Franchising With Blue Moon Estate Sales
This article is a Q and A with Lea Harper, franchise development director at Blue Moon Estate Sales. Blue Moon is the largest and fastest-growing estate sale company in the U.S.
What is the purpose of an estate sale?
Lea: Franchise owners work with those who are trying to empty the personal belongings of a home within a week. As an owner, you would spend a lot of your time on sales and marketing, and the rest of your time would be spent managing your teams, who are implementing your estate sales on the weekends. Our franchise owners’ goal is to clear 90% to 95% of the contents in a homeowner's home within about a week. This includes furniture, dishes, artwork, jewelry, and even cars!
Who has estate sales?
Lea: A common misconception about estate sales is that they only take place in the event of the passing of a loved one. In reality, 80% of our franchise owners’ clientele are retirees/Baby Boomers who are simply looking to reduce the amount of their stuff before relocating. We also service C-Level Executives, divorcees and there are some commercial opportunities as well.
What’s the importance of moving quickly with estate sales?
Lea: A lot of our clients are seeking to move quickly, and they have a tremendous undertaking. So, we get to step in and bring them peace of mind and solve that very quickly. Additionally, it allows them to close on their home faster, and the proceeds from the sale help them fund their next chapter.
What does the Blue Moon business model look like?
Lea: The brand offers freedom and flexibility to franchise owners. Owners can get creative with staffing infrastructure, and the long-term goal is to build an asset that provides flexibility for the owner and a service to the community.
Is this a home-based business or one in an office setting?
Lea: Blue Moon is generally home-based, but an owner may wish to set up a small office if they prefer. However, because you are visiting a client’s home to do an assessment and the client is not coming to you, a separate business office is not necessary.
How do Blue Moon teams work?
Lea: Many of our owners start with three to five part-time employees and scale it from there. Our owners oversee their teams as they stage and price and conduct the weekend sales, and focus the majority of their efforts on sales and marketing. My best recommendation is 20-30 hours per week on relationship-building. There's nothing you can't delegate onto a key employee, and in terms of staffing infrastructure, you can get as creative as you desire.
What does a typical week look like for a Blue Moon franchise owner?
Lea: During the week you're focusing on sales and marketing to your referral sources for estate sale referrals and then oversee your weekend sales or be available for your Field Manager if they have questions. While you won’t have to be at every sale, you’ll need a team (or several) and weekends are involved.
How do I best price everything in a home?
Lea: We have a phenomenal team in place that will train you on all of the fundamentals. There's no prior experience required for this; and it's a minor learning curve. We'll never be experts at pricing everything that we can encounter in a home, which makes it really fun -- every day is an adventure! A lot of your top-selling items are very repetitive, and there's a standard set menu pricing for those items that are not as high value. There are a lot of streamlined processes in place that allow us to move three to five times faster than competition.
Who is shopping at estate sales?
Lea: Blue Moon has a massive shopper following from collectors, hobbyists, and Interior Designers to business owners selling on a smaller scale downstream. Every time our weekly newsletter goes out to announce the weekend’s sales, our web traffic triples because shoppers want to see what’s coming. Estate sales are also becoming increasingly popular with Millennials and consumers of all ages. Estate sale hopping is catching on as a service for all, and it’s not going anywhere.
What makes Blue Moon the best option?
Lea: We offer the highest return for our homeowners and quickly solve their need to the greatest degree in exchange for professional estate sale services, ensuring peace of mind to our clients. Our services are best-in-class, because we put a high emphasis on integrity and trust.
What is the advantage of being part of the Blue Moon franchise?
Lea: As our brand continues to expand across the country, Blue Moon is pitching to national real estate companies (Berkshire Hathaway, Coldwell Banker or Remax) to be the preferred supplier. We conduct all of their estate sales wherever we have locations. National account opportunities drive more customers to you down the road.
How did Blue Moon pivot during COVID-19?
Lea: We pivoted very quickly. We wanted to ensure that we were practicing all precautions in the home, including capacity limits, according to CDC guidelines. We pivoted with technology so our franchise owners and shoppers could schedule the time in which they wanted to show up instead of everyone showing up the same day and time. We have also followed CDC guidelines for capacity - allowing 10 shoppers in a home at one time, or the permissible guideline depending on the size of the home.
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