So you found the perfect space, now is the time to fill it up? But how? First, and best choice, find the guys who deliver for new appliance stores. You see them on the side of the road, pull over, give them your phone number. These guys are the lifeblood of your business. There is no better resource for appliances than these guys. Often you will get stuff that just works, where the customer was simply upgrading. Needless to say you still need to go over them, but you save huge on the parts department. Sometimes it becomes a nuisance, you are overstocked, cash poor, etc. You still need to take care of your good trucks, as they will never come back if you screw them once.
Sometimes you need a bunch of appliances all at once, especially if your sales floor is woefully low. There are wholesalers out there, but keep in mind that all of that stuff has already been picked over at least 2 times. Once by the delivery truck, and second by the wholesaler. Nobody will sell you a gem for $30 when they can plug it in real quick and flip it for $350!
Other options include craigslist, etc, but requires a lot of leg work as you will need to pick all of the items up.
Fixing, testing, cleaning.
The appliance needs, must, be 100% functional. You should test by hooking the washers up to water, and washing your dirty shop towels. Towels not dirty? Go outside and get them dirty. Typically you don't need to add soap as the machine will be so gunked up that you may have to run it 2x just to get all the residual soap out. You should dry your towels in the dryer. Dryers should also be vacuumed, lubed, and belt inspected. If the belt has any cracking, replace it.
Stoves are pretty simple, 4 burners should work fine, oven should be brought up to 350 to check accuracy. Gas units: Oven should ignite in less than 1 minute, if not, change ignitor.
Refrigerators are the most challenging, there are a lot of things to test/ verify. Freezer must be 0-10, fridge side needs to be about 38*. You need to check the defrost cycle, also clogged drain. Gaskets need to be inspected as well. Ideally, you would be running the unit for a few days. Don't forget the ice and water. After it tests ok, mark your initials and the date you okayed it on the back.
What brings the demise of most appliance shops around my neck of the woods is the quality of product. They put out shit, then complain about too many warranty calls, then stop honoring their warranty, = The End. Your appliances need to be working. Period. Its great when you find the dryer with the bad element, you know why the person got rid of the unit, and therefore, you know that the unit should be 100% after the repair. It gets tricky when you can't find anything wrong. Test it twice. After it checks out, mark your initials and the date you okayed it.
Another thing worth noting.
DONT STORE BROKEN APPLIANCES! I can't tell you who many dealers I visit boast their mountain of scrap (untested) appliances. Its like "wow, you have 100 broken appliances, you really are going places!" FIX the stuff, clean it, THEN its ok to store. Instead of storing scrap metal, you now have valuable inventory.
Its important to sell ALL major appliances. Stoves, fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher, microwave, built in appliances, etc. Don't limit yourself to any specific brand, style, etc. I know of a outfit that only sells direct drive washers. I can understand, they are easy to fix, parts are cheap. Go to HH gregg and see if they only sell LG's.
Ideally all of your appliances should be 100% complete. This applies mostly to refrigerators, as you can't sell a stove with missing burner caps etc. You can sell a ref if its missing a shelf, or the kick plate. Ask yourself: would you put it in your kitchen ? You can live without the kick plate, but if it only has one shelf its not a very usable unit. I know this sounds silly, but you should go check out your "competition" Its ridiculous.
Clean and Priced:
This is the difference between making it, and just getting by. Refrigerators should be stripped, and cleaned. Warm soapy water for the shelves, and cleaner with bleach for the liner. You don't need to strip the doors out, but it should be squeaky clean. All light bulbs should be working. The fridge should be bright, SMELL CLEAN, and look clean. Washers should be scrubbed, especially at the lid. I use a gong brush. When done, the washer should SMELL CLEAN, be without rust ( spray paint!!!) All of the hoses should be in the tub, ready to ship. Dryers should be vacuumed, lint filters washed, and should be rust free. Also, all legs should be attached and somewhat functional. Stoves need to be grease free, look, I know it sucks cleaning a greasy stove. I go by this principle: If I am not willing to clean it, I shouldn't buy it.
When you go to a used car dealership (a successful one), you don't see dirty cars for sale, do you? Your popular restaurant: is your table dirty? You get the picture. There are people willing to buy dirty appliances at a discount. Ill leave that decision up to you. Sure, I have done it before, but I would rather sell a immaculate clean machine for top dollar than sell junk, at junk prices.
All of your machines should be priced. No exceptions. For years, I would just "quote" the customer a price when they walked in. People always suspect foul play. How could the customer know if you are charging them more than the last customer? You go to the sporting goods store, and see a nice coat on the rack, no price. Is is $50? $200? $500? Chances are, after looking for a price, you don't find it, and you put it back on the rack and don't buy it. People are shy, and don't want to bother you. They will go somewhere else where the items are priced. Price it at the maximum you think you can get. You can always talk down, its hard to talk up. Your price tags should have your name, A box for a brief description of the appliance you are selling, and a box for price. If its missing a kick plate, or door bin, put "missing kick plate". Be upfront about it. Better they know about it now then after its installed in their kitchen.
Delivery is mandatory to success. It sucks, is expensive, and you typically have to subsidize the delivery. I charge $20 for curbside drop off, and $50 for full installation. Full install includes all connections, dryer vents etc. and haul away. One way to cut costs is to deliver only a few days a week. Its cost of doing business, get over it. Your delivery guys should know how to deliver correctly, hook up and install the units professionally, and be courteous to your customer. The delivery guy is the last face the customer sees that represents your company, it needs to be a happy face. They should be wearing dickies, work boots, and uniform tee shirt. Buy shubees, moving pads, dollies. Just like you need the correct tools for your job, delivery guys need their tools. If they wind up missing, make them pay for it.
The customer's unit should be fully installed, in ready to go condition. What good is a washer if the customer still can't wash?