How to make a living selling used clothing on Ebay
Do you have a passion for fashion? Are you obsessed with clothes and your closet is bursting at the seams? Just admit it! You are a clothes hoarder! I am a self confessed hoarder of clothes and I’m going to show you how you can turn your obsession into profit! Learn how you can actually make a living selling used clothing!
I’ve been selling ebay on and off for over a decade and I have learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way, so many in fact I wrote an e-book about selling ( and few tricks on buying) on ebay here’s a link if you are interested.
Let’s just jump right in
1)Find your niche. Narrow your focus. This is a mistake I made in the early days and I’m sure a lot of other sellers do too. Are you selling baseball cards, shoes and watches?! Stop right there, re-direct your focus. This will save you time and money. I used to frantically be calculating postage or finding huge boxes for larger items. It got stressful and very confusing. What do you know about? What products do you find yourself buying the most yourself? Stick with what you know and love because chances are you will know price points, stay focused, intrigued and which will allow you to be a lot more successful.
2) Decide how much you need to make and the time you can invest. If you only have a couple hours a week to dedicate to ebay then you most likely won’t be able to make $1000 a week or even a month, well unless you find the right niche. More on this later.
For me, my niche is women’s name brand clothing. I have always sold name brand clothing, because, well I love clothes, if I started selling baseball cards for example, I would get bored and burned out quickly since it’s not my specialty or my expertise and I would probably lose money simply because I wouldn’t know how much the cards are worth, which would be detrimental to buying and selling these items.
3)Buy low and sell high. How low can you go? This is the name of the game! If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this phrase… BUY LOW, SELL HIGH! This is something that you will understand and learn about more through trial and error. In my genre, name brand clothing, I try to find things at the lowest price to make the maximum profit. Some of the best places I’ve found for finding re-sale items are yard sales, thrift stores, rummage sales, etc. I’ve had the best luck with church rummage sales because you can usually get things for $1 or $2 a bag on the last day of the sale. Same goes for yard sales, on the last day people really just want to get rid of stuff so they are much more willing to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to tell the sellers that you are a reseller, I find that being upfront and honest about your intensions for the items can help…sometimes. You really just have to weigh the situation and know when to talk and when to keep it zipped. If you frequent a certain store chances are you will get to know the owner or workers and it will eventually come into the conversation. Sometimes this is a very good thing because once they know you are kind of in the same business they are more willing to negotiate. One thrift store owner I know gives me a deal and free items every time I go in. Like 50 an item. I recently went to a school rummage sale on the last day, it was a half hour before they closed. I saw a ton of good name brand clothes that I knew I could flip for a profit. I asked the sellers , “could you make me a deal if I bought a whole box? I’m an ebay reseller.” The lady running the show said, “absolutely! How about all of them for $20”! So I literally bought all of the clothes left, now keep in mind not all of these clothes were ones I was wanting, but I didn’t have time to sort through them, I had my two boys in the car and I figured I could sell some, give some away and donate the rest. Always be on the lookout for deals like this.
4)Know you market and your buyer. Who is your customer? What is your customer into? What are the current trends this customer would be interested in? Let’s take for example, teens. There will always be a market for teen girl clothing. Most teen girls love to buy clothing. Study what your customer would be buying. Research on google and ebay, look at all the current fashion magazines, research key words and think like your targeted customer. Study, learn and grow daily. Be a sponge and learn as much as you can about this industry. I also watch videos on youtube. Youtubers like Pickin’ Profits and Resale Rabbit are good examples of ebayers that know what to buy and how to sell. Dedicate an hour a day to learning the business. Even if that is just reading a few blogs.
The good stuff: So how much can I make?
Let’s talk for a minute about money and unfortunately there will be some math involved in this equation, yes some math humor, I tried. I really hate math, not gonna lie, so I will try to simplify it as much as I can.
How much is your time worth? Only you can answer that question. One person’s time might be worth $10 while anothers time might be worth $100. If you spend one hour on this business how much do you need to make in order to make your time count in that one hour?
Let’s say you make $15 an hour at your full time office job. If you are selling on eBay you probably want to make close to this amount for your time. Now you have to calculate expenses, like how much it costs to buy the items, shipping costs and packaging supplies, as well as ebay and PayPal fees. So here’s a scenario to break things down for you a bit.
You buy a pair of jeans at a rummage sale for $1 you decide they are worth about $30 on eBay after doing a few minutes of research and seeing what other sellers have these jeans listed for you have your price point.
