Second hand store business

Second Hand Store business plan

Some second-hand stores specialize in selling housewares.Some second-hand stores specialize in selling housewares.

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Second-hand stores sell a huge variety of merchandise, from baby clothes to power tools and DVDs. No matter what the economy is like, second-hand businesses are attractive because they allow consumers to buy gently used, quality goods at a fraction of retail price. Starting a second-hand store is less expensive than most other types of retail operations, but to be successful you will still need to put a good deal of research and dedication into your business.

1. Pick a niche for your second-hand store. Doing so will be easier than trying to sell everything you come across. For example, you can sell vintage clothing, used designer purses and jewelry, second-hand wedding dresses or used appliances.

2. Get the permits needed to legally operate a retail business in your state. Contact your local Small Business Administration office or small business development center to find out what is required.

3. Rent or buy a location for your second-hand store. Most thrift stores are brick-and-mortar operations, but you can alternatively use a warehouse or start off selling at flea markets, which are both less expensive options.

4. Source your inventory. Shop at garage and estate sales, storage auctions and browse through print and online classified ads. Once your store opens, you can also accept items from customers that come by your business.

5. Set the atmosphere for your store with suitable decor and organization. For instance, if your business focuses on selling upscale, second-hand women's clothing, ensure your store has a welcoming, trendy look to it, with your best pieces on display. On the other hand, if your store sells used appliances, you won't need to spend much money on decorating, but you will need to logically organize your merchandise and make sure customers can easily navigate the store.

6. Price your items to sell. Unless you have a rare item, collectible or antique, your prices should be below retail. The point of having a second-hand store is to buy items cheaply and sell them for a decent mark-up quickly, so you'll be able to steadily bring in new merchandise. You'll make your money in volume.

7. Market your second-hand store. Place fliers in complementary businesses and on community bulletin boards, utilize classified ads, open a website or blog that contains information about your inventory, operating hours and buying policies and set up social networking accounts.

8. Donate any merchandise you come across that you don't have room for or can't sell. This does not mean giving broken or damaged items to charity, but giving away useful items that you have too many of, or that don't suit your niche.

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