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How to Ride the Tidal Wave of Estate Sale Stuff Headed in Our Direction with Trading Assistant/Consignment Sales?

Posted by Tonza Borden on June 11, 2013 at 9:45 AM

The biggest wave of our century is the "baby boom"! Are you diversifying your estate sale skills set to include consignment to take advantage of trading assistant/consignment sales opportunity? Trading assistance is BOOMING, and its common on eBay, but they don't have a corner on this market.

Estate sellers are in the perfect position to expand your services by offering to sell some of your client's items on consignment.

How can we do this Tonza?

eBay trading assistants must go through a rigorous qualification process and adhere to a set of rules and regulations to maintain the professional integrity of this valuable service.

Estate sellers who already have an eBay (estate sale) store or those who are thinking about opening an online store can start offering your clients this "NEW" consignment service.

Start by consigning nostalgic (vintage) things that are easy to ship. Items can remain with the client or they can entrust them to you. Either way, your contract/agreement needs to annotate this preference. 

Consignment service could become a relatively passive income source for both the client and you. If you have never sold on consignment, the learning curve is very short and simple, but not effortless. Estate sale trading and consignment sales is a process that runs better as a system.

Before I get to how to start this service, heed this:  Many years ago, when I worked in federal government, a military post thrift store was operated by officer's wives who sold the majority of its inventory on consignement, with a well-worded contract. Lesson in point:  If the consignor (me) forgot to inquire whether the item had sold within 30 days from date of consignment, the sale proceeds were forfeited. Ouch! I lost $50 from the sale of the dinette set and the furniture. I failed to read the contract so I didn't have a leg to stand on. However, I do not recommend this stance on consignment sales.

Estate sale consignment agreements should be explained to prospects before signatures. After all, the items are the consignors' property and you have been offered a priviledge to consign it.

If an item doesn't sell after the consignment period, the client may decide to give it to you. This also needs to be included in the contract. If it isn't in the contract, it isn't legally enforceable and you shouldn't do it.

Here is how you can prepare your estate sale business to ride the tidal wave of estate sale trading and consignment sales: 

  • Get an estate sale consignment contract and read it several times to become familiar with it, and modify it to fit your business model.
  • Research about selling other people's stuff on consignment. It would be helpful to review information about eBay trading assistant program to get some guidelines as well.
  • Assess your estate sale skills that could help you consign with confidence. You already have the skills necessary, which are writing effective advertising descriptions, pricing, photographing. 
  • Start free online marketplace advertising to inform your market about your "NEW" estate sale consignment service. Also, include a copy of the consignment agreement in the new client package.


Again, estate sale consignment is a great income opportunity, so start thinking about how you will incorportate and implement it to earn extra money.

I have sold some items (not hundreds) on eBay, so I know their rules and regulations for selling. There are other avenues to position your consignments such as,,, and other online marketplaces.

I believe that with your estate sale or online sales experience, you can take advantage of the economic tidal wave of the following estate stuff that's coming your way to be sold on consignment:

  • Antiques and Collectibles:  Paintings/Prints, Clocks, Tiffany Lamps, Bronze, Grundig Stereos, Stamps, Coins, Military, Autographs, African American Memorabilia, Native American Memorabilia, International Memorabilia
  • China, Glass and Pottery:  Occupied Japan, Royal Doulton, Lladro, Hummel
  • Clothing, Hats, Shoes and Accessories:  Vintage and Designer Labels
  • Dolls, Bears, Action Figures and Toys:  Lionel Trains, Matchbox Cars, Transistor Radios
  • Large Home and Garden Items
  • Cameras and Video Equipment
  • Musical Instruments
  • Sports Equipment:  Fishing, Golf, Surf, Ski, Bike, Baseball, Football, Tennis...
  • Business Equipment:  Scientific Calculators for Architecture...
  • Professional Audio Equipment
  • Home Audio
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Cell Phones, iPads, iPhones and iPods
  • Game Consoles
  • Car and Motorcycle Parts (especially vintage)

Finally, if your clients have any of the these items that they want to consign, or leftover items from an estate sale, offer to consign it. Do not waste your time evaluating items for information only. Reserve your knowledge and expertise until the contract has been signed and you're hired!

Then, go to work to advertise the item(s) on as many online marketplaces as you can manage. Price it for what you believe the market will bear, but price it to sell! Consignors may become upset with you if it doesn't sell!

Present your client's items in the best possible way in your ads/descriptions/listings.  Here are a few tips:

  • Provide information about written appraisals, provenance (history), original packaging, manuals, instructions, accessories, etc.
  • Authentication of designer brands (beware of FAKES).
  • Condition, flaws and defects, historical significance. Second hand items are not "new" even if never used. State that to avoid returns.
  • A little cleaning goes a long way, unless it is an antique or vintage item, which has a "patina" (signs of use and age) that collectors want. Cleaning example, wash crystal, but don't chip it! If clothes are musty and mothy smelling, pass!
  • Check with the online markeplace to find out what is legal to sell. Start educating your "fine eye" for things of value by reading this article.
  • Don't overprice or you will price yourself out of the consignment and trading assistant market.
  • Incorporate shipping into prices without it being obvious and offer more "free" shipping.
  • Consign from prospects who are in your business area, which makes it easier to collect and/or return unsold items.
  • Consigning bulky items can be costly for a small company so think about it.
  • Build and post professional sale listings. For example, "We are online marketplace experts (list the sites...eBay, etc.). We professionally photograph and write effective ads for your items, send you a preview link, and keep you updated (via email) after first 30 days, 60s days or SOLD status. Some clients will be anxious to follow the progress of their consignment.
  • Be honest, insure the item for its declared value, ship the product that is advertised, and do your best with customer service all around.
  • Be an absolute model of discretion. Do not disclose any information about your consignor.
  • Be careful when writing your Return Policy. It can make or break sales as well as cause items to be misappropriated (shall we say).
  • Remember, you do not own these items. Treat them like your estate sale items.

Thanks for reading. Post a Comment to ask me anything about estate sales!

:  Hi, I'm estate liquidator of, and publisher of Secret Of Estate Sales Marketing Success: REAL Estate Sale Techniques & Templates To Go From Beginner To Getting An Endless Stream Of Estate Sale Clients. I help people find the resources they need to succeed in estate liquidation, worldwide. 

Categories: Estate Sale Money Making Ideas | How To Make Money, Estate Sale Consignment | Trading Assistant, Buying Selling New Used Goods

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