Aerial view of gun show vendors getting their tables set up at an Eagle Shows event

5 Tips for Gun Show Vendors: How to Secure the Sale

Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show welcomes gun show vendors from across the country to sell their top products and services at our events. We’ll see thousands of attendees walk through the doors on gun show weekend, each one looking for a good deal on a gun, knife, collectible, or other item they haven’t been able to find anywhere else. That kind of draw gives small businesses, craftspeople, and other newer retailers a chance to put their products on display, side-by-side with larger and more established sellers, to compete for the sale on an even footing. These vendor gun show tips will help you make the most of this unique retail sales opportunity.

Know the Rules

It’s essential for gun show vendors to know the laws, guidelines, and show rules they’re subject to. This keeps you legal but also provides a safe, cohesive structure to your weekend. That’s why our vendor page lays out our expectations for every vendor who reserves a table at an Eagle Shows event. You should also know the federal and state laws related to the products you are offering. This can include:

  • Pennsylvania State Firearms Laws – Gun show vendors need to understand their responsibilities in Pennsylvania, whether they’re commercial sellers or private citizens.
  • Federal Gun Laws – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has put out a hand pamphlet to help guide your first foray into selling firearms at a gun show.
  • Show Rules – We’ve established our vendor rules to improve safety and the experience of everyone at our shows, vendor and attendee alike. They also help ensure a smooth, efficient check-in process that lets you get ready to put your best foot forward.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Make your preparations early to ensure you’re ready several days before you begin your travel to the show. This gives you plenty of time to plan for the weekend, get your materials ready, pack, and travel, with time left over to account for logistics issues, travel mishaps, and other issues.

  • Get Your Stock Priced and Packed – Take the time early to price your merchandise clearly, then get it ready for travel. The more you have packed and ready to load early, the less work you have to do at the last minute.
  • Get Your Paperwork Ready and Records Streamlined – Make sure your business records are ready for fast-paced entries at the show. Any paperwork you can pre-fill beforehand will help you out. This can be especially true for gun show vendors selling firearms as meticulous records are required, and background checks may need to be performed at the show. 
  • Get Your Travel Accommodations Reserved and Verified – One of the best tips we can give gun show vendors is to secure your lodging so you can get a good night’s sleep. When you’re well-rested, you’re more likely to make that sale. Our events are near some of the best hotel accommodations in the area, often with a discounted gun show rate to save you some profit.
  • Get Cash – Cash is king at gun shows. Make sure you have money on hand to make change for multiple transactions. You also want to make sure you have a secure place to keep your money stored and organized for more efficient use at the show.

Accept Multiple Forms of Payment

Gun show vendor accepting payment via credit card

Cash may be king, but it’s not the only way to pay. Look into other ways to accept money for purchases, choosing the methods that best suit your business needs. The last thing you want to do is miss sales because you don’t have a way for customers to get their money to you conveniently.

  • Credit Card Processing – Credit and debit cards are ubiquitous, and you have a lot of options for payment processors when it comes to accepting them. Processing these transactions may take no more than using your phone’s camera or a small device tethered to it via cord or Bluetooth.
  • Check Verification – Paper checks are still good…when they’re good. Many merchants find these too risky in today’s instant-transfer economy, but some local merchants will still take checks from local residents.
  • Third-Party Transfers – Whether they Venmo you, Zelle you some cash, pay via PayPal, or use any of the other instant money transfer apps, these services make money transfers fast and easy for a fee. Be cautious, however, as scams involving these are on the rise, so make sure you educate yourself before relying on them heavily.
  • Cryptocurrency – Crypto, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, has become popular among the tech-savvy and those who value their privacy. Make sure you do your research on these currencies before you start accepting them, or you could end up with a worthless ledger full of forgotten altcoins.
  • Full or Partial Trades – Trading is popular with gun show vendors who can use it to get new merchandise or better position their inventory for upcoming shows. We suggest doing your homework beforehand and ensuring you have a good internet connection for on-the-spot research at the show.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Gun shows are all about the people, and while attendees will come and go, your neighbors will be there all weekend long. Like you, they’re hoping for a fun and profitable show, which gives you some common ground to get the conversation started.

  • Share Gun Show Vendor Tips – We have vendors of every experience level, but everyone has something to teach and to learn. This is a great chance to share ideas and form a bond with your weekend companions. As the saying goes, “When we all do well, we all do well.”
  • Keep an Eye on Each Other – We’re all in this together, so make sure we’re all looking out for each other. Watch for signs someone is trying to distract your neighbor while another attendee helps themselves to a “five-finger discount.” Watch for unsafe situations. Remember, security is provided but can’t be everywhere at once. Be ready to help each other until staff arrive to manage any situation, from janitorial to security.
  • Get Some Relief – They may not run your shop for you, but they can let a potential customer know you ran to the bathroom or snack bar and will be right back. You’d do the same for them.

Be Ready to Deal

aerial view of vendor tables set up at an Eagle Shows gun show

People come to gun shows looking for a good deal on products they can’t find anywhere else. Make sure you know where you have wiggle room to make the sale outside your normal asking price.

  • Deliver on Discounts – Your starting price allows for the money you have invested in a product or service and a tidy profit. Know before the show how slim you’re willing to trim your profit margin for the sake of a sale. No one wants to go broke just to get an entry in the ledger book, but you’ll make a lot more sales you’re happy with if you know where you can lose a dime to save a dollar.
  • Bring on the Bundles – If you can’t budge on the price of one product, consider using other items to make a single purchase they can’t say no to. For example, throwing a $20 spare magazine in with a gun rather than going down $30 in price makes a better deal for you and gives the customer a little extra.
  • Comparison Shop – If you have the table coverage to do so, browse the rest of the gun show, taking stock of what other tables are offering. This can let you see what other gun show vendors are doing to move their merchandise so you can ensure your own practices are on point.

Reserve Your Table Space Now

You’ve read our gun show vendor tips, so it’s time to get ready for the next gun show near you. Our attendees are waiting for you. Visit our Vendor Page to read the rules for our shows and complete the application to reserve a table at your local Eagle Shows gun show today.

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