Sporting Goods Consignment Store

1. What is a sporting goods consignment shop?

Consignment shops take gently used goods from some customers and sell them to others.  The revenues from the sale are split between the store and the customer who originally owned the product.  In this way, consignment shops give another life to products that might otherwise go to a landfill.  One of the very attractive aspects of running a consignment store is that your entire inventory costs you nothing.  You do not pay the owner of the article until it has sold…in other words, until you have money in your hand for exactly that item.  You are simply providing the marketplace for buyers and sellers of gently used items.

Consignment, resale and thrift shops number in the 25,000 range in the U.S. alone.  The combined industry value is roughly $1.5 Billion, and the industry represents a real opportunity for shoestring startup entrepreneurs who have a passion around a particular hobby or lifestyle such as fashion, games, sports, etc.

In this case, the consignment shop would take in gently used basketballs, baseball gloves, soccer pop-up goals, golf clubs, etc., and sell them at a price significantly below the cost of buying those products new.  Many times, these items are focused on the geographic area.  A major golf resort, for example, would have much different inventory than a surf town.

A major competitor is Play-It-Again Sports, a used gear store that utilizes a slightly different business model, where they purchase used goods outright at negligible prices, then sell them for significant markups.  Consignment shops have the advantage that they do not have to pay for their inventory, like Play-It-Again does; however, they also make a smaller margin, and may lose quite a bit of potential inventory as people may simply prefer to sell their goods to Play-It-Again as opposed to waiting for it to sell in your store, even if it means a potentially higher selling price for them.

2. What required knowledge or skills are necessary?

There are no formal educational or training requirements for this job.

3. How much money is required to start?

$-$$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$)

4. What is the income potential?

$$-$$$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$)

5. What is the best location for a sporting goods consignment shop?

The best location for a sporting goods consignment shop will depend largely on the type of town you are starting it in.  If, as mentioned above, you are in a golf resort town, you’d want to be close to the entrances to several golf courses.  If you’re in a surf town and plan to specialize in used surfing and other water sports equipment, you’ll want to be closer to the water.

6.  The best questions to ask yourself to find out if this business is right for you (if you can answer yes to all three, this business might be for you):

Have you always loved sports (even if that means a non-traditional sport like skateboarding…question here is to make sure you have an expertise in the equipment you plan to specialize in)?
Have you worked in retail before, and do you understand basic retail concepts like complementary placements and sales?
Do you and your friends/family have a stockpile of used sporting goods you can use as your first set of inventory for your store opening?
Do you know many people locally who are active in sports so you can easily get the word out about your business?


Interested in starting one in your community? Where do you begin?  What permits do you need?  Who is your target customer?  How do you find them?  What is the best use of your limited advertising dollars?  What’s the best way to attract a great employee or volunteer?  What does an average day look like?  What strategic tips do veteran eco-entrepreneurs suggest for startups like you?

There’s a lot to think about.  Rest easy.  Our mission is to help you succeed, so drop us a line (  We’ll get you a business planning document to get you on your way for ONLY $199!  We also guarantee our work, so if you are not satisfied, you get your money back!*

Take a look at a sample table of contents and a few sample excerpts from similar plans here.   In essence, we’ll provide you the What, When, Where, and How…you provide the Who!

*Subject to the terms of our Licensing Agreement.

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