Estate Sales Are Evolving And The Business Isn’t Like It Used To Be

Your Estate Sales News editor started in the liquidation business in 1987. In northern New Jersey there were maybe 10 full time estate sale companies. They used newspapers for advertising their sales and 85%-95% of their business was through referrals. Mainly attorneys and Realtors. They had crews that had been working with them since the beginning and they each covered a territory even though it wasn’t ever written down or delineated. They were almost entirely women and if you were one of their regular attendees you knew how the sale was run, laid out, they would accept a personal check from almost anyone, and very few misunderstandings occurred.

That world has changed. Today new estate sale businesses open every day, they utilize the Internet far more than print media, the sales aren’t just to settle estates, and for the past several years one company started franchising the estate sale business. They make their money from selling their franchise name and other involvements with the franchisee.

It isn’t enough to rely on Realtors or attorneys for referrals. Even they research the Internet. Many companies reciprocate by monetary or other means for the referrals they receive.

Print media although still used is not the main source anymore. Estate sale listing sites started to appear in 2002 nationally and currently there are 4 estate sale listing sites, all of which send out mass emails to their followers.

Today estate sale companies are bonded and insured and depending on the state and/or community, licensed.

They used to accept only cash or personal checks. Now they accept credit cards. Estate sale signs used to be made of poster board and stapled on poles, trees, etc. Today if they are allowed in a community they are almost always professionally printed and stake signs.

Today the estate sale business is more complex and both sellers and estate sale companies require far more knowledge to succeed. The learning process for this booming bonanza business never stops. That’s one of the reasons next week’s estate sale conference is important. Keeping up with the business world of estate sales is as important as keeping up with values.