Category Archives: Selling

How to Start Selling at Broadacres Swap Meet

Question:

Hi Scott, I’ve been buying at Las Vegas storage unit auctions for awhile now.  I’m selling on eBay, craigslist and kind of tapped out garage sales in my neighborhood.  I’d like to start selling at Broadacres Swap Meet but don’t know how to get started.  Got any tips?

Kevin, Las Vegas

Answer:

Thanks for the question Kevin.  Selling at Broadacres Swap Meet is fairly simple.  Actually making money week after week is a different story.  Here’s how I’d go about it if I were you.

1.  Research

Take a couple field trips to Broadacres Swap Meet before you start selling.  Notice the demographic.  From your field trip, you’d assume that the majority of your customers will be Mexicans.  What you won’t see from your field trips is that the majority of your customers will likely be vendors.  See the vendors out there tend to specialize in certain types of product, ie. cell phones, clothing, toys, tools, etc.  As a storage auction buyer, you’ll have all kinds of stuff that you can sell in bulk to vendors.  But to maxamize your sales, you need to have merchandise that will appeal to the masses as well.  So go walk through the place and notice what seems to be selling, where people congregate and money changes hands.  Also familiarize yourself with the different sections of the place and where the office is.

2.  On a Friday morning, load your truck full of stuff to sell at Broadacres and get in line behind the line of trucks waiting to pull into the annex – it’s located on the first entrance off of N. Las Vegas Blvd.  Have $30 in cash to pay for your spot and you get to pick an open spot in the parking lot inside.  Set your stuff out and see what happens.  You can set it out on a tarp on the ground or bring a couple of folding tables whatever you have.  It doesn’t really matter – you’re hoping to meet the early buyers.  These are the folks that come to the swap meet early to see if you have what they’re looking for.  They are intense collectors, re-sellers in different venues, ebayers, store owners or other vendors at the swap meet.  For instance, I always bring a box of cords with me to Broadacres and there’s a guy who will give me $20 for the box.  He displays them at his cord booth and profits by selling them individually.  There’s plenty of tool vendors who will buy everything you have as well.

3.  Go to the office by noon and reserve the space you’re sitting in for the next two days.  Keep doing what you’re doing with your stuff.  You’re learning what might sell and for how much.

4.  On Sunday, have somebody watch your space while you walk around and look at the other areas of the meet and see if you’d rather have a different space for next week.  I personally prefer selling in the back by the McDonalds but this is just a personal preference.   Go to the office and see what’s available to reserve for the next week and buy the space you prefer – about $70 to reserve for the next week.

5.  Repeat this process and refine what you’re selling until you can consistently sell $1500 to $2000 a week.  We did this by finding merchandise we could sell cheaply that was appealing to many customers.  We found that dragging our junk from storage auctions out every week resulted in $300 to $600 per week in sales and was very depressing to handle.

6.  If you really like selling at Broadacres Swap Meet, you can permanently rent a space with a shed.  You’ll have to get a business license, a sales tax id, and keep some records but you can become a permanent vendor if that is your thing.  Personally, I don’t like accounting that much but hey, it’s a free country.

Kevin, best of luck and thanks for the question.  I hope this helps.

Scott Asher

First Question from the bag – What do I do with all this stuff?

The first question comes from Mary F., Chicago, Ill.

Dear Dirk,

I’m quite upset with you.  My husband bought your book and purchased two storage unit auctions, against my better judgment.  Now, we have a house full of stuff and although he’s sold some of it, I can’t stand my house looking like a junk yard.  My husband acts like he has gold fever and is ready to buy more.  What should I do?

Answer:

Mary, I’m glad your husband read my book, did you read it?  I explained several ways to move the merchandise once you bring it home.  I assume you held a garage sale since that’s the best way to move a house full of merchandise.  Here’s a couple of more suggestions to unload large quantities of merchandise if you’re not willing to sell individual pieces.  Look in the phone book for auction houses in Chicago, there should be several.  Go see a couple of these auctions and you’ll see that you can create box lots with many items.  Box lots are a great way to make some money and get rid of the stuff around your house.  Another suggestion would be to load a truck full of items and take to your local swap meet.  If you really just want to get rid of the stuff, load it up and take it to your favorite charity and get the receipt – you can deduct at least $500 from your taxes.  If you don’t want to be bothered loading it up, put an ad on craigslist under the free section and watch people back up their trucks and haul everything away.

