If you’re not willing to go to the client to get their items, then they’ll need to be able to get them to you. Drop-off hours are another great feature to add to your service. These can be a regular block of hours that you’re always available for clients to drop by or just appointments that you schedule as needed client by client. Offering drop-offs can be easier for you because you don’t need to drive anywhere to pick up or transport the items. It can also make your business seem more professional and give potential clients more confidence in your service because they’ll get to see your physical location instead of just your car.
Anywhere you offer drop-offs, make sure to provide the client with some kind of receipt that you did receive their item so they have a written record of the transaction. Also, when setting up drop-off hours, don’t just offer the standard 9 to 5. Most potential clients will want to drop off items either before or after work, so extend your hours beyond the normal work week.
Maintaining regularly scheduled drop-off hours can also encourage walk-up business. Allowing walk-ups is the easiest way to ensnare the spontaneous client that operates on the spur of the moment. Imagine the weekend warrior who, full of the zeal of having just cleaned out the garage or attic, wants to come and hand off her items at that very moment to be rid of them. That kind of person doesn’t necessarily have the patience or forethought to arrange time with an SA ahead of time and may love the instant nature of just showing up, signing away their items to you right then, and moving on with their lives.
If you’ve got a public-ready space in your home, such as an office or locked lobby, that’s the ideal solution. Another option is to have a physical retail storefront. If you’re working out of your home, drop-offs can be tricky.
Do you want strangers stopping off at your personal residence? For that matter, do you want potential clients seeing your home? Are you comfortable advertising the address of your home in your SA marketing materials, letting the general public know that you store other people’s valuables at your house? Can you handle SA drop-offs to your home in a way that still makes your company come off professionally? It can absolutely be done, it just involves a little planning. If you do decide to offer drop-off hours at your home, please make sure to take additional security precautions, as it can present a danger to both your privacy and personal safety if you’re not careful.
You’ll also need to consider security on the client’s end. How can you ensure the safety of their items in the event of loss or damage once in your possession? If your drop-off station is unmanned, how will you handle items you aren’t willing to sell or items that were misrepresented? Can people just drop things off without singing a contract first?
Any drop-off location, whether in your home or not, should be staffed during drop-off hours. You’ll likely need to hire someone to run the drop-off location when you aren’t available. This may also involve training that person on what kind of items to accept because otherwise you’ll be stuck selling whatever they commit to on your behalf.
If you can’t find a way to offer drop-offs with your current situation, consider starting a partnership with a local business that will accept drop-offs on your behalf. This partnership could even be done in exchange for your selling their items for them or some other barter. Even if you have to pay some kind of monthly fee or strike some other financial deal in order to mooch some of their counter space from time to time, it’ll be far less than you’d pay to have your own storefront. Just keep in mind that the location you partner with will reflect on your business. If the person manning their counter is rude to your customer, or if the storefront is in an unsavory location, that will taint how your business is perceived. That said, if there’s a local business that is similar in nature to what you sell, it could be a big boost in business for both of you.