Consignment shops sell second-hand items and split the proceeds between the shop and the person who brought in the merchandise. One of the main considerations in utilizing the services of a consignment shop is that if the merchandise you give them to sell for you is not in like-new condition, they probably will not accept it. Thus, if you're planning to get rid of some of your clothes, you have to ensure that they're clean, pressed, stainless, and that all needed repairs have been dutifully taken care of.

The reason that most consignment shops have such strict requirements concerning the type of merchandise they accept is because they want to sell the items at the highest possible price. That way, they make money and the owner of the merchandise makes money as well. Some consignment shops split the profits equally, while others may utilize a 60/40 or lower distribution.

Before you deal with any consignment shop, there are several important factors that you should consider, profits notwithstanding. For example, you must be aware that some consignment shops will not accept clothing unless the brand name is well-known. Also, familiarize yourself on the kinds of merchandise individual shops may specialize in. Note that some of the most popular items that consignment shops love to trade in are prom dresses, wedding gowns and tuxedos because they're usually worn only once. (Of course, some shops will still sell them if they've been worn twice, as long as they remain in first-rate condition.)

Make a list of the consignment shops in your area and ask each of them what items they're looking for or prefer, as well as what their profit-split policy is. Once you find the consignment shop that meets your needs, visit them and discuss the terms (there will probably be some room for negotiation). Once the terms are agreed upon, make sure everything is put down in writing so that there will be no misunderstandings later on.

Of course, a number of local churches and service organizations may compete with consignment shops for bargain-seekers' dollars, because you can usually buy or sell clothing there, as well. Furthermore, some shoppers have even purchased new clothes at garage sales or flea markets and then brought them to consignment shops to sell. Such places usually sell clothing and other items for a song, and you can make a profit by handing them over to a consignment shop.

On the flip-side, consignment shops are also great places to buy clothes or other items. You can rest assured that the clothes you find there will be in excellent condition, are brand name and bargain-priced. While thrift shops only carry donated merchandise in an "as-is" state (meaning that they could be stained or in need of repair), choosing a consignment shop may be the best way to buy merchandise that's not only in top-shelf condition, but will yield a bit of savings, too.

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