Hey all!

I decided to pull the trigger and go another AMA, since the last one was 8 years ago. Here are links to the other two AMAs that I’ve done.



Since then, a TON of folks have sent me PMs about starting their own stores, with several awesome success stories out there. I still get messages from those AMAs on occasion, so I thought it might be a good time to pop back in.

I’m a record store owner in Fort Wayne, IN, and started my first store (Neat Neat Neat Records) in 2011. I sold it at the tail end of 2019 to start another company, but got crushed by Covid just as we were getting ready to roll. I started my current shop (Welcome Back Records) in February of 2022.

If you have questions about starting your own shop, or are curious about the inner workings of the business, feel free to ask away! I’ll do my best to answer every question here.

PROOF -> https://imgur.com/a/mM2AOal

Comments: 199 • Responses: 81  • Date: 

Raiziell35 karma

Nice try Alton Brown, when are we getting the new season of Good Eats!?

NeatX3Records15 karma


TyrannosaurusHives34 karma

Hey there, just want to say you're the man. I remember responding to you about ten years ago saying that I wanted to start my own shop someday, and you sent me a very long and detailed response.

I continue to love and cherish vinyl to this day (frankly it's my whole life) and still hope to open my own store some day. I've been to Neatx3 a few times as my dad has lived in Fort Wayne my entire life, you had an awesome thing going there. Excited to visit the new store.

Don't really have a question, just wanted to say hey and give my support – but since I need one – what's your favorite jazz album?

NeatX3Records17 karma

Awww! So great to hear from you again!

The best time to start a store is 10 years ago. The second best time is now. You can do it! I believe in you!

As far as my favorite jazz record, I'd probably have to go with Giant Steps, since that was my first "real" jazz LP. I do have a strong affinity for folks like Larry Coryell and Mahavishnu Orchestra as well.

MelkMan7-48 karma

No offense dude, but if it's been 10 years already you're probably not gonna open a store.

NeatX3Records24 karma

Oh ye of little faith.


You got any Mojo Nixon?

NeatX3Records18 karma

I guess my store could use some fixin…

eratosthene10 karma

I would love to start a record store in my town, sounds like a really fun job! How do you go about getting started, finding stock, figuring out what to charge for what, etc? I'm mostly interested in used records. There's a giant record convention near me a couple of times a year, but it seems like you'd need $10k or more just to purchase a decent inventory. I'm super curious about all aspects!

NeatX3Records13 karma

I would start scouring your regional Craigslist/FB marketplace and what have you. Pick up entire collections. Sell them all (or most of them) and use that cash to buy more collections. Repeat. After a while you have a really nice inventory to get started with and you’ve got a few months of operating expenses hanging out handy.

Then, find yourself a location, build some racks (or have someone build them for you), get your LLC paperwork filed and you are off and running!

ajdubbstock2 karma

What’s it cost to file LLC paperwork? And then do you file taxes quarterly or annually moving forward? Is it a headache?

NeatX3Records7 karma

If I recall correctly, it was something around $80 to file that? It’s pretty cheap. It may depend on the state that you are in. I just file annually. I recently started using QuickBooks, which I now consider absolutely essential. I run my payroll through it at well, and it makes filing taxes much easier. I just have to make sure to spend time categorizing all the expenses and what have you. My ADHD riddled brain hates that task, but I force myself to do it.

eratosthene2 karma

I'm familiar with QuickBooks and running a small business, having done that for a few years, and I kinda figured buying collections was the way to go. But how do I know I'm getting a good price, that I can actually make a profit from a box of records, without meticulously researching all the albums before purchase? I guess you sort of get a feel for that as you go?

NeatX3Records8 karma

Very much the case on that. Basically, get a VERY good grasp on grading, first and foremost. Discogs is an excellent tool to give you an idea of what you have in your hand and an idea of what the online market value is. I tend to price in my shop somewhere around 15-20% off of Discogs in store.

I’d avoid things like easy listening or Big Band, especially when you are getting started. It takes up a lot of room and doesn’t move. I like to tell folks that I buy “classic rock and better” though certainly I’ve done VERY well with Jazz and blues.

Just because your store has a specialty does not mean it ONLY needs to carry that one thing. I have a very large punk and metal section, and certainly I’m known for that, but I also have a shit ton of LED Zeppelin, because… you know… it’s a record store.

I hope that’s kind of helpful

mjzimmer887 karma

Back for a third time? That's probably a record of its own

NeatX3Records6 karma


PoopPhorPrez6 karma

What is your most requested pressing?

How many people come in saying their record is messed up but they don’t know about speeds?

NeatX3Records18 karma

I certainly get more folks blaming a record when it is most certainly their player, but I too have been fooled by an LP with no speed markings! Here's a funny story...

So, my buddy Nate comes in with his friend from Philly and we are by ourselves in the store. I had just gotten a Leviathan record and I thought I would play it while they were there. I put it on and a few minutes goes by. Nate looks at me and says "What is this?" I say "Leviathan" (thinking obviously he would know). Nate says "Hmmm. Sounds like that might be a little slow."

I was mortified. That was my 5th time listening to that record on the wrong speed.

