Shop Talk: No Serial Number, No Deal?

Soon, Richmond, VA pawn shops will not only have to keep the IDs of the owners of items they accept or purchase, but refuse any items without visible serial numbers, according to a recent WWBT-TV NBC 12 report. This doesn’t sound too extreme or unusual, but one has to wonder whether requiring visible serial numbers on all items is really practical. When you can see that someone has tried to mark out a serial number purposely, obviously, that’s a huge tip-off that the customer may not be the actual owner, but penalizing customers when a serial number has just been worn down or diminished over time or by regular wear and tear doesn’t seem like the greatest scenario.

What do you think? Would being limited to only accepting or purchasing items with visible serial numbers hurt your pawn business?

Shop Talk: Gold’s Seven-Straight Weekly Loss

According to a CNBC video report released today, gold is experiencing a seven-straight weekly loss (the longest losing streak in four years) at a drop of almost five percent.

In contrast, a recent article by Frank Holmes, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of US Global Investors, Inc., promotes having a positive outlook for gold. Holmes explains how “the price of gold moves in near-lockstep to each increase of the Fed’s balance sheet,” and that since the Federal Reserve is printing more and more dollars, the price of gold is likely to move along with it, as it has historically.

Gold’s ability to recover sooner rather than later may be debatable, but one thing is for certain: The precious metal promises to remain a hot topic for a very, very long time.

Click here to read the Holmes article in full.

Shop Talk: Delaware 11th State to Require Pawn Shops to Photograph Jewelry?

sg23409dv01On April 29, 2013, Newsworks.com reported that Delaware could become the 11th state in the country to require pawn shops and secondhand dealers to take photographs of all of the jewelry they buy. If the proposed bill goes through, pawn shop owners and secondhand dealers will be required to keep photos of all of the jewelry they accept or purchase in their records for one year.

This new legislation could come through on the heels of other legislation that requires the mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms in Delaware. Senate Bill 16, according to another Newsworks.com article published on May 3, 2013, states that all gun owners (including pawn shop owners), “have one week to notify police; the seven-day clock, however, starts running when the gun owner discovers the weapons are missing.” Per the article, the bill passed by a single vote and now moves to the House.

For pawn shops, there are advantages and disadvantages to both pieces legislation.

On the upside, taking photos in order to help prevent theft and help jewelry owners recover stolen property is good for communities and helps improve the image of pawn shops. On the downside, having to take photos on top of recording and keeping detailed written records of all jewelry transactions could present yet another barrier to successfully completing transactions. Customers would have more time to change their minds; pawn shop owners may decide to forego smaller transactions just because they don’t want to go through all of the red tape.

When it comes to the lost or stolen firearm legislation, in theory, pawn shop owners will be able to find out much sooner that a firearm was stolen if people have fewer days to report lost or stolen firearms. This should logically lead to fewer purchases of stolen firearms, which would be good for everybody. However, one has to question whether the legislation will really make that big a difference. After all, no one can ever really know exactly when a firearm owner actually noticed a piece was missing but the firearm owner.

Shop Talk: Can You Use Your Shop to Dip into Other Markets?

sg2349ujlk3On April 12, 2013, Sun Star Davao reported, “The Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions (Clis), the insurance arm of pawnshop chain Cebuana Lhuillier, launched on Thursday its latest product to offer a more affordable compulsory third party liability (CTPL) insurance to vehicle owners.”

In case you haven’t heard of Cebuana Lhuillier, it’s the largest pawn shop chain operating in the Philippines. According to the company website, Cebuana Lhuillier has branches all across the country, some of which serve more than 30,000 customers daily.

The Sun Star Davao article explains that Cebuana Lhuillier wants to be much more than a pawn organization. Expanding Clis by offering more affordable insurance options is a way for the company “to become a total micro finance solution center other than being a pawning and remittance outlet,” the article states.

Obviously, moving into the insurance sector may not be in the cards for a lot of pawn shop owners, but Cebuana Lhuillier’s approach to pawnbroking and expansion has to make pawn brokers everywhere wonder what unique or out-of-the-box business ventures they might be able to engage in through pawnbroking.

Click here to read the Sun Star Davao article in full.

