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63 Businesses to Start for Under $10,000

Savvy entrepreneurs can earn a bundle by buying liquidated inventory and government surplus equipment at dirt-cheap prices and reselling it at staggering markups. Retailers, distributors, and manufacturers liquidate inventory for any number of reasons — the products are slow moving, out-of-season, or damaged, or the company is relocating, merging, or going out of business. In fact, billions of dollars worth of inventory becomes available every year at fire sale prices. The best types of liquidated inventory to purchase are power and hand tools, films on Blu-ray, toys, kitchen and bath accessories, fashion accessories, and electronics. Stay clear of products that have limited shelf life or special warehousing and transportation requirements. Products can be resold for a profit through eBay and other online marketplaces, at weekend flea markets, and to dollar store retailers, flea market vendors, and eBay sellers.

Purchasing government surplus and seized merchandise for pennies on the dollar of the original value and reselling to consumers at marked-up prices can also make you a great profit. Government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Treasury Department often sell off used and surplus equipment, as well as items seized for nonpayment or for criminal activity, through auction sales and sealed bid tenders. Items that are routinely auctioned by government agencies include computers, real estate, automobiles, machinery and tools, jewelry, furniture, electronics, and boats. Sell the larger items you buy from home using Craigslist and other classified ads and through eBay and the smaller items at weekend flea markets.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: Varies

Skill Level: 1



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