Pawning Parties, Estate Liquidations & Texas Prison Weddings- How We Work It Out…

It’s not uncommon for 10-20% of my client base to barter their event services through my sister business, The Pawning Planners. 

For three years, the option for clients who can’t afford to pay for Event services through Texas Twins Events to barter their event has opened a window for alternative Event services that had never before existed.

I have numerous event services listed at Texas Twins Events that include Pawning Parties or Rent Parties. Both of these services require an Appraisal Appointment in order to evaluate whether or not there are enough items of value to make a liquidation worthwhile to us. Why? Time. 

Cindy and I are paid as a coordinators and consultants by the hour at other events but, at Liquidations, my staff and I are paid a percentage of the profit much like any other liquidation event service. No one offers this type of very involved sale for free or as a volunteer. 

When a creative request for a rent party aka a Pawning Party came through The Pawning Planners, I once again rebranded and expanded to address the issue. A year later, an Estate Liquidation Event Request had me juggling to liquidate a storage unit that the client could no longer afford. 

These types of events require organizing, pricing, coordinating and marketing along with 3-6 days on site with a team of no less than 2 people and at larger scale events, 2-5 people. 

For some reason, a few people assume that we offer Estate Liquidation Services or Pawning Parties for free or as volunteers but, we don’t. Ask any Estate Sale Specialist to work for free and you may get a laugh but, you won’t get a contract. 

Both of these types of liquidation events require on site organization and pricing for several days and subsequently, a large percentage of the profit from the sale as well as any items left over. 

I’m clarifying how this works in order to address continued requests by others wanting to make quick cash by either having an Estate Sale or Pawning Party without understanding our involvement in process and more importantly, why we don’t work for free to in order to make others money. 

A lot of work and time is involved on our end as well as juggling our schedules in order to address these quick sale requests. Yes, yes. We know you need to make money which is why you’re planning a sale but, we work for money so, if you need our help, be prepared to pay for it.

My sister and I work as a Twin Team while our adult children, grandchildren and my father prefer to work solo. Cindy and I always work together. Large Events require my entire Texas Twins Events Team on site at the same time. I answer a lot of questions regarding what we do with Flipped, Swapped or Traded items taken in trade through The Pawning Planners and today, will answer this question first. 

Many of the items aren’t Quick Flips meaning they must first undergo an extensive refurbishing process in order to become “sale ready.” Quick Flips are ready to list and sale immediately. 

Items that take far longer to list or flip are antiques and furniture which require an extensive refurbishing process prior to be offered for sale.

A few years ago, I wrote a blog regarding Rings and Regrets when two Brides asked for two rings in my inventory and promised to repay me at their wedding in Austin a few weeks later. 

Since they were already Clients, I should have revised their contract and added both rings to the balance prior to sending the rings but, I trusted them to settle up and, they didn’t. 

Throughout the wedding, I continued to try and recover the payments on the rings and was effectively, ignored. Here’s the blog- Rings, Regrets & Getting Paid For Inventory.

Cindy is still upset about “getting stiffed” on our ring inventory and although I never planned on getting taken advantage of again, several months ago, a friend of my sons came to my office to discuss an upcoming Prison Wedding and wanted to take 2 of my Texas Twins Treasures rings for approval with her. 

Needless to say, she lied about planning a Prison Wedding and specifically used this faux meeting in order to get my inventory under the premise of visiting her boyfriend in Prison and asking which one he liked better? After weeks of calling her to get my inventory back, I was forced to sue her. Yes. I know how to file a lawsuit for Theft.

Since this lady was a longtime friend of my sons, I trusted her and, I made a mistake. Both rings were 925 Sterling Silver and combined could easily sell for over $400. I gave her a month to return the rings prior to suing her. My home is covered in cameras and audio equipment as is my office so, proving I owned the rings was quite simple. 

I no longer trust people to do the right thing whether I know them personally or not. Here are photos of both rings. 

From bouncing checks to broken promises, I’ve learned that you just can’t trust anyone to keep their word which is why I refuse to work without a contract in place and on my Texas Twins Treasures Inventory, money up front if it’s a local pickup sale or Paypal if we are shipping your items. We do not take checks either. 

If I sound hard it’s because of the many times I’ve trusted someone to do the right thing only to be disappointed. Life is a great teacher and con artists are very good at making promises that they will never keep. No one expects to get sued but, when you have no other option for Theft Of Services or simple Theft, you run off to the courthouse. 

We do not offer credit on any item in the storefront but, do take layaway payments on Texas Twins Treasures items. Layaway options give Clients time to pay for an item if they wish. 

Now and again, I review an email that reads “I really want this but, can’t afford it, can you just give it to me?” The answer is no. Why? No one gave it to us. Our entire inventory at Texas Twins Treasures is compromised of trades we’ve taken and either refurbished or listed for sale. 

There isn’t a magic fairy bringing gifts or inventory to us. Quite the contrary, our inventory was earned. We worked at Events in order to gain our inventory and list our items at fair market value. Cindy and I know what we have listed items at is a reasonable cost. We research extensively prior to listing any item for sale. We also sell fairly and don’t donate items simple because we are asked to. We aren’t rich and can’t afford to give away inventory. 

The fact that we’ve been duped out of 4 rings is expressly why we won’t extend credit to anyone for any reason at Texas Twins Treasures or, extend credit for services at Texas Prison Weddings or Texas Twins Events.

