I’ve yet to meet anyone flipping for services who didn’t think their item was worth more than it actually is but let’s face it that’s human nature.
Driving here, there and everywhere to meet clients and appraise their trade, I’m never surprised when they “belt out” what they paid for an item while having no idea what the actual market value is.
Yesterday’s surprise was a pair of pine chairs with one being a recliner and the other a chair and ottoman. The client said the current value was $1,000 since they had paid $2,000 but finding a buyer in the DFW area willing to spend $1,000 on this set would be nearly impossible and based on the condition of the cushions, require a minimum of $700 to refurbish in order to flip the set. Although the ottoman cushion was in fairly good shape, the seat pads and fill had effectively “flattened out” which usually happens when a cheaper full is used on furniture.
The only market I could imagine for this set would be Possum Kingdom Lake or a rustic type home or ranch but the “odds” of flipping this set as is without investing in the cushions were slim. I advised the client that at best the set would bring $500 and at worst $250 or less. This “conversation” is never easy when someone thinks their item has far more value than I think it does. However, being realistic about the value is an important element when you are bartering services in exchange for an item that you are planning to sell and recover expenses. The “odds” of finding someone other than The Pawning Planners to help you with an upcoming event in exchange for your well worn item are as slim as finding a buyer. It is critical to know the market and approximate value to find equity in items.
The end result? The client decided to take the chairs to a consignment store and pay for services through Texas Twins Events and if the set doesn’t sell- trade them for $250 plus another $150 in cash for their September event.
A flip or flop? Well, this bar was fairly unique and I thought the design was “different” enough to fetch $250, I was wrong. It was so different that finding a buyer was difficult and I had to continue discounting the item while trying to sell it.
Cindy loved this unique door and since crosses are hot right now–we both agreed that we could probably sell it to a couple coming to us for a rustic wedding- we were wrong. Although I’ve priced several doors for rustic events and estimated this one to be worth $450, finding a buyer was (again) difficult.
Perhaps one day when I have a building, storing tractors, cars & boats won’t be a big deal but until then- if a client doesn’t mind storing the item while we advertise the item, it’s far easier to leave large items with them and bring buyers with us.
The problem with this “space saver?” When a client keeps the item at their location, they are often on site when we bring a buyer. The price the item sells for is usually more than the price we bartered for and the client may (or may not) get upset about it. Advertising to the “right buyer” isn’t free.
Understanding the market and where to place an ad that will bring a buyer takes both time and money but try explaining that to the client!
Occasionally, I have people contact me “to help sell” their item on my Ebay site. The problem? Fees. Selling on eBay isn’t free and while I have a perfect feedback score, if I don’t know every last detail including damage or necessary repairs–I risk damaging my reputation on eBay and worse by getting stuck paying fees on the item that I’m selling for a stranger and the risk isn’t worth a minimal reward.
So, Sorry but I must politely decline selling your item because you can’t do it on your own. Answering questions and not having the answer to prospects is time consuming and often these strangers want something for nothing because they went to Texas Twins Treasures and realized that all of my websites are linked and “must get a lot of traffic!” Just sell my stuff for me because I need the money type emails continue to baffle me. It would be crazy for me to ask a stranger to clean my house or walk my dog but for some reason, folks ask me to to do things for them all the time like selling their property for them.
The reason my websites are popular is due to 8 years of tweeting & posting for others on Twitter and writing my blogs to stay on top of search engines with creative content-both take a lot of time and effort on my part. We help people with event services not selling their stuff but may one day add consignment when we acquire a building due to the requests we continue to review. However, consignment won’t be free either.
I review every proposal, write every blog and retweet or like anything on social media myself. There is no social media person spending hours maintaining it for me or reviewing emails because I make the time for things that are important to me and screen social media followers myself along with deciding what we can or can’t do for families. Sponsored events are decided on by me too because there are families with no money or no trade desiring a Dream Event. We try to help everyone but as a family owned business, need to make a profit like everyone else so selling items for others unless we are doing an estate sale, liquidation or Pawning Party simply wouldn’t make any sense for myself or my team.
A few weeks ago, I had a prospective client argue that the value of his moonshine exceeded his event costs. The problem? We don’t flip, barter or trade moonshine so it had no value to me. We aren’t going to haul off anything involving liquor, firearms or livestock- sorry!We’ve had a few hits and misses on trades but we realize that “taking it on the chin” or “taking one for the team” happen all the time.
We never pay you for an item you’re bartering- buying items isn’t how our Pawning Process works. If your trade is worth more than the amount of services, we keep the difference which is how we make a profit.
Both of our husbands love watching American Pickers and can’t understand why we can’t find “profitable” items like the show they love so much. The problem? You can say how much you will make on the item but you’re guessing. Finding a buyer willing to pay what you say they will is a “pie in the sky” estimate. Where are the buyers willing to pay the “estimated profit” of the items the Pickers find? The truth is that buyers “hold the cards” when deciding to make a purchase not the seller and often the buyer wants to get a good deal by dickering on the price.
Unlike the Pickers, we don’t allow our clients to set the prices. We give you an estimate and if you’re unhappy with the “deal,” you can pay cash for your event services.
The difference between us and junksters is we don’t pay clients for their items-we barter the item and later, sell it.My husband often tells me I put “too much money” in my flips by spending hours sanding, staining and refurbishing trades. He’s watched me spend days in my workroom with my twin sister and thinks we ought to be able to “just list and sell the item” like his show American Pickers. The problem? Furniture we take in trade is often in a state of disrepair and is far more valuable “fixed up.” I would lose money if I didn’t take the time and money to make items attractive to buyers.
As we prepare to drive to Palo Pinto county today and appraise antiques and collectibles, I’m “going in” looking for something quirky and unique while Cindy is (as usual) looking for a quick flip that requires no turn around or investment. Eastbound and “Hammered Down,” we are especially interested in the camper at today’s appointment.
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!
we are going to be digging through trash in order to find it that’s part of making three unique businesses work together with a team of my multigenerational family on location.
Texas Twins Events, Texas Twins Treasures & The Pawning Planners all work together to give anyone “regardless of their income,” an opportunity for a Dream Event but we’ve also had our fair share of “hits and misses” ya all…
Wendy M Wortham
Comments by Wendy Wortham