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REUZEit’s Origins: Our First Used Lab Equipment Customers

by REUZEit Team | Jul 28, 2021 | REUZEit Anecdotes

Hello again, it’s Ryan Andrews. I am REUZEit’s Chief Innovation Officer and have been an integral part of the company’s overall development selling used lab equipment. Over the past 10+ years, our vision of creating a circular economy through Surplus Asset Management as a service has propelled the company to what it is today. In this blog, I’ll be sharing part 2 of REUZEit’s history and origins series.


Our First Customers of Used Lab Equipment

One of our first fun memories was hitting the streets and finding used lab equipment to buy, fix and resell, something we called “Pharming” (farming with a Ph for Pharma). We were in the biotech corridor in Carlsbad, California driving from complex to complex, small and large companies, knocking on doors, and asking for used lab equipment to buy. We struck out often, I promise you that, but one client in particular was memorable.  With this client, I decided to take a…non-traditional approach.  “Hi, we are here to buy excess equipment. Do you have any crap equipment laying around in the warehouse?” At this point, we wanted to make sure we weren’t trying to buy equipment off the bench. Instead, we developed a more nonchalant way of focusing on the really bad stuff, the discarded gear that was often in their way. Our angle was to solve the problem first, knowing that the good stuff would come later. 

The facilities director excitedly said, “So you are here to clear the crap I have on pallets in the warehouse? The old lab equipment and stuff?” YES, SIR WE ARE. 


Turning Trash Into Treasure

We walked with our new friend – let’s call him Mr. K – to his company’s warehouse, and took a look at a mess of pallets stacked with old lab equipment. Most of it was trash, offices piled with years-old furniture, and what looked like ten years of storage of things employees and scientists thought they “might” use again someday. (We all know there is a tendency to ‘hoard’ amongst the scientific community. Just saying.) We bought all of it: the bad, the trash, the broken and ugly as well as the two pallets of actual potentially profitable Shimadzu HPLC components for $1500 out the door. Mr. K looked like a hero to his team for recovering some cash and avoiding the labor costs to get everything out of their way as the company looked to break ground on a new buildout in that space. We took everything we could back to the garage at a townhome we were renting. We began fixing and listing used equipment on eBay, selling the furniture and other odds and ends on Craigslist. Even in the early days, we really tried to optimize the surplus we had picked up and avoided landfill dumping as much as possible. That very Landfill Last value still holds at REUZEit today. Fast forward to just under a month: After some crash courses on HPLC and chromatography in general, we had sold most everything from that purchase for about $25,000! 


Second Generation: Muscle and Hustle

I eventually learned that Justin was always better at fixing, so I would do a lot of the listing, sales and customer service. This was the beginning of the balance necessary to achieve success while working with your brother. I would often push and find opportunities for us, while Justin made sure we kept the ship afloat and followed through with the promises left in my wake. Our teamwork mirrored that of our parents. To this day, we have polarizing strategies but are always connected to the big picture and end goal. Our desire to help, contribute and create opportunities for this world is shared. 

A month or two after that deal above, we continued to succeed using this business model and decided to splurge on a “massive” 1500 sqft section of a greenhouse on some cowboy/mechanics property behind San Marcos and Vista, California. Looking back I find it hilarious that 1500 sq ft was considered massive.  At the time of this writing, we now occupy over 100,000 sq ft and operate in three countries.

We had a good thing going: knocking on doors, buying, fixing, and flipping used lab equipment. I was even able to golf competitively during this period, getting in a few rounds a week (now I’m lucky to get out once a quarter). And Justin was able to work on his passion at the time, BREWING! As you can imagine, if you mix two relentless entrepreneurs and beer together, there was no way this sweet spot would last, we had to keep moving forward.


Stay tuned for the next installment of this origin story!


REUZEit: The All-in-One Solution for Used and Surplus Lab Equipment

Investing in laboratory equipment for your scientific research is a necessary cost, and we’re committed to providing you with options that you can fit into your budget. Money saved on one product can be used to finance another resource that is just as important to your progress. Whether you’re searching for innovative chemistry lab equipment or looking to replace broken lab equipment, REUZEit offers low-cost solutions that work as hard as you do. Browse the best surplus and gently used biotech and pharmaceutical equipment on the market! Check out our USA-based store or our European-based store to shop discount laboratory equipment.

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