Shop Talk: New Proposed Meltdown Regulations for Pawn Brokers, Secondhand Jewelers

sg23490ibqPawn Times reported yesterday that a bill that proposed that pawn shops and resellers of precious metals wait 30 or 60 days before melting down any jewelry was amended after business owners complained to a rep at the House of Representatives. According to Pawn Times, the bill now proposes that pawnbrokers and secondhand jewelers wait 10 or 15 days, depending on their participation in a data collection program.

In related news, a March 30, 2013 article by Mike Shedlock on TownhallFinance.com reveals that another bill that might be of particular interest to pawn brokers is scheduled to be voted on soon. Explains Shedlock, “The bill, which advanced in a 4-2 vote by a House committee Monday, states that gold and silver should be legal currency not subject to tax or regulation as property.” He continues, “The Republican-led Senate gave the bill its blessing in February in a 17-11 partisan vote.” Democrats are opposed.

To read the full Pawn Times article, click here.

To read the full TownhallFinance.com article, click here.

Shop Talk: Gold Still Falling; Is the Gold Trade Done?

It would be premature, or just plain wrong, to assume that the gold trade is done. At least, that’s what Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, seems to be saying in a CNBC video report released just yesterday. Nevertheless, with gold having two losing quarters in a row and the dollar staying strong, traders, gold dealers, pawn shop owners, and many others are concerned.

What does Schiff think? Schiff predicts that gold isn’t going anywhere. Says Schiff in the video below, “And, in fact, if you remember, gold did really well going into the last financial crisis. Maybe it’s-it’s appropriate that it’s doing poorly going into the next one, because I think the crisis that we’re headed for is much worse than the one in two thousand and eight, and I think it’s gonna be a very good environment for gold.”

Shop Talk: Macau Pawn Shops Critical to Local Casino Market

sg23u85vl6Bloomberg.com recently reported that pawn shops in Macau “help fuel a casino market that’s six times the Las Vegas Strip by enabling the mainland Chinese who crowd the gaming tables to sidestep China’s currency controls.” How are gamblers using pawn shops to bypass controls? Gabriel Chan, a financial analyst, is quoted in the article as saying, “‘To skirt the cap on yuan they can take out of China, gamblers buy expensive goods from pawnshops using debit cards and trade them in for cash at the same store.’”

To read the Bloomberg.com article in full, click here.

Shop Talk: Independent Pawn Shop Makes it onto Hong Kong Exchange

According to a CNBC video report that came out just yesterday on CNBC.com, Oiwah Pawn has about a dozen locations and is worth about 11 or 12 million US dollars. Nevertheless, it is appearing on the Hong Kong stock exchange. What makes Oiwah Pawn so profitable? The CNBC report cites a high number of central foreign and domestic customers, a high number of cross-border travelers, and a simple interest rate (3.5% a month) as some of the major reasons the Hong Kong-based pawn organization has become so successful. View the full CNBC video report below.

Shop Talk: Using Specialty Items to Get More Publicity for Your Pawn Shop

Do you have a specialty item in your pawn shop that frequently gets oohs and ahhs from customers? Why not let your local media know about it? Local news stations and newspapers are constantly looking for good lifestyle pieces to round out their content. CBS Sacramento even has a specialty series called “Pawn Shop Insider.”  Recently, the series featured one lucky pawn shop’s 100 year old Edison phonograph. View the full video segment below.

If you have a specialty item that gets talked about in your shop on a daily basis, there’s a good chance that your local media representatives will recognize that it’s special, too. In most cases, you don’t even have to issue an official press release to let them know about it. Most media websites today have online forms that will allow you to pitch your story and share it with the news desk or editorial staff quickly and easily.

The trick to making a good story pitch? Be clear and concise. Describe the item of interest in detail, make a point of mentioning that your customers frequently want to talk about it, and provide any relevant historical facts. Of course, you should always provide your contact information and make it as easy as possible for people to reach you.

Another tip: If your item relates to a national or regional holiday or event, pitch your story up to six weeks prior to the occasion. The more relevant you make your item seem, the more likely you’ll be to capture the media’s attention and win some great publicity for your shop.