Shutting My Garage Door (Business)

Garage Door Sales KitIf you haven’t figured it out yet, I am always thinking of ways to make some money, many online, but I also try some in-person ideas.  Over the past few months I tried to make a few hundred bucks by starting a small business selling garage door keypads.  This article will tell the entire story, but the short story is I didn’t sell a single unit.  Sounds like a lost a lot of money right?  Well, in reality I didn’t even lose a hundred.

The idea

We moved into the condo we are in seven months ago.  We enjoy biking, or rather have to since we share a car, so we are always coming in and out through the garage.  We bought and installed a keypad identical to the ones our neighbors for $32.  Most of our neighbors already had them because it was an option from the builder for $150.  I figured for the 10-15% of people who did not buy it there was money to be made in giving them a deal.

The delivery

I thought an important part of selling my keypads door-to-door would be to look the part and offer instant installation.  If the item is not available, then the customer has time to think about it and that is a barrier to purchasing.  I bought six keypads for $32 each and outfitted myself with the equipment in the picture.  After a few weeks of excuses I went out and starting ringing neighbors’ doorbells.  Many were out but I spoke with two.  The first lady had a chain across her door and I thought, who installed that!  But neither ended up buying.  I realized I don’t have the salesman personality so I asked my roommates if they wanted to try and split the profits.

They were able to speak to a lot more people and the answer was generally that they didn’t get one because they didn’t want one.  I should have realized my market was well-off people and money wasn’t the reason that people were not purchasing.  They tried and also ended up without any sales.

The losses

After giving up I had inventory to sell.  I sold all my keypads on Amazon netting around $20 each after shipping and fees.  I was able to return the protective glasses since I did not use that but kept the receipt pad ($4) and tool carrier ($16).  A business license in Irvine is now free, so I didn’t lose any money on that and I made my business name include my name so I did not have to pay to file a DBA.  In all this failed business cost me $92.

The gains

The potential was to sell each for $80 and make $48 before taxes per unit.  However, what I gained was experience.  I had never gone door-to-door to sell something aside from some school fundraiser with my parents behind me.  It was scary at first, but I believed in my product so it wasn’t like trying to sell snake oil.

Conclusion

I think it was worth the attempt, but I could have started with one keypad.  I guess my neighbors have more than they could want and I don’t think I’ll be coming up with ideas of other things to sell to them.

The people who bought these home for $600,000 probably though $150 was an insignificant amount to pay for an add-on item, but money is money so you need to thing of it in dollars rather than ratios.  I bet they still look at gas prices which saving 20 cents a gallon would only save them $96 a year.  It is easier to get an addition $100 off the price of a house or car than trying to bargain for $100 off a bed, purse, or cheaper item, so try to get as much saving as you can from expensive items.

As for me, time to think of another business!

This entry was posted in Earn.

Leave a Reply