Bargain Basement, Shopping basics

By: tommen
Own a business? Buy for large groups (scouts, students, family)? Allergic to paying retail? Any of these reasons is good enough for you to explore the world of buying wholesale.

Hard Core Buyer or Casual Shopper?
If you always buy large quantities of merchandise, it would be a good idea to obtain a business license and reseller's license. Some wholesalers will not sell to you without these permits.

In addition, the licenses are your ticket to trade shows that are not open to the public. Here, you can find a multitude of items priced below retail. You can also get on the mailing list for major trade shows. These events sell everything from furniture to the latest fashions at wholesale prices.

When applying for a business or reseller's license, make sure you understand what fees, taxes, and bureaucratic red tape are required to keep you out of trouble. Depending on the state, you may be able to get a reseller's license for free.

However, you are responsible for collecting sales tax on products sold within the state. Assess the cost verse expected savings from buying wholesale to determine if it's worth the trouble to obtain licenses.
To get a business license, you must be in business or planning to start one. You can legitimize your business status by turning a hobby or talent into a business venture. For example, a weekend furniture maker sells a few pieces to friends and a business is born.

Even the casual shopper may benefit from obtaining business and reseller's licenses. You get access to non-public wholesale events and wholesalers that don't sell to the general public. In addition, you can make a little money off the deals you find. Buying wholesale usually means purchasing large quantities. While you don't need three dozen cashmere sweaters, you can keep a few and sell the rest to friends, or, via online auctions and at flea markets.

No License, No Problem
Although business permits give you more access to buying wholesale, you don't have to have a license to get wholesale prices. Wholesale businesses often have special times they open to the public. Prices will be a little more, but you still pay less than retail. Check the Yellow Pages to find local wholesalers and ask if they have public sale hours.
Consider buying wholesale from liquidators. Liquidators buy huge quantities of product from manufacturers and retailers.

These items are usually discontinued, damaged, or from a previous season and prices are often below wholesale. You can find liquidators in the phone book or on the Internet.The Internet is also a good source for buying wholesale merchandise especially for those who don't want to bother with permits and buying in bulk. Many Internet wholesalers don't require a minimum purchase.
Another option is to join an association that buys in bulk. The combined purchasing power of a large group lowers the cost of merchandise. Warehouse clubs such as Sam's Club and Costco are another good source for prices that are close to wholesale.

Wholesale Grapevine
Use your network of friends, associates, and family to find wholesale buying opportunities. Your interior decorator neighbor may grant you access to her wholesale contacts. The local florist may be willing to let you in on a sweet deal on dried flowers. Beware though - these folks may require you to engage their professional services in exchange for buying wholesale through them. Weigh the cost of doing business with them against potential savings from buying wholesale.

Sources
"How to Buy Wholesale," (ehow.com)
"Five Secrets to Buying Wholesale," (majon.com)
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