What Is Thrifting & Reselling?

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What Is Thrifting & Reselling

So, you want to know what thrifting or reselling is?

It’s a job and many people are doing it every day to make extra money and even a full-time income.

Definitions.net states that “thrifting refers to the act of shopping at a thrift store, flea market, garage sale, or a shop of a charitable organization, usually with the intent of finding interesting items at a low price.”

However, my definition of thrifting or reselling is much different. The simplest way I can put it is you are buying items for cheap and selling them for a much higher price. You then “pocket” the money and keep reinvesting in more products. Your items can be from thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, estate sales, websites, retail stores, etc.

Also, here are some other common names you might have heard resellers or thrifters called:

Pickers. I have to admit this sounds like someone in elementary school that picks his/her nose and flings their boogers on everyone in the classroom. Then they lie about it when confronted by their classmates. Also, they pick their nose and completely deny it when you point it out to them. I know you have met that person in your life. If not you are that person.

But, really that is not what a picker is. This is most popularly known by the T.V. show “American Pickers”. In this show, the guy goes around and finds undervalued things and sells them for profit.

Flippers. This could be the guy/girl that pulls up close to you when you are going to work and honks their horn at you. They then yell some cuss words at you and then proceed to stick their middle finger up at you. As if giving someone the middle finger is a real insult.

But, a flipper is really just someone that finds undervalued stuff and resells it. Several YouTube resellers use the name “flipper”.

What Are The Benefits of Thrifting & Reselling

  • Work From Home – One of the best benefits is you can do it from your own home. Thrifting/Reselling allows you to use your laptop and sit in a recliner and go to work (once you pick your items, of course). You don’t have a boss or anybody to answer to. You can work your own hours and do it on your recliner, toilet seat, home office, etc,
  • Flexibility – A lot of jobs cap your yearly income at 30K, 40K, 50K, 60K, etc. a year. With reselling and thrifting you can do it 2 hours a day, on the weekends, or really whenever you want. Your pay is not capped. Meaning, you can make just a little extra side income or even make a full 9-5 job out of it.
  • Real Skill – Believe it or not it’s a real skill to be able to find stuff and see value in stuff that people don’t. More importantly, you are learning how to sell stuff online. From time to time, you might even have friends that want you to sell something for them and you can charge a finders fee.  Or you can just tell them no, I don’t care.
  • Niche-Specific – There are so many different niches you can get into when buying stuff for resell. You can do anything from clothing, electronics, toys, shoes, dishes, etc. Do whatever interests you. Believe it or not, once you sell so many of a certain thing, you will know more than the average person about it.
  • Instant Earnings – You can literally get paid every single day. When you sell something you can transfer money to your bank account. Most jobs that people work today, you have to wait a couple of weeks to actually get paid for your work.

Where To Get Items To Resell?

Thrift Stores – These are most commonly called second-hand stores.  People donate items that they no longer want or need.  The store than sells them for cheap.  They are non-profit organizations.  There is a good chance there are several thrift stores located in your city.  Some of the bigger brand name thrift stores are:

Garage Sales – During the summer months, people will have garage sales.  In some states, garage sales are found all year around.  Basically, people are just getting rid of stuff they no longer want.  The deals at garage sales are usually pretty good, but you have to go to them early in order to get the really valuable stuff.  Yeah, I know I just explained what a garage sale is to you.

Estate Sales – You will find these when someone dies, downsizing, filing for bankruptcy, divorce, etc.  Typically, you have to show up and register and then they will have auctioneers that will sell the owners items.  Also, an estate sale can be “first come, first served”.  With these kinds of estate sales, there is no auctioneer.

These are just a couple of ways to find items to resell.  There are many more tactics that I will teach you.

Reselling/Thrifting Common Terms

In order to understand thrifting and reselling there are several terms, you need to be familiar with.

Sourcing – this involves actively going out and finding products.  I have written an article on sourcing for eBay which you should check out. You are essentially finding products that you can resell. It’s probably one of the most entertaining parts of the reselling or thrifting job. Some might even call it addicting. Thank of it as your inventory. You are literally “sourcing” so you can have products to sell. Make sense?

It is so important that you use an Excel spreadsheet or something to keep track of what you paid for your items and how much money you got out of them. You’re going to have to figure the shipping cost, transaction fees, etc. so that you can keep tabs on what is making you money and how much you are making.

Comps – this involves what a product is selling for. Meaning before you buy anything you can actually look up what you can expect to get for it. I like to use eBay because you can see the date and the price an item sold for. Keep in mind you are looking for what stuff has actually sold for on eBay, not what people are asking for it.

There is even a free eBay app that you can download where you can check prices on your iPhone or Android device. Don’t worry it’s 100% free. You can tell how much something sells for on eBay before even paying for it.

Retail arbitrage – this involves buying a product from one place and selling it at another one. Meaning you can buy products at Marshall’s, T.J. Max, Best Buy, Family Dollar, various online websites, and sell them on Amazon, eBay, etc.

