Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Moving Proposition

My family recently moved from one house to another across town.  That seems simple enough.  Neither house is large and other than my 500 pounds of books we don’t have too many items.  We even had a group of hungry college kids who work for BBQ to help.  Despite all that, it took over a month to prepare to move and almost two weeks to accomplish it.  During my month of moving I also had two clients who were also preparing to move.

If you don’t move often yourself you may not think about all that entails.  I was concerned about making sure my breakable items stayed whole and spent a lot of time thinking of proper packing.  One of my clients was worrying about leaving their family antiques in storage for two years while he serves overseas in the military.  That is a common problem in my community.  A full condition report is very important as well as establishing value.  Another common issue is the one involved when someone is moving into a home that is half the size of the current one.  My second client must decide what she’s taking with her and what she’ll do with the rest. I am appraising several pieces so she can make sure she’s keeping the best of her collection.  Next week, I’ll look at a broken Lalique vase to establish the value for replacement under the owners insurance policy.  I got an email only yesterday from a client who let me know that a valuable family antique had made a cross country move successfully thanks to the the custom crate I suggested the mover use.

I’m telling you all this because I wanted to remind you that appraisers can be involved in  many aspects of the moving industry.  I’ve helped many clients prepare for a move by valuing their items including the current condition and I’ve worked on claims settlements for both the mover and shipper (not at the same time!).  Spend a little time thinking about all the ways you can use your appraisal skills to help someone who is moving.  A good starting place is contacting the shippers in your community but that is just the first step.  Talk to realtors, employee relations managers for large employers, home owner’s insurance salespeople, military housing specialists, anyone you can think of who deals with people coming and going to your area.  I get referrals from other antique dealers, cleaning services, jewelers and even the guys who manage the parking meters and lots in town (go figure).  My dentist and butcher have given my name to people who have damage claims.  Make sure you are the friendly neighborhood person who helps fix appraisal problems.  The Lalique vase actually made it through the person’s move but was broken when a new appliance was being delivered so don’t forget to leave your card with furniture and appliance stores too.  I’ve left cards, written short articles for newsletters, offered short talks on preparing to move; all ways to make my name familiar in those circles.

The best tip I can give you for marketing your business is easy.  List the obvious sources of referrals then get a second cup of coffee and think of all the crazy links you can.  You can always strike through the ones that really won’t work but you’d be surprised what brilliant ideas you can come up with when you allow yourself the freedom to think outside the box...or the moving crate as may be.

By: Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP

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