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  1. #1
    Wes Sage's Avatar
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    Business Update as of 8/27/2021

    Hey Everyone!! I just wanted to share a bunch of things that have been on my mind with the group.
    I prefer to do it here on the Forum, to cut down on all the BS that happens on Facebook, and happens because of Facebook.

    Some of these are just totally random things I am sharing with people, that I normally deal with myself, but feel need to be said.
    I'll do my best to keep it organized, but assume it will look like a train wreck to some people.

    Here we go!!

    FIRST and FOREMOST, due to the reasons below, we are having a MONSTER SHOP CLEARING SALE for awhile, so please, check out the website, and get your orders in for all the reasons stated below!!
    DON"T miss this chance and then be "One of those guys" who bitches about not having stuff, or having to pay a higher price when SHTF, which WILL happen again here before long.

    A lot of people have no clue what it takes to run your own business, and especially what it takes to run one in such a niche market. I had no clue when I started, but I sure have found out over all the years.
    In the last 3 years, I have seen more changes in the market, the world, and the way that people in general are, and it has been very dis-concerning to me.

    My shop has seen a lot of people come and go. Some good people left that we miss dearly, and some people just weren't cut out for being here (Or anywhere for that matter).
    It is always a constant struggle to find, and keep good people around the shop for various reasons.

    The biggest issue in this industry which is different from any other I have seen, is how to pay people. It is a VERY slim margin industry, regardless of what people think. Almost every business has to make at least 35% profit just to stay alive, and many more have to be way higher than that. During the entire time Trump was in office, and Pro 2A people relaxed on the shooting sports, hundreds of businesses in this industry went broke and closed their doors. It was due to lack of sales, and all the businesses fighting to get to the lowest price as quickly as possible. All of them were not in a position to spend 4 years losing money to still be around once the industry "Woke Up" again.

    Every one of us goes to work, and has to make a living wage. It is just the way of the world. If we don't get what we need, we have to seek other employment, and hope we can do better somewhere else. In this industry, paying by the hour is an absolute killer (And I believe it is in most industries) because people tend to saddle the time clock, and ride it eve if they aren't doing anything at all. They spend 20 hours a week really making money for themselves and the company, and the other 20+ hours, milking the clock for themselves, and costing the company money.

    I was NEVER in a position where I could have kept this company going like that. Hourly was never going to work in this environment. When I started this company, I had to sit down for countless hours per day, and figure out what was an effective "Piece Rate" for every job in the shop. People are paid by the bucket to sort brass, by the piece to process brass, per box to ship items out, etc. The list is literally 100 "Jobs" long, and each has a piece rate associated with it.

    The issue with piece rate jobs is, if there is no "Pieces" to be done, there is no paycheck until there is work, and that is truly a tough lifestyle for a lot of people. Not knowing from day to day or week to week what you will be able to make when you go to work. That is part of why we have lost so many good people throughout the years.

    When I started this business, it was out of necessity. A work related accident left me partially disabled, and unable to work for anyone else. I needed a way to support my family, and used the thing I knew the most about in my life to try and make a go of it. For YEARS, I did my best to take care of my guys, and give them as much as possible to do the jobs I physically can't do. I had an average take home pay of less than $400 a week, working 16hr days for years after starting the business.

    This market is usually feast or famine, and the last year I have watched people post all sorts of horrible things about small businesses, and even the big ones, when it comes to pricing of items during the "Panic" we saw. I would like to explain it to any of those misguided people here. Obviously they have never run a business, and have no clue how the business world actually works.

    I saw tons of people call businesses 'Price Gougers" or complain about prices that were 2x or 3x higher than they used to be. Bo you know why that is? Here is a little scenario, and how it really works. The numbers are just for reference.

    A company, in normal times can get all the product it wants, and has to make their 35% minimum profit, so they price it accordingly, but in a normal market, there is serious competition between all the people in the niche market. Everyone tightens their belts, looks for the best deals, but ultimately has to cut people and take other steps to make sure they can keep the doors open. Some win, and some lose. Some are still here and tons had to close up shop.

