How To Start a Bait Shop

a boat on the lake with a fishing pole.

Throughout this article, you will find plenty of information related to the bait industry.

We will begin by going over how the steps to start a bait shop. Our next step is to examine some considerations that can help you decide if owning a bait shop is right for you, and finally, we will review some resources that can assist you in starting and running your business.

Let’s get started.

Starting a Bait Shop

1. Research the Industry

Research is one of the most important steps you can take before starting a bait shop. Therefore, let’s look at three important considerations you should keep in mind.

A.) An Inside Look at The Business

One of the best ways to learn about starting owning and running a bait shop is to speak with those most qualified, and the most qualified are bait shop, business owners. There are a couple of ways to approach this.

Method Number One:

Search for bay shops that are for sale and contact the owners so you can meet with them about the business opportunity.

Tell them that you’re considering starting your own bait shop. But, before you do, you’re looking at businesses for sale to see if that’s a better option.

Once you have a few businesses willing to meet with you, create a list of questions to avoid wasting the business owner’s time. You may want to start with questions that are more related to the business owners than the business.

For example:

  • What made you want to start your own bait shop?
  • What do you like most about the business?
  • If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
  • Do you have any regrets?
  • Etc.

Then you would start talking more about the business, such as:

  • What makes your customers come back?
  • Would you say your customer base is expanding or decreasing and why?
  • What are your best sellers?
  • What is your most profitable item?
  • What are your monthly expenses?
  • What were your total sales last year?
  • What were your profits before taxes last year?
  • How many staff members do you have?
  • Etc.

While touring and speaking with bait shop business owners, you may come across a business that’s a good match and decide to purchase it instead of starting your own.

Click Here To View a Bait Shop Listed for Sale From Google’s Search Results.

Method Number Two:

Contact bait shop business owners and tell them you’re considering starting your own bait shop, and you’re wondering if you could interview them.

fishing poles.The key to this method is to interview people you won’t be in competition with. I wouldn’t even bother contacting people in the area. You want to make it absolutely clear that you would be operating in a distant area so that you’re not competing with them.

You might even build a relationship with these people and keep in contact with them and brainstorm ideas where you can both benefit.

You can also search for bait shop business owner interviews to understand some of the issues you may encounter.

For more on this method, see An Inside Look Into The Business You’re Considering.

B.) Expand Your Knowledge of the Bait Industry

There is a lot of information online and in public libraries about starting and running your own bait shop and information for the bait and tackle industry.

You can subscribe to newsletters, and blogs, read articles, watch videos, etc. the information is there. You just have to use it, and the more you know about the bait industry, the better decisions you’ll make when starting your own bait shop.

Click Here for the Latest Publications Related to a Bait Shops.

C.) Choosing a Business Location

The location you choose to operate your bait shop is an important contributing factor to your success.

For example, if you locate your shop in an area with no demand and no fishing, it would be silly to locate your operation in that area. On the other hand, if you open your bait shop in an area with a lot of fishing and many other bait shops, it may be difficult to compete with those other businesses.

Your ideal location is in an area with a demand for bait, and the competition is acceptable.

Are you considering a fixed location or a mobile bait shop?

Naturally, there are pros and cons to each.

For example, in a large stationery shop, you can offer a greater quantity of bait and offer fishing equipment, such as poles, hooks, nets, etc.

With a mobile bait shop, one advantage is moving from one area to another. You can also be as close to the fishing area as possible, where a stationary bait shop would be located farther away from the water.

Also, with a mobile bait shop, you can make rounds at all the popular fishing areas on the same day.

For example, if you set up your bait shop as a truck. Your logo is on the side, and your setup allows you to display your products. You could start at one point and then move to the next so you could make your rounds to all the popular fishing areas in one day. Another approach is to have a couple of trucks or mobile carts, allowing you to expand to all the top fishing areas.

For more, see Choosing the Best Location for Your Business.

2. Choose a Business Name

The name you choose for your bait shop is something that should be memorable. You’ll be using this name for as long as you own your business, so you want to take some time to think about it and come up with a name you’re pleased with.

You also want an accompanying domain name to match a business name, and you want to make sure both are available for registration.

There are many resources online that will help you come up with a business name. Some are online generators, while others are lists that can help you get your creativity flowing to come up with the name that’s just right for you.

For Bait Shop Name Ideas, See Google’s Latest Search Results.

