The Maverick Entrepreneur™ Series


What are you going to Sell in your Online Auctions?
by Bob “MAVERICK” Stanford – “The Maverick Entrepreneur™”

Are you considering auction marketing as a work from home business? Where are you going to find items to sell? There are a wide variety of choices for you to acquire auction inventory. You just need a little insight to the wholesale, and bargain marketplace.

Each source has different benefits and disadvantages.

However, with so many options it will take a little effort on your part to find a the best sources for your home online auction business. The number one auction platform is obviously EBay. Though not an auction platform, can be a lucrative marketing source too. On you can sell both your products, and theirs.

Start with garage and yard sales as your initial product sources

The first and simplest method for acquiring bargain priced resaleable products is local garage, and yard sales. It’s not uncommon for buyers to find interesting and valuable treasures that can be resold for a nice profit.

The benefit of this method is that your inventory can usually be purchased very inexpensively.

Try going to yard sales as they are ending and see if you can get a bulk deal to buy whatever the person has left for a flat fee.

Start Early

Being the first buyer on the scene gives you the distinct advantage of having access to the best products first. It’s not uncommon for garage and yard sales to start early, often around 7:00 a.m. I made it a point to be there 5-10 minutes early since other experienced buyers will likely do the same.

Be careful though, as some sellers get highly agitated with early bird buyers because they want to get set up and don’t appreciate being interrupted as they work. Many garage sale ads often mention buyers not come before a specific time.

Buying can be fun

In my younger days, I fondly remember a time when I would be searching for garage sales every Saturday morning, racing around the neighborhood trying to beat another regular buyer to the punch.

The early bird got the worm, though at times we arrived there concurrently and had to start bidding on hot items. We liked each other, and this weekly game actually made the process more fun.

Buyer’s Ethics

Some sellers may pre-price sale items, while others don’t. Generally, sellers expect buyers to offer “buy prices”, even if the item is pre-priced. As a seller, I’ve been agitated more than once, at buyers making bid offers on products after I insisted this was my bottom price. Don’t do that.

Once, I actually raised the price of an item to get rid of an obnoxious buyer. He finally accepted my lowest price, and then started the irritating low-ball offers on other items all over again. A very unpleasant experience indeed! I found foreign buyers, having immigrated to America, were doing this “bargaining” more often than others.

I’ve learned this is a common practice and expected in their lands, so sellers just need to expect this and not be offended. Just stick to your guns, reemphasizing your bottom price until they get the point. I had one highly persistent buyer, not taking no to his low ball offers, make me laugh as his enthusiasm was actually quite contageous and entertaining. I finally learne dthis was just the buying nature of some people, their way of life.

Learn to identify the bargains

Sometimes there will be items that will double, triple, or more, your initial investment. You also have the benefit of being able to shop locally. You won’t have to travel far to get the items that you need. Another similar option is to look for estate sales and closeout auctions in your area.

Thrift Shops and Closeout Stores

I used to purchase a LOT of items for resale in closeout stores. These are stores that buy bulk lots on many discontinued, or unique items from failing stores. Many of these stores want to sell volume and can price some of their products below wholesale. Some store #are bargains, while others are overpriced. These type of stores can be local, or even online like or

Don’t forget to try thrift shops. I use to buy hot movies for $1 and sell them for $3+. Some regularly offer great bargains, while others charge higher than new prices. If you are fortunate to find the bargain centers, this can be a regular source.

I use to buy from one Goodwill and even made lower priced bids on products that were already bargains. Another Goodwill in the same area was always overpriced. These two stores had different prices. Over time you will learn where to buy, and not to buy from.

On the downside, when you purchase inventory from yard sales, you really have to know what you are looking for. Sometimes this method works better if you are focusing on selling a specific category of items, like pottery or children’s toys.

If you have a category of items that you are familiar with, you’ll know how much you can afford to spend. You will also be able to spot deals when you see them. The other downside is that when you purchase items, you need somewhere in your home to store them before you sell them.

If you buy a lot of items and have to sort through them, your garage and spare room will fill up in no time.


Some people prefer to keep the inventory out of their homes and work with a dropshipper. Dropshipping companies have items that you can sell on auctions. You list the items on the auction site, and then once the auction is complete, you arrange shipment with the drop ship company.

You never have to have the product in your home, and don’t have to worry about going to the post office a few times a week. As a home business owner, the convenience of working with a dropshipping company can be a huge benefit.

However, the profit margins of having the company do the shipping can be very small when compared to some of your other options.

Light bulk wholesale

When you obtain a business license you can order wholesale products from companies. Light bulk wholesale can be your best option. Light Bulk Wholesale or Light Bulk Wholesalers is a term coined by Worldwide Brands a couple of years ago. Wholesale suppliers will sell products to small business retailers, generally with minimum orders of $500 or less.

Light bulk wholesale can be delivered to your home and won’t require excessive amounts of storage space. Selling from a wholesale lot means that you are in charge of setting your prices and can have more profit than you would by drop shipping.

You are also not at the mercy of a drop shipping company, who may deliver your items late and put your customer service at risk. eBay has a “Lots” category offering bulk products, and large lots for sale too.

On the other hand, stocking your own inventory can be a bit overwhelming unless you are organized. You can easily get bogged down in getting the right items to the right buyers. You will also be responsible for going to the post office several times a week, and packaging the items yourself.

Before you start buying goods in wholesale lots, build up your reputation using another method, purchasing lower quantities, so you’ll have a starting client following to buy your goods.

And “positive feedback” is imperative to acquire for success in this field. Expect to make returns and refunds. Don’t take these personal, as they are a regular part of doing business. So there are many product categories and wholesale sources available to anyone willing to put in the work to make this business a success.

If you are interested in additional information as outlined in this article, need assistance in applying this information, or just want more resources, contact us for FREE (no obligation) and we will do our best to accommodate you. 

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