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Thread: The very best way to buy koi--

  1. #21
    Sansai darion6's Avatar
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    I trust in Kevin from Genki Koi. I notice that I have been very pleased with any fish that I have bought from him. He sells enough of the good points without overselling the fish. I have always been pleasantly surprised once I receive a fish shipped to me. I have trusted him enough to buy fish through photos and video with no problems at all.

  2. #22
    Tategoi
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    I trust my dealer as well. The one that I trust the most is the one that I have not bought a fish from yet. I told him what my intentions are for the fish and he told me that non of his fish are right for me. In short, I ask him which fish would be good in a mud pond for future breeding potentials. He said he would not use any of his koi and that if he ever would come across a good potential breeding stock, he would keep it in Japan and not bring it to the US.

    But he did recommend me to breed long fin. I have not try long fin breeding yet but I do have a beautiful solid yellow (with white here and there) male long fin in the mud pond. Female long fin are just ulgy when big.
    Akitsushima Tombo

  3. #23
    Daihonmei
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    I smile because I have had many trusted dealers over the past 30 years. fellow hobbyist dealers, real dealers, transhippers, brokers, friends of breeders, Japanese dealers, British dealers, and breeder dealers. I have bought fish from pictures direct from Japan, on site in Japan,on site in New Jersey and in California and in New York, on recommendation, on investigation and even on a 'dare'.

    In the end, let the buyer beware. Hope that doesn't sound too cynical? It comes from a virtual life time of experience and the experiences of others around me. Scores of hobbyists and friends that have left the hobby and some that are still in the hobby.

    Arm yourself with information, experience and fellow hobbyists you can trust. Nuff said. JR


    P.S. I'd estimate that I have bought for friends and myself and advised on the purchase of multi million yen koi some 500 plus fish (two hundred my own purchases) over those thirty years. The cheapest one? $60 , the most expensive one ( consulted on purchase and sale $65,000). The smallest-- a fish from a culling exercise. The biggest-- 34 inches. The most honest dealer I have ever met? Jose Gates. The most dishonest- You know.

  4. #24
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I knew we would eventually get to the point of focusing on the role of dealers and the question of reliance. It gets to be a sticky area.

    One aspect is the degree of knowledge a dealer possesses. Some are quite knowledgeable, some are not but talk a good game. Some are learning as much as the hobbyist. A dealer may seem to be the font of wisdom to a newbie, and a few years the then intermediate hobbyist can see that dealer is limited by misconceptions that he won't discard. The truly knowledgeable ones having a sense of koi as living creatures and as art are always learning more.

    Then there is the salesmanship of the dealer. Successful dealers have to be good at sales. Being a good salesman is not the same as being a good businessman. Does the dealer so focus on the sale at hand that he loses sight of the hobbyist as a long term customer? A good businessman knows that the business will thrive with happy customers returning time after time.

    Honesty and reliability are another trait. Does the salesmanship cross the line between emphasizing the good and misleading the hobbyist? Do fish die just before shipment, with one that looks the same showing up in another part of the country, sold at a higher price? The dealer may not guarantee sex, but are there an awful lot of 'likely females' that turn out male?

    Fair pricing is another aspect. A highly knowledgeable dealer can be quite honest and simply put much higher prices on his fish than others carrying like grades. If the hobbyist is receiving good advice and fair treatment, paying a bit more may be just fine. How about double? There is nothing dishonest about a dealer simply charging high prices, but the hobbyist may not know enough to realize the price is out of line with what most other dealers charge. There is also a factor regarding the dealer's relationship with breeders. A dealer who only acquires a couple of fish every three years from a particular breeder may not get as good a price as one who buys several every year.

    If you can find a dealer who is knowledgeable, interested in building a long-term customer, honest and fair, that's the dealer you want to go to. How many score on all 4 points? Well, folks end up with different opinions about the same dealer. That can say something about the dealer, but may say as much about the other customer. Figuring that out is another matter, but reputation does count.

  5. #25
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    I knew we would eventually get to the point of focusing on the role of dealers and the question of reliance. It gets to be a sticky area.

    One aspect is the degree of knowledge a dealer possesses. Some are quite knowledgeable, some are not but talk a good game. Some are learning as much as the hobbyist. A dealer may seem to be the font of wisdom to a newbie, and a few years the then intermediate hobbyist can see that dealer is limited by misconceptions that he won't discard. The truly knowledgeable ones having a sense of koi as living creatures and as art are always learning more.

    Then there is the salesmanship of the dealer. Successful dealers have to be good at sales. Being a good salesman is not the same as being a good businessman. Does the dealer so focus on the sale at hand that he loses sight of the hobbyist as a long term customer? A good businessman knows that the business will thrive with happy customers returning time after time.

    Honesty and reliability are another trait. Does the salesmanship cross the line between emphasizing the good and misleading the hobbyist? Do fish die just before shipment, with one that looks the same showing up in another part of the country, sold at a higher price? The dealer may not guarantee sex, but are there an awful lot of 'likely females' that turn out male?

