22 Questions You Should Ask When Interviewing Estate Sale Companies

22 Questions You Should Ask When Interviewing Estate Sale Companies


When you are looking to hire an Estate Sale Company or Estate Sale Liquidator, there are questions you should ask before contracting with an Estate Sale Company or Estate Sale Liquidator.

We would like to answer these questions for you before you call us. Ensure you ask these questions of other Estate Sale Companies you are interviewing. If you have other questions, feel free to ask when you call to schedule an appointment.

The main reasons people look for Estate Sale Companies or Estate Sale Liquidators is for downsizing, divorce, or a loved one’s death. Holding an Estate Sale for any of these reasons is usually the most efficient option.

Although you can organize and hold an Estate Sale yourself, hiring an Estate Sale Company or Estate Sale Liquidator saves you time and stress. It may also generate more profit as we advertise many places for the Estate Sale.

  1. What Services Do You Provide?
    1. ‚ÄčWe will sort, clean, price and post your items to multiple websites.
    2. We will take care of advertising and required permits.  All new partners have background checks done. This gives you, as well as us, peace of mind that we do not have criminals in our sales. Should we need more staff, we will ensure staff are honest and trustworthy, and have a criminal background check done. We will charge the shoppers sales tax so you nor Wendell Keefer Estate Sales pays the sales tax. We collect the sales tax and pay the sales tax through Wendell Keefer Estate Sales.

2. What and How Do You Charge?
  1. We charge a percentage of the net sales. By doing so, we actually pay hal of all expenses. Most Estate Sale Companies will take their percentage from the gross sales. When we meet with you, we will go over the percentages we charge which are standard for the industry.
  2. You should ask each Estate Sale Company you interview how they charge. How are all the expenses paid? Ask what the percentage covers? Do they charge extra for optional services like cleaning out unsold goods? Also, be sure to ask if they require a deposit?

3. How Do You Determine Prices for the Merchandise?
  1. Many small or normal household items will be priced based upon the industry standard. Valuable, collectible and antiques will be researched to find the current market value and priced accordingly. If we cannot find a price for the item, we will contact an appraiser with expertise in the item.
  2. Generally, we will search online for prices that we need. We will normally not use prices from eBay. eBay can be a good site for selling, but many times the items sell on eBay for way less than their actual value.

4. Are you Insured? What does the Insurance Cover?
  1. Our insurance will cover robbery or burglary of the Estate Sale location while under our control.
  2. We use cameras at our sales and we also place valuable items in a controlled location. If valuable items are stolen during the sale, our insurance covers the stolen item.
  3. Our insurance covers bodily injury of shoppers while at the sale.
  4. Our insurance covers injury from defective merchandise after it is taken home.
  5. We generally do not have our staff help load items. However, all of our staff are generally partners, so our insurance covers partners injuries.
  6. Our insurance will cover damage to shopper’s vehicles if we are loading items and damage their car.
  7. We do offer delivery of large items for a fee, that is charged to the shopper, and our insurance also covers delivery.
  8. Our insurance coverage is by Antiques & Collectibles Insurance Corp through Lloyd’s of London.

5. Is the Estate Sale Company Bonded?
  1. We are bonded through Antiques & Collectibles Insurance Corp through Western Surety Company.
  2. This is a Dishonesty Bond that covers us against any loss of money or other property to any Customer or Subscriber for fraudulent or dishonest act or acts.

6. How Will You Keep the Property Secure?
  1. We will ensure the doors and windows are locked before leaving the premises. We will also place camera’s in the property to assist in deterring crime and dishonest shoppers. If internet and modems are available, we can view the location off site.
  2. If needed, we will hire security staff, but this may affect the percentage charged. Cameras will also be placed in areas of concern to limit needing security staff.
  3. Should there be a large crowd at the sale, we will limit the amount of shoppers entering the premises.
  4. We do not allow large bags and backpacks by shoppers to reduce theft.

7. When and How Do You Discount the Merchandise?
  1. Shoppers can haggle on prices. Generally, we will not lower the listed price on the first day of the sale. However, if a customer is purchasing many items, we may give them a discount. Discounted days are as follows:
    1. First Day full price
    2. Second day 20% off
    3. Third day 40% off
    4. Fourth dat 60% off, we will discount even more at the end of the day.
These are not set, each sale could be different. Clients can limit discounts on some items. Certain items can also be set to be approved by the client. 

