Have you ever wandered the aisles of your local thrift store and wondered if you could make money flipping some of the unique items you find? Reselling thrift store products online has become a popular side hustle and for good reason – it allows you to be your own boss, work flexible hours, and profit from your keen eye and researching skills.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about getting started and succeeding at reselling thrift store finds on sites like eBay and Etsy. You’ll learn insider tips on finding valuable items, researching prices, optimizing listings, shipping items, and scaling up your reselling business. Follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way to scoring big at thrift stores and making serious money online!
How to Get Started Reselling Thrift Store Finds Online
Reselling items from thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales on sites like eBay, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist can be an extremely lucrative business. As a reseller, your job is to buy low and sell high – find items priced well below their resale value and flip them for a profit. Here are some tips for getting started:
Set Up Your Online Accounts
The first step is setting up accounts on the platforms you plan to use to resell items. Some top choices include:
- eBay – With over 175 million active buyers, eBay is the go-to marketplace for resellers. Set up an eBay store subscription to list more items each month.
- Etsy – Best for selling vintage, handmade, and craft supplies. Etsy charges a listing fee and transaction fee.
- Facebook Marketplace – Allows buyers and sellers to connect locally. No listing or transaction fees.
- Craigslist – Free classified ads site. Great for listing bulky items locally.
Take high-quality photos, write detailed descriptions, and price items competitively to maximize sales.
Arm yourself with the right supplies to source, prep, photograph, pack, and ship inventory:
- Storage containers – Bin large items like furniture, box smaller items.
- Cleaning supplies – Gentle cleaners, microfiber cloths, toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas.
- Camera – Use your smartphone or invest in a DSLR for crisp, well-lit photos.
- Photo editing software – Apps like PicMonkey for image touch-ups.
- Packing materials – Bubble wrap, tissue paper, boxes, tape, labels.
- Printer and shipping scale – Print shipping labels and weigh packages.
Find Inventory Sources
Sourcing inventory is a vital part of the reselling process. Learn to spot valuable finds at:
- Thrift stores – Scan books, electronics, appliances, antiques, collectibles. Check “new item” areas first.
- Garage/estate sales – Ask if they have additional boxes of unsold items. Negotiate discounts on the last day.
- Consignment shops – Resell their high-end items at a markup.
- Wholesalers and liquidators – Buy unsold inventory in bulk at a low price.
- ** thrift store bins** – Search for treasures in the $1 bins, discounted areas.
Always inspect items closely and research prices before purchasing inventory.
How to Find Valuable Items at Thrift Stores
Sifting through the disorganized shelves and overflowing racks at thrift stores takes patience and a keen eye. Here are tips for finding profitable items:
Check New Inventory Daily
Most thrift stores put new items out first thing in the morning. Get there early to beat other sellers.
Scan the Electronics
Test electronics like stereos, gaming systems, vintage electronics to see if they power on. Popular brands like Sony, Pioneer, and Apple hold value.
Look for intact sets of vintage kitchenware, pyrex mixing bowls, and mid-century modern decor.
Sort books by category. Look for first editions, niche topics, vintage book covers. CDs and DVDs can also sell well.
Hunt for Brand Names
Scan clothing racks for brands like Lululemon, Patagonia, and Louboutin. Check pockets for advantage.
Comb Through Collectibles
You may uncover rare coins, stamps, trading cards, comic books, and other collectibles.
Check Clearance Areas
Sometimes valuable items get relegated to clearance racks. Sort through them before leaving.
The key is going slowly and checking off-beat areas like housewares and knickknacks where resellers may miss seeing buried treasure.
How to Determine If An Item Will Resell for Profit
Your thrift store haul is only valuable if you can resell the items at a higher price. Follow these steps to identify profit-earning inventory:
1. Examine Condition
Check for stains, damage, missing pieces, etc. Items should be in good to pristine condition to resell at top dollar.
2. Research Current Listings
Search sold listings on eBay to see what similar items have sold for recently. Check Etsy, Facebook Marketplace too.
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3. Consider Repair Costs
Calculate costs for cleaning, mending, parts replacements. Subtract this from the resale value.
4. Account for Fees
Factor in selling platform fees, payment processing costs, shipping supplies.
5. Compare to Retail Price
Would it cost more to buy the item new? If so, there may be room for profit.
6. Determine Available Profit
If there is a sizable gap between what you would pay and the current resale price – buy it!
How to Photograph Items for Resale
Great photos are crucial for selling online. Follow these tips to make your items shine:
Use a Clean, Solid Background
Avoid clutter. Use poster board, fabric, foam boards. White, gray, black backgrounds work for most items.
Capture Multiple Angles
Take photos of all sides, details, flaws. Include measurements. Video can supplement photos.
Shoot in Bright, Natural Light
Place near a window for diffuse lighting. Outdoors in shade works too. Avoid flash.
Fill the Frame
Get close enough to hide background but not cut off any edges. Crop out flaws.
Adjust lighting, color, contrast in apps like PicMonkey. Resize for platforms.
Add Visual Interest
Use props like flowers, books, etc to stage lifestyle product shots.
With practice, you’ll develop an efficient system for photographing all your thrift store finds.
