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How to Have a Wildly Successful Yard Sale -- Pricing Your Merchandise For Maximum Profits
So you want to make big bucks at your yard sale. You’ve got your business plan all set and gathered a good amount of merchandise. Now, it’s time for pricing your goods. In this third part of my 8-part series on How to Have a Wildly Successful Yard Sale, I’ll give you tips on to price your merchandise so it will sell.
1- Choose the right labels.
The buyer will purchase more if you make it easy for him or her. Price every item with the same kind of labels. Consistency is important. That way they know what to look for.
Use easy to read and easy to remove price tags as a courtesy to the buyer. On the other hand, be sure they won’t accidentally come off. Adhesive labels and string hang tags work best.
I can remember finding just the book I’d been wanting at a yard sale only to be disappointed to see that the seller had written the price directly on the book with black marker. I didn’t buy the book. Anything damaged or questionable should be labeled “as is”.
2-Make the prices easy to read.
Use a fine-tip black permanent marker to write your prices on the price tags.
Alternatively, if you want to save yourself some time, buy some color coded circular labels. Use them for pricing. Put yellow stickers on the items that you price at 25 cents, green stickers on the 50-cent items, blue for 75-centers, and red for $1.00. Post several large posters with the colors and the corresponding price.
All yellow stickers like this one: [example] 25 cents
All green stickers like this one: [example] 50 cents
All blue stickers like this one: [example] 75 cents
All red stickers like this one: [example] $1.00
3-Research, research, research.
If you have items that are in new or near-new condition, it pays quite well to do prior research. You want to have a picture of the item advertised with the price. That way buyers will know for sure what kind of a deal they are getting. You can find them in newspaper inserts and sale catalogs. But probably the easiest method to find them is to go online. Then just print the page with the picture and retail value, glue them to index cards and attach to the corresponding merchandise. If it’s brand new in the original packaging price it for 25%-30% of the retail price. If their labels are still attached, all the better. Remember, your merchandise need to be terrific bargains in order for you to rake in the bucks.
This method works well for items that sell well on eBay. Lots of eBay sellers frequent yard sales for merchandise to resell. Make it easy for them! Go to eBay and sign in. Then run a search for your item. On the left side of your results page you’ll find a “Search Options” section. Check the completed auctions box and search again. Results will come up giving you the final prices that the search items sold for in the last ten days. Print that page and attach it to your item so that your buyer will know approximately what he could buy or sell for on eBay.
Check for recalls. Be sure the items you sell have not been recalled or pose any potential hazards. You should avoid selling older baby items such as baby cribs, baby strollers, bike helmets, play-pens, carseats, and baby gates. Cribs with slats more than 2 3/8 inches apart or the holes in the mesh are 1/4 inch or greater in size, cribs with corner posts or broken/missing pieces or made before January 1994 should not be resold. Neither should walkers with wheels. Do not sell carseats that have been in a crash, have broken or missing pieces, have no model number or date of manufacture or are more than six years old, nor car seats that are on a recall list whose company is no longer in existence. If none your items are on recall list, place a notice stating that fact. If you have any question about the value of prospective yard sale items - especially antiques - have them appraised before you sell the item
4-Price things in groups.
If you have lots of little similar items, package and sell them as groups. Here are some items that sell nicely in groups:
• kitchen utensils
• hair accessories
• Barbie clothes and accessories
• craft supplies
• baby socks
• baby bottles
You can tie them together or seal them in Ziploc bags. Try to package them so that they can still be examined without detaching them from one another. Place labels on them saying “sold as a set.”
5-Price it all.
Put a price tag on everything, no matter how small. If you don’t take the time to do this, you will spend much more time constantly answering the question, “How much is this?”
6-Price it low.
On the other hand, price you stuff low. Yard sale customers are looking for terrific bargains. It’s the biggest reason most of them are there. I’m always put off when I find yard sale prices equal to or higher than the same items brand new on store clearance, even if it is “Tommy Hilfiger”. Name brands do command slightly higher prices. Really nice kids clothes sell well at $1 each. Children’s clothes with stains or are not name brand at .50 or less. Socks and underwear shouldn’t be higher than .10 each.
These prices may seem too low. But remember, you want to actually sell your stuff and realize a profit. If the prices are too high it won’t sell at all. Your profit will greater if your prices are reasonable. Say, for example, you sell 20 items for $2. Or you could sell 200 items for $0.50 each. You will make much more if you sell the ones at the lowest price. When I go to yard sales I expect to pay about 10% of retail price. That’s a good ballpark figure to shoot for.
Remember, the facts that you paid $65 for that DVD set and you’d like to get $40 for it are irrelevant to the buyer. If it’s sealed in its original packaging you could try pricing it at $9.50. Otherwise, price it at $6.50 and get it sold!
Price it high.
Price things for more than you want for them. Say you’re wanting to sell that old dresser in the basement. It’s in good shape, works nicely, looks good. In the stores, you could probably get a similar one for $250. You’d like to get at least $25 for it. So you price it at $35. Someone comes along and offers you $20 for it. You counter with $30. They offer you $25 and it’s sold! You’re happy. Your buyer is happy. Most customers who frequent yard sales expect to negotiate on price. If you price things on the high side, you have room to negotiate with him or her. You will still get what you want for the item plus your buyer thinks that he’s gotten a terrific bargain. It’s a win-win situation.
Now that you’ve got all your merchandise priced, your next task is to advertise your yard sale. Check out my next article in this series: Advertising that Will Bring the Crowds In.
If holding a group sale, plan with others the lowest price they’ll accept on their items.