A Definitive Guide to Consignment Furniture
What is consignment furniture?
Consignment furniture refers to secondhand home furniture sold through a consignment store.
When faced with unwanted furniture – perhaps a bulky cabinet that's been sitting in storage for years, an inherited piece that doesn't suit your home's style or you simply want to make room for something new – a consignment store can take it off your hands immediately and put it up for sale. When the piece is sold, the consignment furniture store takes a percentage of the sale price as a fee (usually around 40%), and you keep the rest.
There are many great reasons to use a consignment furniture store to help you offload your unwanted furniture (and get a good price for it) rather than giving it away or trying to sell it yourself. So, let's dig deeper into the benefits of utilizing consignment furniture stores' services and sales power.
Why Consign Furniture?
Home furniture consignment is indeed a fantastic and easy way to put some extra cash in your pocket in exchange for good quality furniture you no longer have space or use for.
Provided your items are in good condition, a furniture consignment store will take the furniture off your hands and deal with the whole sales process on your behalf. This includes pricing, marketing, taking photos for online sales, writing descriptions, finding buyers, and dealing with enquiries and customers.
If you have a piece of old or antique furniture that you don't want anymore, rather than going through the hassles of direct selling, condemning the item to landfill, or paying endless monthly fees on a storage container, you can make some easy money instead through home furniture consignment.
Here are a few reasons home furniture consignment is a great idea.
Benefits of Consignment Furniture Sales
Reach More Potential Buyers
Consignment store owners have access to plenty of shoppers and have established solid relationships with them. People go to home consignment furniture stores specifically to look for old furniture that's in good condition – and they're willing to pay for it. As such, it's faster, easier, and much more convenient to sell your furniture via an established consignment store than it is to sell through an online marketplace or to strangers on social media. The consignment store will store the item for you and display it in its best light in both physical and online showrooms to a ready-made customer base that's looking to buy. This vastly increases the likelihood of selling the item quickly – with little to no effort on your part.
Spend Less Time Trying to Sell Home Furnishings
Selling home furnishings on Craigslist, eBay, etc., can be time-consuming. It requires marketing, photographs, descriptions, answering the phone to potential buyers and haggling over prices. By contrast, selling through a consignment store is completely hassle-free. With years of experience and access to the right customers, furniture consignment stores deal with every step of the resale process to ensure you get the best price for your items without you having to lift a finger.
Save Money – and Make Money
Storage units don't come cheap – and the longer your furniture items gather dust in a container somewhere, the more money you're pouring down the drain. This is especially true if, for example, you've recently re-outfitted your home with new furniture, moved house, or downsized and are left with multiple bulky items you need to store. The more furniture you have, the bigger the storage unit you need, and the more money it's costing you. Instead, by leveraging the convenience and sales power of a furniture consignment store, you can make money on your old furniture rather than lose it.
Consigning Furniture Benefits the Environment
Recycling isn't just for glass bottles, plastics, and cardboard packaging. By utilizing the services of a consignment store to resell your furniture, you not only make money on the unwanted items you also help to save the environment at the same time. Beds, cabinets, sofas, desks, dressers, or drawers that you no longer need can be reused, repurposed, and re-loved in another home – a far better and much more eco-friendly option than dumping items when you get sick of paying storage fees.
How Do Consignment Furniture Stores Work?
Home furniture consignment is a straightforward process. In essence, owners of furniture items bring their goods to the consignment store, and the shop then sells them on the owner's behalf in exchange for a percentage of the sale price.
There are, however, a few additional steps that must be taken along the way.
First, the consignment store will usually require that you email in JPEG images of the items, along with product information, such as dimensions, condition, history of upholstery, original bill of sale, etc. This is so the consignment furniture store can conduct an initial assessment of the item to make sure it's suitable and in good condition for resale.
If approved, you then deliver your furniture to the store. A good furniture consignment shop will then use accredited appraisers like the CPPAG to conduct a thorough inspection of the item to determine an accurate sale price – that is, a price that ensures the item sells as quickly as possible for the best return.
Finally, both you and the consignment store sign an agreement, and the store proceeds to display and sell your furniture.
The agreement will specify the initial selling price, what discounts will be applied over time if the item doesn't sell, and what percentage of the final selling price you will receive (usually around 60%).
For example, an initial selling price may be set for the first 60 days. After 60 days, the agreement may state that the selling price will be reduced by 10% to aid the sale, and by another 10% every 30 days after that until the item is sold.
