So you’re thinking of getting into the Estate Sale Industry and starting a company of your own? You better do your homework and learn a few things from the pros…
Brenda Devereux is the owner of The Real McCoy Estate and House Contents Sales LLC in New Jersey and says while running an Estate Sale it’s important to “keep your cool and remember your purpose.” Brenda says, “The first morning’s revenues are your barometer for the whole sale.” “It’s important to move the general merchandise as that will keep your clean-out costs to a minimum.” She suggests encouraging those who come with containers to fill and like to send certain items like small appliances and clothing to families in other countries. Brenda also says to “be prepared to cater to dealers who like to arrive early and have cash in their pockets.” Lastly Brenda recommends not to over price items, “retail has nothing to do with this venue.” And, “keep a good list of resources who you can contact to pick up leftovers and for donation purposes, it’s good to recycle whenever possible.”
Doing your due diligence is key, suggests Robyn Reynolds of Organize2Harmonize, an Estate Sale Services company in California. “Know what you are talking about, do your research, know your market of who is buying from you.” “Not every sale is going to be a great moneymaker, it’s a live and learn business and experience.” Robyn recommends making a point to learn something new with each sale you do, so you can either repeat the things that were successful or avoid making the same mistakes twice.
Catherine Baron, owner of Catherine’s Estates & Appraisals in Arizona cautions the newcomers, “It’s not as easy as it looks. Sale day is the culmination of weeks’ worth of work. People think it is glamorous and fun with the money just rolling in – and it is – on that day.” Catherine says to be successful “You must be good with people, good with money, and good with communication and follow up. You and your staff must be physically strong, hard working, yet possess the eye of an artist and the soul of a decorator.” It’s also important to budget says Catherine. “You have to put up the advertising and other expenses up front, so it is important for you to be frugal with the set up and details.” The business of Estate Sales is not always glamorous though and Catherine suggests, “It is helpful to be able to “clean up good” because estate sales are filthy undertakings. If the clients haven’t passed, sometimes they aren’t very nice either.” Organizing and coordinating an Estate Sale is a tough business, “It is usually a challenging time for the family and it is all too easy for a client to redirect their grief and anger to you.” Catherine shares one last bit of advice for newcomers, “This is not the occupation of choice for a hoarder, you have to have a ruthless minimalist streak to do your best in this industry.” Her philosophy is “one thing in, two things out.”