The used appliance market may seem niche, but it’s actually a multi-billion dollar industry fueled by diverse segments of buyers. This complete guide delves into the lucrative opportunity of buying and selling pre-owned appliances and what to watch out for if you decide to get into this lucrative part of the appliance business. We show you exactly how to sell used appliances in 2023 and beyond. There are so many possibilities out there in what you can to make more money in this area.
Why Pre-Owned Appeals to Many Niche Markets of Customers
New appliances carry premium prices, leaving budget-conscious consumers, businesses, and organizations seeking quality alternatives. Buying used unlocks major benefits in general:
- Cost Savings – Pre-owned appliances provide the same functionality at a fraction of the price. Top brands like Sub-Zero, Viking, and Miele can run tens of thousands new, but become accessible used.
- Convenience – Used appliances mean no long wait times for delivery and installation. Most are ready for immediate pickup.
- Eco-Friendly – The EPA estimates over 9 million refrigerators and freezers are discarded each year, and that’s just for that home appliance category. They also say that six million AC units are thrown out each year too, along with 1 million dehumidifiers. That’s a huge deal! Purchasing used prevents waste and reduces environmental impact.
- Chance to Repurpose – With a little creativity, used appliances offer blank canvases for DIYers to refurbish and upcycle.
- Fully Equipped Rentals – Used appliances allow landlords and property managers to outfit units while controlling expenses. Tenants prefer a furnished space.
- Profit Opportunities – Those in the know can buy low, make minor repairs, and resell used appliances for considerable margins.
The Major Players Buying Used Appliances in Your Local Area
A diverse range of consumer segments fuel the used appliance industry and are prime customers to sell your inventory to. Here are the key players to target:
New appliances easily run $500-$2000 for refrigerators, $300-$1200 for dishwashers, and $700-$2000 for washing machines buying from large retailers like Home Depot, Ashley Furniture, and Lowes. Families looking for quality on a budget turn to pre-owned to equip their homes affordably. Expect this cost-conscious segment to seek out reliable budget brands like Whirlpool, GE, and LG from smaller local used appliance stores in the area, or even purchase from local chain appliance stores too.
Landlords and Property Managers
Providing a furnished rental with all-new appliances could seriously cut into profits. Landlords and managers look for functional used appliances that offer tenants necessities like refrigeration and laundry without premium costs. Basic white goods in common sizes see high demand.
DIYers and Hobbyists
Those who tinker for fun purchase old appliances to tear down and repair or fully transform. Mid-century refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines make great repurposing projects. Unique retro appliances hold particular appeal for their vintage style.
Small Business Owners
From restaurants to laundromats to corner stores, small businesses want commercial-grade equipment without outrageous price tags. They scout used marketplaces for bargains on refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, and more.
College Students and First Apartment Renters
Moving into a first apartment on a limited budget makes used appliances the ideal choice. Students and young renters need essentials like refrigerators, microwaves, and stackable laundry pairs without huge investment.
Consumers Concerned About the Environment & E-Waste with Home Appliances
Environmentally-minded consumers actively seek used goods to reduce waste. Purchasing pre-owned appliances prevents additional energy demands of manufacturing while keeping appliances in circulation.
Home stagers prep houses for sale by creating model home appeal. They purchase affordable used appliances to outfit kitchens and laundry rooms, allowing sellers to list turnkey homes.
Resellers and Flippers
This entrepreneurial segment hunts for used appliances priced well below value. With minor repairs and parts, resellers can flip items for considerable profit. Vintage, unique, and niche appliances offer high flipping potential.
Exporters source U.S. used appliances to ship and resell overseas in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Countries lacking access to new products provide thriving secondhand markets. Bulk used appliance purchases fuel this export niche, so therefore it’s easy to make a huge return going this route.
Charities and non-profits like Salvation Army purchase functioning used appliances to provide to disadvantaged families and individuals in need, often through housing assistance programs. If you’re thinking about Goodwill, think again! They make it clear from their website they don’t accept appliances at all! This is what they have to say:
“It’s hard to say “no thank you” to a donation when those donations help to fund Goodwill programs. However, we do need to refuse some items for being non-recyclable or containing hazardous materials. Other times, the item must be refused because it costs more to transport, repair or refurbish than it can be sold for in our stores. Our donation attendants are trained to know what we can and cannot accept and will help guide you to other possibilities for donations we cannot use.”
Anyway, there are donation centers also collect donations to refurbish and redistribute, but you need to look at their policies carefully before taking the time to bring your home appliances to these organizations.
