Collecting antiques can be more than just an expensive hobby. In fact, selling antiques is one of the most lucrative businesses out there, with little upkeep and low overhead. If you are ready to take your passion one step further and turn it into a business, you can choose between setting up a physical store and running your business from home.
If you choose the latter, here is a simple guide on how you can start a home-based antique business.
1. Make a business plan
Just like with any other type of business, you need a business plan that clearly outlines your goals, your target market, your prices, the costs of starting the business, and the name of your business, along with other important details. If you intend to take out a loan for your business, having a solid business plan can increase your chances of securing it.
2. Figure out your niche
Are you going to sell a specific category of antiques? Or are you going to sell various items like an antique mall? Whatever the case may be, finding your niche is a great way to figure out the direction in which you want to take your business. For instance, if you want to sell more than one type of antique, you still need to specify what niches you want to focus on. This way, your target markets are more specific, and you are better able to cater to the types of customers you want to attract with your items.
3. Determine where will you get your inventory
The next step is to determine where you will get your inventory. It is also important to highlight this detail in your business plan to assure lenders you have plenty of sources to find stock.
If you already have a big collection of antiques that you want to sell, you would likely have an easier time figuring out your inventory. Otherwise, you would have to acquire your stock ahead of time before you open your store.
Buy pieces that will allow you to cover your expenses while also making a profit (having a business plan beforehand can help you figure out the ideal prices to buy antiques). You can source your items from estate sales, auctions, yard sales, other dealers, and sometimes even dumpsters. There are so many places you can find antiques, but you will have to find sources that will provide you with the best profit. Sometimes, you can even buy entire stocks of dealers who are going out of business.
4. Establish a legal business identity
There are several types of business structures that you can choose from, namely sole or single proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation. Each of these business structures is different and has varying pros and cons. If you wish to know more about each type of business structure, here is a simple guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
If you are starting a business from home, you would likely need to have a sole proprietorship.
5. Register for taxes, licenses, etc.
Next, you have to register for taxes, obtain necessary business licenses, and secure permits. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines.
6. Set up your finances
Open up new bank accounts and credit cards for your business. Make it a point that your personal and business expenses are kept separate, especially if you run the business from home.
7. Figure out the storage
For a home-based antique business, you would need enough space to keep your inventory. And not just any space, either. You would need a place that has good lighting and can fit all of your stock without being too cramped. Moreover, you will need to invest in locks, a good security system, fire safety measures, and containers (e.g., glass cases, metal boxes, etc.), especially for delicate items.
8. Obtain business insurance
Look for home-based business insurance that will cover your office equipment and business inventory. Having coverage is incredibly important for all business owners, even if the risk of anything untoward happening is very low considering that you are operating from home.
Selling antiques is a challenging type of business. For one, the intake of stock is not always constant, and prices can fluctuate up and down depending on the market. Nevertheless, it can be a very profitable endeavor. So, if you want to take your passion to the next level, use this guide to help you start your antique business from home.