As I’ve suggested in previous posts, buying wholesale, liquidation, closeouts etc. can be a slippery slope. There’s a lot of product out there to buy but there are far fewer opportunities to get good deals. But it’s not just the sellers that are troublesome. Finding good buyers can be difficult as well. I had a buyer that was a big company. They bought tens of thousands of dollars of product every month. For all intents and purposes a great customer. So I sell him his first load. Now this is a load we’ve bought before and have sold ourselves via our local online auctions. We have always done very well with this load. Our customer get’s the load and begins to complain. We are at a loss because we know these loads very well, but things can happen. So we apologize and we are willing do whatever it takes to make him happy. He decides he wants to buy another, different kind of load. These loads happen to be from a Big Box and it’s all new product. We know these loads are great. At first he’s fine. In fact he tells the truck driver how he can’t believe how good this load is. But as the day goes on he tells us how bad this load is. Each contact we get from him it get’s worse. By the next morning he’s saying it’s all junk and he will probably have to donate it to Goodwill. Now a customer like this you’d expect to be mad and say he will never buy from you again. But he doesn’t do that. He wants to buy two more of the same loads, but he says he should get a discount for his trouble. Really? You just bought what you described as junk but you want more but for a cheaper price. Well, we’ve seen this game before and it’s a no win situation. A company buys a load and complains regardless so they can get the next one cheaper. The problem is we don’t mark loads up that much so there isn’t a lot of room and the constant drama is just not worth it. This company could easily spend $100,000 a month with us but we tell him we won’t sell him another load. There are plenty of good buyers out there and it’s not worth it to us. Of course he’s amazed and irritated because he’s actually been getting good loads and he’s used to his bullying tactics working. But to date we have yet to sell him another load in spite of his frequent inquiries.
So here’s my point to new buyers. If you’re buying pallets or a truckload here and there and you think you can play that game because someone told you that’s how it’s done, think again. If a big buyer will get shut down because of it, sellers won’t even think twice about shutting down a small buyer. Then you’re out of business. That said, I’m not saying you shouldn’t complain about legitimately bad loads. But you shouldn’t have to if you do your homework and find a good source. As a new buyer you need to have your expectations in the proper perspective. We get new buyers that buy a truckload at 20% of retail and expect it to be perfect and have no waste. Well of course that’s ridiculous. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating. You CANNOT get a premium load at salvage prices. That does NOT exist. You need to understand what you’re buying. It’s not what you hope to get and it’s not about what you want to hear. You need to get as much information as you can. Get manifests if available, pictures if available and ask questions. Once you do a couple of deals with your source it will get easier because you both will build trust and you will know what you can expect. But no matter what, it is ALWAYS Caveat emptor. Buyer Beware! What that means is, it is on you. If you are a player in this business you will get good loads and occassionally get bad loads. That is the nature of the business. There are no absolutes. There are risks. It’s over the long haul that allows you to decide how you’re doing. If you’re looking at buying one truck to see if you can make it in this business, don’t bother. You are bound to be disappointed. You need to build a relationship with your source and protect that source. They will be the life blood of your business. But as a smaller buyer initially, if you are a problem to deal with you will quickly stop getting offers and then you will really have problem.
As a new buyer, I can tell you categorically this is not a get rich scheme. You can’t do anything without some risk. This business takes intelligence, courage and decisiveness. If you’re going to wait around for the perfect deal that gives you everything you want at a low low price, you are going to be waiting along time. At some point you have to simply jump in. If you’re not willing to do that this business is not for you. This business can be a lot of fun and very lucrative. But you need to put in the work and you must have the proper perspective. You must understand what the realistic expectations are. If you can do that and figure out how to make a profit you will do well. Great Expections is a play not a business model.
About the Author
Mike Mauren has worked as a radio broadcaster and producer for over 30 years. He has sold online for 15 years. He currently works selling wholesale, liquidation and closeouts.