    Fair pricing is another aspect. A highly knowledgeable dealer can be quite honest and simply put much higher prices on his fish than others carrying like grades. If the hobbyist is receiving good advice and fair treatment, paying a bit more may be just fine. How about double? There is nothing dishonest about a dealer simply charging high prices, but the hobbyist may not know enough to realize the price is out of line with what most other dealers charge. There is also a factor regarding the dealer's relationship with breeders. A dealer who only acquires a couple of fish every three years from a particular breeder may not get as good a price as one who buys several every year.

    If you can find a dealer who is knowledgeable, interested in building a long-term customer, honest and fair, that's the dealer you want to go to. How many score on all 4 points? Well, folks end up with different opinions about the same dealer. That can say something about the dealer, but may say as much about the other customer. Figuring that out is another matter, but reputation does count.

    Well, I couldn't have stated all that any better-- only I could have made it twice as long! LOLs JR

  6. #26
    Tategoi Yamato's Avatar
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    I am at the moment in Japan.
    Came here for holidays, learning and buying few Koi.

    I got an email from a hobyist recently, commenting on the Koi on my dealer...that they are so expensive. that hobbyist shows his koi and wans koi that can win, but at the same time he does not want to spend much money.
    i was just the same as him not too long ago. to me all koi looked the same price...if they were looking more or less the same, and were the same size. even coming to japan my budget was for he most expensive koi only R 1000= USD 140, and that is landed home.
    I must admit, I have been very ignorant on the subject....very!
    There is not much info on the Internet.
    I am lucky I came here for a holidays, and education with a bonus of buying few Koi. I am a business woman, and if the idea was to come here to buy cheap koi, it was not going to make any sense... Since if I add all the expenses, it was going to be much cheaper for me to buy better Koi imported in SA from Japan by dealers.
    As U know by now, the word why, is always on the tip of my thang. I always try to understand things and am never shy to ask questions.
    it was good that I had two very good friends dealers to answer my questions, which I am sure exhausted them.
    This is basically what I have gathered.
    Breeders produce millions of fry...which are culled to 3-4000 per spawn. Make no mistake, even within this there are many mutts, if not most of them are cheap Koi.
    Koi goes through a vigorous selection, and the breeder guards his best tosai. After all those are going to bring him profit.the rest will barelly cover the expences.
    Breeers sale their koi in different ways.
    Some will remove their tategoi, and grade the rest of the koi in two or three ponds according to value.
    Every thing is for sale. Including the tategoi. But not many dealers will be given access to them. Only few, very special customers will be allowed even near them, and the price will be very expensive. Almost as much as if it is a nisai of a very very good quality.
    The rest of the tosai will be offered for sale from October onwards. Every person that comes and picks from that pond will try and pick the best ones. As they are being picked up, koi of lesser quality remain, and the price of the fish drops, eventually drastically reducing by the end of the season, when the breeders need to get rid of them, and only put their tategoi in the mad ponds.
    At this point some ponds may be sold at a very reduced price as a whole pond and not individual fish.
    Just remember that in any of this ponds U need to buy a box, unless U are buying a very expensive fish. Now U tell me how many individual hobbyists would like to buy a box of the same fish?
    Here comes the dealer, assisting U to put one or two Koi in his box.
    Next are breeders that don't really sort their Small tosai, but sale them per scoop at very reduced prices.
    They say they are not sorted, but I am sure that all the tategoi are removed.
    Some of this scoops are really terrible. Maybe even worse that garden center Koi.
    They totally refuse selection from this ponds. They say that they will select the koi for U just before packing...since they dont have a place where to store hem, and who would like to go and buy Koi he does not know the quality of before paying for them?
    They also offer U the option, to upp the price...and tell them what your budget is, and they will select the quality for which U pay....I got a half box like that, and our agent said he will make sure he selects them, but I am very uneasy about it.
    We will just have to wait and see what happens.
    But for short the breeders know exactly what they are selling U, and will never make a mistake.
    So already here your chances are reduced of buying a bargain.
    Next comes the dealer.
    He will select a box or two from the same pond. Ones he reaches his premises, he will look at the Koi...not two will be of the same quality even if he bought them at the same price. If he is a clever dealer, and knows what he is doing, he will grade them, and put different prices. If he does not do that, he will have the best Koi sold first, and remain with some at the end which will be hard to sale at that price and will have to be drastically reduced or they will just stay there and cost him more to keep and feed.
    So a second selection is made by the dealer, and again your chances of a deal are reduced further.
    How is the costing done. The breeder knows what it cost him to grow his tosai...a figure was mentioned...which I dont recall very well, but if I am not mistaken it was Y 10 per tosai. He has lots of other expenses and has to make a profit too. So he comes up with a figure, he has to obtains from his sales.
