I own….no strike that. I tried to earn income from my home. For good reasons: Commercial rent is too expensive in California, the cost of needless permits and inspections is very expensive, and state/county regulations stifle business development.
I spent months and hundreds of dollars building useful things out of junk and restoring/repurposing other items. Review photos of my work from links above.
I decided to hold another sale at my home. Final warning to homeowners: Don’t! Here are the reasons:
I live in a dry climate. Collectible sales are flat anyway because of the non-recovering economy in California (not to recover for years). I discovered half my inventory destroyed by arid conditions. Folks, I advise obtaining a humidifier if you own or sell valuable collectibles. Paper, wood, and plastic don’t last in desert conditions.
The buyers attending your sale will consist of the following: eBay sellers, dealers, pickers, flea market vendors, people living on government checks, the unemployed, and thieves. Few real collectors attend yard and garage sales. These people expect to pay pennies on the dollar or expect you to hand over the items for free. If you refuse to accept lowball offers, secure the items. They may be stolen or vandalized by the person you refused. Be aware of arrogant trash. They are everywhere. These types will insult your products and hard work if you refuse to sell at a low rate.
If you want to establish legitimacy, you need a professional selling environment. I said commercial rents are too expensive. Perhaps you can sublet a portion of a store or share space with other vendors. If you do this, set up security. Due to the high California crime rates and high numbers of unemployed, you’re bound to get robbed.
Do not operate a sale by yourself. Again, this goes back to the theft issue. If you’re planning a weekend sale, store everything inside Saturday night to avoid theft and vandalism. Find family members and/or friends to assist with the sale. One person needs to remain with the money box at all times. More than one person needs to walk through the guests to eliminate possibility of theft.
Here are the numbers from the sale that never happened:
Value of merchandise damaged by climate: $675
Value of vandalized and climate damaged furniture and art: $315
Value of wasted advertising: $22
Retail value of stolen items: $65
Update 9-12-2013: Totaled up receipts for supplies. The original costs to produce furniture and art no one wants to buy: $500-600. The actual amount: $735.41. Material losses pertaining to the broken items: $23.87
“Sale cancelled” sign stolen sometime Friday night
Arguments with arrogant trash during pre-sale marketing: 23 (comments deleted from salvaged project pages. Pages with images of collectibles for sale deleted. This blog is now on moderation. Bashing, negative comments, insults, and threads will be deleted)
Threats from individuals to whom I refused lowball offers: 9 (Examples of lowball offers: $20 for an item listed at $180, ten dollars for an item priced at $60. I think one of the nine individuals is responsible for the theft and vandalism)
My advice? Don’t hassle with a garage or yard sale. If the items you wish to sell are large, try a free classified ad on ebay (mention local pick-up only). Avoid Craig’s List at all costs. Thieves are seeking victims on the site (this problem is a major issue in Southern California). Place an inexpensive ad in a local paper. Avoid the cost of large publications. If you have many small items, box them together and sell them as a lot. That way, you get rid of a bunch of items. It’s the responsibility of the purchaser to deal with the products
One more thing. I love retirement from selling collectibles. Feels even better to throw items no one collects any more, in the trash. And the best feeling of all? Seeing empty boxes in the garage. That means I don’t have to lift heavy weight anymore (saving my back)…and as a bonus, I’m opening up free space in the outbuildings. Thieving neighbors will try to break in, but they won’t find anything of value.
I’ll keep the dream pf owning a store alive. However, the dream is possible ONLY in a business friendly state. California is NOT that state.