Category Archives: Estate Sales Costs
Estate Sales News will be taking time off starting tomorrow to share the Christmas holiday with our family until next Monday.
We wanted to take a look back at our most requested articles and information. This information is provided through our analytics. Please click on the link to go to the articles that relate to these topics.
Many of the baby boomer generation have accumulated large amounts of items in their homes, unlike their parents who were raised during the great depression of the 1930s. This has resulted in additional costs being added by many estate sale companies to deal with the volume of merchandise to be sold.
Commissions vary from city to city and state to state. In some areas they are having commission wars to attract business from competitors. Remember the commission should be your last concern when hiring an estate sale company – not your first.
Having a good solid contract written by an attorney is an expense, but important for both sellers and estate sale companies.
It is not unusual to find an estate liquidator charging for extra labor time with larger estate contents for sorting, staging, and cleaning which require extra staff. If the property belonged to a compulsive disorder individual (a hoarder) it may well necessitate weeks of sorting, a dumpster, and much more work. Most companies will charge for this. It is time they cannot devote to other sales.
Researching takes time. Today, companies bring iPads and tablets on site to research, however, there isn’t always enough time with all the other work to be done and they continue when they get home well into the night. It isn’t just an 8 hour day anymore.
License costs (in many areas, not all) along with permits either for holding the sale or putting out signs or both are costly and many towns that didn’t use to charge for them, however, many cities and towns have changed their policies.
Liability insurance is a big cost for estate sale companies and a liquidator that doesn’t have liability insurance is a risk, you as a seller may not want to take.
Estate sale companies are also providing workers comp insurance to their staff. Some companies even provide unemployment insurance and many companies have to pay their staff even if they don’t have a sale.
The costs have also risen as many estate sale listing websites increase the cost of listing sales. Pricing for specialties like local, regional, or national featuring on some listing sites can go as high as $500. This has also helped raised the price of conducting estate sales.
Credit card fees, professional group fees, providing security, and also security cameras all add to the costs factored into the commission for the estate sale.
Supplies (tables, lighting, table covers, tags, showcases, shelving, etc.) are an additional cost and many estate sale companies require a storage unit or warehouse to keep their supplies in when not in use. Some companies have 50 or more tables and this isn’t an “in your home” storage item.
Designing a website and maintaining it and keeping it fresh and up to date is costly. Having an email or newsletter service is another additional expense, but helps bring in those buyers.
Most companies that provide a clean out service will have a separate charge for that.
Understanding why estate sale companies charge the commissions they do is beneficial to a good working relationship and understanding between sellers and estate liquidators.
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.
When you choose your estate sale company along with a complete and thorough review of the estate sale contract, ask to see proof of liability insurance and do not be surprised when the estate liquidator asks to see a copy of a homeowner policy. In todays’ world it is important that both the liquidator and the property be covered by insured.
If the estate sale company belongs to any associations ask to see some type of ID (appraisers, education, etc.)
More and more liquidators are bringing professionally prepared brochures, but they should contain pertinent information about the company, name, address, phone number, email address, how long they have been in business, (license number if required by state or municipality) educational information (if any i.e. appraisal or fine art courses, estate liquidation courses), where they list their sales and advertise, and a list of their services showing fees or commission charges. It should also include if they have insurance or are bonded.
Following all this information, the estate liquidator should take photographs (if possible) to start the listing of the sale.
Access to the property should be arranged for pricing and staging and the dates and times of the sale.
If either party has any concerns about the sale this is the time to express these concerns. If the home is overflowing (commonly referred to by many as a hoarder) and you have an issue with this term discuss it with the estate liquidator. Television shows have promoted the use of this term and many times this can help encourage buyers to attend the sale. The term is not intended to be disrespectful.
As a seller when the estate sale company is ready to leave the property you should have trust and confidence and if not this is the time to settle any further concerns. You have hired a professional to sell the personal property and they need to do their job. Keep in mind most estate liquidators conduct sale after sale and they want your estate sale to succeed too so eliminating concerns and reducing your stress is good for you, the seller and the estate sale company.
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