Posted by Alex Jackson on April 27, 2018
As a salesperson, I have the pleasure of speaking with a multitude of customers on a daily basis. Our customer's backgrounds are incredibly diverse. We deal with clients all over the globe and with varying levels of experience; from beginners to decades old sellers that can and do teach me a thing or two.
Now I always make it a point to ask our customers about their previous experience with other liquidators. You always want to know your competition and understand what’s happening out there in the liquidation world. One thing that I hear time and again from new and veteran sellers that still completely mystifies me is how liquidators still offer merchandise without a manifest. Liquidation veterans accustomed to buying merchandise like this may not see anything out of the ordinary but stop and think about this for a moment and the absurdity of this concept you have been conditioned to accept. What other purchases in your life work like this? Did you buy your last car sight unseen? Did the description say may contain things like seatbelts, airbag and stereo? Kind of important to know these things, right? But sorry! You won’t know for certain until you pay and it arrives. Pretty ridiculous right? And yet this still happens in the liquidation industry on a daily basis!
The most common explanation for this practice offered by liquidators is “we simply cannot afford to manifest our merchandise because of the volume we deal with”. I am going to channel my inner Joe Biden for a minute here and say “this is a bunch of malarkey.” Liquidators cannot afford NOT to sort! Not sorting and manifesting is a clear indication of one of two things; one it’s been cherry picked already of all the best goods to be offered to their VIP clients or two it’s not worth manifesting because the merchandises value is so low. So what’s an honest hardworking reseller supposed to do? A lot of beginners will assume, well I can just drive over to the warehouse and check it out myself but there are pitfalls here as well. These same liquidators will tell you to come on down to the warehouse! Check it out for yourself come kick the tires so to speak. This is where you can often spot some used car dealer tricks. You will often see some nicely shrink-wrapped pallets with plenty of what looks like high dollar goods on the outside of the pallet but buy it, take it home and dig a bit deeper and a lot of times you will discover a clunker under the hood of that seemingly sexy pallet. Low dollar goods, damaged goods or obsolete goods who’s to say what you might encounter? Because it’s not manifested it’s a gamble often with thousands of dollars at stake. If there is just one piece of advice that I could give to anyone buying or interested in buying liquidation merchandise it is this, “Only buy manifested merchandise!”. Is it possible to make money on one of these mystery pallets of goods? Maybe…but is this something you are comfortable gambling on? In my book, there is no substitution for manifested goods.