Every so often I get a comment or email from a reader that I think others might like the answer to so I write about it here on the blog. Today is one of those days.
This comes from Ruth of Pages of our Childhood.
Ruth writes: “Hmm, Jo, you don’t mention using the American Girl dolls for your childcare business. Are the children too young for them? Perhaps you already have plenty of dolls for them. Maybe some of their parents would like the opportunity to buy the new dolls for their older children? That would be a wonderful way to make money and help others out by sharing your good luck.
Last week I was watching a salvage diy show. One of the hosts said the picker wanted $100 for this all wood kerosene powered brooder, but she got him down to $50. They fixed up the brooder and put a price tag of $450 on it. I was incensed at the huge markup. They could have paid the $100 to start with. They could have shared the profit with the picker. I’ll bet they never thought to help out the picker.”
This question came after I bought some American Girl dolls on a garage sale.
I had said I was debating about reselling them as I prefer the BeForever American Girl Dolls that go with a book.
Ruth is right. I never mentioned letting the childcare kiddos play with these. I wouldn’t. The majority of my kids are 3 and under. These dolls aren’t meant for kids that age. There are some older siblings here but parents have already gone through the arguments and convinced their kids that the generic dolls at WalMart are just fine. I am super careful that childcare and home don’t mix. I don’t want the dolls here and parents have to deal with “But Jo has them” type statements.
Giving them to the childcare kids also goes way against my philosophy that if a child were to get a doll at this price, it’s something they need to earn or work for. Our daughter Kalissa got Kit. She had to read all of the books first. She also bargained and rather than getting our usual three Christmas presents that year. She got one. Because of that…she cherished the doll and took really good care of her. None of my kids here regardless of their age could do that.
I have more age appropriate dolls that are babies. They love the bottles and blankets that go with these dolls. I have a set for inside and outside. There are plenty of dolls here.
Now of the topic of marking things up. I will admit that in theory I think that was a large mark up but I mark things up too. Here’s my example:
Last week at an auction I bought this red cabinet. There was room full of people there. Any one of them could have bought this piece. I got it for $5. Yes, $5.
It has nice shelving….
It has a really fun closure with the pin. See?
I have no idea why it sold so cheap. In my mind it was worth so much more. The only thing wrong that I noticed was that the knob of the drawer pull was missing.
I brought it home. I gave it a good wash and found a knob for the drawer. I listed it on a Facebook for sale group for $45. I go it.
Now that was a high mark up compared to the price I pay….BUT remember these things….
1-I drove a half hour to the auction.
2-I stayed at the auction for two hours
3-I drove home.
4-I cleaned it
5-I found and put on the new knob
6-I took pictures and listed it for sale
7-I monitored the sale group and answered questions
8-I made arrangements for a showing the following day
9-I showed it and helped load it
10-I went back and removed all the listings on the for sale site
I didn’t see the show so I can’t tell you my personal feelings on whether the sale of the brooder was fair or not. For the pieces I sell…I try to do a combination of fair for all. At the auction, I could have waited around from the auctioneer to lower the asking price lower than $5…I didn’t. I paid what was a fair price for the day. When determining a price on this, I thought I would be thrilled if I could pay only $45 for such a cute little cabinet.
One other thing to consider is this…
Some days a picker doesn’t get an “as good” price and they sell another thing at a bigger mark up to make up for the item they can’t mark as high. Dealers do it all the time.
The more thing to consider….
When watching a television show, even though they make it look like reality and it’s unscripted, it usually is not reality and it usually is scripted. Have you watched Fixer Uppers? Really…could every single time the crew find something that is going to put them over budget? These shows are made to look more dramatic than things actually are. They want to catch viewers. They do it by scripting the shows.
One final thing to consider. Anyone can ask any price for anything. The question is….will someone pay it? So if I put a price tag on that red cupboard of $200 unless someone actually pays that amount, the asking price did not determine the worth. The actual price paid did. When we started pricing thing at the antique mall we asked for a “rule of thumb” on pricing. We were told this….go on ebay. Look up your item. Go on the left side column, scroll down. There is a filter. Press the sold items….then you can see what things sold for. Not the asking price. He said then in our rural area and our customer base take the price down even more.
I think it’s important when I do this to remember that
1-I like a deal
2-the customer likes a deal
3-buying and selling an item cannot end up costing me money
…and that’s my philosophy on buying and selling.