It’s almost embarrassingly easy to make some extra cash once you know what to sell–to look around the house and see potential cash, just sitting there and minding it’s own business. The Evil Genius that is my sister Juli guest posts this week’s Moneymaking Scenario…
by Juli Ulvestad
Want to try selling at a local consignment store? Pick a consignment store to work with by looking up consignment or resale online and in the yellow pages and visiting nearby shops. Different stores offer different types of merchandise, so take some time to look around and determine where you should sell your stuff. For example, some stores focus on painted furniture, others specialize in baby and children merchandise, some sell more small decorative items. Further, try to get a sense of the look they’re going for—shabby chic? Retro funky? Old lady kitschy? If you visit a shop more than once you may get a sense how quickly merchandise turns over, which is what you want to help your items sell. Be aware that the store where you want to shop may not be the one where you want to sell—you want to sell where the items are priced high and sell quickly. Finally, be aware of seasons and understand that stores take in items for sale ahead of the season, so don’t try to consign coats in February.
Speak with the staff about their consignment policies. Do they buy outright or pay when your item sells? What’s the split? (Typically around 50/50). Who determines price? (Typically you request a price and they agree, but most will do the pricing for you if you don’t want to). Do they discount items after they’ve been around a while? How often do they pay? (Typically once a month on a specific day, but some shops pay whenever you stop by if someone’s around to sign a check. They also may pay you cash for smaller amounts. Ask when they take items for resale in—some have certain days and times, others accept items any time. Determine how long they keep your items and what happens if they don’t sell. Most shops have a set period of time such as three months to keep merchandise turnover high and then give you the option of picking unsold items up or donating them to a charity.
Don’t waste your time dragging your stuff to a store until you know they want it—take photos on your digital camera or phone and either email it to the store or take prints in. *Tip: name and keep these photos to keep track of your items. Consignment stores are packed with merchandise and descriptions like “white bowl with blue flowers” isn’t specific enough when there’s a question what happened to your item. I have had my merchandise sold but not credited to my account three times in two different stores and these photos are invaluable in tracking down the problem.
Most stores need to plan for space for larger items, so be sure to schedule a day and time to bring it in. Make sure your items are in excellent condition, clean and in good repair. Give fresh paint and polish adequate time to dry so it’s not going to rub off on something else, get chipped when something is stacked on it, or off-gas funky fumes in a small, crowded shop. * Tip: Add little touches such as a page from a magazine about the collectability of your item or an artful print put in a frame for sale.
And finally, take the proceeds from your sold items and be happy! You’ve just made money off something you had but didn’t need. Doesn’t that feel great? Click here for more resources on Consignments.