How to Sell Local and Turn a Profit

flea market sellingAs a storage auction hunter, you have several options for selling the items that you’ve won in storage auctions. Some people prefer to post their items only to Ebay. This is a great tactic for those special items that will grab the online bidders attention and start a money spending frenzy. Items such as small collectibles, limited edition items, and rare and unique finds all fit into this category.

However, what do you do if the items sitting in your cache to sell are all larger pieces that don’t ship well or will not be worth the cost of shipping at the price that someone would be willing to buy it at online?

Some auction hunters may have their own consignment store or have a deal with a local store where they get a certain commission on items that they bring in. But what about everybody else?

Many storage auction resellers turn to local listing services such as Craigslist or attend their local flea markets/swap meets on a regular basis to sell their items. Traditionally, buyers using Craigslist to purchase or attending flea markets are trying to scope out the best deals possible. This can make it difficult for you to sell items for a price that you feel is reasonable for all the merchandise that you’re offering.  So where is the middle ground. How do you compromise and still make a profit at the end of the day? We’ve provided a few tips to keep in mind during your next trip to the flea market or the next time you start to post your ad on Craigslist!

Create a Pricing List

Write down what you paid for the storage unit. As you sort through the storage unit, take notes on each item, and include the price that you think the item should sell for. In another column, set the minimum price you’re willing to sell the item for. Keep in mind that you may not make your maximum dream number on each item. Just remember that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. As long as you’re in the positive at the end of the day, you’ve won the prize and get to go on to attend more storage unit auctions with the money that you’ve earned.  As you haggle with potential buyers, keep your minimum and maximum numbers in your mind, and refer to your pricing sheet if necessary. Part of the job of purchasing at flea markets for some people  is the bargaining frenzy. Dont’ take that away, but do set a bottom line that you’re not willing to cross. You are in this to make money after all!

Decide Most Beneficial Way to Sell Items

Some smaller items may not make much sense to sell individually on Craigslist, or even by themselves at the flea market, and besides, keeping track of every small .50 cent -$2.00 sale will become hard for you to keep track of, even with the best tracking system. Again, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Instead of selling 10 items individually for a one dollar each, sell the same time items as a set and sell them for $12. This tact will be especially successful when selling storage auction items that should be in a set to begin with, such as a set of plate or chairs or chotchke collectibles. In that instance, it makes sense that your customer should pay a few extra dollars for the entire set.

Some items, especially larger pieces of furniture will net you profits on their own, but if you have a complete set, you should try to keep them together for the same reason.

Be Cost Effective But Fair

craigslist selling

When selling large pieces of furniture or furniture sets online, the cost of selling the items should make up for the gas you’re spending if you have to deliver the item anywhere within your general region and the manpower hours necessary to complete the loading, delivery and unloading.

However, smaller items will not net the same amount of profit, and will actually end up costing you money if you deliver them in the same way.

For items such as these that you’re selling online, most likely in a lot or bulk quantity, you’ll want to set a maximum range for deliveries, and should instead try to encourage the buyer to meet you at your storage location to pick these items up. If the location is your home, you may instead choose another neutral location to meet if you aren’t comfortable having a stranger from Craigslist meet the family.

If you are selling items in a lot, try to keep them in that lot, like with selling items at the flea market individually, selling the individual pieces becomes hard to keep track of and isn’t cost effective, especially if you are also delivering the items.

Instead, offer to lower the price of the entire lot slightly instead of selling it off piece by piece for next to nothing or take an interested buyer’s contact information, and give them a call if you find that you can’t sell the complete lot of items after a set period of time. My recommendation is to wait no longer than a month. If after a month, the complete set of items hasn’t been sold via Craigslist, give the person a quick phone call and then sell them the individual item. At a certain point, it becomes a waste of your time and energy to sit on the items without selling them, in the meantime having to store the items and therefore having less room to store new storage auction wins and having to field inquiries about the item on a daily basis.

What are some of your tips and tricks for selling locally? Sound off in the comments below!