What You Need to Know When Deciding What Liquidation Pallet to Buy

I have a love/hate relationship with the versatility of a reselling business. It’s a great, lucrative business. The business can be as full-time or as part-time as you’d like. What you get out of it is fully dependent upon what you put into it, which makes the potential profit amounts entirely up to you. This can make it insanely difficult to just tell someone who asks the question “what pallet is the best to buy for the first time reseller?”

If you’re only looking to make a couple hundred dollars a month to pay off a debt, upgrade your lifestyle, or supplement your income, reselling can easily be a part-time job and you can determine how many hours you are willing or able to put into it.

However, if you wanted reselling to REPLACE your income, and even increase it, then you can work your way into full time reselling and make a living by setting your own hours, processes, and products to specialize in.

On the other side of the coin, it can be an overwhelming process because there are SO many ways to make this business work and it’s hard to sift through all the options and make the best decisions for you and your business.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from e-mails and private messages is from starting resellers asking me what the best pallet is for a starting reseller. And I always struggle answering this question because the answer, inevitably, is “depends”.

It depends on how much time you have available to list products.
…how much space you have to store inventory.
…how much working capital you’re starting with.
…what platforms you’re selling on, and to which demographic you’re selling to.
…how quickly you want or need your investment back.
…what you like to sell.
…your geographic location and the population that lives there with you.
It just all depends.

There is so much to this question that I could talk about this forever. At some point I’ll write an e-book about this—going into depth about what to look for in pallets. But for now, I’m going to give you some basic starting points to start thinking about while you’re out shopping for pallets.

Joe and Jessica's First Ever Pallet! What they wish they had known when deciding what pallet to buy!

What we wish we had known before we bought our first pallet!

What You Need to Know When Deciding What Pallets to Buy

1. Time

How much time do you have to devote to your reselling business? Be honest with yourself.

If you don’t have a lot of time to resell right now, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have time later to build yourself slowly up to that point. We all have other obligations and it’s important that when you begin to implement reselling into your life, that you are realistic with the time you have to commit. Truth be told, you’re never going to know how much time you need until you start doing it. So go ahead and start slow, and you can build up as you go.

Things to consider:

  • If you don’t have a lot of time to commit, avoid the learning curve that comes with selling items you don’t know a lot about. Try finding wholesale or liquidated goods of things that you use regularly and love. Do you like make-up and beauty products? Are you a tech-educated person? Do you know a lot about cookware? Toys? Pets? Try to find products that you already know about and save time by avoiding having to learn about the products you’re selling.
  • Buy small lots and boxes from liquidators rather than large pallets, at least at first. This will allow you to build your investment without requiring too much of your time. And they cost less, so you will be able to sell through the box much more quickly and see a return on your investment quicker. Then, utilize that investment to buy better product or pay someone to delegate some of the tasks in your life to so you can devote more time to the business.

Space

Pallets take up more space than you think. Most people I talk to are worried about just getting the pallet into their space, but no one really accounts for how much space it takes once you start processing through the pallet. As you process the pallet, you’ll need space to test the items, sort them, grade them according to their cosmetic condition, list them, and then store them until they sell.

Things to consider:

  • What kind of items are on the pallets you’re purchasing? Do you have room for them all?
  • Do you have room for all the product that come with a pallet? Would you be better off spending your money purchasing 2-3 smaller lots and boxes rather than one large pallet? The margins are typically smaller, but you could consider the loss of margins as an investment in your sanity and organization. Getting overwhelmed will lower your productivity level and make this process so much harder.

Capital

Consider how much capital you have and how much of that you’re willing to spend on inventory. I say this all the time, DO NOT spend your rent money, your light money, or your grocery money on pallets. Keep in mind you’ll have upfront costs as well, and plan for unexpected expenses and upgrades. I have been working in this business for years and still get bad pallets from time to time. It’s part of this industry and you must expect that it may happen on your very first pallet. You want to make sure you have plenty of extra in case something unexpected happens.

Things to consider:

  • How quickly do I need to see this money back in my pocket? How sure am I that I can sell these products before that time comes?
  • What is the demand for the products I’m buying? Is there a need for them in the market I’m selling in?
  • Since there are no guarantees, am I willing to purchase this pallet and if I don’t make a profit on it, what is my plan for that? Will I still be able to continue my reselling business? Are there other options available that are less risky for my new business?

Platforms

Most people already have an idea in mind of what platforms they want to resell on. Make sure you do your due diligence in research and look at all the potential platforms out there. When it comes to selling on liquidation, increase your likelihood of being able to move product by having both an online and a local way of selling goods. That way, you can have the reach of the millions of people online, but you can always have the luxury of not having to spend the money on fees and shipping if you can sell it local—which means more money in your pocket.

Things to consider:

  • How much are you willing to keep up with? Are you wanting to visit multiple platforms to accept offers, ship products, and answer messages from customers?
  • Are you going to list the same item on multiple platforms? What will you do if you sell the same product twice on two different platforms? What will you do?
  • If you choose something like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for local sales, are you willing to meet with people to sell products?

ROI Needs

It is always a good practice to keep the cashflow moving. If you have money going into and out of your business, then your account balance will change. Know that when you have more going in than coming out, your profits are increasing. If you have more going out than coming in, then your business is losing money. But if you do not have money moving, generating change, then you are stagnant, and your business isn’t moving. Growth will not happen with a lack of cash flow.

If you need to increase your account balance, then you’re going to want money moving quickly and efficiently.

Things to consider:

  • What is the demand for the items you are selling? Are they short tail (items that will sell quickly), or long tail (items that will sit on the shelves for a while, waiting for the right buyer).
  • Collectables, vintage, or unique items will sell, and the margins are higher than general merchandise, but you will have to wait a while for the right buyer. If you’re selling long tail items, how long are you willing to wait for the profit margins you want?
  • If you have a love for long tail items, would you be willing to sell some short tail items as well to keep money flowing? Or do you have another, sustainable income that will allow you to wait for the right buyer to come along?

Did you find these tips useful?

Have you checked out my e-book? This 27-page book outlines a step-by-step strategy for building your reselling business!

The Secret to Flipping Liquidation Pallets with Little to No Investment e-book. Consider this when researching which pallets to buy!
Click the photo above to download this e-book!

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