Anyone have a booth at an Antique Mall? Part 2

Discussion in 'Work-at-Home Business' started by Duffy, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Duffy

    Duffy New Member

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    Jun 14, 2016
    My wife and I are planning on taking the Antique Mall booth plunge as soon as one is available. We are gathering stock to prepare. Are you using tax deductions for your booth? Are you registered as a Sole Proprietorship? Do you deduct rent not only at the antique mall you are at, but at your home as well where you store inventory? Any other thoughts when it comes to reporting taxes?

    Thank you!
     
  2. pahomestead

    pahomestead New Member

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    I had my own shop for several years and have rented booths in several different malls, as well as selling in online venues. I run my business as a sole proprietor--income is reported under my social security number, no need for an EIN. You can track allowable expenses to write off against income from your sales. Cost of inventory, of course, booth rental, mileage to/from mall to restock as well as mileage incurred in procuring inventory. As for cost of home use, I believe if you write off a home office in any type of self employment, if you were to ever sell your home, the portion that was claimed for business could have tax ramifications...that would be a question for an accountant or tax advisor. There are other business expenses allowed as deductions...ck out Small Business info on the IRS site. Here is one link: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/starting-a-business

    You should register for a sales tax number. Some malls collect and submit the tax on sales, others pay it out to you and you are responsible to submit it to your state. Be sure you understand how they handle that--details should be in your booth rental contract.

    When I started my business, I met with a volunteer through SCORE--they are local business people who volunteer time to meet with you and answer questions on starting a business. He was very helpful. https://www.score.org/

    Good luck. Antiquing gets in your blood. I had to give up my booth for a couple years when I was working full time, but as soon as I could, I got back into it. You most likely won't make a living at it, but it can be a source of side income and provide a lot of fun in the hunt!
     
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  3. Duffy

    Duffy New Member

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    Thank you for the info. That helps alot!
     
  4. vintagecat

    vintagecat Well-Known Member

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    Kansas
    Pretty much what pahomestead said. I have a 450 sft space in a monthly First Friday vintage/antique event venue. Different from the malls, we are open two days a month, we take our own money (credit cards/cash) pay sales taxes to the state, pretty much a flea market model. Interestingly I make as much in the 2 day event as I did in an every weekend venue with far less standing around time. I operate as well under sole proprietorship. For federal taxes I track cost of inventory, business incidental expenses such as printing materials, tags, materials to repair inventory, rent, mileage to and from the venue.

    I pretty much try to stay out of the iffy tax deductions such as travel because I try to make sure that almost everything has dual purpose. I buy as I visit family, travel. Same with deducting part of my home or vehicle. These can come back to bite and unless you have extraordinary luck or savvy, you will find that the basic deductions do just fine offsetting whatever you make to the point that you might struggle to be in the black by the time the IRS decides that your business id a hobby.

    From my experience the antiques business is struggling in general. At least around here people that deal in pretty old glass struggle. China/dish sets are DOA as are a lot of the rusty primitives unless they are cheap enough for the DIY crowd or are already up cycled which is also tricky to hit just the right note staying within the hip and new, while not veering into kitsch. Same for old linens and a lot of the old victorian through turn of the century wood furniture that the style makers call "brown" furniture.

    Those same style makers can also have the Pintrest crowd clean your space of a category of things that have sat for months or years. Think of what Martha Stewart did for Jade Ware that languished from unloved to rabidly sought and now rare as hen's teeth for a reasonable price. That is however a moving target, completely random and unable to be chased with much accuracy.

    Choose your mall wisely, Read the contract carefully before committing. Read the exit clause and think about how that might work for you if your sales are not happening or you have a family emergency. Are you stuck for 3-6 months? Read about the fees that you will incur aside from rent. Don't listen to the owner's spiel. Come to the mall several times a week for several weeks or months to check out traffic and watch how that traffic converts to sales and what might be selling. Talk to other booth owners if you can to find out how well things are managed. Is there a lot of damage or theft for example?

    Malls at least in my area are pretty dead. I love antiques but I rarely go to antique malls. Most of the malls carry pretty "middling" goods, the occasional gem, often locked behind glass needing the sole employee to open and a whole lot of what I call "early garage sale" goods. Also a lot of "collectible" market stuff that I have zero interest in such as action figures, movie memorabilia, and vintage retail and brand items. I understand that there needs to be a market for these things but an antique mall half full of this and early garage sale bores me to tears. I guess that is why I don't go anymore and for the most part the portrait I paint has been true here in the midwest, the pacific northwest, California and other places I've traveled.

    I wish you luck but being prepared is the best luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  5. coffeecassie

    coffeecassie Member

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    Would love to see this thread active again! Just finished reading all 60 pages of the last one. I am interested in starting a booth at a flea market or antique mall in the next 6-12 months. Would love to hear more about other peoples experience with this.
     
  6. vintagecat

    vintagecat Well-Known Member

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    Kansas
    I responded almost a year ago. Situation and advice much unchanged. Our antiques event has morphed somewhat as what seems to be selling now according to multiple venue owners are "market" items such as reproduction rusty iron decor, painted signs, candles, tee shirts and the like. Pretty depressing for those trying to make rent on antiques or vintage items. At least a quarter of my floor has left or is leaving next month due to poor sales. Another quarter are talking about leaving. I'm doing fine but I'm a niche vintage dealer with a price point that averages $25-30. I could not make a living on what I sell but it does support the "habit" and provide extra spending money. I am concerned though, because if so many folks are pulling out, where does that leave me (almost alone on my floor) even if my sales are fine?

    With the exception of my specialized niche, most Gen-Xers and Millennials are not generally interested in antiques/vintage except mid-century modern furniture (as long as it doesn't cost too much) what the Pinterest crowd deems worthy or folks like Chip and Joanna Gaines are using for decor on their shows. The other viable "trade" is high end antiques where boomers are trading up to better pieces but that market is quite a bit smaller and much more unpredictable. I use high end antique pieces and lighting as props and showcases but I may sell one every 6-8 months. Certainly not a rent payer there but more like a bonus and I never buy anything upscale that I couldn't or wouldn't suck up in my home or if not, afford to let go fairly cheaply on deep discount if I decide to close.

    My advice: If you aren't already completely in love with antiques or vintage and already very knowledgeable I'd suggest staying away if this is supposed to be a money maker for you especially at first. If you want to play a bit with the idea and can afford the learning curve then fine, give it a shot but focus only on what deeply interests you, what you love, not what you think might sell or what others are selling. Buyers in this market for the most part have discernment and you want to create a following that looks forward to what you will bring in next and that comes from a consistent message or theme. That's the best method to not get stuck with "junk" collecting dust that neither you or anyone else wants. Welcome to the junk trade.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
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