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Renting an antique booth?

Posted by scoobyruby (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 18, 09 at 13:21

Has anyone done this or thought about it?
My sister & I could put together probably 2 booths of furniture & accessories- not all antiques but then alot of stuff isn't - to sell? We both are ready to get rid of some stuff. I noticed at our big antique mall there were quite a few empty booths.

Do you know how this is set up - generally? I don't want to seem totally naive. I tried to sale 1 thing on CL - offered it for a fair price & got low balled - I didn't even bother answering anybody else - just kinda got fed up with it being the holidays & all.

I'd appreciate any info you might can offer.
Smiles:)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Renting an antique booth?

I don't usually frequent antique stores (although I love the browsing, I'd rather search the bargains on CL - cheapy me lol). However, I was looking for something specific & was in a large, & well-respected, store last week - with over 200 booths, & many of them had sale notices "everything 20% off, 50% off" etc. It was the end of the day, but I was the ONLY customer in this very large store.

I just don't know if now would be the best time to start a venture like this?

That's just a consumers point of view, though. I'm sure others have more experience from the seller's view.


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

I do frequent antique stores and lease 18K sf to one. They currently have no empty booths and a waiting list if they get empties. My favorite (non-tenant) antique store always has a January Sale with everything 25-50% off. I've already been once and will go again before it ends.

No experience from the seller's view, but I would say rent one booth and keep the extras to fill in as thing sale. You'll have to sign a lease (maybe 6 or 12 months) and most antique stores also get a percentage of your sales - I believe it's pretty low though.

Good luck if you decide to go for it!


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

You might be responsible for maintaining your booth and/or putting in time at the store. If you're up to the commitment, and are willing to pay the commission and can stock it for the length of the contract time, then consider it.

Most places rent you the space for a specific period of time (say 6 months) and you have to stock it, check it for restocking, inventory, etc. And you also pay a commission for the items as well as your booth rent. It's a lot of work, frankly, for what you end up with. Unless you're in an area of heavy traffic, with a lot of turn over in merchandise, you might end up spending more than you make.

Try having an 'estate' sale...you might sell a bunch from your home.


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

Really, I was just wanting to do it for a month or two to get rid of some stuff!!

Probably not a possibility?

I didn't want to sign a lease - I was thinking since there were quite a few empties - maybe??

Smiles:)


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

Actually some do rent on a month to month basis. I did that at a local store. The monthly rent was $150 and then they received 10% of the sales. I only had to stock the booth (I had a housefull of stuff to get rid of) and price items, but their staff did the rest of the selling. I actually did really well initially, then had to leave the state for several months with DS but in the end, even after almost a year, I broke even. I would have made a good profit if I'd have been able to get the booth stocked up and sold everything in a few months.

I didn't want to have a garage sale and give things away, and then also deal with the dickering on garage sale prices. I priced my stuff at very very good prices (so it would sell faster than the other dealers) but still enough to make some money.

You need to call around to your local stores and see if they have space, then get a copy of the lease (my lease specified it was 1st and last month minimum, but month to month otherwise) and normally there is an annual insurance feel but it's small like $25 or so. And don't ask as if you're only going to do this for a couple of months...they prefer to have "real" dealers who will stay in business, but if they have no requirement of a monthly minimum, that's ok as well. Just say you got tired of stocking the booth :) They'll still make good money off you and you'll get a decent price for your stuff.

I'm not the CL type myself...I don't want to have a bunch of calls and don't want to deal with strangers at the house constantly. The booth was much easier ;)


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

Is there a consignment store in your area where you could take things just to see what happens? I am not real sure how they work, but when I had a booth in an antique mall, I paid monthyly rent and 10% of sales. I had it for a year and made money most months, but after a couple of months of just breaking even, I decided not to sign another 1 year lease. Good luck with what you decide.


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

My mom has done this and she was able to rent her booth from month to month. She actually had booths in different stores at the same time. She has rented places where they charge a percentage of your sales and places that charge only a monthly rental fee. I would check around and see what is available in your area. The consignment store is a very good idea.

Just a thought - I frequent antique stores and it is a bit of a peeve of mine when there is quite a bit of *stuff* that is not antique.

We have a big antique hunt planned in a few weeks - celebrating our anniversary. LOL Thankfully, hubby loves it as much as I do.

Good luck!

tina


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

Unless you have very good or unusual or popular things that you know people will buy right away, you might be better off using a good consignment store. I've done very well with consignment, and I don't see many people shopping in the antique malls these days, either.

Don't forget, when you are figuring out what it will take to make a profit, to take into account the cost of transporting things, and the thing many of us don't remember to put a value on...your time! If you were paying yourself even minimum wage for all the hours you spend on the project, would you still be making a profit? And is breaking even good enough after the effort you put in, or might you be better off donating the less valuable things, consigning the rest, and using your time another way?


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

scoobyruby, if you are considering the one I'm thinking you might be :) they do rent on a month-to-month basis, or at least they did awhile back. DH and I considered renting there but just didn't have the time to put in to maintaining a booth.

Good luck, whatever you decide!


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

When you're factoring in the cost of your time...consider an equal or even substantially additional amount of time would be necessary for a garage sale, estate event.

