Buy things at a garage sale for low prices, fix them up and sell online for a lot more.
Do you like shopping?
Are you a master at sniffing out good deals and know how to bargain?
Can you clean something up so it looks new, and do minor repairs?
If you answered yes to all of these, you may want to start selling online.
Working from home as an online seller may seem like a risky way to make money, but with numerous bidding sites available, the biggest being E-Bay and Amazon, online stores like Shopify, and free classified sites, such as Craigslist, it’s easy to buy low and sell high. With some investment, time and effort you can make some good pocket change, and even make a living online.
Where to Start Selling Online
The first thing you need to do is decide what online seller is best for you. Some people prefer selling on E-bay as it reaches a huge audience all over the world. Craigslist is preferred by some as there is no online fee, and you don’t have to worry about postage as your customers are local. Amazon is becoming popular, but it’s higher fee’s make it best for more expensive items. Shopify and similar companies that provide online stores are growing in popularity as you have the most control over your products and design.
Each of these selling options have pros and cons, which you need to consider (Next week I’ll go over each site individually), depending on what you want to sell, your needs and your budget any one of these could be good for you.
The second thing to consider is what do you want to sell. If you try to sell everything without knowing about the items, you’ll end up spending too much money and not selling it for enough.
When first starting out consider one or two areas you want to start in and as you get the hang of it expand into other areas. If you know a lot about computers, you may want to sell used laptops after you’ve fixed them up. For the fashion oriented, searching for great outfits at thrift shops and the sales rack can be the source of great finds, that many other people will ignore. For those who can do simple repairs, buying and selling old appliances, especially fridges, washers and dryers, can net some impressive profits.
For me personally, I wouldn’t know where to start in buying clothes, so it would be a waste of my time trying to do it. I can however fix appliances and bikes, so that would be a good place for me start.
Buying Low and Selling High
So you know what product you want to resell, and you know where you’re going to sell it, good. Now all you have to do is buy it.
Yard sales, estate sales, Craigslist and thrift shops are your friends, people want to sell ‘junk’ all the time, not realizing that with some research, cleaning and repair, they could be making a fair bit of money instead of a few dollars.
Look for items that are in decent to good condition, or are only suffering from surface damage. A bit of rust, scratches, a dent and stains are often easy to remove, and will double or triple the asking price.
If you’re buying clothes and small items such as toys, you can often tell how good it is simply by looking at it. With larger, more expensive and complex buys, be sure to ask questions. Never take the sellers word, always check everything, and if possible turn it on to see how it runs, you don’t want to buy a 300 dollar laptop only to discover it needs 200 dollars worth of repairs.
If you want to buy items on sale, at a store you should hold onto them for a little bit of time, sometimes even months. Seasonal items like winter coats can be bought at a 50% discount in early spring, when winter rolls around you can sell them at close to full price. You have to store them safely for a few months, but if you have the time it’s a good deal.
Another tactic to buy low, is to buy things out of the box, especially electronics. This will provide you a nice little discount, depending on your bargaining abilities and store policies, then you can turn around and resell it pocketing the difference.
How To Sell Online
The first thing you need to do is make sure the item looks its’ best. Take the time to do any minor repairs, clean it up and get some good photo’s. If there is anything you can’t fix, be sure to get a picture of that to.
Now you need to prepare the information. The most important rule:
If there is a bad scratch you can’t repair let the customer know, and put a small photo of the scratch so people know exactly what they’re buying. If you lie, many sites have a way to leave negative reviews, and even if they don’t, your customer will likely return the item, or simply walk away from the deal before giving you the money.
Emphasize that the item is brand new, or has been repaired, and provide as many good points as possible, with any problems listed at the end.
When it comes to pricing, do your research and see what comparable items are selling for, be sure to add in how much work you’ve put into it, a certain 5 year old bicycle regularly cost $85 dollars, but if you’ve repainted it, changed the tires and gave it a basic tune up, you should charge more for it.
Also, if you’re selling on Craigslist, people like to negotiate and to feel that they’ve won. So be sure to make your price a little high. If you think $25 is a fair price, charge $30, if they try to negotiate you now have $5 to play with. Don’t go below $25, you need to make money, but the customer will feel happy at getting a ‘discount’ and only paying $27.
So, these are the basic rules of buying things and selling them online. Decide how you want to sell things, what you want to sell, do your research, buy low and sell high, tell the truth, and give yourself some leeway.