Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Please be sure that the company you select is licensed, bonded and insured. They should be ready and willing to provide a cover sheet for their policies. You can always ask them to add your project to their policy while the project is ongoing. Note that this is not necessary but can easily be done if you feel that you want that extra confidence boost in your service provider.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. How long have you been in business?
How do you advertise?
Where do you advertise?
Who pays for the advertising?
How much traffic do you get on your website?
How many people attend your events each week?
Do you have a mailing list? electronic or traditional? How often do you send mailings?
How many events do you run per year?
How many events can you run per week?
How large is your staff?
How do you staff your events?
Who does your pricing?
What are your terms of sale?
What is your commission?
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. We recently carried out an estate sale for a couple in their 90s who moved to a local retirement community. The move was a little overwhelming for them, but we were able to help get the cart and the horse in the right order so there transition wasn't overwhelming. Within weeks of completing the job we received the following testimonial:
Since most clients of Four Sales have only one lifetime experience with an estate sale it might be useful for prospective clients to hear from a past client--an older couple that had decided to move after 43 years in a large home into a smaller assisted- living apartment.
We began by assuming that we could carry out such a large down-sizing 'retail'--that is, by searching out buyers for the many things we could not take with us. We tentatively sold some of the larger woodworking items but quickly discovered that it would take forever, if at all, to dispose of the hundreds of items remaining. Four Sales then introduced its alternative--a professional team to mount a proper sale with accredited appraisers, proper advertising, a proper staff and experienced management. Since its contract to do so also provides that the owner will not engage in competitive selling of selected items we called back the few tentative sales we had made and left the entire job to Four Sales--converting, if you will, from 'retail' to professional 'wholesale.'
Four Sales then (a) came in five days early to set up the sale, (b) worked, on one night until 4:00 am, to price over a thousand items, (c) researched the internet to discover surprisingly high values for several sculptures and paintings, (d) advertised the sale extensively, listing over one hundred photos on its internet home page, (e) moved and assembled like items to present them appropriately throughout the house, (f) attracted an estimated 1500 buyers to 16 hours of sales over three days, (g) with half a dozen staff members throughout the house, completed 937 transactions with an average value of $37 (that's one sale every minute), (h) sold just under 90% of everything it had priced, (i) arranged for delivery of unsold items to charities--documenting an appropriate tax deduction for the owners and (j), left the house empty and 'broom clean.' Four Sales accomplished, smoothly and professionally, every element of its contract.
We learned from this experience another important fact: The estate sale clientele includes distant collectors and dealers that Four Sales cultivates and that the home-owner could never find.
The Four Sales fee and expenses for its service ran about one-third of the proceeds. Initially we thought this a bit high. Retrospectively, we realized how much of what they did we simply could not have done and that Four Sales earned every penny of its fee.
Dave A. (Falls Church, VA)