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Surplus military gear offers quite an interesting means toward profit for the aspiring small-business owner. Such items commonly available through military surplus sales are exceedingly popular among the general population. Most people have the impression that items manufactured for military use are just built better than similar items destined for general consumer trade. It’s understood, by most people, that military gear is put through much harsher wear and tear than most civilian merchandise, and, as such, it is expected to stand up to such conditions well and still provide a long and useful life-span. People believe the military is excessively demanding when it comes to the quality of manufacturing of the gear they use, and that the military is willing to spare no expense in obtaining such items.
For this reason, surplus military merchandise sort of comes pre-equipped with a fair dose of very effective sales-hype. If you don’t believe me, you could see it for yourself. Go to your nearest military surplus store and, if they have them in stock, purchase the cheapest, oldest, rattiest looking, olive-drab military field jacket they have for sale. Then, obtain the absolute most expensive consumer available sporting field jacket from the manufacturer with the best reputation for manufacturing the most rugged outdoor sporting wear. Approach friends and family, show them both jackets and ask them which one they think is built tougher, stronger, more durable and will be more likely to last the longest. Nine times out of ten, people will say the old, ratty, authentic looking military garb. I guarantee it.
Selling surplus military gear can, for this reason, offer quite an advantage over selling other types of similar items. The advantage, of course, is that you don’t need to convince buyers that your goods are of sufficient quality. If it’s authentic surplus military gear, they already ‘know’ it’s of the best quality available. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, or fashionable, but people that are at all interested in purchasing surplus military items don’t care about those kinds of things.
Along with the above mentioned advantage, surplus military goods can also be obtained at very attractive costs and then re-sold to the general public at respectable markups — that is, if you know how and where to obtain such items at source. If you’ve been considering starting your own military surplus store, the first thing I think you should do is to obtain a copy of The Ultimate Surplus Guide by clicking here. Read it from cover to cover to fully familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of finding and purchasing surplus merchandise in lots for resale at the lowest possible cost.
You’ll then need to think about things like start-up capital for acquiring stock and obtaining suitable selling space. Some other advantages of starting a military surplus store are that, for one, relatively little capital is needed for acquiring stock compared to other types of merchandise, and secondly, that your selling space doesn’t need to be in a high-rent commercial area of town, nor does your space need to look commercially attractive. People who are interested in purchasing surplus military goods don’t care about what your selling space looks like, and they’re also the type of people that are willing to drive a fair bit out of town in order to dig and pick through your available stock. So, if you can locate a somewhat run-down, but usable, warehouse, let’s say, on the outskirts of town for very little money, such a space is perfectly workable as a military surplus store.
You’ll also need to think about setting an advertising budget for your military surplus store. People need to know it’s actually there before they’ll come and shop for your military surplus items. Fortunately, this also can be relatively inexpensive compared to other industries. You don’t need to build a brand or an image as you would when dealing with other sorts of merchandise, so you don’t need to incur all of the expense that goes along with such involved and complex marketing campaigns. The military equipment is your brand and most of your image. And, exactly what goes along with that has already been established in the minds of the people who will be interested in shopping in your military surplus store. All that’s really needed is to let the people who are already interested in, and actively looking for, military surplus goods know that you exist and where you’re located. Because of this, simple and relatively inexpensive advertising methods tend to work great for a military surplus store. Taking out small ads in local newspapers and supermarket penny-savers can work excellently as a means for advertisement.
These are some of the things you’ll really need to think about in discovering how to start a military surplus store. Of course, I can’t lay it all out, step-by-step, for you here — doing so would, of course, require pages, upon pages, upon pages. So, if you really want to dig deeper into knowing exactly how to start a military surplus store and start in on building a profitable military surplus business for yourself, like I said earlier, I suggest you get yourself a copy of The Ultimate Surplus Guide — I’m sure you’ll find that publication will tell you absolutely everything you’ll need to know to begin doing business in surplus merchandise.
In Canada, the organization responsible for overseeing the disposal of all Canadian military assets is the Department of Directorate Disposal, Sales, Artefacts and Loans, commonly refereed to as, simply, the DDSAL. The DDSAL is charged with the responsibility of offloading, through a number of means, all surplus items and most all other Canadian military assets that have fallen into some state of disuse.