    That figure is a achieved by the above methods of sales...as u have to remember that the best are kept to be grown as nisai.
    Now for the dealer....
    He has lots of expenses in order to go to Japan and buy the Koi. Tickets, accommodation, living expenses....are obvious.
    But what most koi hobbyists don't realize is that for a cheap Koi, the transport can be twice or more times the value of the Koi. Fees like 25 % agent fees, health certificate transport to a airport, handling of the shipment at departure and arrival, and R 1350 per kg plus other charges per box, making it almost R1500 per kg.
    Now let's take an example of a tosai 20-25 cm. they go around ten in a box, which will cost U around R 4000 to transport...don't forget duty and VAT too.
    For short just the transport cost of that tosai will be R 400 each. Add to that the profit the dealer has to make.
    If U are a dealer, and went to Japan, taking lots of risks and expenses to buy that Koi, how much profit will U try to make on that tosai?
    Imagine U expect to buy that tosai at R 1000 , deduct from it R 400 , deduct some risk factors like some will not be sold, some might die, some might need to be kept for a long time, while your expenses are mounting...for short some kind of insurance....let's put it at R 100 per Koi, which for me is very little. No insurance broker will agree to insure it at that price.For short all the risks are yours.
    U are remaining with R500 to cover the cost of the koi your expenses and the profit for the dealer.
    Don't forget that this Koi will also have to be in QT for a month, and medication will be used, which is not cheap.
    Also don't forget that the dealer has spent at list R25000 on ticket and hotels and railway pass, that is terribly expensive in Japan. So probably R 2oo will have to be added to the cost of the koi, to cover that.
    So for short the expenses of a dealer will be: transport, cost of koi, accidentals and some kind of insurance and ticket and other traveling expenses.
    How mush profit would U accept, from that R1000 return, considering all the risks involved?
    Do U think the remaining R300 will cover the cost of the Koi and the profit of the dealer?
    I can tell U it will not!
    Let's say U allow the dealer a mean R150 profit, and the cost of the Koi R 150 too.
    If U think U are going to find a koi in Japan for R 150, that U will not be embarrassed to show in public, And has any future , U are terribly mistaken.
    With koi U get what U pay for....have no illusion that U will find *a gem in a 50 or 150 rand vat at the breeder. Koi are not cheap if they have any quality at all.
    The fact that U are buying a Koi for R1000 , should tell U a lot!
    I always thought that dealers are just profiteering and making excess profit on me....that is what I thought in my ignorance, until I saw it with my own eyes.
    I was actually asked by James,(my dealer) how much profit he should put in his Koi...I was *shocked when he told me that he is putting 25% only...I told him he is not a businessman, and if it was me, considering all the factors, I will never settle for less than 100% .
    The answer was, that he wants to sale them fast....I honestly don't get it...not one little bit.
    My advise to my fellow hobbyists that want to show is
    Dont *buy cheap koi, that a year from now U will try to sale at a loss, simply because they failed to perform, and U want a better Koi.
    If the price of a Koi is R1000 u should realize that U are buying a cheap Koi, and don't expect much from it.
    Instead of buying several cheap koi, buy one good quality Koi that will make U proud for many years to come.
    We all learn through mistakes. I hope this will help some of U.
    Again a dealer depends very much on a breeder And what kind of relationship he has established with a breeder. And for that relationship to be good the dealer needs to support the breeder, by buying lots of Koi from him.
    The same can be with hobbyists and dealer relationship, but remember U are a customer! Shop around and don't rush, if U want to find the best koi for U.
    It is worth going to Japan to buy good expensive Koi or for holidays....but going to Japan to buy cheap Koi is not worth it at all.
    U just needd to decide also why are u keeping koi. Do U want pets and U dont care much if they are show quality or U want to show your Koi.
    I just want good looking pets but ended up buying some expensive Koi.
    This is my 2 cents. I can be wrong, for I am stil learning...but that is how I feel on this issue.

  7. #27
    Tategoi bobbysuzanna's Avatar
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    Once again it comes down to what you want swimming in your pond. There is no such thing as good cheap koi. Good koi don't come cheap, breeders and dealers that have been in the business for any length of time know exactly what they are selling.
    Know your dealer, know your breeder and know something about koi and koi keeping before splashing big bucks( to each their own on what qualifies as big bucks).

  8. #28
    Sansai
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    Thanks for that summary Yamato. I found that really useful.
    Last edited by pondlife; 04-16-2012 at 01:17 PM. Reason: ambiguous

  9. #29
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbysuzanna View Post
    There is no such thing as good cheap koi.
    Very subjective... it depends on what a person considers "good" and what a person considers "cheap".

    I would say that many hobbyists on the West Coast (U.S.) feel that people, in the know, can find good Koi cheap.

  10. #30
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Good post, Yamato.

    I do think you must not have heard correctly about the breeder's cost of production. 10 yen per tosai is much less than I would expect, even for a small one sold off in bulk without greenhouse keeping expense. Now, if they were an unculled mix, perhaps. Of course, the person who said that might not have included all the costs.

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