The Sims 2, a business is a player-made, player-controlled shop in which practically any item can be sold. This is the primary goal in Open for Business. It is one of the more complex systems of the game.
This section describes features that are only available in The Sims 2: Open for Business.
Sims can use the phone or computer to either start a business at home or buy a community lot. If University is installed, businesses cannot be located in college sub-neighborhoods, though young adults can own community lots in other areas. A must have item for any business is the open/closed sign. Sims may use the taxi to visit a community lot that they own. Once there, they will be able to do things such as restock the shelves, purchase items at wholesale, hire employees, be the cashier, etc.
Players can send playable Sims to community lot businesses owned by other Sims. If this is done, autonomous versions of the owner, manager (if any), and employees (if any) will appear. This can only be done if no members of the owner's household were on that lot when it was last saved. If a player wants to use a community lot business in that way, and that business has a cash register, the player should assign an employee to be cashier, otherwise the register will be unstaffed when playable Sims are sent there.
Selling or Transferring a business
The owner of a home business cannot transfer ownership to another Sim, even if that Sim is another household member. If the owner dies or moves out, ownership will automatically be transferred to an eligible household member, if there is one. If there isn't, the business will be dissolved.
The deed to a community lot business can be sold back to the community, or placed on sale. It can also be transferred to another household member. If Seasons or later is installed, the deed to a community lot can be given as a gift, as it is in the owner's inventory. However, transferring a deed in this way will not successfully transfer ownership of the lot.
If a community lot business is transferred in any way other than being sold back to the community, its employees, customer loyalty, and business rank go with it. However, business perks do not travel with the deed.
Types of businesses
Businesses can be divided into three basic types. Most businesses are shops, which sell goods and services, but there are also venues, which give Sims the opportunity to fill various motives on a "pay-to-stay" basis. Sims can also own restaurants, which are considered a third type of business.
Shops can sell practically any object that is available in Buy mode. One of the tools available in the upper right hand corner of the screen is the Wholesale Mode Toggle, which allows the owner to buy at a discount. When this toggle is active, Buy mode objects which can be sold will have a bright yellow background, and the price shown will be the wholesale price. Objects bought in wholesale mode are automatically marked as being for sale. Some objects which will not normally appear in Buy mode while on an owned community lot can still be accessed and placed on sale by using the Wholesale Mode Toggle. Once an item has been sold, it can be restocked at its current wholesale price.
Shops can also sell Sim-made items. The most obvious examples of this are crafted items made on workbenches: flower arrangements, toys, and robots. If FreeTime is also installed, objects made on the pottery and sewing benches can be sold. Of course, other Sim-made items, such as paintings and food, can be sold. With FreeTime, it's even possible to sell restored cars.
If Apartment Life is installed, reagents and other witch-items can be sold as well.
Shops can sell things such as clothing, magazines, computer/video games, personal electronics, and groceries. If Seasons is also installed, fish and produce can be sold. If Pets is also installed, shops can sell pets. The various potions can be placed on sale, and once sold, can be restocked in the same way as Buy mode objects.
The Bluewater Village district has pre-made examples of many different types of shops, some of which are already owned.
Venues are places, such as clubs and arcades, which sell the opportunity to satisfy motives. This is done through the Electrono-Ticket Machine, which allows the owner to charge Sims for staying on the lot. Once the owner, or a member of the owner's household, has set a price and decided to start charging, potential customers will gather at the Electrono-Ticket Machine, and consider whether or not they want to come in. This works like making a sale in a shop, except that what is being sold is the idea of staying on the lot for a while. Once the sale is made, the customer will go to the ticket machine, take a ticket, and enter the venue. While there, they will periodically be charged the ticket price.
As with selling items in shops, setting the ticket price higher means that tickets will be harder to sell.
If a venue has a kitchen with a stove, it is best to put it behind doors that only household members and employees can use. Otherwise, hungry customers will use the kitchen, and will sometimes leave food on the stove or in the oven. This can lead to burned food or even a fire. If a player wants to have a venue serve food, one way is to have a household member make it, then enter Buy mode and place the food outside of the kitchen area. When customers get hungry enough, they will serve themselves.
- Since a business will either be on a Sim's home lot, or on an owned community lot that has some aspects of a home lot, Sims will frequently want to fulfill their needs through free will actions. If the owners of a business take an active role in running it, one of the player's biggest challenges may be keeping them "on task".