Running a Successful Garage Sale

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Now that you have a few ideas for finding items to sell, it is time to learn a little bit about how to run a successful garage sale. There are three things that are going to make you successful when running your garage sale - having items that people want, selling them at a low price, and organization. Yesterday’s post covered obtaining items that people would want to buy, so let’s cover the other two in a little more detail.

Selling Items at a Low Enough Price

This one, unfortunately, is going to take some experience to really get an idea of what price people will pay for certain items in your area. When you are just starting out, I would advise you to watch the newspaper for garage sale ads where the same address pops up week in and week out. This will give you an idea of what your competition is, will help you to weed out bad data like people just trying to get rid of their stuff and move, and you can shop their garage sales to find out what they are charging for their items. If you really wanted to get serious, you could talk to them a little bit, and find out how long they have been in the area, if they run a garage sale every week, etc.

People expect to get items cheap at garage sales, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money. It just means that you have to pay that much less for the items you buy, in order to turn a profit. A few weeks of shopping and collecting data from your competitors will give you the edge you need in pricing your items.

Garage Sale Organization 

This is arguably as important as the having the right price. People that drive up to a garage sale that is in disarray, no prices listed on the items, etc. are far less likely to buy anything from you. We are an economy that is driven buy Walmart and grocery store style selling, and people want to know what you want for the item before they make an offer. Often, if the price is right, they won’t even challenge your price, they will just pay you for the item and go their way. So having organization is extremely important, but more specifically, focus on these particulars:

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Profiting with a Garage Sale Business

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Everybody would like to make a living at the house. But most don’t think that small time enterprises like a garage sale business will get them anywhere. Well if you have a strong location that gets through traffic, then you are already poised to succeed in garage sales. Even if you don’t have the best of locations, you can still build a solid base of clients that will come back to you time and time again if you continue to bring new and interesting items to the market. I know of one lady in our Church that does nothing but her garage sale every weekend, and that’s how they make their living.

Benefits of a Garage Sale Business

Independence. Pure and simple. This is what every entrepreneur is looking for. I am an internet and real estate entrepreneur and that is exactly what I want: the opportunity to decide what I will be doing from day to day. And with the right strategy, you can turn your home into a cash getting machine.

Also, being able to be at home most of the time in your business is a real plus for having a garage sale. In my business, I do most of the activity from the house, through working on the computer or engaging in phone calls. However, with almost every business out there, you’ll need to get out of the house from time to time to run errands and meet people.

Getting Your Own Garage Sale Business Started

For many folks, it isn’t going to be the selling part that is going to hold them back from making money in garage sales. It is going to be finding and obtaining new and valuable inventory at low enough prices to be able to sell on the weekend. So here is a couple of ideas for finding inventory at very low prices, enough for you to be able to resell and profit from them:

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Home Based Book Business

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For the last couple of years, my wife had been running a business on Amazon. This was a very simple business concept, anyone can do, and just takes a little bit of time (depending on how much money you want to make). The process is very simple, and goes like this:

  1. Shop garage sales, estate sales, bulk listings on eBay, or start relationships with book stores and libraries to buy their old books when they are ready to get rid of them.
    If you are shopping the sales, make sure you are the first, or almost the first one to get to the sale. The old saying “the early bird gets the worm” applies here. Always buy in bulk. Buying individual books just won’t work as a long term strategy, unless you know how to find antique books that have great value and then negotiate for a substantial discount. By our calculations, as long as your average price per book is around 10 cents, you should be able to make some good money.
  2. Sign up with a free account with Amazon.
    In order to list your books, use the “Sell Your Stuff” link. They will ask for bank account / credit card information, but you will not be charge anything to list the books. They just need the information in order to know how to send you your money, and for refund purposes.
  3. List your books for sale.
    The quickest and easiest method to do so is to enter the ISBN and look up the book. If there is no ISBN, you will have to search by title or author. Now, make sure that the book you list is the book you have; this may sound simple, but we have run into problems where we thought we had the right book, but later found out it was wrong and took the hit on the refund.
  4. Wait for the “Sold, ship now…” emails to come in.
    That’s really all there is to it.

