50: Refiners Panel

October 24, 2018

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Yigal Adato: 00:00 Hey Pawn family, it’s Yigal and before we continue to the episode, which is a great episode this week. I wanted to just kind of tell you my feelings about it. So, I got three refiners who I have a relationship with, who support the industry both at the NPA level and at the state levels and I ask them questions about refining and how it can make more money as a pawnbroker and just questions that I feel that I wish I would’ve asked back in the day. Now for 100% integrity and transparency, these three refiners are people who I know, there are some great refiners who are not on this panel and a lot of people asked me what refiner to use. My answer is use a refiner who one is able to answer questions that you want asked, two that you get along with and three that support the pawn industry in some way, either at the NPA level, at your state level, and who donate to the cause. So without further ado, this is my podcast episode with the refining panel.


Yigal Adato: 01:07 Hey everyone, my name is Yigal Adato and this is the Pawn Leaders Podcast, a podcast that help you make more money, stress less and live an epic life all while working at the pawn shop.


Yigal Adato: 01:26 Alright, pawn family welcome back to another episode of the Pawn Leaders Podcast. Today I have a really, really cool episode. I have a refiner’s panel. I’ll introduce them to you and then we’ll talk about how they got into the pawn industry and we’ll get into some questions about refining and kind of just putting light to some questions that I as a pawn broker have and others have as well. So, with me first this was his idea. So, I will introduce him first. Rafael from United Precious metals. We also have Peter from guide refining corporation and Michelle from Glines & Rhodes. Welcome the three of you. Thanks for coming on.


Peter: 02:08 Thank you for having us.


Rafael: 02:09 Thanks for having us Yigal.


Michelle: 02:11 Thank you so much.


Yigal Adato: 02:13 So, really quickly, I’m going to start ladies first. Really quick. Tell me how you got into the pawn industry or the refining [Incomprehensible] working with the pawn shop. So Michelle, go for it.


Michelle: 02:23 Two years ago I quit my job and then I had to find another job and I went through five consultants and three sales managers to get a job at a different refinery. I loved it. I love the pawnbrokers, I love the stores, I love the job and then I found my home over here at Glines & Rhodes about six months ago.


Yigal Adato: 02:47 Awesome. Peter, what about yourself brother? How’d you get into the refining and especially to the pawn section?


Peter: 02:53 I was a full time actor. I made my living doing television and radio and print all the good stuff and there was a strike in 2000 and that’s when I transitioned into sales and my way into the refining industry and just really caught the bug right away. I just, I loved metals. I loved calling on pawnbrokers and that was going back almost, cause I’m going to be in this industry 19 years coming up very, very soon. So, it’s been a lot of fun.


Yigal Adato: 03:26 Nice man. Very, very cool. Rafael how about yourself brother, how’d you get into the refining and then in the pond niche?


Rafael: 03:34 Well, I actually started in the company and it was based in Florida gold buying operation and we only bought gold from pawnshops and then eventually we sold all that gold over to the United. So after about five years there United asked me to join their organization, which already did a lot of work with pawn, but not a significant amount. But we came on board 2010 and just really blew up the pawn industry as far as refining was concerned with United, where now we have you know, a nice foothold in with our pawnbrokers and the associations and really just getting everyone involved in supporting the industry, the associations as a whole.


Yigal Adato: 04:17 Cool man. Very, very cool. So, let me ask the first question. I was a pawnbroker for 16 years. I use a lot of refiners. And let’s talk about this whole 98, 99% business. I think it’s hard for a pawnbroker to realize that a refiner can live off of 1 or 2%. So, Peter, let’s start with you man. How do the refiners, we’re talking about 98%, 97%, 99% 99.5%, how does that work and how does a refiner really keep the lights on if they’re making such a small spread?


