment this is...
    Ingorance killed the Cat... Curiousity was framed!

  9. #19
    Premium Member dagwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda View Post
    With all due respect, if I hired an individual to clean my house and they sent in some subcontractor, I wouldn't hire them again. It would be different if I were going through an agency, where I knew I'd be getting one of however many different people, but if I specifically hired one person working for him/herself and they didn't show up while still pocketing 60% of the pay, they'd lose my business. And I doubt I'm alone.
    I'm with you, Amanda. You don't know who they are subcontracting to and that is plain scary. I don't have much, but I don't want someone coming in and taking/ruining what I do have.
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  10. #20
    giz
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    It's an interesting idea, Lambikins. I do know people who have staff, but they clean beside them. I'd worry a little that the cleaning staff would want to break off on their own. Mind you, there are legions of women who clean for large companies (not sure if I can name names) and they do it for years for minimum wage, while the company keeps triple their salary (I would want to pay a minimum of $12 per hour or I wouldn't be able to enjoy the money). I think with my existing clients they are paying for me. I could think about taking someone with me for new clients. The mini-me could do the stuff I hate; bathrooms, vacumming. I love doing the kitchens and tidying and don't mind washing floors.

    What I'm hoping for is to get a half-time union job shelving books. Very low stress, quiet, great pay and benefits. Then I could keep the cleaning for a couple of years, save enough for a holiday for me and the kids, and a little extra for emergencies. This coffee shop thing just came up, and sounded intriguing, but I just think I've probably got enough on my plate right now and a new business should be your baby that you give 100% to. And I can't do that right now.

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