Starting a side hustle is a great way to make some extra cash. I truly think that eBay is the ultimate side hustle! Some people might think that eBay is more old-school than the other, newer marketplaces. But as someone with a reselling business and knows plenty who do the same, most of us will tell you eBay is still the online marketplace we get most of our sales from. It’s been around and building up it’s user base since 1995 so it’s still a great place to sell online. You can totally make money selling clothes on eBay and I’ve personally been doing it for years!
If you’re ready to learn how to be a successful eBay seller to make extra money, keep reading!
Why sell clothes on eBay as a side hustle
Selling clothes on Ebay is one the the best side hustles out there! I talk a lot about it here on this blog because it’s one of my favorite recommendations for people who want to start making money from home without having to spend a lot of money.
It’s something everyone needs
Think about the things that everyone needs. Clothing is certainly one of them! Although clothing is one of the more competitive categories on eBay, it’s also one of the best selling categories. There are so many reasons someone would head to eBay to buy their clothing including to save money, find something specific they’re not able to find in stores, or to try and shop secondhand for environmental reasons.
It’s extremely flexible
The only thing that isn’t flexible about making money selling clothes on ebay is shipping. You do need to ship items promptly, but other than that? You have so much freedom! If one week you have to take some time off because you or your kids are sick, no big deal. Need to scale up and make more money for an upcoming trip? Then you can totally do that. You can do this very part time and just make an extra $200/month or you can go full time!
It requires very little money to start
Businesses can be scary to start if you don’t have a lot of money, or if you have to invest a lot and don’t want to lose money. With selling clothing on eBay, you can literally start with $0. That’s what I did! Even if you don’t have stuff around your house to start selling, most people can start with every little upfront. I’m talking like $20 or $50 if you can be patient! If you want to go all in and get a lot of items up fast, you’ll of course need to start with more money, but that’s up to you.
>> Want to take my free eBay training for beginners? Click here for more info.
Is selling clothes on eBay profitable?
It is! There is so much clothing out there that is no longer being used that can be bought cheap and resold for profit. That’s not to say you can put anything up on eBay and make a profit. You still need to be strategic in selling items that potential buyers are looking for and that you can get cheap enough to make a profit from. But once you get that down, you can definitely be profitable. In fact, as far as businesses go, I would say selling clothes on eBay is one of the few businesses you can start and be profitable within the first month.
What clothing items sell best on eBay?
All types of clothing sells well on eBay, but you have to know what to look for. You can be successful specializing in so many different types of clothing on eBay. From vintage clothes to women’s or men’s clothing or even children’s clothing. And within those more broad categories are so many different kinds. Some people prefer to focus on fast fashion, which they can find easily and cheaply to flip quickly for a small profit. Other people prefer to focus on harder to find designer items that they might have to pay a bit more for and wait a bit longer to sell, but make more money in the end.
When you start making money selling clothing on eBay, you’ll figure out which method you like best. The best part is that because it’s so flexible, you can do whatever you want. Maybe you want to do a little bit of everything or maybe you want to specialize in something very specific like vintage designer clothing. Either way, with time, research, and experience you will find what sells best within your niche on eBay.
What are the fees to sell clothes on eBay?
The fees on eBay can be a little bit complicated because it all depends on your sale price, what kind of account you have, if you have a store, etc. If you have a store, you will pay a monthly subscription (starting at $4.95/month) which will provide you with a certain number of listings each month, plus some other perks. Even without a store, you get 250 zero insertion fee listings, meaning you don’t pay an initial fee for listing an item. If you list more than that it could be beneficial to get a store subscription. For clothing specifically, the most common final value fee is 11.7% for items that sell for less than $2,500. This means that you will pay a fee of 11.7% of whatever your item sold for after it sells. It can vary a bit by category, but that’s a good guideline.
As I said, it is a LITTLE complicated, but don’t worry about it too much. If you’re buying the right items at the right price, you will make a profit. Too scared to jump in because of fees? You’re just guarantee that you make $0, so that’s not great either. Here’s a full breakdown of eBay’s fees if you want to take a look.
