Everything You Need to Know About Working in a Pawn Shop

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Pawn shops help people get quick cash in a pinch. Visitors can also find unique or rare items that they might not be able to find and buy elsewhere. While anyone can be a customer at a pawn shop, fewer people have the opportunity to work at one.

Working as a pawnbroker can be an excellent experience and has plenty of benefits. If you’re considering a job as a pawnbroker, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about working in a pawn shop. Learn about the requirements and benefits of working in a pawn shop and what you can expect from a typical day.

What Is a Pawn Shop?

A pawn shop is where pawnbrokers lend money or buy valuable items from customers. The money pawnbrokers lend is treated like a loan, and customers can come to retrieve the item or collateral they left at the shop if they bring back the money they were lent. After a specific amount of time, interest will be applied to the loan. If the individual doesn’t repay the loan or interest after a set amount of time, then the pawnbroker is free to sell it to another customer to get back the money they lent to the first person.

Pawnbrokers work with various types of people and merchandise, making it an appealing field for many. Pawn shops buy and sell multiple items, including antiques, instruments, collectibles, jewelry, electronics and more.

Requirements to Work at a Pawn Shop

Working at a pawn shop can be fulfilling, and there are sometimes requirements to work at certain shops, but they’re not as set in stone as you might think. While some pawnbrokers have a college degree, many also only have a high school diploma or GED. Since you only need a high school education in many locations, you only need to be 18 years old to work in a pawn shop.

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While there are no specific requirements to work at a pawn shop, you can be more efficient at your job if you have a particular set of skills, like:

  • Communication skills: A large part of working at a pawn shop is working with various people — from customers to coworkers. Having quality communication skills allows you to work with just about anyone you come across, helping you make deals and evaluate different items. Knowing how to read people can help you quickly determine how to do business with someone, helping you make easy conversation and score their business.
  • Merchandise knowledge: Another large part of working at a pawn shop is having a vast knowledge of various types of merchandise. While you can learn a lot of this information when starting, understanding even a single specialization can help you get a position as a pawnbroker. This knowledge will help you accurately value items to make a profit on your sales. Whether you’re a music aficionado or know a lot about retro video games, these interests can be a big help in your day-to-day.
  • Quick thinking abilities: When you’re working with customers, you’ll need to quickly determine whether the pawn shop you work at accepts an item they’re trying to sell. You also have to be able to come up with accurate offers if you can buy the item. Being able to think quickly is also helpful when the customer starts negotiating with you.
  • Negotiation skills: Bartering is a regular part of working at a pawn shop. People will come in looking for a loan or to sell an item, but they may set a high asking price that doesn’t match a fair market value or allow the pawn shop to make a profit. One of the skills you should have as a pawn shop employee is the ability to negotiate with others and not to give in to the first offer someone makes.
  • Banking knowledge or skills: Pawn shops often deal with loans, so knowing banking and lending practices can help you take a step ahead of the competition and get a job as a pawnbroker.
  • Knowledge of market trends: What electronics are hot right now? What popular shoe brands are most people looking for? Understanding market trends is helpful for accurately pricing and selling different items.
  • Repair skills: While not a requirement, some pawn shops may appreciate it if you have repair skills if they buy broken items. Maybe you know your way around a broken TV or know how to take apart an instrument to sell the parts. Talk about these skills on your resume or in your interview, especially if you have a hobby or previous work experience that flexes your repair abilities.

Of course, you’ll develop these skills and more as you work, but having some of the skills to start with can make you more effective at your job from the beginning. You’re also more likely to stand out against other candidates, making you more likely to be hired.

While training isn’t necessary, it may be worth your while to look into it before getting a job as a pawnbroker. Legal and financial processes will be easier to understand, and you’re less likely to make mistakes.

What Is a Typical Day Like for a Pawnbroker?

A typical schedule for a pawnbroker will look different every day, which many see as one of the benefits of the job. While regular day-to-day tasks, like opening the shop or cleaning, may look the same, the other essential parts of the job will vary.

One day, you may have customers come in with antiques, but the next, you work with someone with the newest gaming system. The variety allows you to work with people from all walks of life, and you may get to see cool and unique merchandise that you’d never see in any other job field.

If you’re looking to get away from the monotony of traditional retail work, becoming a pawnbroker could be an excellent option.

Benefits of Working at a Pawn Shop

If you’re considering working at a pawn shop, you should know about the many benefits that come with the job, including:

1. Memorable Days and Merchandise

Working in a traditional retail store can become repetitive, dealing with the same people and merchandise day in and day out. When working at a pawn shop, you can deal with all types of products each day that appeal to a broad audience.

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You may see some of the newest technologies, but you also have the opportunity to work with old antiques. Some items will be worth significantly more than others, reaching all kinds of consumers. Working at a pawn shop is an excellent option if you want some variety to your day.

2. Fun and Hands-On Education

When you work in a pawn shop, you can further your learning with each new experience. You’ll work with various items and individuals, allowing you to learn new things and become knowledgeable at determining item value. You’re also learning on the job, rather than from a book or class. The hands-on experience becomes a valuable tool throughout your career and life.

3. New Knowledge of People

As a pawnbroker, you’ll get to interact with all kinds of individuals, which helps you learn how to read people easily. You’ll quickly be able to pick up on body language, which will inform you on how you should do business with different individuals for the greatest chance of success.

