Category Archives: Estate Sale Clean Outs
It seems that every week we receive press releases or Google Alerts about new businesses being formed around “estate sales”.
From franchises for liquidators, to new estate sale listing websites, to associations and societies for estate liquidators, and other businesses such as clean out companies, relocation services, there is an endless generation of businesses, not to mention the daily growth of more and more estate sale companies. These services and many others are being created for the growing number of baby boomers retiring and the desire to become an entrepreneur.
What started in the early 2000’s with one estate sale listing company and one small association created by a veteran liquidator that had written a code of ethics and online courses for becoming an estate liquidator, we now have explosive growth in the estate sale company business.
So many websites offer you the opportunity to locate an estate sale company through their website having researched these liquidators and signed a code of ethics or agreed to a list of good business practices.
All of this brings to the forefront the absolute need for you – the perspective seller, to do your due diligence. We are unaware of any company or group that has any authority other than to chastise and remove a company from their website and list. We encourage sellers to read and research through these various companies for estate liquidators, but the final choice and what you need should be based on conversations with prior clients of the individual estate sale company.
Lately, I have been thinking about the “COST” of conducting a house sale. What does it take financially to conduct a sale in someone’s home.
Starting with payroll, in order to have a staff that can work fast and hard both in the set up and the selling of items the conductor needs to pay them a reasonable wage. If you begin at minimum wage – $10.00 per hour and the employee works for 2 days setting up at 6 hours per day as well as two days of the sale at 8 hour minimum, that makes each employee’s wage $200 for the sale. This of course is a sale that is easy to set and sell. If the sale is a large one then you have to figure the payroll just goes up and up. But for this example I am going to use a simple sale – 3 employees (not including the principles of the company) x $200 for the sales is $600 payroll.
Next you will need supplies – a set of 5 non carbon sales books cost $14 approx. You might need 10 total for sale. Plus you need pricing stickers – a pkg of white removable stickers cost $7. each. So for this purpose, a trip to the office supply store will cost you $80.
Then you have to consider the town you are working in – is there a permit needed. Did you cover in the contract that the client pays the permit? If not, that cost can be $60 per sale in a town that requires a permit, such as Oak Park, IL. There goes some more money out of your pocket.
If this is a new business for you, you will need table, cloths, display items, string tags, secured diplay boxes (so your shoppers cannot help themselves) – all costing you more and more money.
And what about after the sale – what does it cost you to get all the items out of the house? How many hours of labor does it take to wrap and take the items that are saleable. How much does it cost to have the refuse taken away? How much does it cost to have a person stay and sweep up after everything is removed? And who is removing the items? A moving company or you in your own vehicle. This all costs money!
Oh, and of course you have to consider the cost of advertising. If you belong to a website, there is a monthly fee for that. If you have a special sale then that cost just went up from maybe $100 a month to an additional $200 just for this one sale – all costs against your profit.
All of these fees and costs do not inlcude: databases you subscribe to, books you buy for research, t-shirts or uniforms you might use, phone service, credit card fees, bank fees, gas, tolls, and all sorts of items you have to take into account when figuring out what commission to charge so that you actually might make some money to put in your own pocket.
The estate sales business is not for the faint of heart. It is also not a charity, it is a business – you are intending to make a profit. When you consider what to charge as your fee, you must consider all of these things and more.
Baby boomers are moving in record numbers and many are downsizing as retirement time has arrived. Knowing what the best answer is for you to liquidate your unwanted or no longer needed items depends on your understanding the difference between an estate sale and garage (yard) sale.
An estate sale sells the greater part of the contents of your home. Usually it involves selling the items within the home. Most estate (or sometimes called a tag) sales are conducted by professional personal property liquidators – an estate sale company. They sort, organize (or stage) the contents within the home, price, advertise, and conduct a sale lasting two, three, or four days. Many also offer clean out services as well for an additional fee. Estate liquidators are experienced with selling household items as well as antiques, art, etc., however, when in doubt they research and may call in an appraiser to assist them with the proper description and pricing.
A garage sale involves selling miscellaneous household and garden items, usually takes place in the garage, on the driveway, or on the yard and are held for one or two days. The sale is usually run by the owners and they set up the items, price, and sell them. The items being sold are generally low in value.
One key difference to mention is where they are advertised. Estate Sales are advertised on estate sale listing websites, estate liquidator websites, social media, and print media. Garage/yard sales are usually advertised by hand writing on poster board tacked up on poles, (where permitted), in a local newspaper, and on occasion on websites specifically for yard or garage sales.
Another difference that is often overlooked in articles and discussions is negotiating. Estate sales usually will not negotiate the first day of the sale and most have a policy for discounting while garage sales usually have people making offers from the time the sale starts. Estate liquidator also have policies in place for entering the estate sale (numbers, list, etc.) while folks waiting for a garage sale usually just walk up and start looking across tables of items and may even poke through items not yet unpacked.
