Archive for the ‘Commonly asked Questions’ Category

Question & Answer Session! Is purchasing customer returns for everyone!?

Thursday, October 7th, 2010


I don’t understand how people can make money reselling returns/used merchandise. I’m not much of a gambler. When I sell to my customers, I like to tell them what the merchandise is worth – not take a stab in the dark.

How do people get around that?


There is no doubt that purchasing customer return liquidations is not for everyone. While it can be a profitable endeavor, it does come with some risks and you do need to go into it knowing what to expect.

Occasionally products in this industry do come with manifests detailing the original retail or wholesale value of the load, effectively allowing you to know exactly what percentage of value you are paying for each item in a given load. This can help you resell to your customers with an exact value in mind.

A lot of the time items will come with original price stickers from the original store. A pair of shoes for instance. You may pay $12.50 for it. It might have a retail tag on it of $88. You can sell it to your customer for anything you want above the $12.50 you paid for it, and still allow them to get it at a significant savings from what they paid in the store. You absolutely do have the ability to tell your customer what something is worth. If it doesn’t have  a price tag on it, you can do some research and figure out what it sold for in the store.

More often than not, loads in the liquidation industry are unmanifested and as such, customers do gamble when purchasing. It is safe to assume that you pay a small percentage of what the merchandise is actually worth, but exact profits are up to you, how much work you are willing to put into maximizing your profits, how many resale channels you will use to move the goods and what kinds of promotions you will come up with to increase your sales.

It does require some creativity and some time. This is not a get rich quick scheme or a “take it out of the box and resell it for 300% profit” kind of scheme. This is a business that requires you to get in there, work the product (repair items if necessary, clean items that are potentially dusty/dirty from warehousing and transportation, remove sales or previous retail stickers from the items), and then determine the best way to sell it for maximum profit.

You can feel free to read this section of our website that explains more information about what to expect in this business.
Purchasing returns is not for everyone. If you are not willing to put in some work, do not purchase.

We do have products that are NEW OVERSTOCK – meaning not used and not damaged. A lot of our customers who sell on eBay or other online avenues and don’t want to deal with any potential damages purchase these kinds of products.

Our team is available to answer any questions and coach you through the process 6 days a week. Feel free to email us at or call us at 877-202-3616 and we can discuss the best options for you.

Q&A With a Prospective Customer

Thursday, September 30th, 2010


I am looking to get into reselling liquidated products. If i bought into your company, I would hope for minimal damaged goods, as all I could do is sell for scrap at that point, and I’m not sure i could make a profit.

Can you tell me what would be my best bet on investing $250 or so, as to my possible profit? i may be able to move some of the nicer items on local channels or eBay. It really boils down to what percentage of the items are no longer usable.


Thank you for your message.

Let me first ask you a few questions-

  1. Have you resold consumer goods before?
  2. What resale channels do you plan on using? You mentioned eBay — is that it is do you sell at flea markets, yard sales, discount store or in another way?
  3. Where are you located? (This will determining your shipping costs and what products may be most appropriate for you).

It is true that a lot of our product is salvage/customer returns and will contain an unknown percentage of damaged items. When an item is damaged it doesn’t mean it has to be sold for scrap – many times it is just one component that is damaged or missing, or it is out of box but otherwise usable. That said, occasionally yes, you will have items that are indeed scrap-worthy or throw-away items.

I urge you to read this section of our website that outlines what to expect when purchasing customer returns versus overstocks:

We do however, have quite a large selection of NEW OVERSTOCK items  - items that were once on the shelves of a store but that were removed at the end of the season, or items that were discontinued, etc. In most cases these items are damage-free, although they may come with retail or “clearance” stickers on them that are usually easily removable and do not lower the resale value of the product.

Most of the new overstock items we have are in the categories of clothing, shoes, cosmetics, some general merchandise, accessories and electronic accessories. You can click on this link to see all the products on our website that are considered new overstock (much less risky purchases than potentially damaged customer returns):

We also have a section on our website dedicated to items that you can purchase for an investment of less than $250. These include some general merchandise, cosmetics and electronic accessories. See them here:

This is what I recommend: send us some more information about your experience with reselling merchandise and tell us how/where you plan to resell the items.

