Selling Antiques, Collectibles and other Garage Sale Finds
If you're like me then you are always looking for ways to make extra cash in your free time. Flipping garage sale and estate auction finds is one of the cheapest, and in many ways easiest options to make extra money on the weekends, and it has an excellent return on investment. First, I want to give you an idea of what it will take to get started, what you can expect to make, and how much time you will need to dedicate to this in order to earn that money.
Cost to Start: As little as $10.00
Time to start: Less than 8 hours as little as 2 hours
Weekly time commitment: Less than 8 hours as little as 2 hours
Earning Potential: This depends a lot on what you have to invest, but even with a minimal investment you can expect between $25 and $500 a week.
Tools and Resources Needed: There are some things you need to have in order to make this process quick, easy, and cheap. In order of importance those things are:
Vehicle - You need this to haul around the stuff you'll be buying and selling, a small truck or van is ideal because it will give you plenty of room for those larger items like furniture which is easy to flip and make a profit.
Initial investment - As the say, it takes money to make money, but like I said before this can be as little as ten dollars, as with most things the more you can invest, the more potential you have to earn.
Internet connection - In this day and age pretty much everyone has access to the internet and I assume by the fact that you are reading this article that you have some form of internet connection, but it is absolutely a requirement so I included it on this list.
Basic computer skills - I'm talking real basic. If you can send an email, or make it to infobarrel, then you can do this.
Additional Tools and Resources: (These things aren't required, but will open up more opportunities to make money, or make your life easier in the process.)
Basic Carpentry Tools and Workspace - Using a handful of basic tools that you may already own you can fix up old furniture, restain, repaint, and resell.
Ebay Account - Ebay is a great place to sell the treasures you will no doubt find, signing up is free, but posting and selling does come with some small fees. I also recommend getting the Ebay app on your phone so that you can quickly check prices on items you're thinking about buying at a garage sale. The Ebay app is available on both iOS and Android, links available in signature.
PayPal Account - PayPal is a great way to get paid for anything you sell online, they offer a few different payout options, each with their own fees. You can sign up for PayPal at paypal.com or clicking the link in my signature.
Amazon App - The Amazon app is a great way to do quick price checks on books, electronics, and other new-ish items you might come across. It also has a
feature that will allow you to scan a barcode and see if it is listed on Amazon, and if so, how much it is selling for. The Amazon app is available on both iOS and Android, links available in signature.
You've got the tools, now what?
One of the easiest, and in my opinion best place to start is in your
local newspaper. That is to say; garage sales. Take a look at your local classifieds and find the section listing garage sales, make a list of where they are and if it's listed, what time they start. It may be worth an extra 20 minutes to program it in to your GPS unit, or your phone so that you know the best route to take to save gas and save time. You should also keep an eye out near the end of each week for garage sale signs going up at major intersections around your house. Not everyone lists their garage sale in the paper so just keeping your eye out can often lead to some great finds. I also find it helpful to prioritize your garage sale list, moving sales are often much larger than garage sales and people are willing to get rid of more for less money. Estate sales can often be the best bet once you have some more capital built up as you can often find higher quality items than your average garage sale.
What to Look For
You've got your list made of where you're going, but what are you looking for once you get there? This varies a lot, and after a while you will start to find what works for you, there are people collecting all sorts of old "junk" it's up to you to figure out what that junk is, and where to find it. Old cameras, model train sets, antique kitchenware, dinnerware sets, books, seasonal items, old mirrors and furniture are all prime choices in my experience. Used books can sell for $5-$15, but sometimes you may stumble across something rare, like a first edition, or a signed copy of a classic, these can be worth anywhere from $50 to well over $1,000. What you should be looking for will vary from sale to sale and is largely dependent on who's having the sale. If they have kids, there will likely be several old toys there, keep an eye out for old metal toys, train sets, or older toys from big brands, i.e. Disney. If you show up at a moving sale and have
the room for it, see what kind of furniture they have, old desks, vanities, mirrors and chairs can often bring in some good money if you're willing to spend a few hours fixing them up, restaining, or repainting. Whenever you see something interesting, especially when you're just starting out, whip your phone out and check prices on similar products on Ebay or Amazon, you never know what weird little thing will be worth some serious bucks to someone.
How and Where to Sell
Now that you've got some products it's time to figure out the best place to unload them
With smaller items and antiques I usually find Ebay to be the easiest and most effective option. Once you are signed in to your account, just click Sell at the top of the page and they will walk you through the process of putting an item up for auction. I usually start my auction a few dollars below what similar items are selling for. You can also choose to add a "Buy It Now" price which gives bidders the option to just buy it outright at a higher price.
For larger items such as furniture, craigslist is often the best option. You can post to craigslist for free, include a few pictures, a brief description and the price. If you are in an area that doesn't have an active craigslist section, you can also use local bulletin boards, flea markets or local newspapers and classified ads.
How to Expand
As you do this more, you will begin to have a better eye for what will sell. When you're first starting out there may be some things you just can't get rid of, and that's normal. Consider donating them to a local thrift store, which can get you a tax credit if you ask for a donation slip, or having a garage sale of your own. As you get better at it you will know what to look for and what you can sell quickly If this is something you get in to and find yourself making money and having fun with, you may want to consider increasing the scope of your buying. Garage sales are a great place to get started but they are certainly not the only place to find quality items to resell. Local auctions, storage unit auctions, thrift stores, and craigslist can all be great places to find something you can make a profit from.