I’m sorry you’re upset with your husband but you should consider reading the book and working with him as a team.  Two heads are always better than one when it comes to selling your house full of merchandise.  It takes constant energy to list and sell.  If you don’t want to do it, you should just tell him you don’t like that.  If he doesn’t understand your desires maybe you guys should seek marriage counseling.

Good luck!

Who’ this Dirk? Read about Dirk

Old Painting Found in Storage Unit Auction

Hey Scott, I bought my first storage unit at auction last week. There was some decent stuff, furniture, appliances, a sweet tv, some video games and dvd’s. The reason I’m writing is I found an old painting but I can’t find anything about it because it’s not signed. Any ideas on how I can figure out if it’s worth anything?

Thanks,
Ron, Las Vegas

Hi Ron, congrats on getting some good stuff. I have to tell you that my wife and I have found some art that we couldn’t figure out anything about. I have a couple ideas that might help you. I am aware of four auction houses near Las Vegas, Las Vegas Auction, McManus Auction, Clark County Public Auction, and Darwin’s Auction at the Boulder City Antique Mall. They all offer consignment and might have an idea about the value of your painting. You can also take digital pictures and start sending them out to various places on the internet like askart.com and artnet.com. What we usually do is take great pictures and list them on ebay with a starting price of 9.99 but we purchase the Gallery Plus feature. This gets the painting an affordable exposure and we’ve sold the majority of our art this way. One last option is to call some local antique dealers and ask them if they’re interested in looking at the painting. We’ve had several come to the house and we ask them lots of questions. They usually say they have to research the item and you’ll never hear from them again. The process can be frustrating but the last thing you want to happen is sell it at a garage sale for $50 and then see the buyer on the antique roadshow with a $20,000 painting.
Hope that helps,
Scott R Asher

How Many Garage Sales Can I have?

QUESTION:

Hey Dirk,
I was looking at your book on Amazon and love the idea of making some money at garage sales but a neighbor told me that we’re only allowed by law to have two garage sales per year. Even if I had the two best garage sales ever, I don’t see how it’s possible to reach financial freedom from that. I know there are people that break this law, how do they get around it?

Dana, Atlanta

ANSWER:

Dear Dana,
Thanks for your question. First, I wouldn’t take your well meaning neighbor’s word on the legal limit for garage sales in your neighborhood. You need to determine whether you’re governed by the city or county, depending on where you live and actually read the ordinance or code that states the legal limits for garage sales in your jurisdiction. Second, understand that code enforcement is a complaint driven process. If nobody complains about your garage sale then, in theory, you could have it every day. I was personally told this by more than one code enforcement officer when I lived in Las Vegas. Also understand that the definition of garage sale is typically considered “outside sales.” That means that you’re not having a garage sale if you’re selling items inside the house.

When I first started the business I held a garage sale every weekend until a neighbor complained. I told my mentor about code enforcement showing up at my door and he told me my problem was that I hadn’t involved my neighbors. He told me to speak to the neighbors, invite them to hold sales at the same time and give them items they want from your sale for free – in essence, to bribe them. The next opportunity I had to hold a “legal” garage sale, we printed a letter to the neighbors explaining that the law allowed so many days of outside sales and we were going to have the first of our four days on such and such weekend. We invited them to participate, that we would advertise the sale as a multi-family sale and they knew how much traffic we could generate and they could profit and have fun as well. Nobody on the block chose to participate but we never had any further complaints from the neighbors and we extended our sales past the legal limit on several occasions. If you have a good relationship and respect the fact that nobody wants to live next to a permanent garage sale, you can exceed the legal limit of sales days without incident. Just don’t be obnoxious about it. Also, if you read my book, you’ll find that I describe many other outlets to sell your merchandise besides garage sales. Garage sales are just the beginning of learning to sell on a personal level and to determine the intrinsic value of any item. Once you acquire that skill, you’ll see that you can make money anywhere, all the time.

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