Agate rock is a banded, cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz or chalcedony. Cryptocrystalline means that the crystals are so small that a microscope is required to see them clearly. Chalcedony is a general term for all varieties of cryptocrystalline quartz. These popular rocks tend to be fairly porous and will stain a variety of colors. Agate rocks are abundant and sell in the marketplace as home accents and as prized specimens to collectors. With raw agates readily available, it is possible to develop a business and sell these rocks to both wholesale and retail customers worldwide.
Form a small business by contacting your state and local business license offices to register your business name and acquire a sales tax permit or other required permits. Obtain an employer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service for the business. Only an established business can purchase agate inventory from a rock dealer at wholesale prices.
Take high-resolution photographs of the agates that are for sale. Save the photographs at different resolutions for Internet and print uses.
Determine the sale price of the agates and the quantities that you plan to sell. Rock importers typically sell their product by weight. You have the choice of selling agates by weight or by determining an average weight of the samples and establishing a consistent price per sample. A good rule of thumb is to calculate the retail price as five times the cost of the rock and the wholesale price as half of the retail price. For example, if the importer charges $1 per pound, a retail cost would be $5 per pound, and the wholesale cost would be $2.50 per pound. Selling agates wholesale allows you to sell a higher volume at a lower price point, while selling retail would be a low volume at a high price point.
Open a retail store or a wholesale warehouse with a small showroom if you have substantial inventory. Use attractive displays to entice customers to purchase your raw agates. Agates have different banded patterns, which makes a store or showroom beneficial because customers are able to see the rocks before they make a purchase.
Design and print a small catalog with product and pricing information for customers who are not located near your store or warehouse. Use an electronic format and email it to customers to eliminate printing and mailing costs.
Establish a website so that customers can purchase your raw agates online. If you sell to both wholesale and retail customers, consider operating two websites or a website with a separate login for each type of customer since the prices and terms of sale will differ. If you sell the agates online to retail customers, either show a photo of each item or provide a note explaining that every agate has a slightly different banded pattern and the photo is just a representative.
Attend gem and mineral shows to meet wholesale and retail customers and display your inventory. Numerous shows occur throughout the country each year on a local and national level.
Auction websites are another sales outlet to explore once your systems and procedures are established.
- “Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Rocks & Minerals”; Annibale Mottana, et al; 1978.
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