Pawning Planners Clients benefit from extended credit and are a different type of booking altogether. Why? We are working in exchange for the items we’ve taken in trade and will eventually sell them. It takes far longer to flip antiques or furniture but, these items will eventually sell and, at a profit. 

Refurbishing antiques and furniture, involves a hefty expense of upholstery, labor and often stain for dry wood are often required in order to successfully find a buyer. 

No one really wants to buy anything that isn’t “ready to use it enjoy” because we live in an “instant gratification” world. 

Getting top dollar back after taking a chance by investing in the cost of refurbishing furniture is the only way that I can make a profit. Anyone buying a “project” piece wants to pay a project price. I don’t sell anything that I wouldn’t buy myself. 

Weekend furniture restoration project folks email me constantly about selling an item they’ve seen me take in trade on blogs in pre restoration condition. I never Fire Sale antiques or unique furniture as these items are my top moneymakers and sellers. 

These items may look terrible when we are loading them up to take possession but, the structure and unique lines are primarily what interest me. I love carved wood and inlaid wood design furniture. 

A refurbished antique Sofa can easily sell for $2500 and up. A refurbished antique set? Even more. I know what I’m looking for and don’t settle on anything furniture related that isn’t rare, funky or unique. 

Liquidating my trade treasures when they are in a trashy state would effectively, cost me money because finding items of value is harder than you might think. It’s actually not unusual for us to go on a bum run and leave empty handed. It’s happened more than anyone realizes.

The items I take in trade are refurbished and sold to pay my Events Team for their services at our bartered events. 

Sorry fellow junksters but, the last thing I am interested in doing is giving away a treasured flip I worked so hard to find in the first place. I know ya all are trying to find something worthy to flip but, flipping is how we pay our expenses and fund Pawning Planners Clients Events. I appreciate your interest but, never sell items waiting to be restored. 

Any true junker realizes that finding a treasure among trash is a time consuming and often unrewarding treasure hunt. Turn around times often vary based on my schedule. I store items until I can find time to decide on the fabrics and if staining is necessary, complete the staining process first. 

Having someone sift through my warehouses simply because they’ve asked would be similar to inviting someone to sift through my home and offer me pennies on the dollar. I’m never desperate to sell anything that I may not be able to replace. Everything in my storage was carefully selected because I saw value in the item regardless of its current state. 

When you find something amazing- you know it if you have product knowledge. My sister and I would never make a profit if we were effectively flipping items blind without any product knowledge. Knowing how to appraise an item is essential to our success. 

With a lifetime of sales history under our belts, we both split up on location and look for completely different items. I’m mainly interested in antiques and furniture while Cindy is interested in quick Flips or, ready to sell smaller items. The reason for this is that Cindy knows flipping antiques or furniture could easily cost hundreds of dollars. She has no interest whatsoever in flipping anything that requires an investment. I am. 

The Pawning Planners and Texas Twins Treasures work together to make Dream Events a Reality. Clients bartering services can request any service offered at Texas Twins Events and effectively, trade items for services. 

What makes my Texas Twins Treasures designs so different is that I only use the finest tapestry fabrics and foam to ensure our furniture is a timeless treasure to buyers who are often in other states and therefore, pay for packaging and freight as well as the item itself.

When my sister and I arrive at a Pawning Party Request, it’s essential to convince anyone facing losing their home to realize that while selling all of their furniture and appliances may seem “extreme” that foreclosure or eviction often leaves them with the only option available, liquidation. 

Or if they choose to decline to sell everything, figure another option out such as borrowing money from family or taking out a second mortgage or orchestrating a sale on their own.

If we need to load or move items from a storage unit, an upfront fee is involved to rent the truck and store items until we can orchestrate an estate sale. Renting box trucks and moving items is expensive to us and not free to Clients. I require a contract for an Estate Liquidation or Pawning Party. Why? Because Cindy and I photograph everything when committing to an event and on occasion, clients have decided to remove items that they changed their mind about without understanding the terms of the deal. Inventorying the items is how we know whether a sale is lucrative or not.  

The truth is that when you are being paid a percentage- the last thing you want is for someone to remove the most valuable items and effectively remove the anticipated bottom line from the sale. We don’t allow removal of items because the sale and profit are based on the inventory and, other liquidators don’t either.

If you are calling us to generate revenue, bear in mind that we don’t work for free, we require a contract and we won’t take on a task that will lose money. 

We know what items are worth and effectively, what our help is worth too. The deal has to benefit both parties. This is standard with any liquidation organization. 

A few years ago, I had someone contact me regarding an Estate Liquidation. Arriving at the home, the smell of cat urine was so bad that I nearly threw up. The house was full of broken furniture and trash. The “client” wanted the house emptied in order to sell it. The only item of value was an organ that the client wanted to keep. 

Explaining that other than the organ, nothing of value was left in a home full of sprayed furniture and boxes, empty bottles and bags of trash. I was firm on a price if he was taking the organ out of the deal and explained that without the organ, he needed a money order, cashiers check, or cash along with a contract strictly laying out the terms. 

This “client” thought he was making the Rules. Cleaning out that house would’ve taken 4-6 40ft rented dumpsters, and a team of at least 4 people and 7-10 days on location to pull everything out of the house and load into the dumpsters.

This enlightening conversation wasn’t being taken too well but, I calmly explained that no one was going to work for free doing “all the dirty work” without compensation including, me and my staff. 

If you are a hoarder, hauling off trash isn’t free to us and it isn’t free to you either. The amount of labor involved to “empty” a house filled to the ceiling with basically trash is a very expensive endeavor. Get your checkbook out because it’s gonna cost you thousands of dollars unless of course, you’ve been selected to star on an episode of Hoarders. 

