Cycling a tank is a straight-forward chemical and biological process that's up and running in 3-4 weeks. It's not difficult to do.
Fishless cycle (i.e. no fish in the water-filled set-up aquarium):
-Buy the API Master Test Kit (measures NH3, NO2, NO3, pH).
-Buy pure ammonia (super-cheap at any hardware store)
-Add several drops of pure NH3 (ammonia) to the tank until the NH3 reading in your API Master Test Kit is ~5ppm.
-Add that same amount of drops daily until you get a nitrite (NO2) spike on your test kit.
-Continue until NH3 drops daily and until NO2 is 0ppm causing nitrate (NO3) to peak on your test kit.
-When this happens, performs a ~50% water change.
-Done. Takes ~3-4 weeks.
Having a cycled tank is so much easier to take care of, it's less-stressful on your fish, and it's more eco-friendly since you're not wasting tons of water on water changes.
I think the problem is that people buy their fish FIRST and then want to try cycling down the road, at which point they try to cycle fish-in instead of fishless, which is tough on the fish and a more-difficult process in my opinion.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.