Five Tips for Selling at Live Auctions

Ah, the old-fashioned country auction! The idea of a country auction conjures up certain images for people. The image of a fast-talking auctioneer offering up an antique table or chair is a popular example.

People who are buying household goods or collectibles are looking to get their items at the lowest price possible. However, the people who are selling their items at auction are hoping for the highest price!

Unless a person is in the business of buying and selling antiques or other items, not a lot of thought goes into how goods are prepared for sale via the auction process. However, if you are one of the growing number of people using auction venues to sell your collectibles or other inventory, there are a few things to learn first about how to sell at auction before you bring a truckload of stuff over to the next event.

Tip 1: Make sure the things you want to sell are a good “fit” for the auction house you’ll be using.

Never bring a load to an auction house without actually having been to one of the previous auctions. It’s important to get a feel for the type of goods that the house sells. For example, at one very rural country auction it was common for the owners to sell live chickens, pots and pans, car parts, and farm equipment.

After close investigation, this would not be the right venue for selling your daughter’s “Hello Kitty” collection. On the other hand, the spare John Deere parts that you bought at last week’s yard sale might be just the right thing for the buying crowd at this auction.

Tip 2: Be sure you clearly understand the terms and policies of the auction house.

Visit with the auctioneer ahead of time. Call to find out what the best days and times are to visit. One of the worst possible times to drop in for an informational visit with an auctioneer is the day of the auction. Call ahead and ask. While you’re at it, find out what are the best days and times to drop your stuff off.

Once you have a little time with the auctioneer, you’ll be able to find out what type of commission he or she takes from consigners (which is you), and what type of paperwork might be needed. Some auction houses send out Form 1099 tax forms at the end of the year. An auctioneer may need to see your identification and have you fill out a W-9. Be prepared.

Find out what happens to your items if they don’t sell. For example, some auctioneers may have a minimum starting bid. If, for some reason, one of your items does not sell, it may be grouped with another one of your pieces. Know the auctioneer’s strategy beforehand so that you aren’t surprised on pay day.

Tip 3: Make sure the auctioneer knows what you’re selling.

It might be perfectly obvious to you that the signed print you are consigning is a rare and valuable piece of art. However, the auctioneer may not know this particular artist. Make a note of anything particularly special about your items, and leave the note with the piece. Be sure to tell the auctioneer about it as well. He or she might determine that this is something to highlight on the company website or in the newspaper listing.

Tip 4: Present your items neatly.

No one likes to have to dig through a box full of grimy and greasy car parts to see what treasures might be in there. Separate the parts and lay them out on a flat, or use more than one box to de-clutter the lot.

There is no need to buy fancy display boxes. It’s easy enough to go to the local convenience store or supermarket and ask if you can have the emptied boxes or flats that they are discarding.

While it’s good to present clean items, take care not to ruin the value of anything by over cleaning. For example, if you find some old cast iron cookware, clean the obvious dirt and grime, but don’t scrub it to its original finish. For many people, this ruins the value of the item. So, clean and tidy and organized is the key here.

Tip 5: Don’t complain to the auctioneer if your stuff doesn’t sell for as much as you’d like.

The phrase to remember here is, “You win some; you lose some.” That’s just the way it is. There are some days where an auction house is loaded with people who all seem to want what you’re selling. There will be other days where the crowd is sparse, and the bidding is simply not competitive.

Remember that it’s in the auctioneer’s best interest to sell your things for the highest possible hammer price. But sometimes, it’s just not going to be a stellar sale. The auctioneer is only human, and is also disappointed if a sale doesn’t go as well as planned.

If you notice that every time you bring a bunch of goods to sell that you’re not realizing as much as you think you honestly should, try another auction venue and compare apples to apples. That is, bring the same types of items to the new auctioneer and compare the results.

Unless the auctioneer is particularly disagreeable or inconsiderate to you or buyers, there is no reason to confront him or her about a sale. If you find you just don’t care for an auctioneer’s style or methods, find another one. Believe me, there are plenty of them out there!

The primary thing to remember as you learn how to sell at auction is that the business is unpredictable at best. You will have good days, some not-so-good days, some great days. The more you sell, the more experience you will gain, and the more enjoyable the business will be.

