Top 10 Pawn Shops Tricks For Selling & Pawning

Top 10 Pawn Shops Tricks For Selling & Pawning

Following our top pawn shop tricks will help you get more money when you sell or pawn your item.

Last updated December 15, 2022

Lady teaching on chalkboard

Source: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

Selling and pawning items at your local pawn shop can be very fun and rewarding when you plan ahead and use our top 10 tricks at pawn shops below to maximize your offer. Pawn shops operate differently than most retail stores, so that means that you have to adapt your strategy to win.

Trick #1: Find The Right Pawn Shops

Map illustration

Pawn shops tend to specialize in different categories such as jewelry, antiques, tools & equipment, musical instruments, and more. You should use Pawn Shop Map’s tool to find pawn shops near you. Our tool features a filter that enables you to quickly identify nearby pawn shops that buy and sell specific categories.

Pawn shops that buy and sell items similar to your item will be in a position to offer you more money. These pawn shops tend to have category-specific expertise, so they are more comfortable in valuing your item. Also, these pawn shops are able to resell your item easier because they have an established customer base for your item’s category.

Trick #2: Clean Your Items

Cleaning illustration

Presentation of your item and its visual appearance has a strong impact on your pawn shop offer. Spending half an hour cleaning your item before you take it into the shop could increase your item’s offer by 10% to 30%, or more in some cases.

Studies have shown that food presentation has a large effect on our perception of a meal (read more here). The same concept applies to items you bring into the pawn shop. Pawnbrokers will make a quick first impression in the first 5 seconds when they look at your item. They will immediately take note of the item’s condition and visual appearance.

Items in good condition signal to the pawnbroker that the item’s owner has taken care of and kept the item in good shape. Items that are in poor condition signal to the pawnbroker that the item has been neglected and may not be important to the owner.

Pawn shops want to buy items that are in good condition that they can later resell - they do not want to spend a lot of time cleaning and preparing an item for sale. The pawnbroker will factor a hidden cleaning expense into the offer for dirty items, which means that your offer will be lowered by that amount.

In general, clean your item and ensure the following:

  • Your item is free of dust, rust, stains, spots, and other markings.
  • The item works as expected. For parts with moving pieces like tools & equipment, make sure the motor is lubricated and works as expected.
  • Polish items such as wood furniture, jewelry, watches, etc.

Trick #3: Practice Your Negotiation Skills

Pawn shops allow negotiating for most transactions. This often means that the first offer is often not the final offer. Successfully negotiating at pawn shops can improve your offer greatly. We recommend reading our post on negotiating at pawn shops.

Keep in mind that pawnbrokers are people, too. You should use respect and keep calm during negotiations. Losing one’s cool or becoming visibly angry could result in a very low offer. Adding humor to the mix and smiling can help create a better dynamic and improve your pawn shop offer.

Trick #4: Prepare & Fix Your Items

Fixing item illustration

Pawn shops do not want to spend a lot of time and money repairing and fixing your item. You can improve your offer by doing the work ahead of time so your item works perfectly and as expected.

Preparation and fixes will vary from item to item. For example, when you sell your phone to a pawn shop, you should back up and erase all personal data from your phone. Also, you should upgrade the operating system so it is the latest software available for the phone. The same concept applies to laptops and iPads, too.

Pawn shops do not want items in a state of disrepair. For example, pawn shops do not want to buy heavily damaged phones (cracked screen and dented body, etc), or non-working items (lawnmowers that will not start, etc). Pawn shops make money when they buy an item and quickly resell it. Broken items require investment to fix and resell.

Trick #5: Get Multiple Offers

Pawn shop offers can vary greatly from store to store. You should use our pawn shop map tool to find pawn shops near you. Visit several pawn shops and ask for offers from each one. You can ask the pawnbroker to keep their offer for a set number of hours or days until you return.

As an example, Pawn Shop A could offer you $50, Pawn Shop B could offer you $100, and Pawn Shop C could offer you $60. By visiting multiple pawn shops, you can increase your offer.

Trick #6: Create A List Of Selling Points

You should become a salesperson for your item. Tell the pawnbroker why they should want to buy your item. Be prepared with a list of selling points that attest to your item’s good value. Often pawnbrokers may not fully appreciate your item’s value until you tell them about it. Some factors might not be apparent to the pawnbroker.

