It’s been a little over a week since my last post, so in today’s post I will be sharing what I was up to for a good portion of the past week. I took a mini “sourcing roadtrip” to Wisconsin and Illinois to explore some retail stores in areas that I have never sourced at before.
I went on this trip with Jon Gosz, who did a guest post about 2 months ago discussing his results from selling online part time on a part time basis. The plan was to leave on 8:00 AM on Thursday June 19th and return early evening on Sunday June 22nd. The sole intent of this trip was to source inventory to sell via FBA and we didn’t plan any other stops.
How the trip played out
We reserved a cargo van for the trip as we were planning on buying significant amounts of inventory and needed a good amount of space. We arrived at Enterprise at 7:30AM on Thursday to pick up the van. When we get there it was looking a little strange since there were no cargo vans in sight on the lot, and this lot had about 10 cars on it, so its not like there was any place for it to hide. We go inside and say we are there to pick up the van, and they confirm our initial suspicions and inform us that they do not have a cargo van available. Allegedly a customer was supposed to return one the day before, but never did, so we were temporarily stuck. They called all of the other locations within about 15 minutes and found that none of them had cargo vans either. We were then offered a “complimentary upgrade” to a Kia Sorento. A Kia Sorento appeared it would hold about as much as a standard size car, so this was a definite pass. Finally we suggested they call a couple Enterprise locations that were a bit further away and luckily there was a cargo van available at a location about a half hour from where we were. We took it. Here’s a pic of the cargo van:
This is the Nissan NV1500. It had a ton of storage space, and was well worth the 2 hour delay compared to settling for a Kia Sorento.
So, we finally hit the road around 10:00AM on Thursday morning. The first planned stop was a Toys R Us in Baraboo, WI. We arrive at the address from the Toys R Us website and there is absolutely no Toys R Us in site. I call the number listed on the website, and I hear “We’re sorry this number has been disconnected…” So, we kept driving. This was another speed bump along the way, but I promise things start to turn around soon.
We decided to keep driving as opposed to stopping at any other stores in the area, as the main places we were looking to go were Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. We ended up getting into Madison a little under 2 hours after the fake Toys R Us address and were able to do some solid sourcing. In total I spent about $650 on inventory before it was time to call it a day. We got to a hotel and around 10:00PM, and listed all of the days haul for sale and got it all ready to send to FBA except for creating the shipments. This took until about 12:30AM.
On Friday morning we left the hotel around 9:30AM and were in stores until about 9:30PM. Friday was a solid day as I spent about $1,600 in inventory to resell across about 12 different stops during the day. Friday night we got to the hotel around 10:00PM and moved everything into the room. We then processed all of the items purchased during Friday, added them to the shipments from the items purchased on Thursday, and had about 21 medium sized Home Depot boxes to drop off at a UPS Store on Saturday. Processing all of the items took until about 3:30AM so we didn’t hit the road on Saturday until about 11:30AM. Here’s a pic of processing inventory from the hotel:
At about noon on Saturday we dropped all of the boxes that were ready at a UPS store and continued on our way. The first few stores we hit in the early afternoon had many good buys and the van was quickly filling up again. At around 5:00PM we decided to start heading back in the direction of home as we knew the van would be full by the end of the day, and there wan’t much point in shipping again from the hotel, as we would only have a few hours on Sunday as we had about a 5 to 6 hour drive back. We stopped at several more stores on the way back, and ended up arriving back a little after 2:00 AM Sunday. In total on inventory I spent a little over $1,000 on Saturday.
Proof the van was filling up (this was around 5:00 PM on Saturday):
So, here’s a recap of what the total numbers for the trip were:
Total spent on Inventory: $3,263.61
Expenses: Food – $51.65, Boxes – $24.14, Hotels $110.82, Cargo Van Rental – $200.78, Gas $106.62, (Total Expenses: $494.01)
On the expenses, the hotel, van rental, and gas are each half of the actual charge as costs were shared with Jon. Jon purchased around the same amount of inventory as I did on the trip.
Overall, the trip covered about 900 miles and was a great experience and should be quite profitable as well. I definitely learned some things along the way that I will be sure to apply next time. I will plan on posting an update in how the items specifically from this trip have sold in 2 months to help give an idea of if the items will sell for enough to cover the added expenses of sourcing on the road (I am confident they will).
As mentioned in my initial 2014 goals post, one is to take a 2,000 mile road trip around the US buying items to resell so this was a good “practice run” for a more extensive trip. I am definitely still planning on doing this, likely around September 2014. I will be covering many cities, and the exact destinations are yet to be determined, so if you would be interested in potentially meeting up with me on this trip to do some sourcing, grab some food/drink, etc, send me an email (email@example.com) and if I am end up coming through your area we can potentially meetup for a bit.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below. If you want to see 12 additional photos of this trip not included in this post, you can find them on the Online Selling Experiment Facebook Page.