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When most people start selling on eBay they just hope to make a few bucks flipping thrift store items or maybe turn $100 into $1,000.
I was different.
I started an eBay store intending to build a real business. I wanted to source products at scale, list thousands of items, and be making thousands of dollars per day.
It didn’t take long to figure out that simply thrifting wasn’t going to cut it. While there are a bunch of alternate places to source inventory I needed something that didn’t take up all of my time.
The solution I came up with was buying liquidation lots in bulk. Buying items by the box, pallet, or truckload gave me the flexibility I needed to really start scaling my business.
So if you’re wanting to buy items in bulk and sell them individually, this is the right place for you as well.
So let’s take a look at some of the best places where you can buy liquidation online!
But first, a bit of background on what we’re looking for.
What is a Liquidation Website?
When a company goes out of business, one of the first things they do is to liquidate the assets, meaning that they sell off the remaining stock at a low price, in order to turn it into a liquid asset (i.e., cash).
However, failed businesses aren’t the only ones with inventory to liquidate.
Companies who aren’t going out of business but have an overstock of an item that isn’t selling well for some reason, like if a pallet of ice scrapers was accidentally delivered to Miami, Florida, where they aren’t in demand.
Finally, large retailers often sell customer returns to liquidators, especially if the customer returned the item without its original packaging or if the item still works but has minor cosmetic damage like a small dent.
Amazon is probably the largest seller of liquidation but it’s not possible for the public to get their hands directly on Amazon’s wares as they are sold to contracted buyers. However, retailers such as BestBuy, Gamestop, Walmart, Home Depot, and others all have items available by the truck load.
Since items being sold as liquidation have often been written off as losses businesses are more interested in getting rid of their items than getting as much money as they can for them. Because of this, the items are often listed on auction started at a super low price, giving us the opportunity to profit!
Types Of Liquidation You Can Buy
Anytime you go to a liquidation site you’ll be faced with a number of filters that will greatly affect the type of merchandise you’ll be receiving.
Here are the most common ones that you’ll want to look for to maximize your profits.
Shelf pulls are items that literally have been “pulled from the sales shelf.” This typically means that they will be unopened but may show some packaging wear. Shelf pulls are typically items that are discontinued or out of season.
Buying returned items is all the rage these days because you never know what you’re going to get. Items will range in condition from brand-new to worn out or broken. Most liquidators do zero testing so you’ll likely get an eclectic mix of things.
You might have seen the viral videos about being able to buy lost packages for a dollar and find all sorts of amazing treasures. It’s no longer a thing.
Reselling lost packages is a profitable business but you’ll have to look around carefully to find a reputable seller.
When something is sold on a liquidation site the way that’s is listed is almost entirely at the discretion of the seller. This means that they can list just about anything as refurbished.
In a perfect world you’d expect the units to be refurbed to factory condition but many times the seller did nothing but wipe the dust off.
Unless you are confident in repairing items or find a great seller, avoid refurbished liquidation units. Nobody that’s honest gets a bunch of times, repairs them, and then sells them via liquidation. You’ll get the dregs.
Salvage items can literally be anything and you should expect the worst. While these are usually the cheapest liquidation lots you’ll find you might get a box of garbage.
I’ve received salvage lots of clothing that had nothing but a pulled thread and salvage headphones that looked like a train ran over them and they dumped the parts into a plastic bag.
Just expect that whatever you get will be useful for parts only and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Top 10 Liquidation Sites Open To The Public
While you might need to register as a reseller (meaning you’ll need a reseller certificate in your state) you should be able to buy from any of the following sites!
I have purchased lots from most of these and had mostly good experiences. Just remember, most of them are platforms so you need to vet the individual seller that you’re buying from.
BlueLots is probably my favorite, which is why it’s at the top of the list. It has both auctions and sales, both of which can offer great resale margins. There are no refunds, returns, or exchanges, however, so you’ll want to be sure you’re buying something that you’ll actually be able to sell.
Still, it’s hard to beat their prices. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is listed for each lot as well, so you’ll have a good idea as to how much each lot is worth before you buy.
Liquidation.com (check out my full review here) has a lot of great auctions, some of which are multiples of the same item and others are mystery pallets within a general category. They also offer a pickup service from their warehouses across the country, which can be very helpful if you live near one of their sites and would rather not pay to have an entire pallet’s worth of merchandise shipped to you.
