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This guide is all about running a business in EP3: Open for Business.
Starting a Business
So you've decided you want to run a business! Congratulations, entrepreneur! But you'll need to consider a few things first.
- You can start a business at any time by clicking on the phone or computer. To start a business at a community lot, you will need to own a community lot first - you can purchase real estate by phone or on the computer, too.
- You will also need to buy an open/close sign for your business. You will find an open/close sign in the Buy Mode catalog under Decorative-Misc.
Home Business vs. Community Business
- Home businesses are a quick, easy way for just about any sim to start a business as you don't have to purchase a community lot, and an extra room or even the front lawn can serve as your business area.
- You can open the business at any time it's convenient for your sims, opening when your sim has a good mood and time to spare.
- You can keep customers and employees out of the rest of the home by clicking on any door in live mode to get options to lock the doors for specific types of sims.
- By default you will not be able to run a restaurant at a home business as the podium and stove are not buyable. To run a home restaurant you will need a community-to-residential collection.
- You won't have to wait to load a community lot.
- Employees and managers aren't required.
- Home businesses can take a lot of your sim's time to run since you have no managers and can't just run it remotely.
- Other playable sims cannot visit your home business lot when you are playing them.
- Community lot businesses can be more expensive to get started, but you can often build bigger since you don't have a house in the way.
- Time on community lots is also "free" - sims will return home at the same time they left when returning from the business.
- Sims will eventually tire and need to go home as sims can't sleep on community lots normally... unless you want to use a sleep on community lots hack so your sim running the business can just stay there. * It is possible to live on a community lot using that sleep on community lots hack - and as a side-perk, your sim won't be getting bills.
- You'll need to wait for community lots to load, and your home lot to load to return home.
- All of your playable sims can visit your community lot and make purchases while you are playing them.
Types of Businesses
This is the most basic type of store - you have stuff, and you're selling it to people.
You can get stuff to sell in several ways:
- Buy it: You can sell almost every buyable item in the game, including build mode content like windows and doors. Buy the items in the catalog and place them like you would normally. If you already have the business started, you can use wholesale mode to buy the items too - see below for more info under Selling Items.
- Craft it: Use the crafting stations that come with Open for Business to make toys, robots, or floral arrangements. You can then take the crafted items out of your business owner's inventory.
- Fish it: If you have the Seasons expansion, you can fish in a pond to catch fish. You can then take them out of your business owner's inventory.
- Grow it: If you have the Seasons expansion, you can grow plants and harvest fresh produce. You can then take the produce out of your business owner's inventory.
Once you have the items you want to sell placed, you'll need to flag them for sale. If you've purchased one of the preexisting Maxis lots, any items in the lot may not necessarily be flagged for sale, so you'll need to do that
First, go click on the Business Build Tools button in the Business Tracker (it looks like a pricetag). You'll notice that the items will go dark. Then, choose a price under "Place objects for Sale at:" - it will default to Average. Then, click on the For Sale Tool, which also looks like a pricetag. Your cursor will get a price tag on it.
To sell all of the items on a shelf, click on the shelf - it will go transparent when your cursor is over it. You'll see that all of the items on the shelf light up in yellow, meaning they have been flagged for sale at the price you chose. You can float your cursor over them to see what their actual price is.
If you want to buy additional items at wholesale prices, click on the Wholesale Mode Toggle button in the Business Build Tools (under the For Sale Tool), which looks like a lock with a small pricetag. The buy/build menus will get a yellow outline and all of the item backgrounds will go bright yellow, which is about as ugly as it sounds. Items purchased in Wholesale Mode will automatically be flagged for sale.
If you're selling items in your shop, you'll need to make sure to put in a cash register/till. Buy a cash register in the buy mode catalog under Electronics-Misc, and place it on a counter. You'll need to have someone either assigned to the cash register to be the cashier, or run to the till to ring up customers when they come up to make purchases.
These work just like a retail shop, only you'll be selling vehicles rather than normal stuff. If you're trying to set up an owned community lot by visiting it with your sim, you may find making a car dealership tricky since you can't buy the cars.
Click the Business Build Tools button on the business control panel and then the Toggle Wholesale Mode button. You'll now find you can purchase cars for your lot.
A few things to keep in mind when running a dealership:
- You'll notice that you can only place Maxis cars on that ridiculously huge rotating display, but if you use moveObjects on you can place them anywhere you like.
- Custom car meshes seem to work just fine in a car dealership, but you won't be able to place them on the rotating display, even with moveObjects on. Some users have reported that putting custom car meshes on the ground, then onto the display works.
- Patrons will try to stand alongside a car and look at its back left tire to consider purchasing it. Make sure they have access to this area or they'll complain.
- To prevent sims from bumping into one another and clogging up, make sure you leave at least one empty tile of space between each car and the next. This will also make it easier for your employees or played sims to sell to your patrons even if more than one sim is in the aisle between the cars.
- Badge rewards
- Badge effects
Managing your business
Business Perks are abilities or gifts that business owners earn each time their business gains a new rank. The owner will receive one Business Perk Point to spend in one of the five Business Perks tracks: