I can do the work your horn needs to get it in tiptop shape. I can take the pictures. I can put a description up on the Internet with those selfsame pictures.
What do I get out of it?
- I get paid for the work I do on your horn. It can be really hard to sell a horn that needs repair.
- I get a nominal fee (see below) for taking the pictures, hosting them on my website, etc.
- I get a percentage of the final sale price.
- I am able to offer my loyal customers a fuller range of services.
THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT
Take a look at this Selmer 10-G clarinet. It was a consignment from a fellow who just had to have a Martin Tenor sax I owned. We worked out an agreement and now he has his tenor and his clarinet was up for sale! The clarinet ended up being sold to a professional in the U.K. There is always a way to make it happen.
And then I sold another Selmer 10-G to a local musician. Both horns were consignments.
I’ve been charging the following:
– $15 to take pictures
– $15 to write a webpage and host it on my website
– $15 to list on eBay (if desired)
– $15 handling/packing/shipping fee. I just shipped a bari sax and I custom-built a shipping box to keep the girth + length under the 108″ USPS Priority mail maximum. To do the correct job, it took two hours to pack the horn, not counting a half hour to run it to the P.O.
And finally, I charge 20% of the final value as my consignment fee. This is to handle inquiries, vet the buyers, handle the monetary exchange, etc.
You need not pay these fees up front, they will come out of the proceeds of the sale.
Why don’t I just charge a flat percentage? WHY THE $15 FEES?
I want you to feel free to withdraw your item from consignment at any time. But, if I have taken pictures, written a webpage, etc. etc., I want to be compensated for my efforts.
If you have me list the horn on eBay, they generally skim about 4% off the top. [Apr. 2010 – it is my understanding that eBay has increased their Final Value Fee to 9%]
I consequently prefer to sell it direct from my shop or website, but eBay definitely reaches a larger audience and will sell it quicker.
If you need the money right away, PayPal fees are approximately another 3.5 % of the total. Sometimes the buyer will pick up the PayPal fees in part or in whole, but not usually. It can be two weeks for a personal check/money order/cashier’s check to clear.
Seems that lots of folks say they are in no hurry, but once the horn is sold, that seems to change and they want the money post haste.
All this adds up but I’m seriously not trying to nickel and dime you to death here. Like I said, I prefer to sell it directly from my shop to a local buyer, thereby avoiding eBay and PayPal fees. But there is a tradeoff between how quick you need the money and how much you can get. Getting top dollar takes longer.
RULES AND REGS
I am adding some regulations on Consignments:
- If I list something on eBay for you, I don’t want you surreptitiously bidding the price up. Look at it this way…if you were buying something on one of my eBay auctions, would you want someone bidding up the price? I mean someone who is not really interested in getting the item that is for sale? I understand the dilemma…you want to set the starting price or reserve price low enough to get folks bidding, but you don’t want to settle for less than what you think the item is worth. Well…you either have to take your chances, or you have to bite the bullet and set the starting price/reserve price high enough that you don’t feel bad.And so you won’t be mad at me.
- I do not pay out or disburse the proceeds of an eBay auction until the buyer receives the item. It is natural to want your money as soon as the auction closes, but sometimes it takes a while to complete the transaction. I don’t ship the horn or whatever it is until I receive payment. And by the same token, I don’t disburse funds until the buyer receives the goods. Sometimes when the buyer is overseas and has to set up a PayPal account for the first time, it can take a week or more to get the funds. In that case I offer the option of EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) / wire transfer. If I have specified a “payment from a Verified PayPal account” and shipping to a “verified Paypal address”, the whole transaction can go ‘kerflooey’. And if there is a trial period. I would not disburse funds until that is over.
- If you consign an item with me, you are welcome to still try selling it on your own, referring folks to the pictures on my website. But if I am negotiating with a buyer when you happen to find a buyer, I stipulate that the transaction that I am working on takes precedence. I would hate to make a deal with a buyer only to have to tell him that, “Sorry, even though we agreed on a price and you were preparing to give me the money, the horn is going to someone else.” It just isn’t good business.