AngryJirgins7 karma

Not as cool as Leviathan, but I thought it was a little odd that Taylor Swift had featured a bunch of male singers on her latest album. Nope. It was her, but slower.

NeatX3Records2 karma


Kumquats_indeed3 karma

What record player would you recommend for someone just getting into vinyl?

NeatX3Records6 karma

Whenever someone asks me about playback equipment I always ask a few things.

  1. What else do you have? Do you have a receiver? How about speakers? You’ll need both of those.

  2. Do you have a budget in mind?

  3. What is the space that this system is going to inhabit?

All those bits of data give me a great place to make a recommendation.

That being said, I tend to vacillate toward used/vintage gear over new gear.


Leviathan as in Wrest from PDX?

NeatX3Records1 karma

One and the same.


Fuck yeah, great taste. What album was it?!

NeatX3Records5 karma

I THINK it was A Silhouette In Splinters.

In my younger years, I was SUPER snobbish about HOW I would listen to music. I would NEVER listen to anything digitally at all. So, when I got that Leviathan record in a used buy, it was my first time having one in my hands, so I just popped it on and kept flipping it, having ZERO idea it wasn’t supposed to be this monstrous mid tempo crazy doom stuff, but instead straight ahead blistering black metal 🤪

That being said, it’s kind of a fun, interesting listen at 33

vetlemakt1 karma

There are more speed choices than 33 and 45?

NeatX3Records4 karma

Certainly. 78, and even 16 RPM LPs exists, though those were mostly for spoken word (think preacher records) or radio programs.

zombiemann5 karma

I'm a bit late to the party but hoping I can get a response:

Is being super eccentric a requirement to owning a record store or does it just come with the territory?

I don't mean that in a rude or negative way. Every record store owner I've met have been great people. Not creepy or weird or anything like that. Just.... odd.

NeatX3Records6 karma

I’ll keep answering questions on this til they stop coming… no time limit here.

Is it a requirement? Absolutely not. I do think that:

  1. The business does tend to attract a certain, shall we say, temperament.

  2. That temperament does tend to be alienating from other types of “real” work. So, it tends to be the thing that folks gravitate into.

I was never REALLY that way, though I don’t really thrive in a hyper structured environment, and I like to make my own rules and schedules. I frequently say “The worst day working for yourself is better than the best day working for someone else” and I stand by that statement.

kgb175 karma

Ya got any Laserdisc in the back?

NeatX3Records14 karma

I actually bought about 100 really great ones and immediately sold them all to a buddy of mine. I'm sure I could have made more money sticking them in the racks, but do I really want to get into the laserdisc business?

xampl91 karma

My Laserdisc story - In college I worked at an indie store and one of the perks was we could do special-orders at cost. So I ordered a Tangerine Dream title on LD. But the distributor got the format wrong and shipped it on VHS. I wasn’t interested (inferior format!) so the owner just put it on the shelf to sell.

A couple of months later a customer came up and wanted to do a return on the tape. No receipt, said it was a gift. We weren’t computerized yet and kept inventory on sales sheets. Flipping through the last month or so I didn’t see where we had sold it (and I think I would have remembered). Told them we’d only do an exchange, which they weren’t happy about but did.

On reflection the next day, I realized they were a shoplifter. Told everyone to be on the lookout, but I suspect they took their exchange somewhere else and tried to do a receipt-less return there.

Question: Have you noticed an increase in shrink, now that the media is popularizing gang-sized theft?

NeatX3Records3 karma

We have extremely low shrink. I have more shrink from damage (by far) than theft. Every so often I see a CD that got pulled from its case (like… come on. Steal the whole thing)

The vast majority of folks are honest and they want to see you succeed.

theoracle0105 karma

In this day and age, do you consider profit even a driver in a record store business? How do you structure the store in order to be able to support you financially (i.e., business tactics)? What are some of the most sold records? What's the proportion between random people visiting and those actually buying a record? I apologize if the questions are a bit too specific, I'm just curious about the inner workings lf of the biz

NeatX3Records8 karma

I think you HAVE to consider profitability when you are running ANY business, especially brick and mortar retail.

I make sure, first and foremost, to pay myself first. You can’t run a business if you are starving to death.

I take advantage of as much “earned media” as I can throughout the year, especially around RSD, and I’m fortunate to have good friends who work for our local papers and news stations.

Our turn in store is fairly high. It’s kind of a rare occurrence that someone walks out empty handed. You kind of have to make a point to get here anyway, so most folks who come in are on a mission of one sort or another.

The most sold records vary wildly. Some weeks it’s smashing pumpkins, sometimes it’s run of the mill dad rock, sometimes it’s a bunch of crazy free jazz. It kind of depends significantly on what we are seeing walk through the door.

synthdrunk3 karma

To piggyback with a similar question: what percent of your business is mail order (read: discogs/ebay)? I’m wondering if it’s possible to keep retail space open without that kind of supplemental income.

NeatX3Records10 karma

It’s generally about 80% in store and 20% Discogs, but some days it’s reversed. It’s always kind of in flux.

I don’t see Discogs or online sales as supplemental. I just see it as part of the business. There are going to be records you see that you have zero market for locally. Does that mean you shouldn’t sell it to someone who wants it outside of your geographical area? Of course not.

usefully_useless5 karma

What’s your favorite record cleaner?

NeatX3Records15 karma

I used a Vevor ultrasonic currently, and I think it's fine. Not fabulous, but fine. If I had my druthers (and I suppose I do... it's not like anything is stopping me) I would combine the Vevor with a Nitty Gritty vacuum and use the NG to dry the LPs. I really don't like having the records sit out on a rack like dishes drying.

As far as cleaning fluid goes, I make my own. I fill up the tank with distilled water, then I put in a bottle of Splash 99 that I buy from Menards, which is 99% isopropyl alcohol. Then I put in a couple drops of Triton X-100 that I get on Amazon. It makes for a perfect record cleaning solution.

aught-o-mat5 karma

Menards. Your Midwest cred checks out. Save big money!

NeatX3Records3 karma

My family and I recently moved and I’m now about 2 minutes from Menards. I’m there about 4 times a week 😂

Dj_acclaim5 karma

How do you find ultra rare/the rarest releases you own/have bought and sold? Does much of it get traded in? Do you have connections for finding very hard to find items?

NeatX3Records7 karma

If somebody is wanting something very, very specific, sometimes my best best is to find it on discogs and do a deal there to get it for someone. I did that with a Josie and the Pussycats record for a friend. He was looking for one without a punch out, and I found one for $200. Brought it in and charged a slight finders fee. He was happy and it was really not much work on my end.

You would be stunned and amazed at what rare stuff will walk through the door on any given day. Just develop the reputation for being honest and fair, and all the buying opportunities you’ll ever need will come to you.

Dj_acclaim1 karma

Discogs is great. But most of what I want sadly isn't available for sale on there even

NeatX3Records2 karma

Popsike is another good option. They catalog every eBay auction since, say, 2005. It’s pretty helpful on very scarce titles.

spudzilla5 karma

I helped run a record store back in the seventies. Do the labels still send out promotional copies for the store to play? We would play them and then divide them among the staff when they were off the best-seller lists. I had around a thousand discs. Lost most in a flood. Finally sold the rest long ago. Kinda miss the covers but not getting up to change the side, I'm old and lazy now.

NeatX3Records5 karma

Some, like Merge Records, send CDs. A very few will send promo LPs these days. Sub Pop did for a bit, but I don’t think they do anymore.

spudzilla7 karma

Cost wise, it makes sense. My sons collect vinyl now and they really are a bit pissed that I sold mine off as they were all immaculate. I buy them each three new albums for Xmas every year and the price absolutely shocks me every year.

NeatX3Records8 karma

Man, same. It blows my GOD DAMN MIND that a Taylor Swift LP should be $45-60 in store.

spudzilla5 karma

Is there still a market for bootleg albums? I know it is risky, a guy I used to mail order from actually ended up being raided by the Feds and spent time in jail. Miss you, Archie Whitewater. Which of course was never his real name. Got some great Who and Stones live LPs from him.

NeatX3Records4 karma

There is, believe it or not. Especially for modern hip hop LPs by artists who have not released those titles physically, or the original presses are SUPER scarce.

ajdubbstock4 karma

What’s the New/Used breakdown in your store?

NeatX3Records4 karma

It varies pretty wildly. Right now I’m SUPER flush with used stuff, which I’m very thankful for. It’s probably 65/35 used to new at the moment

APurpleTRex4 karma

In what ways has owning a record store contributed to your own collection / record habits? I am considering starting a web distro and feel like I would end up keeping 30% of the stock I order, lol.

NeatX3Records12 karma

I say very often to folks (especially ones starting stores) that I’m in the business of selling records, not collecting them.

That being said, I do tend to listen to stuff significantly left of center in my private time. I tend to fall down little rabbit holes and dig up a bunch of stuff from certain regions and time periods. I’m chasing down a bunch of ex-Yugoslav prog at the moment.

BookeofIdolatry3 karma

Love me some Igra Staklenih Perli.

NeatX3Records2 karma


WoolaTheCalot4 karma

What's the coolest LP jacket design you've ever seen? I'm thinking along the lines of Alice Cooper's School's Out, which folded out to become a school desk...

NeatX3Records6 karma

Man, there’s a boatload of iconic, beautiful and just strange album covers that I love. I love the art for The Slider. Also most of the Coheed and Cambria catalog (especially Vaxis II). Most of the Einsturzende Neubauten catalog as well. I love all the old Blue Note covers, where they all shared a stylistic thumbprint.

I will say, the more “gimmick” laden a sleeve is, the less likely I am to engage with it on that level, out of an abundance of caution. Those tend to see a lot of damage in short order.

RichardCity1 karma

Holy shit. I didn't think I'd see Neubauten come up in this thread. You ever listen to Venetian Snares?

NeatX3Records2 karma

Many years ago. I thought they were fine. Not 100% my thing, but very little is, admittedly.

I find bands like Abwarts and Ton Steine Scherben to have more in common with EN than anything like VS, though I can see where they pulled the inspiration. Hell, listen to Clipping. It sounds like EN produced a rap album.

