I've got my idea – now where do I go?
Not sure where to turn to find your stock? The best idea is to find a couple of supply sources for your items so that if one dries up during a busy period, you won't be left high and dry.
1. Garage Sales
Garage sales can be a great opportunity to pick up potentially valuable items selling for pennies. However, they do require a regular time commitment and a lot of patience! You'll quite likely travel around 5-8 sales before you find anything suitable. Going around garage sales requires planning and rising early. The best idea is to look through the morning papers as soon as they arrive. Plan your route to make most efficient use of your time so that you are not doubling back. Make a list of items you would like to find and the maximum amount you would pay to make a profit. And finally, don't forget to take cash! Take small bills and some change as most garage sale owners only have a small amount on hand. It's a waste of everyone's time if you have to race down to the ATM machine. Garage sales can be useful sources, but they rely on luck and have a high time cost per item. Thus, serious sellers don't rely on garage sales as their sole provider.
2. Liquidation Sales
Liquidation sales are a fantastic way of finding brand-name items at enormous discounts. Check your newspapers and look for sales in your area. Before buying from a liquidator check to see why the goods are being sold. Most of the time liquidation sales take place for legitimate reasons such as company bankruptcy, store relocation and so on. However, it always pays to check as you don't want to end up with a pile of stock you can't shift. Another thing – don't bother with liquidation stock that is outside the scope of your business. There is no point buying liquidation bicycle equipment just because it's cheap when you only sell jewelry.
Alternatively, you can find liquidation sites on the Internet – one such site is http://www.liquidation.com. These sites make it extremely easy to buy liquidation, particularly if you live in an outlying area. One thing – just make sure that the possibility of damaged stock and used or returned items included in the lots is small or non-existent.
Liquidation sales are a great way to supplement your stock, but they can't be relied upon to restock the shelves.
3. Estate Sales
Estate sales can be a goldmine for anyone selling jewelry, vintage clothing, books, furniture and so on. Once again, you need to have an idea of how much you can afford to spend before you go. Don't forget to buy items your customers would like, rather simply getting caught up in your own enthusiasm for what is for sale. Note that estate sales run by an agent are unlikely to garner the same bargains as one run by the family.
4. Clearance Stores
At certain times of the year, most major stores will have a stock clear-out sale. Some of these sales give you the opportunity to buy goods 50% or more below the regular retail value. This can be a fantastic opportunity to find items to sell – or replenish your stocks. Good clearance sales can be equal to or even below a good wholesale price. Don't forget to overlook small hobby shops in your area with clearance sales either. If you know the store is going to have clearance sales regularly, then this can be one method of getting stock.
Wholesalers are the most reliable method of sourcing goods. While the initial process can be time consuming at first, it is effort that pays off. When you have found a wholesale, you now have certainty of when you are going to receive stock and how much you will have to pay for it. The best way to find wholesalers is to use a directory. Directories remove the risk of dealing with illegitimate wholesalers and give you some peace of mind when dealing with wholesalers and manufacturers from China. Wholesalers should be the mainstay behind your product sourcing.
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