How to Start Your Own Pallet-Selling Business


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
Selling used pallets isn’t the coolest business out there. It definitely doesn’t make for a good dinner time conversation. “Hi, I sell used pallets” may not be the best conversation starter I can think of. But who cares? Do you know what I find cool? Making money! I learned that selling used pallets is an awesome side-hustle that could earn you some pretty sweet cash on the regular.

The idea came to me when I was hanging out with a friend of mine who owned a gaming store. If you’re a board- or tabletop gamer, you’ll know those game companies like to overwhelm gamers with rapid-fire releases. What this means is that gaming shops are constantly moving inventory in and out of the shop. Can you see where this is going? My buddy had tons (not quite literally, but pretty close) of pallets taking up space in his warehouse. He asked me if I wanted to buy them for 50 cents each. I said yes, and loaded about a dozen pallets onto my truck.

And here’s the funny thing – I didn’t even know what to do with the pallets! I guess I’m a sucker for cheap stuff. So stuck with all these pallets, I decided to look online to see if I could sell them. Surprise, surprise, there’s actually an active community of pallet resellers!

This has been one of my side-hustles for a few months, now. In this post, I’ll be covering some details on how to make this a lucrative hustle for you. Read on!


Why Should I Sell Used Pallets?

Like I mentioned above, this isn’t the sexiest business out there. So here are a few reasons why you should do this:

You’ll Earn Good Money

You’ll be able to sell pallets for around $0.50 to about $4 each. That’s pretty good money, considering you’ll be buying pallets for really cheap (more on that in a bit). But it gets better when you find regular customers.

There’s a textile factory near my office, and they were my regular buyers. Since they were exporters, the pallets were usually loaded onto shipping containers. So they needed a constant source of sorta-fresh pallets. And that’s where I came in. Since they bought in bulk, I gave them a pretty steep discount. Each week they would buy 100 pallets from me at $2 a pop. So that was $200 a week, easy. And the crazy part was that my client actually had to buy from multiple sellers! We couldn’t keep up with the demand! So there’s definitely a market for this.


Inventory Is Pretty Cheap

You need to remember that this is literally garbage for some businesses. They need you to get rid of this stuff. So they’re not really looking to sell their used pallets for a lot of money. But they do know that there’s some value here, so get ready to haggle a bit. But even with that said, you’re looking at about $0.50 to $1 for each pallet.

Of course, condition is everything in this business. If you were buying a used pallet, you wouldn’t want one that was dilapidated, right? So there’s that give and take. To get a good product, you need to spend a bit more. But overall, I still think used pallets are one of the cheapest products to buy for the purpose of reselling.


It’s Good For The Environment

As mentioned a while ago, this is literally garbage. Businesses don’t bother selling used pallets because they don’t want to be bothered with the logistics of selling them (they’ve got their main business to worry about). So without resellers, these pallets usually just end up in landfills. And that’s such a waste – I’ve personally seen a lot of used pallets that could still pass as new or almost-new. So resellers such as us are doing a valuable service by giving these pallets a second life, so to speak.

Challenges With Selling Used Pallets

I just gave you the good. While there’s no bad when it comes to selling used pallets, you need to consider the challenges before diving into this business:

You Really Need To Hustle To Find The Good Stuff

I mentioned a while ago that this is basically garbage. That’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, used pallets can be had for super cheap. On the other hand, some of the stuff you find will be, well, garbage. If half of the pallets being sold to me are in good enough condition to sell, I consider that a good haul. And to find the sellable ones, I have to move, lift, and sometimes crawl through, dozens of damp and moldy pallets.

And to even start going through all that chaff, you’ll need to find pallets for sale or a business that is willing to sell you their old pallets. So there’s a lot of work involved here, and like I keep saying, the job isn’t sexy. But you know what? The earnings from this dirty job helped me fix my wife’s car and make some minor home improvement. And that more than makes up for all the crawling around in dusty warehouses!


How To Get Started

If you’re like me and want to give selling used pallets a shot, my first recommendation is to do it in a different city from mine – just kidding. Here are some tips to get you started:

Start Looking For Pallets

You can find a lot of pallet resellers on sites like Craigslist. And you could even look through your local classifieds.

But I found my best sources by doing some actual feet on the groundwork. I would visit local businesses and warehouses and just ask. Some of these companies have never thought about selling their old pallets, so your inquiries will usually be welcome.

My top tip for this is to look at businesses with a high turnover of product. Because that means they would be receiving frequent shipments of a new product – and the pallets that come with them. The best places to start asking are local groceries, storage facilities, warehouses, beverage distributors, and clothing manufacturers.


Prepare Your Logistics

As mentioned a while ago, getting used pallets to sell is pretty easy and cheap. But since none of the businesses you’ll be buying pallets from will be willing to deliver or ship the items, it’s up to you to pick them up. I’ve traveled up to four hours just to visit a promising source of old pallets. And that definitely puts a strain on my truck (not to mention my personal schedule).

You will need a truck to transport the pallets, and enough room to store them. That could be costly or not, depending on whether you have already had the appropriate vehicle and space. I’ll leave it up to you whether it makes financial sense to invest in a new truck or additional space.

As for me, I already had a truck, but I had to rent a storage facility for my inventory. It sucks having to pay for space, and dealing with the wear and tear on my truck, but the low acquisition price of used pallets more than makes up for it.


Where Do I Sell Old Pallets?

Okay, now on to the most important question. You’ve got your sources, you’ve got your logistics dialed in. Now how do you actually sell your product? There are two ways: via real-world interaction, by posting classifieds, and by going through pallet brokers. Let’s check each one out:

Real-world Interaction

This is the most low-tech method. Basically, you visit businesses and ask them if they need pallets. You’ll be surprised by how many positive answers you get. I support this method because when you sell locally, you won’t have to drive too far.

Posting Classifieds

This is sort of the middle ground method. When you post classifieds, either on your local paper or on Craigslist, you’re giving your business a broader reach, but you can still confine your sales to a relatively manageable radius.

Use Pallet Brokers

Here’s the best option, in my opinion. Pallet brokers are just that – pallet resellers. They acquire pallets from people such as us, and repair, refurbish, and resell the pallets to businesses around the United States and Canada.

What I like about pallet brokers is that they do the repairs on the pallets themselves. There were times when I’d have to do the actually hammering and cleaning myself. So brokers remove that tedious step from my to-do list. Plus, and this is the best reason for using them, they do the actual reselling. I don’t have to look for businesses or make countless sales calls. I sell them to the broker, and it’s the broker’s problem how to resell it.

To get started here’s a list of companies you should look into:

Kamps Pallets
North American Pallet Recycling Network


You can also check out the National Wooden Pallet Container and Association, which has a directory of pallet buyers and resellers.

Pallet brokers are a vital resource to us resellers, but I still recommend you give the old-fashioned selling techniques a shot. That way, you develop a better feel for how the business operates. Good luck!
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