Michaels Global Trading helps downsizing businesses turn their old furniture, equipment and technology into dollars and donations through professional liquidation services.
When a swanky corporate office decided to leave their space in Toronto, they received a number of pricey estimates to liquidate 11 floors of high-end furniture, fixtures and equipment. Marlon McPherson stood out with an unusual offer: He would take on the job for free. The result? His business netted over $200,000 just by auctioning the assets and he still wins jobs from that company today. It’s that kind of bold, out-of-the-box thinking that led the former salesperson to form his own thriving liquidation and decommissioning business across the Greater Toronto area.
Rogers Business: How did you get started in your career?
Marlon: I started out selling gym memberships. They would literally throw me outside and say, ‘Go find people that want memberships.’ I was so uncomfortable and had to quickly develop a thick skin and keep poking people. Eventually I realized it was too good of a skill to not use for my own benefit.
Rogers Business: What about your first role starting out in liquidation?
Marlon: In January 2016 I found a restaurant closing on Kijiji and thought it could be an opportunity. I told the company I could help sell all of their equipment. I had no experience, no knowledge in the area and just threw out a number. I said I could get them $10,000 for all the equipment. I ended up getting only $2,000. It was a huge fail, they were furious.
But around the same time, I found an office closing in Mississauga and thought, ‘this is interesting.’ I ended up buying everything myself for about $2,500 and putting it in a storage unit. I traded in my car for a pickup and started delivering` throughout the whole city. Then I started putting out ads looking for more furniture and it snowballed from there. I was 100% in. I threw all my eggs in one basket without looking back.
Rogers Business: How quickly does the process move? If I contacted you today with a project, how long would it take you to get moving?
Marlon: We could have a team there tomorrow!
Rogers Business: Your website mentions you also facilitate donations of furniture, electronics, and other products?
Marlon: It’s a benefit for everyone. We all need to find ways to lower our environmental footprint and do good for the community. And at the end of the day, we’re trying to avoid the landfill.
Rogers Business: Tell us about your most memorable job.
Marlon: A huge business had 11 floors to clear as they were moving. I approached them and they said they were receiving a lot of different quotes. I hadn’t ever worked with high-end furniture in this quantity, but I was willing to try and see what happened. So, I said I would take on this project with zero cost and they ended up hiring me. It was such a magical moment. There was so much to do, we had 30-40 truckloads of scrap metal and e-waste alone. Even thinking back, I’m still shocked at the scope. But we ended up selling pieces to over 200 people across Canada for about $210,000. It was a huge success.
Rogers Business: What advice to you have for other entrepreneurs?
Marlon: Just start! We often compare our year one to someone else’s year five or ten. But if you keep comparing yourself, you’ll never get there. Everybody started somewhere. The first step is the biggest.