Now above I mentioned that it does not cost anything to list with Amazon. This is true, however they do make money. They get a commission on every sale, but the nice thing is, they only charge you a commission if you sell something. So the listing is free, and you only pay them out of your profits. Pretty good deal, don’t you think? Feel free to leave any comments or questions you have at the bottom of the page, and I will answer them as best I can.

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Small Home Based Side Business Idea Part II

Investing, Home Based Business Ideas 1 Comment »

Continuing on my article “Small Home Based Side Business Idea Part I“, I would like to demonstrate some ways to convert your newly acquired inventory to cash. Ok, so once you have cleaned out the unit, and concluded your business with the storage unit, then there are four ways I have for you to make money on the unit. These are options that have various time line for recapturing your investment, but the general rule of thumb is that if you can wait a little longer to get your money, you should be able to make more of it. So let’s look at some of these techniques:

  1. Running a Garage Sale
    Quick, simple. This is the easiest way to turn around your money quickly. If you price the items low, and focus on larger, more expensive items selling, you should be able to sell most of the unit on a typical Saturday. One Saturday that I did this, I was able to do effectively triple my money spent, and I still had items left over to be able to sell elsewhere.
  2. Using Ebay
    If you want to make a little more money, and take a little extra time, you can utilize the internet and local advertising to sell the items. Getting an account with Ebay and listing the items for sale through its online auction system can be a great way to drive up the price you get on a particular item.
  3. Utilizing Craig’s List and Local Papers
    Craig’s list and local papers can give you good exposure at a low or no cost base. I would limit my use of these services to larger items that you can get a good price for. Things like lawn mowers, furniture, etc. would be a good fit for these items. Craig’s list is a free service and is available for many, many areas across the country. Check with your local paper for advertising costs and dates.
  4. Pawning the Items
    If all else fails, consider just pawning the items at your local pawn shop. This is a great way to sharpen your negotiating skills, as pawn shops are expert negotiators. The easiest way to learn - watch what they do, and mimic it. Always been pessimistic and reluctant to sell your items, as you worst case scenario is going across the street and selling the items to the competition. “No” is the best negotiating word.

So if you take these methods and put them into practice, you should be looking at a few hundred dollars in additional income each month. These auctions happen all the time, especially in bigger cities, thereby providing you a continual stream of inventory to sell. And if you hold a garage sale continually, you should be able to build up a client base, that will check out your garage sale week in and week out. So go out there and make some money, and let me know how you do.

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Small Home Based Side Business Idea Part I

Investing, Home Based Business Ideas 2 Comments »

As I have mentioned in the past that there are only two ways to have more money, making money and saving money. So today I want to give you an idea for a small home based side business you can implement quickly, easily and cheaply. So the object of today’s lesson is to supplement your income with a side business that only takes a small amount of time each week, very little overhead and investment, and that can produce a few hundred dollars (perhaps) per month. I have personally used this system to generate some extra cash on the side.

Storage Auction Sales

Yep, that’s right. It’s not selling oxygen and water on Mars, it’s simple. Buy low, sell high. Easy huh? Well that is what everyone will lead you to believe. But this system actually is pretty easy. Are you going to have to work? Yes. Will it be worth it? Yes. Here’s the idea:

When a person rents a storage unit, and then later cannot pay for it, many times they will abandon their belongings. When this happens, the storage unit will advertise an auction of the delinquent customer’s items to cover back rent and other fees on the unit. They are required to advertise the auction time and place in the local newspaper, generally under the “Notices and Legal” section. This is where you come in.

All you need to do is show up for the auction with cash money, and bid on the unit. I recommend having a couple hundred bucks on you, just in case there are some really good auctions. From my experience, the majority of the time the storage business wants to sell the entire unit all at once. There have been times when they have just auctioned off individual items, but they usually want to sell the whole unit of belongings, as it is just much easier for them to do it that way.

A Quick Rundown of the Auction Day

On the day of the auction, make sure to show up a few minutes early. Talk to the clerk about the auction, and find out what their procedures are for administering the sale. Often, you will be allowed to “peak” into the contents of the unit, but not allowed to go in and thumb through individual items. But just being able to look in should give you a pretty good indication of the type of person/stuff they might have in the unit. Then determine your top price for purchasing the unit. Buy the unit, and get your truck ready to clean it out. Usually the storage unit will give you a deadline to get the unit cleaned out.

Continue to Small Home Based Side Business Part II

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