Dropshipping – this involves spending no money upfront. You’re going to find a distributor who will ship the product to the customer and you’ll make a commission off the top. You will have to submit the shipping address to the company and they handle the shipping. You never actually see the product.

Sales Tax – I know you can’t believe I am talking about taxes. I really don’t want to write about taxes. It’s one of the most boring things ever.

You do have to pay taxes as a thrifter or reseller, though.

However, you have to keep in mind that you have to pay state taxes on physical products that you sell online. Provided you don’t live in a state that doesn’t have sales tax. Here is an article on sales tax: https://www.thebalance.com/states-without-a-sales-tax-3193305

Where Do You Resell Items?

I do want to point out that you don’t have to just stick with one website to resell your items. In fact, different websites are good for selling different items as you will soon learn.  I am going to mention some of the most popular ones down below.

eBay

eBay Screenshot

This is the best place to start reselling your items.  For me, it’s one of my “go to’s” for selling my items online.  It’s literally like the biggest online thrift shop or garage sale. The learning curve for eBay is pretty minimal. There are 182 million active buyers on eBay. Revenue is 2.9 billion dollars in 2018. You can sell nearly everything on eBay. There aren’t a lot of limitations to what you can’t sell. As long as it’s legal there is a good chance you can sell it on eBay.  I’ve written an article on listing your first item on eBay.

So, if you are new to reseller or thrifting you want to start with eBay.

eBay Seller Fees

  • 50 free listing per month.
  • 10% Final Value Fee.
  • 2.9% transaction fee (through PayPal).

Additionally, you can purchase an eBay store:

  • Starter Store – $4.95/month for 100 free listings a month.
  • Basic Store – $21.95/month for 250 free listings a month
  • Premium Store – $59.95/month for 500 free listings a month.
  • Anchor Store – $299.95/month for 1,000 free listings a month.
  • Enterprise Store – $2,995.95/month for 2,500 free listings a month.

The rates I have mentioned above are if you pay yearly, which you do get a price discount for. Final value fees can be different depending on your “seller level”. Meaning the higher the seller level the more of a discount you will get.  But, the final value fees are between 3-12%.  There is a final value cap per month, too.

Amazon

Amazon Screenshot

This is the number one eCommerce website in the world. There were 232 billion dollars in transactions in sales in 2018. The learning curve for Amazon is “somewhat” harder than other websites. You can even ship your items to a fulfillment center (Amazon FBA) and their employees ship your products for you. However, you can also ship your products from your home, too. This option is more time consuming but it’s very easy to keep tabs on.

The downside to Amazon is different categories are “gated”. Meaning, you have to be approved to sell in those specific categories. However, there are a handful of categories which are “ungated” which you don’t need any approval to sell in those categories.

What I really love about Amazon is you can sell items for substantially higher, though.

Amazon’s selling fees are kind of complex.

Free Seller Plan – Individual

I would recommend this plan for starters. This allows you to list 40 items for free. It’s only if you expect to sell under 40 items per month. You pay a referral fee (it’s different based on each category), and a flat $.99 per item fee.

Professional plan

This plan costs you $39.99/month. You can sell an unlimited amount of items each month. However, there is a referral fee and variable closing fee (on some categories).

Referral fees can be found here.

Amazon FBA

Amazon FBA is where you can ship your products to a warehouse and Amazon employees will pack them, ship them, and even take care of customer support questions for you.  It does cost money per month.   The cost is based on how much storage space you are using in the Amazon FBA warehouse.

Etsy

Etsy Screenshot

This is a well-known website for selling goods online. There are 40 million buyers on Etsy. Sales in 2018 were 3.9 billion annually. Their annual sales have been growing steadily since 2010 when they were 314 million annually. Most notably you can sell homemade and craft supplies on Etsy.com. In fact, they have a very highly targeted audience for crafts. Again, I consider Etsy to be one of the best places to sell “crafty” things. Vintage items can be sold on Etsy, too. Additionally, you can sell clothing, home decor, collectibles, toys, etc.

Etsy Seller Fees

  • .20 to list an item.
  • 5% transaction fee.
  • 3% + .25 payment processing fee.

Additionally, you can get an Etsy subscription which is $10/month (Etsy Plus). You do get free 15 listing credits per month. Also, you do get a $5 USD advertising listing credit. You can get 50% off a domain where you can host your own website.

Poshmark

Poshmark Screenshot

This is another fast-growing place to sell clothing online. It’s only been existence since 2011. In 2018 the annual income for Poshmark was 150 million. There are over 700,000 sellers and over 1 million shoppers that use Poshmark. Again, the target audience for Poshmark is clothing. But, you can also sell accessories like purses, scarves, belts, etc.

  • List items for free on Poshmark.
  • Orders under $15 you pay $2.95.
  • Order over $15 you pay 20%.

