You started a new business and it consists in selling products. You have a couple of choices and this article will give you solutions on how to sell products from home. The blog is meant to be a starting point in the selling possibilities.
There are many local ads sites wherever you are in the World. I will talk about the ones I use here on Vancouver Island. The same types of sites are available anywhere internet exists. They can be used for business sales and also personal sales (stuff you own and no longer need).
Your main market should start near your home because communicating with the clients is easier and there is usually no shipping required. The clients typically come and get the item themselves at your place or any other convenient place for both you and them.
Local sites. These are the sites I like to use when I want to sell personal stuff.
- Buyselltrade.ca – Vancouver Island only
- UsedCowichan.com – UsedCity is available in many cities in British Columbia, Prairies, Ontario and Quebec.
- Kijiji.ca – Available anywhere, the application will determine your location and present you ads from your area.
- Craigslist.ca – Also available anywhere and it will determine your location
- eBay.ca – Sell anywhere
I know you can also sell on Facebook but I have not explored that avenue.
Selling personal stuff. You have this dining room table set with four chairs and it is out of style. You want to sell it. Your first step is to determine a price. You can go on the ads sites and look for similar items. It will give you an idea of the price you should ask for. You must then take pictures and write a catchy title and description. Most site will let you upload pictures for free. The picture sizes will be limited. The only site above with no pictures is Craigslist.
You just started your business and you make wood chests, for example. You make 2 a day and they look really nice.
To sell them, you need to determine your target market, who your competitors are and a price. The more common the item is common, the more competitors you will have.
Pricing is tricky but a good way is to calculate the actual price of the material and the time it takes to build. Add those together and divide by 2. Add the result to both again and you get a price. Compare this with you competitors’ prices. Keep in mind that competitors might be large companies with low salaried labor. Be flexible with your proposed product and tell clients that this product is locally made. That might suggest that your product can be customized for their needs.
You can use the Ad sites mentioned above. You will be able to better determine your price with the replies you get. If your products sell really fast, your price might be too low. If they do not sell at all, review your price.
Make sure you invest time into nice pictures and writing informative detailed descriptions that make your product unique. Selling businesses take time to establish. Be patient and analyze your results carefully.
Note that if your product is food, you need to get information on the regulations applicable in your province or state. Process food in British Columbia is regulated. Click on the following link for a good starting point on understanding the different applicable food regulations.
When your business is established and you are producing large numbers of products, you can still use the ad sites above. Most of the sites offer commercial services where your business can be showcased on their site. You can also buy sponsored ads that will be posted above all the other ads listed.
Large outlets will sell large production business items on their shelves and online. You can contact them and negotiate.
These large distributors are harder to deal with. The local markets are usually more open to offer local products. Home Hardware, for example, will accept to sell your products for a commission because the store is usually owner operated. Larger stores such as Home Depot might not because you need to deal with the headquarters. They will only deal with manufacturers who can produce enough products to sell all over the Country. When you deal with distributors, you will need a very efficient inventory management system.
Another marketing technique is to create you presence on Internet. You will need your own website(s). Publishing a website is the easy part. Making your presence known is another story. Wealthy Affiliate is a great solution. This company shows you how to create and publish your website with content that will direct traffic to your site. See the link below to get more information on Wealthy Affiliate.
When you get into national sales, the taxation system in every province (or states in the USA) must become a no brainer for you. You will need a Canadian federal tax number. Click here to register. Every province uses a different percentage and the list of taxable products are also different. The federal tax is applicable in all the provinces.
Determine how you will be shipping the product and the cost of insurance. These amounts need to be added to the price you will be billing the client. The weight and the size of the package will determine the price for transport. Here are some transportation companies that offer services Coast to Coast in Canada.
- Greyhound (on their buses)
- Canada Post
- Air Canada
When your product crosses the border, you need to fill-up lots of forms. Not all items can be exported and you will have to verify the eligibility of your product even before you start planning on developing international markets. Click here for information on exporting goods from Canada.
There are many ways to sell products online. The larger your business is, the more regulations you need to know about. When you sell locally, the sale is not very complex because you are not dealing with shipping, export and a lot of other things you must know about. Taxes are generally applicable to all sales except for personal items.
Here are the links discussed in this blog:
- Register a business in BC
- Register a Canadian business
- Canadian federal tax number registration
- Exporting good from Canada
- Food processing regulations in BC
- Creating you presence online with Wealthy Affiliate
This article was intended to be a starting point for planning how to sell products to your local market, across the Country and all over the World.
If you have questions or comments on this article, please feel free to use the comment area below and I will get back to you with pleasure.