Eventually, the cat house was liquidated by someone we referred to do the clean up job. The cost? A Lien against the house for $7k when the owner refused to pay for services and effectively, broke the contract that he was required to sign by my referral company that regularly strips homes and hauls off trash.

Don’t expect anyone to clean up your mess for free. The cat house owner was a problem from the minute I walked into the house and he assumed we not only liquidate but also, clean houses. We don’t. We stage houses for a fee and we liquidate assets. Other than the organ, there wasn’t anything in the house of value. 

Cat urine ruins furniture from the wood up. Cindy summed up this situation with a quote from our Pawning Planners Apparel Line “Don’t EXPECT to CHERRY pick, a WITHERED branch, FROM a BARREN tree, people’s GENEROSITY eventually RUNS out.” 

With the cat urine guy and at least 10 cats running around me, my patience with his demanding attitude was at an all time low and, I was dealing with nausea. The smell was overpowering. I knew when I referred another clean up crew to instruct them to get a contract. The cat guys arrogance by far outweighed his intelligence.

Cindy’s favorite #quote “I am NOT a MATHEMATICIAN, please don’t BING me any MORE of your PROBLEMS, to solve” for FREE! Here’s another hilarious observation of Cindy’s “GRATITUDE is the DIFFERENCE between APPRECIATION, and a SENSE of ENTITLEMENT!” 

Last year after a “friend” asked me to sell their patio furniture, I wound up renting a box truck to deliver it and without a contract, went unpaid. I don’t work for broken promises or for free. Since it was a coworker of my husbands, I dropped the issue and lost money while learning a valuable lesson about “helping someone sell something.” 

My team of family members are accustomed to being paid and, I wrote this blog last year to better explain how we now address requests without benefits and our selling process- You’ve Got To Give To Get With The Pawning Planners- We Aren’t Volunteers. 

Free or complimentary photography is not an option for Texas Twins Events Clients. Why? Because they can afford $75 VS traditional pricing of $300 and up an hour. Pawning Planners Clients cannot afford to pay for photography.

The process of appraising and evaluating items does take a lot of time as does advertising the sale which is why the fee for a Pawning Party is 35% as we are often on location for a significant amount of time, 1-2 days as well as advertising the sale is also a lengthy process. 

Pawning Parties are Quick Flips or Fire Sales. The clients need money fast and have no time to fool around. A Pawning Party is often scheduled the weekend of our first meeting with a client. 

My husband has a friend who always needs money. Barry doesn’t want to sell his house but, lives beyond his means. We actually know several friends in similar situations.

A few months ago, I heard my husband on the phone telling Barry “your money problems aren’t going to solve themselves. What you need to do is sell your house, sell your motorcycle, and sell whatever else you can to pay your debts.” 

Although Matthew and Barry have been friends since they were ten years old, Barry didn’t want to hear financial advice that involved selling his home. 

My husband is a no nonsense type of person who understood the risk of loaning money often involved the risk of never being repaid. Sometimes, you have to cut people off. 

Matthew and I sold our home to put money in savings and I took a large chunk of the proceeds to start my four unique businesses. Having all of your money wrapped up in real estate and surviving 2 real estate crashes taught us both quite a bit about having 350-450k wrapped up in real estate, it’s risky. 

Our money is better off in the bank than in a home that could lose its value. No one gave me my websites, trademarks, copyrights or other necessary business items that are all far from inexpensive. 

My husband and I sold our Dream Home to start Texas Twins Events and subsequently, The Pawning Planners while putting the rest of our money tucked safely away in the bank. We are survivors. We’ve been to Hell and back which is why I don’t take risks or gambles that will cost me money on a Flip, Swap or Trade and also why I never let the Client make the Rules. 

If my family and I are helping you when no one else will, a humble attitude is far more valuable than someone trying to dictate the deal. After all, we can walk away and if it’s a losing proposition, we have. If we can’t make a workable solution with a prospect, we don’t. 

Barry also had some old patio furniture he asked me about selling. The patio furniture in question was Samsonite and completely rusted. In its current state, it was effectively, worthless. 

Barry suggested that I “fix it up” and then selling it. I explained that fixing it up would involve at least $300- $500 and even then, the furniture would net less than $400 so, I wasn’t interested in getting involved in an upside down “deal.” I’ve learned to correct anyone assuming that I love to work my ass off cleaning their item or repairing it in order to sell it for THEM. 

I don’t flip upside down items. The reason for this is that I’m often covering the up front expenses to flip for a profit by cleaning or refurbishing the item prior to listing it. It isn’t free to me. It’s time consuming and effectively, hard work. 

Nobody wants to buy junk and I don’t want to invest time and money into something that will only benefit someone else either. After all of these years of people wanting me to sell their items for them, I finally got tired of pulling the wagon. Anyone would. 

Favors are expensive and edicating my friends about how they can sell items themselves isn’t an easy conversation. They don’t want to put the effort in. There is no such thing as easy money without effort in the selling business. 

Many of my so called “friends” over the years have expected me to sell or market their items and give them all of the proceeds because they fail to understand that my time has value. “You’re so good at it. You can sell anything. I need you to sell this.” These types of compliments don’t pay my bills. If I’m spending time marketing and selling items for others that I could be using generating revenue for myself, I’m losing money.

I’m good at selling and marketing because I’ve learned to be good at it. I put it the time and effort to attract buyers because presentation is important. 

