1. Scout before you buy and learn the lay of the land. Always attend auction previews.
2. Learn the auctioneer’s language so you minimize mistakes.
3. Know when to stop; auction fever is contagious and costly.
4. Understand and read the rules; auctioneer premiums and sales tax can kill profit.
5. If you put in part-time effort, you will receive part-time pay. As a novice you need to be dedicated.
6. Value items not only by their cost but by their size. Realize it will take time to get a retail number. Storage and delicacy is factored into buying. If you can make $100 on an ATV or $100 on a set of tools, go with the tools; $50 profit on a lamp versus $50 profit on a watch, go with the smaller, less fragile piece.
In the Thrift Store
1. Always look at where a piece is made -- look for Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, etc. Also you may find the date. These are important to understanding the value.
2. Pay more attention to the fresh stock coming into a store. The longer an item sits, the more likely it's a dud for making profit. Good finds don't collect dust.
3. Build a relationship with the people who work there; always ask about the coolest/strangest thing they have in the shop. You will be surprised what comes out of the backroom.
4. Condition, condition, condition. Your customers want to get pieces that are in good condition and so do you.