How to Buy Business Excess Inventory and Government Surplus Cheap

Small business owners by the millions, worldwide, are saving money and building entire businesses by purchasing excess commercial inventory and government surplus super cheap online.  You can buy in bulk by the truckload, pallet or small package.  The condition of the goods or other assets ranges widely from new in a box, to customer returns, closeouts, refurbished, used and salvage.  Major product categories include computers, electronics, tools, machinery, house wares, industrial equipment, vehicles, store fixtures, apparel and hundreds more.

As corporations and public sector agencies continue to focus on cost-reduction, they are turning more and more to leading online liquidators like Washington, DC-based Liquidity Services, Inc. (which operates among other sites) to move items quickly and effectively.  The result is an easy, one-stop place where small and local businesses can get incredible bargains on wholesale, surplus and salvage products and other assets in over 600 categories.  

Saving money is more popular than ever, and the marketplace for buying and selling excess inventory and surplus goods and equipment online is soaring. Publicly-traded Liquidity Services (LQDT), for example, has grown revenues at a compound annual rate of 27% since 2002 and just reported another big jump.  While there are still other sites offering similar services, (and its sister sites,, and others) has become the go-to place for millions of biz owners.  

How to Grab the Bargains:  To buy on you first need to register at the site for free.  Then browse for what you need and put in a bid.  New stuff arrives all the time, so many business owners check the site daily, set up “watch lists” or sign up for free email alerts.  Most auctions start at $100 with no reserve, letting bidders decide the final price. New auctions are added daily. Here are some buyers’ basics:

Five ways to find what you need:

  1. Home Page: Some of the best bargains are featured in Hot Deals. Or click on a category to browse that way.
  2. Search Box:  Use the search feature to find auctions by keyword, product category, location, lot size, condition, or shipping option.
  3. Advanced Search:  This feature lets you search by seller, auction ID/title and price.
  4. Email Alerts:  Weekly notices and/or occasional Special Alerts depending on what you sign up for.
  5. Search Agents:  These are product searches that you create based on specific criteria. If your automated search produces a match, you’ll receive an email. 

How Bidding Works

To place a bid, enter your maximum bid amount in the “Place Bid” box on any auction page and click submit.  After you provide shipping and credit card (or other payment) information, you’ll receive a “Confirm Bid” notice that you must click to complete the bid.  You will only need to submit shipping and payment info once per auction.  If you win an auction, you can still use other payment options you’ve designated in your account to make the purchase.

You can also set up automatic or “proxy” bidding.   It works like this:  Enter the highest amount you are willing to pay in the bid box.  The system will record your “maximum bid” amount and place a bid at the current LOWEST minimum bid. If another bidder outbids your lowest minimum bid, the system will automatically place another bid for you, putting you back on top. The proxy system will continue to make lowest minimum bids on your behalf until you are the winner of the auction or another bidder exceeds your established maximum.  

This Buyer FAQ has detailed answers to dozens of key questions on registration, binding merchandise, bidding, payment and shipping.  

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Filed Under: BizBest ShortListGovernmentSaving Money


About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.

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