RichardCity1 karma

Venetian Snares is a local musician I'm really fond of. EN have kind of become irrevocably associated with industrial, and Venetian Snares is sort of industrial adjacent, so I was curious more than anything. Venetian Snares put out an album called Winnipeg is a Frozen Shithole. It, and One Great City by The Weakerthans are really accurate depictions of how Winnipeggers feel about it here. Anyway, sorry for the randomness. If you haven't listened to the song Hajnal by Venetian Snares check it out, it's one of his more listenable tracks. You have a favorite album from EN?

Edit: I checked out Nothing is Safe by clipping. It's cool, thanks!

NeatX3Records2 karma

I tend to lump VS in the same category as Aphex Twin and Autechre. I love all of the EN catalog, but I’d have to say my two favorites are Allie’s Weider Offnen (2008) and Tabula Rasa (1993)

Brxa3 karma

How many records a day do you need to sell to stay profitable?

NeatX3Records7 karma

Sometimes just one, depending on the record!

feltsandwich2 karma

He means how much money you have to make in a day.

NeatX3Records6 karma

(Shhhhh… I’m being a literalist)

The reality is, it all averages out. I can do $200 on a Tuesday and $2k on a Saturday and I’m happy with both, because it all averages out in the end.

ControlYourPoison3 karma

Not to be morbid here but my parents are getting up in age. I’m an only child who will have to clean out the house including about 300 12” and 200-250 45s.

Lots of original Elvis and Beatles. Lots of Motown.

I do have about 100 vinyls myself and I do play them. I am just not into most of them. I know I’m probably the only person who isn’t fond of the Beatles.

What do I do? Are any of them worth anything? Is there a good online resource for prices?

Just trying to plan ahead because I don’t want them to get thrown away.

Thank you!

NeatX3Records12 karma

First off, it is ok to not give a shit about the Beatles. We can start a club! Granted, it will just be you and me, but hey, it’s a start

Good on you for planning ahead for the inevitable. Too many of us get taken by surprise and we are left having to dig out of the mess that is left behind. It’s no fun.

You have a few options 1. Take them to a store and see what they will offer you. If you have a good relationship with a local store already, all the better. MOST folks are going to be honest and fair with you. Keep in mind that they have more costs in a collection than simply purchasing it. Processing takes labor, and marketing it correctly takes money.

  1. You can sell them yourself on Discogs. That will assure that you get the highest dollar amount for what you have. It also puts you in a position of having to keep track of stock, ship stuff on time, grade it appropriately, etc… It’s a time consuming venture, but you’ll see the biggest return.

Makeartandlove2 karma

Best folkways find?

NeatX3Records2 karma

I just brought in a huge collection with a TON of Folkways stuff in it, but my best find was probably the Bernie Sanders "Eugene Debs" LP. Had the book in it and everything.

WelfordNelferd2 karma

Have you read the book Music Shop? I thought it was a tad quirky and somewhat drawn out, but it's about a guy who had a record store and held fast to only selling vinyls...and all he went through to try to keep it going.

NeatX3Records1 karma

I think I might have a copy of that, though I don’t recall having read it.

WelfordNelferd2 karma

Despite the quirkiness, the author has quite the way with words to describe the attraction to (and nostalgia for) vinyl. Best wishes with your store!

NeatX3Records2 karma


deathlord90002 karma

If you were to leave Ft. Wayne tomorrow and never return, what meals or dishes would you eat from the area?

NeatX3Records6 karma

That.... is a fabulous question.

Tuna Balsamico from Henrys

8 pc Wings from Zebs

King burger meal from King Gyro

Eggs in Purgatory from Junk Ditch

Roasted bones from Tolon

Literally anything from Chance Bar

Patatas from Bravas

We are definitely blessed with good eats here in the Fort.

ControlYourPoison1 karma

Can you please elaborate on the - adjusts glasses - eggs in purgatory and roasted bones please? 🤣

NeatX3Records2 karma

The roasted bones are an appetizer that Tolon has kept on their menu since, I believe, their inception. It’s essentially a cow femur split down the middle and roasted, served with some pickled onions and something akin to a chimichurri sauce and toast points. You eat the marrow and then are able to die happy immediately thereafter.

I have a hard time explaining the Eggs in purgatory. It has a kind of southern Italian thing going on. Almost like a Shakshuka.

fldsld2 karma

Hi, I have a few boxes of 78's from the early 20th century, some were my moms, pre-WWII stuff, and her moms, from earlier. I bought a Victrola and have listened to a few of them. My question is what should I know about them, storing, playing, etc.? I play the Victrola for my grandkids sometimes, and they are fascinated how the doors are the volume controls.

NeatX3Records3 karma

If you clean them, do not use alcohol at all. It will destroy the record. Just use clean water with a touch of surfactant in it. Store them the same way you would any other LP or 45

ajdubbstock2 karma

What’s your discogs name? Can you send a link?

throw123454321purple2 karma

What’s the most expensive LP that you’ve ever had in your store?

NeatX3Records8 karma

Not an LP, but I did have an original Love Buzz 45 that came in on consignment. Sold it for $2500 within a couple days

CGordini2 karma

I have a like-new copy of Grace by Jeff Buckley, and it skips right at the peak of "Lover, You Should Have Come Over".