The knowledge you gain of human behavior will also help in your personal life, whether you become more social or better at negotiating. You’ll probably have a lot of fun stories to tell after work, too.

4. Deeper Knowledge of Yourself

When you work as a pawnbroker, you gain the skills to understand others and yourself at a deeper level. You’ll experience various emotions on the job and develop skills in compassion and understanding. You’ll also learn how to be caring toward others but not get caught up in the moment and let it interfere with your work — benefits of improved negotiation skills.

5. Improved Budgeting Skills

As a pawnbroker, your job involves lending money to people from all walks of life. No matter what your income is, working as a pawnbroker will help you learn how to budget your own finances. You’ll learn how to live within your means and save for essentials. You’ll also learn how to manage and pay off your debt since you’ll be working with others who are paying off their own.

6. Developed Understanding of Products

The longer you work as a pawnbroker, the more consumer products you’ll learn of and work with. You’ll gain a vast knowledge of merchandise as you work and evaluate items. This knowledge will help you become a successful pawnbroker by helping you identify valuable merchandise. You’ll also understand how to appropriately value products so you can make a profit based on current market prices.

7. Opportunities for Specialization

As a pawn shop employee, you’ll have access to various products, meaning the possibilities for specialization are endless. You can specialize in your interests, whether they be music, video games, antiques, coins, clothes, jewelry or something else. You may also find a new interest or hobby as you work with various merchandise daily.

8. Room for Growth

You can advance in the field all the way to store manager or merchandise specialist, making it an excellent option for those looking for career growth opportunities.

9. Increased Job Security

Pawn shops can flourish in good and bad economies, meaning that employees usually have more job security than in other fields or regular retail. It’s a lucrative field that has outlasted generations and is expected to continue to do the same. So, becoming a pawnbroker could be an excellent choice if you’re looking for a steady paycheck and job security.

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These benefits make working at a pawn shop a unique experience. The job can be fulfilling for all types of people since you can specialize in various areas.

Considerations of Working at a Pawn Shop

While working at a pawn shop can be an excellent opportunity for some, there are some things to consider when working as a broker:

  • Fluctuating market values: As a pawnbroker, you must stay aware of various items’ market values. Even if you buy something for a fair market value, the market prices can fluctuate and make the item less valuable than how much you paid for it. As a pawnbroker, it’s essential to be aware of these risks when buying certain things and to adjust your offers accordingly.
  • Difficulty selling items: In some situations, you may run into trouble when reselling items you bought from customers. You may have purchased an item you know is worth a lot, but it doesn’t seem to sell in your local area. You must consider your local population when picking things for your shop, but you can also solve this problem by leveraging an online presence.
  • Dealing with offer rejections: Even after a bit of back and forth, some customers may walk away from an offer when they’re looking to sell or buy something. Think of these moments as learning opportunities to grow your negotiation and selling skills.
  • Working in customer service: If you’ve never worked a customer service or retail job, consider whether it’s right for you. Working in a pawn shop involves a lot of one-on-one time with sellers and buyers. But if you have great communication and conversational skills, this won’t be much of a hurdle.

The potential drawbacks of working in a pawn shop are few and far between, but knowing what to expect before you start working can prevent surprises and help you stay prepared. If you’re concerned about the potential dangers of working at a pawn shop, like theft attempts or unpredictable customers, talk with the manager or owner about the security measures they have in place.

Consider The Vault Jewelry and Loan as Your Trusted Pawn Shop

Whether you’re looking to start a career or want to browse a wide selection of goods, The Vault Jewelry and Loan is here to help. If becoming a pawnbroker interests you, you can apply online by filling out our simple form. If you’re looking for something to purchase instead, you can browse our wide selection of popular and luxury products.

If you’re located near one of our many locations, you can also come in and shop our selection or pawn one of your own items. Our knowledgeable staff is more than happy to help with all your needs. Contact us today so we can help you find everything you’re looking for!


Jamie F. - Pawn Shop Manager in Northern VA
Jamie Furman
Manager at The Vault Jewelry & Loan | Website | + posts

James (Jamie) F., is the manager of our Centerpointe Way location in Woodbridge, VA. With over 14 years in the pawn business, he is an expert in Diamonds, Gold, and Luxury Watches. He is fluent in Spanish and English and enjoys helping customers’ find the item they want at a great deal. Banks and Big Box stores have convinced many that new and expensive is the only way to buy. He aims to change that paradigm and provide exceptional service and quality products at a bargain price to every person who walks through our doors.

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Ernie A.

Great store. I’ve been going there for years and they’ve always treated me good. Great products service!

Carola H

Great customer service and affordable prices. Super happy with my purchase

Mia I.

My husband picked up our engagement rings from here, best day of my life. thanks route 50 for the great selection. I was very pleased

Brad B.

The guys were really honest and straight with me. I went to other shops in the area such as jewelry exchange of tysons and got much much worse treatment. Other places you find either stuck-up trashy people, or extremely rude cut-throats. These guys were regular, nice, and fair; explaining the process to me and how buying/selling and pawning things work. I’d recommend them to a friend.

Michelle P.

Never disappointed. Excellent customer service, very friendly. Very clean store. Great selections.