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How to Begin
I have wanted to begin a second hand business for a very long time. I have looked for store fronts I could afford to rent, and I have looked for places that would make do for a place to start a second hand business. I have started the paperwork for a non profit organization, but so far I have not been able to come up with what it takes financially to open a store.
A second hand store is like owning a seven day a week yard sale. Not only does it take a lot of time to keep your store organized, but it takes a lot of time to work it and make sure that especially at first you take in enough cash to keep your doors open. To begin a second hand store business, you must collect enough inventory and not just junk, but good usable, collect able, household goods, children clothes and toys, perhaps small furniture, or any other things that will go quickly and bring in the cash.
You must also have the resources needed to replace the items that you have sold. It is not as easy as you might think to keep a good, clean, and constant supply of inventory. You can do this a number of ways, but one must realize that when you take donations there is a lot of sorting and discarding of items that are just not usable. There are storage units that you can bid on and again, we are running into a lot of sorting and a huge amount of things that must be thrown away. When you take into account how much rubbish as opposed to the amount of goods that are sell-able, you run into a situation of having to pay to get rid of a lot of things that nobody wants. This also means that you must invest in a truck or van of some kind that you can use for hauling this stuff.
So, what can one do to make sure that you have enough time to manage a store, as well as the time that it takes to get enough used items that are usable and good enough to keep people's interest and keep them coming into your establishment looking for the things that people look for in thrift or second hand stores.
People get the wrong idea about what it takes to run this type of a business. Many think that they are a pure profit business. This is not the case when you stop and think that even though you may get a portion of your inventory for free, the time and the cost of sorting the trash and disposing of it, then the additional time it takes to clean up what you have kept, then realizing the fact that your time must be worth something, you have to be careful about what you effectively bring home to use in the business.
It is sometimes a good idea to specialize or make your inventory more of one kind of thing, for then when looking for a particular item type you may get a draw of customers. For example, my husband has a die cast car collection that he would like to incorporate into this store. In doing this, we could make the rest of the inventory compliment or go along with the theme of the toy cars. We could perhaps sell a larger percentage of children items, or maybe look for inventory that goes along with the collect able theme.
I have found a store front in our neighborhood for a reasonable rent of six hundred dollars a month. Now in order to pay our rent, we must effectively sell a minimum of that amount. It is going to take me at least two weeks to set up the place, and organize it so it isn't a fire hazard. It is going to take me at least a couple of months to get it running smoothly and figure out what I am doing, what will be needed to keep it running, and to keep a smooth flow of inventory coming in and going out. This is going to be a real difficult endeavor at first I think that this will be a very good source of income once I get everything set up and effectively running smoothly.
Also it will take a continuous source of things that are worth selling, so that I do not have to worry about disposing of a ton of trash every week. I have been thinking that maybe keeping tabs on the yard sales or maybe estate sales from the newspaper where I can go and shop for what I can use and leave the trash behind. However I end up working it out, I will keep you all informed and hopefully it will end up being a financial success.