Aerial view of a MAC Shows gun and knife event

Gun Show Sales Guide: The Ultimate Checklist for Gun Show Vendors

Preparation is key if you want to see plenty of gun show sales at your next Midwest Arms Collector Gun Show. Our shows are packed with gun show vendors of all sizes–from private individuals looking to make space in their safes to larger retail gun dealers who want to get their top products in front of as many potential customers as possible. Grab your note-taking pen, settle in, and let’s go over what it takes to make your next local gun show a success.

  • Learn the Rules and Regulations
  • Permits, Paperwork, and Payment Systems
  • Reserve Your Table
  • Procure Your Inventory
  • Plan Your Presentation
  • Know Your Price Points and Pain Points
  • Make Lodging and Travel Arrangements
  • Package Your Inventory
  • Load and Go
  • Shake Hands, Sell Guns, Find Future Business
  • Review, Revise, and Return to Step 1

Learn the Rules and Regulations

You’re responsible for knowing and following all the rules that apply to the products you offer for sale and how you conduct business. While plenty of vendors are familiar with federal and even state firearms regulations, don’t forget to check into local business ordinances. You also want to make sure you know the rules for the gun show to ensure you’re able to set up your table and make as many gun show sales as possible without any issues. 

Permits, Paperwork, and Payment Systems

Make sure you have all the necessary licenses and permits needed as a gun show vendor, including any business licenses, tax documents, or your FFL if you’re trading guns for profit. Brush up on your record keeping, and look into systems that help you maintain your records on the go, such as with a tablet linked to the cloud from your booth at the gun show. You should also decide how you’re going to accept payment for your gun show sales. Many customers–even at your local gun show–don’t carry large amounts of cash, instead preferring to use a payment card to buy their guns, knives, collectibles, or other accessories.

Reserve Your Table

gun show vendor tables set up before the event

You can’t be one of our gun show vendors without a table reservation, and the earlier you stake your claim, the better. Early reservations help us make sure we have the space to accommodate all our vendors and attendees while also making sure you aren’t left out of a sold-out event and the potential gun show sales that entails. Make sure to verify whether electricity is available and the added cost for your show.

Procure Your Inventory

Whether you’re selling guns, hawking accessories, or setting up a table to monetize your crafting hobby, you need to build up your inventory before the gun show. Allow time for last-minute delivery issues, quick resupplies, and logistics nightmares to ensure you can make it to the show with enough merchandise you can wheel and deal to drive some gun show sales.

Plan Your Presentation

You have your table and inventory, so now you need to figure out how to display it. While smaller private sellers may get away with just throwing down a tablecloth and calling it good, if you want to compete with our top gun show vendors, step up your game. Signage that promotes high-margin items, display cases, and branded merchandise can help you stand out as a gun show pro.

Know Your Price Points and Pain Points

People come to gun shows looking for deals, so make sure you know what kind of wiggle room you have to work with them. If cash discounts aren’t on the table, be ready with bundles or package deals that can help increase your gun show sales. No one wants to leave money on the table in a negotiation, but you also don’t want to see it going to the next table over.

Make Lodging and Travel Arrangements

Four-to-six weeks before the show, if not earlier, make sure you have your route mapped (avoiding road construction where you can), fuel stops identified, and hotel rooms reserved. Plenty of our gun show vendors, staff, and attendees are traveling to the show, so lodging fills up quickly, especially at onsite and nearby hotels.

Package Your Inventory

Don’t wait until the day before to begin getting your inventory packed and stowed. If you have a traditional brick-and-mortar store, let your customers know ahead of time you’re heading to the gun show so inventory availability may be variable a few days beforehand and after. This not only helps make sure you don’t miss out on sales but also gives you the chance to see some friendly faces who may be looking for a family-friendly weekend activity themselves. 

Load and Go

You’ve done the planning, and now it’s time for the travelling. Remember to allow time for detours and road closures. Make sure you have plenty of cash for tolls and to make change for your cash customers at the show. You’re on your way to being a professional gun show vendor!

Shake Hands, Sell Guns, Find Future Business

Gun show attendees browsing vendor booths

Nothing to it now but to do it. Remember that gun show sales are about more than just prices. Talk with customers, shake hands, chit chat, and sell some merchandise. While many of our vendors sell at gun shows as part of their career, others do it for the enjoyment of meeting other freedom-loving Americans and taking part in a unique retail experience deeply tied to our Second Amendment liberties.

Review, Revise, and Return to Step 1

After the show, take some time to finalize your records and make some notes. What went right? What can you change for the next event to drive more gun show sales? You can be sure the next local gun show is coming soon, and with it, you have another chance to join our other gun show vendors on the exhibition floor.

Reserve Your Table Today

Now is a great time to visit your first gun show as a vendor and make some sales. Take a look at our gun show calendar, and don’t forget to sign up to receive gun show news directly in your inbox. Get your table space reserved at an upcoming MAC Shows Gun Show today.

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