Everyone including my own friends and family sign a contract that includes a minimum 30% commission and if I have to repair, repaint or reupholster an item in order to sell it,  an additional fee of 15% to cover my expenses. 

A few years ago, I wrote a blog regarding my commission fees. If you want me to sell your item, I can but, it will be less my investment of time, any expenses involved to make the item marketable, delivery fees if they apply and finally, 30% of the profit prior to eBay or PayPal fees or both. 

Barry finally did sell his house and moved to an apartment. Barry also tried to donate the patio furniture but wound up paying to dump it. Dumping junk isn’t free. He no longer lives paycheck to paycheck and no longer needs to borrow money from my husband either. At 67 years old, Barry doesn’t need a house or his toys. What he does need is money in the bank.

My husband doesn’t feel sorry for people crying poor mouth that have assets they can sell but, don’t want to do anything or make any sacrifices to change their situation. He also worries constantly about liabilities. “If you have to rent a truck or are involved in an accident- we are responsible not your clients.” My husband is a realist. 

Matthew Wortham had a lot of questions regarding the fence party situation that were well founded “is she a senior citizen on a fixed income, does she work? She must own her home or the landlord would fix the fence.” I failed to ask these questions and subsequently, learned a valuable lesson. 

Helping a home owner improve their property and losing money on renting the truck to transport the panels and poles was actually, a liability and expense for me by renting two trucks to deliver poles and panels to her home. 

My husband also wanted to know if “by chance, it was a military family? It wasn’t. Was she married?” I didn’t think to ask these questions at the time.

My husband thinks in a circle and couldn’t understand why on earth a homeowner with a job and possibly a boyfriend or husband was asking me to fix their problem? He was lit about it.

If Cindy and I are unable to find items of value, we don’t schedule a Pawning Party or Estate Liquidation and instead instruct Clients to either set up a Go Fund Me Page or consider selling their vehicle and occasionally, their home. We cannot make gravy outta water.” If you don’t have anything of value- you don’t have anything to work with. 

If you are requesting a Sponsored Event Service, please be aware that if you own your home, you aren’t needy. This issue continued to come up. Homeowners are not indigent. They own an asset and can therefore, afford to pay for service or barter something of value.

Due to our schedules and existing clients, Liquidation Events must be profitable for us or we will need to take a pass. We aren’t in the fix everyone’s problems for free business. No one is. 

Pawning Parties are mainly limited to the home itself, it’s unusual for us to have more than one building to price, photograph and effectively, market to the right buyers.

If a client needs direction or insight regarding selling items, Cindy and I work as consultants and appraisers for $175 an hour. 

Shelby had messaged me several months ago regarding liquidating her garage but, due to my schedule, it would be months before my sister and I found the time to drive to Lewisville. Her husband wanted her to clear out the garage but, the garage was so loaded that I had a difficult time trying to Appraise items I couldn’t see by standing outside the garage since there was no way to enter it.

Yesterday, Cindy and I had 2 Appraisal Appointments and a wedding in a Oklahoma parking lot which made for a pretty packed day of driving more than 300 miles. 

Driving is an essential part of meeting our clients in person to go over what they need, what they have to barter and/or what they are wanting to sell if they aren’t bartering Event Services.

Estate Liquidations are far more involved than Pawning Parties as they normally don’t involve a deadline. People facing foreclosure or eviction don’t have time to go through their items carefully and effectively, Fire Sale anything and everything including TV’s, Mircowaves, bedroom furniture and more. 

Sleeping on the floor isn’t exactly appealing but, if you’ve lost you job, are going through a divorce or illness has effected your ability to pay your bills, you really have no other option.

I recently had a client ask how we knew the value of items or how we had learned to Fire Sale items and the appraise approximate value? It’s a good question. The answer is personal experience. 

If my sister and I hadn’t suffered the loss of both of our husbands income in 2007, we (most likely) would have never thought of liquidating our homes and our assets in order to pay the bills. 

My husband was struck by the real estate crunch in 2007 and Cindy’s husband was laid off 2 years prior to his retirement from Albertsons. 

We had to tie every bundle to survive and, we did. We also had to sell all of our belongings to get by and keep from losing our homes which is how we know to Fire Sale items. 

High end items are the first thing you should consider selling in a Fire Sale as they are often worth the most money.

For jewelry, visit 3-5 jewelry or silver stores to sell items as the bids are wildly different. For furs, eBay is the best selling outlet and while expensive due to fees, gives you a worldwide audience of buyers that any other platform won’t. 

Craigslist, Offer Up, FB Marketplace and others are great for selling less expensive items as the buying audience is similar to a yard sale client in that they want to spend as little money as possible.

You don’t sell a mink coat on Craigslist unless you are so desperate that you have no other option. I strongly suggest paying the eBay and PayPal fees involved to target a wider and often, more affluent market of buyers who can afford to pay a better price.

We started out our day visiting Shelby and her mother in Lewisville, Texas. Shelby is a FB Friend and has a garage full of items that her husband would like her to liquidate. 

Traditionally, Estate Liquidations can take 3-5 days to organize and separate and 2-3 days to sell which is a very involved process and why we charge 45% of the “take.” There is a lot more time, work and set up involved at an Estate Sale. 

The variation in fees for a Pawning Party and Estate Liquidation is time and effort. We are on location 1-2 days for a Pawning Party while an Estate Liquidation could take 3-5 to set everything up and 2-3 days to sell the items. Items left unsold become our property and we flip them at Texas Twins Treasures. 

