How To Make Money From Excess Inventory

Imagine you've got shelves upon shelves full of obsolete inventory that is just taking up space in a warehouse. In reality, those shelves are not just full of stuff, they are full of money. Your money. The problem is, the money is tied up because those products just won't move no matter what kind of clearance prices you've slapped on them.Excess inventory can have lasting effects on a business' bottom line. Prevention is the best medicine (which is why Shopventory exists!), but if you're already in a bind we've got some solutions so you can start filling those shelves with inventory that flies off them instead. Let's clean house!

via Tax Credits on Flickr

Above: Let's put this cash back together, shall we? (via Tax Credits on Flickr)


1. Sell online with sites like eBay, craigslist, or list it on Freecycle, a network where you can give and get all kinds of freebies. It depends on your products and the time you want to devote to this, of course, but you can either  sell your merchandise individually or in lots. The Internet is a weird place—despite the odds, you  might even find someone to buy those 200 "Happy Birthday, Frank!" T-shirts you accidentally printed for a party of 20. Maybe there's another Frank out there with 200 friends or maybe there isn't, but you won't know until you try.

2. Transform the inventory into something special, even if it sort of isn't. Use it to laugh at yourself and the fact that you found something decades behind the times. It's not "obsolete," it's an "Exclusive Collection of Vintage Discmans (that don't work)." If you do it right, the hype and cheekiness just might help you sell the rest at full price or inspire a group of hipsters to start a Discman DJ Night. At the very least, it'll give your customers a good chuckle.

3. Sell, give or trade the products to another seller. WHAT? Crazy, right? But hey, maybe you know a fellow business owner or surplus vendor who has the time and patience to deal with this lot better than you can. One seller's trash is another's treasure—when you build that positive rapport, you might find yourself coming into treasure occasionally too. Or make a trade. For example, a party rentals company will surely be able to find use for 2,500 wine glasses and you might be able to trade them for any number of things you need, from props to style your product photo shoots to rentals at your next company picnic.

4. Make a donation to a local organization, school, library or charity. Get creative, because even misshapen tin cans can be put to good use by a high school art program. Make sure to keep detailed accounting of charitable donations and you'll come out with a handy tax break come April.

5. Recycle or trash. If you've exhausted all other options, it's time to toss. Arrange for pickup or haul recyclables to the appropriate place (you know, to avoid toxic spills and whatnot). There are also quite a few businesses out there that will even buy your scrap electronics, metal, plastic, etc. Recycling scrap metal can have a huge impact environmentally. Do your research and you can really clean up (pun-intended) on that excess.