Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pricing for Consignment Sales

I know it may seem early in the year to be discussing pricing for consignment sales but one of the biggest in our area (and the one I work three times a year) starts up again in 2 weeks! You may have noticed my lack of organizational post yesterday and that's because I didn't get to it. Figures. Two weeks left to be ready for a huge sale and I'm behind.

Anyway, back to pricing.

At the beginning of the month I was asked to speak to my moms of multiples group on pricing for yard sales and as I was also asked to pass along a copy of the highlights of my speech to the club I figured why not share what I know here as well :) So, want it or not here it is.

What I consider before pricing my items for sales:

1. The condition of the item: how new is it? are there any stains? tears? how used does the item look?

- obviously the better the item looks the more you can price it for - old items that are broken should be thrown out - if they still have some use in them then a highly reduced price would be appropriate - if they look almost new and have only been gently used then buyers are willing to pay more especially if you still have the original packaging - something about that box draws people in. But remember clothes (and all other items) DO go out of style so you may not want to waste your time on items that are 10 years old or older unless that item still holds real value (but then you may want to consider selling elsewhere). If it's a toy - does it work? does it have new batteries? does it have all the pieces? The better the condition the higher the price!!

2. How much did you pay for it? did you buy it on the clearance rack? was it a gift? did you pay full price for a brand name outfit?

- the more you pay for an item the more you're going to want to get out of it - sometimes we get gifts and they are things we don't like so we're willing to price them lower to get rid of them but other times we've put money and effort into obtaining the right dress or the right outfit and we want back a good portion of what we put into it - to an extent we price items emotionally.

3. Can you sell it anywhere else? can you Craigslist it? eBay?
another sale?

- the more chances you have to sell an item the better chance you have to sell it - makes sense of course but no sale could reach everybody and it's quite possible that there is someone out there who is willing to pay you what you want for your item BUT this does mean your item may not sell as quickly. Getting a higher price requires patience and a little more work but it can be worth it. When pricing for a consignment sale for an item that you know will sell for more on Craigslist or eBay you can feel more comfortable pricing your item higher as you know you have a fallback plan if you take it home with you.

4. How badly do you want to get rid of the item?

- while you may have a fall back plan like Craigslist or eBay you may not want to go that route. Maybe you hate taking pictures and shipping or meeting people at your house to buy items so instead you just want the thing out of your house. This is the best reason to price an item below what it's worth. But be careful about going to low - there is a point where your time isn't worth the money. You may price 100 items for $0.50 and they may all sell but if you are making just 65% of that you've only made $32.50. May sound good but only if it took you two hours or less to sort, hang and tag all those items - 100 items in that time is doubtful (unless they are 100 of the same item and you are amazingly efficient).

5. Will I be utterly disappointed if this item comes home with me?

- this goes along with #3 and #4 - if I have a fall back plan I'm happy with then I don't mind if I bring the item back or if it's something may kids may still want to play with but I'm not sure then I may price the item higher to see if it sells - if it does I get the extra money - if not my kids get their toy back (believe me I've used this approach quite often). If I really want to get rid of an item then I am going to be very disappointed of something comes home with me - these are usually the biggest items - just because hauling them back and forth is a huge pain!!

6. What would I be willing to pay for the same item if I were to buy it? more? less?

- try to think without emotions about your stuff - no one is buying your memories they are only buying the item you are selling so think truthfully about what you would pay for it. Would you be willing to pay $30 for a Gymboree outfit just because it says Gymboree? Probably not and neither would most people (unless it's a VERY popular line but that would best left to eBay). Remember, just because it has a brand name doesn't mean it's new. Gymboree has been around a LONG time and anyone who knows the brand knows how new or old an outfit is - you're not fooling people so think realistically.

7. Do some research.

- what is it selling for on eBay? are people selling similar items on Craigslist? if so, what are they asking? Again, you may think your Gymboree outfit is cute but there may be very few people who agree with you so you'll need to price your item lower. Or maybe Craigslist is flooded with kids kitchens and you'll want to price that lower. OR it could be that everyone is clamoring for a Wii at any discount and they are willing to pay almost full price for a used one to save themselves a few dollars. It pays to find out from other sources.

8. Consider allowing your items to go for half price if you're unsure of what your item is worth.

- say you have a dress or an outfit that you think is worth $10 but you're not sure if everyone else would agree. You could give it a try and then allow it to go for half price (if your sale has a half price portion) and let the buyer decide. Someone may agree with you and pay your first price but if no one does at least you still have a chance at $5.00 - you've let the buyer decide the price. Another option when you're really unsure is to price the item a dollar or two higher than what you think it's worth and let it go for half price if the need arises. If it sells for more you win but if it goes for half price you haven't completely lost because you didn't start out at your lowest price. I do this a lot on smaller items or older outfits. Start out at $3 or $4 but I'm perfectly happy to get half of that just to have it gone!

9. Throw all this advice in the toilet and just go with your gut :)

- or follow a pricing guide. Once you start you'll get the hang of it and you'll consider all of the above without even consciously thinking. Don't make pricing harder than it is but if you want to get the most you possibly can do consider the above.

Other things to consider:

- can I make an outfit out of what I have? I'd much rather buy an outfit even if from 2 different brands than a separate top or bottom - this takes the thinking out of it for me and is SO much easier - outfits will sell faster - and a plus for you you can price it higher!

- make sure your items are clean - get a wipe and wipe it down - get the dust and dirt off - wash the outfit again so it smells and looks newer - no one wants to see your animals on their clothes or smell any cigarette (or other) smells - the nicer the better - CONDITION, CONDITION, CONDITION!!

- if you're trying to give your stuff away then just donate it - don't waste your item pricing too cheap - either group like items together and price them higher or donate it - don't frustrate yourself.

If it sounds like work it is. But so is your everyday job. For the most part very little comes free - if you want to make money you have to work and put in the effort - if you don't then give your stuff away and move on with your life. However, I do highly recommend consignment sales - without them clothing my kids for less would be impossible - so if you can please take the time and effort to sell a little bit of your stuff to benefit you but also to benefit the buyer because honestly I'd rather my money go to another mom who is trying to sell to benefit her children then a corporation.

Please note I think corporations do a lot of good for people but I'm also aware that some of them price their items quite high making those that shop there unable to find good deals - consignment sales are usually much cheaper so remember that the poor and needy shop them too!

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