Why Work Here

Pawnbroking offers many career opportunities that are often overlooked. The biggest reason is because most people looking for a career or a career change either have no idea or a misunderstanding of what actually takes place in a pawn shop on a daily basis. Being a pawnbroker means to be a lender, a banker of sorts. Pawnbroking is the oldest form of consumer credit. Pawnbrokers extend cash loans secured by merchandise which is pledged. The borrower has a fixed amount of time to come back and repay the loan and redeem their pledge, or their merchandise is forfeited and sold.  Here's a short list of some of the hidden opportunities in the pawnbroking industry, and some of the exciting benefits that one would realize in seeking a career as a pawnbroker. It will clear up many misconceptions that you may currently have.


 1) Every day is different.  Unlike working in a retail store, every day is very different when you are a pawnbroker. There are three main reasons why customers come into a pawnshop. The first would be to borrow money (to secure a pawn loan). The second would be to sell personal property that they no longer wish to own. And the third would be to purchase items that the pawnbroker has for sale.  All three of these reasons involve merchandise of some sort. But unlike a retail store, the variety of merchandise that goes through a pawnshop is beyond what the mind can conceive.  It could be anything from the latest in technologies to rare antiques. Working at a pawnshop, you truly see it all.


2) The education is fun and fulfilling.  Working in a pawnshop is a continuous learning experience. And with this experience comes the ability to become an on-the-spot-appraiser of sorts. Because there are so many different aspects of the industry, there is always more to learn in your career. One of the best aspects of this sort of education is that you're not learning it in theory, or just from books; the learning experience is real life, real people, and real examples to be studied. Tens of thousands of people working in this industry find this continuous learning experience very life fulfilling.  


3) You gain considerable knowledge of people.  Pawnbroking is a career that will hone your people skills to a razor-sharp edge. Because of the nature of the business, you are continually dealing with people from virtually all walks of life. You could deal with anyone from a middle-class mom to a movie star. You really get to deal with everyone and it's on a one-on-one basis. Because of this wide variety of customers, you quickly gain the ability to be able to read people. And usually their body language will tell you everything you need to know, to do business with them. You will also quickly learn that no matter what the financial or social status is of a certain person, we are all still the same.  A kaleidoscope of the human race. 


4) You learn much more about yourself.  A day in the pawnshop is a study in human nature.  Most pawnshop employees really appreciate what they learn about their customers, but they are truly amazed at what they actually learn about themselves.  Pawnbrokers experience an extensive variety of human emotions while on the job.  Few careers can match this experience.  Being a pawnbroker requires a considerable amount of compassion and understanding.  Much like a police officer, not knowing what experience is coming next, a pawnshop employee needs to study their own emotions and use them to their best advantage.  You learn to be a caring and kind individual, yet not get caught up in the moment.


5) You increase the ability to budget yourself.  Because your job is about lending money, you get to deal with people in all different types of financial situations. Your first customer of the day may need $20 for gas so they can get to work this week, and offers their 2nd TV (from the bedroom) as collateral. Your second customer may need $200 to pay for medicine (co-pays), and pawns their jewelry till they get the reimbursement check from their insurance company.  Your 3rd customer may be a small-business owner trying to make payroll that week and needs to borrow $4000 on their Rolex.   It really is that diverse. This is a career that will teach you how to budget yourself no matter what your income. You quickly learn the importance of the ability to live within your means. Pawnbrokers are well-known for paying their bills on time and not falling too deeply into debt. This comes from their on-the-job knowledge dealing with people experiencing financial difficulties.


6) You expand your understanding of many consumer products.  Being a pawnbroker requires you to have extensive knowledge of many consumer products.  Being an on-the-spot-appraiser, you quickly learn to evaluate merchandise for fair market value, functionality and ability to resell.  Lucky for pawnbrokers in these times, the Internet offers an unparalleled resource for this (it was much harder in the old days, but there was less variety too).  But this does not mean that you rely too heavily on the Internet for this skill.  A pawnbroker develops a sixth sense of being able to value an item currently, and in the future. Tomorrow's price of gold is every bit as important as the popularity of a video game six months from now.  All of this ... without a crystal ball! 


7) You have the opportunity to specialize in a chosen field.  Since you are continually surrounded with such a wide variety of merchandise, being a pawnshop employee gives you an unparalleled opportunity to specialize in a chosen field.  Most pawnshop employees have to look no further than their hobbies and interests to choose an area in which to specialize.  Many have gone on to become sought after experts in their field. Whether you are interested in jewelry, musical instruments, art, rare antiques, vintage watches, consumer electronics, or any other area, Pawnbroking gives you an exceptional opportunity to become a specialist in any subject that might interest you.


8) The opportunity for superior compensation is greater than in retail.  Pawnshop employees are typically paid a greater scale than your normal retail employee. This is because their career involves much more than just sales and customer service.  And those pawnshop employees who truly learn and realize the value that they offer their customers and their employers are the ones who are compensated the best. Pawnbroking also offers an excellent opportunity for career advancement.  An entry-level position may be no more than a stock room or pull clerk. But with experience (and talent), you can evolve into a merchandise specialist, or even store manager. The only true limitations are the desire of the employee to succeed, and the ability of the employee to learn.


9) You can be very successful without college degrees.  While many pawnshop employees may actually hold college degrees, their education is most likely not something that was required for their career. This should come as no surprise since many college graduates eventually end up in a career unrelated to their major.  Pawnbroking offers an excellent opportunity for both degree'd and non-degree'd individuals to go into a rewarding and pleasurable career.  Many pawnbrokers in history have become highly educated individuals through nothing more than on-the-job training.  And their education is a practical one, based on real-life experience. 


10) You have greater job security.  This is probably the best kept secret of the industry. Pawnbroking has been called a recession proof business, flourishing in both good economic times and bad.  There has never been a time in history when the Pawnbroking industry has had to scale back operations or lay off employees because of economics. This fact offers great job security for valuable pawnshop employees.  Pawnbroking has been around for over 3000 years and by the nature of the industry, one would expect it to be around at least that much longer.  You will find many pawn shops that are second, third and even fourth-generation.  The majority of shops are family owned and run, with employees being treated like a member of the family.  Experienced pawnshop employees are a rare commodity, and are virtually guaranteed a lucrative position in any major market.


This page is from "Top 10 Benefits to Working in a Pawn Shop" by  Steve Krupnik and is used with the author's permission