The What’s and Why’s of having a sale

First of all, get your group or organization together and make sure that you have enough help to handle the sale. You will need a Leader and Co-Leader, and additional volunteers to help with coordination and details.

Some questions to consider for having a sale:
Select the location, date, and time.
How many tables will your location hold? Do you have tables or will you have to rent them?
Does your location have easy access and plenty of parking?
What price do you need to charge for the tables to cover your cost?
Should you have a big item room? Should you charge for it?
Should you have concessions? A bake sale?
Will you charge admission?
Will you allow strollers at the sale?
Do we have access for set-up on the night before?
What time do we open for venders on the day of the sale?
Do we allow commercial vendors?
How many people can be at each table?
What do we want in our contract? (We strongly suggest a contract)

Once you have made these type of major decisions, you are ready to enter the world of Mom2Mom organizers!

First things first - you need to make sure that you have enough people to help with your sale. Some sales do fine with 6 people, while others have 20 or more people involved. Once you feel that you have enough people to do your sale, then you need to secure a suitable location, and agree on a date and times.

Once you have the location, date, and time, you'll need to do a walk-thru and decide how to lay out your sale. You should draw a diagram, numbering the tables as you go. Be sure to allow plenty of walking space in the aisles. Appoint someone to be in charge of renting the tables and assigning them on your layout sheet.

Are you going to charge for entrance? How many entrances will you have? You'll need least 2 people at each entrance. Many sales stamp hands so that shoppers can reenter if they wish. Have plenty of money for your bank to make change... there will be people who show up with a $20.00 and want to pay .50 to enter. We suggest at least $50 in singles at each entrance, and $30 in quarters if you are charging less than a dollar for entry. If you have people waiting in line before opening, start collecting entrance fees 15 - 20 minutes before your doors open.

What do I charge for tables? You will need to decide what your cost (if any) is and figure that into your table rental fees. Tables range from $10 - $20 with rack space from $1 - $5. Take into consideration the size of your tables - 6, 8, or even 12 ft. tables. You will need to state this information in your contract.

What standards do I set for my sale? Make sure you specify in your contract that all items should be clean and free of odor. If you designate that only two people can be behind the table, make sure that you stick to it. Be consistent with what ever you do. Do you let in commercial vendors? It’s totally up to you, just remember that you are advertising a mom2mom resale event, and most people won't be looking to buy new items from commercial vendors. Are you going to allow strollers? You must check with your local fire marshal and see what the requirements are. Also consider how crowded your aisles will be, and how easily a child could get hurt. People could fall over the stroller, or a child could get accidentally hit in the face by a bag or a purse. Also, some mothers unfortunately use their strollers to their advantage, to push through the crowds, with complete disregard for others or the safety of their child. If you are going to have tables in more than one room, make sure you have highly visible & very noticeable signs directing people through each room. It would be a shame if some of your table renters didn't get as much traffic through their section because shoppers didn't know they were there.

Large item area? Do you have the space to offer a large item area? You will need at least 2 people to handle this section. Make a master list each item, including who it belongs to, their table #, and if they are willing to negotiate. If it is a congested area, then you will need to limit how many people can be there at one time for safety reasons. You'll also need to decide what to charge for selling items in this section. Normal fees range from 10% up to 35% of the sale price. Some sales allow you X amount of items included with your table rental. For example, $1 for up to 3 items and $1 for each additional item. These fees only apply when an item is sold. Do you have a separate area that you are willing to hold big items once they are purchased? Many of the sales have a policy that when you buy, you take it. That eliminates any responsibility for lost items. One great idea for big items is to attach an envelope to each item. On it, mark the description, price, table # of seller, etc. When the item is purchased, the money goes into the envelope and gets sealed, and the envelope is initialed by two workers, agreeing on the amount that was placed inside. The item is then crossed off the master list. At the end of the sale, each seller is given their envelopes, and they can pay their fees right out of their earnings. Everyone is happy!

Do we offer refreshments? Check with the facility that you are using to see if it is allowed. If so, you will need at least 2-3 people taking care of that area. Bake sales go over good for the finger foods on the run. Pizza and pop are good sellers. It all depends on what your group decides. It is nice to offer the availability to the sellers since they will be there at least 4 hours. At the least, you should consider offering beverages, donuts, and perhaps chips as a basic menu. A bake sale will give you a 100% profit! Just keep in mind to keep it simple but profitable. Assign a person to take charge of this.

Offering tables to rent. Always offer to the organization that is sponsoring it first. Then open it up to the public. Pass out your flyers including all your details at all the sales prior to yours. The earlier the better, to get your sale into people’s mind. List it on the mom2momlist.com site, with your table rental information. By the end of the Spring 2001 season, mom2momlist.com will have passed out over 17,00 printed lists, not even counting all the visitors to our website. Click here for details on listing your sale with us. There is also another revived list site that list sales. Put your flyers anywhere you can hang them with permission. Put up road signs to let people know that there will be a sale. Call daycare centers and ask about dropping off flyers anywhere within 10 miles of your sale. Many people use childcare in the area where they work and live in another area.

Have a contract for your vendors (table renters). State clearly what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. Save yourself some postage and have them send you a SASE to send them any information that you may need to send them prior to the sale, like night-before set up times & day of sale arrival times. Your sellers should expect to be there until the end of the sale. If you advertise your times as 9-12, then people will expect to be able to shop until 12. Asking your sellers to not start packing up earlier than 15 minutes prior to the end of the sale is not unreasonable. In the Metro Detroit area, most of the sales are on Saturday mornings, anywhere from 9am until 2pm. You need to decide how long you want your sale to be, and be specific about these times in your contract and on your flyers.

What should you include in your contract?

  1. Date & times of your sale.
  2. Dates & times for set-up and preparation.
  3. Times that you expect your vendors to be at their tables.
  4. Maximum number of people at each table.
  5. Expected condition of items being sold.
  6. Fees for table rental and big item sales.

Click here to see an example contract.

After Your Sale...
Many of your table renters may not want to lug their unsold items back home. You should consider organizing a group donation to one of many local non-profit organizations, such as:

  • Second Hand Rose (Mt. Clemens) which supports Turning Point - a safe house for abused women and children
  • CareNet Pregnancy Information Center in Berkley (248-545-6411)
  • The Metro Crisis Pregnancy Center in Dearborn (313-724-8500)
  • Federation of Youth Services, a teen maternity/parent home (313-267-4488)
  • and many more!

This is just a quick run down of some of the things that you need to consider. If you have any other questions please feel free to email us again. We will soon be adding more information in this section for your use.

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