How do I Become a Pawnbroker?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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A person who wants to become a pawnbroker typically needs a license to get started. Most places have this requirement and impose penalties for those who choose to ignore it. Besides licensing, a person interested in this business will usually need a significant amount of start-up money, a place from which to conduct his business, and some knowledge of how to appraise items people may offer him as security for loans. Having business knowledge or even taking some business courses at a local college may prove helpful as well.

Many places require prospective pawnbrokers to obtain licensing. To do this, a person usually completes an application supplied by the jurisdiction in which he plans to work. He’ll need to provide his full name, address, date of birth, and in some places, a tax ID or proof that he’s obtained a business license. He may also have to provide information about the business he plans to start, including where the business will be located and the hours the shop will be open.

In many jurisdictions, a person who wants to become a pawnbroker has to submit to a background investigation. If he has a criminal record, he may be denied a license. Some places even allow police officers to object to the granting of a pawnbroker's license for a particular person. For example, police officers may object if a person is suspected of criminal activity.


Sometimes a company, instead of an individual, will apply for a pawnbroker’s license. In such a case, a company representative may have to provide such details as the company’s name and its principal place of business. He may also have to provide the addresses of any other locations the company maintains. Additionally, everyone who is involved in managing the company may have to submit to a background check. This requirement may hold even if some of the managers will not have direct involvement in running the pawnbroker’s shop.

Besides a pawnbroker’s license, a person wants to become a pawnbroker also needs a suitable location from which to run his business. A storefront may prove a viable option, as long as it is in a place that is likely to get plenty of foot traffic. Additionally, the shop should have room for display cases for jewelry as well as shelves and other display arrangements for other types of items.

Since appraising personal property is a major part of running a pawn brokerage, a person interested in this field may take classes or read books about appraising valuables. This may be particularly important for handling transactions involving jewelry. Learning the basics of running a business may also prove helpful for a person who wants to become a pawnbroker.


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