Juncture and Next Steps

Ok, I have come to a point where I can either move to the next level or stay where I am at. I knew the answer before I asked the question. I have to wait for 4 or 5 years for Zabrina to get to her spot (she’s actually way ahead of my spot financially, but she has her goals and will to support her in that). Since starting this venture, I have become attached to growing this new effort as a formal business, and I am having a blast, no doubt about it. Since we started, we have built an inventory of 1850 listings, learned the general landscape of estate sales, relationships, and operations. What I have ultimately come to the conclusion of is that an optimal shipping methodology will not linearly nor exponentially grow your business. For this type of business, almost all of the burden relies on you’re instinct, abilities, and fast learning on proper picking and product selection. Not saying we are great at this, because we are not, but I do believe that we are constantly improving at a very fast rate. 

One things for me personally that has been key is not being afraid to fail, nor being afraid that some customer may not be satisfied. It’s inevitable that this will happen, but the game changer is how you deal with it. I have started this effort and continue with the core philosophy that if a buyer does not get what they expected, then they have an offer (and I usually just do it and don’t even offer) a full refund and shipping included. I just can’t have people thinking in the back of their mind that somehow this is some eBay seller trying to sell them some goods at all costs that are found to be unsatisfactory for whatever reason. The simple fact is that we are human, we make mistakes, we miss some copyright date, we miss some little chip on some special piece…we make mistakes….I make mistakes.

I am getting ready to cross a line that exhilarates me, scares me, and motivates me. We have basically outgrown our new storage unit (10’ x 20’ in 4 or 5 months), our house, our garage, our attic and in order to grow this business, we simply require more space. I think with just me and being supported by Zabrina, we can probably peak to 4-5000 listings, but it will take time get there, it takes a lot of picking and a lot of sales/cash throughput. The packing and shipping at this point in the easy part. I believe that ultimately if you have good products (or hopefully exceptional products), offer reasonable shipping, and top level services / communications, the rest will come together. That is all holding true.

So now I am about to embark over the next 3 or 4 months to lease a real warehouse. Somewhere in the range of 1000 - 15000 square feet. This will basically multiply my existing storage by 4 or 5 fold at a minimum but will also significantly increase my overhead. To deal with it, it will be more imperative that we pick more selectively with desirable quality and unique listings, to ultimately increase our average sales price to the $40-$80 or higher mark. Make no mistakes, all things aside, this is all about finding the right inventory…period.


Above is a new 1500 square foot conditioned new warehouse complex they are building within 10 minutes from my house. It had a bathroom, 2 offices, high dealings, roll up bay door, but the pricing was a little out of my league unless I can get a partner or two to join me. Other than the price, it was perfection.

This is a passion. I have met some incredible people and formed the beginnings of what I am sure will become great long term friendships. By and large the people I get to interact with when going to estate sales are good people and not much different than me (yeah, some jerks out there and I will be sure to name them specially in a future blog). It has just seemed to morph into most just the buyers, but the other friendly “competition”, and even the vendors (i.e. estate sale leaders and staff) and just going with it, meeting good people and whatever. And the best part, everyone I run into on a daily basis shares the same passion and enthusiasm. Life is good but more importantly…this is FUN! I love what I do. Isn’t there a saying out there something to the effect that if you love your work, it’s not work? Lets just say I don’t work a lot.

John

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