Is there anything I can do to salvage it? Because DAMN THIS SUCKS.

Also, why is it so hard to find a copy of Solomon Burke's greatest hits?

NeatX3Records1 karma

I would take a close look at the LP in bright light and see what might be causing that. Is it heat warping? Is there a bit of sneeze in there that’s dried up? Try giving it a very thorough cleaning and see what that does.

As for Solomon Burke, the main pressing of that was 1962. It looks like there was a 1970s pressing of that, but I bet it didn’t get out there much, as the buying public would have moved on by then. You’d have to find an OG copy out in the wild, which means the stars need to align in just the right way.

Certainly, there are copies out there. It’s just a somewhat scarce record that didn’t see a vast series of reissues.

Ok-Feedback56042 karma

How's your business doing?(i mean in this computer generated and artificial sound creating machines' era?

NeatX3Records2 karma

You know, we are in our second year and it’s starting to stabilize. I’m feeling good about it. First year out the gate is always tough. By the time we are in our 4th year, I think it will be very solid.

ConstableGrey2 karma

Are new-stock records shipped in any special way to avoid damage? Or just a bunch plopped in a box?

NeatX3Records5 karma

The boxes that most reputable distributors use are very good indeed. They are frequently 14x16 boxes with double walled padding on the inside. It’s much cheaper to do that than take returns due to bent corners.

kimdworld2 karma

What qualifications do you need to start a business as a record store owner? I’m only 29 but I currently only have around 300 records in my personal collection, although I do want to start a modern indie shop in my town one day (I live in Alaska, and we only have one record shop in my town) Do you have any tips in trying to create a good inventory? Do you think used modern indie music could be profitable enough as much as classic albums?

NeatX3Records3 karma

I bet that shop is Obsession records. I’ve been there. I’ve got the shirt and everything!

You need exactly zero qualifications. I am living proof of that. You just need to care (and that’s optional, as is plainly evident)

You’ll need to file for your LLC and get registered with the state of Alaska to get your retail merchant certificate which allows you to collect sales taxes. That’s pretty much it.

kimdworld4 karma

Yes! That’s the one. They’re a great shop and the owners/staff are very friendly. However, I do wish they sold more modern indie (I was so spoiled with shopping for albums in Portland, Oregon)

I do appreciate that they’re pretty diverse with their selections though. :)

Thank you! I want to try to buy bulk collections and attempt a small business in a couple of years. The process seems intimidating but I guess it’s just about taking one step at a time

NeatX3Records3 karma

Indeed. Granted, you are fairly isolated there in Anchorage, so I don't know how reasonable it is to take a day trip somewhere to get stock and bring it back into town, but that is certainly a good way to do it. Also, keep your eyes on local FB marketplace and Craigslist ads. Sell stuff off on discogs and hoard the cash for a bit until you have a couple months of operating expenses built up.

jasper_grunion2 karma

Why is there cheap vinyl, like the crap you get at guitar center, and 180 gram vinyl like what I get at my independent music store? I only ask because sometimes my son buys the cheap version, and it invariably has a major scratch or skip on it. I don’t understand how vinyl pressing works but I feel in the old days there was generally one version of a major release and it was the high quality one.

NeatX3Records3 karma

I actually know who GC orders all their vinyl from (Alliance Entertainment) and I am pretty sure they don’t do exclusive colors or anything like that (like Walmart, Target, B&N, etc…) They get stock from the same types of places we do.

That being said, how they “display” and care for the records that they have in stock could use some work, to say the least.

defmeddle2 karma

Ok this is a super specific reference but you might get it as you own a record store..

You got that new RnB single by Dugan Nash??

NeatX3Records1 karma

Snarf snarf

ScientificAnarchist2 karma

Anyone make you spin right round?

NeatX3Records4 karma

There’s the band called Chardonnay from NOLA that just guts me with every listen. Their album is called “ Do You Have Maximum Intuition?”

It is nothing short of GLORIOUS.

ScientificAnarchist2 karma

I’m gonna give them a go!!

NeatX3Records2 karma

My favorite tracks are probably “Right To Survival” and “Book Cyst” with the rest of the album coming in a very very close second place.

ScientificAnarchist2 karma

If your book has a cyst do you call a doctor or a librarian?

NeatX3Records2 karma


ScientificAnarchist2 karma

That’s a great band name

NeatX3Records2 karma

Let’s do it. I’ll play bass. You do everything else. It’ll be great.

suddenefficiencydrop2 karma

Thanks for taking the time, I really appreciate it.

I am sitting on a small DJ's collection (1300-1400) that I want to downsize by probably 75% via Discogs to kick out anything I won't realistically play anymore or see a personal value in.

I have two questions: How 'fluent' can one get in grading, do I really need to inspect every little scratch or will a quick estimate do? And based on your experience, would you recommend taking the time to fix/improve records and sleeves to raise their value (remove old price tags, fresh inner sleeves, glue broken edges, ...)?

Thanks again!

NeatX3Records1 karma

Thanks for your questions!