This doesn’t just mean that the DDSAL only handles surplus items via Canadian military sales. In fact, they do much more. If the Canadian military holds any sort of tangible asset or item that they wish to get rid of, it is the DDSAL which oversees the entire process. The DDSAL will assess the particular item (or items) which have been marked for disposal, calculate the best mode of disposal for those items, and oversee the process of their disposal. Depending on the particular items in question, this may mean destruction of the items, donations of the items to various individuals, entities or organizations, or sales of items through private or public means.
The DDSAL works on behalf of the Canadian Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, otherwise known as the DND/CAF and is charged with the responsibility of managing the disposal of military goods and items, creating the policy which directs such actions, and creating the official documentation which governs those actions and processes.
When surplus Canadian military vehicles fall into a state where the DND/CAF decides that they are no longer of use in the service of the Canadian military, the DDSAL will asses the vehicles and determine the best course of action for their disposal. Depending on a number of specifics, this might mean the destruction of such military vehicles, their donation, or, quite often, they will be put up for sale, usually via a surplus auction open to the general public.
When Canadian military vehicles, and other surplus military items, are marked to be put up for public surplus auction, the DDSAL will use the services of the Government of Canada Surplus service — commonly known as GCSurplus. This is the Canadian governmental organization that is charged with conducting the sales of most surplus crown assets.
GCSurplus currently maintains a total of ten offices and eight warehouses which are located throughout Canada. Most of the sales open to the public, which GCSurplus conducts, are now being executed through the GCSUrplus website located at GCSurplus.Ca. Members of the general public are able to bid on items made available through that website — items which include surplus Canadian military vehicles for sale — but pre-registration is required before a person may enter a bid. There is no cost to register with GCSurplus in order to bid on surplus items that become available, but a registrant will be required to have a valid credit card on file with GCSurplus before their registration will be approved.
At the time of this writing, the GCsurplus website is currently listing a total of 105 government surplus vehicles up for auction. Only a small portion of these, however, are actually Canadian military surplus vehicle auctions. The bulk of government surplus vehicle auctions handled through the GCSurplus website are crown asset surplus vehicles sourced through a variety of non-military governmental agencies. So, if using that service to search for Canadian military vehicles for sale, some searching through the listings will be required.
If you’re searching for surplus Canadian military vehicles for sale, you might also want to consult our live surplus vehicle auction listings located at this link, as surplus Canadian military vehicles do appear there from time to time.
Have you ever found yourself with a curiosity about making money by purchasing items at auction at low prices and then re-selling those items at a profit? It is, in fact, somewhat surprising just how popular this notion appears to be. In fact, to a fairly large number of people, the thrill of obtaining interesting items at auction for low prices, just in itself, seems like both a fun and interesting endeavor. And, if truth be told, flipping those items that you manage to acquire at auction for a profit is a good way of making money — one that you could even easily turn into either a lucrative part-time, or even full-time business for yourself.
Indeed, there are quite a number of people out there, right now, who are earning substantial incomes doing just that. They attend government surplus auctions, bid on the items up for grabs, and actually have loads of fun doing it. They then turn around and flip the items they’ve won through channels like eBay, or even through local classified advertisements, or a number of other channels. Not everyone has the time to attend government surplus auctions — nor the know-how required in locating them, or how to participate in them. So, if you can obtain items by placing winning bids at, say, a 500% discount over what the fair-market resale price is for such a used item (which isn’t all that difficult to do at a government surplus auction) you can mark-up the item by, say, 400% over your bid price, and still sell it off to a buyer for, what would be to them, a substantial discount.
For the purposes of illustration, using the above the figures, let’s say you managed to obtain the fictional product of a ‘widget’ at auction. A used widget in good condition regularly sells for about $1,000.00. You, however, won your widget for a 500% discount below that price. That means you will have spent only $200.00 to acquire your widget. You then mark-up your resale price by 400% and advertise your widget for sale at a price of $800.00. A buyer, paying your full asking price, would still be purchasing your widget at a savings of $200.00 below what they could normally find used widgets selling for. And, you’ve still made a profit of $600.00! The reason for this is because the ‘fair-market resale value’ of used merchandise is based, for the most part, on the prices of used items that have originally come from retail sources — not from surplus sources. And, retail sources begin with a higher cost for most merchandise.