Where to find clothing to sell on eBay
I bet you’re now wondering where the best places are to find clothing to sell on eBay. Don’t worry, there are SO MANY places to buy inventory for your reselling business. I will outline my favorites below, but the key when you become a reseller is to always keep your eyes open for opportunities.
Old clothes from your closet
The best way, and probably the most popular way, resellers get started is by selling stuff they already own. If you have a closet (or two) full of items you rarely wear, start there before spending your money on inventory. Not only will you be able to literally start your business with $0 upfront, you will be able to get rid of some unwanted clothes taking up space in your home, learn a bit and gain some valuable experience before jumping into to investing money in new inventory. Seeing what sells well, learning how to create listings and photograph items well, etc. is vital to your success as a beginning reseller so learning on items you already have and then being able to reinvest your money once those items sell is a great way to get started.
Of course, one of the most popular places to buy items to resell is thrift stores. I have a whole post going over thrift store flipping tips. Millions of pounds of items get donated to thrift shops each year by people who no longer want them. Some items are damaged or stained, but plenty of items are simply unwanted and in good condition. If you’ve been in a thrift store, you might wonder if you can actually find items that sell for a good profit. Many people complain that their thrift stores aren’t good and that other resellers are able to have access to thrift stores with much better stuff. My take on this is that we’re all digging through the 98% of items that aren’t really worth picking up to resell to find the 2% of items that are.
If you don’t live in an upscale area with lots of designer clothing that can be sold for a lot of money, then that’s simply not going to be your business model. Maybe your business model is going on half off days or $1 days and picking up recent style mall brands that sell for $20 instead of designer items that sell for $100. Or if you live in a rural area and don’t have access to much modern clothing, you have a good chance of finding more vintage clothing that is more easily found in smaller towns. Either way, thrift stores can be amazing gold mines for good inventory.
>> Want to take my free eBay training for beginners? Click here for more info.
Depending on where you live, you might have a few months of “yard sale season”. Usually yard sale season is during the warmer months and you can find a lot of really great items at yard sales. My thought process is that some people will have yard sales before they donate things to thrift stores, so you’re getting the “good stuff” because it heads to the thrift store. Of course, not everyone has a yard sale first AND not everyone who has a yard sale has anything that will be worth selling, but it’s always worth a look.
When shopping at a garage sale make sure that you bring lots of cash and smaller bills like $1 and $5 bills so that you can pay in exact change when possible. Don’t be afraid to haggle (if you’re comfortable) and know that many people just want this stuff out of their house and would be happy to give you a better deal if you buy a lot.
Many times when you come across a good yard sale, you will be able to find a handful (or even a trunk full) of stuff. Meanwhile other yard sales will be a total bust and you won’t find anything at all. But you won’t know until you get out there and shop!
Sell on consignment
If you’ve already been through your own closet, you can try helping someone you know clean out theirs. Telling people what you do can be a great way to find people who want to sell off some of their stuff, but don’t necessarily know how or want to spend the time doing it themselves.
Selling items on consignment means that you take items from someone else, sell the item, and then you split the money. How you decide to split the money is totally up to you and the person you’re selling for, but make sure you keep in mind the cost of selling such as fees, the time you’re taking to sell and store the item, shipping, shipping supplies, etc. I always think a 50%/50% split is good, but some people prefer 60%/40%, where the owner of the item gets 60%. Just make sure you agree ahead of time and hash out all of the details so there are no misunderstandings.
If you don’t know anyone to sell on consignment for, I highly recommend the Flyp app! I actually started selling my items on consignment with Flyp a few weeks ago because I’m only selling part time and have way too much inventory to list on my own. So if you need inventory, you can try signing up with Flyp and picking up a few lots on consignment that way.
Quick tips for buying clothing to sell on eBay
Now that you know where to buy clothes to sell on eBay, it’s important that I share some tips with you. Because like I said before, you can’t just sell any clothing on eBay. Focusing on sourcing high demand, low competition, high profit items are the key to making good money on eBay.
