5 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Estate Sale Professional
When seeking an estate sale company, the following questions may help you hire the right professional for your task.
#1 – How long will it take to set up a sale in my home?
The amount of time needed to set up a sale may depend on the quantity and condition of your possessions. Obtaining an estimate is important. Ask your estate sales representative how they perform their estimates. Companies should not guarantee the total value of your sale, as the success of the sale is subject to the amount of traffic and competitive bids received during the sale. These factors which are often influenced by weather or the number of competitive sales that fall on the same day or weekend.
Caring Transitions® has the ability to provide a free, electronic, in-home estimate for all of your projects. Our “Project Accelerator” estimates are based on the size of your home, the volume of goods and the services you require.
#2 – What is your commission structure?
All Estate Sale companies base their fees on a percent of the sale. Percentages in the U.S. range from 30% to 60%, depending on services provided and the overall estimated value of the sale.
Hiring a company that offers the lowest percentage does not mean you will make more money. A skilled professional, who can advertise directly to a list of interested buyers may in fact increase your overall profit, even while charging a higher percentage.
Caring Transitions® commissions include services to categorize goods and stage your home, price your items, provide any necessary research or professional resources for high value items, set up the sale, advertise, optimize our EstateSales.net membership, take promotional photos, provide tables and other merchandising fixtures, set up displays, schedule employees to manage the sale, secure permits, arrange for security, place signage, send invitations to known buyers, provide oversight and traffic control during the sale, manage financial transactions and provide a final reconciliation and accounting of sale items.
#3 – Are there fees besides your commission?
Many companies charge an administrative fee to account for miscellaneous items such as travel and sorting/cleaning inventory. Credit card fees may also be billed separately, although not all providers are able to accept credit cards.
Caring Transitions® may charge an administration fee or a “minimum” fee. Minimums are common for professional organizations, especially, as mentioned above, when the value of the sale is expected to be low and labor is expected to be high. Caring Transitions does accept credit cards in order to encourage larger transactions.
#4 – Are you insured, trained and certified? Is your staff?
The Estate Sale industry is unregulated and can be a haven for scam artists and unethical companies. It is important to understand how providers are qualified to serve you. Many companies do not have regular staff, but hire contract workers or friends to help with a sale.
Caring Transitions® has completed a rigorous corporate training program in addition to our own field expertise. We employ regular W-2 employees, all of whom are corporately trained and subject to a security background screening. Staffing will be discussed with you as the size of the sale is determined. Our office is also accountable to a parent corporation and must meet all professional standards including liability insurance, worker’s compensation, corporate oversight on legal matters, industry training and independent industry certification.