How to Choose the Right Estate Sale Company
Before you hire a company, do your due diligence. Follow this checklist with 6 easy steps to reassurance.
In an industry that’s wildly unregulated, it pays to double check a company’s references and practices before signing any contracts. Some company’s have hidden fees even though they throw out a low commission rate. From Google reviews and sturdy references to pro tips on making sure they’ll do what they’re promising you, we’ve littered this article with simple steps you can take to make sure you’re signing that contract without any reservations.
An Estate Sale Company is always auditioning for you.
How they speak with you in your first call and how they carry themselves during your first consultation is how they will likely carry themselves while handling your belongings and selling to customers. Be sure to ask any and all questions you have. Be aware of how they answer your questions! A company representative should be confident and specific with their answers. Don’t expect them to change their policies or commission rate. They have a reason for everything they do.
Reviews Matter, but Be Smart
Without federal laws mandating how the second-hand markets should be run, there’s logically bound to be some rogue players out there who won’t follow through with their promises. Make sure to read reviews everywhere the company has an online presence - Google, Yelp, Facebook and even the BBB, if they’re a member. Read each review carefully, but pay special attention to who wrote it. If clients took the extra step to post a review after their estate sale was completed and they got their final payment, that company likely left a strong impact on them. Take note! A positive review can give you an inside perspective into how they treat their clients. Be sure to notice reviews from customers as well. Just keep in mind that one or two bad reviews from a rogue customer/shopper/family member may not be something to take to heart…..many shoppers want something for nothing and get angry about simple things. The estate sale company is trying to do their best for their client and “giving” things away is NOT in anybody’s best interest. Estate sale shoppers are a tight-knit group of people who see each other at sales and talk about their experiences, both good and bad. When a company treats a customer unfairly, the others generally take note. But, in the second-hand market, there are bound to be encounters when selling items. Why?
Unlike Retail, Customers don’t see prices as Final
And, with many companies, they are not. It’s an industry standard for each progressive day of a sale to have higher blanket discounts. Day 1 is usually full price with the last day being typically 50% off. Some companies will provide more of a discount at the end of the sale, as well as make some crazy deals at the end of the last day of the sale, just to get things gone. There are even companies who have a goal of selling as many small items as they can and make crazy “bulk” deals which, in our opinion, sets the wrong standard for the industry. The nature of expected discounts also leads customers to think they can haggle prices.
Be sure to ask your potential company what their policy is on haggling. Some customers are insulted when a “deal” is not made to their satisfaction. This could cause them to leave a bad review that is not warranted. A company’s length in the business and general practices will help shape the type of customers they attract to their sales, which brings us to……
Visit their Estate Sale in Person, if you can, before hiring
How friendly they are, their pricing, how they respect your home and the items for sale, and how well they “stage” your sale will never be more apparent than when you visit their sale in person.
Can you find their sales on popular estate sale shopping apps?
Every company should be listing on at least one of the standard estate sale listing websites; estatesales.net or estatesales.com. They should also be maintaining an email contact list - most shoppers want to know what’s up. If they go even further to market themselves on social media and/or Craiglist, that’s a definite plus.
Do they take good photos?
A lot of shoppers, especially the dedicated ones, scope out a sale before they decide to show up (and some show up several hours before the sale starts to guarantee they will get the items they really want). When a company takes quality photos that accurately depict the quality, style and quantity of item being offered at the sale, it is likely to encourage more shoppers to attend. That extends your bottom-line when the amount of money you make depends on getting more shoppers in the door.
Generational, universal human advice applies here more than ever - TRUST YOUR GUT! If you had a bad feeling about a company while doing any of the steps listed, keep your options open. If you’re looking for an experienced, dedicated estate sale company in the Johnson County area of Kansas, be sure to look up Green Frog Estate Sales (www.greenfrogjoco.com). We have a “Nest Step Guarantee” where if you submit your home easily online or give us a call, we guarantee to help you identify your best next steps, even if working with you isn’t a “fit”. If you’re in Johnson County, or close, and think you have enough for a sale, call us to set up an initial consultation. We don’t charge to come visit with you and we always provide service with a smile!