Garage Sales: A Lucrative Business?

Build it, the weekend garage sale warriors will come!

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garageIs it possible that garage sales could be a lucrative business opportunity?  Perhaps not having a garage sale every day is ideal; however, if you leased a building to sellers, you might find that is.

When I was a child, I lived in a small community in North Texas where garage sales were common on the weekends.  There was a place that you could lease to house your sale. Simple in design, the building was a small one-room, cement floor, brick building with a small bathroom and clothes racks on the walls and tables cemented in the floor. Designated times were rented for a menial fee plus a deposit and the renter was responsible for their own cleanup. There was usually a garage sale on Saturday and Sunday after church and a larger sale was both days.

This place was always booming with customers because it was the one place in town you knew you could check out and the  sellers always made very good money. The one who profited the most from this was the owner of the business considering  overhead only consisted of property fees and a menial utility bill.

Perhaps being a business owner is not something you are interested in. Consider the tax benefits. If you rent the building, all or part of the rent is deductible, your overhead is deductible, insurance, taxes, and interest are all tax deductible. If the building is at your home and is solely used for the garage sale business, part of your household expenses, such as a percentage of your utilities, are also deductible. For a full list of deductible items you can visit www.irs.gov.

There are pros and cons to owning this kind of business. Pro: maybe you like to go out of town on the weekends and you’re not interested in waiting around for someone to pay or bring you a key. No problem! Create a drop box or arrange pick up and drop off of keys during the week. The building may not be in use for five days, you can always go and check on the property Monday night. Con: considering this is only a part time business, I wouldn’t quit my day job just yet. A business such as this may not bring in a full time income, but the extra cash is less hassle than being a weekend landlord and the tax benefits far outweigh driving a pizza delivery truck .

If you don’t have the start up money consider finding an investor or a partner that you can buy out later, or keep them on and split the profits. Also, since the real estate market is so poor right now, you may be able to get a good deal on the property or consider renting the building yoursel for the tax benefits. Remember, the business can be used for more than just garage sales. Maybe you can find a leasor who sells antiques out of it Monday through Friday or create storage for tables and clothes racks and rent it out as a social hall during the week and on the evenings or use it for your own mini-store and sell your own products. It’s your building, do what you need to do to make the money.

The key to making this business work is location, tax deductions, and small overhead. Build it, the weekend garage sale warriors will come!

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