The Logistics of Starting an Estate Sales Business

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Estate Sales Business Business Overview:

You’ve heard the saying that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, but in the estate sales business that treasure can become a truly lucrative enterprise. The gist of a business idea like this is that people hire you to hold an estate sale (or yard sale, tag sale, garage sale, etc.) on their behalf while you take a percentage of the profit they earn from the sales. Your clients benefit because your company does the hard work of organizing, marketing, and selling their stuff; your business benefits because their sales become your revenue. There are a few keys to finding success in a business like this. For one thing, you’ll want to find clients who have fairly valuable items to sell—a junk collector’s garage sale might not bring in enough profit to make it worth your while. But if a client has antiques, collectibles, or nice furniture and decorator items to sell, your company can stand to make a good deal of money for a day or two of work. Once you find a client with merchandise to sell, you will need to work hard to set up a good date for your sale (usually one or both days of a weekend), and then advertise, advertise, advertise! Here’s where you can get creative on the cheap: Oak tag signs in the neighborhood are an old-fashioned but effective method in spreading the word about an upcoming estate sale. Add to that the power of a community website like Craigslist, and print media like the local news or Pennysaver, and you might find yourself with a line of customers a block long. Once the sale begins, you would do well to have some help—you can’t keep a watchful eye on things and engage in sales transactions all by yourself. Offering a nice “shopping” ambience is also a good idea (consider offering a cold drink and a snack to your shoppers to keep them around longer). Finally, you must keep stringent track of your transactions. Having an inventory of salable goods would help so that you can cross off each item purchased and keep a log of how much each item earned. Not only will your customers appreciate this inventory system, it can also help you determine how to price future clients’ items. At the end of the sale, your client gets money for their unwanted stuff and you take your cut and go. All in a day’s work!

A Day in the Life of an Estate Sales Business Owner:

This article brought to you by Business Ideas! If you enjoyed this article, make sure to subscribe to the Business Ideas Newsletter to get ideas sent straight to your email inbox.It is very likely that even if you prefer working alone, you will have to have at least one employee in a business like this, at least on the day(s) of the estate sale. That said, a typical day in this business is very dependent on what sales you have on the horizon. Let’s say you’ve will have an estate sale this weekend. You will want to ensure an ad goes into the local paper for at least the week leading up to the sale. You will also want to post news of the sale in as many places online and around the neighborhood as you can in the days leading up to the sale. On the day before the sale, you will want to meet with your client and review inventory, price items, and set up the space for the impending sale so that when you arrive on the morning of, you can just finalize the details and get ready for your customers. Again, at the end of the day you will want to review your profits and wrap things up with your customer.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be in need of someone who will organize, price, advertise and hold a sale for their unwanted items. They will likely be getting ready to move or they might even be the executor of items that belonged to someone else. No matter, they will want to pass off the responsibility of taking care of the merchandise, but they will want to reap the benefits of selling them.

What You Need to Start:

  • Availability to work (or at least manage) on weekends
  • Transportation to get to your estate sales
  • Knowledge of community websites and blogs
  • Office supplies for taking stock and pricing items for sale
  • Good people skills
  • A desire to sell items, perhaps even negotiate prices with potential customers

The Good:

  • You can start this as a weekend-only business, or you can make it your full-time business.
  • You can stand to make solid profits on some sales, especially higher-end estate sales.
  • It requires little to no startup money to embark on a business like this.
  • It can be fun to organize and work with other people’s treasures.

The Bad:

  • Estate sales are almost always held on weekends; be prepared to give yours up to work.
  • Some potential customers will try to pay next to nothing for valuable items; you might need to polish your “firm-but-nice” side.

Resources:

Start This Business Today:

To start an estate sales business today, we recommend you purchase The 7 Secrets to Running Your Own Moving Sales Business. This video and training package provides solid advice and helpful templates to get you started on your business right away. The ongoing training ensures you find success around every sale. For more information, or to purchase this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED package, click here.




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