Texas Twins Treasures Barters & Blunders? The Pawning Planners Work It Out…

It’s not always cut and dry when you barter Event Services. The truth is that more than a few prospects think they are in charge when it comes to the value of their item or the services they will receive in exchange for the “proposed trade.”

Cindy is hilarious while I’m serious. We are Compensating Personality Twins as are Cindy’s twin granddaughters, Maryssa and Makenna. 

My twin sister has something to say about everything and we’ve put her quick whit to good use with a clothing line featuring her hilarious observations on life. “The PRETTIEST tree in the ORCHARD can have the most TWISTED roots.” Yes. Cindy is a little bit country and I’m totally city. How she comes up with creative ways of getting the point across I have no idea but, my twin sister refers to herself as a Hillbilly. 

Cindy worked the farm while I worked in the city and our husbands are complete opposites as well. Cindy’s husband, Steve is a truck driver while my husband is a land developer but, they both are best friends and being married to twins isn’t easy. My sister and I are always together. 

Our husbands accept that we talk to each other a million times a day and see each other when we aren’t talking to each other. It’s a twin thing that many non twins don’t always readily accept. 

It’s not unusual for Cindy to use photos of herself on location or me or even her three granddaughters into her #Cindyism Quotes posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest and FB. 

Everyone in our family has most likely been a meme with a saucy quote over their head. Cindy finds a photo that depicts or mirrors what her meaning is. 

The photo below was posted a few weeks ago after we found a great barter and I didn’t even complain about having to rent a box truck. “Thankful for the Journey- Grateful for the Trip!” My sister is always ready for fun and adventure. 

I normally always complain about renting a box truck and Cindy knows it which is why that particular quote is funny to me.Cindy doesn’t really “enjoy” driving. As teens, I had a Hardship License at 14 years old so I’ve pretty much always “done the driving” unless of course, we needed two suvs, two box trucks or more vehicles. 

When Cindy is driving, she follows my SUV or the box truck. Cindy can drive the box truck but, she hates turning corners. 

Makenna is a straight A student while Maryssa (like Cindy) is far more social. I’m usually thinking on location at Appraisal Appointments and effectively “doing the math.” 

Will we need to rent a truck? Is there a market for the item? What will the investment to bring an item “back to life” going to cost us? Are we coming out ahead or not? I’m always thinking.

Little Madyson is Cindy’s youngest granddaughter and often with us at Appraisal Appointments and Events. 

Years ago, the twins went to every client meeting but, these days Madyson has taken their place in our backseats. Makenna enjoys photography and “playing dress up” at Princess Parties entertaining young children. Maryssa loves music and wants to learn more about being a DJ at events. 

Now and again, we’ve had to just say no to a lopsided proposal. On a few occasions, Cindy and I took a hit on an item hoping to sell it at the listed price while having to mark it down over and over again. 

Selling items isn’t a given. Anyone in sales realizes that the market must exist in order to find a buyer.

Cindy and effectively “split up” at Appraisal Appointments because we are looking for completely different trades. I’m drawn to amazing antiques with ornate carved designs that may or may not need to be reupholstered or repaired while Cindy searches for a “quick flip.” 

Items Cindy finds need no investment to refurbish and it’s not unusual for her to walk right back to the SUV and upload photos to eBay. If the item sells within 24 hours, we’ve listed it too low and missed the ballpark. 

Cindy and I have been flipping things for over thirty years and have a fairly expensive appraisal history between us. Now and again, I’ve been accused by my twin sister of “falling in love” with a really unusual antique piece. It’s true. I love wood grains and ornate designs to such an extent that it’s not unusual for me to lose money on a flip. 

Today’s blog will go over what went wrong and why I continued to throw money at an item I believed would not only recover my investment but also with a profit and what exactly we are flipping for in terms of event services.

My sister site, The Pawning Planners is actually an extension of Texas Twins Events. The reason we decided to add a barter option was based entirely on trying to find a creative outlet to effectively force people claiming to have no money to “put some skin in the game.” 