3. Identify the Legal Structure of Your Business

There are a few options when it comes to deciding on the legal structure for your bait shop. You can start off as a sole proprietorship, which means you and the business are one, so your personal assets are not protected if there are any financial difficulties. Also, if there is a lawsuit against your business, your personal assets are not protected.

a fishing net and pole.Many small businesses will start off as a sole proprietorship because it’s the easiest type of structure and the cheapest one. That’s why it’s attractive.

You can start off as a sole proprietorship, and when you start to see success and sustainability, you can easily switch from a sole proprietorship to an LLC or corporation.

It’s important to note that you cannot register as a sole proprietorship if you have a partner. Instead, you would have to create an LLC or a partnership.

If you choose a business structure other than a sole proprietorship, I recommend hiring a professional to register the business. Then, I’d feel more secure knowing that everything is in order, legal, and configured optimally for my current situation.

For More, See How To Register Your Business Using These Resources.

4. Get a Tax ID

Depending on the size and structure, of your bait shop will determine if you need a tax ID at this point or not. One thing to keep in mind is that if you plan to hire employees, you must have a tax ID.

If you have a professional registering your business, they will let you know if you need a Federal Tax ID at this point or not.

For more see Here’s How To Get A Business Tax Id For Your Business.

5. Apply for Permits, Licenses, and Registration

The best way to find out what types of permits and licenses you’ll need in addition to your regular business license is to contact your local municipality or City Hall. You’ll find the information you need, as well as information regarding special permits.

Visit the Licensing and Permits Page for More Information.

6. Create Your Corporate ID

Your corporate ID includes your business cards, a logo, letterhead, product brochures, website design, etc. It’s a part of branding your business.

When starting off, you don’t have to create a complete corporate ID package; instead, you can create your logo and business cards, and once your business is open and running, you can continue with the other components, such as your website.

It’s important to have a professional design when creating a corporate ID Because your logo is something your customers will always see. So, you want to leave a good impression and have an appealing design.

For More See:

How To Design A Business Logo – Make it Good It Might Last Years.

How to Design Business Cards That People Will Pay Attention To

Business Signs – Have a Look at These Ideas.

A Complete Introduction to Corporate Identity Packages

7. Writing a Business Plan

an orange fish lure.Your business plan is an important part of starting a business because, as the name says, it makes you plan, and when you have a strong plan in place, you know where you’re going, what you’re doing, and how to get there.

When writing your business plan, it doesn’t mean that you have to have everything worked out in your head. Instead, with each section, stop and plan. For example, you have to consider who’s in charge of your business if you have partners. You have to think about costs, marketing, how you will get customers, etc.

There are a few options when it comes to writing your business plan. You can have a professional write your business plan for you. You can use a template, or you can use software to guide you through the process. It’s important to know whatever method you choose; you still have to fill in the information and plan.

For more, see How To Write A Business Plan.

8. Estimating Your Start-up Cost

Estimating your start-up cost is another important step in the start-up phase. It can be overwhelming because there are a lot of issues to consider, and you don’t want to miss anything.

The cost to start a bait shop can only be determined by you because it will all depend on how much inventory you are considering, the size of your shop, and other factors.

Setting up a concession stand near the beach will have a lower cost than opening a large store with live bait, tackles, fishing equipment, etc. Therefore, your start-up cost will depend on your plan.

You have to start listing those issues that you know you’ll need. Then, as you get pricing and other issues become apparent, add them to your list.

Be as accurate as you can with your estimates. If your estimate is too high, you may have trouble when it comes to getting funding. On the other hand, if your estimate is too low, you may run out of money before you can open your doors.

For more see Estimating Start-up Costs: Are You Missing Anything?

9. Get the Funding for Your Business

Once you have reached this point, you have completed a lot of steps. You have a name picked out and a location. You have your business structure in place, and you have your logo and business cards. Your business plan is complete, and you have a rough estimate of your start-up costs. Now it’s time to make copies of your business plan and start to look for the funds you need to start your bait store.

One thing you should understand is that lenders know that start-ups are high-risk. Many businesses fail in the first few years; therefore, lenders would rather approve loans to established businesses instead of a start-up with no history of success.

With this in mind, don’t be disappointed if your loan is denied multiple times. But, instead of focusing on disappointment, find out the reasons, and address the issues you have control over before moving on to the next lender.

Also, take a look at our post on, Getting a Small Business Loan.