If you aren’t sure which type of liquidation will meet your needs speak with a few estate liquidators and explain what you are doing and what you have to sell. Most will welcome your call and the result could generate financial gains more significant at an estate sale than you would have received had you chosen to go with a do it yourself garage sale.
For those in our audience that are doing more than just a clean out it is time now to start deciding what you want to keep and what you don’t. Then comes the big decision, how to eliminate all the unwanted or unnecessary items.
Now is the time to start looking for estate sale companies if you have more to eliminate than keep. You might even consider finding an estate sale company that would conduct what they call a partial sale, where it is limited to just a few rooms. Not all estate sale companies perform this particular liquidation, but it is wise to ask.
Start asking your friends, relatives, Realtor or attorney if they can recommend an estate sale company. Also start looking at estate sale listing websites like EstateSales.Net, EstateSales.org and Estatesale.com to see who is working in your area. There are other listing sites as well to check out.
When speaking with liquidators ask them if you don’t have enough for a sale if they would consider buying out what you have, take on consignment or recommend a local auctioneer that may do consignment auctions for small lots.
You may also want to inquire with an estate sale company if they assist in a clean out. Many now perform this function for a fee as well. The estate liquidation business has many facets today.
With the last 6 or so weeks of winter left (hopefully less) now is the perfect time if you are going to relocate to get the chore of sorting through and making your key decisions, but remember – if you have a lot “don’t throw anything out” until you have interviewed some estate sale companies. You may be giving away money unknowingly.
Estate sale companies do everything they can to completely sell your contents out, but that doesn’t always happen. Unable to control weather conditions, market conditions, and property location an estate liquidator may not be able to sell all the contents of a property.
What happens when there are leftovers?
Many estate sale companies offer clean outs. Some have even started an additional phase of their business just to perform clean outs. They may include it in their commission or it may be an additional charge. This is a discussion that should take place when reviewing the estate sale contract with the estate liquidator. Other estate liquidators hire a company that will perform the clean out for you. The fee the company will charge should be divulged before signing the estate sale contract. In this case you may be paying the company directly or it may be deducted from the net proceeds of the sale. Some estate sale companies may take more valuable items on consignment if they have a shop or sell online if they do not sell at the sale.
If your estate liquidation company does not do clean outs there are companies you can call. One nation wide name is 1-800-Got-Junk. (This is not an endorsement, simply an example).
Leaving a property broom clean is very important in many cases when the property has been sold or is going up for sale.
Ask your estate sale company if they have a list of charities also.
Estate Sales News would like to hear from companies that specialize in clean outs. You can email us at carol@estatesalesnews.
It’s Wednesday, October 16th, the month and week are half over. Estate sales start tomorrow.
In today’s hustle and bustle world the stresses of moving or downsizing can be overlooked.
The estate sale company may have estate liquidations booked week after week, but it is important that they focus on each client and sale as they occur. Speaking with your chosen estate sale professional about any concerns you have early in the process can help eliminate your stress as the seller and any tensions that could arise later.
Sellers whether they are moving, downsizing or going to an assisted living residence require patient understanding from the estate liquidator. If you have concerns about the removal of the items you may be keeping prior to the estate sale company beginning their work be sure to share your concerns with them. The professional estate liquidator can often offer suggestions based on experience. Although they may have a full schedule, listening to your concerns is helpful to them, but keep in mind they have other clients to listen to as well.
If you are new to the estate liquidation business taking courses through an organization like CRTS (Certified Relocation Transition Specialists) can help you better understand and work with the needs of your clients.
Estate sale companies also have their own stresses to deal with. If you are conducting weekly estate sales and responsible for the clean out after the sale, you will need to have a crew working on the staging of the upcoming sale and a cleanout crew. If you don’t have a separate cleanout crew then you will require a reliable cleanout service to leave the property broom cleaned.
Communication between clients and estate sale companies is paramount for success for both sides.
In most places that is no longer the case. Realtors are looking to minimalize personal objects (family photos) etc. as well as decluter and stage the property. More and more estate sale companies are assisting with this. Many have their own experts in staging. They can help pack up some items to leave a visually more appealing minimal effect.
Staging an estate sale for success has led to a side business for many estate sale companies helping real estate companies ready properties for sale. It has also become a good lead for estate liquidators to acquire estates that have full contents and in order to prepare the property for sale have to be sold out and then painted etc. before hitting the real estate market.
Some estate sale companies have a real estate agent as part of their staff or in some instances the owner of the estate sale company is a Realtor.
Either way getting in touch with your local real estate company or someone you know who is a Realtor to inquire about an estate sale company is a good way to find a referral.