Buying what you think will sell isn’t going to work when you’re a new seller. You want to know the actual selling price of an item and if there are a lot of ebay listings selling the same item before spending your money on it. Because in the end, investing in something that isn’t going to bring a good profit, that might not sell for very much, or that will sit for a long time isn’t good for your business. This is why I recommend researching pretty much everything before spending even $1 on it when you’re just getting started. Because $1 might not seem like much, but it adds up AND the time you spend listing that item and the space you use storing that item is worth even more. So you want to make sure it’s worth it.
To research a clothing item I recommend searching ebay for it as if you were a buyer. Using the brand name and type of item it is plus any distinguishing factors will help you pull up similar items, and as you get better at this you can often pull up the exact same item in the search results. Then when you’ve done your search, filter the results by “Sold” and you’ll see how much they’re selling for so you can make an informed decision. I go over this process in detail in this post on how to search sold listings on ebay.
Know your profit margin
Buying an item for $5 and selling it for $15 sounds like you just made $10 with one item, but that’s not really true. It’s always a good idea to only purchase items with a high profit margin. An important thing to remember is that you’re spending money on the item, fees to sell and ship that item, and you’re spending time listing that item. So hoping to simply double your money or make $5 isn’t good enough. At first it might seem tempting, but as you put the work in you’ll realize that you need to make much more per item for it to be worth your while. Obviously we can’t all find luxury brands on a regular basis, but if you simply make sure there’s enough room for a good profit, you’re on the right track.
Check for flaws
Before you even do your research as stated above to ensure it’s something that sells well and has a good profit margin, check for flaws. Flaws can be stains, tears, rips, seams coming apart, or even just pilling or an item that is too worn out to be desirable. Checking for flaws should be the first step before spending your time looking an item up because many items that get sold or donated do have flaws either from the previous owner or from the thrift store itself. There’s nothing worse than spending money on an item and being excited to get home and sell it only to find that it has a flaw that makes it unsellable.
>> Want to take my free eBay training for beginners? Click here for more info.
How does shipping work on eBay?
So what do you when an item sells? Now it’s time to ship it! In my opinion, shipping is the number one thing that confuses people about getting started on eBay. New sellers don’t understand how it works, are scared to do it wrong, etc. But really once you’ve shipped one or two items, it becomes really easy!
The easiest way to make sure that you’re handling shipping right is to get a shipping scale and use the calculated shipping option in eBay. This means weighing the item (plus adding extra for packaging you’ll need to use) and then entering that information when listing the item so that eBay can provide the buyer with accurate shipping rates. That way you’re not guessing at shipping and your buyer simply pays the actual amount it costs without you having to do much at all.
Flat Rate Shipping
Flat rate shipping is best for sellers who have a better idea of shipping rates. With this option you just come up with your own flat fee rather than allowing eBay to calculate the shipping price for you. As someone who has been selling online for over 10 years, I will often use flat rate shipping if I didn’t take the time to weigh an item and instead of going to weigh it and use calculated shipping, I will just make a best guess at what I think it will ship for. It’s also good for sellers who want to make a few extra dollars on shipping to pay for supplies, etc. I really don’t recommend it unless you know what you’re doing.
Everyone wants free shipping these days, right? When it come to free shipping you are agreeing to cover the shipping cost of the item. But please keep in mind, free shipping is just a marketing tactic. If you’re going to sell an item with free shipping, build the shipping cost into the price of the item. If you don’t do this you’re just losing on profit.
Printing Shipping Labels via Ebay
Most eBay sellers will use eBay to actually buy and print shipping labels. Not only is this convenient because it already has your address and the buyers address, you also get a small discount by shipping with eBay. When it comes time to ship an item, eBay makes it pretty easy to do. You simply go to items that are awaiting shipment, click the print shipping labels link, and input any information that’s needed. If you didn’t already input the weight and size of the item, you can do so here. Then it will populate rates for you and you will pay for shipping and print the label out.
When printing your shipping label you can either just print it on regular paper and tape it on, or if you have the funds you can invest in a label printer.
Once you have your orders packaged up with shipping labels, then you can simply drop them off at the post office. Some people prefer to just do this on their own, while others schedule a pick up when they have packages to ship out.
Making money selling clothing on eBay is truly, in my opinion, one of the best options to earn extra cash from home! Hopefully this post can get you started. I also have a free eBay for beginners training that you can sign up for and watch if you’re interested.