Since Shelby is a FB friend, Cindy and I did an on site consult with her at no cost and suggested selling her most valuable items first by listing them separately. Giving advice is generally a consult fee based visit but, spending a little over an hour on site gave Shelby pointers on how to make the most money on a sale. 

Selling the most expensive items separate is the best way to get the most bang for your item. The reason for this is that a yard sale would fetch far less for antiques and quality furniture items. “Cherry Picking” your best items is always a good idea because you never want to Fire Sale your most valuable assets.

After going around  the house on the other side of Shelby’s garage and an area near it, I recognized she had 2 Meadowcraft Bakers Racks and 2 chairs missing the seat pads which would take the “right buyer.” Replacing the board on a chair (or 2) isn’t cheap and the cost of replacing both of the seat bases along with having cushions made for the chairs would easily run $60-80.00 each based on the quality of fabric used. 

Wrought iron items have a market in the patio furniture industry because quality never goes out of style. Laying against the side of the garage were what appeared to be two double gliders and 2-4 single gliders that were either Samsonite or another manufacturer of steel products. 

Because several of the items were outside in the “elements,” the steel gliders had a few rust areas that would need to be addressed and the hardware was missing which to the right buyer wouldn’t be a huge issue but to the wrong buyer would. Missing hardware can be difficult to find especially for Samsonite since they no longer produce patio furniture.

When it comes to patio furniture, there isn’t any American manufacturer that I’m not familiar with since I spent 15 years selling high end patio furniture at both Texas Patios and Yard Art. My product knowledge is priceless since quality patio furniture is always in demand. 

Cindy and I “spotted” a 6ft tall wooden indian outside the garage door that based on my experience, appeared to be 30-45 years old. I’m a bit of a wooden indian enthusiast and quickly stopped to admire an item that most collectors would have never left outside. 

Apparently, Shelby’s grandmother had hand carved the Indian but due to the elements, the base was cracked down the middle, half of one of the feet were missing and the base in the back had broken off. 

Due to damage, this Indian might fetch $200 but, being 6ft tall, if it had been in better condition, could easily sell for $1k. The expense to repair the Indian in its current state could easily be $300-400 which since her husband didn’t wish to sell it didn’t make a difference anyway.

Being on location isn’t for the faint hearted as we are often in extreme temperatures going through an Appraisal Appointment in a garage or barn and occasionally, outside. 

Last year my twin sister and I went on a weight loss journey that put us in far better shape at Appraisal Appointments that require a lot of climbing and bending or lifting. 

We may be in our fifties but, we are in the best shape ever now and no longer out of breath going through a storage unit or barn or even loaded garage. 

We don’t hire help to load furniture items we take in trade because we save money by loading them ourselves if items aren’t too heavy. Often, my son helps load heavier items with Cindy and I. 

If an item is too much for the three of us, I hire Firefighters Finest or Two Men and a Truck as getting a hernia doing heavy lifting is far more expensive than hiring additional help.Being in good shape is essential to not only loading and evaluating trades but also to address unique requests for coordinating which often requires moving tables and chairs along with lots of stamina. Being on location 4-8 hours isn’t easy.

The fence party request last year was a surprising but, by digging deeper, I learned that a ladies fence had fallen down and she needed poles and panels to replace her existing fence. I was at home sipping coffee while reading the message inquiring about a fence party. 

My husband was (as usual) leery about helping someone with THEIR fence problem since “no one ever helped us with OUR fence problems.” Matthew is constantly amazed by people assuming that we are in the “fix everyone else’s problems for free business” we aren’t. He reminds me of this fact on a daily basis. My husband hates it when he feels that my generosity is being taken advantage of.

Estate Liquidations and Pawning Parties aren’t free to our clients and creative requests aren’t free either. We are paid by a percentage of the overall sale. 

The fence problem seemed urgent and much to my husbands dismay, I entertained the idea of helping her to a certain extent if I could find free panels and posts and let her solve the issue of finding help to put the fence back up. 

The city had warned the fence lady about  fining her for a fallen fence which put her in a precarious situation of fixing the fence or paying several hundred dollars in fines and still fixing the fence. 

This gig had a timeline and due to the situation, I had a plan. I rarely work for free but, since I understood the situation and my husband is a custom home builder, thought perhaps finding fence panels would be easy since he has several fence contractors. 

I discussed the situation with him at dinner and, got a laugh. Matthew thought this fence request was a liability for a number of reasons after hearing my plan. His concerns? “What did we know about her situation? Were we asking enough questions? Were we requiring a contract and truck rental expenses? Why didn’t she have friends or family to help her? What made her think we fix people’s problems for free? Especially a homeowner?” Not to mention these other liabilities: 

1. We could get hurt moving and loading the fences and panels and possibly have medical expenses involved. 2. We could be in an accident driving a rented truck that I’m responsible for. 3. If poles or panels fell out of the truck- my husband and I would be sued because I was driving the rented truck and 4. The expense of renting the truck was mine. 

These were all very valid reasons. My thought was that if none of the above happened and I could help this lady that one day she would help a stranger too. 

My desire to help strangers can often backfire and, when asked when we were going to come back and put up the fence? It did. I never planned on putting up the fence. I committed to finding used poles and panels for free and bringing them to her home. 

As usual, my husband was shocked about being asked to put the fence up after everything we had already done and asked “if we were expected to warranty the work too? What if that fence falls down? Are you expected to drop everything and run back over there? Don’t ever do anything like this again.” 

I suggested she ask others to put the fence up as we were occupied helping existing clients. After all, I had spent two separate days in a rented truck trying to pick up panels and poles before finding them and delivering them to her which is more than her friends and families were willing to do.

There was no way my husband would allow Cindy and I to go dig post holes and get the fence up and quite frankly, we were exhausted from loading and moving everything.

Often, clients contacting me have no idea of the liabilities involved on my end. Taking a risk on a trade that might cost me money is an everyday occurrence. My husbands solid  income is the sole reason that losing money doesn’t affect my lifestyle. 

Working for free and at our own expense? Not unless it’s a military family or senior citizen. A new set of rules for creative requests occurred after the fence party request.

I gamble on Flips now and again and occasionally, Fire Sale refurbished items taking up space in my storeroom. It’s not an everyday occurrence but, it happens as any seller or junkster knows.

After the fence fixing incident, my husband made me promise to never rent a truck or do manual labor again to solely benefit someone else. The risks and expenses involved by far outweighed the rewards that in that case, were nonexistent. 

My husband is older and wiser than me and he could care less about helping strangers. His reasons? No one ever helped him and it’s every man for himself. He’s aware of the costs associated with all of my businesses to us and therefore, expects a return on the investments. “We didn’t spend all of this money to create businesses to benefit everyone else. You created The Pawning Planners to REQUIRE people to offer something of value in exchange for working. Don’t forget that.” He went on about paying for expenses on a deal that wasn’t going tine compensated. 

My husband knows that working a losing deal can make me miss out on a paying gig because I’m booked out on a volunteer mission and he’s right.

“You operate a business. You offer services and you’re entitled to compensation. If they want free services or free solutions, cut them loose!”

“Businesses profit- helping people for free costs money. If they have nothing to offer, you tell them that you have nothing to give. Stop feeling sorry for people. No one felt sorry for us when we were selling furniture to survive. Don’t forget that it’s important and reality!” My husband doesn’t care about other people’s problems. 

Since starting Texas Twins Events, I’ve had so many people come to me wanting free services that I had to find a way to force people claiming they had no money to offer something, anything in exchange for services. I created The Pawning Planners to force people to put some skin in the game. 

For years, everyone wanted something but claimed they had no money. For years, my husband wearily watched us run off to work, develop film and use gas fixing other people’s problems. It took awhile for him to get fed up watching me spin my wheels and money helping strangers but, he eventually did. 

One of his funniest comments about a couple wanting a wedding but claiming to have no money was to tell me I need to “let them know that if they couldn’t afford to get married that they probably couldn’t afford to be married.” He was actually right. They owned a home and had a new car but balked at $175 for an Officiant and photography package and refused an Appraisal Appointment to look for anything of value. I turned the Request down because after years of working for free, I was sick and tired of working for free by trusting every person that said they were broke.

All of this working for free and sad luck story stuff is what actually forced me to create The Pawning Planners and stop feeling sorry for everyone. 

The JP charges $100 to marry you without photos. They don’t care if you have money or not and, I no longer do either. 

My effort and my teams efforts to make Dream Events a Reality warrant consideration. 

The Pawning Planners REQUIRE Appraisal Appointments. We get to go into your home and look for items of value if you claim to have no money and take these items to sell. 

The years of “I want this or need this” along with claims of “having no money” dramatically decreased when people learned that in order to get free services– we go through your house and effectively pick and paw to find items of value and load them up to sell them at Texas Twins Teeasures to cover the cost of Event Services. 

Yes, The Pawning Planners option was a real game changer! No one claiming to have no money really wants us going through their house and digging through their stuff. 

Matthew rarely ever supported the idea of helping people with nothing in return unless, of course they were a military family or senior or simply needed a Funeral Officiant which is something that no one actually plans for.

My husband knew that the possibility of finding anyone to donate a new fence when the contractors don’t replace old fences at custom homes was a bad idea. 

He was also offended that someone had the audacity to ask me to fix their problem. Honestly, he was. “You’re enjoying your evening at home and someone disrupts it by dumping their problem in your lap. WTF?” Yep. That’s my husband. 

My husband is a businessman and always reminds me that “Ann Landers writes advice. She doesn’t go rent trucks or lift heavy items helping people for nothing in return. Tell them what to do and forget doing it for them like anyone else.” Or, have them write Ann or Abby for advice. Ann and Abby actually get paid to give their advice and, you should too. 

Occasionally, Cindy “nails a situation” with her saucy Quotes used on Pawning Planners Apparel “if COMMON sense were CRACKER crumbs, SOME people WOULDN’T have ENOUGH, for a PIGEON to PILFER!” 

We now charge consultation fees because my husband is right. Spending time emailing or calling people or even traveling to their home or office to give them insight is time consuming and, time is money. If you want us to help you generate revenue or new clients, you pay for our insight. 

No one was interested in solving someone else’s problem without being paid. When I tell you that I have helped people no one else would help- I’m being damn serious.

Occasionally, my husband strongly suggests telling people to figure it out themselves and remove myself from their problems. I now listen to him because my soft heart has cost me plenty of money from our household income. I cannot afford to be a liability to my husband for anyone. 

The main difference between my husband and I is that he could care less about a strangers problems. Seriously. He often gets upset about some of the things he hears people asking me to do and wonders why I care? In certain situations, I don’t but, I knew someone somewhere was replacing a fence and, if I could find them that I would solve the problem. I was for reasons I’m not sure of, determined to find a solution. 

Matthew once overheard someone telling me they needed me to help them clean their yard up. I told them to do it in steps as we don’t trim trees or haul off trash. He was horrified that anyone would assume his wife or her family were day labor. Enlightening people to the reality that their request is one sided is an everyday experience for me. I could be at home gardening or spending time with my family.

My husband is consistently amazed at some of the requests that have nothing to do with event services. The last thing that he wants is for me or my sister to be doing manual labor and believe it or not, these requests to fix other people’s problems continue to pour in. 

We are an event business. The Pawning Planners barter event services. Texas Twins Treasures sells bartered items. Texas Twins Events offers Event Coordination, Officiants, Floral Design and Photography. Estate Liquidation and Pawning Parties are coordinated Events all services are offered for a cost or more importantly, considerarion.

But, this request for a fence party was so out of the ordinary that I kept try my to find a way to make it work although I quickly learned that no one else cared about helping Norma. It took about 3 weeks to find a solution. 

Although my initial contact was for a fence party, I knew that parties were expensive and I don’t sponsor parties. Why? Food, drinks, tables, chairs and more make the cost of a “party” at least $400 and up. We never sponsor a party. If you want a party, you pay to rent and provide items like anyone else. A party wasn’t going to fix Norma’s problem but, poles and panels would. 

No one was interested in donating new panels. I quickly realized that Cindy and I were the only ones who gave a damn about this lady or and had another idea. 

I decided to run an ad on Craigslist seeking free fence panels. If I could find them, I knew the cheapest truck rental was at Home Depot. We would deliver them and Norma would need to find volunteers in order to put the fence back up. 

Dedicated readers often know that I require “putting some skin in the game.” What does that mean really? It means that if we are going to help you, you have to put effort in as well and help yourself. 

For a week my husband asked me to drop this fence situation and move on to paying clients. He was more than a little upset that someone had taken their problem and dumped it in my lap. But my problem solving skills wouldn’t allow me to let this one go. I knew there was a solution and didn’t simply give up on it.

No client from Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners, Texas Prison Weddings or Texas Twins Treasures sat in the wagon without compensating my team and I got our efforts but, occasionally just giving others insight or direction helped them resolved their issues. 

Every client and every situation is different but, if you are contacting us to fix all of your problems like the cat guy, understand that we are a business and as such, expect a return on our investment. 

Juggling existing clients while trying to find a solution for the fence lady, I ran a free ad on craigslist for fence poles and panels. My only expense? Two truck rentals from Home Depot because the first response to my ad was a bum run and lots of elbow grease with my twin sister. 

My husband was lit about shouldering the expense of two truck rentals and the fact that Cindy and I had to unload the poles and panels ourselves. “Where was she? Someone contacts you to fix their fence. You find the panels. You rent the truck and you and Cindy unload them alone? The next time someone needs this kind of help- let them go find the panels, rent the truck and unload them. My wife isn’t a day laborer.” 

Yep. That’s the last fence fixing endeavor for me. My husband is still complaining about it. 

Although I’ve had at least 27 more requests for a fence party after other readers decided they needed a new fence or repairs, I copied and pasted suggestions on finding fence panels and renting trucks for them to effectively, fix their own problems. 

I’m happy to give a friendly suggestion but, my role as a furniture designer, floral designer, Officiant, celebrant, coordinator and jack of all trades no longer involves fence fixing. I’ve been there done that and moved on. Arguing with my husband is the last thing I need. He’s often right and eventually, I realize it. 

Occasionally, we are Friends of the Friendless! Although the fence lady wanted a new fence, we aren’t magicians and we found a way to fix her existing fence. No one is going to donate a new fence. Hell I couldn’t even get our fence guys to donate panels to give you a better idea! 

My husband may not have been happy about helping the fence lady and less happy that we had to rent two trucks and unload the poles and panels ourselves but, we found a solution. Parties are expensive and, if you want a party be prepared to cover the expenses. 

I’m now out of the fence problem fixing business because my husband was upset that the fence lady didn’t offer to cover the truck rentals though so, please don’t send any more fence fixing requests. The fact that we did all of the work with no help in return solving the fence problem has been gone over again and again by my husband in his “all risk and no reward” sermons about putting all the effort in. 

My husband doesn’t have a soft spot for other people’s problems and if I never worked again, my husband wouldn’t care. I no longer HAVE to work. 

My husband prefers for me to be happy doing what I love coordinating events, Officiating and floral designing or selling Texas Twins Treasures items when I’m not Officiating at a Texas Prison. I.E. as far away from risking an injury by moving heavy poles or fence panels with my sister. 

Both of our husbands were lit that we had no help loading or unloading the truck while fixing someone else’s problems. If we had dropped a pole and broken a foot or fell moving a panel or a pole- who was responsible for injuries? Yep. My husband thought of liability that I hadn’t. My husband would never put me in harms way and constantly worries about my safety.

After all, our husbands go to work everyday to support us and prefer for us to be doing fun stuff with clients and spending time together. Within three weeks of running the free fence panel ad, someone contacted me and I subsequently rented a Home Depot truck in order to pick everything up with Cindy in Willow Park and deliver to Norma.I called Norma and told her that Cindy and I had dropped off the fence panels and poles at her house. Surprisingly, I was asked when we planned to put the fence up? I suggested finding volunteers or family members to do this. A few days later, she did. 