10. Choose a Bank

With the bait shop, you may be dealing with a lot of cash. Therefore, you don’t want to leave a lot of cash on hand; instead, make daily deposits. If your bank is an hour away, it doesn’t make sense to make daily deposits. Instead, you can make your deposit at the end of the day when your bank is in the area.

a variety of lures.Many people will go with the bank that funds their start-up, which makes sense when choosing a bank. However, if you’re not getting the service you need, you can always switch banks later.

Another point to consider is that it’s not about the bank but your relationship with your banker. A competent banker who understands your operation will be a great asset and help you with expanding, managing your finances, and financial advice.

It’s to your advantage to take the time to build a relationship with the right bank and the right banker.

For more, see our page on How To Choose A Business Bank.

11. Acquiring a Merchant Account

Although many of your customers may pay you in cash, you will have those who would rather pay using credit or debit cards. To process those payments, you need a merchant account.

You can get a merchant account from your bank, and a good relationship with your banker will help streamline the process.

Merchant accounts come with monthly fees; therefore, if you don’t have a high volume of usage, you can use PayPal or Square as alternatives. These accounts may have higher processing fees but can be cheaper to maintain.

See How To Open A Merchant Account for more information.

12. Get Your Business Insurance

It’s important to get your bait shop insured with sufficient coverage before any physical activity takes place at your location. Make sure you have enough insurance to cover your property, your inventory, and especially your customers and employees.

You may want to consider interruption insurance, which covers your average revenue if your business is shut down due to issues such as a fire or flood.

A competent insurance agent can assist you with getting the coverage you need.

For more, see our page about business insurance.

13. Office Setup

Your office setup should be organized and set up to your preference so that you can get your work completed effectively.

You’ll also want to make sure your office is comfortable because the more successful you become, the more time you spend on administrative tasks in your office.

For more see, Here Are Considerations for the Setup of Your Office.

14. Choosing Suppliers

Choosing suppliers is an important process, especially if your supplier has hard-to-get or unique items.

When you have a unique item that your customers constantly purchase from you, your supplier becomes more important and has a level of control over your business. Therefore it’s important to develop strong working relationships with all your suppliers.

Good supplier relationships can get you better pricing, short-term credit, hard-to-get items, etc. So treat your suppliers with respect and consider them a part of your business team.

For more see, How To Choose a Supplier You Can Depend On

15. Create a Team of Advisors for Your Start-up

a bait and tackle sign.Depending on the size and setup of your bait shop, you may or may not need a team of advisers. For example, if you’re planning on a small setup where you have a concession stand close to a beach, and it’s a one-person operation, you probably won’t need a team of advisers. But, on the other hand, if you’re planning to open a large store or a series of stores then a team of advisers it’s something you should consider.

Your team of advisers will not be on your payroll. Instead, you pay them by the hour, and some may require a retainer, such as a lawyer.

You’ll want to put together this team before you need their services so that when you’re ready, they’re available and already understand your business.

Your team of advisers may include a lawyer, business strategist, marketing expert, IT professional, graphic designer,
a banker, an accountant, etc.

It takes time to build relationships with these people. But it’s one of the best things you can do, and having a strong team available when you need them, whether for their services or advice, is a great thing to have.

Stay in touch with team members even if you don’t need anything. For example, sending an email to see how they are doing is a good way to stay in touch.

For more see, Building a Team of Professional Advisors for Your Business

16. Hiring Employees

Have you considered if you’ll be running a one-person operation, or will you need help with either managing the business or perhaps watching the store?

It’s important to consider that an entry-level position may cost you just over $30,000 per year. Therefore, you look at the $30,000 rather than the minimum wage when making a hiring decision.

You must hire the right person for the job. When you hire the wrong person, you have nothing but headaches and problems, and it’s a lot harder to get rid of the person than it is to make the correct hiring decision. So take your time and avoid spur-of-the-moment decisions. It’s also advisable if you’re not sure to request a second interview and maybe have someone there who can give an unbiased opinion.

For more on hiring, see How and When to Hire a New Employee.

What To Consider Before Starting

You now have the steps needed to start a bait shop, but before you proceed, let’s take a look at a few very important points to consider before you start.

Is Running a Business Right for You?

Is owning your own business the right thing for you?

There are different reasons for starting a business. Some people are trying to get away from a job. Others want the lifestyle and financial rewards of owning their own business, while others have a passion for running the business.

a man fishing.Although there are different reasons, you must be passionate about the business you own. Running a business is not easy. It takes time and effort and a lot of long hours. But, without being passionate about the business you’re running, you’ll be looking for an exit strategy rather than a solution when problems show up.

