How to Make Money Reselling Items Online
Ready to learn how to make money reselling items online? In my opinion, it’s truly the best way to make some extra cash. It’s not too difficult and can be done from the comfort of your own home. There are many ways to make money reselling items online – some people do it as their full-time job (I did it for a while!). In this post, I’m going to share with you how to get started.
What is a reselling business?
A reselling business is where you buy items for cheap and then sell them for a profit online. With how easy it is to access customers through different e-commerce websites and apps, reselling is one of the best and most accessible online businesses for a lot of people.
The basic concept is that you shop around for items that are selling for more online, buy those items, list them, wait for them to sell, and then ship them to your customer. Easy peasy, right? In a sense, yes. The concept itself is pretty simple, but it does take some time to get the hang of how to do this in a way that’s profitable. But it’s totally doable even for those who don’t consider themselves entrepreneurs!
>> New to reselling? Check out my free ebay training!
How much money can you make reselling?
It’s difficult to answer this question because how much you can make reselling items depends on how many hours you put in, how good your product knowledge and sourcing skills are, how competitive the marketplace is for that particular item. But don’t let this deter you from giving it a shot because it’s a great way to make money from home!
It’s pretty safe to say that the average person could make an extra $1,000 per month reselling items part-time, but there are resellers out there who are making six figures per year doing it. So it all depends on how much you want to put into it, if you can find profitable inventory, etc.
The truth it, you can make good money reselling, but you won’t know how much until you give it a try.
What can I resell for profit?
An important aspect of starting an online reselling business is finding what type of item will sell well online; there are many different types like electronics, clothing, shoes, antiques, collectibles, designer bags, video games, and much more.
You can find items in almost any category that will make you a good profit. But it takes time, research, and experience to start to easily pick out which items will make a good profit vs those that aren’t worth reselling.
It’s a myth that anything will sell online, you still have to be smart when you’re putting your time, money, and effort into selling items. You want to make sure that the items you’re selling are worth the time and money investment.
Some of the best things to focus on are popular brands, niche products, and expensive items to buy brand new. I’ve done a couple of posts on the best selling items on ebay and the best things to sell on Poshmark.
Best places to find items to resell
There are many places where you can go looking for cheap items that would sell well online. The key is to always have your mind open to opportunities to find items to make money. I personally am always on the hunt for items to resell, even when I’m just out grocery shopping for my family or at the home improvement store following my husband around while he finds stuff we need for the latest home improvement project.
However, I will outline some of the best places to find inventory that is usually cheap enough for a good profit margin below.
Thrift stores are a great place to find inexpensive items that can be resold. Here’s an entire post about thrift store flipping. The best part about thrift store inventory is how different it can be. You never know what you’re going to come across when shopping at your local thrift store or even how much they’ll charge for an item. Some thrift stores are insanely expensive, while others are ridiculously cheap.
The great thing about shopping at thrift shops is that the people pricing them don’t usually look up each item to see what their resale value is. Their goal is to get the item sold so you can often find items for $3-$10 that can sell for sometimes 5 or 10 times what you paid.
When the weather is nice, it’s yard sale season! Honestly, garage sales are one of the best places to get a good deal on items to resell online. I find my best items at yard sales during the spring and summer! Most people are just trying to get rid of stuff that they don’t want around the house anymore and they don’t want to have to bring it all back in or pack it up to donate it. So you can get some amazing deals at yard sales with some pretty high profit margins.
For example, many yard sales will have clothing for $1-$2 per piece. Of course, not every yard sale will have items worth reselling, but the unique thing about yard sales is usually if you come upon the right one they will have a lot of similar items and you can purchase them for a great price all together.
The downside is how much work yard sales require. Driving around from house to house takes time and tends to use up a lot of gas. But if you come across a yard sale that’s a gold mine for items to resell, it’s always worth it.
This is one I don’t have a ton of experience with, but I know a lot of resellers do! It’s almost like dozens of yard sales all in one place. Some people are just selling off their own items, some are liquidating items from their business, etc. You never know what you’re going to find at a flea market. Flea market prices are also typically lower than thrift stores allowing you to make a higher profit.
If you’ve never been to an estate sale before it might sound odd. Usually it’s someone who has passed away and their personal items have been up for sale. Most of the time, it’s a more organized event, sometimes with an estate sale company running it. Usually when an estate sale company is running it, the prices are a bit higher because they get commission. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out.
Estate sales are especially great if you’re looking for vintage or antique items because older generations tend to hold on to those types of items. If you’re really looking for a deal, estate sales are perfect.
One place people don’t consider is the clearance section in a store, or even clearance or liquidation stores. Clearance usually means you’re getting a brand new item at a low price which allows you to sell that time for a profit! Regular stores like Target and Walmart have clearance sections and so do department stores so just breezing by those sections can bring a profit, especially if you’re able to find multiples of a profitable item which is something that isn’t as easy to find when you’re shopping secondhand.
Best places to resell items online
Hands down the best way to resell most items is online, but how do you find which sites are worth listing on? There are plenty of online marketplaces out there that allow you to list your items for sale and more are popping up all the time!
I’m going to outline some of the best places to resell items online below, but don’t let this list overwhelm you. I always recommend starting with one, MAYBE two, platforms, and then you can expand to more if you’d like. Below you’ll find a quick comparison, but you can click here for a full comparison on eBay vs Poshmark vs Mercari.
