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Thread: Selling Koi for profit?

  1. #11
    Oyagoi
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Brazoria County, Texas
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    1,044
    Novel concept.....selling koi for profit.

    I heard it happened once, long ago and far away. Musta been a magical time and place, certainly not here and now.

    I can think of maybe two instances where a hobbiest sold a "used koi" for more than they paid. Almost without exception hobbiest "find homes" for thier specimens they no longer wish to keep. They do not sell them for a profit. Sometimes a koi is sold rather than given to a beginner or placed into the "club auction" and brings a few bucks to help the club.

    OTOH, I do know a few folks that take small koi, raise them to larger ones and sell them for money (not necessarily at a profit). I have several folks that do this for me, I call them "sharecroppers". I supply the fingerlings at a discount, they supply the large, earthen pond that is suitable for growing koi, feed the koi keep the pond full and aerated, and keep me posted as to thier development. Then I am responsible for harvest and marketing. We do a 60/40 split once funds have been acquired (I get 60). If the koi die during growth, harvest, holding, shipment, etc. then "we" lost "our" fish. No money gets to change hands.

    To enter the program a sharecropper must have a smooth bottomed, earthen pond over 1/2 acre in size (with no fish of any kind in it). It must have a suitable water supply (well) a way to remove water (pump or drain), an aeration system, and a person to attend to the fish every day.

    I can tell that these folks are also not "in it for the money" as by the time they have fixed up the pond by bulldozing silt out, fixing the sides so they are sloped, digging a well, setting up aeration, buying feed, buying fingerlings (even at a discount they ain;t free) and spending at least an hour a day tending to the pond and fish, the $5000 check they get when fish are sold and monies collected, doesn;t cover all they've done. Still, most of these folks are at least semi-retired, need something to fool with, and enjoy watching thier fish grow. The check at the end, even if not enough to cover expenses is only the icing on the cake.

    So, if you wanna grow and sell koi, buy property, have an earthen pond of at least a half acre dug (or leveed up like around here), have a water well that makes at least 20 gpm installed, get a good aerator and plug it in, adjust water chemistry to suit the fish (sometimes one must add lime, acid, calcium, etc. to make the fish grow), buy some decent fingerling koi (figure $20 each for half decent, $150 a piece for something you can actually call a "koi", a few sacks of koi food, a shotgun to keep predators away, a fence to keep two legged problems out, some time to spare, etc. etc. etc.

    If you buy tosai, say $100 each and put them into your backyard pool, grow them for a year, and try to sell them you will find....most have lost value, some were just lost (died or got ate), maybe one or two will be worth as much as $200. Overall you will have lost about all your initial investment, as well as electrical, repairs and maintenance, water, feed, etc.

    Think I'm talkin' out my back end? Well, I done all that and more.

    Brett
    Brett

  2. #12
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    seattle, wa
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    6,340

    rather than wax elegant

    as some knowledgeable posters here have done, let me just say in a readers digest form.....

    Buying koi is like buying a new car, drive it off the lot and your already behind in the value

  3. #13
    Oyagoi Flounder's Avatar
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    LOL, great posts Brett and Dick.

    Ain't that the truth! I know I'm in the hobby for the fun of it there is no way I'll even get back a fraction of what I put in.

  4. #14
    Daihonmei
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    Nerv, you put a big smile on my face! EVERY newbie at some point realizes this is an expensive hobby. And maybe they will be able to buy little fish and raise them up to be big fish and make some serious money on them. This is usually born from seeing the prices at a dealers. The little ones are $18- 60 and the big ones are hundreds and even thousands of dollars!
    If you stay in the hobby and get serious, the next phase of this thinking is to go to Japan and buy five fish with the plan to come home and sell two of them at a profit so that your remaining keepers will be free!

    I'm here to tell you that unless you can find some very stupid customers ( and I can tell you that they do exist) these ideas never seem to work out. There are a couple of reasons for this-

    1) if you begin moving inventory out and new in, you eventually run into disease problems.
    The difference between 'profit' and 'loss' is really down to what the problem is and how well you respond to minimize the damage. This takes experience, something back yard dealers rarely have.
    2) Although 'most ' fish grow, not many get prettier as they grow. This especially applies to the metallic, doitsu and ginring varieties which, as it happens, are the favorite of the beginner and tend to be the ones the backyard dealer tends to focus on first! The odds of these turning out larger and better are very very low.

    I think the only realistic way to make money on small koi is to sell them over the Internet or on Ebay. The pictures aways make small fish look better and the market ups are the highest on the internet, especially ebay. You can buy low class metallics or doitsu for $15- 50 and ask 8 times that on Ebay. Remember, it only takes one bid to sell the fish. I have definitely seen $20 longfin carp sold for hundreds on ebay. I have even seen longfin koi with ZERO monitary value being offered for $1200! It only has to work once! Maybe longfins are the place to start?
    You might try some of the more high profile uninformed boards and see if you can get any of the newbies to bite. Use the terms 'rare' and 'unique'. Best of luck to you young capitalist!

    JR

  5. #15
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Nerv, you put a big smile on my face! EVERY newbie at some point realizes this is an expensive hobby. And maybe they will be able to buy little fish and raise them up to be big fish and make some serious money on them. This is usually born from seeing the prices at a dealers. The little ones are $18- 60 and the big ones are hundreds and even thousands of dollars!
    If you stay in the hobby and get serious, the next phase of this thinking is to go to Japan and buy five fish with the plan to come home and sell two of them at a profit so that your remaining keepers will be free!

