How Do Gold Dealers Make Money?

There is a misconception that gold dealers profit from price rises and losses during falls. In fact, dealers, risk-averse due to market volatility, rarely speculate on future spot prices. The spot price is the exchange price for a 400 oz gold bar, not the dealers’ profit determinant.

How Do Gold Dealers Keep Them Safe from the Bad Impact of Price Changes?

Well, there are two primary categories of gold dealers: those who maintain their inventory and handle shipping in-house, and those who act as intermediaries, brokering sales and arranging drop-shipping through larger wholesalers.

A lot of dealers today use a mixture of both techniques, keeping certain items while depending on drop-shipping for others.

Hedging Tactic

For dealers who hold physical inventory, the majority of them employ a strategy known as “hedging” in the markets.

If purchasing gold can be likened to taking a “long” position, then these dealers safeguard themselves by “shorting” gold in the market, essentially betting that the price will decrease.

The said strategies give assurance of protection and security to gold dealers regardless of the course in which the gold price moves.

For instance, if the gold price rises by $50, the dealer earns an additional $50 from the customer’s purchase, while simultaneously offsetting this gain by losing $50 on the short position.

Conversely, if the price drops by $50, the dealer may lose money on the customer’s purchase, but this loss is compensated by a gain on the short position.

Gold brokers, on the other hand, remain relatively unaffected by changes in the spot price. This is because the spot price they charge customers is almost identical to the price at which they procure gold from wholesalers.

In essence, brokers shift the responsibility of hedging to the wholesalers while generating revenue through the price premium.

The Drawback of this System

On the other hand, this system also comes with drawbacks or shortcomings. Given that a significant number of dealers lock in a price with the customer before payment is made, those who have not hedged their positions and brokers who have committed to wholesalers can be exposed to price fluctuations if the customer decides not to proceed with the purchase.

Unfortunately, many investors mistakenly equate buying bullion with online purchases of items like books, assuming that vendors remain unaffected by order cancellations.

In fact, customers that fail to make recompense pose a considerable challenge for gold dealers.  Even a seemingly straightforward order cancellation can potentially lead to substantial financial losses, amounting to thousands of dollars for the dealer.

How Do Silver Dealers Make Money?

Dealers earn their income from the “premium,” which is the extra amount charged above the spot price of gold. For instance, if you’re buying a US Mint Gold Eagle, you might pay a premium of $60 on top of the current gold spot price.

However, before assuming that a gold dealer pockets the entire $60 for each coin, it’s important to recognize that dealers themselves don’t acquire these coins at the spot price either.

The process of melting, refining, and minting gold into exquisite coins incurs costs. Institutions like the United States Mint apply a 3% premium to Gold Eagles when selling to their authorized wholesalers, a group consisting of approximately a dozen entities.

Subsequently, over 4,000 dealers across the United States need to purchase these Gold Eagles from these wholesalers at a premium.

As a result, the gold coin you buy from a dealer may actually cost the dealer around $40 to $45 more than the spot price.

Odd as it may sound, consider a scenario where you’re purchasing ten gold coins with a total value of $14,500 – in such a case, a gold dealer might only realize a profit of $100 to $150, roughly amounting to 1% of the transaction.

How Much Do Gold Dealers Charge?

So, how much do gold dealers charge? Well, gold dealers typically charge a premium over the spot price of gold, which can vary depending on factors such as the type of gold product and market conditions.

This premium covers costs related to minting, refining, and distribution. The exact amount can fluctuate, but it’s not uncommon for the premium to range from a few percent to a bit more, based on the specific gold item being purchased.

To Sum Up

When it comes to precious metals, like gold, the way gold dealers make money might be very complex. Gold dealers operate as intermediaries.

They also facilitate transactions that involve different types of physical gold such as bars, gold coins as well as other popular precious metals.

The income or revenue this company gained firstly comes from the difference between buying and selling prices, a margin that covers operational costs and makes sure profitability.

This takes account of considering different factors like sourcing of bullion, market fluctuations as well as pricing strategies.

By knowing the nuanced interaction between buying and selling gold, these dealers tactically navigate the complexities of the precious metals market in order to sustain their operations. This also allows them to offer valuable services to investors and gold buyers.


Q1: How do gold dealers make money?

A1: Gold dealers make money by buying gold, including gold bullion and bars, at a lower price and selling it to gold buyers at a higher selling price, thereby earning a margin on each transaction.

Q2: Are there different types of gold dealers?

A2: Yes, there are various types of gold dealers, including bullion dealers who specialize in buying and selling precious metal, silver bullion, gold bullion, bars, and other precious metals. Many also engage in selling gold futures contracts that include speculating future gold prices.

Q3: What factors influence the profitability of gold dealers?

A3: The profitability of gold dealers depends on factors such as market fluctuations, sourcing costs of physical gold, demand from gold buyers, and the difference between the buying and selling prices of gold.

Q4: How do gold dealers navigate the complexities of the gold market?

A4: Gold dealers leverage their expertise to analyze market trends, monitor gold futures, and strategically buy and sell gold based on price movements.

Q5: Why do many gold dealers offer a variety of precious metals in addition to gold?

A5: Bullion dealer expands their offerings to include other precious metals like gold bars, silver, and platinum to cater to a broader clientele and provide diversification options for investors wanting to buy gold.

Tim Schmidt


Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who has covered retirement investing since 2012. He started IRA Investing to share his expertise in using his Self-Directed IRA for alternative investments. His views on retirement investing have been highlighted in USA Today, Business Insider, Tech Times, and more. He invested with Goldco.