For years people came to us wanting photography, floral designs, Event Coordination, wedding Officiants, estate Liquidations, Baptisms, funeral Officiants or celebrants and more while all the while claiming they had no money. 

My soft heart often got the better of me and I never turned anyone away. Generosity cost me thousands of dollars and many of the families we helped for free began telling their friends we would help them for free as well which created a landslide of emails and phone calls requesting “free services.” 

Nobody creates a business to work for free and we didn’t either. My actual goal was to offer event services far below my competitors in order to create a window for all of the families who could never afford traditional cost points and assuredly not to work for free. I wanted to help anyone but, I’m not rich. Finding a way to “work it out” wasn’t easy but, we have.

Nearly four years ago, yet another request for “ring pillows, flower baskets, free photography and a wedding Officiant because we heard you helped our friend for free” had me at my whits end. 

Give me this, do that, I want this. I could go on and on here because we’ve pretty much either seen it all or heard it all including “I want to borrow flowers for my event but, I need you to make them in MY COLORS!” 

We sell custom floral orders but, we don’t LOAN BOUQUETS IN YOUR COLORS. If you want to dictate though, pony up and pay for for exactly WHAT you WANT like anyone else.

Many of Cindy’s #Cindyism Quotes are based on Demanding Diva’s who needed to understand that we aren’t their Fairy Godmothers and, we aren’t suckers. 

If you give some folks an inch, they want a mile. Kick em to the curb kids because unreasonable people aren’t worth the aggravation. In fact, trying to please someone who doesn’t appreciate what YOU are doing for THEM that their own friends and family aren’t willing to do often REQUIRES a coming to Jesus meeting and, we are not opposed to giving anyone the boot. 

A few years ago, I was hired to Officiate a wedding ceremony. Three months prior to the wedding, the mother of the bride called and asked why I wasn’t spending more time with the bride “since I was coordinating the wedding.” 

Having a literal “what the” moment with this lady, I educated her regarding the remarkable differences between Officiating and coordinating or both at a wedding. 

Before I could finish telling her that why I wasn’t hired to coordinate the wedding and assuredly, not paid to, she butt in again to advise me that “we will need you to bring at least two photographers for eight hours to the event and a set up and tear down team as well.” 

Laughing so hard that it took me a minute to respond, I finally asked if “she had been drinking because she obviously wasn’t in her right mind!” Since she hadn’t been drinking, I advised her of the fees involved to have two photographers on location for 6-8 hours and if she wanted me to coordinate, the additional fee for that too. 

My sister and I laugh a lot because it keeps us from crying on the rare occasion that we are both left speechless at the same time. 

Cindy was actually in my SUV at the time I answered the phone and heard the conversation regarding the mother of the bride “PAYING for a SINGER and EXPECTING a CHOIR” or “BORROWING an apple and EXPECTING us to BAKE them a PIE.” 

Diva’s are a dime a dozen and I have too many good clients to deal with stupid or demanding cheapskates that “want it all but, don’t want to pay for it!” I cannot make this shit up and due to the number of similar instances of outrageous idiots that I’ve encountered over the years, added a Bridezilla/Guestzilla Clause to “cut loose” the problem people who often make it impossible for us to conduct our jobs or expect us to do services that we weren’t compensated or hired to do. 

This “clause” surprises a few people trolling around on Texas Twins Events but, I don’t care. The truth is that I don’t have to take ANY job that comes my way in order to live well. My husband wants to come home to a happy wife. 

I intentionally limit Coordination bookings because they involve a LOT of time and limit my ability to book other services including Texas Prison Weddings as well as bookings at venues I’m also on staff at. 

Officiating an event takes less than an hour. Officiating the Rehearsal and the Wedding Ceremony? Two to three hours. Coordinating an event takes MONTHS. 

The differences between Officiating and Coordinating are astronomical. In a four to sixth month window alone (which would often be the timeline on a coordinating gig), I could easily Officiate 30-60 wedding ceremonies in the time it would take to coordinate ONE WEDDING. 

When you do the math on that you will far better understand why I only take on referral clients for coordinated events. 

