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aqua-ed

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So my main hobby is teaching high school. This is my first year and it is drawing to a close. As a bachelor and a perpetual tinkerer, I couldn't possibly spend the whole summer sitting around, and I don't have the funds to "play" all summer.

With the economy the way it is, I haven't been able to find a summer job not geared toward college or high school students (I really don't want to go back to $8/hr burger flippin' or house paintin').

Then, I had an epiphany. Set up a service of installing and planning saltwater aquariums for businesses. Waiting rooms and lobbies are great places for a tank, and doctor offices and hospitals aren't necessarily are hard hit by the economy and might be willing to splurge on a nice piece of living decor.

I know this isn't an original idea, and that's why I came here. Any tips/opinions/warnings? My biggest thing is that I don't have to have the money. I'm on a salary and can go the summer cruising on savings, but it'd be nice to earn so extra dough. Point is, if I put out so ads, and no one bites, I don't care. My world won't end and I won't go bankrupt if it flops.

Anyway, kind of a long post, but I was trying to predict all the first round responses.

Tell me what you think!

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Sounds ok, but you are gonna spend some cash on gas running around doing that. I'd suggest trying to convince a local store that you might handle some of their maintenance accounts. Also, you might want to include freshwater maintenance as this will widen your customer base.

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I do this for my main source of income and unless you plan to do just a few tanks and realize this isn't a temporary thing meaning once school starts you don't bag your clients its defiantly a source of income.It's built on reputation and reliability and be prepared for midnight phone calls to fix stuff and its a customer service based business if these things don't seem like you then you may want to look at something else otherwise could grow into something.

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Yet another good point. I ran a customer service based company for quite some time and let me tell you it can be trying...very trying at times. Then again, there is nothing quite as rewarding as being self employed. Just make sure your patients is up to date, you will most likely need it. I did, but then again it was a completely different profession.

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I've been doing this long enough now that if I don't eventually click with a customer its just a matter of time before we part ways luckily its vary rare and most if not all are friends now I have 30+ clients in a given month and in the 6 years I've been building this only had 2 or so that were A holes and a couple just weird lol but all in all I love my job and the fact I can tell myself off to go fishing or hunting is nice too.

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I've been doing this long enough now that if I don't eventually click with a customer its just a matter of time before we part ways luckily its vary rare and most if not all are friends now I have 30+ clients in a given month and in the 6 years I've been building this only had 2 or so that were A holes and a couple just weird lol but all in all I love my job and the fact I can tell myself off to go fishing or hunting is nice too.

 

funny you say that, I actually incorperated a "AP Fee" standing for A hole penelty.(laugh)

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a craigslist add with some pics of your tank to start, then add some pics of other tanks you work on will help... maybe a simple web site if you get some accounts to help people with referrals. you may want to get a few cards printed up and leave them with your accounts, so when visitors come over they can refer you... offer a free visit or something for each referral?

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Good point on the long term commitment thing. My idea was to offer smaller easily manageable tanks. The aqua-pod I have in my classroom or similar tanks would great ones to offer. They are self contained (no external filters, sumps, or pumps) which means less room for accident. They are still attractive tanks and would be a nice addition to any lobby. Also, a small tank like that I can "teach" the clients how to maintain them, and hopefully either completely wean them off of visits or make monthly checkups.

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Lee--

Don't do it. Installing/maintaining tanks is way more work than you want to get into for couple of months. Nobody is going to want to hire and train you to take care of/install an aquarium when you're going to have to go back to your day job in September. And if you are thinking of keeping the business going while you're teaching...maybe I'm pessimistic, but I think you're dreamin. As others have mentioned, you have to be totally available when things go wrong (and they will go wrong SO much more than they would if it was your tank!).

 

Build yourself a frag tank (or 3) and grow frags for sale in local stores. Make live rock. Work for an aquarium store. Speaking from experience, you're setting yourself up for a ball of stress that you *don't* want come September!

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Making monthly "checkups" on an Aquapod will promote ill will with your clients. Those things need almost daily maintenence, and when things go wrong in one of them, they go fast. Better to sell frags locally and on Ebay. That way all you have to do is ship your corals and no issues with an angry client who felt that their maintenance service had forgotten about them. Just my $.02

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Tank Maintenance

 

I started doing tank maint. last spring and was considering get a business lic. and going full time with it. I made pretty good money to start but eventually within a few months I started to notice what DoughPat was saying. Things go wrong in clients tanks so much more than your own! I was offered a part time job a couple of days a week and took to suppliment money till things got off the ground. Well I had a canister filter start leaking out of the hole by the electrical plug and they failed to call me untill there was about 15 gallons of water of water on the floor of the doctor office! When I get there they said "we noticed the water level was going down over the last few day but didn't think anything of it"! So they waited untill it was a huge emergency in a pediactric office and called me at 12 on a day was at my other job! (They would not buy a new filter)They only wanted me to come out 1 time per month and the spot they put it got direct light for the last couple of hours of the day, which I was not aware of since it was so far away from the windows and I was only there at 6am! I wanted to move it to save them money so I would not have to be out there every week or so cleaning the algea, but they would not do it! They wanted the instant algea fix so they didn't have to pay me..... Just a brief over shot of some of what you may or maynot have to deal with. And to top it off sometimes it would be 6-8 weeks before I would get paid and I always heard "your check is in the mail!"

 

Doctor's offices are not immune to the bad economy, nor a large office suites. I do still have a couple fo tanks I maintaine weekly and actually I barter with all but 1 of them for services and it works out better this way. I LOVE my Chiropractor!

 

IMO I would not try to do this especially since you have a full time job to go back to in september. Its a fun job to have minus the A holes and I charged an extra fee there to. I called it a gas and as* surcharge though! You will have to dedicate everything to this career and be on call 24/7. Good Luck in your quest, whatever you decide to do.

(scratch)

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Thanks for all the feedback, guys. That's why I came here first. I'll probably sit this one out then and keep hunting for another way to pass time.

I had considered the frag tank route, but that requires buying all the gear, setting it up, getting it established...and by the end of the summer i may be ready to sell one :)

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