Record Keeping Methods of One Ruby Lane Shop Owner

Summer is a good time to fine tune record keeping and organize shop stock. June, July and August are usually the slowest sale months of the year. Business is strong from September to the end of February. March through May have sales for events such as Easter and Mothers’ Day.

Ruby Lane shop owners must keep accurate records to be successful. Although I use the computer for record keeping, notebooks are helpful too. I bank online and keep a monthly statement, PayPal and Amazon Payments statements. Ruby Lane monthly statements are saved. I compare months by years using excel. Below I have summarized some of the ways I keep track of other information.

After shipping each order, I email customers with a postal tracking number and suggested date of arrival. I then put a name and an address on the postal receipts and place in a large brown envelope. I can quickly locate a receipt if a package is late in arriving. I first try to track on the USPS site and then ask my local post office for help. On the back of the envelope I list date, last name and items. I use an envelope or two each month.

After every auction, I save receipts plus list mileage and items purchased in a notebook. I write a check at the sale. I try to use PayPal to purchase packing material, boxes, mailing tape and office supplies. I also write a check for my booth rental and the owner gives me a check with my sales on the first of the month.

I use notebooks to inventory stock at the end of the year. I inventory my booth early in January. Ruby Lane keeps an online inventory for me. That is a good time of year to collect items to give to charity. An item with a small chip, items showing some fading from sunlight in the mall or unsold items need to be donated. Most charities will give you a receipt.

I use notebooks so I can work anywhere when waiting or shop sitting. Most information will be transferred to the computer. I have a notebook that I use before listing items on Ruby Lane to help me decide "What will I list this week?" I take photos and may need to weigh and measure the item. I may also need to research a few items. I list where the item will be stored. When I receive an order, it easy to locate the items.

Good record keeping is a must before April tax time. Your tax preparer can explain possible business related deductions. I always use the slower summer season to get organized.


Noel Merkel of Chessie and Nestor Go Antiquing

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