A pawn shop is a business that makes loans on the basis of physical collateral such as jewelry, tools. firearms or vehicles. When you pawn something, you are getting a loan and using that item as collateral on the loan. So if you do not return to repay the loan plus interest, the pawn shop owner legally claims the collateralized item for nonpayment of the loan and can resell it. Pawn shops can be a very profitable business and have become a popular small business for entrepreneurs all across the country, including in Florida.
Research the pawn shop industry in Florida and decide whether you want to operate your own pawn shop or open up a franchise location of a well-known national pawn shop chain. There are several considerations to keep in mind here, including taxes, your personal financial situation and the number of both private and franchised pawn shops in your area.
Make a business plan based on the type of pawn shop you plan to open. Opening your own pawn shop requires a more comprehensive business plan including details on location, financing, market analysis, number of employees, management bios, a marketing plan and so forth, but many of these operational details are taken care of as part of owning a franchised pawn shop operation.
Register the name of your pawnshop with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, by filing a fictitious name/DBA form. This is not necessary if you are going into business as a corporation or partnership. There is $50 fee to file a fictitious name/DBA registration in Florida.
Apply to the Florida Department of Revenue to register to pay sales taxes and acquire a Certificate of Registration and an Annual Resale Certificate for Sales Tax.
Apply to the Florida Division of Consumer Services to get a license to operate your new pawn shop. Use Application Form DACS-10-111 and include payment of the $300 annual fee. Pawn shops are required to maintain $50,000 net worth as a security to their customers. Pawn shop owners can demonstrate a net worth of $50,000 by submitting a current financial statement from a Florida-licensed accountant or his most recent federal tax return.
Be reasonably generous in how much you offer your customers for the items they are pawning, especially in the the first few months you are in business. This might cut into profits at first, but the pawn shop business is competitive, and a reputation as a fair pawnbroker can lead to a lot of business by word of mouth alone.
- Florida Division of Consumer Services: Pawnbroking Information for Businesses
- Florida Department of State - Administrative Code: Chapter 5J-13 Florida Pawnbroking Act
- Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations: OnLine Fictitious Name Registration
- "The Christian Science Monitor": US Cities Act to Curb Growth of Pawnshops; Patrik Jonsson; April 2007
- BPlans; What Is a Business Plan?; Tim Berry