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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Thinking of Becoming a Stamp Dealer?

Well, it can be fun .... But here are three things to think about:

1.
You are probably thinking about a one-person business. Now, a one-person business can only be as good as the one person. If you are well-organised as a person, it will show in your business. If you are lazy, the same. If you are mean, the same. Etc. Usw.

2.
If you choose to stock just a few expensive items, then it will be easy to see if you are making a profit and what kind of profit. It will be quite easy to keep records. But most dealers end up with stocks bigger than the stock of the local IKEA. It's very hard to keep a record - it could take 100% of your time. It's very hard to know what profit, if any, you are making when you sell one item on the Internet or at a Stamp Fair. At best, you can have a general idea. So maybe you bought 1000 items for 1000 euros. So you know that if you are selling each one at more than 1 euro you are doing something right - if you sell them all. But if you sell one item for 100, you know that means that you can afford to sell some other items for 50 cents. The only method I have is this: when I buy 1000 items I try to put a price on them all before I even sell one. That way I at least know what Total value I have placed on them. Maybe if I was starting again I would use bar - coding and store everything in a data base. But I still think that maintaining the data base could be a full-time job. You will neglect the important things: studying what you have in your stock, picking out forgeries, picking out damaged things,noticing good things, doing a bit of research when you get something you have not seen before.


3.
Trust. If you don't trust other people, it's difficult to be a stamp dealer. I don't have a problem trusting other people and it saves me a great deal of time. Here is a short list of things I don't do: I never make photocopies of things I send out on approval or of things in my boxes, I never use "Premium" postage or shipping services, I don't insure my stock. Sometimes I say to a client "Go through them" - maybe it's a bag with 1000 stamps in it - "pick out what you want and then we can agree a price". And I have no idea what is in the bag. Oh, and another thing: I usually say, Pay me when you get the stamps I am sending you today. That way, when I get a cheque or a bank transfer I know that the transaction is finished. (Among themselves, dealers constantly rely on trust).

Of course, sometimes I lose things this way. But it's rare, actually very rare. And I save so much time. If you asked me why I think my business is profitable, I have to say: well, partly because I trust other people. Having clients you trust is a very big business asset. It makes life so much simpler.


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