What makes a business, a business?


New Member
I just wanted to throw a question out there to get some opinions from other people in the reptile hobby/business. "What makes a business, a business?"

It seems like every day, be it on this site, or one of the many other reptile sites like it, a new reptile "business" has come into existence.

I was curious as to what everyone else thought, in regards to the requirements needed, to be considered a business.

It seems like the majority of these are simply a single person, with maybe one or two breeding pairs, that has given themselves a business name. The similarities usually end here.

Now obviously, most would agree that the example stated above would not be considered a business.

Would it be safe to assume that the people who are advertising themselves as a business are doing so to elevate themselves and attain more respect from the general herp community? Does this work, in your opinion?

Personally I would be more inclined to purchase from someone who was straight forward and honest with me. Rather than claiming to be a business, and speaking with terms such as "we" or "our facility", tell me you are just a dedicated hobbyist, that these chameleons are your life, and you want nothing but the best for them.

I am immediately skeptical when someone who does not even make use of a website (paid, not free web), claims to be a "we" operating a "facility" but has no pictures or proof at all.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to breed reptiles, and try to make a few bucks to continue caring for future acquisitions. But if you are 12-25 years old, still living at home with your parents, or renting a 1 bedroom apartment, please realize that you are a hobbyist, not a business, and claiming to be one, in my opinion is a little disrespectful of the members on here who have spent years and years establishing themselves as business owners.

Just my thoughts....I'm curious to see what others think.


Established Member
Tax help.

1. If you are actually listed as a business and have the appropriate ID's and such, you can purchase supplies and other items at wholesale.

2. If it is listed as a personal business, you can claim the loss of the business against your normal income for a tax deduction at the end of the year.

These are a coupe of quick items that come to mind.


Avid Member
I love this topic. I have pondered this not with chameleon breeding, but with feeder breeding. We all tend to want expand our interest in to a business or possibly a side business. I am not in to breeding chameleons, but feeders. I have even had offers for space to breed and start a business. but I find it to be a big step and one that cannot be taken lightly.
As an old lady who has loved chameleons since I was 13 - I like the idea of these "kids" getting into the "business" The reason I am able to keep my chameleons now is because of the work that these old hobbyist and established businesses have done. Without new blood I think the old business are more likely to turn into "puppy farms" for Panthers and Veilds-
I don't see it as being a sign of disrespect - I do worry about the chameleons getting proper care - and hope that the new "kids" don't bite off more than they can chew- I would rather they start their "businesses" small and learn.
As a "consumer" of chameleons (meaning I have no interest in breeding but plan on keeping them if I can for the rest of my life) I would be more likely to buy a chameleon from someone I can check out - a business licence doesn't mean that a person knows what they are doing - If I were to see a company big or small selling babies too young or recommending the wrong care I would avoid buying from them no matter how nice their web site is.


New Member
I think you may have misunderstood the post kplatvoet, I was not suggesting that a business in anyway implies better quality of chameleons. I was commenting on the fact that generally speaking, these "business owners" usually have no more in common with an actual business, than giving themselves a fancy name, and throwing around "we" and "facility"

My point was the complete opposite of the way you took my post to be. What I was saying basically was this: In an attempt to make oneself look more reputable by creating a "business" where in fact no business actually exists, I believe this has the opposite result that most are looking for.

If someone tells me that they have started a business, I want to see a professional website, a modern facility etc etc....if you cannot provide theses things, then I as a consumer would question everything about you because in my head, if you misrepresented yourself to gain my business, what else are you not telling me.

On the flip side, if you openly admit that you are just a hobbyist, who has a breeding pair of whatever, but you show the passion you have, and do in fact offer quality reptiles, I would not hesitate to purchase from you.

As I stated before, there is nothing wrong with being a hobbyist breeder, I, like you, encourage this. I am just of the opinion that if you are claiming to be something, knowing full well that you are nothing like you claim to be, it is disrespectful to those of the community who have poured tons of energy into this hobby and are truly business owners.


Biologist & Ecologist
I don't know, I've definitely seen reptile businesses that ran really well out of a two-bedroom apartment. I knew one couple who bred high-end leopard geckos out of their extra bedroom, with a high-capacity rack system. They definitely weren't people who had purchased a couple geckos from Petsmart and were starting "breeding projects" just for fun, they had a serious thing going with 50+ high-quality gecko morphs.

And even a lot of the big professional breeders run these things out of their personal homes. Shawn Heflick breeds his crocs at home. Dr. O runs his "facility" out of his back yard. Chamelot Chameleons does as well, along with several other breeders we know and love. So I don't think space has anything to do with it, personally. If you have a yard large enough to keep all your breeding stock and take care of them round the clock, why rent/purchase a warehouse facility?

But I do think it's a little ridiculous to create a business when you maybe only breed your two animals. Maybe you have only one pair of veileds and one pair of panthers - you don't need a whole business set-up when you're selling one clutch a year, at most. Advertising as John Doe is just fine at this stage of the game. Build up reputation and as your breeding projects expand or whatnot then you can make the leap if you really want to and are serious about eventually going to shows, breeding at a larger scale, and hoping to make more serious income out of this hobby.

And then have all your appropriate paperwork, of course. At the very least you need a licence to be able to sell at shows.

Edit - I think I misunderstood you a bit as well. But I think you're right, when I see a business I expect a certain level when it comes to their housing and husbandry. And then I'm always disappointed when I follow them on Facebook and their "set-ups" are no more professional than some random person here on the forum - with cages haphazardly sprawled around a living room on make-shift tables and light fixtures hanging everywhere. I feel that *I* have better set-ups than they do most of the time, and I'm not trying to impress potential clients. The chameleons may be well taken care of but there's no method behind anything, and it's probably as cost ineffective as you can get!


New Member
Just to clarify a bit, I completely agree that successful business' can be run from your home!

I know many people have converted the homes they own to accommodate their collections or like Dr.O built an amazing outdoor enclosure, and this post is in no way directed at them. It was more for those people who rent a small apartment, and as Olimpia stated, have cages scattered throughout their apartment on makeshift stands with lights dangling everywhere.

I too get a bit disappointed when I see pictures of a "business" that I was really excited to see their set up, only to see something very similar to what the majority of hobbyist's currently have.


Chameleon Enthusiast
Most small time breeders would be classified as a hobby by the IRS. If you have a business you would need to show a profit within three years or the IRS can and often does disallow losses on your tax return and they turn your business into a hobby. With a hobby you can only deduct expenses up to your earnings.
I did misunderstand what you were trying to say- I do agree with you completely that buying a chameleon from someone who is trying to market them self as something that they are not is a big red light. I think the other extreme is worse - mass producing baby veilds for petco or importing 20 senegal for a show where they die a week later. As far as I can tell this forum is the best defense for both those extremes and threads like this do a part in educating - I thank you for it- and for your experience -
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