Consignment shops tend to take 40% or so. Then the price at value and things take their own time to sell. If you do your own booth, you can price lower than your competition for similar items, and still not take the loss you'll take on consignment (I spent some time thinking this out before I did it LOL)

While many stores are down a bit now a days, I still frequent antique stores where ever I travel. And I'm rarely alone in the storee...but I also buy things, so who cares if you only have one buyer...if they buy :) It's ok.

One thing I highly recommend is that you take time to label everything specifically...ie instead of "Oak dresser" put "antique (so they know it's not a fake) eastlake style dresser circa 1890's". It's amazing the difference this makes in a sale. I watched people shop in a couple different malls when I was looking for one and noticed they like to read labels. I most often do know what I'm looking at, but I like the assurance it's real and not a reproduction on some items (ie depression glass which is now reproduced). If you do have a reproduction, mark that clearly. It makes a buyer feel you're not trying to take advantage of them as well.


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

Thanks to you all!

Southernheart - yes, I bet we are talking about the same one - in C/ville. I am just thinking about for a month or two. My sis is really the one with multiple attics - yes (s) full of stuff!!

Yes, Igloo - the tags do make all the difference. When I am looking....alot of times I don't know what I am looking at until I look at the tag!! If it isn't descriptive - I will just put that sucker back down.

The consignment shop does take a big chunk & they start marking down every month also.

Thanks for all the advice....I wanted to have something in my head so I wasn't floored when I spoke with them.

Smiles:)


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

I have antique booths at two different places. Both are month to month with one month notice required. One is only $20/month and is in a great location and the other one is $65/month also in a great location. The $20 one is smaller but doing much better. Size isn't everything. Location! Location! Location! Both locations usually pay for their rent in the first week, the second and third week sales goes towards the merchandise and the last week of the month is really the only profit. Before renting, I walked around several different antique malls for a while to see if they were busy. As mentioned above, some malls I was the only one in there and it was Friday or Saturday afternoon. Others only had dealers around moving boxes and looking at me wierd. Also, make sure the staff is friendly. The two stores I am at has friendly staff while the two that I passed up sure don't.

Antiques are addictive, so if anyone has a site or knows of a site where I can read about other people's experiences in mall booths where I can read, learn and share, that would be great. So far this is really the only place I've seen with an open discussion on that topic.

Good Luck! :)


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

I want to know where pilotqt lives, because you could never get a booth around here for that kind of $$!

DH and I have had an antique booth twice. The first time was in 2003-2005 and we did fairly well. The booth rent was $175 per month, and the mall took 10% of all sales. This booth was in an older established mall in town, near other antique stores/malls. We went to auctions, yard sales, etc. for merchandise and after a while we just got exhausted. Work all week, auction Friday night, price, stock, clean and arrange booth Saturday, auction Saturday night, final booth fluffing Sunday. The saving grace was that we lived only about 5-6 miles from the booth.

We got a booth again in September of 2007 when we moved from our big 1920's home to our MCM home. We had lots of antiques to dispose of as well as leftovers from the last foray into antique dealing. It was in a newer mall, but the dealers there had quality merchandise, so it was a good fit. This mall did allow new merchandise, where the other mall didn't. But it never dropped to flea market standards -- always nice decorator stuff. This mall leased booth space month-to-month, which was nice. We ended up staying only 8 months.

We bought no new merchandise. Booth this time was much larger as we had a lot of furniture. Booth rent was $275/mo, and mall again takes 10%. That gets a little steep when you have a slow month and actually go in the hole. Toward the end (April 2008) we were practically giving things away. Business really fell off. We had a fire sale and got rid of th last of the big pieces for a song. We still have a lot of small things and in a few weeks I'll have a yard/antique sale and see if I can move some of them.

Rules to Remember:

1) Price your items well -- if you paid retail for it, you are NOT going to get your money back. You may have to let some things go for a song in order to keep your inventory fresh.

2) If you buy something to resell, count on needing to sell it for 2x to 3x what you have in it to cover the rent and mall commission.

3) You have to put the time into it.

4) Late model used furniture, no matter how nice, does not bring a lot in most cases. There may be some particular areas with a market for it, but to most folks there are "antiques" and there is "used furniture" and never the twain shall meet.

5) Enjoy the fluffing, arranging, time with your sister, etc. in and of itself. it will make the whole endeavor enjoyable even if you have some slow months. And you will have slow months in this economy.

Good luck!


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

I was an Antiques and Collectibles dealer for several years and just wanted to remind you...sales tax will be collected. Which then makes you a small business (license needed). Filing taxes for both state and federal are your responsibility. Accountability for your initial cost of your inventory and profit will need to be recorded for tax purposes. Or at least...this is how it should be done.


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RE: Renting an antique booth?

As dgreenhouse said, there is the sales tax issue. In Alabama, where I am, you can get a reseller's license instead of a true business license. That means if you sell through a mall/consignment shop where the shop deals with the sales tax, you don't have to mess with it. But you do need to address the business on your income tax.

We didn't incorporate or anything like that -- we just include this as a sole proprietorship business on our personal income tax. We did set up the books in a spreadsheet to track how much we paid for something and what date it went into inventory, then any cost to repair/refinish, then amount it sold for and the date. DH could then run a report each year at tax time to show the net gain or loss on the inventory during the year. You also track the expenses such as booth rent, commissions (the mall's 10%) mileage to auctions and service the booth, etc. It's a bit of a hassle, but you get used to it.


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