open vape shop

How to Open a Vape Shop [Step by Step Guide]

Are you thinking about opening a vape shop?

We talk to many people who want to open a local vape shop. So much in fact, we are outlining everything you need to know in this handy guide!

The popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping has created an explosion in the number of vape shops across the country to meet this growing demand.

Many see this as an exciting investment opportunity, and a way to get out of the rat race and start a new, more fulfilling way to earn a living.

So how can you go about starting your own vape shop?  Just follow these steps to get the ball rolling.

How much does it cost to open a vape shop?

Vape shops are a relatively cheap business to start with costs ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 depending on the size of the store and location.

Opening in a major city will obviously cost more than a small town in Middle America.

Add in an additional $10,000 to $20,000 if the plan includes opening a franchise.

Other general costs include.

  • E-Cigarette Kits & Accessories – $7,50
  • Miscellaneous Vaping Accessories – $10,000 to $20,000
  • iPad and Point of Sale software – $2,500

Additional costs such as insurance, licensing, and a lease for the store vary by location.

Having a few month’s worth of working capital is a good idea, in case the vape shop doesn’t start turning a profit right away and to handle any unexpected expenses.

Do you need a license to sell Vapes?

In addition to the general business licenses, tax numbers, relevant permits, the FDA regulates all vaping products the same way it does tobacco, so yes, there are several legal considerations such as licenses that will need to be addressed before setting up shop.

The FDA has a list of guidelines and laws for anyone wanting to open up a vape shop.

Local ordinances are just as crucial for a vape shop entrepreneur.

These vary city by city, and will likely be a significant factor when starting a vape store.

Some municipalities may have laws saying an e-cigarette seller has to be X distance from churches or schools, for example.

Draft a business plan

Opening a business without a business plan is doomed to failure.

No one can wing it and succeed without the kind of luck needed to win the Powerball Jackpot.

 And it’s easy to write a business plan if you find a quality business plan template.

Once all the costs (stock, rent, insurance, etc.), determine how the remaining capital would be best spent like what should go into marketing, signage, or if it would make sense to hire a social media manager.
Part of a good business plan is understanding the local economy.

The U.S. Census Bureau has the economic breakdown of every American city or town online and for free.

Following the financial means of the local vaping community will help a new vape shop make better decisions when it comes to pricing and what merchandise to stock.

Research, Research, Research

The vaping community is always on the lookout for the next cool thing, and being ahead of that demand curve can lead to a nice bit of cash flow.

Keeping up with the latest industry news and watching what new products significant manufacturers are putting out there is an excellent way to get a peek at what is on the horizon.

It is also a good idea to hit the occasional industry conventions.

Not only is that an excellent way to see new stuff, but also a great way to network.

Watch Youtube and Instagram

This is where the influencers live, and the people who set the trends will be placing them on these platforms.

Most of a vape shop’s customer base will already be following their favorite vaping channels, so it only makes sense for the vape shop to do the same thing.

YouTube also gives access to helpful tutorials where even expert shop owners can learn something new about the technical side of things.

This know-how can be passed on to new customers and shared on the shop’s social media

Target markets when opening a vape shop

The primary targets of a vape shop will fall into three different categories.

1. Cigarette Smokers
Vape shops can appeal to smokers who are trying to break their habit of cigarettes.

Marketing your vape shop to these people can be extremely effective! The pitch to smokers should center around educating them on the health benefits of quitting cigarettes, and how switching to e-cigs might be an easy way for them to transition away from traditional smoking. Outline how much money smokers can potentially save to make the switch!

2. Current Vape users

The second target segment for a vape shop is current vape users.

The best way to engage this level of customer is by offering a huge vape shop inventory. Make sure you carry a wide range of products at a great price point.

eHopper POS inventory management features make it the perfect point of sale for any new vape shop!

3. People on vacation

The third target market when opening a vape shop is vacationers.

This often overlook niche is a great way to make sure that you always have a steady flow of customers in your vape shop!

Where to buy vape shop inventory

There are a large number of wholesalers who deal in vaping products from coils, new mods, to e-liquid flavors.

The trick is to not rely on one or two single sellers.

The vaping industry is growing, and the considerable amount of profits a vape shop can bring in has made it a highly competitive market.

Sign up to every industry newsletter out there.

Wholesalers will advertise their sales and specials, and alert their customers to hot new products.

Be careful about some deals. Vaping may be big and getting bigger, but that doesn’t mean that some products aren’t total stinkers.

It doesn’t matter how cheap a business can buy the stock if it isn’t something customers want to buy. 

How to chose the right POS system for a vape shop

A Point of Sale (POS) system is more than a glorified cash register.

A cash register is to a POS system as a crop duster is to an F-22.

A quality vape shop POS system will do more than track cash sales and process credit cards.

It will fully integrate all of a business’s operations in one place so the owner and managers can see what resources need to be put where and when.

Inventory Control
Inventory is the most critical part of a vape shop.

Be sure a POS system manages sales, tracks stock (including incoming), and syncs the information with the owner’s and manager’s devices in all locations and online.

Be sure that your vape shop POS system manages sales, tracks stock (including incoming), and syncs the information with the owner’s and manager’s devices.

Employee Management
Know which employees are making the sales and when!

Online Ordering
Seamlessly integrate online sales in your store.

Loyalty Program
Give your best customers something for their loyalty, and they will keep spending money at your vape shop. It’s also a great way to gain additional insight into which products are more popular.

How to choose the best POS hardware for a vape shop

When it comes to the point of sale system for a vape shop, you get what you pay for.

Going for a cheap model from an unproven company is risky.

This is equipment that will be used multiple times a day, every day.

A perfect choice for starting a vape shop is the HP Engage One Prime POS system!

HP Engage One Prime POS

HP Engage One Prime POS

The best advice for anyone starting a vape shop – buy from a company with a good reputation who offers an extensive warranty and has shown they will stand by their product.

HP Engage One Prime offers a 3 year factory warranty!

Contact HP by 7p, 7 days a week and have a new unit within 48 hours!

This level of warranty is unheard of in the point of sale industry.

The best POS terminals for vape shops offer exceptional performance, along with a better customer experience since they’re fast and can face the customer as they make their purchase for ease of use.

eHopper Vape Shop POS

eHopper is an excellent example of a food truck poos system that is perfect for anyone considering the cost of a food truck.

With eHopper’s vape shop point of sale, you can:

  • Provide online ordering to your regular or remote customers.
  • Track sales based on employee, location, time or other data dimensions.
  • Use eHopper Marketing to ensure your vape store shows up first in local search results.
  • Access robust inventory management features to make sure you have enough oils, brands and accessories to meet your customer demands.


Vape shops are a high-grade choice when it comes to starting a new business.

Like with any company, success isn’t a given or easy, and there is information anyone wanting to start a vape shop should know before diving in.

The good news? Following this step by step guide to opening a vape shop is a great place for any new business owner to start.

Still have questions about opening a vape shop? Contact our team today for a free marketing consultation!