Resale stores are a great business to have. Especially in our current economy, people are more likely to buy the things they need second hand, rather than new. I would consider resale stores to be “recession proof.” In this article, I am going to give you some helpful tips on getting your resale store off the ground.
You are going to need the following things. A location, inventory, cash register, credit card swiping system (if you choose to accept credit cards), fixtures and display cases, tax ID number, business license, etc.
Your location is key to having a successful resale store. You are going to want a store that has a good amount of both foot and road traffic. If you choose your location on a back road, far from other businesses, you’re probably not going to get a whole lot of business. Try to find a location that’s in a good retail area, or somewhere that a lot of people need to drive (or walk) by to get to work, school, etc. They’ll see your store on their way to and from work or school every day, and eventually may feel inclined to stop in and check it out.
Make sure you have a nice big sign outside your store. You want people to know you’re there! If they don’t know you’re there, then how are they supposed to come in and buy stuff? Although costly, a lighted sign will get their attention better, but a regular wooden or metal sign would work just fine.
Other things to consider when looking for a location for resale store are size, and cost. Don’t pick a location that is either too small, or too big. If it’s too small, it will look cluttered, and if it’s too big, it will look empty. So try to find a good happy medium. Generally 800-1000sf is a good size for a resale shop. It’s not too big, and not too small.
Inventory is going to be the hardest part of starting your resale shop. Unless of course, you have a basement completely full of stuff that you’ve accumulated over the years with the intent of one day starting a resale store. That’s most likely not the case, though.
Thrift stores are good start to finding inventory. Most thrift stores are charities, so buy shopping there, you’re helping out your local charity, and at the same time, you’re building your inventory for your own store. Try to stay away from toys, because you don’t know what’s recalled and what isn’t, and you just don’t want to get into that whole mess. Good things to buy for your inventory are clothes (not all clothes though, try to keep it at name brands that you can sell cheap, but buy cheaper), DVDs, video games, books, electronics, collectibles, etc.
Other than thrift stores, you can find items for your resale store at yard sales, auctions, and the ever so popular auction site, eBay!
If you don’t know of any auction houses in your area, visit the website AuctionZip. Auction houses go there and list their auctions, and often, upload pictures so you can view the items before the auction. They also have AuctionZip live, which is linked on their site. It’s real auctions, at auction houses, where you can watch and bid live from your computer. I’ve purchased a lot of things from auctionzip live. It’s just like going to an auction, but without actually leaving your home.
When using eBay to find stuff for your resale store, buy things in bulk lots. Lots are the best way to find cheap inventory. DVD lots, game lots, etc. When I am bidding on DVD lots, I try not to go over $2 per dvd, including the shipping price. So if there is a lot of say, 10 DVDs that is being shipped for $8, you don’t want to place your bid higher than $12. Typically, you should sell your DVDs for about $3-5 in your store. That’s not much of a profit, but you have the whole rest of your store to help out too.
Auctions are a good place to find your fixtures and display cases for your resale store. Also, look for stores in your area that are going out of business, they usually sell their fixtures when they are closing.
You are going to need a business license and tax ID number for your business. These things are different in every area, so your best bet is to call your city hall and ask about them.
Once you open the doors to your resale shop, you are going to need to promote, promote, promote! Start by having some sort of grand opening sale. Perhaps give out a free $10 store credit to the first 10 customers, or something along those lines. Put ads in the paper. If you have the money, put an ad on the radio. Make business cards, fliers, etc.
Hand out business cards to all your customers. Even though they’ve already been in your resale store, they’ll have your card with your number on it. Perhaps they’ll give you a call to check on new inventory!
Put up fliers on all available boards in your area. Gas stations, laundromats, telephone polls, car windshields. (make the sure the car is stopped and unoccupied. No causing accidents by diving onto moving cars to give them a flier!)
Make sure you tell everyone to tell their friends, too. Everyone loves a good resale store, so they are likely to tell their friends if yours is a good one anyways, but just make sure you remind them! Perhaps you can give them a few extra business cards to hand out to their friends and family.
Once you get your resale store going, in order to KEEP it going, you need to be constantly buying more inventory. Just make sure you are making more than you are spending.
You are going to work in your resale store as much as you possibly can, that way you don’t have to spend too much money on hiring people. You may want to hire a couple part timers though. Maybe one to help on the weekends, and one or two for the the week days. High school kids that can work after school, or maybe college students looking to make money for their tuition.
Hope this article is helpful in opening your resale shop. Thanks for reading!