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Are certain categories easier to resell and earn a profit from than others? Absolutely. You can’t just pick up a rusty dishwasher and flip it in a day from your garage—if that’s what you’re interested in you’re better off looking into other popular items you can flip. Categories like toys or apparel are easier to master with little to no prior knowledge about reselling. When it comes to appliances, though, it’s helpful to do some research. These are bigger purchase items both in price tag and size, but the rewards can also be bigger. In this post, we cover all you need to know about buying and reselling appliances, the difference between used appliances and scratch and dent appliances, tips to get started, and more!
When we talk about appliances, we’re typically referring to the Big 5. There are of course smaller appliances and products out there, but these are what the industry considers key product players:
Selling appliances is a profitable business–whether they’re used, scratch and dent, or even salvage. And when you consider other popular reselling categories, none stand out as appliances do. There are a few reasons for that.
Appliances are higher-ticket items, meaning they will yield higher profits. The profit margins are simply lower for a $25 shirt (or even designer clothes) versus an item like $700-$1,000 washer unit!
Also, about 80% of appliance purchases are replacement purchases. This means shoppers are looking for a unit to bring home fast, usually in the next 24-48 hours. So if you have the inventory available, you can make the sale.
The better the cosmetic condition of used appliances, the more you can confidently spend on it —and make back in profit! While non-functional, or salvage, is still able to be sold for scrap parts, they’re harder to move to end consumers.
Let’s compare scratch and dent versus used appliances. The term scratch and dent refers to slight cosmetic damages to the exterior of the merchandise. These scratches and dents only affect the aesthetics of the product, but not the overall functionality. Cosmetic damage is one of the top reasons appliances get returned—if the unit is damaged in any way before it reaches the customer, they’ll typically request a new flawless one in its place. You can charge more for scratch and dent appliances as these are new and not used.
Used appliances, as the name would suggest, can mean an item has varying degrees of use while still being functional. Appliances that fall into this category may be good/ fair or like new. Depending on the bargain you’re offering, you can still profit from these sales and should not overlook this group!
Non-functional reasons lead to customer returns all the time. Non-functional basically applies to the many other reasons besides the unit not working, whether it’s because appliances were the wrong color, size issue, or simply too noisy. The takeaway? More often than not, the returned unit is fully functioning.
Scratch and dent appliances are highly sought after. Remember, inventory is in new condition as it was likely cosmetic damage that occurred sometime during the delivery process. Here are a few places you can buy scratch and dent appliances.
When retailers have customer returns, scratch and dent appliances, and overstock appliances taking up warehouse space, that’s a problem. In order to make way for new inventory, they liquidate this merchandise.
B-Stock plays a role by putting up liquidation appliances up for auction on a custom site for retailers and manufacturers alike. That way, registered buyers can purchase directly from the source! Some of these appliance liquidation marketplaces include:
As a public marketplace, you don’t have to be a registered business to make purchases on Facebook Marketplace. However, this is a long and grueling process of waiting for the right listing to come your way. These are usually being sold by resellers, too. Or you’ll notice the seller is sharing their brick-and-mortar store location—which is more common when reselling appliances. (We cover why later.) For a more reliable and steady supply of appliances, go directly through major retailers and manufacturers.
Buying used appliances through wholesalers or local outlet stores come with the added markup that middlemen need to make their own profits. Plus, they already have their own store and are likely sourcing directly through the manufacturers themselves. Which is what you could be doing! By purchasing through B-Stock you’re creating a higher profit margin through yourself, not a fixed price that someone else has set.
Since B-Stock operates private appliance marketplaces, your registered business will have to apply and qualify to start purchasing appliances. Oftentimes, manufacturers will require credit checks along with several other tight restrictions to obtain their inventory. We spoke with our in-house appliances expert, Ryan Norton for more appliance insider knowledge.
For the big manufacturers like GE and Whirpool, being an online seller with a resale certificate is not enough. You need a physical address to purchase used appliances— yes, customer returns and overstock as well.
If you’re a small appliance reseller, don’t worry too much about this! Selling small appliances like air fryers, Kitchenaids, blenders, and grills are all fair game. Start shopping home & garden auctions to source small appliances!
Contact the manufacturer for available appliance technicians near you. As manufacturers, brand integrity is important. So they will be willing to help you find the proper technician so you can go on to resell their appliances. Or, you can make the repairs yourself. Making repairs goes a long way and will allow you to sell used appliances for a higher profit!
Part of selling used appliances means you may have to find certain missing accessories. Avoid surprises later by being mindful of whether or not a product has been fully tested. Since certain accessories are easier to get your hands on than others, read each marketplace’s terms and conditions carefully to see if items are being sold “as is” or if there are requirements you may still have to meet before you can go on to resell them. Another thing that may be required before you can resell used appliances is to clean or data wipe any personal information as more and more appliances become Bluetooth/WiFi-friendly.
Statistically, laundry units are in higher demand in the market than kitchen appliances. For business owners, this means that washers and dryers tend to sell faster allowing you to move inventory quickly. In fact, laundry units generate the highest secondary appliance market pricing, with refrigerators following in second.
Also worth considering, because laundry units are not out in the open for everyone to see, consumers are less concerned with minor scratches. A dented fridge, on the other hand, would be more noticeable and might drive customers to splurge for the new condition. Fridges are getting major upgrades too with an emphasis on compartmentalized storage, see-thru doors, stainless steel (versus white or black), and even those Bluetooth capabilities!
Keep track of big buying holidays like 4th of July, Labor Day, and Memorial Day. These are good times to stock up on discounted inventory and keep around when promos are over. The non-holiday time frames are better for secondary market selling as customers are still looking for a good deal and can come to you for inventory! Customer returns also trend upwards when those holiday promotions are over as well. You can acquire used appliances to resell with ease when you’re on those online appliance liquidation marketplaces we talked about.
Consider establishing relationships with businesses like property management companies and real estate agents that are likely looking for companies to refer new homeowners to for used or scratch and dent appliances. Landlords are potentially good repeat customers, too. Renters come and go and units fill and empty accordingly. Landlords looking to snag a deal on scratch and dent appliances can buy directly from you.
As you continue to sell used appliances, consider how you can include extra value-adds like carting away customer’s old appliances and recycling them properly. For many people, this can be a huge hassle that they don’t want to deal with and you can profit from!
You can go the manual route of buying clearance appliances in-store when there is a good deal going on, or you can go with liquidation appliances like scratch and dent and used appliances. The B-Stock platform is used by major appliance manufacturers like Whirlpool and GE Appliances. Buyers can also shop multiple appliance brands from some of the largest appliance retailers. Marketplaces include Best Buy Liquidation Auctions, Lowe’s Liquidation, Sears/Kmart Overstock Auctions, and The Home Depot Liquidations Auction.