The used widgets, in our fictional example, that most people are used to seeing for sale, are priced on average at $1,000.00, because almost all of these widgets are being re-sold by people who originally purchased the widgets at retail — not through surplus auctions. The bulk of those widgets being resold, therefore, are being resold for less than what the seller actually paid to acquire the widget in the first place, and the seller is attempting to recoup as much of their original purchase price as they can. This is what dictates the average resale value of a used widget.
So, how can you get involved in making money with government surplus auctions? Of course, the very first thing you’ll need to do is to actually find such auctions that are taking place in your area. Practically anywhere you might live, there are most likely many such auctions taking place relatively close to you on a regular basis. The problem is — and this is one of the reasons why not a lot of people take part in these auctions — is that the auctions usually aren’t well publicized. And, there’s a reason for that. The entire thing about these auctions is that the people who do attend them are looking for great deals — and the agencies that hold such auctions are looking to dump their surplus inventories quickly. That’s exactly why they sell this stuff through an auction format — their primary concern is to get rid of the stuff fast, and they do this by selling it all in one go, at auction, for very little money. Of course, doing it this way, however, while it does work to unload their surplus inventory quickly, it doesn’t result in huge profits for the agency when each auction is assessed individually. So, the agencies have an interest in keeping costs low in order to maximize their returns. And, publicity for the auctions cost money.
It’s not bad for them, however, because there are a dedicated group of regulars who attend these auctions, who will put forth the effort to hunt down the auctions and find them. And, that’s all the agencies really need — just this dedicated group. Because, of course, this dedicated group are made up mostly of re-sellers — so, they buy and buy and buy. If you get into attending these government surplus auctions on something of a regular basis, one of the first things you’ll notice is that you’ll see the same faces at many of these auctions, over and over again. And, by actually not widely publicizing government surplus auctions, it works out better for the agencies holding the auctions.
Remember, the primary concern of the agencies that are holding the government surplus auctions is to unload their surplus inventory quickly in order to make room for new inventory, and to rid themselves of the associated costs and efforts in storing their surplus goods. If the auctions are well publicized, a lot of regular folk will attend and that will drive the prices up. More people attending means more bids — more bidding wars. Which means the individual auction lots end up selling for more money. It’s kind of counter-intuitive, I know. You may think that would be desirable for the agency selling the items. But, it’s not! The higher prices drive away the professional buyers.
The professional buyers are there to acquire stuff cheap for the purpose of turning a profit — they’re there to acquire LOTS of stuff. If they can’t obtain the items at prices that make it worth their while, they’ll go away, and the agencies will be left with a room full of average joes looking to spend a hundred bucks or so to get their hands on one or two items. The agencies don’t want that. They want professional buyers who have business channels set-up to quickly move all the items they can get their hands on. Because, even though these professional buyers will buy more cheaply on a per-item basis, they still buy, and buy, and buy, and buy. And, they will buy items that casual buyers just wont bid on — pallets full of industrial machine parts, and what have you — because the professional buyers have the contacts and the means to resell such items. Casual buyers — members of the general public — just don’t. They have no interest in acquiring such things.
So, if by over publicizing such auctions the agency drives away the professional buyers and are left with a room full of average people — people who merely saw an ad somewhere and decided to go and try to grab a bargain or two on some piece of merchandise they might want to acquire for their own use, there’s a much greater chance the auction is going to conclude and that the agency conducting the auction, while, on a per-item basis having received higher prices on the items that did sell than they otherwise would have, are left stuck with a ton of excess goods that didn’t move. And, this is exactly what the agency doesn’t want. They want rid of the stuff. They don’t want to have to deal with it any longer. They need to make room. That is their primary concern.
Due to this tendency to under-publicize these auctions, most people don’t have time, dedication and know-how that’s required to hunt them down and discover exactly when and where these auctions are taking place. They might attend one if they, by chance, happen across a small notice in their local paper, or something. But they wont go out of their way to actually seek out the information — which is what is required, really, if you wish to attend these auctions on anything approaching a regular basis.
So, what must you do to put forth the effort in actually locating these auctions? Well, there really are two methods. You can do all of the footwork yourself — keep browsing the classified sections by daily routine in local papers, find and contact auction services that handle such auctions on a regular basis and ask them to notify you of any scheduled auctions, and do the same with the government agencies directly. Or, you could incorporate the services of an organization that does all of that work for you. Services such as the one located here.
