What Software Do Pawn Shops Use? – ANSWERED in 2017

Brian McCracken


It’s been awhile since I’ve written for Pawn Nerd but I received an interesting question via the ‘Ask The Nerd‘ page and felt that it would be great to answer. Charles Asks,
I have three coins shops that are going to be accepting items for pawn. Could you kindly recommend a software that we could get to handle all the info? Thanks!
The answer is pretty straight forward fortunately.
If you are thinking about opening a pawn shop and becoming a pawnbroker yourself then you will want to pay attention to this post as it will probably help you get started down the right path.
There are several different software suites on the market that you can use to run a pawnshop and they will all have the same basic functions but will go about them a little differently.
The three most well known options are PawnMaster, CompuPawn, and PawnWizard Pro.
They will all help you control your inventory, print out pre-filled tickets with all of the necessary and legally required information already on them, allow you to do ‘Pulls’ or handle forfeitures, and of course print out basic reports that will help you control you business.
There are some additional integration options that some of the software packages offer that I like, and to be honest it’s the reason that I am a big fan of the software solution that I use in our stores.
What Software Do We Use At Our Pawn Shop?
Our pawnshop uses the PawnMaster software suite. There’s no real reason that we decided to choose that suite over the others – but it has a long and well established history of providing pawnbrokers with the support and development they need to keep up with today’s constantly changing laws and legal requirements.
It is fairly easily to use for the day-to-day activities of a pawn shop, but it’s not quite perfect. To be fair, no software package would ever be perfect in every way for everybody.
I would probably say that it is the most widely used pawnshop management software in use today. In addition, if you decide to grow your business further, DataAge (the developers behind PawnMaster) offer additional software management suites to suite your needs as well – such as CheckMaster for example.
What I Think About PawnMaster Software
I really like PawnMaster overall – but as I mentioned above, it’s not perfect. In fact, as a ‘ComputerNerd’ first and a ‘PawnNerd’ second – there are a lot of things that I wish I could change about it.
Printer Control
They have a really funky printer setup screen that is not user friendly and needs a whole new user interface if you ask me. It does have one thing going for it – it’s all on one screen. Of course, that’s part of the problem as well. Your eyes are just overwhelmed by what’s on the screen.
Loss Prevention Controls
I’d personally like to see an ‘entire life’ of an item from ‘cradle to grave.’ As it’s setup right now, if a loan forfeits or a buy comes to the point of being available for sale – the items get new numbers.
Now normally this is just a -1 or -2 added to the end of the inventory number, but I can’t go back and look at a pawned item and see if and when it was sold on one screen. I’ve got to jump in between 2 or 3 screens just to get this basic information.
What I Love
Primary Interface
The primary interface is so simple a baby could use it. That’s probably the most important and most impressive aspect of the software.
You have four basic tasks in a pawnshop. Pawning & buying things, making payments on pawns & selling merchandise.
PawnMaster puts all of this right at your fingertips on the front screen, making them easy to do quickly and efficiently.
Easy To Use Menus
Most of us are very familiar with the typical drop down menu style that most tools use, particularly Microsoft Office products. DataAge kept this menu layout which should make it instantly usable by just about anyone who is a regular PC user.
The majority of PawnMaster’s setup screens and options can be gotten to using these drop down menus and panels.
You may not know what all of the options mean the first time you use it, but it’s pretty easy to figure out with a little bit of ‘Seat Time.’ Should you have any questions, typically DataAge support will call you back fairly quickly and help walk you through a particular option or menu. I would however suggest trying to learn it yourself before calling them as they may charge you for the assistance.
Store Setup
When you have a pawnshop there are a lot of things you need to take into account. Most of these will be laid out in the laws your State has regarding how pawnbrokers can operate.
PawnMaster has laid all of this information out in one easy to use store setup screen. All of you have to do is quickly setup the criteria that your pawnshop will be using and move from tab to tab until you complete all of the tabs.
Once you have everything setup properly, you will probably never have to look at the store setup screen again unless some law changes in your state that affects a critical element of your operation. Again, this is a very easy to use layout that pretty much any PC user should be very familiar with.
Single Screen For Reports
Keeping track of your business should be important to any owner/operator. The heart of that will come down to looking at the exact metrics of your operation via the reports your software can organize for you. PawnMaster does make this fairly easy, but it will take some time to get use to.
The best thing to do is just to spend a night printing out the various reports and take notes on what each report displays. That way when you need to look at a particular metric of your business, you can turn to your report reference card and determine exactly what report will give you the information you are looking for.
While I love that all of this is on a single screen, this is another area that I wish was just a bit more user friendly – in some ways. To an extent, I’m glad that this isn’t completely clear so that snooping employees don’t get too curious.
Inventory Control
This is an area I have mixed emotions about. Putting my loss prevention concerns aside, this screen is easy to use for most things, so long as your inventory is accurate to begin with.
You have plenty of options to search by. If for instance you know that you’re are looking for a Dell Laptop, you can search by brand and item type to quickly come up with the exact inventory item (or list of items) that you are looking for.
It’s not perfect, but for 99% of what you are going to do in a pawnshop, it operates perfectly and will be easy to use for the casual user.
The Nerd’s Experience
I’ve been in the pawn business for awhile and have gone to plenty of conferences and meetings in that time. PawnMaster typically has the biggest displays, with the most staff on hand to answer you questions. If they don’t have an answer for you on the stop, they will get back in touch with you and let you know what they’ve come up with. It’s not a perfect piece of software, but it gets the job done with ease and reliability.
If you are just opening a pawnshop, I would suggest looking into it as your software solution for managing your business.
Take it easy,
The Head Nerd