Are consignment shops worth it?

If you’ve never sold at a consignment shop, you may be a little skeptical. How does it work, and what makes this shop entitled to a portion of the sale price on my incredible, amazingly stylish items that I paid thousands of dollars to acquire?

Here’s a quote that speaks to the situation:

“It’s easy to buy something. It’s harder to sell it, and it’s even harder to sell something at a profit.”

Jean Chatzky, Money Rules

You may disagree that it’s “hard to sell something” after a few easy transactions on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. If that’s you, and your lifestyle permits a lot of selling on Craigslist, then consignment stores are not for you. Feel free to stop reading now!

Some people don’t have the time to sell their belongings piece by piece. Or it’s simply not how they choose to spend their time.

So with that established, let’s answer the original question: are consignment shops worth it? Or more accurately: who should use a consignment shop, and when?

The situation is:

You need to sell something. It’s a valuable thing. Maybe you’ve invested your hard earned money into it, or your family did. These items typically include valuable furniture, designer clothes, and art.

The facts are:

Selling something requires a certain amount of work. These days, selling requires photography, technical writing, and a special kind of research.

More work may equal a better chance of success. When a seller makes an effort, it usually pays off. You can’t make a high-quality product listing in 2 minutes with your phone. We’ve all seen these lazy (often downright ugly) online listings for used merchandise. They have the effect of repelling buyers rather than luring them in.

More exposure will increase the chance of success. Simple math tells us that more viewers on a product listing means a higher likelihood that product will sell.

4 questions:

  1. Are you willing to do the work?
  2. Do you have the right skills to do the work?
  3. Do you have adequate knowledge of the product(s) to sell?
  4. Can you get adequate exposure to an audience of buyers?

If the answer is NO, then a consignment shop is worth it for you. Find one with the established process and skills to sell your merchandise, and a following of loyal customers.

If the answer to these questions is YES, then consignment shops are not worth it and you should take the time to sell things on your own. There are numerous ways to do it through local or International marketplaces.

What percentage does a consignment shop take?

30% to 50% is the typical commission rate for consignment stores. To sweeten the deal, many shops have special offers in place in which they pay out more for highly valuable pieces, or things that sell quickly. Although the commission is important to know, it’s just one factor to consider when you partner with a store.

How much can you make at a consignment shop?

The limiting factor is your merchandise. If you have high demand / high value items, then you can make thousands of dollars. However, the average collection from a personal wardrobe earns several hundred bucks for the consignor.

Learn more about our consignment process