pic of legs in ripped jeans

How One Mom Makes Money Reselling Used Stuff Online

Spread the love

Ever think about what it would be like to make money reselling online? I actually know of a woman who does this as her full-time job.

As I understand it, after being laid as a result of the Great Recession, this woman came across a steal at a garage sale. A fellow cash-strapped homeowner was selling a bike worth more than $1,000 for less than $200. Where most of us would have been like, “I don’t need a $200 bike…”, this woman actually saw an opportunity to turn a profit.

To be sure, she did a quick search of the bike on her phone and found that even used, the bike still sold for more than $500. She bought the bike on the spot. She took the bike home, snapped a few pics with her phone, and listed the bike on Craigslist.org. The bike sold within just a few hours for $600 more than what she paid for it.

She was in business.

These days, she’s making her rounds to different garage sales every weekend. She buys from resale shops and Goodwill donation centers. She once bought a cute dinette set still in the box. The set was missing the screws needed for assembly. She spent $30 on the dinette set plus the cost of ordering furniture screws and sold the assembled set for $150.

She’s found a treasure trove of wonders in buying forfeited storage spaces. It’s a bit of a gamble. She gets an itemized list of the contents in the storage space, but doesn’t get to actually see the contents of the storage space until she’s paid for it. Some of them cost hundreds of dollars, but she’s been pretty successful at selling off the contents using platforms such as Craigslist, OfferUp, Mercari, Amazon, and eBay.

So how much does she make doing it? With no other source of income, her new-school, Sanford & Son-styled venture is enough to pay the mortgage on her home, the car note for her late-model SUV, and covered the bill of her son’s college education.

Skills Inventory

Patience, an eye for treasures, a bit of business savvy, gut instincts

Physical/Virtual Inventory

Broadband connection, smartphone with camera helps, storage space, Amazon (or other app) to check the recent sales and sale prices of potential buys

Launch Cost

This is what’s so sweet about this particular business. You need money for your first profitable purchase, and this can vary. For instance, I bought a painted horse knickknack for a buck, suspecting it was worth more money. Well, on eBay, that little painted horse goes for between $25 and $45.  

Also, it’s worth it to get to know your local second-hand shops, because different shops sell different things. Some shops will get tons of great books on marketing. Other shops will have THE BEST 70s furniture. Other shops may be best for kids’ clothes, or unworn high-end apparel (I bought a fantastic sweater for $6 from a Goodwill in an affluent community with the tag still on that I resold within a few days for $45. 

Oh, and my jam? Macy’s Backstage. AMAZING deals.

Marketing Tips

Online resell platforms like eBay, Amazon, Mercari, OfferUp, Craigslist; if you have an item that’s been difficult to move, consider small community newspapers. 

Most of these will only charge you a fee after you’ve made a sale, and there’s no fee to start your profile or account. 

Also think about this: a listing on a platform like OfferUp will stay live until you remove it or report the item sold, which means even stuff you can’t move immediately can be found and sold months later, by someone local. #mamalike