Welcome back. If you read the last blog post, “Guide to Tripling your Storage Unit Investment,” we began crafting a strategy guide for you to make the most of your time after winning at the storage auctions and tripling your investment. Here’s Part 2 of our trilogy detailing what steps you should be taking, in what order, and with what little touches of care to guarantee that you’re chipping away at your storage inventory in big chunks.
The Next Work Day: Touch Up Goods for Sidewalk Sale
Don’t waste a minute waiting on the internet market to kick in (although it will, soon). It’s time to start cleaning the must off of the storage stuffers. Test electronics, dust and polish furniture, wash dish sets, polish silverware sets, and create price tags.
Getting goods to a non-crusty appearance is paramount to enticing buyers. If they even get a small hint that you just recently pulled this stuff out of a storage locker, and it looks like you did, you will just be convincing them to spend the extra money on a new version of the product.
Products you May Use
Pledge: Pledge to get all of the dust bunnies of all of surfaces, wooden and plastic.
Wood Touch Up Markers: For a serious auction hunter, it is recommended to have a marker set with various types and shades of wood. It can be a lot of fun to watch glaring scratching disappear with the application of a marker. You will notice your furniture go from scratchy to classy with just a little doodling.
Furniture Polish: Take your furniture to the next level of shine with a bottle of Old English or the like.
Next Work Day: Advertise the Sale + Finish Online Postings
Try advertising the sale both on major, local street corners as well as online. Try to post colorful, large signs on telephone polls at the left and right ends of the major street you live off of, as well as on the corner of your street. A good idea is to preview the sale on one side of the sign and direction arrows on the other side so you can drive around and flip them around the day of.
If you are setting an exact date, give people between one to two weeks of notice. Sunday’s are great days because people are out and about, enjoying leisure and/or church. Make sure to include a working e-mail so that when you begin getting inquiries, you can reach out and give further information to your future buyers.
Craig’s List is the home of the “Garage Sale” posting feature. It’s under “For Sale” on the home page.
Listing the major categories of items you’ll have up for sale is a good tactic, but don’t get too specific and give all of your inventory away. Do, however, list items that are going to require heavy lifting so buyers know in advance to bring an adequate vehicle for lugging. You can help with the loading process, can’t you? Say yes.
Let Craig’s create an anonymized e-mail for you and respond to customer inquiries. People love clean, official sidewalk sales. Give them a chance to believe in yours.
Additional Note: Use this time to also keep on top of all correspondence that you drive in from the first half of your EBay/Craig’sList listings. It is especially important to give great customer service with EBay owing to the fact that the seller rating makes and breaks EBay store owners. If you ignore customer inquiries, losing the sale is the least of your worries.
Next Work Day: Conduct the Sale
Using your judgment, do you believe you have garnered enough interest through street advertising and Craig’s advertising to go ahead with the sidewalk sale? Well, you promised your buyers, so now’s the day to set up shop.
The inventory that will go into your sidewalk sale will need to be mostly mid-scale items, as many up-scale items as you can bring outside that can withstand the weather, and very selective on the cheap stuff. We’ll talk about burning those off at the flea market later on.
Read this guide for all of our ideas on making your sidewalk sale alluring.
Bring a friend or a spouse to help get your stand and goods set up in the above manner. Having a partner present at your 5-6 hour sidewalk sale is going to keep your spirits up. Unless you get completely dead for a two hour period or longer, try to hang in there from around 11-5:45.
For every customer you get, be an active yet relaxed seller. People want deals on things, so make them aware that they’re getting a deal. If you have working commercial goods, like microwaves, mini-fridges, let them know that it’s always nice to have a back-up, and for a fraction of the price of one at Kinko’s.
If it’s furniture they want, ask them how far they live and consider delivering it to them if you can get your gas fare covered. However, as mentioned in Section 4, you should have clearly advertised everything that needed to be delivered to a customer’s home as requiring their own delivery. Don’t punk out on foot traffickers who becomes interested but missed the boat on the advertisement. See what you can work out for delivery, as long as you’re breaking even on gas expenses.
Again, read this guide for all of our ideas on making your sidewalk sale alluring.
THE ESSENCE OF THE SIDEWALK: The idea here is to sell of as much inventory that you can at the proper market price to spare yourself as much eBay shipping and flea marketing as possible in the near future. Do not expect to clean house after 6 hours at the sidewalks, but do expect some instantaneous profits to roll in from it.
Bargaining should be kept to a minimum at this point. However, do not be afraid to cut a small deal on bulky items like furniture, TV’s, or appliances. These items are best reserved for individual sale on Craig’s List or at a sidewalk sale simply because you do not want to face the possibility of breaking your back hauling it to a second hand store for half the profit.
Reflect: Step Back and See What’s Left
By now, about two and a half weeks have passed since you won and took home your two storage units. Did you chip away at your storage unit inventory significantly? If you sold half of the upscale and midscale items, that’s not a horrible day at the sidewalks. You will also, by design, have most of your $1.00-$10.00 items remaining (hats, bags, jewelry, gently worn clothing, run of the mill electronics, like handheld games, sunglasses, etc.). We’ll discuss the best way to burn-and-turn those in Part 3.
Make sure to delete posts from eBay and Craig’s on things you just sold that night. No, I mean do it that night. There’s nothing more annoying than having a stockpile of e-mails from people wanting stuff that has been sold that you have allowed to linger on Craig’s.
Go back to the spreadsheet to mark off items that you sold, and the actual profit you got for them. Having your own records will come in handy when you run across the same items again. This time, you will know what they will sell for quickly
Because you have the same items that you were selling at your sidewalk sale also on EBay, Craig’sList, Facebook, and Pinterest, the fight is far from over. By now you will have had a lot of online hits on your reserve price EBay items, plenty of e-mails from Craig’s inquiries, and probably a substantial amount of Facebook friends trying to get a stab at your goods as well.
In the final “Tripling Your Storage Unit Investment” article (due out soon), we’re going to get extra creative in pulling out all of the stops in selling off your wares and raking in every penny possible. We’ll discuss little known resale venues, give expert storage hunter quotes, and when it is the optimum time to lower your prices a little bit.