The Salvage World Story
It was 2008 and seemed like the world was on the brink of financial collapse. I had recently sold my Bar/restaurant and was looking for some way to pay my bills. My daughter suggested that I go into the salvage business. She had just bought a pair of $1200.00 high hills for $150.00 at a local salvage store. I just laughed at her. What do I know about the salvage business. I went to see my banker to talk to her about what I could do. She said that a guest speaker from a local salvage company (same one) that morning had talked to her group. They said they just had their best year ever in company history. I left that meeting with a new plan. I am going into the salvage business.
So, I went and researched all I could find out about the salvage business on the internet. Made a few phone calls. I did not have any money to start this business. So I went back to my banker to tell her that I had made a desion about my future business. I am going into the salvage Business. I ask her to loan me some money to get started. The only asset that I had that I could borrow money on was my mobile home. Triple wide beauty it was. I borrowed $50,000 against it.
The first day I got the money I went and bought me a used forklift $4500.00. I made some phone calls bought two truckloads of return merchandise from a major retailer it was 48 pallets total. I tried wholesaling them to flea market people. They were way to sharp for me. I lost money on both of those loads. That did not bother me I bought two more loads, deferent major retailer. Lost money on both those loads also. So, then I doubled down bought three loads. Broke even, yea I am learning the business. After 6 months I looked around my warehouse at my picked over merchandise, was not much good stuff left. My money was almost gone and I did not have anything to show for it.
It was in the middle of the summer and we were in the middle of a heat wave. I bought a salvage load that was half widow ac units. The other half was all kinds of stuff. I put an add on craigslist advertising the widow units. The next day we sold 10 units. And the day after that I sold 15 units. In three to four days I had all my money back $5000,00. The guy I bought the load from called, you want another load I said yes. 10 truckloads later I had filled my building up with all the other stuff that was on the truck beside window AC units. That source dried up. But I was up and running and we are making a profit, And I had a building full of merchandise. At the time it was me and one other person dong all the work.
My building was full of dehumidifiers about 1500 of them. I could not sell them in the store. So, I opened an eBay store. I sold all the working ones on eBay for $50,000. Took me 6 months to sell all of them. I had built a business off craigslist and Facebook. No other advertising. My favorite craigslist add was an ad for a used can of wd40. It was an old dirty can, I put it for sale for $1.00. that was one of those nights I was working late having fun. The next day I was up a ladder working a guy calls me says I am calling about that can of wd40. Almost fell of the ladder laughing. He has been a good customer ever since.
WDAM tv advertising rep called on me ask me to make a commercial for my store so I said yes. I stood in front of the building talking into a mike and camera. He said I look kinda stiff could I move around a little, so I moved around a little. They took the footage and put music behind it made it look like I was rapping. I became the “Redneck Rapper”. Really good crazy different commercial. I get a call one-day and the a person on the phone says she is from Hollywood. I say yea right who is this. I thought it was someone yanking my chain. Looked down at the phone number was out of town number. The more she talked the more I started to believe her. She paid me $500.00 to use my commercial on her show. TRU TV Worlds Dumbest Hillbillys II. I came in Number 4 out of 18. I guess that makes me number 4 dumbest redneck. My business doubled off of this ad. Every time they played it my Facebook page would get a spike in new likes. I came up with the slogan “it’s a steal not a deal”. Now everywhere I go in Hattiesburg people say you’re the “steal not a deal” guy.
WE had been in business for about 3 years and I was thinking about expanding. I went to the coast and found a building for rent. I called the realtor asked how much he said $5.50 per sq/ft per. I asked how much was that a month. he said $19,500 per month plus taxes and insurance. I laughed said I will give you $5000,00 per month no taxes and insurance. He said he would get back to me on it, 7 weeks went by he called back said the owner of the building would go $8000.00 per month. I said I would pay $6000.00. Keep in mind I was dreaming more than shopping for a building. I did not have any money to open another store. My daughter who had been working for me since she was 16 ask me if she could open this store. I said yes you got any money. She said a little.
She is a tightwad saved every penny she ever had. Her and her boyfriend, now my son in-law open the store moved to the coast. Got married. They made money first year and every year since then. All they had to do was listen to me and learn from my mistakes. They listened and now they have 3 stores .
We have now been in this business for 15 years, It’s been life-changing for me. I no longer live in the Triple wide mobile home any more. I remarried have a new son. last year we had a record year. Every year has been a record year since the first year. We now have a total of 9 stores in 5 cities and three states. With all 9 stores doing about 15,000,000 in sales.
All from a $50,000 loan on a mobile home. You won’t believe the 5000 SQ/FT house I live in now even the dogs have rooms in it.