How to Sell Military Surplus & Open Your Own Store
Selling surplus military equipment from your own store gives you a way to help people find the affordable gear they need to enjoy the outdoors, sports or survivalist activities. Getting enough traffic through your doors requires you to appeal to buyers ranging from current and ex-military personnel to outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for a good deal. Educating consumers about the benefits of buying surplus goes a long way to increasing sales and building a loyal customer base.
Obtain a business license from your state and any licenses required by the county or city in which you live to open your store. Get a free EIN number from the Internal Revenue Service so you can buy military surplus at wholesale prices and not pay taxes. If you plan to sell guns from your store, check with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as your state to determine the licenses you need and the procedures you must follow.
Determine how many surplus products you want to offer to help determine the size of the retail space and the stocking area required to sell and warehouse all of your merchandise. If you plan to offer an indoor gun range to build traffic to your store, look for space with a room in the back for the range. Offer nearby parking so people can load up on supplies and easily get them packed in their vehicle.
Buy military surplus gear and equipment from places like USA.gov, the official interagency government site. Or order from businesses that offer liquidation sales, such as Government Liquidation, the company that handles surplus equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense. Government auction sites are another option for buying surplus equipment. Search consumer auction sites and classified ads, too, for surplus equipment at low prices that you might sell for a profit.
People who buy surplus goods include survivalists, paintball enthusiasts, current and former military personnel, campers, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts who want a deal and know surplus stores offer that benefit. To attract buyers, consider holding workshops that teach people about outdoor, survival and hunting skills based on the type of surplus equipment you sell. Another option is to offer gun safety classes and an indoor gun range if space allows, as this helps attract people interested in buying from your store.
Promote your business by placing signs above your door that clearly shows you sell military surplus. Invest in flyers to hand out along the street and to ask nearby storeowners to distribute to their customers to explain the benefits of buying surplus, such as the quality and durability of the equipment. Make people more aware of what you offer by holding an open house or special customer appreciation day. Use publicity and advertising to explain what types of products you carry and how the prices are competitive compared to retail sporting goods and gun stores.