Selling Items For Your Neighbors

Have you ever gone through your stuff and realized you only have a few things to get rid of?  It's not enough to hold an entire garage sale, and it's not enough to go to all the trouble of making other arrangements to dispose of it.  Perhaps your friends and neighbors have run into this same situation; and when garage sale season comes around, it's time to check in with those around you to see if they would like you to sell their items for you.

A silhouette of two neighbors negotiatingThe awkward topic must inevitably come up between you and your friend or neighbor: who gets the money from the items that sell?  Many people are just happy to get rid of their junk and will tell you to take all the profits.  Some might be willing if you come haul everything over to your yard or garage for them and price it.  Generally, if you can offer a hassle-free "get rid of it" service for your acquaintance, they are more likely to hand over the reins -- and the profits.

But what if your neighbor decides he'd like to keep the $25 for his old lawnmower?  You can offer to sell it for a small commission fee -- after all, something that large is going to attract attention, especially from the less-frequent male garage sale shopper population.  Or, if your friend gives you a larger amount of stuff, ask if you can take a percentage of the sales.  Tell them it's compensation for the time and effort you'll spend pricing, organizing, and bartering on their items.

If your neighbor does decide to keep some of the money, you'll want to discuss bartering tactics and guidelines with them.  Make sure you won't be allowing a shopper to pay far less than your compatriot wants for their item -- otherwise, you could have an argument on your hands, and there's absolutely no reason to lose a friendship over a garage sale.  Get the bottom line price firmly in your head and stick to it, for the sake of your neighbor.

On the other hand, if your neighbor does the pricing and organizing work, it's a little cheesy to ask for any money.  Just tell them they have to provide their own table space, but that you're willing to keep their money separate.  Set aside a slot in your money box (or better yet, a baggy in your fanny pack) for the coins and bills generated from your friend's items.

Should your neighbor choose to price their own items, coordinate to assure that you aren't using the same tag system.  That way, you can peel the stickers from items your clientele purchase and stick them on a piece of paper as a second record of what sold.  It also helps you sort things out more easily at the end of the sale, if your friend wants their items back.

Occasionally, you'll find a treasure in your friend's trash, something you'd like to keep for yourself.  Make sure to discuss with them if it's necessary for you to pay the full listed price for it.  (It could always be the commission you take for selling the items!)

Meanwhile, check out for the world's fastest-growing and free online community of garage sale listings and tips!

Comments (1) -

Hayden McCarthy
Hayden McCarthy
2/16/2013 7:41:13 PM #

It could be an opportunity to collaborate and share ideas with your neighbors/friends who have more experience in garage saling. You just need to agree on terms to avoid conflict and fallout in the middle of your garage sale. The more brains that work the more successful your garage sale will be.

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