Of all the ways to make money, one of the most rewarding is buying items and reselling them.
This is the essence of retail, but selling used items is different. They are appealing to various segments of the consumer population for three main reasons.
1. Used is cheaper
Anyone who has ever had their car repaired knows a used part is cheaper than a new part. That’s why salvage yards are in business! The same goes for many other consumer goods: clothes, jewelry, furniture, electronics, household items, books. All these can be had for much less if you buy used.
2. Recycling is good for the earth
When you go into a secondhand shop and see all the items that the original owners didn’t want, it can be mind-boggling. Imagine all these in a landfill! If you can find used versions of any items on your shopping list, you help cut down on all the waste in our culture of consumerism. Many people get rid of good items with a lot of use left in them just so they can get a brand-new one. It’s done with cars, phones, clothes, and countless other items. Cutting down on waste and using what’s already out there is appealing to many shoppers.
3. Availability of unusual items
Shoppers love flea markets, not because of all the cheap bins of leftover party favors from Oriental Trading, they love them for the rare finds they sometimes discover behind these bins. Whereas coming across an original Van Gogh painting is unlikely at a flea market, you may find some plates that match the set you got from your grandmother 25 years ago, the perfect vintage bridal gown or some other item you wouldn’t be able to get from Amazon.
So now you know why people want to buy used. How do you get your share of this sales revenue?
Ways to Make Money Selling Online
Most secondhand items are sold online these days. It’s just so much easier. People do not have as much time to travel to physical locations to check out the offerings.
Plus, if you have a particular item in mind — say you want to get the board game Monopoly and you don’t want to pay $20 for it — you can simply search for a secondhand one close to you. You don’t have to visit lots of places to see if they might have one.
eBay is one of the most popular websites for selling secondhand items, although plenty of new items are sold here as well. If you practice the KonMari method of purging your home of unwanted goods (get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark your joy”), you will have plenty to list on eBay.
The beauty of eBay is that even your most unusual items will likely eventually find a good home. You may think that no one wants your old Lizzie McGuire T-shirts, but there’s probably a collector out there.
Creating a Business out of Buying & Selling
With the right amount of effort, eBay can be even more lucrative, however. Selling your unwanted items is a good way to make extra cash, but some savvy salespeople have a steadier income stream by buying used items and reselling them.
Although this is a legitimate endeavor, you must set parameters so that your home or office doesn’t fill with items you “intend” to list eventually. Keep inventory lists, and make sure you are cycling through it and not allowing items to pile up.
And remember that boxing up and mailing the items takes a lot more time than listing and selling them, so take that into consideration when you are looking at your bottom line.
Craigslist is another good outlet for used material. Although you will see people selling baby clothes and similar small items on there, it is best for larger items that would be too difficult or unwieldy to mail. Furniture, tools, equipment, vehicles, and electronics are all popular.
Flea markets are also good places to make money selling used goods, but your success may depend on your area and the type of merchants the market attracts. Some tend toward antiques and rarities, while others have lots of what some may consider “junk.”
If you’re looking for a one-time influx of cash, a yard sale might be your best bet. You will have to devote time to gathering, cleaning and pricing your items, dragging them outside and sitting with them all day. You will also need to advertise your sale sufficiently online and with signs at busy intersections pointing potential customers toward your home.
Selling used items is a great way to make money in your spare time. With the right planning and good organization, it could be an ongoing and reliable source of extra income.
Every Buck Counts is your best source for information on saving and making money.