If you’re thinking about starting a liquidation business, you’re likely inspired by the success stories of people who have profitable side hustles or earn a good living by flipping truckloads of liquidation pallets. Still, the idea that you can become your own boss or supplement your living by selling liquidation merchandise may seem too good to be true. In this guide, we’ll explore the answer to the question “Is truckload liquidation legit?” so that you can make informed decisions about your startup.
What Is the Truckload Liquidation Business and Is It Legit?
The short answer to the question is: yes, the truckload liquidation business is legit. However, it’s important that you go into it with realistic expectations.
The truckload liquidation business involves purchasing pallets of inventory that retailers, manufacturers, or shipping companies want to sell in large quantities. Merchandise can include a wide variety of items from customer returns to out-of-season merchandise to damaged goods to pallets that went unclaimed or undelivered. A reseller usually purchases the truckload of pallets through a liquidation broker and then resells the pallets to someone else. In many cases, the reseller may break down the pallets and sell off merchandise individually by the piece. It depends on the reseller’s business model.
It’s possible to make money reselling truckload liquidation pallets, but a lot of work is necessary to succeed. You’ll need to do tons of research before, during, and after transactions to ensure that you buy the right merchandise, get a good price, market your goods, and sell them for a profit. On top of that, you’ll need to invest time in preparing and organizing your warehouse space, selling through the channels you select, and providing customer service to the people who buy from you.
Far too many people go into the truckload liquidation business expecting an easy ticket to income. They expect that the merchandise will sell itself or mistakenly believe that any truckload can turn a profit. When they experience the reality of the business and find out just how much work it is, they may feel as if they’ve been misled by all those success stories, but the truth is they didn’t go into things with realistic expectations. This is still a business with competitors. Businesses take work, especially when your customers have other options. If you do not put in the work, then you will not experience the successes that you had hoped.
Also, not everyone in the truckload liquidation business is reputable. There are scammers out there looking to take advantage of beginners. Fortunately, there is an entire community of experienced resellers and reputable truckload liquidators that can help you spot scammers.
Check out our guide to How To Buy a Truckload of Returns the Smart Way to explore some best practices for successful flipping.
Find a Reputable Truckload Liquidator
Knowing how to find a liquidator that you can trust is vital to the success of your business. If you have a good idea of what to look for, you can vet brokers quickly, and you’ll be in a better position to avoid being scammed.
Some key traits of reputable truckload liquidators include the following topics.
Truckload pallet liquidation is a learn-as-you-go-and-grow business. The more experience a broker has in the industry, the more they’ll be able to assist you before, during, and after the sale. A highly experienced truckload liquidator can help you select the right pallets based on your niche, sales channels, storage capabilities, and other factors. They can clearly explain unfamiliar terms so that you understand the process, and they can provide valuable tips about marketing, customer service, and other aspects of the business. They are also more equipped to help you if you get into a bad spot with a truckload received that is different than what was expected.
Online reviews can be a great way to vet truckload liquidators. However, the volume of the reviews is as important as the content. Unfortunately, one or two reviews can be easily faked by unscrupulous people. Having many positive reviews spread across a variety of platforms like Google Review and the Better Business Bureau is a good indication that the glowing praise you’re reading is from real customers.
Problems can arise even when you work with a reputable truckload liquidator. In truckload liquidation it is only a matter of time before you have an issue. It’s good to know that when you do, there will be someone there to help. Choose a liquidator that puts their customers first and measures their success in terms of the success of their customers. Look out for warning signs that a broker may have less-than-stellar customer service, such as being slow to return your calls or being evasive when you ask questions.
Truckload liquidators should be transparent in their dealings. They should be upfront about the condition of inventory, and set clear expectations. If a liquidator seems hesitant to answer a question or talks around the answer rather than giving a clear response, you may want to look elsewhere. Sometimes, there is no clear answer to the question asked, but if you have suspicions as to whether the liquidator is being truthful, ask someone!
Throw Out the Secret Supplier Notion
Many beginners start off thinking that they can find a contract holder who will work with them and can be easily fooled by scammers claiming to be secret contract holders that will act as their supplier. The truth is that people who are just starting off simply won’t have the volume to gain access to deeply discounted, in-demand merchandise like designer sneakers, new mobile phones, and power tools. At least, not at a cheap price point.