Peter: 04:52 Volume, really is primarily about volume and I’m sure my friends with me on this podcast will agree. And we also have ancillary metals too that we make money on, which is silver and I don’t know about copper and the other things, to be honest with you. It’s above my pay grade, but but we do pay for gold, silver and platinum and our melts and the [Incomprehensible] if we find it. And we do get credit for those when they go in for a refining. So, but most of it really honestly is just volume and everything doesn’t have a half a percent. We also do silver, which carries a little bit more margin sweeps, which carries a little bit larger margin. And so there’s gold filled and what have you and it’s not just, it’s like a pawnbroker give a dollar here, a dollar here or sometimes you have $5, sometimes you have $10, and at the end of the day it all kind of adds up, you know.


Yigal Adato: 05:48 Gotcha. Cool. Michelle, what about you?


Michelle: 05:51 It’s the same thing. I like to explain it to people as you know, to us gold is like the dollar [Inaudible] it’s actually what gets you in the door. I try to tell people, you know, because there is a variety. I mean, when I walk in most shops they say, well, what’s your percentage? Well that has such a variable depending on how much volume are you sending, how much are you doing on it? And you know, basis, because as Peter said, it comes down to volume, you know, so we can do a different percentage, you know. I had one person telling me they get 100%, and I said, well, okay, that doesn’t make any sense to me. But once we looked, you know, they were getting a huge discount off market. They didn’t noticed. You know, so when you’re talking to refiners, you know that percentage really is as Peter said, it’s based on volume and the gold is probably the least amount. Percentage wise we do make.


Yigal Adato: 06:50 Yeah, [Incomprehensible] got like a lost lead, right? Rafael is that what I’m hearing?


Rafael: 06:53 Absolutely. I think Peter hit it on the head and Michelle did as

well. When it comes to refining scrap gold there’s of course other metals that are in there. I mean, you don’t get 24 karat gold. You get 14 karat. So, the silver that’s in there and yes, the copper all the other additional metals, the PGMS, the platinum and palladium, all that that’s in there. It does add to our bottom line. There’s of course other ways of generating revenue, which is not just the buying of the Gold and yeah we make 1%. It’s what we do with that gold afterwards where the profit comes in and I know that some of the other companies also have different means of outlets like United for example, we make the products that go back into jewelry manufacturing and we have a built in margin there. So, you know, it’s a matter of saving a little bit or maybe losing a little on the refining versus what you would pay a bank for precious metals to feed our stock. So, absolutely, it’s a viable question. It’s a great question.


Yigal Adato: 07:59 Great. So in the same breath, let’s talk about fees, right? There’s some refiners who charged fees. A lot of pawnbrokers don’t want to pay a penny for anything in their life, so any fee scares them, although they charge fees and so what’s the difference? You know, let me give you a quick example. I know that my father used to have money exchange and there was a lot of money exchange houses that said no commission and some that charged commission. And it was kind of confusing because if no commission people would maybe give you a less better rate, I guess. The commission people would give you a much better rate but charge you some commission off the top. So, let’s talk about fees and Rafael let’s just start with you because you ended off the conversation to fee or not to fee? That is the question.


Rafael: 08:48 Absolutely. I think one of the main questions we get of course is, you know I get this much from this company and they charged me an acetate fee or a finance fee. You know, t’s built into a certain business model, its not really into ours. I mean we have to conduct an assay regardless of whether you know, we charge you for it or not. So, just as you know, as an example, the assay fees, you know, some companies will charge an assay fee and I think it’s reasonable to a certain point with us, you know, we do waive the assay fee because it is something that we conduct regardless of the fact. We have to assay your lot to know what’s in it. You know, and then when you have companies that offer advances for finance charge, you know, an interest fee. Again, you know, it really is up to each individual company, United doesn’t do it. We don’t do it because it’s your money. I mean, we’re not going to charge you an interest on holding your money while we [Incomprehensible] the products. But again, that’s to each company it’s own.


Yigal Adato: 09:50 Peter what about you man? Not directly talking about your company, but when I’m asking is, you know, you take on fee or not fee. How does that work? And what does a pawnbroker need to know to make an educated decision?