8. Do You Allow Yourself or Your Staff to Make Purchases?
  1. We do allow our partners to purchase items from the sale. We do not buy them to resale, we buy them for personal use. Any and all items that our staff purchases will be logged separately so that you know what it was, and how much it was purchased for. No staffer is permitted to purchase an item they priced. We will place items we know we may purchase in front of cameras so you are assured it is not put away to lower the price. All items purchased by a staffer will have backup documentation as to where we found the price to list.

9. Do You Allow Anyone to Buy Before the Estate Sale Starts?
  1. If our staff buys an item before the Estate Sale, they will pay the price we would have sold it for on the first day. Again, backup documentation will be provided as to how we priced the item.
  2. Any sales before the Estate Sale will be at full price. There will be no discounts given unless they are buying multiple items.
  3. Shoppers can buy before the sale if they are on our email list or any online sale item we list. They will pay the full price unless buying multiple items.
  4. Basically, all sales before the sale date are at full price unless they are buying multiple items.
  5. We have found that we can usually receive a better price for items that are sold online before the sale.

10. When Will You Schedule My Estate Sale?
  1. We will let you know before signing the contract when our next open date is for your sale.

11. What Happens Before the Sale and How Long Does It Take?
  1. An Estate sale requires lots of prep, including time for sorting, pricing, and staging. Once we see your property, your sale date will be set based upon how much time it will take us to get ready. You can, at any time, come to the property to see the progress and check pricing.

12. What Do You Require Me to Do?
  1. You should tag all items not to be sold, or move them to a room that would be off limits to us.
  2. Our percentage will be based upon moving merchandise from attics, basements, and outbuildings if we do not allow access to shoppers. Locations that would not allow access to shoppers, can be moved by you to reduce the percentage. We also base our percentage if there is a lot of cleaning to do, both of the property and the items being sold. If you want the percentage reduced, you can have the property and items cleaned.
  3. We will try contacting you with questions we may have during the sale. We will generally text these and you can respond when you have time. If it is an emergency we will call direct. If we have offers from shoppers, we will also text first and call if needed.

13. How Will You Advertise My Estate Sale?
  1. Your sale will be listed on many websites. We will also place signs in key locations to draw shoppers. We will also post ads in papers as necessary.

14. Is There a Penalty for Pulling an Item out of the Sale?
  1. If you decide there is an item you do not want to sell, contact us and we will generally not charge you a fee if they are smaller items and not too expensive. However, if you tell us you are selling the car and decide to not sell the car, we will charge a fee which would be 25% of the appraised value of the item.  

15. Do You Account for the Merchandise and Money After the Sale?
  1. We will log all significant sells on a sheet. Smaller items are not accounted for, just the dollar amount of the sell. After the sale, we will log all of the logged items into our Quick Books program. Reports are then generated from the Quick Books program.
  2. You can opt for an inventory before the sale, but this would be a lot of work and your percentage would be higher to accommodate your needs.

16. When and How Does the Estate Sale Company Pay Me?
  1. We distribute the funds approximately 10 days after the sale. This gives us time to finalize everything, ensure everything is in the accounting system and ensure that the home is left in the condition you expect.
  2. Payments to you will be by check.

17. Am I allowed to Attend the Estate Sale?
  1. Although we would love for you to be at the sale, and you are more than welcome to attend. It is usually emotionally stressful for owners of the property. You will see items being sold for way less than you know the value is. We try to receive fair prices, but at the end of the day on Sunday we try liquidating everything.

18. What Happens After the Sale?
  1. Depending on which schedule you select, we will do the following:
  1. Schedule One - On Site Sale At Your Location: General Sale Only. Nothing taken after the sale. Nothing will be taken to sell later. The property will be left with everything unsold in it.
  2. Schedule Two - General Estate Sale, Online Sales, and Warehouse Sale Or Pull Sale
  3.  Schedule Three - General Estate Sale, Warehouse Sale and Trash Removal (Interior Only)

19. Can You Provide References?
  1. You can find some references on our website. If you would like more, feel free to let us know and we will contact previous sale clients to ensure they don’t mind a call from you.

20. When and Where Are Your Upcoming Estate Sales?
  1. We will be more than happy to give you any upcoming sales for you to come and see our work. Sometimes they may be farther away, but if you have the time it is a good idea to see how we handle our sales.
21. Will the Contract Include Everything I’ve Asked?
  1. All information will be on the contract. If there is anything particular you want to address, please let us know and we will try to accommodate your wishes.
22. How do you charge Sales Tax?
       1. We charge the customer/buyer of the item sales tax. This way, you nor we have to pay the sales tax.