Throwing in the towel???

ajveachster

New Member
Messages
1,185
Location
NE Ohio
I love the animals, but nobody else really seems to like the same things as me. Not really logical to keep making something nobody wants, and I know there is no way I can keep everything I produce. I also don't want to produce a whole bunch of mediocre stuff just to have cheap animals to sell off. Why saturate the market even more? Nor do I want to just throw a cheap price tag on a high quality animal. I care about my animals too much for that, plus it just belittles the work people put into making high quality animals.
 

JESSIE

New Member
Messages
105
Location
DFW
well im new to this game been doin this for only 4 going on 5 yrs now & i still have much to learn. in a way i feel your pain, youve spent yrs developing quality animals that are hard to get sold while the average new commer will produce whatever and sell them for 10 - 20 bucks.
 

Kristi23

Ghoulish Geckos
Messages
16,181
Location
IL
I've never really had trouble selling geckos until this season. I'm not sure what it is, but no one wants to spend over $100.:(
 

T-ReXx

Uroplatus Fanatic
Messages
1,745
Location
Buffalo, NY
There are several factors in this.

One is the economy. People are spending less on luxery items, and pets are a luxery. With money being tigher all around, not as many people can afford to spend $100+ on another mouth to feed.

Another is the species itself. Leopard geckos produce a lot of eggs. There are lots of people breeding them. And they are very easy to breed and raise. The genetics are fairly simple as well. Morph prices drop quickly compared to many other species because of this.

There are other, more minor factors, but these two are mainly the reason behind the high supply/low demand issues in the leopard gecko market.
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
14,375
Location
Somerville, MA
I briefly considered throwing in the towel last season when at the shows where I've sold 7-12 geckos at in the past I was only selling 2-4. Still, I did manage to sell out by May which is my new target date (so I have inventory for a big show in April). Since I love breeding and producing new ones, I have managed so far to "have my cake and eat it too" by the following methods (most of which I've posted before in different threads):

--producing 50 geckos or less each season
--producing a certain number of inexpensive geckos (e.g. blizzard hets, high yellows - most of which are the by-products of more interesting projects) which I can sell for $25 to people who just want a nice healthy pet
--producing for my personal "high end" geckos morphs that look nice but are not high end in the general gecko market (i.e. I produce aptors, patternless stripes, hypo mack snows) so I can sell them for less than $100
--selling complete set-ups at reasonable prices to go along with my geckos
--combing through craigslist every single day to find people who are looking for geckos. If done carefully, with expectation that most of these people will not come through, these sales have given me a reasonable trickle of business that complements what I sell at shows.

Seventh season going strong, on target for 50 geckos, and have already made my first sale.

Aliza
 

Kristi23

Ghoulish Geckos
Messages
16,181
Location
IL
There are several factors in this.

One is the economy. People are spending less on luxery items, and pets are a luxery. With money being tigher all around, not as many people can afford to spend $100+ on another mouth to feed.

Another is the species itself. Leopard geckos produce a lot of eggs. There are lots of people breeding them. And they are very easy to breed and raise. The genetics are fairly simple as well. Morph prices drop quickly compared to many other species because of this.

There are other, more minor factors, but these two are mainly the reason behind the high supply/low demand issues in the leopard gecko market.

I agree that there are too many geckos (cheap) available now. But I only partially agree with the economy. I've had no problems selling geckos the past couple years when the economy was worse. It's been getting better lately and I'm not making many sales.
 

SFgeckos

New Member
Messages
842
Location
CA
I've helped a few new hobbyist breeders and my best advice to them was start small, grow very slowly, work with projects YOU enjoy and that will keep the passion burning! I also tell them when they start up, to pretend like the internet doesn't exist, and network locally first to build connections. Speaking for myself personally, it has taken many years to build a good reputation and network with hundreds if not thousands of hobbyists through friends, schools, shows, petstores, herp societies etc etc. I regularly have emails inquiring about particular species because "so and so said you produce really nice animals".