Cindy sums up these situations with her usual flair. “Don’t BORROW the NEIGHBORS ladder, to STEAL fruit FROM their TREE.” Cindy actually has millions of Moocher Related Quotes. We’ve met all kinds and we’ve learned to laugh and move on with more than a few folks.I can’t begin to tell you how many times we’ve encountered someone unreasonable because there have been too many but, at the end of the day, these folks realize that there isn’t anybody else standing in line to help them and they eventually figure it out. 

Cindy often uses her comedic talents to convey the point to Inlaws, Outlaws or friends who butt in during the planning process of an event with ideas on “how to do this or that” and inadvertently get an earful of Redneck Reality from my sister similar to this famous quote used on Pawning Planners Apparel, “Don’t TELL me HOW to PLAY, when YOU didn’t SHOW up for PRACTICE, and AIN’T even IN the GAME honey!” 

My favorite #Cindyism Quote is “You WON’T miss the EGGS til the HENS stop LAYING them.” 

Diva’s are too time consuming and while you’re running around trying to appease them, you’re losing money on nice folks that treat you kindly because YOU helped them when NOBODY else would.

Cindy and I rallied our adult children and grandchildren for a family meeting and decided we needed another way of “screening” everyone crying pour mouth which is how The Pawning Planners came into play.

A few of our Appraisal Appointments brought some surprises over the years from foot stomping Demanding Divas to cases of moonshine, a cow and even an old truck missing the engine. 

For some reason, prospects thought they were making the rules telling my sister and I what “they wanted” rather than accepting “what we were willing to give.” If an item has no value to us or needs a hefty investment with no clear outcome of a return, we take a pass.

“You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!” Trying to convince people of the actual value is an ongoing problem but, we have options for them. They can either book through Texas Twins Events and pay for services or, cut the list of what they want down to equal value or the trade or they can find someone else to help them. Drama, tears and demands at an Appraisal Appointment are a regular occurrence. Simply because you are offering something doesn’t mean these fish are going to bite.

We continued to come across good people that actually didn’t have any money or any trade. Because we liked them enough to make exceptions, we also once again “came up” with a way to financially fund their event rather than out of our pockets and, Pawning Planners Apparel was born. 

I’m going to show you a few flips today that became flops and why the trade that seemed like a lucrative investment wasn’t. 

Let’s start with the prospect that wanted Event Coordination, Bouquets,Bouteniers, Centerpieces, Photography and an Officiant in exchange for a three piece set of furniture. I wasn’t really interested in the sofa and will explain why. Moving the sofa requires renting a truck. 

We have a fleet of suvs and regularly move furniture or items we rent for events in our suvs. Renting a truck is an expensive endeavor that we try to avoid at all costs. 

Secondly, the sofa had an issue with the upholstery in the back that was a real problem. Finding a match to upholstery is almost always impossible. 

Paying an upholsterer to repair or reupholster the back part of sofa would easily cost a hundred dollars or more plus the cost of a moving truck and the space necessary to store the sofa in my workroom. Sets of chairs sell far more quickly than a three piece set. It’s a fact. 

The Prospect thought he could dictate the terms which Cindy always finds humorous. “It’s all three pieces or nothing.” We looked at each other and laughed. Drawing a line in the sand and digging your feet in isn’t the best plan to make a workable solution. Educating prospects is a regular occurrence. Sorry, Friends but, you aren’t making the Rules we are.

If (of course) you can find someone else to sell your item to at “your price,” we encourage you to do so. It’s gonna save us both a lot of time! 

We don’t let prospects tell us how things are going to go because at the end of the day, its us who take the risk not the prospect. 

The prospects aren’t renting trucks, driving for hours to get to an Appraisal Appointment or jugggling existing clients to find the time to accommodate an Appraisal request or covering the cost of refurbishing items or paying our staff staff up front or covering ANY event expenses- we are. 

My sister and I work seven days a week. Finding time in our schedules to “walk a trade” takes time from our other commitments so, if you call or email and “just want us to come find something of value,” we aren’t going to make the trip. Upload a photo and include the description. The process is simple and self explanatory. We don’t have time to drop everything and “try” to find something of value for the heck of it. 

