The Price of Time: Starting a Watch Shop on a Shoestring

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  • TOP-7 KPI Metrics
  • Running Expenses List
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  • How To Increase Business Profitability?
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  • How To Build a Financial Model: Guide
  • How To Raise Capital: Guide
  • How to Value this Business?


For anyone looking to enter the watch retail industry, there are opportunities to make good profits and expand your business. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, more than 40.6 million watches were exported in April 2019. This reveals the growing demand for high-end and affordable watches, giving budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to start a successful and potentially lucrative watch retail business.

However, starting a watch shop is not as easy as it gets. To ensure your business is successful from the start, you need to invest in the necessary equipment and resources. Although, depending on the business model, size, and type of watches you sell, the cost of getting started can vary significantly.


start-up costs

Starting a watch store requires a considerable investment which can range from ,000 to ,000 depending on your specific needs and the size of your store. Here are some of the common start-up costs for launching a watch boutique:

Article Cost
Register a business name – 0
Rent commercial premises 0 – ,000 / month
Design and create a website ,000 – ,000
Invest in security systems 0 – ,000
Purchase Watch Inventory ,000 – ,000
Hire employees 0 – ,000 / month
Company presentation 0 – ,000
Purchase of office supplies 0 – 0
Set up accounting software 0 – ,000
TOTAL: ,250 – ,000

Register a business name

When it comes to starting a watch store, an important step is to register a business name. Depending on where you live, the cost and process for registering a business name can vary. In the United States, for example, you will likely need to register your business with the Secretary of State in the state you plan to conduct business.

Generally, the cost of registering a business name in the United States ranges from to 0 , depending on the state. For example, in California it will cost to register a business name, while in Delaware it will cost . Beyond the registration fee, there may be other fees, such as document filing fees. The length of the process can also vary by state, but is usually complete within a week.

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For businesses operating outside of the United States, the cost and process to register a business name will vary by jurisdiction. For a more detailed overview of the costs and process for registering a business name in your area, contact your local sales office.

Rent commercial premises

Starting a watch boutique requires renting appropriate business premises. Costs and processes vary based on size, location, and other criteria. Although renting a small space can run into a few thousand dollars, the costs can be much higher when renting a large store and negotiating with a commercial landlord. This is especially true for popular slots due to high levels of competition. Landlords also require tenants to post a bond and sometimes proof of insurance.

When it comes to the cost of renting a business premise, there are many variables to consider. On the low end, it can cost between 0 and ,000 per month to rent a small retail space, depending on the area of the premises and other factors. On the high end, renting a large space in a popular shopping plaza, mall, or downtown could run anywhere from ,000 to ,000 per month .

Additionally, there may be additional costs when renting a commercial premise which include, but are not limited to:

  • Security Deposits: It is not uncommon for commercial landlords to ask tenants to pay a security deposit which can range from one to three months rent.
  • Insurance: Most landlords require tenants to purchase liability insurance for protection if someone is hurt or injured on the premises.
  • Utilities: Landlords generally require tenants to pay for their own utilities such as electricity and water.
  • Improvement costs: Landlords often require tenants to bear the costs of any improvements to their premises to make it suitable for business, such as painting and other repairs.

It is important to factor all of these costs into the budget when starting a watch store. Renting a business premise can be a considerable expense and should not be underestimated. Researching the local market and looking at other possible options is the best way to try to keep these costs to a minimum.

Design and create a website

If you are planning to open a watch store, creating a website is a must to reach more customers. Most customers will visit your website before coming to the store. Setting up a basic website can typically cost up to ,000 , while more elaborate websites can cost up to ,000 . A basic website usually includes 5 web pages, web hosting and domain registration fees.

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If you need to produce content for your website, such as photography and writing, this will also increase the cost. Professional photography usually costs -0 per hour, depending on the complexity of the shoot. Copywriting generally costs -0 per page. For example, if you want to have 5-10 pages of content, you would need to add 0-,000 to the website design and development cost.

You may consider starting an e-commerce or online store to offer online retail services. This is usually a bit more expensive than creating a basic informational website. The cost of developing an e-commerce website is usually around ,000 to ,000 , while the cost of maintaining and hosting the website can range from 0-00 annually. Of course, this amount is subject to change depending on factors such as the complexity of your website.

Finally, if you want to make your website mobile responsive, you may need to add additional costs to your development. Typically, the cost to make a mobile responsive website is around 0-,000 .

Invest in security systems

The cost of investing in security systems for a watch store can vary greatly depending on the types of security measures you choose to install. The most basic type of security system for a watch boutique is an alarm system. A basic alarm system for a boutique will typically start at 0 USD and can go up from there depending on the complexity of the system.

For added security, you may want to add CCTV cameras. The cost of CCTV cameras can range from 0 to ,000 per camera , depending on the quality of the camera and whether it is wired or wireless. Additionally, you need to factor in the cost of the monitor and recording system for video footage, which can cost anywhere from 0 to ,000 , depending on the size of the store and the number of cameras.

You can also invest in other security features, such as motion sensors, access control systems, or revolving door systems. Depending on the type and complexity of the system, these can range from 0 to ,000 .

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Finally, you can choose to invest in an off-site monitoring system where a third-party service is notified if there is an alarm triggered in the store. This type of service typically costs 0 to 0 per year , depending on the security provider.

Purchase Watch Inventory

When it comes to opening a new watch store, one of your main expenses is going to be buying watch inventory. The cost of this can vary greatly depending on the types of watches you choose to stock.

You may decide to go for cheaper and lower end watches that come in lower prices. These can range from for base models to 0 for midrange options. If you decide to go with this type of inventory, you won’t need to invest a huge amount of capital up front.