Based on that, we will be able to make recommendations of appropriate products that will sell well in your market and that will present the least risk until you build some capital.

What to Expect when Buying Shelf Pulled Merchandise

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

What are some things to expect when buying shelf pulled merchandise?

Shelf pull merchandise typically refers to items that have been used as displays on store shelves, and then liquidated at the end of the season, or when the store needed to make room for new stock to be displayed. Shelf pulls can include new items, tester items or out of box shelf samples.

While most will be in good selling condition, they may have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Items may have price tags/retail or discount stickers on them
  • May show signs of handling
  • May be defaced/de-labeled (inner labels or tags removed to prevent return to the store)
  • A percentage of the items may be out of box or in open boxes
  • May include a percentage of expired or short-dated goods.

When purchasing such wholesale lots, here are some things you should think about:

  1. Be prepared to take the time to sort through the items and divide the 100% retail-ready items from the ones that need some work. You will be able to begin selling retail-ready items immediately, and save the ones that need work for a little bit later when you have time to work them. At first glance you may panic when you see a box full of items with pink 50% discount stickers on them but once you break it down one piece at a time, you will find that your lot looks a lot better than you may initially have thought.
  2. Remove stickers from certain items if you deem it necessary. You may need to use a blade to help you remove stickers without residue, or use “Goo Gone” or other adhesive removers to make the task easier.
  3. In many cases it can work in your favor to leave discounted or sale stickers on the merchandise. Often times items will come with marked down retail stickers- for example, an item that originally sold at the store for $80 may be marked down to $53. If you purchase it for $10, you can easily resell it to your customer for $20 or $25. Leave the original retail AND the marked-down sticker on the item to demonstrate to your customer just how much of a discount he is receiving off of the item’s original value!
  4. Though some lots may be advertised as overstock or shelf pulls in good condition, it is common to expect a percentage of items that are expired, short-dated (due to expire soon), or otherwise no longer sellable as “NEW”. Large retail stores liquidate these items by the hundreds of thousands of pieces at a time, and lots are often warehoused for several months before they make their way into your hands.  While liquidators and wholesale companies often do their best to sort through the items and include only the good ones, be prepared to have a percentage of throwaway items that are out of date or no longer sellable. If you are purchasing from a well-priced wholesaler, the price you pay for the items should be low enough that despite any less-than-new items, you should still be able to make a handsome profit.
  5. Make sure to read descriptions thoroughly before purchasing merchandise you have not seen in person! In most cases, wholesalers will give you as much information as they can about the lots they have for sale. If any percentage of the items in a lot are expected to be in expired or damaged condition, an honest wholesaler will tell you so in the description of the goods. Don’t hesitate to ask about this when making contact with a company before you purchase. Wholesalers want to protect themselves and in the majority of cases will not intentionally mislead buyers.
  6. Don’t let these things turn you off! There is a lot of money to be made in significantly discounted shelf pull lots. Be prepared to put in a little bit of time and creativity (though much less time than if you were purchasing customer returns), and you will see the fruits of your labor contribute directly to the profits you make.

Wholesale Buying Tip #1

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Wholesale buying tip #1: Start small! While you can save money by shipping multiple lots at one time, start slow to be sure you’re investing in the right merchandise for you. Get one or two pallets or case packs to test out the waters. Find a supplier near you where you can go pick up if possible to save on shipping, and slowly grow your purchases with your sales.

How Do I Obtain a California Reseller’s Permit?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

You do no need any kind of permit to purchase merchandise from Via Trading. We sell to individuals and business alike– the only restriction is that you must purchase wholesale (minimum order 1 case, pallet, load or truckload).

However, in order to resell merchandise legally in the state of California, you must have a reseller’s permit.

A reseller’s permit also allows you to purchase merchandise tax free (at the time of purchase) within California. Residents of California who do not have a reseller’s permit are subject to 9.75% Sales Tax at the time of purchase.

