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The Make Me an Offer Sale is different then a yard sale. Your items are not tagged and are set up in an auction style format. There is also quite a bit more items such as you would see at an estate auction. This type of sale allows you the option to offer your items to auction houses and/or to the public. The key to having a successful sale is planning your work and working your plan. Everyone involved needs to understand all the steps and what their responsibilities are. Working your plan involves: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Cleaning and organizing your items in one building or place. Creating, advertising and distributing your flyer. Having directional signs to get to the sale from several well traveled roads. Maintaining control of people and traffic during the sale and item pickup. Security measures for your property and animals. Security measures for handling cash during and after the sale. Disposing of unsold items after the sale.
If all the above suits your needs the additional information below will help you get started. • • • • Decide what items you want to sell and move it to the garage or other area. Items should be clean or at least dusted off. Take photos of your best items as you clean them off. Keep the background simple behind your photographed items. Your photos will be used on your flyer. All items should be set up in groups such as Kitchen, Dining Room, Bed Room, Electronics, Appliances, Kids Toys, Bath, etc
Note: Setting up items in groups lets you easily see which items you have the most of. It also helps you see the groups that are getting the most attention. You have more bartering power over items where buyer(s) can see their competition. • • • • Take a couple of photos of each item group. Choose the best one of each group to go on your flyer. Items should be in working order. Items that are broken or missing pieces should be labeled as such. Put grouped items together and arrange so items that buyers can sit on or open them. Leave aisle space between groups so items purchased can be easily removed and loaded.
At this stage you now have two options:
1. Call auction houses and have auctioneers come out and offer to buy your items (they buy, they load). You may want to print a few flyers or email them your pictures so they can see what you have available. NOTE: Set a time for all the auction house buyers to be there at one time. If they have to compete, they will usually pay more. The plus side of selling to an auction house is you don't have a lot of people on your property to keep an eye on. The minus side is the auction house purchase price will most likely be considerably lower then the proceeds from your own private sale. If you sell your items to auction houses then all you have to do is collect their check(s), possibly dispose of unwanted items and you are done! OR….. 2. You have your Make Me an Offer Sale as planned. Have friends and family help out and make more money for the work. Once all items are placed you are ready to produce your flyer. You flyer should include ALL the following information: • • • • • • • • • • Short auction type listings and pictures of your items. The day, date, time of your sale and complete street address. Good directions to the sale site (include ref. to yellow directional signs) Terms and Conditions of Sale **Terms and Conditions of Sale should include such conditions as: NO *EARLY BIRDS PRIOR TO SALE! DOOR OPENS AT XX.XX AM ALL ITEMS SOLD AS IS WHERE IS, NO WARRANTY, NO REFUND NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCIDENTS OR DAMAGE TO PERSONS OR VEHICLES (you must include this or face possible lawsuit later) NO PETS ALLOWED ITEMS MUST BE PICKED UP THE DAY OF SALE. ITEMS NOT PICKED UP BY XX:XX PM WILL BE CONSIDERED ABANDONED AND DISCARDED WITH NO REFUND GIVEN.
*NO EARLY BIRDS! People will show up at 6 am for a 9 am auction! They will bug you and try to get a quick sale before everyone else shows up. DO NOT DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE. Be polite, tell them to go back to their car or come back at sale time.
**Terms of Sale is your CYA policy for what you will and won’t do. Take a tip from the Auction Pros and Post this information in your ad and also around the building where your sale items are. If you have the paper, have this information available as a hand out for adults entering the building. The above terms are flexible and most of them can be adjusted to the buyers needs. For example: People driving along who decide to follow your signs may not always be able to take their purchase that day. The couple who just bought your old queen size bed won’t be able to haul it on top of their VW bug. It is up to you to decide how much time you allow for buyers to pick up their items.
Now you are ready to set up your flyer and print it out.
Your sale flyer should have pictures of single items and several pictures of your groupings. Your text should take up at least half of your flyer. It needs to be read from a distance so don't load up on pics. Three or four pictures are all you need to generate interest. List your best items (auction style) by name and offer boxed lot items for small things like kid’s toys or mixed glassware. Include in your flyer directions to follow the yellow BARTER SALE TODAY signs on sale day. Print your flyer on yellow paper. Yellow is the universal color to pay attention. Post your flyer (including simple directions) on every public bulletin board you can find at least a week or two in advance. Publish your sale in all local newspapers and penny saver magazines. Post on local websites and don’t forget posting on Craigslist! Make it easy for anyone within 50 miles to find you so don't scrimp on ads. The more people you have, the better pricing you get. Crowds pay. DO NOT POST YOUR NAME OR PHONE NUMBER ON THE FLYER. You will get tons of tire kickers and cheapskates. The majority of these people either want a complete list of what you have or want to come at a different time. They will try to shmooze you to get their way. You will hear every excuse in the world! Your time is precious, especially with last minute prep for the sale. If you do get callers, tell them you are sorry for their circumstances, they can send a friend to look for them at the sale. Their friend can call them on their cell phone for more info. on the items they are interested in. Be business like, polite and promptly end the call. If you feel you must have prior contact, post an email address in your ad. Create a separate email address just for the sale. Use a free email account like Yahoo or Gmail and use your
box number and street address. For example: 123MainStreet@yahoo.com This keeps all correspondence out of your regular inbox. Any spam targeted to this address will just be deleted anyway. You can deactivate the email address when the sale is over.
