This time of year there are almost as many garage and yard sale signs dotting the Michigan landscape as there are construction barrels. Families, friends, neighbors, come together with the belongings they no longer desire, in hopes that each item will find a new home, and that a little extra cash will come their way in return. Divvying up that cash correctly can be a huge challenge, but that just got easier thanks to a husband and wife team from Hudsonville, Michigan.
I remember how exciting it was to do a garage sale when I was a kid; not necessarily the hours of waiting for people to come and go, but the hope that they would select one of the items that had my sticker on it. We used colored stickers with the prices on them to designate to whom the money would go. Then a central pad of paper was used to record each sale, and money went into an old cigar box. I never even knew anyone in my family to smoke cigars, but the box was just the perfect size and sturdiness for this important job. Turns out, cigar box aside perhaps, we were doing it the same way nearly everyone else did, and still does.
Our sales were small and simple, but Holly Anderson was managing a big sale every year, which, last spring, led to a big idea. Together with her husband Brian who has a technology background, they set out to create Tallysheet, an app that would simplify and improve the process.
“Everybody does it the way their parents did it," said Anderson, and it’s time to let technology take the lead.”
The cloud-based app allows users to complete transactions using a smartphone, and keeps track of sales for different sellers. Instead of one centralized cashier, multiple users can be invited to become cashiers using their own phones. Real-time reports track and reveal each individual’s total payout.
Anderson had the idea in April and by mid-September the app was launched. They used their own sale as a way to learn, and made modifications along the way. Since then there have been adjustments made based on both their own experiences, as well as feedback they appreciate from users, to continually improve the experience. Suggestions have already led to a speedier checkout process, and they are hoping to add credit card processing in the not so distant future.
While they do provide valuable suggestions for improvement, overall users have already given the tool high praise via online reviews. More than 15,000 installs of the app have already taken place, and it’s easy to see growth potential. According to Statistic Brain, there are on average 165,000 garage sales each week in the U.S.
The makers of Tallysheet have also learned of a variety of other users that have benefitted from the application ranging from in-home craft sales to farmers markets, consignment shops to auctions, and even a tamale stand. Vendors sharing booth space at a festival may also find it useful.
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