A rummage sale is a sale of random used or secondhand items, typically held in order to raise money for a charity or special event. These sales are great because the profits are for a good cause and sometimes that helps raise more money.
As Janet Vibert from HyRoad Homes shares with us, for these types of sales, sometimes it’s better to allow the customer to decide on a price.
Let’s talk about rummage sale pricing techniques.
Technique 1: Invite Offers
Having worked in the non-profit sector as well as been a part of many fundraising efforts, Vibert says that she thinks of herself as a “ninja fund-raiser” because she uses a technique that is so effective, she says she has “never looked back.”
“We don’t price our items at all. Instead, we make extremely visible who the sale was benefiting with nice large signs throughout [the sale], paired with ‘Make us an offer.’ Instead of customers trying to barter us down (‘Will you take 50 cents for this 75 cent item?’) they look at the same item and say ‘I’ll give you $1.’” explains Vibert.
This “make an offer” technique allows customers to suggest the worth of an item, giving you– the seller– the ability to counter on that offer if it doesn’t seem fair. Vibert says you can raise a lot more cash when you don’t have a number attached to an item.
Technique 2: Leave Some Prices a Mystery
Jessica Oman from StorageWarrior.ca has been buying storage lockers at auctions to resell the contents for a while now. She and her husband have a few sales each year and she says they make a nice profit every time.
Oman recommends pricing some things, but not all. She says this can help the buyer feel more comfortable.
“You don’t have to price everything, but you should price some things– enough so that people get a general idea of how you’re pricing your items. This will make them less shy to ask you for a price on something that doesn’t have a tag,” says Oman.
Technique 3: Bundle, Bundle, Bundle!
Oman also suggests to incorporate a few things in bundles, or package deals. This is great if you have a lot of items to sell.
“You can let people make a pile and come up with one price. You move big volume and they get a great deal!” says Oman.
You can also organize a few things together if you think people would benefit from having that bundle and watch as they fly off your shelves.
Technique 4: Keep it Cheap
People go to rummage sales to find potential treasures for little money. Pricing things too high will scare off any customer, but if the price is low enough, an item that may not have seemed so interesting to someone at first, could end up being a “deal” too hard to turn down.
“People expect deals at a rummage sale and you’d rather they leave with something than empty handed. Don’t expect to get craigslist or ebay prices at your rummage sale. This is about getting rid of your clutter,” says Oman.
A final note:
As in any other sale, it’s not recommended to accept checks. Only take cash and try not to “hold” any items unless the person interested puts down a deposit (you can refund that after you make the sale).
Also, feel free to say “All sales are final” which can protect you so that the customer doesn’t back out after they’ve left your sale. Best of luck and have fun!