Like any business, precious metals companies are in business to make a profit. If companies even bought gold and silver at spot, which they don't, they would still have to charge you more money to make money.
Most gold companies I've worked with charge 25-35% above their wholesale price (which is usually 2-4% above spot). To me, that seems unethical to charge that much as the precious metals price would have to increase by at least that much to make any sort of profit. People who charge less than 25-35% usually have some sort of hidden fee somewhere. The reality is that you are going to pay sort of premium on precious metals as no one work for free but it is EXTREMELY important to find out what you are paying.
I believe, if you're going to charge someone a premium, you need to work for that premium. The problem is that most companies charge you a huge premium and then don't talk to you again until they want more money. Here's the secret: you need someone who manages money and knows when to sell. Anyone can buy into anything BUT the real success comes from knowing when to sell to make a profit.
In my practice, I believe on a max of 15% on any purchases and NO hidden fees. I work for that money and I know when to sell. No fees on selling, no fees on shipping, no fees on storage (if you store your metal), etc. I charge maximum 15% and then I hold my client's hands as we make money together. I don't work for free but my clients DO make money and that is what a modest fee is supposed to be charged for...not a HUGE premium because you are a large company and have HUGE expenses!
Do you want more information or have questions about investing in gold and silver? Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.