What Your Country Can Do For You: Sourcing Products Via Government Liquidation

By Chris Malta & Robin Cowie

In the search for cost effective suppliers for your eBiz, you may never have considered the U. S. government as a possible product source. But government auctions offer online sellers and small business owners a wide range of goods to enhance their regular product lines.

Locating REAL Government Liquidators

While a Google search for government surplus will bring back hundreds of thousands of results, you need to be careful from what sites you choose to purchase. Many of these surplus sellers are merely buying goods from real government liquidators, or from military surplus stores or outlets, and presenting themselves as wholesalers of government merchandise.

Look for sites with established reputations. Some sites, like


, are run directly by federal agencies. Other sites have contracts with different government departments, granting them exclusive rights to resell the goods that department no longer needs, explains Tom Burton, COO of

YouTube Preview Image


. For instance, we are the sole liquidation outlet for the Department of Defense.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

The goods you can find on a government auction site are as diverse as the functions of government: textiles, clothing, electronics, and the list goes on. Whether you have your own web site or sell on a platform like eBay, you can most likely find products that complement your usual wares and appeal to your target audience. For example, if you sell camping gear, you can find a wealth of merchandise that you can use to create special promotions and bonuses, or package with your regular products to create unique, value-added bundles.

Most auction sites will post items several days before the bidding begins, and allow several additional days of bidding. You need to use this time to do your homework:

Research the market for any items of interest, look at the demand and competition, and find out what kind of retail price you can realistically expect to charge.

Study all the information the site provides about the lot. Most will show the condition, original acquisition price, and basic technical information, and post photos as well.

For more detailed information on a specific product, you might also check out the product manufacturers web site.

Find out what the shipping costs will be. Most sites wont arrange shipping for you, but theyll often provide you with several options for transporters theyve worked with in the past. You need to contact each one to see who can give you the best deal, and with whom you feel most comfortable. (When you contact them, you need to give them the weight and cubic dimensions of the lot, so make sure to note those from the web site.)

Any reputable site will allow you to inspect the property when its posted, and during the time its up for auction. Particularly for big-ticket items, you might consider having a screener preview the lot on your behalf. Often the auction company can recommend local companies that offer this service.

The Price of Progress

Lots are generally sold for a small fraction of their original acquisition price anywhere from six to ten percent, on average. That means youre getting, in some cases, a ninety percent discount when youre buying and as every retailer and e-tailer knows, thats when you make your money. Government auctions cant provide a steady, consistent stream of like products to resell. But, as Burton points out, They make an excellent source for loss leaders, cross-sellers, up-sellers, and promotional items that any online seller can use in their eBiz.

About the Author: Product Sourcing Radio is Created and Hosted by Chris Malta and Robin Cowie of


, Home of OneSource: The Internet’s Largest Source of Genuine, Factory-Direct Wholesalers for online sellers.

Click Here

for more FREE E-Biz & Product Sourcing info!



Permanent Link: