I have been breeding reptiles off and on for the past 15 years and have found it extremely rewarding and even financially profitable.
Like many of you, the problem I faced was a loving, supportive wife who would regularly ask, 'How many reptiles do you have now?'
She knows that I love reptiles and didn't want to take away the experience; she didn't want them to take over the house.
This led me to sneak in an extra crested gecko here and there and give a really vague answer to that question I knew was coming… 'How many reptiles do you have now?'
It gave me some anxiety. I didn't want to mislead or lie to my wife. When she tried to pin down a number, and I answered about 15, I knew the number was about 17 or 19 reptiles off the actual number of 32-34!
I know to some degree, many of you face this same dilemma with your partner, spouse, parents, roommates, or possibly a Landlord.
Apply Legal Strategies
I spent 15 years practicing law, and even though I'm a recovering attorney, taking it one day at a time, some of the legal strategies we commonly apply in the courtroom can be used here.
Prepare For All Objections
The number one strategy you must first implore is to remove or address as many of your partner's objections to you starting a reptile business in the house.
The first and most common complaint is the smell from reptiles, dirty tubs, substrates, feeders, and everything else living in your tanks.
Look, this is a legitimate complaint. You can do everything right, and sometimes your reptiles will smell for whatever reason.
This can't happen. You have to commit to keeping the reptile's cages pristine clean, and smell-free, regardless of if you just changed the cage 10 minutes ago.
We had a beautiful Albino T- blood python that would poop and pee like once a month, and when he did, it would fill his cage.
We kept them in these 6-foot vision cages, and it was very time-consuming to get one clean.
One time I guess he only had done half his business because not 10 minutes after I'd thoroughly cleaned his cage, he released the other half… that was a tough two hours, but these are the types of commitments that will allow you to start a reptile business from home.
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Today, we mainly focus on geckos and have found that there are virtually no smells coming from the spare bedroom by cleaning their cages every ten days.
You will need to figure out a regular cleaning schedule and stick to it.
If you can't, you probably shouldn't be increasing the number of reptiles and investing more money into your hobby.
Standard Sample Weekly Reptile Cleaning Schedule
If you want to have a reptile business, you have to do all the things that a business would do, which means that sometimes your job sucks, and one of the suckiest parts about a reptile business is the cleaning and washing of stuff.
It never ends. If you feed them, they reward you by growing and pooping everywhere. If you don't feed them, they die. There's just no way around it; 2/3rds of your time will be spent feeding and cleaning, at least in the beginning.
Embrace it, so the roadblock that is holding up your dreams will support you completely. Let's face it; they have a lot of legitimate reasons to be against you starting a reptile business if you can't keep what you have clean and tidy—just saying.
There may be other good reasons for the roadblock to object to you taking over the spare room. Maybe you have discussed having a child and giving them that room. I'd argue that the reptiles are a trial run to see if you can handle the responsibility of a child.
MOther - in - Law
Or maybe your mother-in-law likes to show up a week every month and use the spare room? Chances are your partner is regretting this situation, too, and may jump at the excellent opportunity for you to start a business, and sorry, Mom, we need that spare room. It would be best if you were prepared for every eventuality and possible complaint.
You can even get hints of those objections by saying things like, 'This spare room just sits here empty. Do you have any ideas on how we could use it to make us some money?'
They may know what you are hinting at and immediately start the objections. Take note, don't argue, file all of them away and start strategizing how to defeat each objection they may have.
Use Jedi Mind Trick
The second strategy you will want to use when attempting to convince someone to agree to something that they usually wouldn't agree to is to convince them that they are winning, or at the least, there is something in it for them.
If you think this kind of sounds like a Jedi mind trick or possibly something involving bribery, you are correct!
Imagine walking in the front door carrying a couple of Reptile Express and Reptiles2You boxes, and you see your loved one start to say something about 'more reptiles'...
And you say, 'These aren't the reptiles you are looking for,' while you clumsily waive your hand out in front of you.
Then you calmly exit stage right, and they never mention it again.
That, my friends, is my life!!!!
Here's how I did it.
Many of you should be able to sit your roadblock down and explain how you can add additional money to the household by breeding reptiles on the side with some well-thought-out mathematics.
In 2021, it was estimated that the reptile industry collectively accounted for 2 billion dollars in revenue in the United States alone.
So, yes, that doesn't include South Korea, the country that buys up all of the best reptiles.
Reptiles Can Be Very Profitable
If you run your reptile business like a business, there is no reason why you shouldn't be profitable within two to three years if you start from year zero with nothing.
But, most of you have a whole menagerie of reptiles and may only need a small investment to ramp up your hobby to a business. If that is the case, you could be profitable this year.
I only caution that you don't Enron the numbers (cook the books, inflate the numbers, possibly mislead the roadblock) because the roadblock is only going to trust you if you give them reason too.
Let's face it, telling someone that isn't in the reptile hobby that you could make 10's of thousands of dollars next year if you can take over the spare bedroom sounds a lot like [insert your favorite word here] (BS, bull shit, kaka, poop, lies, untrue, you may be unbalanced, or any other synonym).
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Now, I'll be honest. I don't care if you drop down a 25-page business plan. They probably aren't going to believe much of it and aren't going to be generous and say, 'Show me, prove it.'
They are just going to thank you for your efforts and they may politely say, 'Fuck No!'
When this happens, all is not lost… this is what happened to me. My wife didn't care how much money the reptiles brought in.
My wife and I are both business professionals with graduate degrees. We live a comfortable life.
What Does Your Roadblock Desperately Want?
So she didn't care if we made a couple of extra racks a year... until she was told how that money would benefit her.
Every person has a weakness for something, maybe its travel, clothes, the day spa, vintage somethings, whatever.
My point is that you need to know what your roadblock loves but, for whatever reason, can't afford or choose not to spend their money on it.
"Top 10 Most Expensive Crested Geckos Sold in 2021!"
See a list of the most expensive crested geckos sold by morph in the US.
That, my friends, is your golden goose. Figure out what that is, and then offer a percentage of your profits to be used to purchase that luxury for the roadblock.
In my case, my wife has a soft spot for luxury handbags. Do you know those outrageous purses that cost thousands of dollars? Yep, she is also a very practical person, and while she could afford to buy more than she already has, she does not because they are super expensive and completely impractical.
But, so is having hundreds of reptiles in your spare bedroom… right? I think you see where we're going with this. My wife now tells her friends she breeds geckos to pay for her luxury handbags.
She even screenshots the best-looking ones and shows her friends pictures of them, most of which she could even tell you their name.
Truth be told, her involvement in the care or breeding of the geckos is minimal, and that is probably being generous. But her excitement when we have beautiful new babies and, more importantly, sell them is real.
I have even gotten her engaged in discussing why we NEED to reinvest all of the money into newer and better reptiles (less her handbag cut). Talk about smoke and mirrors!
My wife supports our reptile business and even supports us buying more and more expensive geckos. Yes, there is a cost, but that is to be expected when you take over the spare bedroom.
When my wife asks, 'How many reptiles do you have now?' She isn't asking because she is upset with the additions. She is doing the math on how many luxury handbags they could potentially bring her in the coming years.
And that is how I convinced my wife to let us start a reptile business in the spare bedroom of our house.
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