Peter: 10:04 With respect to fees, I’ve always been of the belief that it’s just like shipping. Someone says free shipping, Fedex has fees. We have operating costs that are always going to be there, whether it’s crucible and graphite molds and electricity and the manpower and everything else that goes into it. So, and then you have a fee to do the assays. So, we all have those costs and you have to just understand that it’s part of the expense and it’s part of the process to get the job and get the job done right. And the ultimate thing is to get pure honest, accurate account of your metal. And if it costs you $95 or $55 or $135 or whatever it may be to get it, I would want that. Knowing that no one’s taking liberties to cover any other expenses without charging that we actually have. So, your just doing good businesses, just transparency, you’re just doing good business. That’s all


Yigal Adato: 11:20 I think you brought something up, a really good there and Michelle I’ll get you right now, which is paying a certain fee if you have to or you want to, whatever your choice to know exactly what’s coming out of your lot. Right? Because as a business owner, as a pawnbroker we’re buying or were pawning all day long and if we’re just sending because we want to get a check, that’s one thing. But I think we have to know, man, all my employees, you know, paying the right amount are our margins, what we’re expecting them to be, what we’re budgeting for. So like the right assay and making sure that the metals are correct. I that’s super important. Michelle, what do you think about that?


Michelle: 11:56 It is, and I’m going to say I have yet to find an any refinery, you know, you’re looking at, not only are you paying for experience, you’re paying for somebody out to melt this correctly. You’re also paying for things like, there’s a lot of biomedical products that are hazardous. So all of us have to have hazardous waste certificates and hazardous waste. Where we have management teams that handle that for these pawnbrokers, which I don’t think a lot of people think about those items as part of that cost. So, there are those set costs that are required to get the job done. I think that if you aren’t seeing fees, they’re getting it. They’re just getting it somewhere where you’re not openly seeing it and I personally, I’m very open and I want to see it.


Yigal Adato: 12:46 And I think that you said something there that the refiners are a business and is it okay to say that for a pawnbroker to expect to get 100% of gold value? Like you said, Michelle, somebody was offered that isn’t really fair because you guys have costs of business, right? The assaying and the melting and the hazardous waste and there’s some costs just like the pawnbroker has, right?


Peter: 13:14 [Inaudible] profit.


Yigal Adato: 13:14 Yeah, yeah. A 100%.


Peter: 13:18 [Incomprehensible] for profit.


Yigal Adato: 13:19 Yeah. So, let’s talk about like what are the best ways pawnshops can maximize the returns when they send you guys goods. Peter, I’ll start with you. What’s the best way to, and what kind of lump in a lot of questions in one. What’s the best way to package the material, separate the material so that they can maximize a return and the reporting is what they expect coming back and not getting a surprise.


Peter: 13:45 I think that one of the ways that I always tell my clients is that you’re welcome to ship in mixed carat gold in a bag and you’re also welcome to separate at 10, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24 for the benefit of separating the materials when you’re shipping into your refining company is that you can actually determine how much your gold is in that material before you get it. If you’re sending mixed karat gold then you’re not really, you’re kind of guessing if you will. So, I think that’s a way to maximize your profit because sometimes the market over the past couple days will go up and like it did and sometimes it’ll go down like it did yesterday.


Yigal Adato: 14:30 Yeah, yeah. So you’re saying, you know, it’s better to separate the lots by karat. Just to be able to maximize the-


Peter: 14:37 Yeah. You want to know what’s going in there.


Yigal Adato: 14:39 Yeah, got It. Rafael what do you think?


Rafael: 14:41 Yeah, I think to a point, yes. I mean I always say the refiner is more like the report card. If you want to know how good your guys are doing, how good their checking, then yeah, you want to separate it out, send the 14 lot in, send the 18 lot in and you’re going to get a report and you’re going to know your guys are either testing it right or there’s something going on. When it comes to separating lots, there’s always mixed reviews because of course we do all have minimum charges. So, if you have a too small of a lot, you know, only maybe 40 50 penny weights of like 10 karat or something, then you run the risk of getting tagged with a minimum charge on that lot. You know, at the end of the day, gold is gold. Whether it’s 10, 14 or 18, we’re going to extract just that gold and give you a number. I have a lot of customers that do paper assays before they send it and they say, well, I’m spending this much 10 that has this much contained in this much 14 and a lot of them are dead on. You’d be be surprised how they’re able to calculate the lot. So, for that customer mixing it up, you know, it just makes sense to avoid that minimum charge. Separating it. I would only recommend it if you want it to test the level of your staff as far as testing their gold.