    I'm here to tell you that unless you can find some very stupid customers ( and I can tell you that they do exist) these ideas never seem to work out. There are a couple of reasons for this-

    1) if you begin moving inventory out and new in, you eventually run into disease problems.
    The difference between 'profit' and 'loss' is really down to what the problem is and how well you respond to minimize the damage. This takes experience, something back yard dealers rarely have.
    2) Although 'most ' fish grow, not many get prettier as they grow. This especially applies to the metallic, doitsu and ginring varieties which, as it happens, are the favorite of the beginner and tend to be the ones the backyard dealer tends to focus on first! The odds of these turning out larger and better are very very low.

    I think the only realistic way to make money on small koi is to sell them over the Internet or on Ebay. The pictures aways make small fish look better and the market ups are the highest on the internet, especially ebay. You can buy low class metallics or doitsu for $15- 50 and ask 8 times that on Ebay. Remember, it only takes one bid to sell the fish. I have definitely seen $20 longfin carp sold for hundreds on ebay. I have even seen longfin koi with ZERO monitary value being offered for $1200! It only has to work once! Maybe longfins are the place to start?
    You might try some of the more high profile uninformed boards and see if you can get any of the newbies to bite. Use the terms 'rare' and 'unique'. Best of luck to you young capitalist!

    JR
    I think you forgot the other words..."Show Quality"....

  6. #16
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    7,642
    right! Right!

    for sale: due to a small pond must sell very large high quality show Japanese longfin. This rare koi is very unique and very large ( over 12 inches now including tail) and is expected to grow to be over 40 inches and live to over 100 years of age! Some say these fish were first bred in the moat surrounding the Emperor's palace in Japan. This one has rare ginrin scales and orange and grey dots on black and silver/brown skin. Very unique and very rare. Priceless if purchased in Japan. But here, the bidding begins at $1200.

  7. #17
    Honmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Martinez,CA
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    4,611

    It's Amazing.............

    We get people that come in and tell us that they have 24" - 30" Koi and that they must be worth thousands of dollars, after all they are the same as many of the high quality Japanese imports they see. I usually ask them what they paid for the Koi and the response is usually $25.00 - $30.00. My response is that is what they are worth. I have gotten a lot of evil looks.

  8. #18
    Fry
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Nerv, you put a big smile on my face! EVERY newbie at some point realizes this is an expensive hobby. And maybe they will be able to buy little fish and raise them up to be big fish and make some serious money on them. This is usually born from seeing the prices at a dealers. The little ones are $18- 60 and the big ones are hundreds and even thousands of dollars!
    If you stay in the hobby and get serious, the next phase of this thinking is to go to Japan and buy five fish with the plan to come home and sell two of them at a profit so that your remaining keepers will be free!

    I'm here to tell you that unless you can find some very stupid customers ( and I can tell you that they do exist) these ideas never seem to work out. There are a couple of reasons for this-

    1) if you begin moving inventory out and new in, you eventually run into disease problems.
    The difference between 'profit' and 'loss' is really down to what the problem is and how well you respond to minimize the damage. This takes experience, something back yard dealers rarely have.
    2) Although 'most ' fish grow, not many get prettier as they grow. This especially applies to the metallic, doitsu and ginring varieties which, as it happens, are the favorite of the beginner and tend to be the ones the backyard dealer tends to focus on first! The odds of these turning out larger and better are very very low.

    I think the only realistic way to make money on small koi is to sell them over the Internet or on Ebay. The pictures aways make small fish look better and the market ups are the highest on the internet, especially ebay. You can buy low class metallics or doitsu for $15- 50 and ask 8 times that on Ebay. Remember, it only takes one bid to sell the fish. I have definitely seen $20 longfin carp sold for hundreds on ebay. I have even seen longfin koi with ZERO monitary value being offered for $1200! It only has to work once! Maybe longfins are the place to start?
    You might try some of the more high profile uninformed boards and see if you can get any of the newbies to bite. Use the terms 'rare' and 'unique'. Best of luck to you young capitalist!

    JR
    Thanks for the very informational post! I appreciate it. Looks like I wont be selling Koi fish! ahah.

    I thought the bigger the fish, the more expensive.

  9. #19
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    7,642
    well I hope my response was not too blunt! Seriously, there are unfortunately many conmen and opportunists out there in the koi business. And an even larger number of people who just don't know what koi should be priced at. In the end, the answer is a koi is worth what someone is willing to pay for it!

    But in practical terms, size of pond grade fish is meaningless. Size in high grade koi is one part of the evaluation. But if you look at what hobbyists sell their large show koi for, you will usually find that it is about half to a quarter of what they paid for it.. This often comes as a shock to the owner who just assumed the fish would naturally appreciate like a blue chip stock does. But koi are both 'collectibles' and ' depreciating assets'. As collectibles they are bid up as they become more rare and the way they become 'more rare' is by remaining appreciating assets ( we call them tategoi) but all koi eventually become depreciating assets as no koi improves or has a future forever. As living things, at some point, their beauty declines and so does their value. So the fish that manages to remain an appreciating asset and therefore highly desirable as a collectible, will command an ever higher price. Until at ome point it doesn't . With some fish this window of value might be as short as 10 months. In others it could be 5 years. This takes good genetics, a good environment, skill and yes, luck.

    JR

  10. #20
    Oyagoi Ethan25's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    West Central Illinois
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    right! Right!

    for sale: due to a small pond must sell very large high quality show Japanese longfin. This rare koi is very unique and very large ( over 12 inches now including tail) and is expected to grow to be over 40 inches and live to over 100 years of age! Some say these fish were first bred in the moat surrounding the Emperor's palace in Japan. This one has rare ginrin scales and orange and grey dots on black and silver/brown skin. Very unique and very rare. Priceless if purchased in Japan. But here, the bidding begins at $1200.

    Thanks. I just laughed out loud and literally snorted in my office.


    That was hilarious.

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