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Garage Sale Pricing Guide 

Garage Sale Pricing


Every item at your sale should be clearly marked with a price tag or label. The tag or label should state the dollar amount of the item and any other necessary identifier, such as your initials, a description of the item or the like

(Example: Book $1.00 JW; or $1.00; or $1.00 JW).

The tag should be simple and not damage your item. Do not write in pen or in permanent marker on any item directly.

(Example: don't write in ink on the front or spine of a book; don't write $1.00 in permanent marker on the clothes tag.)

If you identify your item when you price it, you will lessen the chance that an underhanded shopper will try to switch tags for a better price.

(Ex: A tag reading "Picone dress $10.00, JB" cannot be switched with a tag reading "Basic dress $3.00 Val. "

Pricing everything will save you tremendous time in the long run. How?

1. You will not have to answer repeated questions about how much an item costs.

2. You will not have to rely on your memory about how much an item costs, especially when your sale is very busy.

3. Shoppers are often reluctant or scared off when prices are not stated, costing you a sale.

4. People do not like to guess at a price, costing you a sale.

5. If a shopper does not ask the price, he or she is likely to leave the sale without buying anything.

If a shopper knows the price of everything, he or she is likely to buy more. A shopper may not be interested in a book at $2.00, but may buy it at 25¢

Making prices easy to read helps both you and your buyer. which is very good for your sale.

Pricing everything leads to more reasonable negotiating and bargaining. Example: Let us say that you are trying to sell a desk. You have tagged it at $25.00. Chances are that you will receive an offer somewhere between $15.00 and $20.00.

If you had not priced the item, you could (and probably would) get an offer for as little as $5.00. It is a lot harder to negotiate when you are this far apart. It is helpful to put your pricing labels or tags on the item at the same place for every item.

Always put your price in the top left corner of the item, or the bottom right corner, or the upper middle, etc. This way you can locate easily the price for a buyer. You can find the price easily when you are separating and adding up the prices for different participating sellers also.

Note- scam alert ... Sometimes an under- handed buyer will try to switch price tags or labels. If you put the tags on your stuff in the same place on every item, you will recognize the system and a mis- placement of a label, but the shopper probably will not. You will outfox the shopper. ~

Avoid using your own labeling code or system. (Example: all yellow dots mean $.25, orange dots are $.50, blue dots are $1.00 and green dots are $2.00). Why? If you can take the time to put a dot on an item, you can take the time to mark each dot with the item's price. (If you have to, establish your code and then mark the dots with the dollar amount of the item while the dots are on a piece of paper or sticky sheet

they came on in the package.) In other words, a labeling system does not really save you time, especially when you consider its disadvantages. While the labeling system seems easy for you, it is very hard for the shoppers to figure out or decipher.

The would-be buyer is continually looking around for your price list, each and every time she or he picks up an item of interest. It can become so distracting and needlessly time-consuming for the shopper that often the shopper will leave in disgust or frustration.

A labeling system is not user or shopper- friendly. It hampers a buyer from quickly viewing your merchandise and purchasing it. Most garage sale shoppers will "hit" or attend many sales on a particular day. Busy shoppers are not inclined to learn a new pricing system every time they go to another sale. It is not even-handed for you to expect them to do this.

Are there any exceptions to the "price it all" rule? Yes, as with any rule, ~ there are exceptions. ., ~ If time is at premium, that is, if you have no time m !ill (and be real honest with yourself herel). you can price by categories.

Examples: all clothes are $1.00 unless otherwise marked (and price the ones which are worth more than $1.00); all pants are $1.00, all shirts are .50, etc. If you do price this way, make a ton of signs to show your prices.

If you do price this way, recognize too that you are minimizing your potential profits. How? You probably could get more money on many of the items that you have lumped together for your own ease. Example: Aren't there any shirts worth more than 50(:?

As has been mentioned elsewhere, including at letters, "0" and '0," there are good reasons to box certain items. You do not need to individually price these items (that is, where the items in this box are .25 each), as long as you know what is in the box (so that when your shoppers are ready to pay for it, you will not be fumbling or wondering about the price).

Since you want to make the most money you can, and maximize your profits, you are walking a fine line: you need to price as high as you can and still quickly sell your merchandise.

Fair and precise pricing is a critical part of the garage sale process. If you overprice one item, it is easy for a shopper to think that you overpriced everything. Pricing, however, does not need to be an art; it can be a learned skill.

There are many different theories about pricing. It is possible for each expert to have a different set of rules and standards. There are just so many variables. The good news about that is simple: do not worry about making mistakes.

Just do your best, given what you have to work with, remembering that you did not really want to keep that item in the first, second or third place.

If you are in doubt about a price, price it slightly higher than you might otherwise mark it. Why? The hard fact is this: You can always come down on a price. but you cannot go up.

To properly price, you need to know how much an item costs retail. and you need to know how much an item will bring in at a garage sale.

There are several options to find out the cost of an item and to determine its retail worth.

Call a discount store (such as Walmart, Kmart, Target. etc.) and ask what the retail price is of the item you have to sell. Then call a moderately priced department store (such as Montgomery Wards, Sears, J.C. Penney, etc.) for the same information. Complete the comparison shopping with a call to a more upscale department or specialty store (such as Saks. Bloomingdales. Macys, Dillards, Toys 'R Us, etc.).

This should present you with a range of prices for the particular item. Rely on your own shopping experience and background. If you shop often, especially for a category of goods (such as housewares), do not overlook the information you have already learned by shopping.