I’ll just go by me experience and what my gut tells me when I am looking at records.

You need to be very acquainted with Goldmine grading, as that is the system that Discogs has adopted. That being said, I firmly believe there is a grade between Near Mint and VG+ that Goldmine does not account for. I call that NM-. I’ll list the item as VG+ and then remark in the notes that it is, in fact, NM-

Just be as descriptive and as honest as you can be when talking about the grade for any particular piece. Surprises are for birthdays and Christmas.

As far as inner sleeves, I think we need to ask what kind of DJ are we talking about? Techno/house DJ? Old school radio DJ/Rock jock? I think you can KIND OF be a little more lax with an EDM DJ collection, but really not much. Replacing missing inner sleeves is good practice. You don’t have to get archival rice paper audiophile sleeves or anything like that. Just plain die cut sleeves are fine 99% of the time.

As far as “fixing “ outer sleeves, I do that only minimally. If the glue holding the side has come loose (which is very common) I have no problem getting glue stick in there to fix it. With price stickers, I tend to leave them alone unless they are super egregious. I had a 1st press Stooges S/T LP that had a 3” $1 sticker on the front. I spent about 2 hours getting that one off 😂

suddenefficiencydrop1 karma

Neat, thanks for your reply! I just have to put in the time for proper grading I guess🤷🏻‍♂️ The biggest part of the collection is House/Techno. But hey, when I order a pack of inner sleeves for the albums, I might just order a bigger batch.

Aaah, follow up question: Do you think I can get away with pizza boxes for delivery?

NeatX3Records1 karma

Only if you want lots of negative feedback! Please don’t ship in pizza boxes. Pizza boxes are for pizza. Record mailers are for records.

Go to www.4bubble.com and order their 100 pc pack. It has 100 boxes and 200 pads. The price includes shipping.

BCW is a pretty good place to order inner and outer sleeves.

suddenefficiencydrop1 karma

Aw damn, I could grab some pizza boxes for free... I'm kind of hesitant to invest since, you know, I won't be a shop owner. But you're right, I'll just sit on my stock if feedback is bad.

NeatX3Records1 karma

It’s not an investment, per se, it’s a cost. Just like inner sleeves.

You make up (most) of the cost with your shipping fees. $5 for the first record, $1 per each additional. Hopefully, a portion of your customers purchase more than one record. It all evens out in the end.

If I ordered a record and it showed up in a pizza box, it would not make me think positively about the seller, even if the record (miraculously) showed up perfect. You want your customers to feel happy, warm fuzzy thoughts about you when they receive a package from you. Taking care to ship properly goes a long way to doing that. Shipping in a pizza box is the equivalent of shipping something in a trash bag.

suddenefficiencydrop0 karma

But, but, it would be new pizza boxes... Nevermind, I got your point. Thanks again for your time!

NeatX3Records1 karma

It could be a brand new trash bag too… same difference.

Let’s look at it this way. You stand to profit at LEAST a couple thousand bucks, and maybe quite a bit more, by selling those one at a time on Discogs. A 1400 pc collection isn’t nothing. You are also in it for kind of the long haul. It’s going to take a year or so to move through all of those, and it’s going to take daily management, with shipping, customer interaction, yadda yadda.

Not to be harsh (hopefully you read this with my correct tone of voice, firm but kind), but you are embarking on a business venture, even if it is a short term one. To be successful at it, you’ll need to shift your mindset to think of it in that way. It’s not a pile of shit you are trying to offload, you are looking to make valuable additions to someone’s else’s collection. That means treating those little pieces of plastic with respect. That respect comes through on the other end.

Johnny_B_Asshole1 karma

Do,you want to buy my records?

NeatX3Records2 karma


toilet_seat_pisser1 karma

Ok what disks are the perfect size for my orlando t500?

NeatX3Records1 karma

I’m not familiar with that model, but if it is a standard record player, you should be able to play standard 12” LPs and 7” 45s. Feel free to DM me a photo of it if you’d like.

HerbTarlekWKRP1 karma

Hey glad you did this! Can’t think of all the questions I had but do you have any RIDE on vinyl in your store?

NeatX3Records1 karma

Not currently, but you should check out Summerteeth on Really Rad Records.

rsplatpc1 karma

Do you have any Kevin McMahon albums? (Lucky Pierre / Prick) those are kinda hard to find

NeatX3Records2 karma

Prick got reissued recently. I just sold a copy to Gwen from Blind Rage (Dayton Record store)

I’ve never run into any Lucky Pierre stuff. I bet Charles from My Minds Eye has though.

rsplatpc1 karma

Prick got reissued recently.

the 2017 or was there another more recent?

NeatX3Records2 karma

The 2017 is the most recent IIRC

O_vJust1 karma

Do Black Sabbath/Ozzy records still sell?

NeatX3Records2 karma

Sure. I mean, not every day, but they are certainly worth stocking. Same with Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, LED Zeppelin, Beatles, Stones… they are all classics and deserve space in the racks.

jennifah131 karma

Is it annoying when customers ask if you can special order something?

NeatX3Records2 karma

Not at all! I like folks letting me know what they are in to. It helps me curate my shop.

