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Buying from Liquidators

There are merchandise liquidators, big and small, all across the USA and Canada.  A few clicks on your computer will find more than several pages of them.

The best way to narrow down the list is to first examine the websites of those that are nearest you, because if at all possible, you will want to meet the liquidators and see,

first-hand, the merchandise they have. If you are serious about buying their merchandise, they should have no qualms about receiving you to visit their warehouse for a look at the goods. This does not mean you will be able to choose one promising pallet load and open it up and check out each piece of merchandise, but you will be able to get a good idea of the contents of each pallet load. Further, each pallet load should have a manifest which lists exactly what is inside.

Remember that all liquidation merchandise, regardless of its origin (shelf-pulled new, store-return, overstock, discontinued, whatever) has been handled several more times than a product which was simply stocked on the shelves and sold. It had to be moved from the sales floor, back to the warehouse, then into the liquidator's warehouse, then likely re-packed again into pallet loads. All this extra handling takes its toll on the packaging, and could even possibly un-knowningly damage the actual products inside. It's all part of the risk of buying liquidations, and it's part of the reason this merchandise is so cheap.

So once you have found a few liquidators in your general area, try to narrow your search by the types of products each has an which seem to have the most of the type you are looking for. Some liquidators deal, for example, only in clothing. You're not gonna find any electronics there. And by 'general area, I mean close enough to drive to. If you happen to live in Wyoming or some other sparsely-populated area, this may mean buying a plane ticket. Let's be realistic here - liquidators are located in the more densely-populated states.

Now get on the phone, talk to the liquidator sales rep, make an appointment, then get in the car (or buy a plane ticket), and have a visit. Most liquidators will let you buy pallet-loads on the spot. If you are driving a truck, they will help get the pallet loaded onto your truck. If your truck is not big enough to handle a fully-packed pallet, they will likely move it onto the loading dock where you can dismantle the shrink-wrapped pallet load and load it piece-by-piece into your truck.

If this is your first time buying liquidations and you absolutely must purchase a pallet load (or more) sight-unseen, you should make payment ONLY by credit card. No debit cards, no checks, no wire transfers. Credit cards offer you consumer protection against fraudulent business people (there are always a couple of bad apples in any group, after all).  Make sure you receive copies of the manifests BEFORE you give up your credit card number, and when your shipment arrives, check to make sure EVERYTHING on the manifest is in your pallet load.

 

Once you have established a relationship with a liquidator, they will be anxious to keep you as a customer and other forms of payment can then be discussed. Because the liquidator has to pay their credit-card processor a percentage of each charge, you may be able to get an even better price in the future by paying with a check.

Your liquidator will help to arrange shipping for your purchases, as they will have arrangements with several different trucking companies. Make sure you establish shipping costs while you are negotiating the price of the pallet load(s) of merchandise - the trucking costs could turn your great deal into only a "so-so" or even a poor deal. Determine exactly to where the shipment will be sent: to your door, or to the trucking company's local terminal. Shipping to the terminal is usually cheaper - if you can then pick up your merchandise at their docks, you can probably save a little money. If it is being delivered to your store, warehouse, or even to your home, make sure that the trucking company will have a forklift or pallet-jack in order to get the pallets off the truck and to where you want them.