What are Goodwill Outlet Stores?

Everyone has heard of a Goodwill store, but not all are the same. You are probably most familiar with a Goodwill Retail store or Goodwill Donation center. However, if you are a picker and a online reseller of goods on Etsy, eBay, Amazon or Bonanza, you want to find another type of Goodwill store; the Goodwill Outlet store. Goodwill Outlet Stores serve as the liquidation centers for Goodwill retail stores. In most cases, merchandise is moved to an outlet location when it fails to sell within a certain amount of time. Goodwill Outlet Stores are most prevalent in large cities; and sometimes go by different names, including “as-is” stores, “bin” stores or “pay by the pound” centers.

Goodwill Outlet Store Pricing

Once merchandise is moved to an outlet location, it is typically sold one of two ways: by the pound (most common), or at a reduced per-piece price. Either way, you can expect to pay at least 75% less than you would at a Goodwill retail store. Here’s an example of what to expect:Goodwill Outlet Store Pricing

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The Goodwill Outlet Experience

Shopping at a Goodwill Outlet Store is a unique experience. In some outlets the merchandise is sorted, but more often than not, the merchandise is simply brought out in large blue bins for you to sort through. You’ll have to dig through a lot of merchandise to find “the deals”, and you’ll have to do it while being swarmed by other pickers who are doing the same. This is not necessarily a clean experience as it does not compare to shopping “off the shelf”. It’s an adrenaline rush for online resellers looking for the hidden treasure; dirty but fun!

Before You Arrive at the Outlet Store

  • You must remove items immediately after paying, they do not allow items to be put on hold.
  • Bring a vehicle that can haul away large quantities. They do not have a van or truck to rent or deliver for you.
  • They do not have shopping bags. Bring plastic totes that you can place your items into once returning to your vehicle.
  • All items are sold as-is, and cannot be returned or exchanged.

Goodwill Outlet Store Locator

BLUE = Goodwill Outlet locations exist
RED = Goodwill Outlet locations not available

Real Trip Case Studies

We live in a suburb of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Our nearest and only Goodwill Outlet store is located in Des Moines, approximately two hours away. We made the drive three separate times. The first two times we traveled in a group of three. The last time only two of us went. Having more than one of us allowed for better coverage of picking throughout the store simultaneously. It also allowed one to sort through cart and call back home where another researched online to see if the item was a good deal or not. And having another person to watch over your cart while you need to use the restroom is also beneficial. We have turned our back on our carts for a few seconds, only to turn around and witness another customer take something out of our cart and claim for their own! Learn from our mistake and take this advice, “travel in pairs” at minimum. Trip #1

  • Purchased 42 items
  • 23 items sold within 30 days of listing
  • 32 items sold within 90 days
  • 8 items were deemed no good to resell
  • 1 item still remains listed and unsold
  • 4 hours picking time
  • Gross Profit – $505.60

(Gross = Sale price minus eBay listing fees, final value fees, PayPal fees, shipping fees, packaging)

Less Purchase of items (96 lbs @ $.59/lb.) = $56.64

Less fuel costs Des Moines and return to CR = $42.00

Net Profit = $406.96

Items worth mentioning:

  1. Brother GX-6750 Electronic Typewriter (new in box!) Yes, we actually retrieved this at the outlet store new, unopened, in original box. We sold on eBay for $74.99! You can try viewing this on eBay with listing #121232106431. However, they take viewing away after 90 days of sale, so you might research and view listing on Terapeak. If you cannot view listing number in either link, click here to view similar type listings.
  2. Numark TTUSB Professional DJ Turntable (used). We sold on eBay for $49.99. You can try viewing this on eBay with listing #121261088827. However, they take viewing away after 90 days of sale, so you might research and view listing on Terapeak. If you cannot view listing number in either link, click here to view similar type listings.

Trip #2

  • Purchased 31 items
  • 18 items sold within 30 days of listing
  • 25 items sold within 60 days
  • 5 items were deemed no good to resell
  • 1 item still remains listed and unsold
  • 4 hours picking time

Gross Profit – $330.03 (Gross = Sale price minus eBay listing fees, final value fees, PayPal fees, shipping fees, packaging)

Less Purchase of items (57lbs @ $.59/lb.) = $33.63

Less fuel costs Des Moines and return to CR = $42.00

Net Profit = $254.40

Items worth mentioning:

  1. Sony Radio Cassette Corder CFS-W304 AM/FM Player (used). We sold on eBay for $34.99! You can try viewing this on eBay with listing #12157277634. However, they take viewing away after 90 days of sale, so you might research and view listing on Terapeak. If you cannot view listing number in either link, click here to view similar type listings.
  2. Homedics Massager Heat Pad Chair with Vibrating Cushion (used). We sold on eBay for $29.99. You can try viewing this on eBay with listing #121251417887. However, they take viewing away after 90 days of sale, so you might research and view listing on Terapeak. If you cannot view listing number in either link, click here to view similar type listings.

Trip #3

  • Purchased 14 items
  • 8 items sold within 30 days of listing
  • 11 items sold within 150 days
  • 3 items still remain listed and unsold
  • 3 hours picking time

Gross Profit – $154.84 (Gross = Sale price minus eBay listing fees, final value fees, PayPal fees, shipping fees, packaging)

Less Purchase of items (21lbs @ $.89/lb.) = $18.69

Less fuel costs Des Moines and return to CR = $40.00

Net Profit = $96.15

Items worth mentioning:

  1. Furby 59294 by Tiger Electronics, Hasbro Interactive toy (used). One of our most fun listings and sales. We sold on eBay for $29.99! You can try viewing this on eBay with listing #171370791853. However, they take viewing away after 90 days of sale, so you might research and view listing on Terapeak. If you cannot view listing number in either link, click here to view similar type listings.
  2. Husqvarna Sewing Machine Pedal FR510 (used). Yes, parts sell. You don’t need a complete assembly to make sales online We sold this sewing machine pedal on eBay for $17.99. You can try viewing this on eBay with listing #171370459003. However, they take viewing away after 90 days of sale, so you might research and view listing on Terapeak. If you cannot view listing number in either link, click here to view similar type listings.

We hope there is a Goodwill Outlet store in your region. As you can see, you may need to travel a distance in order to benefit, but please note seeing our Live Case Study, that we still made profit after each visit which included the cost of fuel.

You may ask, why travel to one of these stores? Why not just purchase the item within one of your local Goodwill Retail stores? Yes, you could and probably are currently doing that. However, when adjusting for each of these item costs purchased at the Outlet location, we have $1-$2 per item investment. The sewing machine at our local Retail store would have been priced from $9.38 – $15.38. The turntable and Homedics heat pad massager would have been priced similar. The Furby and sewing pedal would have been priced around $5.38 – $9.38. Could we have still made a profit based on our local Goodwill Retail store costs? Yes. Would it had been the same amount of profit? No. And though we have travel expense, our cash flow was less than purchasing at higher prices locally.

Now you can see why Goodwill Outlet stores are a hidden secret among online resellers. Knowing about these locations is valuable and should become part of your business model if you are a picker. Not all states have a Goodwill Outlet location, however, some other organizations have similar type stores.

About the author

If this information has been a blessing and you would like more of our online sharing adventures, visit The Family Pickers.

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