Now, putting stuff on hold and not coming to get it? THAT’S annoying.

seanliam2k1 karma

What's the average profit margin for records sold in your shop?

NeatX3Records1 karma

Again, that varies wildly. For new LPs, it would be hard to expect anything over a 30% profit margin. RSD titles are significantly slimmer than that, and are primarily categorized (in my head, anyway) as “door buster” titles. They are the titles that get people in the door, and hopefully they buy other stuff that is actually profitable.

Dollar stock or budget bin records are generally ALL profit, meaning they are the records that you take along with the other stuff that you actually WANT to buy. When I calculate in my head an offer, I generally calculate very little (if anything at all) for stuff that I know is going to immediately hit my dollar bin. I also don’t really expect that stuff to sell, but if it does, great.

For better used stuff, the margin varies quite a bit. If it’s something I know I have a customer for right away (meaning later that afternoon) I might give a little more for it, just so I can call that client and make their day. Otherwise, I’m shooting for 30-50% of what the I store retail price will be.

Keep in mind, there are far more costs to a used LP than simply buying it. Processing takes labor ($$$) Marketing takes $$$ The space in the rack needs to be filled with compelling titles that people are excited to see, which requires curation. My landlord likes to get paid every month. If he doesn’t, he gets testy. Yadda yadda…

Hopefully that’s helpful.

effortissues1 karma

I have a couple of crates full of records i was looking to sell on ebay. Is it true i can go to a record store like yours and get free record shipping boxes?

NeatX3Records1 karma

That really depends on the store. The boxes that I would give away for free would be the larger Distro boxes that show up with my orders from distributors. Regular LP mailers I sell for a couple bucks each. If you need a bunch of them, go to www.4bubble.com and get 100 with 200 pads.

Lmnolmnop1 karma

how much do you make in a good year?

NeatX3Records2 karma

That varies wildly from store to store. I have friends who have shops that consistently hit 1.2-1.4M in a year. I think my best year was around $500k gross.

wigoutrecords1 karma

Out of that 500k gross, how much went to taxes that year? Not understanding tax issues is the only thing keeping me from setting up my own store or going to town selling like crazy on discogs.

NeatX3Records1 karma

Step 1: Get a smart accountant. An accountant worth his salt will pay for him or herself 30x over. Having a smart accountant has saved me literally tens of thousands of dollars in taxes.

Step 2: Deduct EVERY LITTLE THING. Your milage. Every buy. All the selling fees. Every consumable. Your shipping boxes. Everything.

wigoutrecords1 karma

Assuming you put a great deal of your own collection in the shop when you started out. If you remember, about how many did you have in your collection at the time? How many of those ended up hitting the shelves versus what you kept?

I have so many questions for you. I gotta say that I think it’s awesome you are taking the time to do this AMA.

NeatX3Records1 karma

No worries! I’m glad to be able to do it!

Very little of my personal collection hit the shelves of my store. To be Frank, my tastes are odd enough that I am 100% of the local market for a lot of the stuff I listen to 🤣

That being said, I certainly have sold off plenty of my own stuff in my shop over time. Just depends on if I feel like it would be a draw to bring folks in.

AlfaBetaZulu1 karma

What's the most obscure record anyone has asked for?

Who is your top selling artist/band?

Who are your top 3 favorite artists/bands?

What is the most expensive record in your shop right now? How much is it?

I love my local music store. I still collect cd's though. Lol. But the ones by me do really well and have very dedicated shoppers including myself. I really appreciate what you do. And good luck with the new store. Positively records is my go to shop but we also have the Princeton record exchange which is a pretty massive record store. We have another called the record collector. I'm pretty lucky to have a pretty booming music store scene by me. I know most aren't as lucky and don't even get to have a pick on where they go.

Free upvote if you know my avatar without looking it up? It's an album cover.....

NeatX3Records4 karma

  1. I used to get asked for Vulfpeck all the time back when they would only press 250 copies of any one album. That was annoying. Yesterday, someone asked if I had a copy of Soft Boys “Underwater Moonlight@ floating around. It got reissued in 2011, but it’s been out of print since then.

  2. That really depends on the day. Sometimes it’s Smashing Pumpkins, some days it’s Miles Davis… it depends on what walks in the shop.

  3. I’d probably say, right at this very moment, Einsturzende Neubauten, Chardonnay, and Twin Temple. That will change sometime tomorrow afternoon.

  4. Probably the mono John Coltrane Love Supreme that just came in.

Nice Harry Nilsson avatar

duseless1 karma

Sorry I'm late, you have any comments on Doug Moody, Mystic Records, an why my small town record shop (Positivity 4th) suddenly had their whole inventory on hand in the early 90s? Olympia, wa, rumor was the owner had a nefarious past; drugstore cowboy comes up in local circles, but I was only 16

NeatX3Records2 karma

I don’t really know a ton about Mystic, though I can imagine being the cool guy record store in the early 90s and probably ordering a bit of everything in the catalog, just to have it. I do that with labels sometimes. I definitely did it with Triple B recently, as well as Sepruchral Voice out of Germany.


How much do you profit off each sale?

