Friends and family come to you asking you to sell things for them (because you’re a trader). This can be great and this can be awful. Given Rainbows’ commitment to reducing landfill and getting the most out of what we have already made, we should be very pleased about these opportunities – and we are. But sometimes it can be really hard, personally and professionally.
Sometimes someone’s idea of value is not anyone else’s idea of value. It is unlikely that they will think something is worth less than you can get. Often, they want a higher price than you can get because they base their price on:
- how much they paid for it originally;
- how much it would cost them to replace it;
- older market prices when the object was more valuable than it is now;
- what they have heard that people can get for something similar;
- their sense of value (based on a narrower market experience than yourself).
They could also be ignoring problems with the condition of the item. An example would be a set of Ercol chairs that have been repaired with great big metal screws through the legs.
Then there is the object that is just plain awful. You would not have it in your house or even on the planet and certainly not in your carefully curated collection of pieces for sale. Without mincing words, you know it won’t sell and particularly not for the price they expect. There is a lamp in the back of my storage area that I hate and so far no one in the business has shown any interest in it (despite me offering it for very little money).
Some friends and family are not prepared to pay you to do the selling. They often ignore the fact that:
- you have nowhere to store their precious things;
- you are trying to earn a living;
- selling and research takes time and money – your time and money;
- they are not the only ones asking for this favour!
The problem with a ‘just say no’ approach is that they won’t bring you things in the future and there may well be other pieces that you can and would like to sell for them. So what to do?
Through trial and error (that horrid lamp I told you about), I’ve found a way forward:
- Have a printed rate card that states clearly the % of the sale price that you take for yourself, after the costs of sale, e.g. ebay listing and transaction fees.
- Quote a price for researching the value of something (I have lost lots of time on this one, only for the person to then sell the item themselves). Best to offer a written report.
Anyone got any other advice, or want a lamp???