Imagine you had all the money you’ll ever need for the rest of your life, and you have everything you’ve ever wanted; would you still open a bait shop?

If your answer is yes, then you are interested in what you’re doing, and that’s a good thing. But, on the other hand, if you answered no, what would you be doing instead, and should you be pursuing that rather than opening your own bait shop?

Passion for owning your own bait shop is a driving force to help you succeed and achieve your goals.

For more, see Reasons To Start a Business

Do You Have the Skills To Run A Business?

Do you have the skills necessary to manage a bait shop?

You may have an entrepreneurial spirit and are good at managing a business. You may be skilled in fishing which is a must if you start a bait shop. On the other hand, you may be skilled in both, which is a huge advantage.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to have all the skills before starting your business. You can learn as you go. However, it is important to understand the skills you do have and the skills you’ll need to improve.

For example, if you need to brush up on your business skills, you can take a small business course or, as discussed earlier, use your team of advisers for advice when you need it.

For more see,  Do You Have These Essential Skills Needed To Run a Business?

Tips for Your Consideration

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind to help you succeed with your own bait shop.

You Must Be a Fishing Expert!

Customers will need advice, and sometimes they will just want to socialize about fishing, and if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you will lose customers.

People enjoy fishing and have a passion for it. There are also a lot of fishing enthusiasts. So if you don’t know anything about fishing, they will get their bait and fishing gear from someone who does.

You need to know the different types of fish and where you can catch them.

Knowledge of the best types of fishing poles will also come in handy. You will also need to know what type and size of lures to use: frog lures, fishing spoons, saltwater pencil bait, grasshopper lures for bass trout are all popular types.

Quality Is Important:

Your customers are purchasing your products because they want to enjoy fishing. It’s not a necessity. It’s more of a hobby; therefore, you need to focus on quality. For example, if your products are of low quality, which limits the ability to catch fish, your customers will go where they can get better quality items.

Focusing on Your Products and Services:

It’s important to find out what your customers want and try and provide it for them.

For example, do they want just bait or more like; fishing poles, nets, fishing gear, etc.? You may even want to consider having boats for rent and other equipment. You could also offer services, like fishing rod repairs.


a shelf containing fishing lures.

Below you’ll find some resources to help you with the start-up phase and when your business is in full operation. You may want to bookmark this post to return and use the resources.

Trends and Statistics

Trends and statistics are a great way to study a market. You can gain a lot of tips and ideas, and you may even find something missing in the industry you might be able to provide to gain a competitive advantage.

You’ll also be able to identify whether the industry is on the rise or declining, and that’s important for the long-term outlook.

Click Here for the Latest Google Search Results Related to Trends in the Bait Industry.


Looking at bait supplies is something you’ll want to study. It’s a good idea to know about all the types on the market. Some people may ask you about a product you don’t carry, and it’s to your advantage to be knowledgeable about the brands you carry as well as those you don’t.

See the Latest Google Search Results for Bait Shop Supplies.

Top Bait Shops

By reviewing established bait shops, you’ll be able to gain an overview of the industry. You’ll also gain an idea of the pricing and products and services other bait shops are offering.

When you look at multiple bait shops, you may come across something that they are all missing. If you can provide that void, you may have found something that gives you the competitive edge.

Search Google for the Top Bait Shops in Your Area.

Marketing Tips

Business functions such as marketing are critical to the success of any company.

Without customers, you don’t have a business, and without marketing, your customer growth will be limited.

There are a lot of tips online for marketing your bait shop. Take some time to browse through the articles to gain tips and insights that you can use to gain more customers.

Have a Look at the Latest Articles for Marketing a Bait Shop.


Books are another resource you can use to market and run your bait shop. You’ll also find thousands of publications related to fishing.

I like to browse through the table of contents to see what the book has to offer. It’s also worth noting you don’t have to read the book cover to cover, but you can go to the chapters that have the information you’re looking for.

View the Most Recent Google Search Results for Books Related to Fishing and Bait


The news is another method to stay in touch with the industry. Using a site such as Google news allows you to enter a keyword, and you instantly have a list of the most recent and archived news stories related to the bait industry.

See Google’s News Search Results Related to the Bait Industry.


Using YouTube to find out more about the industry is a useful resource.

Whether you’re looking for information to run a bait shop or for tips for fishing, you are sure to find relevant videos. In addition, YouTube‘s search function is highly accurate and will allow you to dive into mini sub-topics related to the bait industry.

See the Most Recent Videos Related to Bait Shops.