MAKE OFFER SALE >>>>>
Your Direction Signs should be printed on full size bright yellow paper with the largest print that will fit the page.
Place the page inside a sheet protector page, tape it shut and then either nail, tack or tape them up on posts or stakes at the intersections where buyers should turn. The great thing about posting signs is they make it easy for buyers to find you. Your signs also encourage everyone driving down the road to attend.
Post your direction signs the afternoon, the day before the sale. The signs will remind those driving home from work who plan to attend and will encourage drive- by’s to stop in on sale day.
Steps 1, 2 and 3 are complete. Your items are grouped, your advertising is posted and your directional signs are ready. Now for Step 4: Crowd control and parking.
It is very important that you designate public and private areas around your home. Your home should be locked, windows locked and curtains closed,. Your pets, especially dogs, should be secured in your home. If you have an alarm system, have it ready and programmed for forced entry. No one walking around your house should be able to see inside your home. It is a fact that during private sales and auctions people will wander anywhere on your property if there are no boundaries. You don’t want the general public around your livestock or in outbuildings. In order to maintain some control, you will need to rope off or fence off areas that are for public use. Make it insanely easy for people to know where they can park or go to the bathroom. The easiest way to do this is to use yellow construction tape to mark off your parking area. Include a large PARKING sign so those driving in know where to go. If you have extra vehicles, park them in rows just inside the parking area. This helps in 3 ways:
1. It provides a guideline for the public on how and where to park their vehicles. 2. Your vehicles are away from the home. This allows more loading/turn around area for buyers to use when loading up. 3. In case of emergency, you can easily get out as you are parked closest to the exit. If your parking is limited you might want to rope off the entire area and leave only a walking path sized area open. This keeps people from parking in your driveway and blocking traffic coming in or going out. The rope can be opened and closed as needed for those who are loading large/heavy items. You are assured there is plenty of loading and turn around room as no one is parked in the way. You should have some or all of the following signs posted where they are easily seen.. Post as many of them as you need to provide information and secure your area: PRIVATE Post this everywhere you DON’T want people to go. SALE PARKING Everyone attending knows this is their parking area, NO PARKING BEYOND THIS POINT Keeps your driveway open for loading and in case of emergency. NO PARKING ON DRIVEWAY Lets everyone know that area is not overflow parking PRIVATE PARKING This is where everyone helping you parks. LOADING AREA This lets everyone know where to go to load their purchases. NO PARKING CHILDREN MUST STAY WITH THEIR PARNENTS CASHIER, CASH ONLY NO DOGS OR PETS Animals are a hazard! No Pets on the property, period. BATHROOMS Post only if you have available. Port-a-Johns should be placed by the Parking area. Those attending will see you have bathrooms when they first pull in. It also makes it easier for delivery and pickup the next day. FOOD AND DRINKS (only a consideration if you have people to work that area) Choose canned drinks, instant hot chocolate or coffee, and small snack foods. Have plenty of condiments, napkins, paper cups and trash cans readily available. Price your food and drink items with quarter based values. It makes it easier to count and make change!
Offering food is a great way to raise money for youth groups or organizations. It’s also a good education for children to learn how to handle money and work with the public. An adult should always be close by to supervise and assist with money and/or food. NOTE: You are not obligated to offer food, drinks or toilet facilities. These items are usually set up for public auctions as a customer convenience and to encourage buyers to stay at the sale.
Let’s take a look at No. 5 and No. 6: Securing your property, livestock and your sale proceeds.