Look up prices in current and old catalogues (pack rats now have a legitimate reason to save this stuff), newspaper ads or sales brochures. The J.e. Penney, Spiegel and Service Merchandise catalogues are excellent resources.

Visit other garage sales and see how the merchandise is priced. A subdivision or neighborhood sale is a good indicator. There will be seasoned sellers participating as well as rookies or one-timers, those sellers who are offering their stuff for sale because it is so easy to do so when the whole neighborhood is participating.

You may want to visit thrift stores also to see how their merchandise is priced. All things being equal (and often they are not ...check the variables below), your merchandise should be priced as a percentage of the original cost. Typical prices follow:

Clothing-adult 5-25%
Clothing-kids 5-33%
Clothing-maternity 10-33%
Furniture 5-25%
Toys 5-50%
Bicycles 10-33%
Household 5-25%
Bedding 5-10%
Exercise equipment 5-50%
Books 5-10%
Artwork 5-10%
Antiques/Collectibles Special Rules-below
Appliances 5-25%
Electronics 5-25%
Tools 5-25%
Jewelry 5-25%

It is very difficult to make broad, sweeping generalizations about how to price. This explains (and rationalizes) why a range of prices have been given with a list of factors impacting the range. Generally, you can set your price as a percentage of the retail price, with several important warnings and exceptions: Condition affects price. The better the condition of your merchandise, the more likely you will get top dollar for it. Similarly, the worse an item looks, the less money you will sell it for at the sale. (See for example how cars are valued in the NADA Used Car Guide.)

Availability will impact the price. The rarer an item is, the greater its worth should be. Ex., antiques. Seasonal items sell better during or before the season. For example, it is easier to sell shovels and coats in the fall, and lawn mowers and bikes in the spring.

Popularity will impact price. The more popular an item is, the more likely a buyer will pay for it. Ex., expensive toys, baby equipment. The cleaner and neater an item is, the higher you can price it. If the item is unopened or you have a box for it, you can charge more for it.

A designer label or namebrand will increase the price. Out-of-date, obsolete items players, 8 track tapes, typewriters, etc.) will not command a high price, except as collector's items, as antiques, or for parts. If the item does not work, and it should, it will be worth less. (You should say whether the item does not worl<, if you know. If you are asked and you do not know, say, "I do not know" and tell the shopper to presume it does not work.)

There are different, special rules for antiques and collectibles. If you have any suspicion or inkling that a particular item is an antique or collectible, check it out before selling it. Don't be sorry. Find out its worth. Go to the library or book store for one of many guides on antiques and collectibles and their value. You can also call a professional appraiser for an estimate of value. Start with the yellow pages or contact organizations or associations dedicated to this field.

P.S. Many miscellaneous factors also affect price. Consider reviewing the suggestions at the letters, "F/Fashion," "K/Kid related information," and "Z/Zero in on your goal." There are special rules for collectibles and antiques. Price in greater increments ..

There are some things that are difficult, but not impossible, to sell. Items should not be priced less than a nickel. No items should be priced for a penny. Most items are priced in quarter increments. This makes it much easier to add, without any sacrifice to the bottom line. There are certain items that are difficult (but not impossible) to sell, no matter how great a shape they are in:

Any items where people might question hygiene and doubt whether they should use the item second-hand. Examples: shoes, underwear, lingerie, bathing suits, sheets, towels, earrings. Baby clothes from 0 to 6 months are sometimes hard to sell, even when they are in excellent condition.

Most new parents have received a lot of this size from baby showers or, more likely, have realized that their infants are already too big for these sizes at birth

Articles which are very much a matter of personal taste are hard to sell. Example: artwork, unless you are pricing the frame itself. Articles which are especially large and heavy (such as a big, brass bed) may be hard to sell).

The average shopper does not have the means or tools (a delivery truck) to get the enormous piece to their home. (Note, however, dealers always appear to be interested in buying furniture.)

There are many marketing gimmicks which you can and should use at your sale to sell more of your stuff. Consider, for example, these: Give your shoppers a paper bag or sack to fill with your garage sale merchandise.

Tell your shoppers that each bag is $1.00 or $2.00, $5.00, or whatever, for the entire bag, no matter what the shopper puts in the bag. You can expand or limit this ... everything from this section or table can be put in a bag for a dollar, or, everything is included in the dollar bag deal except items marked, etc.

Reduce your prices every day of your sale. Below is a suggested schedule: $5.00, or whatever, for the entire bag, no matter what the shopper puts in the bag. You can expand or limit this ... everything from this section or table can be put in a bag for a dollar, or, everything is included in the dollar bag deal except items marked, etc.

' Reduce your prices every day of your sale. Below is a suggested schedule:

Day one of the sale Regular price

Day two of the sale 25% off

Day three of the sale 50% off

Day four of the sale 75% off

Last day Everything $1.00 unless otherwise marked

The choices are unlimited. Make sure that you tell everyone what you are doing. Make posters or signs and hand them out at yourposters or signs and hand them out at your sale. Announce the mark downs every once in a while at the sale. State your markdowns in your ad.

Note: you do not need to go around to each price and mark down the price it- self. Take the markdown or reduction from the original price when they buy and pay. Your signs should say "Markdowns ~ taken when you pay."

A shortcut practice guide, included in my book, should help you when pricing your stuff. It will help you price fairly, with a minimum of time on your part.

More garage sale pricing tips, and the complete garage sale pricing guide, along with everything you need to know to make more money, sell more stuff, and otherwise succeed at your garage sale, is available in Lisa's book, available now in instant download! Buy it now!

The Ultimate Garage Sale Pricing Guide:

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