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Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

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Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby Will N. Dowd » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:10 pm

If you are bored at home, dreaming of being HA and needing some extra cash and something to do when you are not working, I highly recommend picking up the hobby of reselling thrift store items. I discovered it by accident when I walked by a Salvation Army thrift store, saw a shelf of used CD's, and went inside to check them out. I only ended up buying one rare one, and after listening to it a couple of times, I decided to ebay it and it sold for $25, after I paid only $1 for it.

I then started to go there about once a week looking for used CD's to resell. I usually end of paying between 50 cents and 1 dollar for them, but they usually end of selling for about 7 or 8 times that. Make sure you check the condition of the CD's though, since many are scratched and unsellable. I have sold close to 100 CD's online now.

I then expanded my store searches to include anything I could find there in good condition that is cheap enough to guarantee a profit when it sells. Most sales were on ebay, but some on craigslist too. I still have many items I bought and haven't sold yet, but the price I paid for them was so low it doesn't bother me. They will all eventually sell, and I'm not going to discount them a lot. Just hang on to them until they sell for what you want, or maybe a bit less. My profit margin so far is over 1200%!

So the benefit of this hobby is you can make huge profits, just make sure the items are in good condition and working or they won't sell. The thrift stores don't seem to know the value of most items they have, and this is why you can benefit. I recently bought an entire collection of brand new in the boxes die cast toys and sold the first one for more than I paid for the entire collection, on the same day I bought them.

The downside is that the stores themselves are usually depressing places with weird and strange looking employees, and customers. The stores smell bad, and most of the stuff there is cheap old crap. But I still go there as often as possible, since they have new items arriving everyday, and things go fast. It can sometimes take months or even years to resell the items, but since the price paid is usually so low, and the opportunity for profit is so high, it is worth the wait.

If their are several stores in your area, hit them all up, you never know what you will find. Even though the stores are sad places, the excitement of finding unique items you might like, and the potential for huge profit makes it a really enjoyable hobby to keep you busy in between trips, or before you are HA. I suggest getting into it slowly to start and then once you have resold a few items and see the potential, explore it more and more.
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Postby Ghost » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:15 pm

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Last edited by Ghost on Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby sir_robert007 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:20 am

I am going to have to try this out. There are quite a few good thrift stores where I live. Just need to create a Ebay sellers account. Would it also be a good idea to resell items on WallaPop?
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby Will N. Dowd » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:48 am

I recently discovered and started watching this TV show about the hobby.

http://www.thrifthunters.com/

I recommend watching it to get inspired. These guys do it full time on anything they can find.
I think it would take a long time of buying and selling to get comfortable with knowing what will sell and what might not.
I only feel comfortable doing it on things I know something about, and are cheap enough to guarantee profit, like CD's.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby Traveler » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:22 am

AmericaninBangkok was doing something similar when he first moved to Thailand. He made a huge profit by buying fake sports jerseys in tourist areas and reselling them on Ebay. Eventually, the Thai police got suspicious about his frequent visits to the post office. They busted him for working on a tourist visa. He had to pay a huge bribe to get released.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby Breakaway » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:14 pm

In Canada, I'm at these stores every other day. Outside Canada, I get new stuff so cheap, its not worth buying used. The only thing I really buy in thrift stores are pants and board games.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby sir_robert007 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:24 am

Just checked out my local Salvation army store. Came across a vinyl record of which there was only one copy for sale on Ebay and two copies available on Amazon. Asking price is between $34-$50. Also came across a CD of entertainers from world war II asking price $35 for one offer on Amazon. Will try and sell these and see if I can turn a profit.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby Cornfed » Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:32 am

Let us know if any of you manage to crack minimum wage. Admittedly, some people have.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby gnosis » Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:01 pm

I can't believe anyone is seriously considering this. The economy must be worse than I imagined.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby Will N. Dowd » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:43 pm

This is a great hobby to start, since it keep you busy and makes you money. Once you start and see the money that can be made, it is addictive. Nothing wrong with making more money, every little bit helps. I make a few hundred dollars a month doing this. Who wouldn't want that? Even if I made $20 a month it's better than making nothing. General rules to follow:

Start off small on products you know something about, like I did with music CD's.
I buy CD's from artists I know and might like. That way if it doesn't sell you can keep it and enjoy it.
I bring my headset and listen to them on a system in store to see if I might like it, they allow you to do this.
Make sure the CD's or whatever else you buy are in good condition.
The stores I go to are usually $2 per CD but have a 50% off coupon online, so I print them and always keep a few in my wallet, so I never pay more than a $1 per CD.
Pay as little as possible for other items, even ask them for a discount, they do negotiate.
Sign up for the stores emails, and check their sites for coupons. They will often have 50% off specials and coupons that are online only.
Check ebay and discogs to see what the CD is going for and price it accordingly, but also use the best offer option, so you can accept, decline or counter lower offers.
It is better to price it higher and offer the best offer option, than it is to price it lower with no best offer option.
Take photos of the actual item you have, not the generic websites picture.
Make sure it plays fine if it does have scratches.

I'm amazed that most people download itunes songs for $1 and albums for $10, when they are usually 128 or 256kbps quality, and its only a download, not a physical item. I buy the actual physical CD, with original 1411 kbps quality, and the whole album, not just one song, for $1. I can listen to the whole album before buying it, not just a 30 second preview, and if i like it I keep it, and if I don't I can re sell it for an average of $8 or $9 and make money.

I recently bought a 2CD 80's compilation for $2, and re sold it on ebay for about $30 after fees and shipping.