Yigal Adato: 15:58 Great. Cool. Michelle, what about you? What do you think?


Michelle: 16:00 Yeah, I would say the exact same as them. It’s a very good indicator of how well trained your staff is, if you break it out because then you know what they are, but at the same time [Inaudible] and the risk of having more fees, you know, that at the end of the day, if we have to do a 14 karat lot, an 18 karat lot, 24 karat lot, 10 karat lot, you know, and a lot of the smaller shops it just makes more sense. Now, that being said, you know, all of us still have the ability to run your report at the end of the year and you can see by store or by location if one shop was suddenly doing 52% and they’ve dropped down to 34%, something’s going wrong, but that’s where we’re going to call you anyway. And we’re going to say, Hey, we’re seeing a huge discrepancy here going on. You know, what’s changed? And that’s a conversation all of us would have. So, mostly I find that of most people send and based on what they need for their reporting, whether they’re used to lumping it together and it’s one fee, one number that they look at for all their stores or they like to break it out and see what they have.


Yigal Adato: 17:12 Love it.


Peter: 17:13 When you’re shipping in separately, you don’t necessarily always have to melt it separately. You can still come with the material and ship it and refine it as a mixed karat gold lot. But to know, for instance, I used to have a client in Texas, I won’t say where, but in Texas shipped a very large lots going back years and years, probably 280,380 ounces of gold and 14 karat was dead nuts on 18 karat. We wait a little bit more. The 10 carat was 13.1 ounces off and call this guy and I, hey, everything is good. However, 13 ounces, 13.1 ounces out of the 10 carat is not there. God darn it Peter find My goddamn gold, blah, blah, blah. You know, [Incomprehensible] click, hung up on me. 15 minutes later called back, I found a bag of 10 care at 13.1 stones in the top shelf of my vault. Never said thank you. Never said sorry, I apologize. I went off on you because I was like, it’s not there. And I continue to do business with him for six, seven, eight years after that and yelled at me a few more times. But what that does is that it was easier to know where that problem lied rather than sending me in a bag of mixed karat and saying, hey, Yigal your gold was 13 ounces off. What do you mean? Well, at least I know there was a 10 karat he went into his office said, Hey, guess what I just found 13 ounces, 10 karat. That was what I was kind of getting that a little.


Yigal Adato: 18:46 So brought up shipping. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about, you know, a lot of pawnbrokers are weary of sending 40, 50, 60, $100,000 worth of gold through Fedex, through the postal service, through ups, whatever it is that’s carried. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the insurance behind it. Let’s talk about the fears behind it. Is it a good idea? Is it not? Obviously it’s impossible for you guys to pick up from all of your clients nationwide. So, talk about shipping, and I’ve seen, you know, you guys have the big drums and the plastic, there’s different sizing. Should a pawnbroker be afraid to ship? Yes, Rafael I’ll start with you.


Rafael: 19:25 Absolutely not. I think as far as shipping is concerned, it’s become a lot, a lot more normal for folks to do shipping. Yeah, you still have some companies out there that work locally and they’ll come by and they’ll kick up and they’ll do the cash payment and that’s still around to a point, but it is disappearing. And I think some of the companies you mentioned, Fedex and ups, they do a great job of transporting these metals, when it comes to the insurance companies they have no hesitation uncovering these packages because of the great job that these carrier companies are doing. It’s just a matter of trust and understanding that when you do ship to a refiner as long as you follow the instructions, whether it’s double boxing and labeling it properly and not including the word pawn or jewelry on the outside label, as long as you follow the instructions, there shouldn’t be any problem.


Yigal Adato: 20:22 Got It. And Michelle, what do you think about people shipping and if you can kind of talk to when Rafel said about not writing pawn and jewelry, what happens when somebody does that? You know, what’s the fear or what’s the cause that you don’t want to write pawn and jewelry there?


