Where to Find Merchandise to Resell

When you put together your business plan, you indicated the type of business that you wanted to conduct. If you planned your eBay business around merchandise that you currently own or create yourself, you can skip this section. But if you planned your business around the resale of new or used merchandise, then you have to find a source for the items you want to sell.

Sourcing your inventory is one of the toughest tasks for high-volume eBay sellers. While the average eBay seller typically finds items in their own home or in garage sales, high-volume sellers have to find a constant supply of new merchandise. In essence, high-volume sellers are resellers, as they purchase merchandise from wholesalers or other sources and then resell that merchandise to their customers via eBay auctions.

Where can an individual find a source for merchandise to resell on eBay? There are several options, all of which involve buying items in bulk. That means laying down the cash upfront to buy large quantities of items, and then making your money back later, one sale at a time. This is one reason why a budding eBay business needs a source of funding; purchasing your starting inventory can tie up a lot of cash. (Learn more about obtaining funding for your business in Chapter 4, "Step Two: Evaluate Your Funding Needs.")

Whatever type of merchandise you choose to resell, you should always make sure you're buying from a reputable supplier. That means passing up those companies that have a Web site but no published phone number, or a post office box but no physical address. Even better, research the business on the Better Business Bureau Web site (www.bbb.org), or check the company's ratings at Dun & Bradstreet Small Business Solutions (sbs.dnb.com) or Hoover's (www.hoovers.com). You can also pick up the phone and give the company a call; you can tell a lot from a simple conversation.

Another strategy is to go directly to the manufacturer for information (and, sometimes, product). The Thomas Register ( www.thomasregister.com) is the definitive

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