Watch the TV show "Thrift Hunters" for inspiration.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby Will N. Dowd » Mon May 01, 2017 5:17 pm

This gets results, otherwise I wouldn't do it, but it is a very long slow process.
If you want to make quick profit, you might only do that on a few items, while the rest might take months or years to sell.
But the remaining items end up being essentially free, after you made the money you spent back reselling only 1 or 2 items.

I started doing this on a larger scale about 6 months ago, and now spend about $100 a month at thrift stores, and sell about $500 a month on average.
Make no mistake, the prices are so low, it is really impossible to not make at least 3x your money back.

Here's a recent purchase I made and re-sales to give an example:

Bought:

Uniden corded telephone with caller ID and speakerphone $9
IKEA side table $5
Metal ironing board $5 RE-SOLD for $30
Lowe Pro professional camera case $5 RE-SOLD for $45
Danmark Keychain $1

So total paid was about $25, and I re-sold 2 items for $75, so the entire purchase was paid for and I made an extra $50, so the left over items are essentially free, but might take a long time to sell.

The only way to make a lot of money at it, is to buy a lot, but that means you will sell some of them fast, while the other items will slowly trickle out.
The most I have ever made in 1 month is $1100, and I had to sell a lot of small items to do that.

So this hobby can be very profitable, but you have to be patient, as most things don't sell fast.
It only takes 1 person to buy the item you're selling, so hold your prices. Just because it hasn't sold yet doesn't mean your price is too high, it usually just means no one is interested yet. I've had items advertised for sale for months and years, only to sell in 15 minutes to the first person that wants it.

Being able to make money and be your own boss at doing this is really a great feeling. No boss, co workers, schedule, transit or rat race to worry about feels amazing.
If you are tired of working for other people, and have savings and investments you can fall back on, this is a great way to stay busy and make extra money off the grid.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby wingfeather » Mon May 01, 2017 5:27 pm

Are there good thrift shops in the Philippines? Perhaps if you split up your shipping between different post offices & shipping companies, the man wouldn't notice you as much (as mentioned above).
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby MrMan » Mon May 01, 2017 5:37 pm

How did you sell this stuff, the keychain for example? How did you sell the ironing board for that much? Do you have yard sales or sell online?

I knew someone who bought books at thrift stores who sold them on home school websites. She taught her kids at home and was familiar with some of the books.

This sounds like a lot of trouble honestly for $500, but if you really need that money, that's great. In a lot of places $500 won't pay rent and you can't completely live on it. But can one person expand the business far beyond that amount?

If you have to hold on to stuff, that's an expense, too. Storage for inventory costs money, even if it's the storage space in your apartment. You might not enjoy the apartment for what it is intended for if you fill it up with used stuff.

I was in Honolulu once, and in some of the back streets of Waikiki at a certain time of year, people would throw out beds and other furniture. I heard of a guy who'd pick it up, put it in storage, and then sell it. So he didn't have to pay for inventory. But storage is expensive, there. I don't know if he actually made money doing this.

William Booth started Salvation Army thrift stores when he saw the grinding poverty of the working class during the industrial revolution, and he saw well-to-do folks throwing out good sofas, for example, and other merchandise. The store was away of clothing the poor and getting them the goods they need. But in the US, some middle class people just started buying furniture at thrift stores though they could afford new furniture. So thrift stores moved to a model where they charge a lot more for furniture and somtimes clothing. The money goes to support their charity efforts, like drug rehab. The Salvation Army still gives clothes to some poor people. But it seems like the store itself does not function as the original plan Booth had to enable the poor to buy used goods cheaply.

Some stuff isn't good to buy at thrift stores. Underwear would be high on the list.

I heard on the news that Bill Clinton, while president, donated his underwear to the Salvation Army and got a tax credit of 50% of it's original value. (He must have had a receipt.) If the Salvation Army was clever, they could hade a fortune. They could have squirted mustard on it or something like that to leave a stain, then washed and dried it, and put it in a frame and resold it for a lot of money as the president's underpants.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby MrMan » Mon May 01, 2017 5:44 pm

wingfeather wrote:Are there good thrift shops in the Philippines? Perhaps if you split up your shipping between different post offices & shipping companies, the man wouldn't notice you as much (as mentioned above).


It would be interesting to know if there are thrift shops in the Philippines. The only thrift shop I knew of in Indonesia was a store at some kind of American women's club where only US citizens could enter. I think it ws to raise charity, and I don't know if it is still around. There was a used clothing market somewhere, but they mark stuff up. There are too many poor people to buy used stuff, which drives the prices up. If people sell used furniture in the US, they may just sell it really cheap. But it Indonesia, it seems like they want 50% of the price. I went to a thrift shop in Hawaii. They overprice their stuff, too, maybe because it's so expensive to live there.
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Re: Reselling Thrift Store Items, A Profitable Hobby

Postby Will N. Dowd » Mon May 01, 2017 8:20 pm

Keychains, lanyards pens and other small stuff will really only sell on ebay. People will pay the price and sipping of they want them, so I have sold a lot of pens there.
I use a few local sites and ebay, but the vast majority of sales are ebay and shipped all over the world. You'll simply get more money for it, and have a much larger audience than just locally.

I bring a few small things with me to sell when I go to the Philippines using OLX, but they are almost always sold to locals in town, I only ever shipped a couple within the Philippines using LBC. It was all personal stuff I was done using.

They do have thrift stores in the Philippines, and they are usually ones where old American stuff is shipped over and sold there. I want to ask a girl there to help me find and explore them. I have seen videos of them on youtube, but thought it was strange when they were selling old American electronics that are 120volts in a 220volts country, almost everything would need a voltage converter.

Anyways I highly recommend taking this up as a hobby. It's really addictive and fun to go treasure hunting with the potential to make big profits. Even $500 a month is pretty good for a side hobby.

About the only stuff I buy there that I keep are usually music CD's.
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