For example, an antique wooden chair from the 1800s might be worth $150 at a pawn shop. If the chair was owned by Abraham Lincoln, that same chair could be worth $15,000 or more.

Create a list of reasons why your item is valuable, and give those reasons to the pawnbroker. Your list of reasons will help during negotiations. Remember to be honest during negotiations - do not lie to get a higher value. Lying could result in financial or legal problems for you. Pawn shops will ask for documentation and proof for claims that substantially change an item’s value.

Trick #7: Research The Value

Get smart on the market dynamics for your item. Read our post on figuring out your item’s value so you have a good idea of your item’s current resale value. Knowing your item’s value will help you during negotiations. You will be able to confidently decline lowball offers.

Keep in mind that pawn shops are businesses that need to make money to keep the lights on and pay the staff. Pawn shops almost never give you 100% of the resale value - pawn shops will give you a fraction of the resale value so they can make a profit on the difference.

Your goal should be to maximize the percentage of resale value that the pawn shop offers you.

Trick #8: Bring In Related Paperwork & Packaging

Authenticity illustration

Bringing in related paperwork and packaging can increase your item’s value. Supporting paperwork and packaging help authenticate the item and make it more presentable when it is later displayed in the pawn shop’s retail storefront.

Examples of paperwork can include:

  • Purchase receipt
  • Warranty card
  • Registration
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Insurance coverage
  • Expert opinions
  • Valuations and appraisals

Trick #9: Be Confident

Confidence illustration

Displaying confidence during negotiations will help you get a better offer. Pawnbrokers are often very good at reading body language and confidence cues. Pawnbrokers often have to weed out scammers who are trying to pull a fast one. Often people bring in fake merchandise, like fake handbags or fake Rolexes.

Expect the pawnbroker to ask you many questions about the item. Be prepared, and be confident when you answer. Questions could include:

  • How did you get this item?
  • How much do you want for the item?
  • Why should I buy this item?
  • Why does this item have a certain feature?

Trick #10: Contact The Pawn Shop Before Bringing In Your Item

You can save time and money by contacting pawn shops ahead of time to make sure they have an interest in your item. Use our pawn shop map tool to locate pawn shops. Call or email the pawn shop to verify that buy similar items. Often you can send the pawn shop a picture of your item to help them better understand it.


Following the pawn shop tricks above will help you increase your offer and make selling or pawning your item a better experience. Pawning and selling items to pawn shops gets easier with practice - try pawning or selling a few small items to understand how pawn shops work.

New Posts

Pawn Shop Map
Selling DVDs & DVD Players To Pawn Shops
Many pawn shops still buy and sell DVDs and DVD players. Learn how much money pawn shops will offer.

December 23, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Guide To Start A Successful Pawn Shop: Learn What It Takes To Open A Pawn Shop
Pawn shops are an essential part of the economy. Learn how you can start a profitable pawn shop in your local region.

December 23, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Oculus Pawn Shop Guide: Buying, Pawning & Selling Oculus VR Headsets
Pawn shops buy and sell Oculus virtual reality headsets. Learn how to get the most money when you sell or pawn your Oculus.

December 23, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Selling Silver To Pawn Shops: Learn How Pawn Shops Value Silver
Use our silver value calculator to estimate how much pawn shops will pay for your silver.

December 23, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Selling Gift Cards To Pawn Shops: Convert Your Gift Cards To Cash
Pawn shops often buy gift cards from large retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other stores.

December 22, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Selling Tattoo Machines To Pawn Shops: Learn About Which Tattoo Guns Pawn Shops Buy
Tattoo machines can be worth up to several hundred dollars at pawn shops.

December 22, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Pawn Shops Featured In Movies, TV Shows, Music & Games
Popular media often feature the pawn industry. Read why pawn shops are a popular topic.

December 22, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Data Privacy & Information Protection At Pawn Shops
Learn how pawn shops protect your identity when you sell and pawn your items.

December 22, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Xbox Pawn Shop Guide: Buying, Pawning & Selling Xbox Consoles
Pawn shops buy and sell Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games.

December 21, 2022

Pawn Shop Map
Selling Weights & Exercise Equipment To Pawn Shops: Learn Which Equipment Pawn Shops Buy
Weights and exercise equipment can be worth several hundred dollars at pawn shops.

December 21, 2022


💬 Be the first to leave a comment

Pawn Shop Map logo

Find Local Pawn Shops & Deals


© 2023