A used appliance store can be a very successful small business, especially in an area with a growing population. Many consumers choose to save money on appliances by opting for gently used, refurbished and cosmetically damaged items — items that still function perfectly well but can be purchased much cheaper than a new-in-box appliance.
Register Your Used Appliance Business
Your used appliance business needs to be registered with two governmental entities: the IRS and your state. When you register your business with the IRS, you are issued an employer identification number. This number is used to identify your business for tax purposes.
Create a Business Plan
At this stage, you should also craft a business plan for the used appliance store. A business plan is a comprehensive document that covers everything related to your business’s operations, such as:
- The business’s physical location
- How the business will be funded
- The business’s ownership and management team
- The products and services the business will offer
- Information about the business’s target consumer demographic and related market trends
Find a Store Location
The next step in creating a used appliance business is finding an ideal location for the store. A used appliance store needs a lot of inventory space because appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers are quite large. A well-lit showroom can make it easy for potential buyers to see appliances for sale and imagine them in their own home.
The right location for a used appliance store is a location with an easily accessible loading dock. Look for warehouses with showrooms and accessible loading docks when shopping for a location to buy or lease.
You can complement your used appliance store with an online business. If your inventory is displayed online, your customers can take a look at individual items before coming into the store to buy them or can even complete a transaction without ever stepping foot in the showroom if you also offer appliance delivery.
Purchase Inventory for the Store
A used appliance store needs used appliances to sell. There are many different ways to source used appliances, including:
- Estate sales, moving sales and yard sales
- Auction websites
- Social media sales pages
If your business plan includes purchasing appliances that are not in working condition and restoring them to resell them, you can also find the parts you will need at auctions and online.
Another way to stock your used appliance store is to offer store credit for appliance trade-ins. Not only does this give customers the opportunity to save money on their appliance purchases but it makes it easy for them to get rid of their old appliances.
Staff the Store With Knowledgeable Employees
When prospective customers enter the store, they will most likely enter with questions about specific appliance models and which appliances are best for their homes and lifestyles. In many cases, customers will also ask about specific models’ technical specs and how to install them.
When you hire staff for your used appliance store, make it a priority to hire employees who have experience working with home appliances so they can adequately help your customers. Additionally, employees who know how to repair appliances and diagnose common problems can be some of your business’s greatest assets.
Another way you can build a more successful used appliance business is to offer services like appliance delivery, appliance installation and hauling away old appliances. For consumers who don’t have large vehicles of their own, offering to deliver and haul away appliances can be what makes them choose your store over another used appliance store.
Lindsay Kramer has been a full-time writer since 2014. In that time, she's experienced the ups, downs and crazy twists life tends to take when you're launching, building and leading a small business. As a small business owner, her favorite aspect about writing in this field is helping other small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs become more fluent in the terminology and concepts they face in this role. Previously, she's written on entrepreneurship for 99designs and covered business law topics for law firms.