Antique Business

Opening a shop for antiques – How to set up your own art and antiques business.

Would you like to fulfil your dream of owning your own antique shop? Here you will find helpful tips for your foundation.

What knowledge do you need to set up your own antique shop?

You are probably already at home in the antiques and collectors scene. Nevertheless, you should always expand your knowledge. The better you are familiar with your exhibits, the more competent you can procure new goods and advise customers in sales talks. Visit museums, seminars and industry meetings to stay up to date.

Entrepreneurial instinct and strategic planning must be learned. As a self-reliant antiquarian you should continuously educate yourself in order to make economically wise decisions.

Founder check for the retail trade: The most important questions, which should ask themselves existence founders, references to qualification, the legal basic conditions of the retail trade and future prospects of the industry find you in the councellor business open.

Antique shop as sole proprietorship, GmbH or UG: choose legal form

For the establishment of an antique shop, the legal form of sole proprietorship, UG or GmbH is often chosen. But of course you can also choose from other legal forms. Please note, however, that the individual legal forms also differ in terms of taxation.

Find out more about the possible legal forms:

Establish a sole proprietorship

Establish a GmbH

Establish UG

In principle, of course, other legal forms are available to you.

How can you register your business?

Commercial register entry

The Commercial Register is a public register documenting entries on registered merchants in the area of a competent register court. The forms of enterprise GmbH and UG (haftungsbeschränkt) require an entry in the commercial register.

Business registration

Regardless of the legal form you choose, you must register with the trade office responsible for your place of business. If you open your antique shop as a sole proprietorship, a simple business registration is sufficient.
After registering with the Trade Licensing Office, the tax office will automatically register with you for tax purposes. As soon as your documents have been inspected and checked by the tax office, you will receive your tax number and may issue invoices.

Chamber of Industry and Commerce

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce is also informed by the Trade Licensing Office. When registering a trade, membership in the IHK responsible for you is mandatory.

Employer’s liability insurance association

Employer’s liability insurance associations (Berufsgenossenschaften) are the statutory accident insurance institutions for companies and their employees. Please register independently with the employers’ liability insurance association. Even small entrepreneurs without personnel are obliged to register with their relevant BG. If it is unclear to you which of the numerous BGs you have to register with, the Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV) will help you.

What are the costs of opening an antique shop?

Before you make any concrete expenses, put together a concrete financial plan. Consider the following costs, among others.

Capital requirements for the start-up phase (e.g. for conversion measures, targeted advertising) and to secure your livelihood.

Possible consultancy and bureaucratic costs in the start-up phase.

Capital for the purchase and procurement of goods, expert opinions and certificates.

Current operating costs such as shop rent, storage costs, electricity and heating costs, EDP.

Taxes and insurance.

Financial contingency reserves.

In general, the better you plan your business start-up, the easier it will be for you to implement it.

What should you keep in mind when procuring goods and selling your antique shop?

Once you have gained an overview of the costs involved, it is crucial to invest your available capital wisely. Here your industry knowledge is in demand. The earlier you start building a network of customers, suppliers and dealers for antique furniture, the faster you will gain a foothold.

Procurement of goods: buy antiques strategically

For the procurement you need expert knowledge about antiques. This is the only way to detect counterfeits and negotiate prices skilfully. Regular research is essential to expand your product range. This also includes a thorough search in daily newspapers, trade journals and online advertisements. In addition, you can expand your contacts at trade fairs, markets, exhibitions and auctions.

It makes sense to buy smaller pieces that are easy to sell. In this way you avoid tying up too much capital in large and possibly difficult to sell furniture. Alternatively, it is also worth taking antiques or art objects on commission at the beginning. Commissioning means that you exhibit pieces in your salesroom for other dealers. After the sale you receive a commission from the purchase amount. In this way you can fill your salesroom, win new customers and keep your procurement costs low for the time being.

In addition, establish good contacts with valuers, experts and experts. Many buyers insist on certificates that prove the authenticity of antique items.

Creating sales channels

Consider at an early stage whether your salesroom should be the only place where you sell your antique furniture and works of art. An own website with a product catalogue and an attached web shop is a simple and cost-effective way to expand your sales channels. The easier it is for potential customers to find your goods, the faster you will be perceived as a new company. Short delivery times are another incentive to buy.

Where should you start your antiques business?

Unlike many industries, being close to the competition is an opportunity when you start your antique business. Where other art collectors and antiquarians successfully trade, there is an existing market that you can enter. However, find your individual niche.

A good location is easily accessible and within sight of your walk-in customers. For the reopening of your antiques and art shop, the storage rooms are just as important as your actual sales room. Your storage facilities should exceed the capacity of the salesroom many times over.

The information published on our site is all written and checked by experts with the greatest care. However, we cannot guarantee its accuracy, as laws and regulations are subject to constant change. For this reason, always consult a specialist in a specific case – we will be happy to put you in touch.

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