Even if you already offer pick-ups and/or drop-off hours, you may want to expand the reach of your service even farther. Allowing clients to ship their items to you opens your business up in a big way. Now anyone with access to postal mail can be your client, meaning you could offer your SA services on the national or even global level. Of course, local clients may also take advantage of your shipping service, as it may be easier for them to pop their items in the mail instead of having you come out for a pick-up or them go out for a drop-off.

There are a few things to consider, however. Firstly, who will pay the shipping costs? Your services would be that much more attractive if you let clients bill the shipping costs to your shipper’s account, but do you really want to take on those extra costs? If the items are worth enough and covering shipping seals the deal, it may be well worth it to secure the contract.

Can people just send you items without first contacting you or signing a contract? If no, what if they do anyway? Letting people just send you stuff without first requiring contact or contract can mean more business, but it can also mean just getting a bunch of stuff you can’t sell that now you’re stuck with. But even if you specify not to send anything until they’ve been approved, clients may anyway. Us humans are not always known for paying a ton of attention to directions, and the lure of just putting your stuff in a box and getting money back magically is pretty strong.

And what if things go wrong? What happens if the client’s items arrive broken or get lost in the mail? What if the client sends you items that they misrepresented? Not getting to physically see the items before committing to them can be dangerous, and you’ll want to make sure you’re protected.

That big list of questions isn’t meant to scare you off but rather to get you thinking of how you want to handle this feature if you decide to offer it. I accept clients from around the world, and many ship their items to me, though I do require that we have a contract first so that my business is protected. If you’ve got a specialty that’s a certain niche, you may want to open yourself up to a wider client base who would gladly go through the hassle of packing and shipping if it meant that their items could benefit from your specific expertise. For example, My Little Pony toys are one of our biggest focuses, and it’s not uncommon for us to take clients from far away who ship their My Little Pony items to us because they know we can get a better price for them than a local seller without our product knowledge.

Photo by kevin dooley

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