How to Write Captivating Listings That Sell
Your listings need to attract buyers if you want to turn a profit reselling online. Use these tips to write compelling descriptions:
Craft Clickable Titles
Include keywords like brand, item specifics. Keep it short and descriptive.
Lead with the Best Features
Note condition, popular brand, unique traits upfront. Get them excited to read more.
Mention measurements, materials, age, flaws. Be transparent.
Share Provenance If Known
Provide origin story, maker history if you have it to add value.
Get Creative With Keywords
Blend main keywords with related terms buyers may search for.
Explain why someone would want the item. How does it improve their life?
Use Formatting Strategically
Make key specs bold or add bullet points for skimmability.
Close with a Clear Call-to-Action
Prompt them to buy the item now before someone else snags it!
How to Price Items for Maximum Profit
Finding that profitable pricing sweet spot takes some savvy. Use these tips when determining how much to charge for your thrift store items online:
Research Comparable Listings
See what similar sold items went for. Factor in condition differences.
Account for selling platform fees + payment processing costs.
Pad for Negotiation
Price a little higher, expecting some buyers will make lower offers.
Know Your Minimum
The lowest profit you’d accept after fees. Add at least 25-30% on top.
Price Ending in .99 or .95
Odd pricing signals a good deal and boosts perceived value.
Adjust for Demand
For rare, in-demand items shoppers will pay more.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go High
For hot brands and luxury goods, set prices firmly.
Review your pricing periodically and lower if needed to get sales moving.
How to Market Your Listings for More Eyes & Sales
You put in the work to list amazing items – now’s the time to get them in front of buyers so you can start earning. Try these marketing tactics:
Optimize Titles & Descriptions
Include popular keywords so listings appear in more searches.
Drive External Traffic
Promote listings on social media, email, blogs, forums related to the product type.
Offer Shipping Discounts
Provide reduced or free shipping to increase conversions.
Run Sales & Promotions
Offer sitewide discounts or bundle related items to entice buyers.
Use Captivating Photos
Tantalizing, high-quality photos attract more clicks.
Earn Top-Rated Status
Build your seller rating with great customer service and fast shipping.
The more exposure you gain, the faster your items will sell.
How to Handle Shipping & Returns Like a Pro
Shipping and returns are a big part of the reselling game. Follow this advice to make the process seamless:
Use new boxes, bubble wrap, peanuts. Wrap fragile items individually. Add padding.
Send items out within 1-2 business days. Quick shipping earns positive reviews.
It protects you and gives buyers peace of mind. Upgrade for signature confirmation on expensive items.
Weigh & Measure Properly
Double check dimensions. Oversized or overweight packages incur extra fees.
Handle Returns with Care
Accept returns when required by platform policies. Issue refunds promptly.
Insurable shipments are covered if lost or damaged. Worth it for expensive antiques, electronics, etc.
The more care you put into shipping, the more repeat business you’ll get.
Top 10 Tips for Reselling Success
Follow this expert advice to start strong and grow a thriving reselling side hustle or full-time business:
1. Source Regularly
Make visiting thrift stores and sales part of your weekly routine. The more items you find, the more sales opportunities.
2. Stay Organized
Keep detailed inventory records. Use storage bins to separate items by status.
3. Reinvest Profits
Put earnings back into growing supplies, storage, photography tools.
4. Fill Gaps in Market Knowledge
Read up on collectibles, antiques, brands in categories outside your expertise.
5. Provide Excellent Customer Service
Fast shipping, quick replies, and resolving issues promptly will get you rave reviews.
6. Share Your Success
Post big flips and sales milestones on social media. Inspire new resellers.
7. Make Record Keeping a Habit
Track profit margins, best categories, sources to optimize your efforts.
8. Experiment with New Platforms
Try selling on Instagram, Poshmark, Mercari. More venues means more sales.
9. Set Goals & Milestones
Aim to list a certain number of items per week. Celebrate target earnings.
10. Stay Passionate
Remember why you enjoy the treasure hunt. Let it be fun!
Use these tips to start flipping thrift store finds for big profits!
Frequently Asked Questions About Reselling Online
Still have some questions about getting started reselling thrift store items online? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How much money can I make reselling?
Your earning potential depends on your sourcing skills, amount of time invested, inventory volume, and more. Many resellers net $20-$50 profit on average per item sold. With part-time effort, you can make hundreds to thousands in side income each month. Top full-time resellers report 6-figure annual profits.
What sells best?
Small goods with high value for their size tend to be most profitable – electronics, video games, jewelry, watches, luxury handbags and accessories. Vintage and collectible items also command top dollar from niche buyers.
What sells for the highest profit margins?
Unique vintage items and collectibles can sometimes yield 1000%+ ROI. Limited edition sneakers, video game consoles, and hyped streetwear brands can sell for double or triple retail.
Should I become a professional/registered reseller?
If reselling becomes your full-time job, it’s wise to make it official. Consider registering your business name and obtaining a reseller license / tax ID for reporting income. This also allows you to buy in bulk tax-free.
How much does it cost to start?
You can launch a reselling side-hustle for less than $500. Budget for inventory, supplies, fees, basic photography equipment and shipping materials. As it grows to a larger operation, increase your investment in tools and storage.
Ready to head out thrifting? Let the tips in this guide help you score big on undervalued finds and start profiting online. With a bit of experience, you’ll be well on your way to reselling success. Happy treasure hunting!
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