You must obtain a seller’s permit if you:

  • Are engaged in business in California
  • Intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail
  • Will make sales for temporary period, normally lasting no longer than 30 days at one or more locations (e.g. fireworks booth, Christmas tree lots, garage sale)

The requirement to obtain a seller’s permit applies to:

  • Individuals
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Organizations
  • Husband/wife Co-ownership
  • LLP’s
  • LLC’s

Both wholesalers and retailers must apply for a seller’s permit.

You can register in person for a reseller’s permit, and permits can usually be issued the same day.

You can also register by mail. You can obtain an application by calling 800-400-7115, or by visiting the California Board of Equilization at

Obtaining a reseller’s permit is free, easy and fast!

You can access all the phone numbers of the Board of Equilization offices in California by clicking here:

Register In Person

You may register for a seller’s permit in person at one of the Board of Equilzation’s field offices. Permits can usually be issued the same day and help in completing the application is available. Special information packets with the appropriate registration application for specific businesses are available.

Register by Mail

You can get an application for a seller’s permit mailed to you by calling 800-400-7115. If you are calling from outside of the 48 contiguous states, please call 916-445-6362.

Representatives are available to assist you with permit questions Monday through Friday (except State holidays) from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. A registration packet will be mailed to you within 24 hours. You will generally receive your permit approximately two weeks after we have received your completed application. Incomplete applications may delay the process.

From TDD phones: 800-735-2929
From voice phones: 800-735-2922

Applications Available On-Line

BOE 400 SPA, Seller’s Permit Application is available for printing from the Board of Equilzation website. The completed application can be delivered in person or mailed to any of their field offices.

Additional information is available on the tax rules for specific business, types of sales, or charges associated with sales for a number of businesses. The regulations relating to sales and use tax are also available.

Information above collected from the California Board of Equilization Website ( Copyright 2006 State of California

What is an OCL Shipment?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Ocean Container shipments are primarily used to ship large loads of merchandise outside of the United States and neighboring countries. OCL shipments costs are typically flat and based on original and destination of the goods.

Ocean shipments can take 14-60 days to reach their destination.

Containers are usually available in 2 sizes: 20’ and 40’. Sometimes, 45’ containers can also be available.

Hand-loading goods for container shipments is a good way to maximize the space used in the container, and lower your relative shipping costs. Hand-loading the merchandise can sometimes increase the capacity of the container by 2 or 3, as opposed to loading the merchandise on pallets.

Not all goods can be hand-loaded , however you should be aware of this and request it when possible.

Be aware of any unusual restrictions when importing goods- for example: wooden pallets are not allowed to be imported into Australia.

Be sure to communicate these restrictions to your vendor in case they are not aware of them.

container pallets

What is an LCL Shipment?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

“Less Container Load” shipments are shipments that are smaller than a full ocean freight containers. LCL shipments are shipped by sea and typically take 45-60 days to reach their destination. It is typically cheaper to ship individual pallets by LCL than it is by air freight.

LCL shipments can be very efficient and cost-effective when shipping expensive and high value pallets overseas. Due to the relative high cost of shipping single pallets by LCL, LCL shipments are not suitable for low value pallets.

What is a UPS Shipment?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Certain items that are packed in small boxes may often be shipped via UPS instead of a trucking carrier, which is generally cheaper.

Occasionally, when it is cheaper to ship via UPS, there are certain pallet listings that we may re-pack for you into boxes in order to minimize the shipping costs.

Depending on how many case-packed items are ordered, it can sometimes be cheaper to put them all on one pallet and ship them with an LTL carrier. You should be aware of this and request both quotes if possible.

UPS does charge a little bit extra for home delivery, so if you have the option to receive your packages at your store or place of business, that could save you a little bit as well

What is a Truckload?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Truckloads generally refer to a 48’ or 53’ truck.

Truckloads usually cost a flat rate to ship, based on the destination and mileage, irrespective of whether the truck is full or half empty.

Larger orders that cannot be shipped economically as LTL’s can often be cheaper to ship as a full load.

Truckloads can be ordered with or without a lift-gate. Trucks with lift-gates can often be costly and it may be cheaper to rent a forklift for a day to assist you in unloading the truck. The latter is especially true when the merchandise is travelling long distances.

