#1 Commission Structure
While the amount of commission an estate sale company can earn isn’t regulated, you’ll find it’s pretty common that most estate sale companies earn their living based on a commission structure from the proceeds of an estate sale.The commissions will vary based on many factors including the size of an estate sale, anticipated gross revenue, type of items to be sold, and/or geographical location. One big variation you will find with commissions is whether labor is included or not included within the commission structure.There are no set estate sale regulations on commissions. Thus, each company will create their own commission structure and it should be clearly outlined in an estate sale contract to the client. Please read your contract thoroughly and ask your estate sale provider to explain the details of their commission structure.
#2 Estate Sale Contract
Most professional estate sale agents will only perform a sale with a written estate sale contract. There are no estate sale industry guidelines on what type of contract to use, or a government accredited contract to follow.
Companies will establish a contract between them and the client which outlines all the details and responsibilities of all parties involved. It is a written agreement that protects both the client and the company. And, all parties will sign this binding document This step is key because a verbal agreement is not enough in terms of legal protection.
#3 Estate Sale Marketing
Proper marketing is extremely important for estate liquidators, it’s their way of getting buyers to the front door.
There are no set rules for marketing estate sales, however companies do understand the importance of it, therefore the professional companies have established common procedures and guidelines they follow with every sale in order to generate estate sale leads and reach buyers. There may be additional cost associated for expanded advertising if the desire is to reach a specific target market. Please ascertain from your provider which print and online methods/sites they will use to advertise your sale and if any additional costs are specified. Any professional estate sale company will use all of the following to optimize the reach of their advertising of your sale.
- Local online business listings
- Social media marketing
- Estate sale listing sites
- Local Classifieds site such as Craigslist and Newspapers
- Email Marketing for Upcoming Estate Sales
#4 First Come, First Served
Estate sales can be a competitive event for shoppers. People will line up really early to get first dibs on the items inside. One of the most common estate sale rules is “first come, first served”. Each company will establish their own guidelines on how to manage the process, but as a general rule, shoppers that arrive first, get to shop first. Shoppers are usually instructed as to what time the company will distribute number the morning of the sale, or clip board for sign up may be available or the first to arrive may begin their own casual sign up sheet.
Each companies process will vary. There will likely be something posted on their website, estate sale listing site or in their advertisements that indicate their process. That said, the only way to secure that must have item is to GET TO THE SALE EARLY AND PAY FOR YOUR DESIRED ITEM IMMEDIATELY.
FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE!!
#5 Pre-Selling to Shoppers
Some situations may require pre-selling or consigning of items, especially if certain items are highly desirable and/or extremely valuable. Auction brokering or sales through dealer networks may make sense prior to the sale date, but as a general rule at estate sales, no pre-selling is allowed.
Again, since estate sale shopping is highly competitive, and a lot of effort is put into marketing the items to potential buyers, it’s considered poor business practice to have clients show up at the start of a sale and not find the item that was advertised. Please know that this may occur at times because the client changed their mind and didn’t want to include something in sale, but it’s a rare occurrence and not something an estate sale company can always control.
FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE!!
#6 Estate Sale Policies on Proper Conduct
Proper etiquette rules at estate sales are very common. If you visit an estate sale on any given weekend, you’ll find that clearly defined and possibly displayed throughout the home on signs. Here are some of ours:
- A zero-tolerance policy for disrespectful shoppers
- Shoppers are required to respect employees on site and vice versa
- Estate sale company reserves the right to refuse service to anyone
- Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times
- There is no negotiating of prices on the 1st day of a sale
- Clients bathrooms are unavailable to the public
- The furniture in the sale is not to be used for lounging/waiting.
- Where signs state “NO ENTRY” or cabinets secured, customers shall not enter
#7 Estate Sale Guidelines on Customer Payments
Because estate sale professionals must pay their clients quickly at the end of every sale, you’ll find many companies that accept cash only, some that accept cash and credit cards, and only a few that will accept a check as a form of payment at an estate sale. Some companies may choose to accept a check from a shopper they know and have previously sold to in the past. Rules should be posted on site as to check policies and which credit cards or online payment methods the company will accept.
Additionally, charging tax at estate sales is another variation you’ll find. Each state has its own tax requirements for estate sales. Companies will follow their local rules and regulations based on jurisdiction.