Yard Sale Tip #4 – Pricing (Part 2)

EBAY AND AMAZON

While on the subject of pricing … I would be totally remiss if I didn’t bring up the subject of online sales sites like Ebay and Amazon.  I mentioned in the previous section that you would be setting yourself up for disappointment if you set your pricing according to what you find online.  “Why?”  Because you will be selling the items way too high and will, most likely, end up disappointed at the end of the day when … (A) – You didn’t make very much money, and … (B) – You still have a ton of stuff left over.  In order to have a really great sale, you HAVE to understand who your customers are and price accordingly.  So how do you know what kind of shoppers you will get at your sale? … Glad you asked!

You will get basically four kinds of shoppers at your sale:  the people who are there for a fun Saturday out … they may be alone or they may be with a friend.  These are the people that will be browsing leisurely, picking stuff up and calling to their friend to “come look at this.” 

Then, you may have the young couple, bachelor or bachelorette just starting out in a new place of their own.  They are usually looking for furniture that they can acquire fairly cheap since they need something for virtually every room in their place.  They are excellent candidates to try to upsell some of your other household items at the same time.  Strike up a deal for multiple items that seems so tempting, they just can’t pass up.

The third shopper is on a very tight budget.  They will be shopping mainly for practical items like clothing, bikes or toys for their kids that they can’t afford from department stores, tools and other essential items for their home.

The fourth shopper is the professional.  They are there for the sole purpose of buying and selling.  You will know these folks as soon as they pull up because they will park as close to your house as possible and usually leave their vehicle (most likely a truck) running.  They stride purposefully over to your tables and wares and swiftly glance around to see what you have.  Do not strike up a conversation with these folks, they are there on a mission and do not need your help.  If they do find something at your sale and ask if you’d take less than your asking price … do not get upset.  If it is a reasonable offer … take it.  If it’s too early in the day and you feel you can honestly make more in the next couple of hours … turn it down or counter offer.

While we are on the subject of the fourth type of seller, let me clarify something about them.  It may seem like they are just loafers who refuse to go out and get a full-time job and instead make their money sitting at home selling stuff they were able to low-ball off of other people.  That’s actually not the case.   You have to take into account all the steps needed to make a decent profit online.

  1. Spend every weekend (or as many as you can) basically looking through other people’s junk.
  2. Constantly researching what items are “hot” right now and how much it “may” sell for online.  (This changes constantly and if they make a bad decision and miscalculate what will sell and how much it will sell for, they could stand to lose a lot of money).
  3. Cleaning the items if needed.
  4. Fixing the items if they are not working and can be easily fixed.
  5. Photograph the item with a digital camera.  Most have invested quite a lot towards good digital cameras, backgrounds, tripods, and other items to help “stage” the picture in the best way.
  6. Load the pictures onto a computer.
  7. Write detailed descriptions of the item (condition, size, special features).  By the way, this process is usually not free unless selling on a free site like Craig’s List.  The seller is often charged a listing fee, multiple photo fee, plus additional fees upon selling the item.  This is also the most time consuming part of the process because it is basically their sales pitch to their customers and has to be done right.  Time is money.  Plus, if the item doesn’t sell the first time around, it will need to be relisted which is another fee.
  8. Packaging (boxes, bubble mailers, soft bag mailers and packing peanuts).   If this process is not done well and the item gets to the buyer broken, the seller usually has no choice but to refund the money.  If they don’t, they run the risk of the buyer leaving them bad feedback which could impact future sales.
  9. Endless trips to the post office … which means more time and money spent.  Also, if he/she has calculated the shipping wrong, they could lose out there as well.

Add all the steps in this process together and then you can understand why someone doing this for a living, wants to get the most bang for their buck.  When you look at it from this point of view, they don’t seem so much like loafers anymore, do they?

Now that you know the types of people who will be shopping at your sale … you can probably see why it’s a bad idea to set your prices according to what you’ve found online.  The first group (the browsers) “may” be willing to spend a little more if they find something they really like.  As for the others … no way.  The second and third group (brand new place of their own and budget conscious) just simply won’t have the money which is why they are shopping for second hand items at yard sales in the first place.  As for the last group, you can probably see by now why they probably won’t even give you or your high priced items the time of day.

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