Tips for Selling Through Consignment

5/2/2007

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If you have unwanted possessions and simply don’t have the time or know-how to sell or auction them on your own, a reputable consignment business might be just what you need. The consignment operation will handle the marketing and sale of your merchandise, and hopefully you will make some money in the process.

Before starting the process, the Better Business Bureau recommends the following tips to ensure your consignment transactions are successful:

  • Start your search for a trustworthy consignment partner by reviewing BBB business reliability reports at www.bbb.org.

  • Select several consignment businesses and comparison-shop by contacting the stores and asking a few basic questions, such as, how long the store has been in operation, what are their terms for selling via consignment, and what types of items they may specialize in selling.

  • Visit the store to observe its physical appearance and talk to the staff. If the store is dependent on walk-in traffic, is it in a convenient location? What sort of advertising does it do? Is the staff market savvy? What would they consider to be a reasonable price for your item? Be aware that some stores will not accept items that are not in season or those that they expect to sell for less than a specific amount.

  • If you are researching online auction drop-off stores, find one that has knowledgeable staff who can advise you if your item is likely to draw any bids and can assign a fair value to your merchandise. Auction drop-off stores will take a digital photo of your item, write the sales description and pitch, post the auction, and handle shipping to the winning bidder. Ask if you can view the ad before it’s finalized. Some auction drop-off stores will provide an e-mail link to permit you to track the progress of the bidding.

  • Once you have selected a consignment business, get a written contract. The contract should clearly spell out how the proceeds from a sale will be divided – i.e., will you be paid a flat fee or a percentage (generally from 30-60%)? It should also specify how long your item will remain “on the shelf”; and detail how and when the business will pay you your share of any sale.

  • The business should willingly provide a bill of sale or other record after the sale. If your item doesn’t sell, know what you need to do and by what date in order to regain possession of your goods.
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