Our main focus is on Texas Twins Events Clients. Pawning Planners Clients effectively “get in line” behind scheduled bookings for Texas Twins Events. All Pawning Planners Clients are aware of this and, must accept the terms. If we are booked and the rest of our staff is booked, please be aware that you may forced to need to change your event date in order to accommodate our schedules. It doesn’t happen often but…it has happened before and may happen again.

Educating prospects to the reality of  why when bartering event services doesn’t always work in their favor is a regular occurrence. It’s truly a “necessary” conversation in order to move forward on a bartered deal. I must factor in expenses and decide whether we can come to terms.

Although the purple chairs were in good overall shape with solid cushions and we could move them in our suvs, I wasn’t “thrilled” with the fabric but, knew that by not having to reupholster the chairs prior to selling them would easily save me $900-1200 on the upholstery and labor. Here are photos of the chairs and the sofa for your review.What I’m actually “looking” for on location when examining bartered furniture or antiques is the structure first, the upholstery and foam or fill second and mentally adding up the cost to move and/ or reupholster the item last before deciding if a barter will work. 

Prospects assuming that they can decide  the value of their item or items are always surprised to learn that they don’t “control” the terms of the deal or the value of the item. 

It’s not unusual for my saucy sidekick aka my twin sister, Cindy to ask “if it was worth that much then why ain’t ya sold it already?” Cindy isn’t shy. 

Two years ago, I “fell in love” with a desk. The unusual legs and wood carved details were astounding. The fact that it had the original key gave it far better value for a flip.

A few spots of water damage didn’t deter me as with many antiques there are very few “mint condition” items that have no visible damage. 

This was a good flip and profitable as we found a buyer in New York who was willing to overlook a few flaws and pay for freight and packaging. 

We do not pay freight. Local pick up is in Fort Worth, Texas and while we are happy to meet your shipper, must work meetings into our existing schedules.Another bartered desk furniture flip last year was in excellent condition and although I assumed it to be worth at least $1,500, finding a buyer took over a year as I continued to mark the item down over and over again. 

The problem? Weight and freight. Shipping is expensive and many of my repeat buyers are in California or New York which puts freight equal in many cases to the cost of the item itself. 

If I could’ve kept the desk below, I would have but, my 3,000 square foot home already houses numerous Texas Twins Treasures antiques and my King Henry desk adorned with brass angels is and continues to be my most prized possession. 

My husband consistently brings up downsizing but, realizes that my antique addiction and love of wood pieces isn’t going anywhere. 

Frankly, Matthew is so thrilled that I finally let him buy a recliner that he no longer complains about beautiful furniture that is also uncomfortable. 

PS- I hate that recliner! I really sucked it up on that one and took one for the team. It matches nothing in our entire home but, he likes it. 

My husband rarely sits anywhere except his recliner or the dining room chairs. He prefers comfort over presentation and forgets that we downsized when we sold our custom home six years ago. Our current home is less than half the size of our last home.  

For a few weeks, I had considered keeping the desk below and listing my treasured King Henry instead but, after much consideration, decided that I simply couldn’t part with my old friend in order to make room for the unusual desk trade. 

The wood was in excellent condition and the ornate legs were amazing but, my King Henry desk is quite literally, an old friend who can’t be replaced easily.My King Henry desk and my hyper Beagle are in the photo below. An entire room accommodate my King Henry and, it took four men to move it. It’s very heavy and I love the lines and structure of the King Henry. I took it in trade 8 years ago and loved it so much that flipping a dining room set in exchange for it didn’t faze me at all. Instead, I used our large dining room and positioned the desk sideways with a large Henreddon chair for me and Texas Twins Treasures loveseat for clients. The setup worked perfectly. 

No one really used the formal dining room at our old oversized home anyway since we had seating in the kitchen and two bars to accommodate seating off the island.

The glass top is original and has no damage although the desk itself has a few minor areas of damage to storage and water. 