I produce hundreds of animals per year, but how many internet classifieds do I post? I limit myself to no more than once or twice a month, at most. If the internet is a breeder's only "outlet", then if days to weeks pass without inquiries or interest, the only option is to drop the price. These same ads keep circulating over and over again, making the perception that these animals are "less valuable" or very common. If you go to any big show you will see "old timer breeders" that have been around for decades without doing much internet advertising, compared to the "new school" breeders who average only a few years in the hobby.

This is a cut/paste from one of my old posts (1/31/2010) I found:

Very interesting thread and great points from several people! I personally try to avoid “market” issues or arguments, because the way I see it, if you subtract the commercial market, all that is left is your own passion for reptiles. I’m sure the majority of us are animal lovers in general, having other reptiles beside leopard gecko mutations or non-reptile pets. Your dog, cat, bird, rodent or other pets have no priced “market value” because they are priceless. I see my passion and hobby for reptiles/exotics in the same way. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars over the years on reptiles, not because I’m looking to breed for profits, but because I feel that it’s a privilege for me to appreciate and own such wonderful creatures. Yes, I’ve sold many animals at low and high prices. However, many of the high-end reptiles I’ve produced were donated to educational facilities or given away as gifts (many of my neighbors’ kids have pet knobtail geckos and designer colubrids and they have no idea what their “market value” is). If I can help the next generation catch that “reptile bug” or instill future animal inspiration, then I feel that I’ve done my part for the hobby.

I think one of the main issues for the saturation and very competitive prices, especially on leopard geckos, is the internet exposure and the vast classified posting visibility. You see the same classified ads displayed over and over again, sometimes for weeks or months at a time! Personally, I try my best to post as few classifieds per year as possible because I have already worked to find outlets for most of the offspring I produce. I've been around since BEFORE the internet (yea, imagine that kids!) and faxed pricelist, newspaper ads or magazine classifieds were the only options before. Back then, breeders or hobbyists had to make extra efforts to build relationships with customers at shows, local petstores, educational facilities, and private hobbyists if they needed to find homes for their offspring. Unfortunately, that is not the case today- people just expect to produce and move their inventory easily. But when that doesn't happen? They lower their prices because they think that will increase their chances of moving their inventory instead of "working" to find other outlets. These are the "breeders" that are in the hobby a few years, then leave quietly.

As far as the term “investment quality”, I really think you should analyze exactly what that term means. The term investment is investing money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, which has a certain LEVEL OF RISK. Investing in animals is similar to putting money into the stock market, property or any business. In fact, you can take your money to the casino and do “investment” in legal gambling. All investments have risks, you just try your best to calculate those risk and determine “Can I afford to lose that money?” If you can, then make the investment…

Jon
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
14,375
Location
Somerville, MA
I agree about the internet issue. In my past 6 seasons I have had to ship in order to sell my geckos only one year (when I produced twice the number I'd anticipated). I do maintain a website just so there's something for people to look at if necessary.

Aliza
 

Landen

LSReptiles
Messages
829
Location
DFW
my best advice to them was start small, grow very slowly, work with projects YOU enjoy and that will keep the passion burning!

:main_thumbsup: Quality not Quanity!! Too many "breeders" produce so many hatchlings without first finding an outlet for the animals they produce. I personally have intentionally kept my production between 60-90 hatchlings a year and have had no problem selling everything that I did not plan to keep each year.

Keep it small, and have fun! Very few of us make this into a full blown business, but with carefull planning and creative marketing/sales this hobby can be profitable!! :D
 

Golden Gate Geckos

Mean Old Gecko Lady
Messages
12,731
Location
SF Bay Area
I think blaming the economy for lack of sales is not addressing the whole issue. I honestly feel that overproducing geckos in an already saturated market is the REAL problem. When the market is flooded and sales are down, the answer is NOT to make more of them and sell them at wholesale prices. By doing this, buyers start expecting to pay much less for quality geckos! If everyone decreased their production by even 25%, there will be less geckos available and prices would stabilize.
 

Kristi23

Ghoulish Geckos
Messages
16,181
Location
IL
I definitely think that over production is a big part of the problem. I try to produce 50-70 geckos per season. If things continue to be slow, I'll have to cut that number down a bit.

