Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tips and Suggestions 104 What Price Should I Ask for It?

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How to price items is always hard to figure out.

It is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

You may have in incredible product, but if no one is interested enough to buy it, then it is worthless. Try to figure out what you have in the product and triple it to get a a "rule of thumb" price. That will give you what you paid for supplies and some for your effort. Labor is hard to figure out, just know that you will never be paid what your true value is.

Take for example, a nightstand. You paid $15 for it at a yard sale. You took it home, spent 3 hours on it sanding, patching the side (maybe it had a boo boo) went down to Home Depot and got some paint, put two coats of paint on it, then a clear coat, you decided it needed a different handle/pull. Say you had all of the paint, patch stuff, clear coat and different pull right there and didn't have to buy them -- Can you get $45 out of it?  Perhaps if it is an outstanding design, but probably not. (at least not here) So, consider what you have to pay for the item before you put a lot of work into it.

I sell vintage jewelry. Most of the time I can pick up pieces for $1 - $5 each. I can usually turn around and sell them for $20 - $35 each if they are in good usable shape.  So, for a small outlay, I can make more than triple my money, but, a lot of times they go to many, many shows before someone wants to take them home. Again, unique sells. The newer stuff that you can get at the corner discount store is what everyone can have, they want something that is in good shape and is not what everyone else is wearing. I try to buy in bulk... make a pile at a yard sale, good, not so usable, etc and pay one price. The best stuff goes in an old silverware box (easy to carry around) the other goes in a $1 bin for bits and pieces (sometimes I bundle the $1 stuff up into baggies and sell them for $1) I also have a box that says "Anything here for $5 each". Most people will have $5 - $20 to spend.

If you are into picking up real collectibles, then a price guide is handy. There are several out there and I got my first one about 11 years ago. I haven't updated it since. You can find almost everything made to man in it. If I find what I am looking for I keep in mind that the price quoted is the highest paid price for an item like it sold for. In other words, if it is a colored glass paper weight that is made by the XYZ company, and you have one just like it, then take the price to be the most anyone has ever paid for it. I usually take half for my price. Like if it was $50, then I price it for $25 or less. If the person buying it knows what it is, they want a deal, you want to make money (beware of paying too much for it in the first place) and if they resell it, they want to make money too.  It boggles my mind at all the things people collect. To be a purist, if it is 100 years old or more, then it is an antique, but you see people advertising their things - such as "Antique Pyrex" - a mis-statement. Pyrex hasn't been around for 100 years, but it is very collectible. You won't find prices for it in the price guides, so...

Look at your competition's prices. Price your items a little lower, even a $1 or $2 will be noticed. Sets of anything bring more than a single item, if they are a complete set. Condition matters also. If you have brought an item to many sales and it is not selling, lower your price, each time you transport it there is a chance of breakage and you lose money.

Be prepared to haggle. In some cultures it is an insult to pay the asking price. We Americans are not so much, but I am finding that more and more people like to make an offer and expect you to counter. Take into account that hauling the stuff around that we talked about earlier if you want to make a sale. And, some things are just loss-leaders - you get the people there to see what you have and they may buy something else.

Provide a bag for your customers. There are plenty of plastic bags with the handles that come from grocery stores to wrap up something. Tissue paper is a nice touch if you think of it included in your price. Even newsprint (without the printing on it) can be had from a local printing plant. It comes on a roll and is easy to take with you.

Now, all this applies to those things that are not incredibly valuable. You may find something that is really worth quite a lot - it happens, but not real often. In those cases, the chances of someone coming around to pay what it is worth is not real good. Take it to a dealer who will pay you somewhat of its worth, but if they sell it, they want to make money on it also.

Coming up... Making Friends with other Vendors

1 comment:

  1. Helen thank you for all the practical advice...I'm still learning and appreciate it so much!

    Warm hugs,


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