My home office is also where I meet clients and have Pow Wows with my Texas Twins Events Team. Maryssa and Makenna love lounging around in my office because it’s far more private than the other two living areas or den.My home office has several seating areas as well as a dry bar to accommodate entire families that often come with their son or daughter to discuss Event Services. 

While it’s true that I don’t often “need” six chairs to accommodate guests, it should be noted that I’ve had a few client meetings where I needed to bring in additional chairs to accommodate up to ten people at a Client conference.

Last year, Cindy and packed up to Head to Waco, Texas to view a trade. The prospect wanted a Princess Party, decorations, rented tables and chairs, photography and catered food. Based on the number of expected guests, the barter would need to be worthy of the “deal.”

The prospect had inherited a housefull of unique items but, I had no interest in the first item on the list, a birthing chair. 

Sure, it had carved wood details but, I had no existing buyers interested in something like that. We have had a few surprising proposals over the years but at the end of the day, if we wouldn’t buy something ourselves- we aren’t going to try to sell it either. 

A birthing chair? Come on! Luckily, this prospect had plenty of other items to review aside from the birthing chair or we wouldn’t have made the trip to Appraise the home. 

Time is money and while we enjoy meeting new people, bookings are how we get paid along with selling items or meeting new clients when not at Prison Weddings or Rehearsals during the week.I was far more interested in the next several pieces which would require a rental box truck, storage space and the “right” buyers.Since Cindy and I often travel alone to Appraisal Appointments, we don’t always take the trade or trades with us and it’s not unusual to schedule a pick up the following week due to our schedules. Bartered deals must be completed one month prior to the event.

Loading up for a wedding ceremony and reception last summer, we took a call regarding a baby shower and had the prospect go to The Pawning Planners-Upload Your Trade And Tell Us About Your Dream Event. 

Many prospects contact us by phone or email through Texas Twins Events regarding barters but, my preferred method of contact for bartering is through The Pawning Planners. Why? Describing your item doesn’t give me enough information. 

I wasn’t exactly “thrilled” with the two orange chair photos the prospect uploaded to The Pawning Planners site mainly due to the fabric which would have to be replaced. 

The reason we require an Appraisal Appointment is to view the structure and the item in person. 

A picture may be worth a thousand words but, seeing the item in person gives us far more information.I took a pass on the orange chairs as they were too low to the ground which would cause a problem finding a buyer along with the expense to reupholster them. Seat height is important because if a piece of furniture is too short, finding a buyer can be difficult. 

Because I wasn’t interested in the orange chairs and already on location, the prospect said they had an unusual cane chair that might be of interest. I loved it. Loved the lines and unique pitch and it was in ready to list condition! I asked if they had any other cane products, a set of chairs plus the cane and mahogany chair “sealed the deal.” 

Although I wasn’t in love with the other set but, knew there was a market for cane furniture. 

Sets of chairs are my best sellers at Texas Twins Treasures. I’m always looking for a set but if I can’t find a set, it has to be different or unusual to hold my interest.A few months ago, I had a lady that wanted to barter a pair of wing back chairs and as usual, thought they were worth more than I did. The ongoing dickering over the value of items no longer surprises me and I encourage prospects to sell the item and book through Texas Twins Events if they “aren’t willing to budge.” My reasons for this are that too many folks believe that their items are worth far more than they actually are which is probably why they can’t sell them. 

Not everyone understands hoe selling works. First you need the item second you need the market and third you need a buyer. If your seats are “bottomed out,” the furniture needs to be “built up” and reupholstered. 

Arguing that the rest of the chair is in good shape does nothing to increase the overall value. Sure, you can probably sell the item in “as is” condition but, it will be at yard sale pricing. 

Since I’ve had several inquiries regarding bartering Prison Wedding Officiant Services, it should be noted that I’m located in Fort Worth. Texas Prison Wedding fees are based on location of the Unit. 

If you live several hours from DFW, I’m far less inclined to barter your service due to the time and expense to travel to your location to view the trade. You are welcome though to load up your item and travel to Fort Worth. I just don’t have time to run around spinning my wheels because you don’t want to take the time to upload a photo and go through The Pawning Planners. Sifting through homes full of items might sound fun until you’ve done it for four years like we have and realize that time spent on Location is often better spent at a paying gig. 

