Most of the artisans who travel the artisan exhibition circuit have modern equipment that allows them to accept credit and debit cards on the spot. This equipment is more affordable now than it used to be. At one time, a craftsman relied on handling cash at fairs or accepting checks, which was risky with no way of verifying whether the checks were good or not.
If a check wasn’t good, he wouldn’t know it until after he had deposited it or tried to cash it, and that would be after the craft show was over and the customer had left with the merchandise. As much as I hate to think the worst of a client, sadly this scenario has happened on more than one occasion.
You may have to handle cash at craft fairs, and you should always be prepared to do so because not everyone pays with credit or debit cards or checks. Some people just like to pay cash.
# 1 – watch out for big bills – The funny thing about counterfeiters. Some of them attract a lot of attention when using “big bills”. On the other hand, others are more intelligent and stick to the 5, 10 and 20. A counterfeit money detector pen is a good idea, but it is not guaranteed to work 100% of the time. Familiarize yourself with what to look for in counterfeit bills.
# 2 – Cash handling – You may think that a lockable cash box is a great idea for your craft booth funds. A padlocked box is a good idea, but not if it’s not secured for someone to pick up and run with. A thief will manage to break the lock and get into your box once he grabs it and runs back to his car or house with it.
If you use a cash box, it should be chained and secured to the premises. It should not be a “cash and carry” type of configuration.
Some artisans keep their money on their person at all times by wearing a money belt. Whichever method you choose to store your cash, make sure it is secure and cannot be easily removed from the premises. Never leave cash unattended at your craft stall.
# 3 – Financing the Kittand – the day before each craft show, cash a check to fund your cash. Ask the bank teller for a 1, 5, 10, and 20. You should be able to make changes if necessary for the first customers of the day. After that, your kitty pool will build up from sales, hopefully, and your pool of invoices and changes will grow, making it easier to make more changes.
In the event that you are unable to make a change for a customer, you will generally find other providers willing to help you by taking some of your larger bills in exchange for smaller ones.
# 4 – Take checks – If you do not have a way to process the checks on the site, it is recommended not to accept them. Put up a simple sign in your checkout area that says “Sorry, no checks” or something like that.
# 5 – Save the surplus – If you are having a great sales day and a large part of the money is in cash, at some point during the day you may want to move some of the cash to your vehicle or another safe and secure storage area.