I think another problem is the new people who come here, breed geckos they got from pet stores or wherever, and then sell the babies for $5-$10 each no matter what they are. That definitely hurts and makes other new people think that they can always just buy cheap geckos and then they start breeding, too. I notice that most of the stuff sold at shows is under $100.

I've been getting frustrated lately by all the lowballers. I've had horrible offers from people and it actually offends me. I expect to get offers, I love that, but don't try to get things for dirt cheap. It's like they just want you to give them the geckos. It really sucks for breeders who try to improve every season and hatch very nice geckos.
 
Last edited:

prettyinpink

New Member
Messages
1,838
Location
Austin, Texas
I definitely think that over production is a big part of the problem. I try to produce 50-70 geckos per season. If things continue to be slow, I'll have to cut that number down a bit.

I think another problem is the new people who come here, breed geckos they got from pet stores or wherever, and then sell the babies for $5-$10 each no matter what they are. That definitely hurts and makes other new people think that they can always just buy cheap geckos and then they start breeding, too. I notice that most of the stuff sold at shows is under $100.

I've been getting frustrated lately by all the lowballers. I've had horrible offers from people and it actually offends me. I expect to get offers, I love that, but don't try to get things for dirt cheap. It's like they just want you to give them the geckos. It really sucks for breeders who try to improve every season and hatch very nice geckos.
I've also noticed that... seems like every new person that comes on here wants to breed. And they don't seem to do their research either, they just hop on the 'train' and start breeding 'common' or 'cheap' ones. Then these leos just get passed around and probably end up in the petstores because no one wants them anymore.

Seems like most people are just selling to each other (breeders)... to produce better leos. Because members that are here usually already have one or two... and they don't want any more unless they're going to breed. So they're selling to breeders.

I wanted to start breeding too, I had already done my research and found some really good lines to start. I however am moving and had a baby so I can't. And seeing how many leos are on the market is making me not want to saturate it anymore. I hate seeing good breeders giving quality leos so cheap!
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
14,375
Location
Somerville, MA
I agree with the thought that people shouldn't be producing "cheap" leopard geckos, but, as I've posted before, there's a value in producing some inexpensive geckos that people who just want a pretty gecko for a pet can afford. Although at each season I anticipate my supersnows and tang stripes, I always hope that some of the offspring are unremarkable looking enough (in terms of being a "special" morph --even the "unremarkable" ones are often really pretty) so that a kid purchasing his or her first gecko can afford it (I sell it for $25, so it's not really "cheap").

Aliza
 

Wild West Reptile

Leopards AFT Ball Pythons
Messages
1,866
Location
San Jose, CA
I always wondered why some breeders sell $10-20 geckos....I mean the base cost alone on a gecko to raise it to proper size before selling is more than this! Not good business in my opinion selling something for less than it cost you to produce it after everything involved.....(electricity, food, housing, table cost at show, THE COUNTLESS HOURS YOU PUT INTO PRODUCING A BEAUTIFUL GECKO, etc, etc.......). Isn't your time worth more than this? I may be on the other side of the fence, but I am aiming to only produce "high end" morphs in both leopards and AFT's. I won't be producing in the hundreds so I can do this without risk to getting stuck with hundreds of unsold animals. I believe if you produce beautiful, rare or new morphs that you will get rewarded for your efforts. If you produce normals, high yellows, hypo's, etc., you are contributing to the over production of those morphs that nobody really wants because every kid and their mother is breeding them. Just my worthless 2 cents.
 

robin

New Member
Messages
12,276
Location
Texas
I always wondered why some breeders sell $10-20 geckos....I mean the base cost alone on a gecko to raise it to proper size before selling is more than this! Not good business in my opinion selling something for less than it cost you to produce it after everything involved.....(electricity, food, housing, table cost at show, THE COUNTLESS HOURS YOU PUT INTO PRODUCING A BEAUTIFUL GECKO, etc, etc.......). Isn't your time worth more than this? I may be on the other side of the fence, but I am aiming to only produce "high end" morphs in both leopards and AFT's. I won't be producing in the hundreds so I can do this without risk to getting stuck with hundreds of unsold animals. I believe if you produce beautiful, rare or new morphs that you will get rewarded for your efforts. If you produce normals, high yellows, hypo's, etc., you are contributing to the over production of those morphs that nobody really wants because every kid and their mother is breeding them. Just my worthless 2 cents.

