Pickup and delivery options you need to consider
March 13, 2015
The modern age of pickup and delivery
Lounging alone on my back deck late one night, I heard a distant buzzing sound. It was like the hum of a model airplane. Sure enough, within seconds, something appeared in the air from around the front of my house. It hovered with green and red flashing lights and then, as if it had seen me, zipped back to where it came from. Of course, no one else saw it and no one else believed me…until we started talking about Amazon’s Prime Air delivery drones. The FAA is having their say on drone delivery for now, but I believe the future is here and unfortunately, it makes a lot of high-pitched whining sounds.
The pickup and delivery service dilemma
When a must-have item can’t fit in the car of your customer, what are your options? You could offer to generously store the item for a week until the customer can make delivery arrangements. However, this nice gesture can cost you valuable storage space and possibly a sale. What if you have a consignor who is downsizing and would love to consign a large dining room set but doesn’t have a truck? Do you turn down the possibility? Consignment stores that regularly sell large items will find it worth the investment to offer pickup services for consignors and delivery services for shoppers.
Few consignment store owners have the resources to purchase their own truck, pay insurance and hire experienced movers. If you can’t afford to offer the service yourself, then negotiate a special rate with a local moving service. Select someone who can move anything, ranging from heavy furniture to bulky artwork to valuable collectibles. You can either make the transportation arrangements yourself, which is more likely to secure the sale, or provide business cards to your customers, who can lineup their own services.
Before you decide to provide pickup and delivery services, be sure your consignment store policies cover the details.
When a consignor does not have the means to transport large items to your store, you first need to verify that the merchandise is worth the fees. Have the consignor email you a detailed description of the item as well as photos from various angles. If necessary, charge an additional fee for an in-home assessment. Make it clear in your terms of service that drivers, upon arrival, have the option to refuse merchandise that is not deemed salable.
The consignor can pay for the cost upfront or you can deduct it from the consignor’s fee. You will also need to agree with the consignor that if the item does not sell, they will either pay a delivery fee to have it returned to them or the piece will be donated to a local charity.
Your written store policy should state that the customer is responsible for the furniture fitting in their home. If the item must be returned, they will be assessed another delivery charge and a restocking fee. You can also require the piece be reconsigned under the customer’s name.
Two types of delivery are “Curbside” and “White Glove.” Curbside delivery means the customer is responsible for taking the item(s) off the truck and moving them. White Glove is a full-service offer where the shop is responsible from start to finish on the delivery and set up of merchandise. Here is a sample Delivery Agreement Form.
Pickup and delivery doesn’t just apply to furniture consignment shops. Many clothing consignment shops offer a concierge service. A representative from the store, usually the owner, sets an appointment with the potential consignor to review their items.
Average fees vary widely across the nation. They can range from $25 to $100 per trip. Set your pricing based on location. You might charge a reasonable $30 for a 10-mile radius and $50 for a 20-mile radius. Add a per mile fee that covers pickups and deliveries further away. In most states, delivery is a service and is nontaxable. Additional fees can be assessed for top-floor apartments and bulky, heavy items, such as sofas and dining room sets. Be sure you also clearly state the days of the week and time of day that pickup and delivery is available.
Your POS system should be able to add service fees to a transaction. With SimpleConsign you can choose between a flat service fee or an hourly rate.
I have been a writer for various forms of marketing for over 40 years. I've written my share of radio and TV scripts, magazine and newspaper ads as well as direct mail brochures and newsletters. Currently, as the Marketing Coordinator for Traxia, home of SimpleConsign software, I've moved into blog posts, eBooks and website text. It's been an ever changing and ever challenging journey but I've loved it all along the way.
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