Michelle: 20:39 Right. So, I’m going to tell I was in actually shipping for 12 years, so I have inside knowledge about how to handle all the insurance, what goes on behind the scenes when those packages get shipped. And I will say on this that I would never worry about what is getting shipped and how it’s going to be handled on the refiner’s side. Never. The things that I think that paw brokers really need to make sure is that they are doing the due diligence on their side, that they are actually documenting what’s going in to that shipment. Even to the point if they take a picture, if they have a camera and take a picture, all of that may seem like two minutes out of their time that they don’t have. But it makes it so much easier were processing [Inaudible] if there ever is one. So, when you’re looking at shipping on these products, so if they have their shipping label, it’s got everything broken down, they’ve [Incomprehensible] refinery, they schedule the pickup, the moment that is scheduled and scanned in, they’re insured exactly at that point. So, if it goes missing once it’s scanned in from any point there forward, it is on the company, the refinery and the insurance. Generally how that would be handled would be they would send over the documentation thing. Here was what was scanned in. They would show the label. So it wouldn’t show pawn, jewelry because I do know that, I had heard of another refiner that the mail carrier figured out that it was a jewelry, pawn shipments and he was opening them, taking a few pieces out, just enough to not notice and then resealing it and delivering. Right? So, you do have to be cautious, but in time we’ve never had that happen. I can say Peter and Rafael, I mean everybody calls if there’s any, I mean a point, one discrepancy, once it arrives, we all call. But you know, just cover yourself in your company with that due diligence on the upfront so that if there is ever a problem you’re not questioning what’s on there.


Yigal Adato: 22:45 Cool. Thank you, Peter.


Peter: 22:47 I also suggest to all of my clients always double box your material. Always make sure that there’s either an inside label, label on the inside box over the top and packing lists or business card or some sort of a note that says, here’s what I’m shipping. Describe what you’re shipping karat gold, is it a stone removal or stone [Incomprehensible] return, does it have sterling silver, does it have some platinum in there? Whatever it may be. Box set up, seal it up really well. Make sure nothing jiggles or wiggles and put that inside another box and seal that up and put the label on the outside. I mean, I ship thousands of packages a year and I, knock on wood, I’ve never had a problem with shipping but just make sure that everything is a sealed up, packaged well. And I always just say tape the living heck out of it. And always make sure that they scan that label in your store or empathetics facility when you drop it off. Once they scan it, as Michelle said, they are responsible for it. And it’s typically a one, two or three day journey depending on how you ship it.


Yigal Adato: 23:58 So, let me ask this question. Talking about the three day journey as a pawnbroker, we would melt to make payroll and we would need money asap. My question, because I’ve never seen the refining process, how long does it take once you receive material to know what the package has in it, the value of it, and to be able to pay a pawnbroker back. Now, there are some companies that will give an advance Rafael like you said, for a fee or if you’ve been working with a refiner for a long time, I’m sure they have some trust in the process. But how long does a process take, is it like right away, I should have my money? Should I give him money now, now, now, or does it take the refiner some time to get this done? So, Rafael go for it.


Rafael: 24:43 Well, just to make a correction. Yes, some of them do the advanced for a fee, we don’t. We don’t charge a fee for that, but usually we receive packages by 9:00 AM in the morning. Some of them are in it as early as seven but the last wave of Fedex arrived somewhere around nine and usually by 11:00 AM we can do preliminary assays by noon, depending on how many lots come in. And now a preliminary is just an x ray. It’s not going to give us the final number, but you’ll have an idea of what’s in there if you need an advance so that you can get that by noon or one o’clock or whatever. The fire assay does typically take, you know, a couple of hours in by about six to eight hours depending. So we do settle 24 hours after. Now, some customers prefer the advance like you said, and what that does is kind of sidetracks, it kind of speeds you into the race, but then it slows you down to the finish line with us because since we were already advanced, 90 90%, 95%, whatever it is, then your settlement actually takes 48 hours versus 24 hours if you don’t advance. But typically for a pawnbroker, I mean if you are looking to make payroll or taxes or whatever it is you should expect to get paid at least a good portion of it on the day of receipt.


