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Peddling for Profit: How to Become an Antique Dealer

Updated: Apr 10

Thinking of turning your weekend pastime into a full-fledged business? You don't need a resume to become a full-time antique dealer, but you do need to consider your investment. Read on to get started investing in your antique business today!

Biggest Antique Dealers Investment Considerations

Wood antiques sign at market
  • Capital

  • Time

  • Inventory

  • Transportation

Consider the Capital Investment when Becoming an Antique Dealer

I'm sure you've heard the phrase, “it takes money to make money.” While this is often true, the investment in selling antiques really depends on what you want to sell. At the outset, new antique dealers should focus on selling items that they have readily available.

There will be several upstart costs (booth rental, transportation, marketing, etc.), but once you start making sales, take your profit and invest in larger and more profitable sale items. Use sales to reinvest in future rent, acquiring a larger space, and more inventory.

Antique Dealers Must Invest Time

Large painted vintage bench in antique mall

Do you have the time to embark on a new venture as an antique dealer? Will your current job allow you the hours to spend curating and transporting vintage items and staging a booth? Do you have time in your week to replenish your inventory?

Being a successful antique dealer amounts to hours cleaning, prepping, tagging inventory, going to estate/garage sales, refinishing furniture projects, and arranging inventory in the booth space. Time is a major investment and one that must be fully considered before you take the plunge.

Investment in Antiques

Becoming an antique dealer means different things to different people. There is no shortage of things we would call “antique.” What do you want to sell? High-end antique furnishings? Collectible items? Homemade items? Furniture? Stocking your booth with a theme and making sure you have a variety of price points in your booth with your antique investments will keep your sales steady.

Furniture sells but can take more time for the right buyer. If you mainly sell furniture, you may need to sell 3-4 pieces a month to cover your rent and costs for an average space. Supplement furniture sales with a steady stream of smaller items, like sterling-plated silver, book bundles, small art, decorative containers with plates, mirrors, vintage tins, and other "smalls.” Success in an antique mall requires stocking a wide range of high- and low-priced items.

Individual booth in antique mall

Transportation Investment for Antique Dealers

Becoming an antique dealer means there will be a lot of inventory to be transported, so having a vehicle with a large carrying capacity is a must. If you have a very small space to fill, you may be able to get away with a car and the occasional borrowing of a truck. If you have a larger space to fill, a truck, trailer, or van might be necessary. You will also want to invest in some moving equipment as you will work much more efficiently and be less prone to injury.

With your initial antique investments covered, you can enjoy picking and restocking your booth as items sell and you find new things to add to your space. Being a vendor in an Antique Mall can be a wonderful part-time job with a great steady income – plus, it is a lot of fun.

Learn more information on becoming an antique dealer or vendor at America's Antique Mall.

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