The cost of doing business

As a consignment store here in Montgomery County Maryland, we work on a very tight margin in that our 'income' generally amounts to about one third of our total sales. That being said, it would shock you to know what our overhead is, with over four thousand square feet of retail space, staff labor, taxes, utilities, insurance, supplies, and everything else. We need to sell at least $20,000 worth of inventory each month just to break even! I just got off the phone with eBay - putting out a fire regarding a lost international package - and they actually told me "Losses are a part of being in business and you should factor that into you pricing if possible". Yes, I already knew that. We actually loose several hundred dollars each month for items lost or damaged in shipping or simply giving out small courtesy refunds to buyers who were less than pleased with their purchases. Since we are merely a broker of other people's items, we are reluctant to increase the fees charged to our customers as this would put a lot of people off. We do have a small handling charge built into the shipping cost charged to buyers, but that only begins to cover things like tape and bubble wrap. In essence, I merely want to communicate to any readers that the cost of doing business is significant. And to those who occasionally ask if we would sell their items at a lower rate: If you have a collection of 15th century Ming vases - 'Yes' - but otherwise my answer will usually be 'No'.

 

Submitted by Mike on March 15, 2013

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