If your home is overrun with old unwanted items, you can adopt a quick-solution approach and toss it all into the trash, or you can look for ways to generate some income. Your first thought might be to launch a huge yard sale and see what you can get out of it. Or, you could take that idea to the next level and open a second-hand store.
Second-hand stores occupy an interesting niche in many communities. They’re a source of curiosity and unexpected discovery for people who have a strong sense of nostalgia, but you can also find kitschy items that are worth money or have strong personal appeal. Either way, a second-hand store is almost always a lot of fun.
General or Specialized?
Determining what kind of store you want to open will depend on the nature of your junk. If you have rooms full of old vinyl records or books, you might be better off simply opening a record or bookstore. However, if you’re overloaded with general stuff, you’re in a good position to open a store with more general appeal. These kinds of stores often have a section for clothing, one for dishes and kitchen items, another for books and/or old magazines, and so forth.
The more valuable your stuff is, the better your chances of being successful. In other words, if someone walks in and sees a collection of glasses they love, you can expect some good word-of-mouth advertising. Or, you could let your location determine what type of shop you’ll open; if you’re in a college town, a second-hand clothing store might be your best bet.
A second-hand store is a great way to clear the clutter from your home and make some money, but there are downsides. At some point, you’ll run out of all that junk, no matter how much you think you have, and you’ll need to replenish. That means you’ll need a merchandise sourcing plan to keep your stock fresh and updated. No, you don’t have to go from garage sale to garage sale to restock your store, as closeouts and liquidation sales can help you do it quickly and affordably. Also, don’t forget estate auctions, which can be excellent sources of stuff no one else wanted, but which would make great items for a second-hand store.
Some people choose to do business through space they rent at a local flea market. It’s an economical way to go to market, but keep in mind that you’ll be going up against many other merchants who are selling items similar to yours. If you prefer a location of your own, remember to get the proper licenses (such as a reseller’s license). Some communities may require multiple licenses, so do your research in advance and know how much this will cost you.
Register Your Business
While you’re getting things set up, it’s important to register your business as an entity with the state. That way, you can legally do business and take advantage of certain perks. Registering as an LLC in California, for example, provides you with limited personal liability and tax advantages. Although you can hire a lawyer to handle the paperwork or do it yourself, formation services can tackle this aspect of business ownership in an effective, affordable manner. That way, you can spend less time on paperwork and more time with the fun stuff.
Find a Handyman
Selling second-hand objects means you’ll often come across stuff that’s broken. You don’t want to waste time and money completely restoring items that are candidates for the dumpster, but there will be plenty of things that just need a little work. If you’re not handy with tools, it’s worthwhile finding a handyman who is and engaging them as a partner or paying them a fee.
Purge and Pitch
Of course, you’ll come across things at home that aren’t worth rehabbing and trying to sell. If you have junk that just needs to be cleared out of the garage, basement, or yard, consider renting a dumpster or hiring a junk removal company. If you see this taking a while, a dumpster is a good option because you can take your time and fill it as you go, whereas a junk removal service will handle the whole task in one comprehensive sweep.
The second-hand economy is a popular and effective way to declutter your life and give yourself a cash boost at the same time. If you see it as a long-term opportunity, spend some time planning your second-hand business. What will you sell, where will you sell it, and how will you replenish it? The nature of your “junk” will have a lot to do with how you answer these questions and the kind of second-hand business you decide on.
June 10, 2021