even if you produce or work with high end animals you are still going to hatch out some lower end looking animals. it happens.lets say jmg (as an example) has a blood hypo and you have a blood hypo. if you honestly think you can get the same as jmg you are kidding yourself. you lets say their gecko is $500 chances are you will prolly only to be able to sell your blood hypo for half as much.
now those high end geckos do not sell as quick as the low end geckos. specific potential customers are willing to spend over $100 most people want the cheaper geckos.
it doesnt matter how much you put into your geckos, chances are in the end you will lose money in this hobby. chances are you won't even break even when you consider all the costs.
another thing is if you buy a gecko from a breeder for $300 if you try to turn around and sell the gecko you may not even be able to get half of that. bigger names can get the money for the geckos but someone without a name don't. i see many people out there trying to charge what they paid for the gecko or what a bigger breeder would sell it for and your not gonna get it
maybe this sounds harsh and i have hammered in the point but its the fact. i am not aiming this at you personally just people in general. very few make any money in this hobby.
 

Landen

LSReptiles
Messages
829
Location
DFW
I can't stand it when I see a breeder at a show wholesale everything out on the last day of a show just because they want to move animals and clear racks! Breeders that sell 10-20 dollar geckos like this at shows just saturate the market and are adding to the overall problem.:main_no:
 

Wild West Reptile

Leopards AFT Ball Pythons
Messages
1,866
Location
San Jose, CA
even if you produce or work with high end animals you are still going to hatch out some lower end looking animals. it happens.lets say jmg (as an example) has a blood hypo and you have a blood hypo. if you honestly think you can get the same as jmg you are kidding yourself. you lets say their gecko is $500 chances are you will prolly only to be able to sell your blood hypo for half as much.
now those high end geckos do not sell as quick as the low end geckos. specific potential customers are willing to spend over $100 most people want the cheaper geckos.
it doesnt matter how much you put into your geckos, chances are in the end you will lose money in this hobby. chances are you won't even break even when you consider all the costs.
another thing is if you buy a gecko from a breeder for $300 if you try to turn around and sell the gecko you may not even be able to get half of that. bigger names can get the money for the geckos but someone without a name don't. i see many people out there trying to charge what they paid for the gecko or what a bigger breeder would sell it for and your not gonna get it
maybe this sounds harsh and i have hammered in the point but its the fact. i am not aiming this at you personally just people in general. very few make any money in this hobby.


Point taken, and I agree. I didn't want to write a thesis earlier so I omitted the normals I will get breeding any geckos together. I know damn well that I won't get what Steve Sykes or JMG or whoever gets, but I do know that when I have rare, beautiful geckos for sale that I will NOT be selling them for $25 buckaroos! That was my point. I never said anything about "making money" or "getting what the big name breeders get". Never said that at all. My point was to basically cut back the production of lower end, run of the mill geckos thus helping the over production problem. I talked with Ray at Designer about this tonight in fact, and we agreed that the prices on some of the nicer geckos need to be higher and that we need to stop dropping prices just because everyone and anyone produces a bunch of 20 dollar geckos. If anyone is selling these animals at a cost that is less than what it actually takes to produce it, then the problem lies there.
 

robin

New Member
Messages
12,276
Location
Texas
I can't stand it when I see a breeder at a show wholesale everything out on the last day of a show just because they want to move animals and clear racks! Breeders that sell 10-20 dollar geckos like this at shows just saturate the market and are adding to the overall problem.:main_no:
there is no problem with that. i have sold ten lots to people i know but they were not high end geckos and it was not to the public. i know others that will do the same on some of their low end geckos but it's not to the public. sometimes selling low end lots to other vendors is just good business. there are many things to take into account. you can not chastise people for selling their low end $10-$20 geckos to other vendors.
sometimes if you are not selling any geckos you might want to lower the prices a bit, each show is different.
 

Visit our friends

Top