Zoning Laws For Home-Based Business

Depending on where you live, you may be facing certain restrictions on the type of business you run from your home. Historically, zoning laws were quite strict, often refusing to allow any business to be conducted in residential neighborhoods. Now, with over one-half of all US businesses being run from home, local governments are easing the rules. Home-based businesses are good for the economy, and the latest changes in the law are reflecting that fact. Of course, as with most things, the government can be slow to catch up and it is important that you check into your local zoning regulations before you launch your venture.The most common zoning laws for residential areas regulate four broad areas:Business ActivitiesMost cities limit the type of businesses allowed in residential communities. These rules are generally logical — you can’t do anything dangerous or unsanitary in a neighborhood with families.Physical changes / VisibilityGenerally, there are pretty clear restrictions on making any exterior changes to your property for your business. You typically cannot post signage or paint “Open For Business” across the side of your house. You can’t set up displays of your products in your yard. Some areas even disallow commercial vehicles to be visible from the street, though many jurisdictions overlook a single vehicle with signage. However, you are likely to have a problem if you park a fleet of vehicles in your neighborhood every night.External EffectsExternal effects are anything your business might do to cause discomfort to your neighbors, such as excessive noise or odors, bright lights, or the use of hazardous materials.TrafficMost zoning regulations do restrict the number of customers or clients (or visitors) to businesses in residential areas. Many also prohibit employees from working out of your house as well. At the very least, most areas limit the number of employees you are allowed to have working from your home. In those areas, there are typically also rules about employee parking — you need to keep them off of the street or may need to provide extra parking to be approved.Most cities and towns enact a single set of zoning laws to cover the entire jurisdiction. Be sure to check into the laws in your area before you start your business. If you need a permit for a home-business, get one before you launch. If any part of your business will violate the established regulations, don’t be overly discouraged, as getting a variance (a ruling allowing your business to violate certain parts of the regulations) is usually an option. As long as the variance you need will not negatively impact the neighborhood, you have a good chance of being approved.In addition to governmental restrictions, any home-based business in a neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) is likely to run into an even stricter set of rules. Your HOA should have their regulations available to you. Read them carefully as you plan your business, as some HOAs are extremely restrictive and sticklers for following their standards. Again, you can usually request a variance from your HOA management, but these variances are often more difficult to get than those from the government! Be sure you are aware of the risk you take in failing to comply with the HOA rules, should you opt to do so. Some include heavy financial punitive damages for violating the letter of the regulations, others simply send out a stern letter once in a while. In general, you are better served to play along with the HOA rules as well as the government’s zoning laws.

6 Things To Do Before Starting A Home Based Business

Starting a home based business is exciting and very easy to do. And with the help of the Internet, it is almost too easy to get started. Most folks dive in head first before actually considering a few important points. Let’s talk about six very important things you should do before starting a home based business.

1. Set up your own home office. It’s vitally important that you separate your personal home life from your home business life. Having a home office is a satisfying and gratifying thing when you do it properly. Many people will convert an extra bedroom into an office. If you are working with a small amount of space you can set up a specific area within one room and call it your office. The most important thing to do is to let everybody know that when you are at work in your home office you are not to be bothered. Establishing this on the beginning can be the difference between succeeding or failing.

2. Choose a niche for your business. What exactly do you want your home based business to be about? Some people will join an mlm business. Because there are so many of these available you want to find a product you can get behind and then join the opportunity next. You might want to look at starting an affiliate marketing business. Niche marketing is extremely popular at the moment and an excellent way to get started making money online.

3. Purchase a domain name and web hosting. It doesn’t matter what business you are in you want to purchase a domain name and host your own web site. There are many outstanding places to accomplish this including Go Daddy for domain names, and Blue Host for web site hosting.

4. Start your own website. Most web-hosting companies have the Fantastico Word Press blogging platform. This makes it very simple to build a website using a WordPress theme. There are many, many tutorials available on how to do this, but getting started does not require any technical skills.

5. Outsource whenever it is possible. You do not have to do all the work by yourself. There are a multitude of people available to do the work for you. You can find them at forum discussion sites or outsourcing businesses that provide employees for you.

6. Learn Online Marketing skills. This will definitely be an ongoing process, but it is important to know in the beginning that you cannot be successful making money from home without marketing your products. Most of your time online will be spent on Internet marketing and promotion.

These are six important things to understand before starting a home based business. Follow these and your home based business launch will be more successful and you will realize the fruits if your labor much quicker.