Yigal Adato: 26:00 You guys agree with that Peter?


Peter: 26:04 I’m sorry. I was going to say communicate what you need with your refiner, I mean my clients call and say, Hey, it’s Friday’s coming up, can I get an advance? Sometimes I’ll even pre deliver advance and get my clients some money before they leave for the weekend like a holiday, like Monday is coming up with the banks, they’re going to be closed. So communicate what you need, communicate what you want. And you know, our [Incomprehensible] typically about three to five business days or stone digestion lots are typically about eight to 10 business days. Stones are cleaned, are separated, are hydrofluoric washed and there is some time that takes to it. And we don’t, and I don’t think any of us do pay on ex-ray. We will ex-ray something to test it, but we don’t pay an x ray. We do fire assays and the little chop, chops that are around, that are [Incomprehensible] within two or five minutes. It’s not for the benefit [Incomprehensible] the pawnbroker.


Yigal Adato: 26:57 Gotcha. Michelle, can you just quickly explain the difference between the fire assay and the x Ray?


Michelle: 27:02 Yeah. So, for the x Ray, generally it’s melted and then it, they stick a pin in it and it goes through an x ray machine. And then it does it kind of analysis, quick analysis of the material. Whereas the fire assay they actually melt and separate the gold. And that takes time, it takes time to do that. And one thing that I have told people, a lot of people don’t ask the refiner, how updated is your x ray machine? Because I’ve seen [Inaudible] machines that are from the 80s out there, you know, on there, in the material, you know, is going through something from the 80s. Okay. Versus, you know, do they have new x ray machines? How you’re melting staff, how long have they been on staff because that matters. Do you have a master melter or not? You know, and those are questions a lot of pawnbrokers don’t tend to ask of their refiner but it matters on what comes out of your product.


Yigal Adato: 28:02 Love it. Thank you for that. And guys I want to end with this question. I want to talk about maybe some mistakes that pawnbrokers are making at the pawn counter when testing the items and how we can better help them to, you know, get a better result when they’re buying or pawning. Peter. I’ll start with you. What do you think? You know, one mistake is that pawnbrokers are making when testing their gold and then expecting more money when they send it into a refiner.


Peter: 28:32 Literally just a few weeks ago, there was some really good bad gold going around Florida and one of my clients, a pound, one of my posts on Facebook said, hey, that girl was in my store a few weeks back. We tested her piece on the stone it tested fine. We tested the piece yes, directly on a piece and it turned green. It turned green or whatever. I forget what it was, but I think that’s an important thing that don’t always trust the stone. Trust your instincts, your site. [Incomprehensible] it, the look of it, smell of it and also test the actual piece and test deep enough when and if you can because we’re seeing a lot, not a lot, lot, but we’re seeing a lot coming through that, hey, you know what we didn’t catch it because the magnet didn’t pick it up, but you had a lot more silver in that material than there should have been and your gold count was low. And then they’ll say, ah, you know what? Yeah, I did. I had that one big bracelet in there and weren’t sure about that, but we put it in thinking that it was 14 karat and well guess what it wasn’t, but I separated that out are segregated that from the other lot and had we known about it, we could have actually x rated it or disrupted it and melted it and actually x rated or done a separate fire assay on just to make sure that it wasn’t being comingled with good material.


Rafael: 30:02 Gotcha. Raphael, what do you think a big mistake a pawnbrokers are making at the counter?


