Can you give me a discount or deal if I buy xx many?
While most prices are somewhat negotiable to an extent, I have the prices listed as such for reason. When I have room to work on pricing and can still be in line with competitors it will reflect on the stock list as quantity break prices (i.e. $12.50 ea. or 5 @ $10 ea.). No other commercial vender does this.
Importing is an expensive and exhaustive occupation. It is not as simple as place an order and they show up between 9-5 on a weekday. Communications are always during bizarre hours due to time zone differences and my collectors & exporters are often in the field collecting. Organizing and finalizing orders can take days or weeks before they are collected, once collected booking same day cargo flights from one country to another is tricky. The collectors and exporters often have a minimum amount of either dollars or full boxes that need to be ordered before they will start collecting. Besides the price paid per fish (yep, we pay for each fish individually not in bulk) importers have huge same-day cargo shipping bills in the thousands of dollars range, airline import fees, US Fish and Wildlife inspection/clearance fees, importers need permit and licenses, sometimes a broker is needed at an extra fee, fuel to drive to and wait at airport(s) for hours at a time. That is all before the fish even can leave an airport and make it into a facility. Once here, it is not uncommon for multiple if not dozens of fish to have arrived dead (yes, we deal with DOAS every time). Incorrectly identified fish were shipped, species shipped were subbed with another without notice, etc. All of which we have already paid for and are likely not refunded or credited for. These are the risks importers take to offer you these rare fish we have made available that cannot be found in your local big box pet shop. Once here, I run multiple rounds of multiple medications on all new stock that is taking up tank space for quarantine time, I need to feed them, they use water, electricity (heat and filters), etc., etc., etc. All of these factors are how I and all other reputable importers determine the final prices of the fish while trying to stay competitive with each other. If it were easy and cheap to do there would not be only about a dozen of us in the entire country doing it regularly and reputably.
Those that are importing and selling the fish at near cost are ultimately destroying the trade and directly putting themselves out of business. Your local fish store, pet store, wholesaler, importer needs to pay overhead like rent, utilities, and employees. Selling at near cost they cannot make enough to stay open for you to shop at. If they go out of business, then that is less for the exporters to collect and make a living which then puts them out of business making some species completely unavailable. This then ultimately puts the person selling them cheap for a quick profit and his/her competitors out of business due to lack or sources for inventory.
Maybe someone at your local fish club/online group/etc. is breeding and selling something that myself or a competitor is selling and at half of the price, that is fine and is understandable. Many of us have started out in just that way. Keep in mind, they are likely growing out fish they have bred (possibly even originally from me) and are looking to move them along. The overhead costs they have has a hobbyist and the inventory availability they have is certainly far less than I or other importers that operate in a much larger scale incur and therefore allows them do sell at much lower prices.