The Pawning Planners is an extension of Texas Twins Events as accounts for less than 20% of our bookings to give you a better handle on the number of barters that have actually worked in not only our favor but also, the Clients.

Texas Prison or Jail Weddings take a very large portion of my bookings. There are very few TDCJ Approved Officiants and let’s face it, no Warden is going to Approve a Prison Wedding WITHOUT an Approved Officiant. 

The entire Prison Unit accommodates your Prison Wedding so please, follow the rules and be courteous to TDCJ Staff. If you are my client, I expect you to arrive early, dressed appropriately, sober and courteous to your Texas Prison Wedding. Bad behavior reflects on me and although we haven’t met in person until we arrive at the Unit. I’ve spent plenty of time by phone or email laying out my expectations of your client conduct. 

Please do not list my name on any Texas Department Of Criminal Justice Documents UNLESS we have an Agreement in place. Using my credentials without my knowledge is a sure fire way for me to never take you on as a Client. 

This “issue” of using my name to obtain an Approval for a Texas Prison Wedding continues to be a problem. Do not use my name on your Absentee Affidavit or I60 Request For Marriage without my knowledge or consent. 

I hate surprises and a phone call from a Warden or Chaplain regarding a date for a Wedding with a Client I’ve never heard of are the last thing I want to deal with. No Contract- No Client Relationship. 

Texas Prison Wedding Photography is completely free of charge and a courtesy to my “Brides (or Grooms) on the outside.” Loaned items bring the fun to photo shoots a few miles from Units. Some Units offer photos of your wedding ceremony at $3 each. 

Be advised these photos are not always going to exceed your expectations. I have no control over TDCJ Texas Prison Photos inside Units which is why I offer complimentary photography as a courtesy. I’m including examples to give you a better idea. 

The differences between indoor TDCJ Photos and outdoor complimentary photos is quite obvious. 

Lighting inside Units affects the clarity of unit photos but, if you want photos with your spouse, the only photos available are TDCJ Unit Photos. Prison cameras often don’t have a flash so your unit photos may be grainy or dark. The photo below was taken at TDCJ Luther Unit. Many visitation areas have a painted wall or backdrop and although Luther Unit had beautiful painted walls, the Unit photo looked “funny.” Blurry and out of focus. 

Across the street from Luther Unit, my bride loved the borrowed bouquets and clarity of her complimentary photos. 

If you are located more than one hour from my location, you must upload a photo of the item prior to my sister and I making the trip to “walk your trade.” The reason for this is our existing schedule and travel expenses.Our suvs log thousands of miles and since I normally drive when we only need one SUV, I don’t just drive across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Kansas because I’m asked to.

Appraisal Appointments are scheduled during the week as we have booked events on the weekends scheduled months in advance. 

Texas Prison Weddings are also scheduled Monday-Friday so finding the time to deliver Texas Twins Treasures items while meeting Pawning Planners Clients at Appraisal Appointments or Texas Twins Events Clients while Officiating Texas Prison Weddings gives us a pretty full schedule!

Clients wishing to buy custom floral designs please note that “in season” custom floral design orders are running 8-10 weeks as opposed to our normal 6-8 week window.

For others wishing to learn more about bartering, there is no reward without a certain degree of risk. Experience is a great teacher so don’t give up easily. You will learn the ropes and get the hang of it.

Bartering can and will bring you new clients but, it won’t always bring you a profit. They can’t all be winners. 

It’s essential to research items and have at least an approximate idea of the actual value or market to make “flipping” work for you. 

Also, you will need an outlet to sell items. We use eBay because it’s worked well for us since 2009 but, you will pay fees to list your item, fees to sell your item and shipping on smaller items. Online selling with eBay is effective but, it isn’t free.

Wishing all of our sellers and new bartering connections the best of luck on all of your endeavors and looking forward to meeting our new clients in the next few months…