Estate Sales During a Pandemic: Steps You Can Take to Mitigate The Impact Of Coronavirus On Your Estate Sale Business

By Michael Judkins

Events are being canceled, schools are closing, and the CDC is urging social distancing. Whats more, your client may have just called and wants to cancel or postpone their estate sale over fears of having a crowd people in their home. As an estate sale company, what are your options?

While the decision to completely postpone or cancel your sales may  ultimately be decided for you by local, state, or federal authorities, there are steps you can take now to limit the impact of the current pandemic on your business.

Let’s take a look at what those might be.

Conduct An Online-Only Estate Sale

EstateSales.org provides the option for you to create an online-only sale, with items for sale at a fixed price (“Buy it Now”) or via an auction format. The process is straight forward and you can arrange for pickup (or even provide door-to-door delivery) with individual buyers through our easy-to-use communication and invoicing system. Whats more, you can set up your sale so that buyers can pay online (via PayPal or directly to your bank account via Stripe) so that your staff does not have to deal with cash. We’ve provided a comprehensive video on how to set up an online-only sale using EstateSales.org here:

 

To help you make the transition and encourage more online format sales, we are waiving all item commission fees from our online sale platform through the end of April, 2020.

Conduct a By Appointment Only Sale

In order to limit the number of people in the home at any one time, you may choose to be open by appointment only. One great way to do this would be to signup for a free account with an online booking tool such as Calendly. Calendly and other similar tools allow you to set up your own availability first, and then send out a link that allows people to self register for time windows within that availability period. Since no two bookings can overlap, you can effectively limit the number of people in the home at any one time.

Besides the obvious decrease in risk due to physical separation, there are many more benefits to conducting an online only estate sale that you can read about in our blog.

Risk Limitation Of In-Person Sales

Once restrictions and advisories are relaxed and people feel comfortable again, we can again be confident in conducting an in-person estate sale, but that shouldn’t mean letting your guard down completely. Here are some steps you can take to improve safety and sanitation at your sales moving forward:

Ask People That Are Feeling Sick Not To Attend

This should be obvious, but in your ad and when you email your list of buyers, be straight forward in asking that anyone who is experiencing any sort of symptoms to please stay home. If you notice someone sneezing or coughing excessively, even if they say it’s “just allergies” it’s in yours and others best interest to ask them to leave.

Decrease the Number of People In The Home at One Time

If you normally allowed 50 people at a time into the home, decrease this to a lesser number. As of writing, the CDC has actually banned gatherings of over 10 people in one area. As an additional safety measure, have someone tell people waiting in line to provide at least 6 feet of spacing between them at all times.

Clean, Clean, Clean

Come up with a cleaning strategy to wipe and or spray down surfaces and items with disinfectant, focusing on high touch areas like door knobs and tabletops. Supply hand soap and paper towels at the kitchen sink for those who want to wash their hands. Disallow bathroom use entirely.

Hand Sanitizer Upon Entry

If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship during a norovirus outbreak, you might remember the person at the door to the dining room dispensing hand sanitizer. Follow their lead and have an employee at the door providing hand sanitizer to each customer before they enter the home. As an alternative, you could consider offering disposable latex gloves.

Do Not Touch

Ask people to kindly avoid touching surfaces or items unless it is absolutely needed to inspect the item or they are sure they will be purchasing it.

Open Windows & Doors

Sunlight and fresh air have been shown to have disinfecting properties. Studies have shown that well ventilated areas are less likely to harbor airborne viruses.

To Sign or Not?

Many contactless payment systems require the buyer to use their finger to sign on your phone and this is a vector for viral particles. Because they may be just as hesitant about touching your phone as you are about them touching it, consider asking them if they would like you to sign for them. If not, wipe your phone down with disinfectant after they have finished signing.

Go Cashless

Studies have shown that cash can have all manner of bacteria and viruses on it. In order to minimize the risk of virus transmission, move to a 100% cashless system. For more information, read our article on mobile merchant platforms for estate sale companies.

 

We hope we’ve provided some ideas that are helpful to you in limiting the effect of this pandemic on your estate sale business. We want you to know that EstateSales.org is in this together with you and we are here to support you. Should you have any questions about using our online estate sale platform or anything else, please reach out to us.

We will leave you with this quote from Robert H. Schuller “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”