Typically, 26 pallets can fit comfortably onto the floor of a 53’ truck bed with no double-stacking. Many types of pallets can be double-stacked however, to allow between 26-52 pallets to be put on the truck, minimizing your overall landed cost per pallet.
Some goods can be consolidated further or even hand-loaded (for example, a 70 pallet load may be able to be consolidated into 52 pallets; or 2 full loads may be able to be hand-loaded into a single truck).

Some things to note if you are receiving a full truckload of merchandise:

  • Make sure you can receive a 53 footer in your area (in terms of street size and parking & reversing availability)Make sure you have the means and ability to unload the truck.
  • You will most likely need to provide the vendor with the day(s) and time that you can receive the load and whether you need to be notified in advance of the truck’s arrival.
  • You typically have TWO (2) hours to unload the truck, and will be charged detention fees if the unloading takes longer. This is standard practice in the freight industry. Make sure you have the manpower available to help you unload in a timely manner.
  • Be aware that the shipping charges do not include any labor, and that the driver will not assist in the unloading of the truck (unless the truck is ordered with a lift-gate, in which case the driver will move the pallets to the rear and operate the lift-gate to lower the pallets to the curb)
  • Be aware that there is a SEAL with a UNIQUE number on each truck. Make sure the seal number matches the number on the packing slip you will receive with the load.
  • Most shipments can usually be moved OTR (over the road) on a regular truck, but occasionally, especially to distant locations, shipping by rail can be cheaper. Rail shipment procedures are the same as truckload procedures, but the shipping time is usually a bit longer. While truckloads can reach their destination within 1-6 business days, rail shipments can typically take around 10-15 days to arrive.

truckload fit

For ballpark truckload quotes for shipments FOB our warehouse in California to major cities around the USA, please click here.

What is an LTL Shipment?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

LTL stands for “Less-Than-Load” or a shipment of several pallets.

A Full load is typically a full 48’ or a 53’ truck.

LTL shipments can be delivered to a home, place of business, storage facility, freight terminal or consolidation warehouse.

LTL shipment costs are typically based on one or a combination of the following:

1) Weight of the goods being shipped
2) Number of pallets being shipped
3) Destination address (distance from shipping location)
4) If you will need a lift-gate or not
5) If being delivered to a residential or commercial address

LTL’s larger than 6 to 8 pallets (depending on the carrier) may need to be shipped in two shipments.

Most freight carriers will only take up to 8 pallets on an LTL shipment. Depending on the particular lots you are purchasing, some pallets can be double-stacked to save you space so that you can ship a few more than 8 pallets in one go.
Double-stacking pallets is sometimes cheaper if the carrier quotes by the pallet (not by the weight).

It may often be cheaper to use a full truck to ship even 8 pallets- especially for local or shorter deliveries.

When requesting an LTL quote please be sure to:

(i) Include your zip code
(ii) Indicate whether the delivery is to a home or business (residential or commercial area and building)
(iii) Whether the location is equipped with a forklift or a loading dock (otherwise you will require a lift-gate)

Generally, pallet deliveries to a residence will require a lift-gate to lower the pallets to the ground. For insurance and safety reasons, trucking carriers do not allow customers to climb onto the truck to manually unload their pallets.
Commercial locations, if not equipped with a loading dock or forklift, will also require a lift-gate.

LTL carriers charge extra for residential deliveries. Typically they will levy a flat fee of between $25-$100. Carriers also charge extra for trucks with lift-gates, typically a flat fee of around $25-$75.

Deliveries are to the curbside or dock. Drivers will not deliver your pallet(s) to your garage or inside your storage space, for example.

You will need to verify the pallets and shrink-wrap before signing the Bill of Lading upon delivery (or make annotations on it before signing it). If your pallet shows signs of having been opened, rummaged through, stolen from or otherwise tampered with during shipping, it is your responsibility to make a note of this on the BOL BEFORE you accept the merchandise. Failure to do will significantly lower the chances of receiving any kind of compensation form the shipping company.

Most often, shipments are sent with minimal insurance ($0.50/lb to $1/lb). If you are shipping very expensive merchandise, please be sure to ask for additional insurance.

To find out how to minimize shipping costs on any given order, please click here.