Such a service will provide you with a comprehensive and frequently updated database of all upcoming government surplus auctions that are scheduled to take place in your specific area. You can set the service to notify you through e-mail whenever a new auction, in any area you specify, has been scheduled. Or, you can search through their database any time you choose. Their service will provide you with dates, times, locations, contact information for representatives involved in running the auctions, and in most cases even detailed and comprehensive listings of the specific items that will be available for bidding on at those auctions. You can even browse the auction listing by state, or conduct searches based on Zip code and choose to have results returned based on a specific radius in which you’re willing to travel to in order to attend such government surplus auctions.
The particular government surplus auction locating service mentioned above, that you can visit by clicking here, will even allow you to search by a specific item that you’re interested in and will then return results for any upcoming auction that is selling that item — it will provide you with the date, location, information you need to know about the auction itself, and specific, detailed information regarding the particular item that’s up for sale. Along with that, they maintain a nationwide database of foreclosure and pre-foreclosure properties — if you’re interested in purchasing real-estate at surplus auction prices. They also provide a wealth of educational materials — including a library of videos of actual surplus auctions being conducted — in order to familiarize you with the process of taking part in a government surplus auction. They maintain a list of recent surplus auction results and sale prices — providing you with an idea of what to expect to pay in order to actually win bids at any auction you might be interested in attending. A good auction locating service, such as the one linked to above, will provide all of these features and more.
There’s no doubt at all that making money with government surplus auctions is a very workable avenue toward real revenue generation for just about any individual. And, there’s also no doubt that taking advantage of a qualified locating service is practically a must for anyone with an interest in really making money with government surplus auctions on a regular basis.
This month the Canadian Province of Alberta becomes the latest in North American governmental agencies to turn to electronic, online means for selling off their surplus goods at auction. This has been, as should be expected in current times, becoming more and more of a trend among various governmental departments and agencies throughout North America.
The new website which has been launched by the Provincial government of Alberta will feature auctions for surplus merchandise from various governmental departments and agencies, hospitals and post-secondary learning institutions — all open to being bid on by the general public.
Surplus goods from the Alberta government have already been available at auction to the general public for quite some time, of course. Up until now, the public was able to attend various auctions, that were held somewhat sporadically, where such merchandise was put up for grabs. Along with these auctions, the government maintained a number of sales outlets in both Edmonton and Calgary. It should be noted, however, that these live auctions and sales will not be halted by the Alberta government now that the new auction website has arrived. In their launching of the new surplus auction website, they are merely providing to the public another option for acquiring government surplus goods. Although, as it appears, not all items actually available at the live auctions or through the sales outlets will actually make it to the online site. However, the selection of goods available online promises to be robust.
The Alberta government surplus auction website was launched into full service on December 4th of this year, and, at its initial appearance, offered a wide array of goods such as surplus computer equipment, office furniture, various types of industrial equipment, various electronics, medical equipment and supplies, and even surplus government vehicles, among other things.
The Province of Alberta reports that they auction off more than one-hundred thousand surplus items each year and in so doing generate more than two and a half million dollars per year in revenue for the Province. The addition of the online auction system is expected to bring benefit through allowing a wider section of the public easier access to the Province’s surplus auctions, as well as helping to relieve associated costs involved in transporting the available goods to the sites where live auctions are held, or to the Province’s surplus sales outlet locations. The items sold through the new surplus auction website are sold on an ‘as-is’ and ‘where-is‘ basis, and must be retrieved at the expense of the successful bidder.
The new online government surplus auction website is operate and overseen by Service Alberta, and is available by visiting this link. At the time of the writing of this article, the auction site is featuring such items on its front page as: A five drawer stainless-steel map/plan cabinet with an opening bid amount of $25.00, A rotating magazine stand with an opening bid amount of just $1.00, an Arctic Cat BearCat 440 snowmobile with an opening bid price of $500.00, and a Yamaha Big Bear Quad 4X4 ATV with an opening bid price of $1,000.00. (All prices, of course, are given in CAD)
There are currently, as of this writing, however, a total of 119 separate items up for bid on the site, and all offerings are fully searchable or browsable via the website’s functionality. Members of the public are able to place bids on items 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the new website. Payments using Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted.
