How To Become An Antique Dealer? Get Your Dream Done with 14 Steps

Both the young and elderly enjoy the pastime of looking for and collecting antiques. Some people enjoy this pastime because it makes them feel fulfilled, while others want to earn money from precious items.

How to become an antique dealer? You must have a special enthusiasm for old objects to start this career.

Before working as an antique dealer, you must think carefully because this role is only suitable for everyone. 

Moreover, you must meet various requirements if you are passionate about entering this profession. 

If you want to run an antique store, it’s best to scroll down this article to get step-by-step guides. Let’s get started!

Who Are Antique Dealers? 

Dealers in antiques are experts who purchase and resell old works of art, such as furniture, decorative items, upholstery, paintings, books, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, and weapons. 

They are fine art collectors looking for vintage and rare works. They also thoroughly examine the artifacts they have discovered for authenticity.

Additionally, they propose a price for the purchase, make any required repairs, display the items, decide on a value for sale, and perform the transactions.

Lastly, they can share their knowledge with those considering investing in antique art.

Auction houses, antique fairs, and estate sales are places where antique dealers search for and purchase antique items. They frequently scour inheritances, flea markets, and exhibits from connoisseurs and other ancient sellers.

Contrary to popular belief, they differ from second-hand dealers who cannot verify the products’ authenticity and resell them without offering a warranty. 

Antique merchants provide objects with ages and references whose origin and history they know.

Antique dealer
Antique dealer

How To Become An Antique Dealer? 

Below are step-by-step guides you can follow to get ready and define your expertise if you’re willing to take part in a career as an antique dealer.

Find Your Niche

If you want to start your career as an antique dealer, you should know that the market might be fierce. You may need to balance the antiques that bring profit for you and the items you love. 

Although many dealers provide a wide variety of products, you’ll have to establish a particular niche for the best results.

Here are some of the common antiques you can consider working with:

  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Pottery
  • Rugs
  • Artwork
  • Coins
  • Glass work
  • Toys
  • Automobiles
  • Sterling Silverware
Find your niche
Find your niche

Consider Your Finance

When establishing a niche, think about your budget. It would be best if you created an inventory to start a business as an antique dealer.

Your beginning finances will be crucial in helping you pick what you intend to purchase, along with your hobbies and skills.

Getting inventory through small company loans is acceptable, but it’s not a wise course of action for antiques.

It will be better if you take your time and use the finances you spare for your living expenses.

For instance, the start-up investment is much higher if you intend to market antique automobiles instead of vintage rugs or toys. 

You can consider a small business loan to get inventory acquisition. However, it might be risky since market prices will change drastically, thus reducing the profit margins.

Moreover, you can acquire your inventories gradually from economic purchases. Thus, it’s not necessary to establish a large store. 

Acquire Knowledge In This Sector

You must be able to spot excellent deals and items with the potential to resell if you desire to work as an antique dealer.

Appraising antiques has no license. However, you should know specific regulations related to antiquities or regulated goods. 

The skills to investigate and identify the most excellent deals often distinguish successful antique dealers from others who fall short.

You can do various things to improve these abilities. For instance, you can talk with local dealers, people you meet at workshops, or fellows. 

Moreover, it’s a good idea to read books about your field. This way, you can also know current market prices.

Besides, here are the characteristics you should have to work in this career:

  • Historical knowledge
  • Curiosity
  • Salesmanship
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Tech-savviness 
  • Social-media understanding
Acquire knowledge
Acquire knowledge

Participate In Antique Dealer Communities

Being a member of an antique dealer group is an excellent opportunity to network, remain current with the market, and learn new things all the time.

Below are some big-name associations for antique dealers you can consider:

  • Antiques Dealers’ Association
  • The Antiques & Collectibles National Association
  • The National Antique and Art Dealers Association of America

These organizations may provide sources for expanding your inventory, and additional views on appraisals can help you locate sought-after products.

When joining these communities, you may need to pay dues for membership, but it’s worth it for your career. 

Besides, it’s a good idea to participate in state or regional associations. They will hold meetings to help you learn more about the antique market in your area.

Consider Formal Education

You can take certified programs like the Appraiser’s Association. It provides various courses to train ambitious dealers.

It also holds Connoisseurship Programs annually, with seminars, lectures, and certificates at the end of the course. 

Otherwise, you can consider joining annual training from famous auction houses such as Christy’s and Sotheby’s.

Additionally, you can concentrate on a relevant college degree, like one with a major in history, fine arts, or art history.

Gain Real-Life Experience

It would be best if you were willing to work for an antique store, even when it’s a non-paid position.

If you notice any store in your region that is well-known and successful, it’s a good idea to approach and talk with the dealers there. 

It is a fantastic method to gain insight into the business without taking on the same risks and investments.

Gain real-life experience
Gain real-life experience

Find Work in This Sector

Once you plan to become an antique dealer, you’ll have to seek an entrance route to start your profession.

Since starting a business requires finance and knowledge, you might not do this task immediately.

Nevertheless, you can select occupations that will assist in positioning you for advancement in the future.

For instance, you can take on a general employee position at an antique store in your town.

