What is a Consignment Sale?

Imagine 100's of mothers lined up with their laundry baskets, tubs, wagons and carts waiting outside your business location for hours until you open up for your special before public sale. And all of these mothers not only can't wait to buy the merchandise inside, but are also happily volunteering their time to help the sale be a success! A business owners dream!


A seasonal consignment sale is an event that is coordinated by the OWNER. The OWNER can be anyone or group of people that want to own their own business OR start a sale for any organization, a homeschool book fair, or a fundraiser, such as a church, or school, or cause. This owner coordinates all of the people, items to be sold, the location and setup of the event. The people are the sellers, the volunteers, the buyers, the vendors, the local business' and anyone else that wants to be involved. In return, the Owner or Event Coordinator receives a percentage of the profit (usually 30% but it is up to the coordinator), plus money collected from each sellers as a registration fee to pay for the rental facility and the barcode tagging system.

A few items that the OWNER is responsible to do:

  • market and recruit sellers , buyers and volunteers
  • find a location
  • follow business laws and licensing
  • determine their sale's procedures
  • draft legal contracts for sellers
  • obtain and setup racks and shelving
  • develop a marketing strategy
  • finance the rental location, the barcoding tagging system, marketing materials and any other ideas they may have to grow their business, etc.


The seller's items can be in the 1000's. If you have over 100 sellers, you should expect over 10,000 items. HUGE! Sellers are usually mothers,but can be fathers, grandparents, teens, etc). The sellers love it because they can sell their clothing, toys, furniture, home goods, or whatever else you decide you want to sell and receive more money (usually 70%) then they would at a traditional consignment store. They simply tag their items, bring them to the sale and let you do the work for them. Then, when the sale is over, they pickup their items and wait for their check (some sales hand this out at pickup too).


The volunteers are extremely important and help your sale to run smoothly and efficiently. Why do Volunteers volunteer? People mostly because they want to get first ‘dibs’ on all of the items before the sale opens to the public. You reward volunteers depending on how many hours they help you with earlier presale shopping times or higher percentages on their earnings. It is up to the owner how you want to reward your volunteers.


The event can last anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks. The sale is so much more than garage sale too, because sellers price their items on preprinted tags (so there is no bartering). The prices are higher than a garage sale, because they offer higher quality and 1000's more items in one place. No more driving around town! Also, the items are merchanidised by category so that they can be easily found and sold.


They are successful because they offer owners flexibility with owning a business that has low expenses. They do not have overhead, only runs a minimum of 2 times a year, and can be a secondary income and is FUN! Not to mention, that if the owner has children, it is a lot of fun to shop all of the goodies first. Your volunteers are not typically paid because they love being able to shop first before the public and receiving benefits from your sale in forms of gift certificates, early shopping hours, higher percentages on their tagged merchandise, etc.

If hosting a consignment sale is for you then click here to discover how MyCM can assist you to be successful.