Start a Military Surplus Business
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Start a Military Surplus Business

Do you want to start a military surplus business? Just follow these tips!

Military surplus gear offers an interesting avenue for profit. Surplus gear articles are quite popular with the general public, because militaria has been showcased in numerous movies, both old and new. Also, despite the fact that most gear is manufactured by ordinary civilian companies, and some is even made in China, many consider Army gear to be top-notch in durability and value. Some buy it for nostalgia, some buy military gear for practicality, and some just buy it to resell for a profit, but a surprising number of people have a reason to purchase military gear.

Military gear starts off with soldiers. Some general somewhere determines that troops have a need for a certain piece of equipment. This then becomes part of their “TA-50,” which is the nomenclature for a soldier’s basic combat load. Many TA-50 items are antiquated and are never used by the soldiers, but instead stored in an Army-issue duffel bag until it is time to return it (this is particularly true of some gear received by Guardsmen and Reservists). Although tangent to this subject, here is an interesting fact: soldiers used to draw TA-50 at each unit they served in, and return it when they left. Now, they only draw it once, and carry it with them until they leave the Army.

Antiquated gear was a reality in my previous Reserve Unit. We were issued mosquito nets, leather parka mitten shells (Alaska-style), canteen pouches intended for the Arctic freeze-resistant canteen, and the previous generation LCE and ALICE pack loads carried by soldiers as early as Vietnam.

Military gear goes through phases. It usually gets issued to Active Duty units first, then filters to the National Guard and Reserve. At this point, if gear is decommissioned and removed from service, it is supposed to be turned in to the Defense Reutilization Marketing Office (DRMO) for sales to the pubic (funds received go straight back to the Treasury). Note that a new service exists known as Government Liquidation; this is the organization that now auctions the gear off to the public.

There are several ways to make money off of this process. First, sometimes soldiers have to move quickly and throw perfectly good gear into the garbage. If you are lucky enough to find it, then you can easily make a profit off of this. If dumpster diving isn’t your thing, though (and keep in mind that it is illegal and a fined offense in some places), you can bid for gear from Government Liquidations.

The key to making money this way is to find the popular items and figure out about how much they sell for. Then, if you can get the items for a competitive price, you can resell them and turn a good profit. The popular items are always the current issue “cool guy” stuff: boots, ACU (Army Camouflage Uniform digital pattern) anything, and rucksacks are popular items right now. All you have to do is figure out approximately how much it will cost you to acquire, transport, and store the items and compare it to your potential earnings. If you have a good ratio, then you should buy. Happy hunting!


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Comments (2)

Really good material...keep it coming...

Voted up. Interesting