If someone contacts you claiming to have a secret source, be wary. Contract holders normally don’t have to go out looking for business on social media because they have an established customer base that they work with. If someone claims to have access to amazing merchandise or offers much lower prices than competitors, they are selling the merchandise on a truckload by truckload basis and it sounds too good to be true–it’s more than likely a scam.
Find out more about vetting your seller before you buy with our blog post on the subject.
Is Truckload Pallet Flipping Worth It?
With all the time, effort, and money that goes into flipping truckloads of pallets, you may wonder if it’s worth it to start a liquidation business. The truth is that the business is worth it, but success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to establish yourself as a reputable seller and build up your market share.
To get on your way to building a liquidation business that’s profitable, follow these tips.
Do Your Research
We already mentioned this once but it bears repeating. You’ll spend a lot of time researching and learning in the liquidation business. When you’re getting started, you’ll need to gain an understanding of how many pallets will be on a specific truckload and do some legwork to find and prepare a storage space for your merchandise. In addition, you’ll need to figure out what types of products to sell by researching your local area or the online platform that you intend to use. Conducting competitor research to find out who else sells what you do, how they market their inventory, and what their prices are will also benefit you.
Even once your business is up and running, the need to continue learning continues. Contracts can change hands many times, and retailers’ liquidation programs start, end, and change on a consistent basis. As a result, what’s true about a liquidation source one month might not be a few months later, and the need to continue researching continues.
What you think you know about liquidation programs and retailers may evolve over time as well. New sellers may form a negative opinion about the quality of the merchandise available from a certain retailer based on experience only to find out later that the broker they used has a reputation for picking through loads or modifying loads in other ways that decrease value. The bad load they received was not bad due to the specific retailer they bought. It is bad because of the seller they purchased it from!
Don’t Spend Money You Can’t Afford to Lose
Even if you have a reputable liquidation broker to advise you, there’s always a risk that you might make mistakes that cost you money or get a below average liquidation truckload. You might overestimate the margin on a certain type of merchandise and end up having to sell at a loss. You might test a new type of product and find it’s difficult to move, or you might buy a new pallet type that doesn’t work for you. You could also do everything correctly and end up receiving a truckload that is all Christmas when it is February or something like that. It happens regularly. Starting small and investing only a minimal amount will help ensure that you can rebound quickly when a miscalculation leads to a loss.
Understand the Effect of Lot Size
Although there can be a lot of variability in terms of pricing and shipping fees, typically, the bigger the lot is, the better the deal. Purchasing a full truckload can allow you to acquire inventory at a lower cost and increase your potential margin for a potentially larger profit.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should jump into a full truckload right away. Bigger lots will require more storage space and more hands to unload the truck. Buying too much at one time could also leave you overwhelmed and uncertain how to proceed. It's wise to start slowly, buying one or two pallets at a time to test out the product type and learn about the business. As you gain experience and confidence, you can purchase larger lots to take advantage of discounted pricing.
Know That Everything Is Sold As-Is
With truckload liquidation pallets, everything is sold as-is. You may not know the specific contents of the pallet, but your liquidation broker will be able to tell you what the general condition is. With something like customer returns, for instance, you may end up with some items that are complete and like-new and other items that are missing components or are damaged. Set realistic expectations about what pallets will contain. It's rare that you’ll get a truckload of untouched, pristine merchandise, especially at a low price.
Find a Trusted Partner in the BuyLow Team
- The truckload liquidation business is legit, but set realistic expectations about growing your business.
- Business may be slow to grow while you build your reputation as a seller.
- Research is key to success.
- An experienced, transparent truckload liquidator committed to customer service like BuyLow Warehouse can help you succeed.
At BuyLow Warehouse, our number one goal is to help you have a profitable liquidation business. We’re here to support you before, during, and after every sale with expert advice based on our years of experience. Our honest pricing and practices ensure you can buy with confidence, and you can count on us to work to resolve issues if they ever arise. We hold ourselves to our slogan, “Always Delivering Value!” Check out our current inventory to discover your next truckload.