    We'll say the company, with 4 people total, was selling $100,000 a month in product, and was making $30,000 profit. The IRS takes about 25% TO 35%. So we'll say they have $20,000 left. Add in the overhead like Rent, Utilities, fuel, maintenance, and about 10 other things like insurance that eat into that money, they have $12,000 left over. Divide that by 4 people, the average guy takes $3000 a month, and still pays income tax on it, so his take home is $2400 for a month, or $600 a week. People deal with it, some months are better, some worse, but they keep cruising along. Some people stay, some go, but they keep it rolling.

    NOW, we have a panic like we all saw for the last 16 months. Now the company can only get 1/3 of the products they were averaging before, if they are lucky. So now they get $33,000 in products, to last an entire month. The rent, utilities, insurance, etc don't change at all. Now their NET profit that was $12,000 is now $4000 for a month. Every one of the 4 guys now makes $1000 a month, Minus taxes, and takes home $200 a week or less.

    So what does that company have to do to keep the doors open, and keep employees that are a vital part of the business? You have to sell the 1/3 of your normal products($33.333 worth) you are able to get, for the same $100,000 as before, just to keep on with a "Sub Normal" lifestyle, and to keep the shop open.
    Then you see people calling you "Price Gougers". It is business, and people do what they HAVE TO DO, to be there again when things return to normal. If they could still get unlimited products, at normal prices, and jacked them up another 66%, then they are Price Gougers, but that NEVER happens, as they can't get the supply, and at the same price.

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    • #2
      Wes Sage's Avatar
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      Here is what has happened to us in the last 24 months in a nut shell:

      Trump in office, The majority of people relax, don't load and shoot much. We make less than 10%, try to move volume, and barely scrape by and keep the doors open. I tell people I have been here a LONG time, and at some point, things will go sideways, so "Stock Up Now". People call me out and say it is a ploy to get sales. It isn't a ploy. I do need the sales, and you NEED the supplies cheap, because bad times will ALWAYS happen and prices will triple, 10x times in most of our lifetimes. It is a win/win for all of us. We move volumes of stuff at great prices, and people stock up on supplies, that will some day cost 2-10x what they did.
      We lost money every month with Trump in office, but I was able to keep things rolling. It was all because people weren't supporting or thinking about the companies in the industry. IT WAS THEIR FAULT.

      Covid hits: People panic, they world is upside down, people are out of work, and reloaders start buying everything up. Production plants have no people, supply dries up, prices go up, PEOPLE BITCH ABOUT PRICES, and companies fold due to lack of revenue. The panic continues, as "Biden may win this thing". And he does!! People thinking about themselves, new reloaders left and right, ammo shortages, etc all drive the gun world into a frenzy.
      We can't get enough supplies as mentioned above. Can't sell what you can't get, and we lose money every month again. But I keep it rolling on a shoe string.

      Biden in office: Panic continues, primers sell for $300 a brick, supply is next to nothing, uncertainty on what will happen with him in office has the gun world upside down. Trump isn't here, shit we're screwed, and I SHOULD HAVE STOCKED UP WHEN THINGS WERE CHEAP AND EASY TO GET!!! And those people bitch at prices, call companies price gougers, etc, when in reality, it was THEIR FAULT for not being proactive, and looking ahead, and taking lessons from history.

      Biden in office, covid relaxes: And so do all the people in the shooting world. We can go out with friends again, work again, and Biden hasn't done anything about gun control that people see on the news. Products are more available, but there is no reason for me to worry, the "Panic" is over. Businesses get more product, prices drop, people get complacent and don't buy or support the businesses, and a lot will close, and we lose more resources.
      Here I still am, still trying to keep it rolling.

      When things are "Good" and relaxed, it is hard to keep the doors open, because the support of the messes just isn't there. When things are bad, EVERYONE wants to be a customer, but what good are 1,000,000 customers with no product to sell? Almost impossible to keep the doors open.

      I have been around reloading and shooting for 40 years. I have been through more of these panic situations, Assault Weapon Bans, Obama years, etc to know how to skate through them, and I try to share that with people all the time.

      People Love what we have done and become as a company. The original 2 of us are still here doing it every day (Me and my Pops). People always WANT US to be there when they need us, in good times, and in bad, but it is a 2 way street. I love what I do, and love the people I have met, and the community we have built together over the years. I want to be here doing this for YEARS to come, but I can't do it alone.

