I see frequently that people that are new to the industry are coming in with champagne wishes and caviar dreams... "I am going to buy a few female morphs, a male morph and I will make a TON of money in this, because look at the prices of those combinations out there!"
And the most glaring thing I see is that people do NOT account for the cost of doing business with animals as your "stock" item.
So let's go over it, shall we?
Housing: Rack Systems are a valuable resource, but recall that they need Thermostats to control temperature, they need electricity to run said temperatures, as well as the need for tubs, a source of bedding, be it wood or paper, as well as hides, water bowls, and cleaning supplies for the housing. I am adding Incubators here because that is housing of the eggs...
Rack System: $100 (homemade) up to $2-3k+
Thermostats: $25 (cheap) to $300+
Electricity: $Variable dependant on the amount used, monthly expense
Tubs: $1-$15+ each, dependant
Bedding: $0-$30+, dependant, monthly expense
Hides: $1-$5+ each, dependant
Cleaning Supplies: $5-$50+, dependant (Chlorhexidine is cheap to expensive depending on the % purity)
Incubators: $50-$300+, dependant
Food: Rats are not cheap, and although mice are cheaper, an adult animal can eat more than one at one feeding, so the costs tend to be equivalent. If you intend to breed your own rodents, the cost also needs to be factored in.
Rats: $1-$5+ each, per week per animal (possibly more)
Mice: $0.50-$2+ each, per week per animal (possibly more)
Rodent Food: $10-$20+ a bag, dependant, monthly expense
Rodent Racks: $75-$200, dependant
Water/Utilities: $10-$50+, (air conditioning for seasonal changes) dependant monthly expense
Space: This is rather arbitrary, but if you are doing business, this is an important thing to think about. Where are you keeping these animals? Renting a location is one thing, but most people do it out of their homes or a facility on their property. This means that you have to consider the utilities again for the location in which you are keeping your animals.
Water: $10-$50+, monthly expense
Electricity: $10-$50+, monthly expense
Space Cost: $TBD dependant on your location
Environmental Controls: $20-$100+ dependant on your location, monthly expense
(NOTE: Seasonal changes will make things more expensive)
Miscellaneous: This falls under Vet visits, Reptile Vending costs, etc... These can vary depending on your animal number, and your intent for your business, but keep in mind that these are all costs to pay attention to.
These include but is not limited to: Website design and upkeep, internet costs, advertising costs on forums and otherwise, reptile shows and vending costs, veterinarian costs and medications, shipping costs including boxes and heating/cooling packs, and other items.
And last but not least....
Animal Cost: This should be the final factor in your decisions to purchase an animal. This cost should be dependant upon your ability to cover the costs that were addressed previous to this point.
IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY MORE THAN JUST FOR THE ANIMAL, YOU SHOULD RE-EVALUATE YOUR PLANS.
And note, the more animals you have, the more expensive the overhead to keep them.
So keep a cool head, calm and collected.. Look over everything you WANT to do, and then look over what you CAN.
Then, I say "Go for it!"
Have a great day, my friends!