I give advice to people frequently and although “figuring it out” puts the burden back on them, if you have a problem and someone steps out to help you, you’ve got to put some effort in on the resolution too. We spent money to rent two trucks to find panels and poles and, we delivered them. That was the end of our involvement. 

A free new fence? That’s a no go. In fact, my twin sister has several bungee cords holding her fence up and balked at the idea of anyone expecting us to provide a free fence. My husbands contractors are business people who (like anyone else) want to get paid. The contractors weren’t interested in doing anything for free and no one else was either.

Sure, a fence party was an unusual request and we were “out” the cost of the rental truck but, let’s face it, no one else was going to jump through hoops to find fence panels and poles to fix someone else’s fence. 

Running a free ad on Craigslist was a simple solution to an otherwise very expensive problem. If you have never been poor or struggling, you’ve never had to figure it out. Poverty empowers you or defines you but, if you’re lucky, you learn to be creative. We did. 

Many of the people contacting me only need a little advice for Liquidations or do it yourself home repairs. Some of them though, want us to fix all of their problems at our expense. This is a problem because we rarely volunteer to be problem solvers and occasionally have to explain why to others. 

Shelby’s garage had numerous boxes and by looking over them, I saw that there were several Antique tables towards the front of the garage that I was unable to get to. 

Because I couldn’t get to the antique tables or find a path, it made giving Shelby a better idea of the value of furniture I couldn’t see far more difficult. A “loaded garage” is tricky because what we can’t see may have a lot of value. 

We couldn’t get inside the garage, so I suggested Shelby move 1-3 boxes at a time to another location in order to “dig her way” to the most expensive items which were sadly, boxed in. 

Standing in the alley looking inside the garage made it far more difficult than standing in the backyard and looking over from the side door to see if there was anything of value located in the middle of the garage.From the side I could see at least 2 antique tables and an oriental screen along with a lamp. Since I couldn’t get to the tables to get a better idea of their condition and/or check for water damage, my estimate was based entirely on what I could see from at least 6 ft away. 

Having no idea what was in the boxes, it was far more difficult to suggest what to sell and more importantly, what Shelby should donate.Cindy “zeroed in” on an antique magnifying pole lamp which is something we have never seen. Traditionally, these types of lamps were used for hand stitching, knitting and jewelry repair in the 1960 era. Finding one working is very rare today and if Shelby could plug it in and see if it was working, we estimated it at $250-300 for a collector. No one would buy this type of item if it wasn’t fully operational though.

As we went over what items to get through first and list on free selling sites, Cindy and I had a call from my son, Robert Hafele who wanted to have an estate sale as he and his wife were planning to move into their first home. I suggested planning their estate sale in mid June based on my schedule for the next several weeks. 

Hopefully, Shelby and her husband can go through the garage and sell the most expensive items first. I explained to Shelby our fee structure for Estate Liquidations or Pawning Parties. It is a lot of work and why any Estate Liquidator requires a contract, a percentage and finally, possession of what’s left after the sale. 

No one would volunteer for such an extensive job and by doing it herself, Shelby could finally clear the garage while making money liquidating the inventory. 

We were happy to help her with insight and suggestions on a big job that if she took it one step at a time would net her quite a bit of money. 

Planning and organizing a sale is a lot of work. Because my son and daughter in law have worked numerous Estate Sales, Pawning Parties and Storage Unit Sales with me, they both realize the amount of work involved while trying to move into their new home will be a juggling act of sorts while meeting all of their booking obligations, moving, scheduling a sale, and trying to get their new home set up at the same time would be too much for anyone and suggested moving first, unpacking and then addressing selling the items they no longer need. 

Robert and Stephanie work for me as a photography team and my son also works as an Officiant in City or County Jails and other locations when I’m not available.My niece, Leigh Ann has been staying pretty busy with graduation photography bookings and enjoys working solo as a photographer and occasionally, Officiant.Being a mother to our Latest Little Pawner, Madyson Blais who models for numerous small shops keeps Leigh Ann hopping when she isn’t working as a photographer and Officiant.Leigh Ann is really looking forward to spending Mother’s Day weekend with Maddie and her cousin, Makenna at Gaylord Hotels while Makenna’s sister, Maryssa attends a birthday party weekend at Great Wolf Lodge. 

It’s pretty rare for the twins to split up but, Makenna prefers to “skip” slumber parties with 14 others girls and hang with family. Makenna and Maddy are already packed and ready to go. Since Cindy and I found several items at our last Appraisal Appointment yesterday, we have a few items to ship off to my upholsterer and will have new inventory in a few weeks at Texas Twins Treasures. 

A few readers remember that Makenna dressed up at the Easter Bunny for Elijah who has been struggling with brain cancer and had never seen the Easter Bunny.Makenna enjoyed dressing up so much that Maryssa and Makenna are going to be Princesses for upcoming birthday parties and bookings will start in July. The twins love entertaining children.I’ve had one bride decide to barter her Texas Prison Wedding this season and loved the lines of this amazing set but, I’m still undecided on the piping, the welt and the contrast tapestry fabric and will probably hold off stripping, staining and reupholstering this item until July. The hand carved wood and structure are in mint condition and after refurbishing this set, I should easily get over $2k. With my Texas Prison Weddings bookings during the week and Pawning Planners Clients along with Texas Twins Events Clients on the weekend, it’s another busy one for Cindy and I with full days on Saturday and Sunday so, we are hoping all of our friends, twins and connections have a wonderful Mothers Day Weekend with their family and friends as we will be working all weekend as usual again this year… 

Wendy M Wortham