If you’re really into reselling and have the space for it, in addition to lots and pallets, they also offer truckloads. Through their partner websites, the same company also sells education and government-related surplus items to the public as well.
If you prefer to receive assorted shipments as opposed to bulk quantities of a single item, Bulq is an excellent choice. They also have a pretty good app, available in the Apple App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android devices.
If you don’t mind doing some repairs on electronics and/or are mechanically inclined, they have especially great deals here in the “salvage” and “uninspected returns” categories as well. A few dollars for parts and a little bit of time can increase the resale value of these items quite a bit.
B-stock has partnerships with Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Costco, Gamestop, and many other major companies. Cases, pallets, and truckloads of merchandise can be bought at auction here for low prices.
There are several shipping options, including one that may allow you to pick up items directly from the seller if you live close enough to their location. If an auction is listed as “buyer arranges shipping”, you may be able to save on shipping costs, particularly if it’s a larger shipment. You’ll still have to pay in advance through the website, however.
5. American Merchandise Liquidators
American Merchandise Liquidators (AML) have been around for over 20 years, but now have an online presence in addition to their physical locations. Their stock can be a little limited at times, but they still offer great deals on a wide variety of products.
All merchandise is untested, sold as-is, and is listed as “salvage”, however, so you may need some repairs to get some value out of their products. Still, they offer great prices on pallets and truckloads of items.
This one is a bit niche, but if you’re interested in purchasing equipment from restaurants that have shut down, RestaurantEquipment.bid is a great choice. There are no reserve prices that must be met and all auctions start at $1.
The only drawback here is that you as the buyer have to arrange shipment and it must be done quickly, as these restaurants are going out of business and need to have everything cleared out of their space as soon as possible. Other than that, if you’re in the market for restaurant equipment either as an online reseller or to local businesses, this is almost certainly your best bet.
7. Direct Liquidation
Direct Liquidation is another great place to find smaller items if you’re just starting out, as their auctions feature primarily pallets, but they have box orders with just a handful of each item.
All items here are tested and some lots are listed as “tested/not working”, which can give a repair-oriented reseller who is good with technology a great opportunity to personally refurbish some units and make extra money with just a small investment in time.
8. Via Trading
Via Trading celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, which suggests they must be pretty good to stay in business that long. If you live in the Los Angeles area or don’t mind a bit of travel, you can visit their warehouse and inspect the items you’re interested in before making a purchase.
They also offer international shipping to many (but not) countries around the world, which is especially good for international resellers interested in cosmetics. They have an à-la-carte system where you can pick and choose the cosmetics items you want and, as long as you choose 144 items, they’ll give you a great deal on the whole thing.
If you’re feeling brave, QuickLotz has a collection of mystery boxes within a category that you can purchase, including jewelry, electronics, cell phone cases and accessories, and a few uncategorized ones if you really want a surprise. Unlike the rest of their offerings, these have free shipping in the continental United States.
They also offer truckloads and pallets, including ones that include high-end designer apparel and other potentially expensive items to resell. They claim on some of these that you might find a single item that pays for the entire shipment, but I can’t confirm if that’s true or just marketing.
If you prefer a liquidation website that sells individual items in addition to pallets and truckloads, 888lots is a perfect choice. Each item has the MSRP and the average price for the item on Amazon, so you’ll be able to avoid bad deals by not buying items that sell for significantly lower than the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Each item also has a link to Amazon’s website, so you can check out reviews and get more information about the item before you commit to a purchase. You might even be able to find some individual items for yourself that you don’t plan on reselling but can buy at a deep discount anyway, giving you more money to put into reselling.
Best Tip For Buying Liquidation: Avoid Losing Money
It may seem obvious but the best thing you can do when you’re looking to buy liquidation lots is to simply protect your investment. Always assume the worst and ensure that you can at least make your money back.
Another side of this is to make sure that you’re only buying from reputable sites. New liquidation sites pop up all the time and offer what seem to be great deals. While you might get lucky with some of them, most of them disappear after a couple of months and pop up again under another name as they are selling garbage that no one will buy twice.
Hopefully, I’ve been able to open your eyes a bit to the plethora of liquidation sites that are out there and help you in making your first purchase.
So whether you’re interested in an entire pallet, just a few boxes, or even individual items, check out a couple of the places above and tell me how it goes! Good luck!