Marketing Strategies to Make Money from Used Appliances
With diverse buying segments, the used appliance market represents major profit potential. Here are key strategies to tap into demand:
- Perform keyword research online to optimize your online listings for maximium discovery on sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Include specifics like brands and dimensions.
- Partner with property managers and landlords to be a reliable supplier for their rental furnishing needs.
- Foster relationships with exporters, resellers, and donation programs as a wholesale supplier. Offer bulk pricing.
- Target college students through campus flyers, social media, and listings on student apartment listing sites.
- Run promotions and sales during peak rental turnover seasons to acquire new inventory from tenants.
- Participate in local auctions, estate sales, and salvage opportunities to find discounted appliances to refurbish.
- Market to environmentally-conscious consumers by highlighting re-use benefits and energy savings of pre-owned appliances.
- Build a social media following sharing repurposed appliance project inspiration for DIYers.
- Advertise in small business directories and local business Facebook groups. Become known as the affordable commercial appliance resource.
- Establish appliance trade-in and upgrade programs to bring in new inventory.
Sourcing Quality Used Appliance Inventory from Various Places
With diverse buyer demand identified, a consistent supply of inventory is key. Here are proven sources to locate used appliances:
- Estate Sales – An often untapped source, estate sales hold hidden gem appliances as homes are liquidated. Visit frequently and build relationships with companies.
- Auctions – Both live and online auctions regularly feature appliance lots available at bargain prices. Storage unit auctions can also uncover appliances.
- Wholesalers – Connect with dealers that specialize in buying out estates and government surplus. Purchase quality items in bulk.
- Maintenance Turnover – Partner with apartment complexes and property managers to supply their annual appliance replacements. Offer haul away and disposal services.
- Retail Trade-In Programs – Leverage trade-in promotions from major retailers like Sears and Home Depot, who often resell or scrap taken items.
- Online Marketplaces – Scout auction sites like eBay for underpriced appliances worth purchasing to resell. Follow search alerts for quick notification.
- Moving Sales – Placing “We Buy Used Appliances” signs near colleges and residential areas can uncover homeowners looking to sell during moves.
- Scrap and Salvage Yards – Negotiate deals on damaged but repairable appliances that scrap dealers are unable to sell.
- Store Closeouts – When big box stores close locations, they liquidate showroom inventory in bulk. Approach managers about purchasing.
Choosing Appliances with Maximum Resale Value
Not all used appliances offer equal profit potential. Consider these factors when choosing inventory:
- Brand – Well-known brands like Sub-Zero, Viking, Miele, Bosch, LG and Whirlpool have strong resale appeal. Commercial brands like True also command value. Avoid niche brands.
- Condition – Gently used models in working order offer highest returns. Check for dents, rust, and missing parts. Units needing moderate repairs can still be profitable.
- Dimensions – Standard sizes and configurations are easiest to resell across segments. Example: top freezer refrigerators, 24″ ovens, and basic white finishes.
- Age – Very old or very new models hold more value. Classic retro styles or late model features create demand. Standard 5-10 year old ranges are generally safest bets.
- Special Features – Smart appliance capabilities, commercial power, and innovative functions add profit potential for some segments. Unique colors also help vintage styles.
With an eye for appliances in demand across segments, you can acquire inventory sure to sell. Focus sourcing efforts on models matching these key criteria.
How to Price Used Appliances Online
Setting the right sales price is an art that comes from experience. Factor in:
- Used Market Comps – Research current asking prices for same make, model, and condition to align with market value. Check sites like Craigslist and eBay.
- Repair Costs – Consider costs of any parts, cosmetic fixes, or refurbishing needed to estimate your bottom line. Price above total expenses.
- Market Segment – Commercial buyers expect bigger discounts, while design-focused segments will pay more for unique style. Price accordingly.
- Profit Margin – Most resellers double or triple wholesale prices. Determine the profit you want per item and work backwards.
- Negotiation Buffer – Price items 10-20% above your ideal sales price to leave room for buyers to negotiate discounts.
Adjust pricing strategies over time as you gain experience to maximize profits on every sale. Keep records to track profits by appliance category and segment. This is truly how to sell used appliances online and price them appropriately!
The used appliance market contains hidden gems—quality products priced far below value. Follow the segmented insights in this guide and implement calculated sourcing and marketing strategies to fully capitalize on resale profits. We hope you have learned how to sell your used appliances online and make a decent killing too. For more assistance navigating the used appliance space, contact the experts at Suwanee Appliance Garage. Discover why we’re Metro Atlanta’s #1 resource for affordable pre-owned appliances. With an inventory catering to every niche, you’re sure to uncover appliance deals offering maximum return potential.