NeatX3Records1 karma

That varies wildly. Sometimes it’s 100% profit (in the case of budget or dollar stock) Sometimes I lose money, especially if the items in question have lost significant value in between the time I bought it and the time it is sold. I’ve had pieces that were a couple hundred dollars fall through the floor and sell for $40.

Needless to say, it all averages out in the end.


Thank you for replying! My question was a little vague , what I truly wanted to ask was, in the case of a brand new record , on a average, what’s the mark up on those?

NeatX3Records1 karma

I answered that in another question. That also varies quite a bit. 30% is a rough average, but RSD titles can be significantly less. Record stores stay open because of previously owned products. I can’t think of a store aside from, perhaps, Rough Trade NYC that makes their entire living on new vinyl and/or CDs

imnotdown851 karma

What's a band that you pretend to like so music nerds don't burn your place down?

NeatX3Records2 karma

Steely Dan

Lmnolmnop1 karma

Are you interested in collections?

My pops has like an entire wall of classical music,

It's a collection or collections, I believe,

but it's from the 70s and just OOC, is it worth anything?

NeatX3Records2 karma

Classical stuff is pretty tough. I have quite a bit of it, but the majority of it is super run of the mill. 20th century composers and avant garde/experimental composers can do pretty well. You can educate yourself as to what to look for by doing some clever Popsike searches and seeing what is bringing big money.

MOST classical records have very little resale value, and the ones that are saleable need to be as close to mint as it gets.

I definitely keep my eyes open for Janos Starker and Gary Karr.

tremendosaur1 karma

Hey - thanks for doing this!

I've been thinking about this for some time - it may be a pipe dream but the corporate world is slowly destroying my soul. We've talked about it at home and I have the support to take the plunge if I decide to. A few questions:

1) Is it viable to run a brick & mortar without focusing on used inventory? I feel like I don't know enough to get a sense of what is and isn't a good used purchase.

2) Forgive such a basic question...but does new stock come directly from labels or are you primarily dealing with a distributor? Is it multiple distributors or do these businesses largely cover 90% of the releases?

3) Do you do much for online sales outside of a Discogs store?

4) Do you have any recommendations on inventory management / POS systems?

5) What kind of margins are you typically making on new inventory? I have to imagine your discount rates probably aren't justifying a lot of movement when you're up against Target / Urban Outfitter / Best Buy spends from the same distributors?

I have a million more questions but I'll pause it there. I expect I'd be taking a significant pay cut...but again the constant pressure of managing a corporate business focused purely on NR growth and EBITA stability is absolutely exhausting.

NeatX3Records1 karma

Like I said before, the worst day working for yourself is better than the best day working for someone else.

To answer your questions:

  1. I suppose you could? But my question would be , why would you? There are literally millions of records out there waiting to be sold to a new collector. The profit margin in used is vastly better than new records, and I can’t tell you how many of my customers trade in “old” stuff (sometimes still sealed, I swear) to get something else. Also, you will have a significant portion of your client base that ONLY buy used records (frequently they are chasing down a specific pressing of something)

The used business is what keeps your rent paid and the lights on. The only store I know of that is 100% new titles is Rough Trade NYC.

  1. I try to buy new stock as direct as possible. That means setting up relationships with everyone from Sub Pop and Merge to Jackpot, Roachleg and Triple B.

I also buy from what I think of as “mid level” distributors like Secretly Canadian, Redeye, Midheaven, Rev, places like that. Those generally have a “Shtick” that they stay in (like Rev is mostly punk and hardcore, Secretly is mostly indie rock… etc)

Then you have One Stop distribution. They carry just about everything. Those would be Alliance, All Media Supply and Ingram.

  1. All of my online business is via Discogs. Every so often I’ll do something on my Big Cartel page, but that’s mostly preorders.

  2. I was a long time Lightspeed user, and then I found out about Thunder POS. It’s fabulous. It taps into the Discogs Database to build inventory. That alone is worth the price of admission

  3. Bigger stores MAY get a better deal on product than I do, but also keep in mind they are willing to make much less (or even lose money) to get people in the door. UO and other chains (like Newbury Comics, Target, Walmart, etc) can also pony up for exclusive colors (which you could too, if you were willing to buy 500+ copies of a single LP)

So, long story short, I tend to not buy titles that those places dig in really hard on. I’m not going to be able to be competitive there, so I compete by being a place where people can come find new things, find their next favorite album that they’ve never heard of, and by being the best store I can be with what I have at my disposal. There are LOTS of reasons my clients come to me, and it’s rarely based solely on price.

Jim1051 karma

There is a scene from the movie PCU about the guy telling his friend that was going to a concert not to wear the shirt of the band at the concert.

"Don't be that guy."

Can you explain why wearing the bands' merchandise is frowned upon?

NeatX3Records2 karma

I think, MAYBE, the smaller the show, the more awkward it could potentially be? Like, if you are at a massive arena or stadium show, I doubt anyone would think twice. A basement show? Maybe? I dunno. I’m of the mind that folks do what they are going to do and it’s not my concern.

Reddit_Bot_IV0 karma

When is the last time you used your dinker? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

NeatX3Records1 karma

Je ne Parle Pas Francais.

NeatX3Records1 karma