At the other end of the scale, you can choose to stock more expensive watches, such as those made by luxury watch brands. In this case, the costs could range from 0 to ,000 or more.

A recent survey of watch store owners found that they spent an average of ,526.20 on their initial inventory of watches. This is a significant amount of money, so you’ll need to make sure you’re well capitalized to accommodate it.

Whichever price range you decide to go for, you will also need to consider the cost of delivery and any import duties that may be due. Again, these costs will vary depending on the types of watches you buy.

For example, if you buy the watches in the United States, you will not have to deal with import fees. On the other hand, if you decide to buy overseas, you might face hefty additional fees.

You will also need to make sure that any watches you buy are genuine. If you end up stocking fake watches, you could face heavy legal penalties as well as reputational damage.

Overall, the cost of buying watch inventory will largely depend on the type and quantity of watches you choose. However, a good rule of thumb is to factor in at least ,500 per watch store when budgeting for your initial inventory.

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Hire employees

Employees are one of the biggest costs associated with opening a watch store. Depending on the size of the store and the complexity of the operation, hiring employees can cost thousands of dollars and take up a significant portion of the budget. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for skilled workers in the retail industry is .45 per hour. Therefore, the cost of hiring a full-time employee in this sector averages ,944.00 per month . This cost can increase depending on other benefits offered to the employee, such as health insurance, vacation pay and bonuses, as well as taxes and other business-related expenses.

In addition to basic salary and benefit costs, watch store owners face additional costs associated with recruiting and onboarding new employees. These costs may include:

  • Jobs and Advertising Spend
  • Application fee and background check
  • Interview and hiring fees
  • Training and integration costs
  • Equipment costs for uniforms or equipment

These costs can quickly add up and can range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. Integration costs vary greatly depending on the size of the store and the complexity of the operations. Small stores may not need to spend as much, while larger stores may need to invest in more employee training and marketing.

Hiring responsible and reliable staff is essential for any watch store. It’s also important to have a reasonable budget when planning to open a watch store, as hiring costs can quickly become expensive if not managed properly. It is important to consider these costs when developing a budget for the boutique to ensure that the watch store has enough cash flow to cover these costs.

Company presentation

Advertising your watch store is a key part of introducing customers and growing your business. Advertising can raise awareness of your store and give potential customers the confidence to buy with you. However, advertising costs can vary greatly depending on the medium used and the length of the advertising campaign.

The Cost of advertising per medium is generally as follows:

  • Traditional Advertising – This includes print advertising in newspapers/magazines, billboards, TV/radio spots, etc. Cost estimates are between ,000 and ,000 depending on the medium and the length of the campaign.
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – This involves placing ads with top search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. Costs vary widely based on keywords, bids, and other factors. Expect to pay anywhere from ,000 to ,000 depending on the reach of the campaign.
  • Social media advertising – Advertising with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn can be relatively profitable. You can expect to spend anywhere from 0 to 00 depending on the reach of the campaign.
  • Digital signage advertising – This is similar to traditional advertising but takes place online. This involves placing ads on websites and apps that your target audience visits. Costs vary depending on the platform and the nature of the campaign, but you can expect expenses to be between 0 and 00 per month.
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Overall, the cost of advertising really depends on the reach of the campaign and the media used. Some campaigns can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, while others can go into the thousands for a longer term effort. As a new business, it’s wise to start small and experiment with different platforms to determine the best ROI.

Purchase of office supplies

When it comes to starting a watch store, one of the initial costs is buying office supplies. Although office supplies don’t require a large amount of up-front capital, they add up and should be factored into your budget. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics , the average annual cost of purchasing office supplies in the United States was ,174 per employee in 2019 .

Essential office supplies you can expect to purchase when starting a watch boutique include:

  • Computers / Laptops
  • Printer / scanner / fax
  • Office chairs and tables
  • Filing cabinets and storage bins
  • Lighting and decorations
  • Software and computer programs
  • Telephone, voicemail and voicemail system
  • Porter station and other mailroom supplies
  • Office supplies such as stationery, paper and pens
  • cleaning supplies

Some of these supplies, such as furniture and computers, can be relatively expensive, while others like stationery and pens can be relatively inexpensive and purchased in bulk. Prices vary greatly depending on the quality, size and brand of items you purchase. Be sure to shop around and compare prices to get the best deals. Plus, you can also find deals on used items like furniture or computers if you’re willing to shop around.

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Finally, it is important to consider the cost of shipping and handling when purchasing office supplies. Many retailers offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount, so be sure to take advantage of that when you can. The cost of shipping and handling will vary depending on the size and weight of the items ordered.

Set up accounting software

While this may seem like a lower priority to focus on when setting up a watch store, investing in an accounting system is essential as soon as you set up shop. Accounting software enables automated tracking features and expense and payroll controls. According to, in 2019 the median cost of setting up accounting software is ,476 USD to cover the initial purchase and setup of the software.

In addition to the initial cost of the software, you also need to consider the setup process and select the appropriate service. Depending on the complexity of the software, the setup process averages from 0-,300 USD.

When looking to establish accounting software, some of the costs to keep in mind are:

  • Initial staff training – 0-,000 USD
  • Software Implementation – 0-,500 USD
  • Accounting software and licenses – 0-,500 USD

Although accounting software can often be tested, it is essential to invest the time and money in understanding and setting up the software correctly from the start. This will save both time and money in the long run.


In conclusion, successful watch stores require a significant initial cost before operations can begin. On average, starting a watch boutique can range from ,000 to ,000 depending on the various factors mentioned in this blog post. Despite the high cost, the business startup promised high returns in the future.

Regardless of the size of the business you plan to launch, it’s important to conduct research, calculate expenses, and invest wisely to ensure that your startup is painless and profitable.