Otherwise, working at auction houses as a clerk, porter, valuer, auctioneer, or cataloger is also a good choice. 

Build Your Stock

It would be best if you began gathering your stock for sale as soon as you have some working experience with antiques and the necessary knowledge to succeed.

Being a good dealer requires having a solid understanding of where to hunt antiques and essential criteria.

You will have various options between shopping, looking through Craigslist, and searching garage sales. Always attempt to arrive early.

Peruse the goods at rummage sales. Churches, private sellers, or groups may host these things. You can even find rough diamonds there.

It’s also better to keep track of estate sales. Many estate houses may hold estate liquidations.

Shop Antiques Shows And Stores

While perusing second-hand merchandise and garage sales can be a terrific method to acquire inventory, perusing the stock of other antique merchants can also provide great bargains.

Let’s consider flea markets. They evolved into a platform to purchase imported and new things when previously people viewed them as garage sales.

For information on the locations of upcoming flea markets, browse the internet for event schedules, neighborhood listings, or antique publications.

Typically, you can negotiate with sellers to acquire the most fantastic offer at these places. 

Many believe it is difficult to profit from purchasing products on the market with other dealers, yet occasionally you might uncover fantastic, affordable items.

For instance, a dealer can occasionally underprice goods if it falls outside of their expertise or may cut pricing to clear out stock or want a fast sale.

For example, you can discover these sales at Craigslist or other online auction websites by reputable dealers or owner ads. 

Besides, if you want to visit some thrift stores to hunt antiques, let’s refer to this video for more recommendations:

Shop antique stores
Shop antique stores

Find A Suitable Market

Several antiquities are available, so it’s best to start with the categories you are interested in or know clearly. 

Become comprehensively knowledgeable about the timeframes related to those specific items.

After that, you should answer the following questions:

  • Which items are valuable in this category?
  • To whom are they precious?
  • Why are they valued? 

Remember to keep up with current trends. Also, visit discussion forums online, interact with customers, and get advice from experienced dealers.

Your sales will remain cutting-edge if you apply these helpful tips. 

Make A Profit

If you want to make a profit and locate antiques, focus on networking and other methods mentioned above. These strategies will bring profitable sales.

Understanding what you own or discover is the key factor to success. By doing this, your items will become more valued and profitable for you.

It’s also crucial to have an appropriate price guide. When it comes time to sell, you will know more about what you will purchase and the going rate.

Moreover, you may utilize your expertise in antiquities to generate additional income that can aid your financial development.

Determine Your Dealing Method

You don’t need to establish a traditional store if you don’t have a big budget, various antiques, or large client bases. 

Electricity, rent, and other costs will be mandatory, reducing your profits if you opt for this business method.

Knowing the market and mastering negotiating skills are the keys to marketing and profit-making.

You can also consider consignment. It is a fantastic strategy to start this career and make money.

With this method, you will act as the representative of organizations that want to sell their goods. 

In most cases, you won’t have to pay any money before buying this inventory. Instead, you’ll offer them a portion of the earnings.

Determine business method
Determine business method

Deal At Flea Markets

You may sell your stock at a less expensive location, such as an antique show or flea market. It would be best if you simply covered the price of hiring a table for this.

Hagglers may be present. However, if you select a location where other dealers also sell their goods, you will discover potential customers.

Otherwise, selling online is another option. You can register your products on eCommerce shopping platforms like eBay or Amazon.

Advertise Your Business

Marketing your goods and increasing your exposure are great ways to promote your business.

While advertising in newspapers and magazines might be beneficial, they can be expensive over time and is by no means the only option to attract new clients.

The first task is to create an email list. Occasionally, dealers or antique stores are happy to share their customer’s emails with you. After that, send newsletters and ads to these emails.

You’ll need a website that looks professional and techniques to drive traffic. Besides, working with an SEO expert will be necessary to prevent Google from hiding your page. This way, potential customers can easily access your website. 

Advertise your business
Advertise your business


Is It Hard To Be An Antique Dealer?

The answer is yes. It is challenging to start and maintain a business as an antique dealer. This profession relates to various aspects. You must know your goods, clients, finance, and office management. 

Where Do Antique Dealers Get Their Stuff?

These dealers get their goods from garage sales, flea markets, or estate sales. Before reaching an antique retail store, many objects may pass via dealers.

Do You Need A License To Sell Antiques?

No license is mandatory. Also, you don’t need to undergo formal education or training to sell antiques. 

Can You Make Money As An Antique Dealer?

Yes! It’s an excellent profession to bring extra income while you do your full-time job. The website Job Monkey reports that the average annual income of an antique dealer is around $45,000.

How Profitable Is The Antique Business?

A typical profit for most dealers is around 30%, but remember that you must deduct listing costs, consignment charges, and other fees. The annual revenue of a skilled antiques enterprise owner may range from $45,000 to $60,000.

Final Thoughts

It would be best to prepare various things before becoming an antique dealer apart from your passion. Knowing your goods, customers, finances, and store management will certainly be essential. 

Also, while this career requires no license, you should take some formal educational courses to understand better what you will pursue. 

Hopefully, you will be successful with our detailed guides. Thanks for reading, and see you in the next post!

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