How Much Does An Estate Sale Cost?

When you hire an estate sale company, you’re employing a staff of people to come into your home, evaluate and inventory your items, hold a sale, and clean up after themselves. It’s hard work. It’s a job that takes days to complete, and requires many hours of labor.

So how much is that going to cost you?

With any luck, nothing out of your pocket.

The estate sale industry runs on commission. Money is made when items sell. Some companies have a set commission they charge, regardless of what’s in the sale (though they may turn down a sale they deem “too small”). Others lay out a sliding scale in their contract, and the commission is determined by the gross profits. (Commission on a sale grossing $5,000-$10,000 could be 50%; $10,000-$20,000 could be 40%, for example.)

More likely, the commission will be set by the company once they’ve had a chance to evaluate the estate. The contract may include a minimum, to guarantee that the sale will cover their expenses regardless of the turnout.

Gross incomes vary from sale to sale, as well as region to region, but according to a recent industry survey, the average sale grosses over $18,000. Keep in mind that this is just an average. Many sales may bring in more revenue, while others may not come close to this. Sale revenue has many variables that affect it.

In addition to commission, some companies include other fees—trash hauling and advertising being the two most common.

If you’re concerned about how much a sale will ultimately cost, keep in mind that hiring the company with the lowest commission rate might not mean you’ll be getting the most money in the end. A long-standing company could have a 40% commission rate, but they may be bringing along with them years of practice, know-how, an established customer base, and relationships with brokers and auction houses—which could mean more money for your items. Or you might come across a new company with a 20% commission rate, but less experience under its belt. Ask about their background, and what they will bring to the table.

You can ask how much they expect the sale to bring in, but estate sale companies may not be willing to give you an estimate—too many variables can affect the outcome of a sale, from the merchandise to the weather. But they should be able to give you reasonable expectations based on your estate and what you’re hoping to accomplish by holding a sale. (Are you trying to make as much money as possible, for example, or just trying to clear out a home?)

So how much does it cost to hold an estate sale? That all depends on who you hire, what you’re selling, how many people attend the sale, the parking situation in your neighborhood, the direction of the tides, if mercury is in retrograde… . How much you make, and the commission the company makes, are difficult to predict. The key is to find the best estate sale company for you and your situation. Talk to them. Let them see what you have to offer. Listen to what they have to say. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with.

When you’re ready to start the process, visit our Hire a Company page, or give us a call at (855) 956-1651, and we will help you get connected to estate sale companies in your area.

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