Shane’s – The Pawn Shop, Inc
Industry Sector: Pawnbroker
Sector trendsby: Sandater Business Guides
What has been happening in the pawnbroking sector?
The pawnbroking industry has expanded steadily in the UK since the early 1990s. Recent years have seen an increase in the use of pawnbroking services by customers from all walks of life. In the past, the industry suffered from bad publicity and a poor public image. However, the National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) and the industry as a whole have worked hard to get the public to see pawnbroking in a more positive light, as a regulated and professional money services industry with high standards of customer service. The image of the industry has improved and it is now viewed as a legitimate money service business (MSB) and a genuine alternative to the banking services offered on the High Street.
There are a number of reasons behind the increase in demand for pawnbroking services in recent years. Getting a loan from a pawnbroker is quick and convenient – there are no lengthy forms to fill in and no waiting period for approval. People who are paid monthly can get a short term loan to tide them over until pay-day if they need extra cash. Using a pawnbroker is also an attractive option for people who can’t get credit with a bank or building society or who don’t have a bank account. It’s estimated that around eight million people in the UK are in this position.
Of course, an increase in demand for pawnbroking services and a general initiative by the ‘sub-prime’ money services industry to improve its image have also seen the growth of several large players, including the national Cash Generator franchise. So the industry has remained a competitive one.
One of the big challenges now facing the pawnbroking industry is to continue to promote itself as a legitimate money lending service, so that using a pawnbroker becomes an attractive option for an even wider range of customers. The current ‘credit crunch’ is helping the sector to expand its customer base as more and more professionals turn to pawnbrokers to realise the value of jewellery and other valuables – often to pay things like school fees.
The current high price of gold is also benefiting the industry as customers are encouraged to exchange their gold jewellery for cash. The gold is then sold to bullion houses for its scrap value.
Keeping up to date with developments
Joining a trade association is an excellent way of keeping up to date with developments in your industry. The National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) represents the interests of pawnbrokers in the UK. The NPA has a code of conduct for members and aims to raise the public profile of high quality, professional pawnbroking. The Association also publishes a quarterly journal, The Pawnbroker. You can contact the NPA at Chiltern Court, 37 St Peters Avenue, Caversham, Reading RG4 7DH or visit their website.
It is also a good idea to keep up to date with gold prices and trends in the jewellery market. This will help you to make sure that your valuations of pawns are as accurate as possible, and also to take advantage of high gold prices by selling unredeemed gold items for scrap at the right time. Gold prices are published in many daily newspapers and are widely available online, for example on the World Gold Council website.
The National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) represents the interests of jewellery retailers in the UK and publishes The Jeweller ten times a year. You can contact the NAG at 78a Luke Street, London EC2A 4XG or visit their website.
You’ll be able to find out a lot of useful information by visiting a trade show. You’ll be able to meet manufacturers, suppliers and importers and keep up to date with trends in the pawnbroking and jewellery sectors. The Exhibitions website has more information on forthcoming trade shows and exhibitions.
Shane’s Pawn Shop, Inc
413 W. Lincoln Hwy
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
E-mail: Shane’s Pawn Shop
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