It’s a bit of a fad (for lack of a better term) in the popular culture right now — people are gearing up for the end of the world. The television reality series “Doomsday Preppers” on the National Geographic channel is currently enjoying a period of fairly immense popularity. There’s no doubt that a good number of people appear to be quite sure that the proverbial doo-doo is about to hit the fan — and they’re getting ready for it. The interesting thing is that this trend is translating into hot markets in the military surplus industry.
Recently I ran into an old friend who had an interesting story to tell. He had recently happened upon a notice for an upcoming military surplus auction that would be taking place in the next state over from his own — the exact location of which happened to be less than a two hour drive from his house. He decided to spend the day checking out that auction. While there, he bid on, and won, an entire pallet full of military surplus ALICE packs (ALICE – All-purpose, Lightweight, Individual, Carrying Equipment) He managed to achieve the high bid with an offering of just $180.00. Turns out, there was just over 160 ALICE packs boxed up on that pallet. That’s a per unit cost of less than a buck and a quarter. Not bad!
So, he loads his purchase onto his truck, hauls it home and starts looking to move it as a complete lot. He was hoping that he might be able to move the entire lot for somewhere around four times what he paid. He figured that if he could unload the whole pallet for around $700.00, he wouldn’t have any complaints at all. And, at that price, a buyer would still be getting each pack for a little more than $4.25 — which should have been quite attractive for any buyer looking to again resell the packs individually to individual buyers. However, at first, he experienced some difficulty in trying to locate a buyer for the whole she-bang.
Originally, he tried offering the lot of ALICE packs around for a price of $900.00, with the intention of being willing to haggle down to his goal price of $700.00. But, he couldn’t find anyone that was interested. So, he dropped his offer price to $800.00 and intended to accept a counter offer as low as $600.00. But, again, no takers. He dropped his price again to $650.00 and resigned himself to being willing to accept $300.00 if it was offered (less than twice what he paid.) Still, he could find nobody who was interested in purchasing the lot — even at that price.
He wasn’t giving up yet, however. He kept trying to locate a buyer for the lot. But, in the meantime, he put one of the ALICE packs up for sale on Craigslist with an asking price of $10.00 for the single pack. Within about an hour of the ad being published he received an email from someone who was interested in taking a look at the pack. They made arrangements for the interested person to go by my friend’s house on his way home from work. The guy showed up, took a look at the pack and immediately pulled out a $10.00 bill and handed it to my friend.
“You got any other military stuff you’re looking to get rid of?” The guy said as he handed my friend the money.
“Just more ALICE packs the same as this one.” My friend replied, “I’m sitting on a whole pallet full of them that I’ve been trying to move.”
“Really?” The buyer answered back, “I’ll take four more, then.”
And, with that, he pulled out two twenty dollar bills and handed them to my friend.
A pretty good deal. He’d just sold five ALICE packs for $50.00 and his cost for those five packs was about $5.50 — he sold them for close to ten times what he paid for them. He quickly went back inside and put another add on Craigslist, this time listing one of the ALICE packs at $15.00 instead of $10.00. Again, within a very short time, someone interested in buying one contact him. That guy showed up and ended up buying two packs. My friend had just made another quick sale, acquiring $30.00 for what cost him a total of about $2.25 — a mark-up of more than 1300%
My friend told me that, after that, he kept putting up ads, and people kept buying the packs. He experimented with different prices, but ended up finding that they seemed to sell best at $15.00 per pack. He sold out of his entire lot in just under four weeks — pulling in a total of more than $2,000.00 in gross sales on his initial purchase of just $180.00.
My friend reported that, over and over again, when conversing with the people who were buying the packs off of him, the people would mention something about the show Doomsday Preppers, or something about being prepared for catastrophe. It became apparent that a good number of people were interested in, and buying these military surplus ALICE packs as part of their own doomsday preparations. This current trend in the popular culture — perhaps because of the TV show, or perhaps along side of it — had created a hot market in the surplus industry.
My friend with the ALICE packs, ever since, has been sourcing other such military surplus gear that would also appeal to the same sort of buyer, and he’s been making a small fortune doing it.
In the surplus business game, as with in any industry, it’s important to have an eye for marketplace trends. Hot markets pop-up sometimes seemingly out of nowhere. If you can recognize them, your pocket-book can benefit greatly. My friend sort of happened to luck into this current trend that’s going on in military surplus equipment. But, if you can keep your eyes and ears open, you can learn to recognize trends like these as they’re happening. You don’t need luck — just a keen sense for emerging market trends.