Securing your property and livestock is the most important thing you can do to insure your safety and the safety of the public. Here are a few suggestions to help you keep your event a safe and positive experience for everyone: Secure all your pets in your home or another locked building. They will be safe from theft or possible vehicle injury. Visitors will also be safe from possible bites and scratches from excited animals that don’t understand all the activity around them. Move your livestock to another field away from contact with the public. If you cannot do this, make sure your gates are chained and locked. If you have electric fence wire, make sure there is a sign stating you have a live electric wire. People avoid fences if they think they may get shocked. Lock all your outbuildings. ALL OF THEM. Padlock hasps and locks are cheap compared to a lawsuit from a child getting into your tools or other farm chemicals. You don’t want anyone in with your laying hens, goats, pigs or cattle. Not all parents keep a vigilant eye on their children. Your locked and secured areas will help to keep them safe. It will also provide evidence you did your part to maintain a safe area in case there is an injury. Have someone available to walk around and patrol your property. Accidents are less likely to occur when someone is seen actively patrolling off limit areas. Consider using name badges or the same color shirt or hat for everyone involved with the sale. This can make it easier for the public to find you and for helpers to find each other in a crowd.
Now let’s get down to the really good part No.6…the money!
You’ve worked hard preparing and working your sale. It may have taken weeks just to get ready for this one day. You entire day can turn sour very quickly if you find someone has stolen your proceeds. The best way to secure your money is to keep it either on you or
always within your reach. Fanny packs are great for holding funds on you without being in your way. The chance is remote that someone will rob you during the sale. There is always that chance and you don’t want to be the victim. Using proper cash handling procedures and staying aware of your surroundings are key to deterring theft. You can follow the same rules that retailers and auction houses use when handling cash: • Go to any office supply store and buy a counterfeit marking pen. The pen ink turns a different color when a bill is a fake. Yard sale and “home” based sales are easy targets as there are no cameras or paper trail. Use the pen on all bills 20 dollar denominations and up. The pens are cheap and worth your piece of mind. Place large bills (20’s, 50’s, etc.) in a separate pocket in your pack, a front jeans pocket or under the cash drawer if using a cash box. Never put cash in your back pocket. Always count out the change to the customer BEFORE putting their money in the drawer. This insures there is no question of the amount they handed you and they have the proper change back. Scam artists are always at work ready to rip you off so, make sure you count the change back BEFORE you take their cash. Keep less then $200 dollars in your till or cash bag. When you feel it is time to remove the excess funds, pull out the excess and keep it on you until you can lock it up. Make a list of each item sold and its sale price. Boxed lots can be numbered and put on the list as “Box #3,$5 dollars” for example. Keeping a list helps you in several ways: You know what was sold and the sales price. You have a simple ledger for cash on hand. You can add the sales to know when to remove the extra from your till. In the rare event you are robbed, you have a written record of how much money was taken.
1. 2. 3. 4.
You might want to designate one or two people to handle all sale proceeds. Set a maximum till amount (usually around 100 dollars) and pull out the extra cash.
NEVER COUNT OUT ALL YOUR MONEY IN PUBLIC VIEW.
Count only what you intend to LEAVE in the till. You should start counting small change and bills up to $100 and then pullout all the excess. It is better to have to wait for change, then to pull out a roll of large bills and expose your excess cash to a waiting thief.
Pull all the excess funds and immediately place them in you front pocket or waist/fanny pack. DO NOT USE A BANK BAG. YOU just made yourself an easy target for a thief! A bank bag is too easy to jerk out of your hand. Keep the money ON YOU until you are in a safe place and lock it up. If you don’t have someone to help you, make sure the money is separated and the excess cash is locked in the glove box of your vehicle, preferably one with a car alarm. You can then go back with your till and resume your job as cashier. While all this information on cash handling may seem a bit much, it really just comes down to common sense. Staying aware and vigilant with handling money keeps both YOU and your money safe.
Last but not least, we get to the last step No. 7: Disposing of the unsold items.
While disposing of the leftovers is the last thing you do, it should actually be the first thing you plan for. The whole purpose of your sale is to unload all your extra stuff. Remaining items need to leave regardless of what is left over. Plan for pickup of all left over items prior to your sale. This takes the burden of getting rid of the extras off your already tired shoulders. It also insures everything leaves as you’ve made pickup arrangements in advance. Someone will come and pick up the leftovers and you won’t be inclined to hang onto them. In the event you didn’t make prior arrangements you can choose to: • Load everything on a trailer and haul it to a local charity or the dump. • Rent a dumpster for a day and have a service pick it up. • Contact local charities and arrange for them to pick it up at their convenience (some organizations will do this.) • Carry the nicer items to the curb, put up a FREE sign and let passers by take it. So there you have it, 7 steps to getting rid of all your extra stuff. You planed your work, worked your plan and have money in your pocket for all your efforts. Take a good look at all the space you now have to work in or just enjoy as it is….empty! Have fun with the cash you made. You earned it! © Anita Franklin 2008 All Rights Reserved
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?