How a Houston Pawn Shop Grew With Us

January 08, 2020 - Pawn Resources

“James, have you heard of PawnGuru?”

James, the owner and CEO of Heritage Jewelry and Loan, outside Houston, remembers getting a call from PawnGuru announcing the new service in his area.

“I was always looking for ways to grow my business and get more customers in the door,” James explains. “I spend thousands of dollars a month on Google Adwords and other traditional marketing campaigns, but it was always a struggle. PawnGuru seemed intriguing, so I agreed to give it a shot.”

(If you haven’t heard of it, PawnGuru is an online marketplace for customers and pawn shops to connect. Customers list their items to pawn or sell, and local pawn shops respond with offers or messages. After negotiating and discussing different offers with shops on PawnGuru’s platform, the customer takes their item in person to the local shop of their choice to finalize the deal and get their cash.)

Local items

James’ pawn shop joined the PawnGuru Houston network in early 2015, and he immediately saw business come in.

“I started making offers and responding to people, and sure enough, I closed two deals in the first week!”

As PawnGuru increased customer traffic in Houston, James grew with it. He went from seeing 20 items in June to nearly 300 items in December.


“I started closing more and more deals every week, sometimes multiple deals in the same day.”

James recalls a particuraly successful PawnGuru experience:

“I remember one customer came in with some small $50 item I had bid on, and just as we closed the deal, he tells me he also has some handbags and jewelry he wants to sell.  The next day he brings in nearly $10,000 worth of merchandise, which I bought immediately.

What’s the secret to James’ success? He mentions a few “good habits” that he follows when it comes to PawnGuru:

Treat customers like valued members of the business, not just a pawn ticket number

I always try to greet the customer on PawnGuru by name, and I type like I’m speaking with them. Full, friendly sentences that show I’m interested in them and their business, and I’m sincerely trying to help them out.”

Take the time to explain things clearly and be helpful to the customer

When I make an offer, I try to explain why that’s the dollar amount. Sometimes the customer doesn’t realize that I’m a reseller, and I need to leave a profit margin for myself. Also, I try to make sure the customer is aware of relevant local and state regulation that will affect their loan. I try to be helpful and informative, and customers respond very positively to that.

Let the customer know why your shop is the best

I treat customers with dignity and respect and walk them through the valuation process from beginning to end. That way the customer has all the information needed to make the right decisions.

Follow up with customers you closed on PawnGuru

If I closed a deal with a PawnGuru customer, I’ll send them a follow-up message through the Portal thanking them for their business.

James’ biggest piece of advice?

Use PawnGuru and get better at using PawnGuru because it can grow your business incredibly.

He attributes 15% of his growth this year to PawnGuru, and it’s still growing.

“You gotta put time into using PawnGuru and using it properly. It’s a great tool, but you can’t use it haphazardly. Respond to customers, quickly and informatively, and train your staff about PawnGuru. It’ll pay off.”

David Stiebel
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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