Location Isn’t Everything: 5 Keys to Running a Successful Off-Campus Surplus Operation

Location is an essential factor for most businesses. University surplus managers running off-campus warehouses can vouch for that.

An off-campus location challenges managers to develop effective strategies to transport surplus assets, get student workers to the warehouse, and attract customers from campus and beyond. Rising to the challenge means building an identity that’s in tune with the university and thriving on a business basis.

Here are five things to help make your off-campus warehouse a sustainable success story that meets its zero-waste requirements, has a cooperative relationship with the school and a reliable business model:

  • Transportation: Some surplus warehouses are a mile off campus, while others are 15 miles away. Either way, a reliable transportation model, consisting of good drivers, attentive movers and a fleet including trucks or cargo vans, is necessary to pick up surplus items from campus and get re-purposed assets back to their new locations at the school.
  • Request forms: Most surplus operations – on and off campus – have a system to request the transfer of items to surplus property. From campus, school administrators can go online and complete a surplus transfer request form to have unwanted items picked up. Regardless of your location, request forms are of paramount importance to surplus operations because they provide documentation for surplus property on the move.
  • Getting the word out: Surplus operations use social media, campus fliers, on-campus events, and more to let students, faculty and staff know they have useful items for sale. For off-campus locations, this is especially important. If you’re out of sight, you may also be out of mind. Using the right communication channels can keep surplus property top of mind for students, faculty, staff, and the public.
  • Student recruiting: A lot of students don’t have transportation or would rather work on campus. With that, surplus managers looking for student help at an off-campus location may need to highlight the extra incentives. Flexible hours, discounts, and opportunities reflective of a student’s major may help in acquiring reliable student workers.
  • Polished website: If an employee is looking for a file cabinet for their office or a student is interested in a couch for their dorm room, they’d most likely want to see the product before buying. Thankfully, the internet allows us to shop from anywhere. Off-campus surplus warehouses can leverage their website to provide potential customers with a detailed catalogue, including pictures, of what’s available at the warehouse.

Managing an off-campus surplus warehouse does pose some challenges, but there are benefits, too. Real estate away from campus can be less expensive and more space may be available. Combine these benefits with a surplus property manager focused on technology, reliable transportation and an efficient workflow, and a thriving business is possible.

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