Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Art shop: Cash sales

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

  • debit card and credit card payments, including contactless
  • other contactless payments made using smartphones and other similar devices
  • payments made through online payment services like PayPal if you make online sales
  • cheques (if you accept them)

To prepare your cash flow, you need to estimate how much income you will receive over the next 12 months, including VAT. To do this you will need to work out how many items you are likely to sell, at what price and when you will receive the money. You will also need to decide on any services you will offer and what you will charge for them.

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

Type of business

Think about the type of business you want to run:

  • who will your customers be - amateur artists, professional artists and students, art schools and colleges or a mix of all types
  • where will your premises be - ideally close to your local art college
  • will you have more than one retail outlet - and will you sell online? An ecommerce enabled website could increase your potential customer base, as could selling items on eBay or Amazon. You might decide to operate only online as an ecommerce retailer with no retail premises
  • will you offer a traditional mail order service based on a catalogue
  • what will your opening hours be

Your product ranges

Think about the range of artists' materials and related accessories you will stock, especially if your premises are small and space is at a premium. Will you:

  • specialise in a wide range of paints, papers and artists' sundries, with something for all levels of skill and for all budgets
  • target professional artists only, by stocking very high quality artists' materials
  • stock a wide range of craft and hobby materials, and perhaps books about art
  • sell work by local artists, or items such as prints and posters

Your services

There are a number of services that you might consider offering your customers. You might have the skills and experience to undertake these yourself, or you might engage the services of a specialist. You might, for example, offer:

  • canvas stretching
  • picture framing
  • picture cleaning and restoration
  • drawing or painting classes
  • an ordering service for specialist items you don't hold in stock


Give careful thought to pricing:

  • what will your pricing policy be? You must at least be able to cover your costs, overheads and drawings
  • will you price in line with manufacturers' suggested prices (where available)
  • how often will you review your prices
  • will you offer credit
  • will you offer discounts, for example to students and local art groups


You may find that you are busier at certain times of the year than at others. For example if you have many student customers you are likely to be busiest during term time - particularly at the beginning of term when students tend to stock up on new supplies.

If you are located in a tourist area which attracts many amateur artists then the summer months may be the busiest for you.

Many people buy artists' materials to give as Christmas presents so you may find that the run up to Christmas sees an increase in demand, particularly if you stock a good range of gift sets. If it's possible, it might be advantageous to start up your business in time to catch the busy Christmas period.

Make sure that you have enough stock to cater for demand during peak periods.

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.