There are many different ways to structure your business when it comes to selling closeouts and discontinued inventory. Many business owners start small and stay small, acting more like a closeout broker than a closeout buyer. These individuals find deals and try to help others get rid of old stock by connecting them with buyers. They don't exactly buy and sell excess inventory as much as find a user for it.
These individuals often don't want to deal with the hassle of operating a warehouse and having employees so they often go it alone. They may find a deal on discontinued inventory and either work on comission or create a partnership with another company that has a warehouse. They may have a relationship with a company selling closeouts where they can work together. In either case they still help vendors get rid of old stock and they still help with the process to sell excess inventory.
Brokers often won't have the necessary capital to purchase large quantities of inventory and they have to rely on business associates who can better afford to purchase and warehouse truckloads of goods. It is always a trade off between making more money and having less responsibility. The do it yourself design works well for some but not for others, and it often depends on how much knowledge the individual has as well as his or her contacts in the industry. Also, these are typically sole proprietors, so if they miss a day at work or take a day off, there is nobody else there to pick up the slack.
The other option is to build a large organization of people who each have responsibilities and duties. Some may have the responsibility of buying discontinued inventory, while other employees are salespeople. Some may work in the warehouse and others may be in charge of human resources. When you have a team of people buying and selling closeouts you will do more business, but it comes at a cost. There are more expenses, more people and in general, more moving parts.
There will always be companies that want to get rid of old stock and sell discontinued inventory. You will have to constantly be reaching out to companies looking for these opportunities. When you have a large team it comes with increased expenses and requires you to do more volume. Also, when you have a team you will need a facility where everyone can work and a large enough warehouse to support selling a large volume of closeouts.
For those of us who sell excess inventory for a living, it is easy to see how there are pros and cons to both kinds of business structures. Often individuals who start out small with plans to work on their own grow their companies to the point where they have large staffs and networks of people. Likewise, some businesses that have employees and personnel sometimes downsize and change direction.
In both cases, the business model can be profitable and rewarding, as long as the buyer understands the market for closeouts, discontinued inventory and excess inventory.