Start Thrifting & Reselling

So, where would I recommend you start if you are looking to get into thrifting, reselling, flipping, picking, or whatever other name people come up with? For starters, I would start with eBay. It’s the second-largest eCommerce site in the world and the learning curve is pretty minimal. It’s more a generalized platform to sell stuff online.

However, if you want to go the crafts route I would recommend Etsy. Poshmark is a good option if you want to only sell clothes, too. But, keep in mind you could always start with eBay and also use other sites. eBay should certainly be a good starting point and a site you frequently use when reselling.

Amazon isn’t a site I would recommend for a complete newbie.  There is much more of a learning curve if you want to do Amazon FBA. However, selling your items yourself is as easy as eBay. You will be able to sell your items for a higher price on Amazon, though. However, there are lots of categories that you will need to be approved for to sell on Amazon.

So how much money can you make thrifting or reselling? Well, that really depends on your goals. Depending on how much time you put into it; you could make a couple hundred a day, week, or month. Or you could ultimately make enough to get out of your 9-to-5 job and make a full-time living.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what the world of reselling and thrifting is like.

Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions.

What Is Thrifting & Reselling

Alright, dude you made it to the end of one of my articles. Do you know why I used a picture of the Logitech C310 HD Webcam in this article?

A)You use this item all the time.
B)It’s the only thing you can think of.
C)It’s your favorite brand to sell.
D)All of the above.

Actually, none of those is the real answer. But, the Logitech C310 HD Webcam was the first item I ever bought at a thrift store and resold. I bought it for $.99. I sold it for $19.99.

Reseller Dude

Dude.......I have been selling online since 2002. I know my stuff and show you how to do it the correct way. For more about me click here and find out why I started ResellerDude.com.

6 Responses

  1. Hey Reseller Dude! Nice informative article, I have been doing this for a couple years now myself. Whether you call me a picker or flicker.. I mean flipper.. doesn’t matter to me. One of the easiest ways I do thrifting is with the Amazon Seller app. I can just scan barcodes at the thrift store and instantly see if I can flip it for resale on, well Amazon or probably even eBay or wherever you prefer. It’s both fun and profitable when you hit a gem, eureka! Haha. Have a great weekend Dude.

    • Hey Riverdogg,

      Good to see that you have been thrifting. Using a mobile app for Amazon is a great way to see what people are actually paying for an item you see at a thrift store. I know what you’re talking about when you freak out when you see how high something is selling for when you run the barcode through a scanner on your smartphone.

      I would highly recommend eBay for selling items from thrift stores. The reason being is because they accept nearly everything. There is also a free eBay app, too. What is better about it is you can check to see what items actually sold for with the eBay app.

      Amazon, on the other hand, is gated which means you need special approval to sell some items on their platform.

      But, yes it is fun and you can make some pretty decent money doing it. One of the most exciting things about going to a thrift store is you never know what you are going to find. I have found some highly valuable items at thrift stores in the past. Just have to know what to look for.

  2. Hey Dude :), isn’t this incredibly time consuming? I can see how you could make a bit of cash on the side but to do it full time you would really have to know your stuff, and I guess you would also need to have a real passion for the stuff you are re-selling. I have always liked the idea of flipping houses and I know a lot of people make money doing that. Similarly cars, if you have the skills to do them up. I suppose I have a bit of negativity around this subject because my first husband loved trying to do it but ended up keeping a lot of what he bought to re-sell and also losing money on his re-sells. I can however find a positive and that is that it’s an environmentally ethical thing to do. A lot of what you find to re-sell could otherwise end up in landfills. One thing you haven’t mentioned here is “up-cycling”, i.e finding things that can fetch a good price with a little TLC. Good article 🙂 sorry if I did a bit of a ramble, but it is an interesting topic. 

    • Hey Deb,

      Selling online can be time-consuming. But, then again isn’t working a 9-5 job also time-consuming. One of the best things about reselling is you are your own boss. You have the flexibility to do any niche you want, make your own hours, etc.

      A lot of people do it part-time so that they can make some extra side income. For instance, some people might just do it to make a $250-400 a month. You could obtain those results working 16 hours a month thrifting and reselling. Then again, you can scale up for there if you want.

      I do agree that you have to have a passion for what you are selling. It’s hard to complete any kind of job if you really don’t care at all about it. So, I would highly suggest finding something that you care about. Believe me, I have had some real crappy jobs over the years.

      A lot of people get stuck into the trap of buying a lot of stuff from thrift stores, but actually don’t sell a lot of their inventory. However, you shouldn’t ever buy anything until you know you can actually sell it.

  3. Hey, I’m new to selling on eBay.  Only been selling on eBay for a couple of months. I already had about 12 sales so far.  I don’t know if I’m doing good at it or not.  It doesn’t seem like I have a lot of transactions under my belt.

    I am looking to boost my sales on eBay.  Do you happen to have any eBay tips to help boost my sales?  

    I do like eBay, but I feel I should be doing better.

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