      This next few weeks, we have SALES and SPECIALS, that literally are only to keep people employed. Most items are at or below my total cost, and as a company, and an owner, I will make $0. My guys have suffered days off with no pay, due to lack of sales. That is why we have only been shipping a few days a week at best (Which messes up our Speedy shipping we are known for)

      Drew, my head of packaging is staying 90 miles north of the shop to take care of his uncle who was injured in a bike crash. His round trip is 180 miles, in an old Chevy truck that gets 10 mpg. even 80 orders a day isn't worth his fuel to commute, and that has to be done early to not take 3 hours in Seattle traffic.

      A lot of people have no clue what I have gone through or what my guys go through to keep things running and people happy. a LOT of people really do know, and do help in a ton of different ways, and I APPRECIATE IT MORE THAN YOU KNOW!!! Thank you to all the people who have been here a long time, have seen the struggles, and have helped support us all these years. I can't thank you enough. You are the reason I keep doing what I do!!

      In closing, I do the best I can, work countless hours a week to do what we do so well, and I appreciate all the support over the years.

      right now, we could use some help to keep the guys employed, so they can feed their families.

      I have 99% of our products on sale, and those sales will keep the guys busy, regardless if the "Company" Makes a Dollar.

      Now is the time to stock up, BAD TIMES are ahead of us again, That is a 100% Guarantee!

      Stock up now while we have stuff as cheap as possible, be ready for the next round of bad times ahead, and help keep the crew here employed doing what they love so much.

      Thank you to anyone who took the time to read it all, and to those who understand what it is really about, and will help make a difference!!

      Wes


    • #3
      Sgt Greybeard's Avatar
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      I will certainly stick with you Wes, thru good times and bad. You have always treated me right and have my respect for all that you do.


    • #4
      Wes Sage's Avatar
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      Thanks brother!! It really means a lot to me, and the guys here in the shop!!


    • #5
      Harold1957's Avatar
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      I've been helping my daughter and son in law move this week so no time to look!! I plan on ordering some stuff in the next day or two!! Been with you for almost 5 years now, great service, great prices, great packing and shipping!! You'll never lose this customer, WES SAGE FOR PRESIDENT!!! Thanks for all you do!!!


    • #6

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      I It's appreciate you sharing about your business. I also appreciate your honesty And insight as to what has been going on over the past 18 months. I've just gotten back into reloading over the past 2 years after about a 10 year hiatus. Is not a unique scenario I know
      I have only found your business in the last 6 months or so. Have place a few orders. One last week. I will do my best to make people aware of your company and send my business your way.
      Your customer service and packageing is 2nd to none. Not just talk. And I appreciate that also. I'm sure it's not easy.
      Good luck in the future and I will continue to try to do my part.
      🙏🙏✌✌


    • #7
      Adam Van Camp's Avatar
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      I will say to you sir. Fine speech. Lay out the fact and truth. I have only been with you for a few year now and will continue to order from you. Truly thank you for what you do and your team. I will look over the site and see if there is anything that I can use.

      Currently reloading for .380 ACP, 9MM,327 Federal Mag, 38 Special, .357 Mag, 40 S&W, 44 Mag, 45 ACP, .458 Socom, .223 Remington, 22-250,7MM Remington Mag, 30-06 and 340 Weatherby Mag, 50 Beowolf

    • #8
      JeffreyDeGraff's Avatar
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      Ive understood all along wes. It’s sad you have to spell it out for people. I always shop you first. I don’t even look at the prices. Unfortunately, I am not a volume shooter or plinker. I test loads and play around, and like oddball calibers, which makes me “not the best customer” for your business. As long as you are around I will always shop with you first.


      JTD


    • #9
      Wes Sage's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Harold1957 View Post
      I've been helping my daughter and son in law move this week so no time to look!! I plan on ordering some stuff in the next day or two!! Been with you for almost 5 years now, great service, great prices, great packing and shipping!! You'll never lose this customer, WES SAGE FOR PRESIDENT!!! Thanks for all you do!!!
      I really appreciate it brother!!!


    • #10
      Wes Sage's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Adam Van Camp View Post
      I will say to you sir. Fine speech. Lay out the fact and truth. I have only been with you for a few year now and will continue to order from you. Truly thank you for what you do and your team. I will look over the site and see if there is anything that I can use.
      Thank you so much!!!
      It is a hobby we all enjoy, and a business where I enjoy all the awesome people I come into contact with, and I don't ever want to lose that


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