Hello Everyone! I have had the fortune of interviewing Lisa Kroese of Expert Estates. Lisa recently released her Estate Sale Company starter kit to help out anyone who wants to start their own Estate Sale business. I had a lot of fun interviewing her and she really gave some wise words of wisdom.
Kate: What inspired you to get into the Estate Sale business?
Lisa: I was always interested in the business. I used to work for an auction house and I did appraisals. When we moved from Pennsylvania to Tehachapi, California, I realized how silly we were to pack and move all of our furniture. The move was expensive, the movers broke or damaged a lot of our furniture. In hindsight, we should have sold our things in PA, and used the money we made and the money we saved on the moving costs to just buy “new” things (from estate sales of course!) once we were settled. I didn’t know anyone here and I wanted work to do. Shortly after we settled in here, I developed my estate sale business plan.
Kate: Why were you motivated to create Estate Sale Company Starter kit?
Lisa: The number of people who tell me they would love to do what I do inspired me to compile my best resources together in this kit. I hear about wanting to open an estate sale company all the time from customers who shop our sales, to people I meet every day. I like helping people when I can, which is one of the factors that has allowed me to do well in this industry. For those who are ready to do the work of opening a business, my goal was to provide a set of professional documents that would help them succeed from the beginning. I opened with just $2,000 in startup money, our business plan set out to do $156,000 in sales for our second year in operation; we did $168,000 in sales in my second year. There is no reason why I wouldn’t want to help other new estate sellers to define and meet their sales goals as well.
Kate: What does the Estate Sale Company Starter kit consist of?
Lisa: I provide three different PDF files to use as models for making their own custom forms. First is my 7 page business plan which includes a list of optional attachments you might want to add if you are showing it to your bank or a potential landlord if you have a storefront. Next are all of the contracts I use, there are 6 different contracts covering different kinds of estate sales, clean outs, and consulting agreements. Plus, I include marketing and customer service related materials, from an introduction letter to lawyers, to a press release, a settlement statement, a sample excel file, and a sample one page brochure that I include with mailings.
Kate: How is the kit designed to help the “just starting” Estate Sale Company owner?
Lisa: My kit contains everything someone would need for opening an estate sale business. I see a lot of folks who start just trying to help friends and neighbors with their moving and garage sales. One friend I have who wants to do some estate sales on the side told me she went on a consultation recently. The lady wanted her to run a sale, advertise it and to pay her with a few pieces of furniture. Creating your business plan, having professional contracts, and using good marketing materials will position anyone opening an Estate Sale Company in line with the established estate sellers, you can show up and let people know you are really in business and not just doing work for a hobby.
Kate: When you were starting out in the Estate Sale business, what is one piece of advice you would have wished that someone would have given you?
Lisa: You can’t do it alone, it is a lot of work. You need a good, honest, supporting crew. A lot of folks who want to work for estate sellers are just there on so that they can buy the best stuff before the sale, or they want to open their own company someday. Avoid those hires. I set a rule banning anyone, myself included, from buying before our customers have a chance to shop for at least the first hour of the sale. Setting policies like that will help with weeding out people who are not really interested in doing the work you need to get done for your clients.
Kate: That is really great advice. Anything else you wish to share with the budding Estate Sale business owner?
Lisa: Don’t sell yourself short, show up with your contracts and supporting materials prepared and be ready to explain to your potential clients why you are going to do the best job for them. There is a lot of competition, figure out your niche and define what separates you from other estate sellers in your area. I never say bad things about my competition, I just focus on what it is that I think makes me the best choice for the client.
Kate: That is some really great advice! I think people can learn a lot from what you have said in this interview and best of luck to you in your future endeavors. If you would like to purchase the starter kit or find out more, here is the link: http://www.etsy.com/listing/153169097/estate-sale-company-starter-kit-with.
Have a great day!