Consignment Basics

So, you have a handful of items that you want to donate to charity, but you have a gut feeling that some of them can net you a few extra bucks. If this the case, you might want to consider turning your items over to a consignment shop. Despite the growing number of consignment shops that are popping-up everywhere, the concept is not as new as some may think. Both men and women alike, have delighted in receiving extra funds from consignment shops, for quite some time now.

How Consignment Shops Work

Consignment shops offer goods, but deliver cash.

Contrary to popular belief, consignment shops operate very differently than donation centers do. They actually are resale businesses that sell both new and used items. The items being sold come directly from sellers, right into the hands of store owners.

We take comfort in knowing we possibly can get all of our needs met with one-stop shopping. This, however, may not be the case with consignment shops. Know that the goods a particular shop sells can vary or they may not. For example, some stores specialize in the sale of items such as clothing, electronics, antiques or artwork only. Others offer a wide range of items. Also, consignment shops can benefit you in one of two ways; they can give an upfront payment or offer payment when your items sell.

If you receive a payment when items are sold, the store and original seller both receive a percentage of the profit. How does this work? You will be given an account number and items that are salable are tagged with that number. A consignment store employee prices your items according to what he or she feels is a fair price, and displays your items on both store racks and shelves.

On the contracts side: Contracts between owners and sellers usually specify that if an item does not sell after a certain time frame, then the item will be returned to the seller and may not remain in the store. The idea is that the owner of the store will only pay for items when and if they sell.

Taking things a step further, the upfront payment process works this way; a store employee will go through your goods to see what would make a profit in their shop and assess a price for each item. There is however, a set price for goods: $10 for a pair of shoes, $5 for a shirt and so on.

After all items have been selected for consignment, the remaining items can either be donated to charity or taken home; it’s entirely up to you. And, once all the prices for the clothes and goods are tallied, you are given an amount in cash or an in store credit.

You Make the Final Call

Is there more I should know? Yes. Nothing is ever set in stone and you don’t have to accept any offer that is on the table, if it’s not to your satisfaction. For example, if you think an offer is too low for your great finds, your best bet is to respectfully decline and search for other consignment shops that may offer what you think your items are worth.

No Worries!

We are still in the midst of a recession, so why not turn unwanted items into cash? Afterall, what do you possibly have to lose besides unwanted possessions that are probably just laying around the house anyway?

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-Kimberly Williams

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