Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Antique dealer: Cash sales


'Cash sales' means all income from your main business activity which is received at the time of sale. Although many customers may pay you in cash, bear in mind that Cash sales can also include:

  • cheques
  • debit and credit card payments
  • bank transfers
  • electronic payments made to you through services like PayPal - particularly if you sell items online

To prepare your cash flow, you will need to estimate how much income you will receive over the next twelve months, including VAT if applicable. To do this you will have to estimate how many pieces you are likely to sell and at what price.

There are a number of things to consider when you make your estimates.

Your business

Think about the type of antiques business you intend to start up:

  • who will your customers be? Will you target members of the public, other dealers or both? Will you ship goods overseas
  • where will your business be based? It can be helpful to locate somewhere where there are already other antique dealers as this will bring a lot of customers to the area
  • will you work from home or have a retail outlet (for example a shop or a permanent pitch in an antiques market)
  • will you have an e-commerce website
  • will you sell items through online marketplaces like eBay, Etsy and Sellingantiques.co.uk
  • will you exhibit at antiques fairs and markets, both at home and overseas
  • how big will your premises be? This will affect the amount of stock you will be able to store, work on and display
  • what will your opening hours be

Your stock

You'll need to give some thought to the type and range of items you want to sell:

  • where will you get your stock from (bear in mind that it is getting harder to find fresh or new pieces)
  • will you specialise in a particular type of antique (for example, English furniture, silverware or European ceramics) or will you offer a general range of stock
  • what sector of the market will you target? The antiques market covers a broad spectrum, from bric-a-brac on one hand to fine art on the other
  • will you offer services such as repairs, restoration or valuations
  • will you sell reproduction items

Pricing

Think about your prices:

  • what will your pricing policy be (don't forget, you must be able to cover your costs, overheads and drawings)
  • how much discount will you offer to other dealers
  • if you plan to buy or sell at auction, don't forget that you will have to pay a buyer's premium or seller's commission

Knowledge and expertise

The antiques trade can be an unpredictable business and, as each item of stock is different, it's essential that you have as much specialist knowledge as possible. You may have decided to start up in business following many years of collecting antiques as a hobby. In this case you may know a lot about your specialist interest but have little experience of buying pieces to sell at a profit. Before committing yourself to a full time venture you could try buying items to sell at an occasional antiques fair or market to see whether you have the necessary buying and selling skills.

To help with your decisions, click on the checkpoints for guidance. Once you have worked out a Cash sales figure add it to the relevant field in your cash flow forecast.