After the cost of the jeans is factored in you will be left with $29. Let’s say $1 for packaging supplies and then $5 for fees. So you are left with $23 so for me that is worth my time.
Now listing a pair of jeans only takes about five minutes so what if you could list 12 pairs of these same kind of jeans or items? Could you do this in one hour’s time? It’s very possible, especially if the jeans where nearly the same you can copy listings to save time.
So if all of the jeans you sold were sold for $30 12x $23= $276. So how’s that for an hour’s worth of work? In my opinion enough to quit your job and make a full time living with ebay. Just think about having five hours per week or even five hours per day.
$276 (one hours work)
$276 x 5 (one week) =$1,380 Could you find five hours a week for an extra $1,380?
My guess is yes!
What if you had an extra five hours a day? You could generate an extra $6,900 a month, probably enough at that point to quit your day job right?
The trick is finding the right items, finding them for the lowest price and consistently listing, the more listings you have going at all times, the more money you will generate.
My advice is start with 100 items on a buy it now auction. Even if you found $10 jeans and they all sold on a buy it now auction that is $1,000 generated (before fees and cost of items) even if you have 100 items that sell on a 3 day auction for the average price of $5 that’s still $500 generated. Can you list 100 this week to make an extra $500? Or even if you do 25 listings a week you would still make $500 extra a month (minus fees). That’s still not bad for a few hours worth of work right?
Even if you are an eBay newbie, this platform is so easy to learn, I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about selling online. Even if your business outgrows ebay, this is the perfect and simplest platform I know of to get you started and teach you the ends and outs if the business. From sourcing items, to pricing, packaging, shipping, postage, marketing, etc. There are so many invaluable lessons I learned by starting on eBay over ten years ago. I was in my early twenties, 22 I think when I listed my first item. A college textbook, which sold for $53
I’m at the point in my life were I value my time more than money. It’s not that I don’t value money, it’s that I realize my work is worth more, I guess I value myself and my skills more, I’m older and wiser than I was in my twenties, and to be quit honest going through a divorce recently toughened me up and changed the way I work and value my time. When I was in my twenties I was ok with making $10 an hour at a 9 to 5…here’s the thing I learned over the years though.You have to find a way to work smarter not harder. I think a lot of us don’t learn this until we are older and we also decide to start making our money work hard for us rather than working so hard for our money. More on this subject later. This is something that Dave Ramsey teaches. I highly recommend his financial advice and books for anyone struggling in this department.
When deciding to go back to work as a mom, or really anyone going back to work, you really have to focus on the amount it costs you to work for that _ an hour, for me I just interviewed for a seemingly great job part time for supplemental income after realizing they start @$10 an hour, it wasn’t so appealing anymore. I can’t take a job making $10 an hour if I know I could make three times as much or more at home. Here are some factors that I factored in to decide if I could take this job or not.
The number one factor. Childcare. One son will be in school (in August) for summer I would have to pay for two. For one child in my area it’s still $100 a week. The job only pays $250 a week. So just after childcare I’m left with $50, now let’s think about things like gas, food, clothing and taxes.
I would actually be in the red about $100 a month I calculated by taking this jobChild Support. I would be losing about half of this income by taking this job.
All things considered I would be actually making around $4 an hour. Do you think I can make up the difference and bring in an extra $4 an hour? The answer is yes! And you can too!
I’m sorry but isn’t that sad? I wonder how many other moms are in this same dilemma, they want to work outside the home but can’t because they make more money staying home. I guess it is sad but true. This is actually the person I write for, the moms that are in this situation. But that’s ok, because there is hope. There are ways around this problem. Work at home! You can follow my work at home blog bringingmomshome.wordpress.com for more tips and advice.
Just a little food for thought for anyone thinking about going back to a “traditional” job.
More on this subject later, I really feel like this is an important topic!
We are excited to announce the release of our third annual list of the 100 top companies to watch for remote jobs in the year ahead! Check it out!
Source: 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs in 2016 – FlexJobs
To view more information about each company, and see its past job openings, click the company name. FlexJobs members will also see current open jobs. Not yet a FlexJobs member? Register now to get access to thousands of flexible and remote job listings from over 40,000 companies!
We have all heard about etsy right? For those of you that don’t know, etsy is a handmade website for creative’s and artisans all over the world. You can find everything from a dog tutu to a blog templates, wait, what? Yes, you can even sell digital products! More on this later but this is a very good thing. Omg, did I just channel Martha Stewart on that one? Ok, back to business.