Rafael: 30:09 I think as far as testing is concerned you really have to do a good job at it. I mean, I know that a lot of customers come in and they don’t necessarily want you scraping their jewelry or they don’t want you cutting in to it. But at the end of the day, I mean you really have to protect yourself here. I agree that the stone is your first line of defense. Having a good rare earth magnet to run over that is important. Now, we always recommend, you know, really using a file and filing into the piece just so you can get into, you know, pass the first a few layers of the metal, which is usually where the good stuff is. And if it’s a bad piece, then once you file into it, you’re going to find, you know, the ladder or whatever is down there. We always recommend filing into it, testing the area. That was filed. Now that also brings me to the point where you said, you know, how can they also, it’s not only a mistake but also maximizing it. I think when you’re testing gold at a pawnshop, you should have a specific area where that takes place. And when you’re filing into a piece, I would do it over a specific drawer. Like a jewelers bench has a drawer where they do their filings because all that filings is falling down on ground somewhere. And you know, jewelry is known to catch that. Some pawn brokers don’t. But that adds up over time and you know, maybe not. Maybe over three months or four months you’re going to see all that dust and you collected every day you put in little baggies. You know, you’d be surprised how much metal you can recover from just the scrapings that you do over the counter.


Yigal Adato: 31:42 Awesome. Excellent.


Peter: 31:43 When I first started people, some of my pawn brokers used to throw their sweeps away. In fact, when I first started, we didn’t even have stone digestion lots. We used to melt those, those lots with diamonds in them with the Melly and I, I can only imagine how many tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars were melded with stones in it. I mean you learn as you go along, but Raphael’s right, you always want to be able to catch that material because that’s found, that’s found money for the palm broker. You know,


Yigal Adato:/ 32:11 I’ll tell you a quick story then we’ll get to Michelle. My brother used to work at the jewelers building here in downtown San Diego and he took me to one of the jewelers who was making a piece frame. And this place was disgusting. Like, just disgusting. Like the carpet was, it must’ve had like 50 years on the carpet. Never changed. It’s just gross. And I walked out and I said, Morris, man, that’s disgusting. That guy needs to change the carpet he said is like, oh, no, no, no, no, no. That’s his retirement. It’s like he’s going to roll up that carpet, send it to a refiner, melt the carpet, like do whatever he needs to do. And that’s his retirement money right there.


Rafael: 32:50 Absolutely


Yigal: 32:50 Yeah. So Michelle, tell me what’s a mistake that a pawnbroker’s making and how can they on the other hand, how can they maximize,


Michelle: 32:59 So, not being in the gold industry that long? I will tell you, I think one of the largest mistakes that I hear is they don’t keep training their staff enough. You know, when you talk to people, they talk about staff turnover, they talk about staff turnover. So they teach them the basics of these three things, but then they don’t actually keep up on that month after month. It probably took me personally about a year before I could visually see the gold difference of fake versus real. Right? And so I think when using your refiner, I mean I have a couple of clients that they take a separate container and if they think that it might be fake or it might be low, they throw that one piece in there. And then when they send the refining lot in for the month, we ex-ray tests those pieces and then we send them back tagged so that they can train their staff. Okay. So this piece was marked 14, but it came in at nine. You know, this piece was marked as platinum, but it was nickel and or marked silver and but it was nickel and Rhodium, you know, so I think that keeping a consistent training method with your staff or you actually sit down with real pieces that are fake, that are real, beyond just the everyday stuff is really going to help them, you know, figure out how to see that when it comes in.


Yigal Adato: 34:22 Well then I think a good idea that just popped into my mind and I’d love to share with the listeners. You can even hold something like a testing Olympics, right? You have a staff meeting, you have some fake pieces, 14, 10, and then they just, you know, you do like a game. You give them a chart and they have to say, you know, piece number one is what, piece number two is what, and the winner wins a prize. Everybody has fun and you start training people and you’re also building up your culture at the same time. So, to the three of you, to Rafael from the United Precious metals to Peter from guide refining incorporation to Michelle from Glines & Rhodes I want to thank you guys for being on the podcast, giving so much value to the upon family and for the listeners, they are in the Pawn Leaders Podcast Community Facebook group. If you haven’t joined in join in today, we talk about everything from life, golds, we can talk about refining whatever question you have. I know that all three who are in there thank you so much for listening to three of you. Thank you so much for being on the show.


Peter: 35:23 Thank you Yigal, we appreciate it.


Michelle: 35:24 Thank you.


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Yigal Adato

Yigal is a 3rd generation pawn broker, and is now a mentor, coach and educator with the pawnbroking industry.

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