FIND SOME SOURCES! By sources I mean locate some thrift shops (Goodwill, Salvation Army etc) in your town and frequent them. Consignment stores will work as well, just watch your prices. You will know within a few weeks which ones pay off and which don't. Also get to know the staff (if possible) and find out which days they put out the most stock and what time of day would be best to get the fresh items. Some thrifts run sales on different days of the week as well so get to know that schedule too. Don't forget garage sales! I have found tons of great clothing items at garage sales. Just be mindful of high gas prices and try to hit group sales or Church sales instead of driving all over town.
Ok, Let's assume you've either read Part One (Look under my other articles for How to make Money Selling Clothes on eBay: Current Version-The Basics) or you've gotten your feet wet by selling clothes out of your own closet. NOW..you'd like to take it to the next level and start BUYING gently used clothes to resell. I am sure there are hundreds of sources on-line to buy brand new clothes to resell, but I prefer the freedom to choose what I instead of spending hundreds of dollars on "LOT 1" with some unseen supplier. It is possible to make extra money buying selling gently used clothes on ebay. And here's how:
Things You'll Need
- A few hours a week to be able to shopt thrift stores and garage sales.
- All of the items I mentioned Part One (a computer, internet, a tape measure, digital camera, postal scale.
- The knowledge of what brands sell and where to find them.
- Time and patience.
- A PayPal account.
Buy Low, Sell High! I am assuming you've done your research and spent some time reading the posts on the Clothing & Accessories board of eBay like I recommended in the first article. Armed with your list of "hot brands" go ahead and embark on what I like to call "the thrill of the hunt"! I spend at least two lunch hours per week (I work full time) browsing through the racks of clothes at my two favorite thrifts. But the key is watch your prices! Do not pay over $4.00 per item unless you are positive you can recoup that. That may not sound like much, but my #1 favorite thrift store sells women's clothes for $1.00 or under (no matter what brand)and kids clothes for twenty-five cents and under! Now, not everyone is that lucky to have such a goldmine in their hometown, but it does give me the wiggle room I need in the sometimes saturated eBay market. Price shopping is critical and know a bargain when you see it!
Inspect, inspect, and then inspect some more! It is vital that the garments you buy be in pristine or close to perfect condition. Whenever possible, take the garment you are thinking of buying and walk over to a window to inspect it. The natural lighting of outside will show flaws that may have been hidden in the fluorescent lighting. Inspect all buttons and zippers, pockets, cuffs, and hems. Watch for snags and pilling too. Buttons, can be replaced and hems can be mended, but if you do any of that be sure and report that in your auction when you list. Oh, and one more thing. Not to be gross, but if you are buying pants to resell...inspect the crotch area. I've seen unspeakable stains in that area of otherwise perfect looking pants!
Keep it Clean! Be aware of Dry Clean Only garments because you may have to clean a garment if it looks dirty or wrinkled. There's a great product called Dryel which is like a do-it-yourself-at-home dry cleaning method. I clean/launder most of the items I buy to resell before I even list it, even though I know that this adds to my costs. Ironing is very important as well. Take the time to iron (garment steamers work too) and make your items as presentable as possible. Think like a buyer. Would you buy something that looks wrinkled and dirty?
Know your seasons! Do not try to sell sweaters in July or Christmas stuff in January. There are specific time to list items. Here's a list to give you an idea when to list and get the most bang for your buck:
January: Start listing Spring items.
February: Begin listing Easter items along with Spring items.
March: Spring. Consider listing Mother's Day items at the end of March.
April-June: Summer items. List 4th Of July-themed items about mid-April.
July & August: Start listing Back-To-School type items.
September: Start listing Halloween items & costumes (costumes are a great seller! The more unique, the better!) Fall items as well.
October: Start listing winter items.
November-December: List Christmas or Holiday-themed items. Finish up listing items that may be used as gifts by buyers by mid-December so the items have time to get to their destination before Christmas.
Get a plan! List only as many items as you can afford (listing fees and filanl value fees add up fast)or have time to manage! If you work full-time and only have a few hours a day to devote to this, don't list 100 items! I run only about 5-7 a week (auctions run in 7 day cycles). That way I know I will have the time to package up and ship if I have a great week and most of my items sell. If you are slow in shipping items out, that could lead to unhappy customers and more problems down the line. Know your limits and manage your time.
Get set up to receive payments! Like I mentioned in Part One, it's important to get a PayPal account. I also accept checks and money orders, but do not ship the item until I have received the payment. If you are concerned about bad checks, cash the check as cash instead of depositing it. I also highly recommend getting a Paypal credit card. The payments I receive from buyers goes into my Paypal account and I then use the PP credit card to pay for my shipping costs at the Post Office.
Create a system! It is important to have some sort of system when selling anything on eBay. Have file set up (I do it by month) to house a copy of all completed sales and payments. I also save all of my receipts from the Post Office is case there is ever a question when something shipped. Within eBay's site there are tools available that show the date an item was shipped (you enter the information), and eBay will show exactly when an item was paid for as well.
Feedback! If you desire to be a good eBay seller, one of the most important things to remember is to provide genuinely good and honest customer service. That's the only foolproof way to protect your reputation. If you are wondering whether it's really worth all the hassle and extra effort to get a good reputation on eBay? The answer is YES!! Your reputation is measured by your feedback rating. EBay recently changed it's policies to prevent buyers from leaving negative feedback, but your POSITIVE feedback rating is what people will look at. Go the extra mile and follow all the guidelines I mentioned in Part One and you too can make extra money on eBay!!
REMEMBER - People like to buy from trustworthy and reliable people.
Tips & Warnings
- Target more upscale neighborhoods if you are a garage saler. Most of the time the quality of the items being sold are higher, but sometimes the prices are too.
- If you've discovered an item at a thrift that you think might be valuable, but the price is too high to just take a chance and buy, see if they would be willing to hold it for you for 24 hours. That gives you time to run home and research before committing to buy. The thrifts in my area do not allow returns or refunds so it's nice to not waste money, and yet not be kicking myself over a deal missed!
- If you plan to sell Internationally, be aware that some countries do not allow used clothing transactions to come through customs. Educated yourself on which counties have this law. Check www.usps.com.
- Beware of funky smelling clothes. Give everything a sniff test before you buy. Moth balls or musty smells are hard to get out of clothing. Don't buy something and then pay a professional Dry Cleaner to clean it unless you are absolutely sure you can re-coup that money.
- Typically, July and August are slow selling months. People are busy and garage sales are plentiful. Don't get frustrated if your items aren't moving!
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