If you are creative in any way you may want to consider starting an etsy shop. If you have even ten hours a week to dedicate to it. You can get it up and running in no time.
Here’s how I got started with etsy. I was at a really hard place in my life, I was struggling with infertility. I came to the realization that I probably wouldn’t be able to have kids after ten years, three surgeries for endometriosis, and with the third ending in the removal of one ovary. I needed a distraction, something to throw myself into full force to get my mind focused in something else. I thought about it for awhile, then stumbled upon etsy, it was perfect. Finally a place to sell the things I had been making for years. I started sewing when I was 8 years old and I loved it, I even considered going to the Fashion Institute of San Fransico in high school, but after I graduated I followed my boyfriend( who later became my husband, now ex) to Oregon, to get out of my mom’s house really.
I started sewing again when I was around 20 years old. I started spending a lot of money on the supplies needed to make all the things I was crafting. The main expenditure being fabric. So it was either stop sewing or find a way to save on fabric. I ended up upcycling old clothing, sheets, pillow cases, really anything that had a large amount of usable fabric. I then started making quilts, dresses, purses, hats, even dog clothes, anything I felt like making. I ended up settling on women’s clothing.
I then started my shop earthangelclothing.etsy.com and it actually did pretty well, I ended up starting another shop, which is now closed, to expand my customer base. I was selling things like custom swimsuits for upwards of $120 each. Times sure have changed and now it seems like everyone and their grandma has an etsy shop, it’s a pretty staturated market now, and etsy started allowing other items that were manufactured into the market place, which was a bad mistake. There is just no way to compete with manufactured items when you only make handmade items. Something handmade just can’t be sold for the same amount or you wouldn’t make any money. So that’s the bad news.
Here’s the good news. You can still open a shop and be successful but it takes a very strategic plan. You need amazing lighting, great pics and a great presentation. I even recently invested in a full size mannequin to boost my sells.
This is the best deal I have found online for full sized mannequins
Here is the link to this one.
After presentation, the next thing to do is market your items on all social media outlets like, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and above all Pintrest. You need to analyse your competition and see what they are pricing their items at that are similar.
Another important tip. Keep your expenses low. You really don’t need to invest in much from the get go. You can take pics with your iPhone or android phone, you can find supplies at thrift stores, yard sales, or even go through what you already have. You can even find crafting supplies at the Dollar Tree. I’ve seen everything from glue, floral items, felt, paint, plaster, modge podge. Think outside the box, I’ve even got some good ideas by going to my local hardware store. There might be something you could use there. Cut pipe cut for bracelets, washers painted and used for jewelery, use what you have and what you can get cheap or even free. Maybe even repurpose things like milk jugs you could cut them and use them for something. You could save baby food jars and make bath products and decorate the jar really cute. The sky’s the limit.
Here’s a handmade bracelet cuff.
*More on etsy to come. Also, check out Renae Christine on youtube. She’s an Etsy guru. She helps launch etsy businesses and gives tips, tricks and ideas on getting started and being successful with your handmade business.*
Kids these days! Am I right?! My 2 year old knows how to use my Kindle to watch youtube videos, while my 5 year old son keeps wanting a cell phone and a laptop. I remember being happy with barbies and dressing up my cat when I was little. Times sure have changed. If you have a child that’s computer savvy and likes taking pics, you can get them on board to help with this way of earning. It’s a great way to learn how a business operates and helps to promote creative thinking and how to think outside the box. For me I hope that I can teach both my kids to think this way and inspire them to see other ways of living and ways to promote self reliance.
This method of earning is one that I have done so many times I could do it in my sleep. I actually figured this out really because I got lazy about doing this the way I had been doing it years ago, I was still earning money but it was very time consuming. I thought to myself. What if there was a way to do the same thing, earn the same amount,but simplify and streamline the process. Here is what I did and why this works.
I started selling on ebay in 2000. Ok, just say it, I’m old. I turned 38 this year, time flies. So anyhoo, I have learned so much from this website. I learned the value of my time, how to work smarter, not harder. How to take great pics (a picture is worth a thousand words right?) How to deal with customers, how to under promise and over deliver! How to print labels, pack and ship, how to mark up at least 40%..so many amazing things that have laid the foundation for the way I think today, independently. Yep, I’m a bit of a free spirit. oK maybe a little stubborn, but I like to think of it as determined. 😉
So here’s the million dollar question for you? Do you have free 2-5 hours a week? If so read on. If not, this might not be for you and be sure to check out my other posts.
