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July 14, 2011

How To Start Your Own Antique Business~Part II

Last post I talked about finding your location and all the necessary things to ask and do.  This post will delve into the business aspect of  opening your own antique booth within a mall, which will hopefully lead to you one day owning your very own antique shoppe. 
 (Sorry there are no photos today, but I just couldn't make price tags and bookkeeping books look good :)

The administrative side of your new business is relatively easy, and seems almost unnec
essary when I tell you how simple it is to actually set up...........but you will be glad you did, believe me.  Not only will it be essential at the end of the year for your income taxes, but it will help you stay organized with all your inventory.

You can use a spreadsheet on your computer or you can keep a simple notebook, but regardless of which one you choose to use.....make it easy on yourself.  Don't think it all has to be on a computer because that is the most efficient if you are not comfortable using that format.  Once again, make it easy on yourself and "go with what you know".  Because I started so many years ago, mine was always in a notebook, handwritten on one line using notebook paper so I would have at least 50 items per page.

Dealing with Sales Tax is easy and now is the time, if you haven't already, to go online and apply for a Sales Tax Use Number IF your city charges sales tax.  It can be easily applied for online and will be mailed to you within about two weeks.  This allows you to purchase items for resale without paying sales tax....Goodwill and The Salvation Army even accept this just so you know.   The antique mall will collect the sales tax for your items sold and pay it under their sales tax number.  You will NOT have to file a separate return at the end of the year unless you have sold merchandise in an off site location such as a show where you collected the money yourself.  You need this number whether you use it or not, but believe me....it will save you alot of money in the end and add to your profit margin.

According to tax laws regarding "reselling", you are only required to keep the following information:  The date you bought the item, a general description (vintage tablecloth  and napkins) , where you bought it, ie. garage sale, estate sale, etc, and what you paid for it......that is if it is used merchandise.  You will still need to keep receipts on all office supplies and new materials you purchase, such as paint, wood, etc. (I had twelve envelopes, each marked with a month of the year where I simply stuck all receipts for that month, making it easier at the end of the year.)   In addition to the description, date, where purchased, and how much paid..... add the following columns for your own bookkeeping records.......Inventory number, sale price, date sold.  This information will all come in handy when the mall calls you for a price check or to ask your "best price" and you can look it up.....know what item it is, what you paid for it, and how long you have had it.  It's all easy to remember in the beginning, but believe me.......it all runs together after a while :)  I also used the summary sheet the mall provided me at each pay period to cross off what had sold, thereby, keeping a running inventory for the end of the year tax time.  Use these pages as you list your inventory, assign an inventory number and make your price tags........by the time I left the antique mall venues, I was at the inventory number 59, 985.   Can I share with you that I recently sold an item that had it's original tag on it from the early days with an inventory number of 15.....that's right, I don't give up on anything.  If I loved it then, somebody will someday love it and buy it....eventually......I had to laugh out loud at how long I had it......but only after my customer left the Shoppe :)  It's not there was anything wrong with the item, I was laughing at myself.  Inside this notebook I also kept a copy of my lease and an area to retain all of my monthly reports from the mall regarding sales.  That way it is all in one area at the end of the year making it oh so easy.

Be consistent in your price tags and take the time to write a brief description on them.  You will be surprised at the amount of tag switching that goes on, so don't make it easy for them with plain tags that just say $25.99.  Also be prepared for theft and lock up smalls with value....or they will grow legs and simply walk away. 

Malls normally pay twice a month on the 1st and 15th, or five days after the closing of those dates.  I always expected the check I received on the 1st to cover my rent for the upcoming month, and my mid month check to be "mine".  That is a good rule of thumb that things are running on an even keel for you.  It doesn't mean that will always happen, but it should more often than not.

Pricing is probably one of the areas most new dealers have trouble with.  My only rule of thumb is don't ever get "too proud" of something as it will be yours always.  If it is something I am particularly attached to, I keep it at home.  By the time it comes to the Shoppe, I have emotionally detached from it and ready for someone else to take it home and love it.  Therefore, I can realistically price the item....making the decision if I want a quick nickel or am I prepared for that slow dime.  This old stuff is wonderful, but only worth what someone is willing to pay.  I always check Ebay to see the going rate online, evaluate what I actually paid for the item......and price it accordingly.  I've always been pretty good about pricing my items in conjunction with what I paid for it....if I got a good deal, then I try to pass that on.....regardless of what it is....I believe in that quick nickel in most cases.  However, if you notice that other dealers are buying your merchandise as quickly as you put it out and moving it to their space to resell......you might want to reevaluate your pricing strategy.....which brings me to my next point.

It is a fact we are all just passing this stuff around between us....I buy from you, you buy from her, she buys from somebody else....and so on.  I just keep waiting for what I originally sold to make it's way back to me because I know it is going to happen.  It's just like the joke that you can put two antique dealers on a deserted island with one chest of drawers and they can both make a living on it.....simply selling it back and forth to each other.....it's true, you know :)  Be prepared for other dealers to buy your items and resell them right around the corner from you.  As long as you got the price you were asking for it, then there is no harm and no foul.  It is when a dealer asks me to take less so they can make more that I have a problem....that is a no, no in my book and kinda rude as well.  I once had a dealer ask me for a better price stating they couldn't make enough at the price I had it......now do you think I really care?  Oh my......the audacity of some people, right?  But believe me, it WILL happen so get ready.

We now have our location and our administrative paper work set up....tomorrow we start moving in.....are you ready? 
See you then.


  1. Thanks for sharing this info. I have had a booth for just 2 weeks and kind of learning as I go. So I'm kinda browsing through the the booths and notice a new booth with similiar items as mine, looked a little closer and there was 2 items from my booth in theirs. Now I must admit I was a little.. peeved.. pricing is really hard for me.. Anyway, just wanted say " thanks" as i'm sure there are other newbies like me who need all the advice we can get:}

  2. Loving this information! Keep feeding me, please!LOL


    barbara jean


Your comments mean alot to me......thank you for sharing.

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