Since you retain ownership of the furniture until it is sold, the agreement will also state that you can take your items back at any time, often without charge.
Responsibilities of the Consignor
Once you've decided that home furniture consignment is the approach you want to take, you'll need to meet with the consignment shop to assess what they will accept for consignment.
Your responsibilities as a consignor are actually quite limited, as it is the consignment furniture store (the consignee) itself that is responsible for storing and displaying your items, marketing them, applying discounts, finding customers, and handling sales.
For your part, your responsibilities are simply to deliver the furniture to the store and ensure that it is clean, undamaged, and in a fit state for display.
Questions to Ask Before Consigning Your Furniture
Some questions you may want to ask before you sign a home furniture consignment agreement include:
- What is the furniture consignment percentage of the sales you will receive?
- Who sets sale prices, and how are they determined?
- What discounts to the initial sale price will be applied, and after how long?
- How long do you think it might take for my items to sell?
- When and how will I get paid when my items are sold?
- How long will you keep my items?
- Can I take my items back if they don't sell?
Gathering Details About the Furniture
The consignor should gather as much information about their furniture as they can before contacting a consignment furniture shop. This information helps the store better establish an accurate selling price and create descriptions and other marketing materials to help the sale of the product.
If you can, try to gather the following materials:
- Take as many as possible, showing all sides of the furniture, with close-ups of any wear or damage. Furniture consignment stores need to know the condition of the item to know what they're working with and if they'll be able to sell it.
- A written description of the item's condition to aid the assessment process.
- Item details, including, if possible, the age of the item, the name of the manufacturer (look for labels or tags and photograph them), as well as its dimensions.
- A receipt or original bill of sale. This can help the home furniture consignment store verify the product's specifications, the identity of the manufacturer, when the item was made, and the market value of the item when you purchased it.
Characteristics of Consignment Furniture Sales
The courts of law have defined certain characteristics of consignment sales. These include:
- At any time, the consignor has the option to ask for the consignment furniture to be returned.
- The consignor retains ownership of consignment furniture items until they are sold. Only at this point does the new buyer become the permanent and sole owner of the goods.
- The consignee sells the products at the agreed price.
- The consignee is responsible for the safekeeping of the item once it's been delivered to the store for sale.
- The consignee is obligated to send the sales proceeds straight to the consignor or place them in a special account.
What Should a Properly Managed Consignment Shop Look Like?
You can tell a well-managed furniture consignment shop as soon as you enter one. You'll see beautiful, secondhand furniture, thoughtfully displayed – often by category (cabinets, dressers, etc.) – and all looking in tip-top condition.
The store will be clean, tidy, and well-attended by helpful staff who will be ready to answer any questions you have about furniture consignment, how items are delivered and sold, and the percentages on offer. Staff members should also be knowledgeable about the items on sale as well furniture in general.
Only deal with shops that maintain accurate records of home furniture consignment goods to ensure you're not getting involved with an enterprise that deals in stolen items.
And, of course, a good consignment store will also be busy with customers browsing the wares and purchasing items.
Theft or Destruction of Stored Furniture Goods
What happens if there is a break-in or your goods are damaged at a consignment furniture depot? If the home furniture consignment store has insurance on home furnishings, they are covered for fire or theft. Therefore, consignors should always find out if the consignment furniture depot has insurance on home furnishing items.
If it doesn't, consignors should ensure they have their own insurance on their items, covering them for such risks. The goods stored at the consignment store can be covered by home insurance provided that they are listed on the home inventory list. If you're unsure whether or not your insurance policy includes this proviso, contact your provider for clarification.
Tips for Furniture Consignment
Here are a few tips for home furniture consignment:
- Take great pictures of your furniture – this will help the store make a fast and reliable decision on whether or not they can sell your items.
- Tell your furniture's story. Was it manufactured by a popular brand or hand-crafted by a skilled artisan? These are the details that will help your furniture sell.
- Ensure your consigned goods are in the best possible condition – this will help them sell faster for the best possible price.
- Choose a reputable, well-managed, and firmly established store that customers know and trust. Such stores offer the best service, the best rates, and the best chance of selling your items quickly.
Where to Consign Furniture?
Around The Block approaches all consignments with professionalism and meticulous attention to detail.
We can assist you when you need to dispose of furniture you no longer have space or use for. We back everything we do with a fair consignment furniture agreement and make sure that all furniture items in our store are properly cared for as if they were still in your home.
And we look after our consignors, too. When you consign with Around The Block, you get the very best customer service and a full 60% of the sale price.
Contact us today for more information.