So how can you make $100-$200 a week with only 1-2 hours of time? After all time is money right? It’s all about trading your time for money. But what if you could trade less of your time for more money, would you be in?
Of course you would. Who wouldn’t?
This is the simple process….
You will be selling…drum roll please…clothing lots!!!!
What are clothing lots?
Clothing lots are a group of clothes sold together. This is a time saver for so many reasons.
#1 Less pictures to take and upload
#2 Less listings to complete, this is a very tedious process for those of you that are new to this.
#3 Less packages to ship
#4 Less annoying emails, questions and customer service work involved.
#5 One consistent product
You have to first figure out how to get these clothes at the cheapest, most rock bottom price to maximize your return.
Now some math, I know I hate math too, but this will be easy and lead you to a great profit so it’s worth it.
Let’s look at selling baby clothes as an example, you can sell any you kind you want, kids, womens o r mens, but this is just an example.
Think about this. On ebay each piece of baby clothes goes for about .50- $1 in a lot so you need to find this stuff for .10-.25 a piece to make it worth your while. I find mine for around .10 a peice.
If you have 100 pieces of name brand baby clothing for example you could fetch $100 for this lot. If you sell them for .50 each @ 100 pieces this lot is $50. Easy right?
Here’s what a typical transaction looks like.
100 pieces $10.00 cost out of pocket
Sell for $100-$10.00=$90 profit minus ebay and paypal fees about $15
so I’m left with a $75 profit on one box..not too bad. Now if I sell two a week that’s an extra $150
$150 x 4=$600 extra income. You might have to sell between 4 lots a week to make it to $200. Which is totally reasonable. Only four-eight boxes to pack and ship. And USPS comes and picks them up if you ship priority.
So where do you find things this cheap?
#1 Frequent rummage sales. I always look on craigslist. Either under garage sales or community. The best ones are church ones. I love bag days because you can get bags of clothing for $1 or $2 each. If you go on the last day, they just give you stuff a lot of the time because they want to pack up and go home.
#2 Garage sales. These are probably one of the best places to buy used clothing since you can get things so cheap. If I see something in a box and I know I could re-sell the whole box I will just make an offer on the whole box instead of going through everything. I’ve gotten full boxes of name brand clothing it way for $15-20. The downside to this is most yard sales and garage sales happen on the weekend so you might have to give up a day each weekend or at least the morning.
#3 Thrift stores. Most thrift stores have a discount day. Even goodwill has these days. Sign up for newsletters and sale alerts. A thrift store in my area has dime day once a week where everything downstairs is a dime, clothes, household items, shoes, kids clothing, tons of stuff. This place is a rare find and how I get most of my re-sell items.
#4 Make thrift store owners you new BFF. Be friendly, ask questions. find out when the best stuff comes out. Ask what they do with stuff that doesn’t sell. They might either give it to you or give it to you for a huge discount. Let them know you are a re-seller and you are basically in the same business. It helps to network and connect with others in the same business. I have a good friend that owns one thrift store down the street from where I live, he basically let’s me have first dibbs on things that come in or he will hold something for me that he thinks I would be interested in.
#5 Start with what you have. If you have kids I’m sure you have a bunch of stuff they outgrew just sitting around. Why not start with this as your foundation. Sell and now you have some money to use to buy some clothes for you next lot. A great way to start free!
Now some tips.
You need a scale (you can buy on…you guessed it ..ebay for about $15 free shipping)
Use calculated shipping based on the persons location. Make sure to not over look the shipping. Since this is a large, heavy package going out, you need to calculate this right or you could lose your loot quickly.
Make sure to inspect for rips and stains. Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t want to receive yourself.
Always wash everything and dry with some good fabric softener. I always include a dryer sheet in the box so when the customer opens it everything smells fresh, I think customers really appreciate that because they know things are clean and ready to wear.
Go the extra mile. Include a little thank you note saying how you appreciate the business and how they are helping a stay at home mom.
Make sure the pics look nice and everything is folded.
Take several pics and highlight the main best items in some close ups.
Natural lighting works best. If you can open a window and take in front of a window this works great.
Let me point out. I haven’t done this consistently, i.e. each week for a month like this because I have had so many other things going on lately but I will try to do this for one month consistently and show you profit vs. costs and time etc.
If you like this post. Please leave me comment and let me know. I plan on doing a lot more of these so stay turned.
*helping moms build (real) multiple streams of income at home, on the cheap!*