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How to be a Yard Sale Organizer to make money for individuals want to quit their jobs and start their careers as an freelancers are as follows:
Description of Job
• Help homeowners and renters conduct a successful yard sale, tag sale, or
garage sale.
• Manage the organization, promotion, and sales of such events.
The Need
We’re not sure which is more satisfying: clearing out your attic, basement, and
closets or recouping some of the money you spent on dust magnets and clothing
you can’t believe you ever thought looked good on you.
You know the stuff we’re talking about: that exercise bicycle in your bedroom
that hasn’t been used in two years . . . plus half the clothing hanging on its handlebars
and all the shoes stacked behind the rear wheels. As your children grow
older, you’ll have a nice collection of clothing, toys, books, and sporting equipment
ready for a new home.
Not everyone knows how to set up a sale and how to make it successful. As a
yard sale organizer, your emphasis is on the organization. Among the skills you’ll
bring are:
• Understanding local ordinances about signs, hours of sale, and other matters
• Knowing the sort of items that sell well in your neighborhood
• Knowing the value of stuff around the house
• Cataloging the items for sale
• Knowing how to set up a display of items
• Knowing how to manage the cash box
Challenges
Some towns and community organizations place regulations on yard sales that
limit hours of operation, posting of signs, and parking. In some states and municipalities,
the law may require collection of sales tax.
It would be polite to notify neighbors in advance of the sale date; if the sale
attracts a large number of cars, it might interfere with their ability to get in and
out of their own driveways. Devote as much attention to taking down your signs
after the sale as you do to putting them up beforehand.
Expect early birds to attempt to grab bargains before the official starting time
for the sale; in fairness to all, most yard sale pros will ask them to wait until the
posted time. Consider what you will do if it rains on the day of sale; you might
want to list a rain date in ads and on signs.
You have to organize the wares for sale. Use tables (which could be old doors
propped on sawhorses) or blankets and painter’s tarps on the grass to display
items. Place similar items together. Clean all clothing before sale, and neatly fold
items so they can easily be seen and not wrinkled or damaged.
Place your most expensive items in a location where you or your client can
keep a close eye on them. If you have antiques, works of art, or collectibles, do
some research or hire an appraiser. You—or your client—should pay heed to the
stories of yard sale buyers who have found paintings worth small fortunes or
original documents of treasures such as the Declaration of Independence that
sold cheaply and then earned a fortune for the “finder.”
Mark items with labels that indicate the asking price or with a color code that
corresponds to a price chart.
Although many buyers will give you the asking price, others consider it part
of the game to haggle a bit. Using color codes allows the seller to play the game,
too: Price an item at the high end of its price range if you are willing to accept
less; adjust prices downward if sales are slow or to clear out items you don’t want
to lug back inside at the end of the day.
Another advantage to hiring an organizer is that some people are not comfortable
dealing with friends and neighbors on a cash basis. In addition, the organizer
will be less emotionally attached to items; his or her goal is to help clear out
the merchandise, even if it requires cutting the price. (As an organizer, be sure
you understand your client’s bottom-line price for expensive items.)
Finally, an experienced yard sale organizer knows how to keep the books,
manage the cash box, and keep an eye on the merchandise—all while handling a
wave of customers.
Know the Territory
Attend garage sales or tag sales in your area to see what sorts of items they are
selling and at what prices. Make note of the kinds of signs posted and ads placed.
Most yard sales are held on the weekends, and certain times of the year are
better than others. In a vacation area, the best time may be in the late spring or
early summer, when people are furnishing their summer residences. In a college
town, students may want to buy furniture and furnishings in September and sell
them off in May.
How to Get Started
Advertise your availability as a yard sale organizer in shopping guides and newspapers;
post flyers in supermarkets, home supply centers, and community centers.
Make contact with professional housecleaning companies and ask them to
recommend you to their clients in return for a referral fee.
Up-front Expenses
You’ll need to make your services known through ads in newspapers and shopping
guides and by distributing flyers and business cards. Any expenses related
to actual yard sales will be billable to your client.
How Much to Charge
Yard sale organizers can charge an hourly fee or ask for a percentage of the proceeds.
Plan on several hours of organization, advertising, and setup, plus three or
four hours for the sale itself and two hours for cleanup afterward. A typical job,
then, might require 8 to 10 hours of your time.
If you charge a percentage of sales—perhaps 15 to 20 percent of the take—
do so only if you have a reasonable expectation that sales will total more than a
few hundred dollars.
Any out-of-pocket expenses to advertise the sale or for supplies should be
reimbursed by your client.
Legal and Insurance Issues
Special notes: In dealing with your client’s property, seek to limit your liability
for damage or loss to the actual replacement value of items in your possession.
You should protect yourself against claims for sentimental value or loss of use.
Consult your town clerk for information about local ordinances. Ask an
accountant or your tax office for advice about sales tax collection; although it
may be common for homeowners to ignore tax laws for yard sales, we are not
going to endorse that practice in this book. First of all, sales tax is not an expense
to you; however, if you or your client are fined for ignoring the law, the expense
is quite real.
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