An estate sale or estate liquidation is a sales process to dispose a large portion of an estate’s property. This is usually done when a person dies. The surviving family usually no longer needs the items owned by the deceased person and wants to dispose them. There are financial reasons too like when the owners of the items need a relatively large sum of money for a short time like to pay a huge debt.
People usually prepare for estate sales by separating items for sale and items not for sale. They store items not for sale in locations where buyers will not have access to them. They then clearly mark the items for sale by putting price tags on them. If for sale and not for sale items cannot be separated such as large and heavy items they can both be clearly marked as “for sale” and “not for sale”.
Can people do estate sales by themselves? People can do estate sales themselves but estate sales by nature require a lot of people to do the task. There are one or more people doing payment transactions and much more people assisting clients and guarding against theft. Several people are also needed to clean and fix the estate when the estate sale concludes.
One of the biggest problems of estate sales is handling crowds. If one does a good job of marketing their estate sale then they would have to contend with maintaining the huge number of crowds turning up. An effective customer priority system by using a numbering system usually does the job but may be harder to implement if the crowd goes unruly.
If people because of the abovementioned problems cannot handle estate sales they can call professionals to the estate sales for them. In the United States for example these professionals charge an average of between 25% to 35% commission from the sales. They can also charge for the additional services that they perform like marketing and cleaning up the estate.
How does one qualify to be an estate sales professional? You do not need any educational qualifications but must show that you have knowledge and experience to do the job. People thinking of hiring so called estate sales professionals must carefully check their background. There are even fly by night companies that just take the proceeds from the sale and disappear.
Before you can become an estate sales professional you are required to formally register your business. You can setup a sole proprietorship or a company depending on your size. Registering your business under your name or a company has different liability coverage. You also need to join industry associations to better your business success chances.
Sole proprietorship is good if you can outsource all the work but can be difficult logistically to operate. Some tasks like cleaning and fixing after the conclusion of an estate sale can be relatively easy to outsource. Charity organisations can also handle clearing donation items.
Is estate selling profitable? Like all businesses there is never a conclusive yes or no answer. One thing sure is that there will be no end to potential clients for estate sales. People normally die without clearing their possessions. There will also be a neverending supply of people who would fall need relatively large sums of money at a short time due to unforeseen events in life.
How does one start? By working and learning about it part time. Traditional estate sales last for 3 days and usually occurs from Friday to Sunday. You can attend a few of these to have an idea of the business especially buyer and seller interactions. It is mostly a simple buy and sell business and is relatively uncomplicated but mastering buyer and seller interaction is hard.
You can also start by working as an employee of an estate sales company to gain experience and also to develop contacts. You can find a mentor who would teach you all about starting and ending an estate sale as well as insider knowledge.
One can start up even younger by running successful garage sales in their neighbourhood. Garage sales are the smaller versions of estate sales and are very similar. They mostly vary in the scope of the sales and that with estate sales you would most likely need a permit to conduct one.
One thing is certain is that you need to prepare. Before even doing estate sales you must be able to create contacts with people who specialise for example in buying antiques or second hand items. There are people who operate second hand shops and have flea market stands. Keep a business and if you can a social relationship with these people.
You could also search online for antique collectors groups and other collectors groups and maintain contacts with them. You can even be helpful enough to inform them of upcoming estate sales or garage sales and any inside information you may gather from the sale to gain the gratitude of the these people as well as the estate sales professional.
If you are in estate sales try to gain also the contact information of buyers and not only peruse estate sales items. You may discover a valuable contact like a professional buyer who might need extra hands in looking for items for sale in the estate sales.
Try to keep in mind your clients when you are in an estate sale. Think of the items they may like to buy and contact them if necessary and then get a commission from the sale afterwards.
Go online. There are now estate sales companies who go to houses to take photographs of items for sale by the owners and arrange for their online sales. They get a commission for their work. You can do the same.
As can be seen the most important part of estate sales is generating a customer base which is required for all kinds of selling. You might have the best products on sale but if there is no one to buy them it will be for nothing. You will succeed more when applying for estate sales job if you can prove you could provide clients. If you have your own business afterwards this list especially helps a lot.