You are definitely correct. Last year I bought my son a VEX robotics
kit, once handled by Radio Shack but now sold direct. Some of the extra
piece parts are pretty expensive, so I checked around on eBay for some
sources. I found a small father/son enterprise that was doing a lively
business buying compatible screws, nuts, and stamped metal pieces in
volume, then selling them at a fair markup on eBay. The son, a
teenager, had the original idea and handled the individual sales while
the father provided encouragement and startup funds.
EBay takes their cut, of course, but on the whole it makes for a very
low overhead storefront operation with wide access to a global customer
base. I see many of these operations that deal only through PayPal,
which pretty much avoids most transaction problems. There are other
storefronts as well (Yahoo, etc), although some of them might take a bit
more marketing to get the needed exposure.
Nobody is likely to get rich doing this kind of thing, but it should at
least hold it's own. And who knows, it might blossom into something
larger with a decent plan. I'm not knowledgeable enough in this
particular arena, but there are obviously many out there who are.
Jim Lux wrote:
> At 09:41 AM 3/26/2007, Martin AA6E wrote:
>> On the other hand, sometimes someone volunteers to buy a quantity of a
>> part for resale at cost to needy hams. I would gladly buy two of these
>> connectors for $ 7-10.
> And of such statements (and another similar sentiment earlier) is a
> retail niche identified. I'll bet there's a fair number of small
> companies out there selling cables and wire that got started with
> just one or two products (e.g. Anderson PowerPole connectors). If
> one has (literally) free time and some spare cash, you could "invest"
> in your initial inventory ($350), and start a small business
> providing such things mail order. These days, it's a heck of a lot
> easier than it used to be, because you have things like the web, eBay
> and Paypal to handle some of the formerly a pain in the rear
> aspects. I once was involved with a very small mail order operation,
> and just the hassle of handling checks (all of which were from "out
> of state" and took weeks to clear) was a pain, much less what it
> would have taken to handle credit cards.
> Or several of you might gang up together and talk to one of the
> kitting or cabling companies or antenna companies out there and see
> if they'll handle the business. At least they've already got the
> inventory and order fulfillment system worked out and factored into
> their cost structure.
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