Fees: a bit complicated but, in general, listing is free up to 250 items and you pay around 13% when an item sells.
Ebay is one of the most popular and well-known sites for reselling items. It’s been around for a long time, which means it has a huge marketplace with millions of buyers. It’s one of the platforms I suggest people start because it has so many built in potential buyers due to being around for so long. Many people think of ebay first when going online to buy something secondhand, or even new, when they know they want great deals.
One of the downsides to ebay is that they haven’t evolved much over time. Many of the newer reselling marketplaces are a bit easier to navigate and list on, something I’m hoping ebay will adopt soon. But you really can’t beat the sales on ebay. I’ve never had any other marketplace outperform ebay in my reselling career so for now it’ll always be on my list.
If you’re new to ebay and want to see what it’s all about, make sure you sign up for my free ebay training!
Fees: Free to list. 20% fee on sales over $15, $2.95 flat fee on sales under $15
Because Poshmark is best known as a fashion marketplace, if you’re selling fashion items it should be on your list too! Poshmark tends to be easy to list on and if you have the right types of on-trend items, you can often get a bit of a higher price for items. Shipping is easy, all you have to do is print the label. Some other great features are that buyers can bundle items all within one shipping price and buyers can make offers on your items which you can either accept or counter.
>> Use code AILEENBARKER when you sign up for Poshmark for a $10 credit (for both of us!)
Fees: Free to list. 10% fee for sales + 2.9% plus $0.30 for each payment
Mercari has a bit of everything! It’s similar to ebay in the sense that people sell pretty much anything on Mercari (within reason). Many people use Mercari to browse items so you can find success selling anything from electronics to shoes to kid’s toys. When it comes to shipping, you can either opt to use Mercari labels or ship items on your own.
>> Sign up for Mercari with this link for $10 credit toward your first purchase + a $20 credit when you make your first $100 on Mercari!
Fees: Free to list. 5% for sales that are shipped, free for local sales.
With so many people on Facebook already, it makes sense to take a look at selling on Facebook Marketplace. Previously, you could only sell items locally through Facebook Marketplace, but more recently they’ve added a shipping option that opens up sellers to nationwide sales. You can list items for sale and people will be able to contact you through the app or just purchase the item outright to be shipped. Payment is secure and transactions are easy! Here’s a post on how to list items on Facebook Marketplace with shipping.
Fees: Free to list, 10% fee for sold items.
Depop is another newer marketplace that is more popular among younger crowds. It’s essentially the modern version of eBay, but with more style. Depop operates through an app and you can buy or sell items from your phone in a snap, make it quick and easy to get rid of unwanted clothes! You’ll need to be able to ship on your own (or find someone who will) but there’s no fee for listing and it’s just a 10% fee for items sold.
Fees: They vary, but for low volume sellers $0.99 per item, plus shipping costs. Full breakdown of Amazon fees.
Amazon is one of the most popular sites for reselling and it’s an easy way to make money reselling items online. It is a bit more complicated to sell on Amazon because you can only sell certain items used and even to sell some items new you have to be “ungated”. Amazon is a lot different than the other reselling marketplaces because not only can you sell items yourself (merchant fulfilled), you can also send items in for Amazon to fulfill for you (Fulfilled by Amazon/FBA). The fees vary based on what you’re selling and how you’re selling it. Confused about Amazon vs Ebay, read this post.
Not many resellers think of Etsy, but it’s great place to sell used goods. The only catch is that you’re only allowed to sell some items secondhand. Because it’s more of a handmade platform, that’s what they prefer sellers to offer. However, you can sell vintage items such as vintage clothing or home decor as well as crafting/art supplies on Etsy so as long as you understand the types of items that you can sell and the types of items that sell well, Etsy can be a great option.
Tips for a successful reselling business
It can be tempting to pick up items you THINK you can sell, but it’s important to do a quick search to see how an item is selling before you invest any money or time into it. Doing things like researching what other sellers currently have the item listed for and what the item has sold for in the past are good steps to take before purchasing any inventory. This post will walk you through how to search sold listings on eBay.
Pay attention to profit margins
A lot of beginning resellers fall into the trap of “I should be able to double my money” or “I can make at least $5 on this” and while that sounds great, it can be flawed. You have to consider the fees that will be taken out, shipping supplies, taxes you’ll have to pay on your income, and the time you’re spending. Spending $5 and turning it into $12 sounds great, but if after everything you’re actually spending 20 minutes listing the item to only make $2, is it really worth it?
Start with what you know
Anyone can look items up online to see if they’re worth money, but if you already have a head start because you have previous knowledge of certain types of items or a certain category, lean into that!
It can be temping to price things high because you think you’ll make more, but the reality is that if you price too high you might not sell it at all. Taking a look at what an item is currently listed for and what it’s sold for in the past is a good indication of what you should list your item for. And remember, retail price generally means nothing. Even if an item was $300 brand new, that information can’t be used to figure out a price. It’s all about market value.
Making sure that you’re selling items that are in good condition is extremely important. Even an item with a high resale value may not sell if it’s not in good condition so before you spend a lot of time or a lot of money on something, make sure the condition is worth it.
The truth is, reselling is one of the best (and most fun!) ways to make extra money online. Hopefully this blog post helped you learn a bit more about how to make money reselling.
If you’re a total newbie, make sure you check out my free ebay training!