Sorry for such inconsistent posting last week. I'm knee deep in boxes and our moving sale was a real time sucker, but by all accounts a big success. I learned a thing or two about organizing a multi-family sale, including keeping the numbers straight. Here are my top 5 tips...
1. Location, Location, Location. I was the one who initiated the idea of the sale, and presumably had the most to sell, but I live on a hilly switch back road off the beaten path. My sister-in-law has a sprawling front lawn on a main thoroughfare. Just like any sales operation, foot traffic boosts sales. We were very busy throughout the day.
2. Advertise and promote. In addition to posting signs on the house and around town, I created a Craigslist ad which listed a lot of the items we'd be selling. I used images of nicer pieces as a teaser and created a photobucket album for the furniture and higher value pieces. I also cross promoted by creating individual ads for furniture pieces, listing the link to the moving sale in the ad. I used facebook to reach out to my friends (with the ad) and encouraged people to share the information. Oh, and since I have one, I posted on my blog. I was able to pre-sell several things before the day of the sale.
3. Organize the group. Weeks before the sale, I asked the participating families to make a list of their items and to take pictures of furniture/ antiques. I assigned each family a color to tag their items with. Having everything tagged in advance made set up and sales a lot easier. The day of the sale, I used a book with color-coded columns to jot down each sale. At the end of the day we were only $13 off (we had more money than reported sales), which was pretty amazing.
4. Rent a truck. We opted to rent a small moving truck for transport and storage of our items the day before the sale. This made set up a breeze in the pre-dawn, caffeine deprived morning, Early Birds breathing down our necks. We were able to deliver large pieces locally, which aided in sales, and at the end of the day we packed up all the unsold items and took them to Goodwill. Split across 5 families, it was well worth the small cost. U-haul has great deals.
5. Have a central bank. Per suggestion, I wore a bag all day that contained our change, held the book, and our bank. All money flowed through me, and therefore all sales were reported to me. If I had a particularly large, co-mingled order I had one person run the calculator and another record the sales by color, while I went through each piece. Our customers were so into it they started to help calling out "$5 on blue", "$2 on yellow".
For our bank I took out $270
$10 in quarters
$50 in ones
$100 in fives
$50 in tens
$60 in twenties (to break an early $100 bill)
With all that, there are so many other things to consider, like how to organize display, how to price things (to sell) and how many pizzas to order for lunch. I was able to snag a couple of painting of Paris and book about birds and a kettle smoker before they hit the sales floor and I made a dent in my moving costs, so I'd say the day was a real winner. Now excuse me while I fall asleep in my coffee.