5 Tips for Cash Handling at Craft Shows – Keeping Your Profits Protected

Most crafters who travel the craft show circuit regularly have modern equipment to allow them to accept credit and debit cards on site. This equipment is more affordable now than it used to be. At one time, a crafter relied on handling cash at shows or accepting checks, which was risky without any way to verify if the checks were good or not.

If a check was no good, you would not find out until after you deposited it or attempted to cash it, and that would be after the craft show was over and the customer was long gone with the goods. As much as you hate to think the worst about a customer, unfortunately this scenario has happened on more than one occasion.

You may find yourself having to handle cash at craft shows, and you should always be prepared to do so because not everyone pays with credit or debit cards or checks. Some people just like paying with cash.

#1 – Beware Big Bills – funny thing about counterfeiters. Some of them call a lot of attention to themselves by using “big bills.” Then again, others are smarter and stick to 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s. A counterfeit money detector pen is a good idea, but not guaranteed to work 100% of the time. Familiarize yourself with what to look for in counterfeit bills.

#2 – Cash Handling – you may think a locking cash box is a great idea for your craft booth bankroll. A locking box is a good idea, but not if it is unsecured for anyone to pick it up and run with it. A thief will manage to break the lock and get into your box once he grabs it and runs back to his car or home with it.

If you use a cash box, you should have it chained and secured to the premises. It should not be a “cash and carry” type of setup.

Some crafters keep their money on their person at all times using a money belt. Whatever method you choose for storing your cash, make sure it is safe, secure, and not easily removed from the premises. Don’t ever leave cash unattended in your craft booth.

#3 – Funding the Kitty – the day before every craft show, cash a check to fund your cash kitty. Have the bank teller give you some 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, and some 20’s. You’ll need to be able to make change if needed for the first few customers of the day. After that, your kitty fund will build from sales, hopefully, and your stash of bills and change will grow making it easier to make even more change.

In the event you cannot make change for a customer, you’ll usually find other vendors willing to help you out by taking some of your larger bills in exchange for smaller ones.

#4 – Taking Checks – if you do not have a way to process checks on site, it is advised not to accept them. Place a simple sign in your checkout area that says “Sorry No Checks” or something like that.

#5 – Stash the Surplus – if you are having a big day in sales and a major portion of the money is in cash, at some point during the day you might want to relocate some of the cash to your vehicle or another secure and safe storage area.

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