An online resale business can be a fun and lucrative way to make extra money, or can even become a fulltime job. If you love combing through piles of clothes or old furniture at yard sales and thrift stores in search of that diamond in the rough, an online resale business might be perfect for you. The idea is to locate cheap used items, improve their appearance if necessary, and then resell them at a mark-up in order to turn a profit. Here are six tips for doing just that:
Make Sure You're Legit
Before you start reselling items as a small business, you will need to file the appropriate paperwork. Depending on your state, you may need a Tax I.D. number, a small business license, and possibly a permit. This directory from the Small Business Administration will help you determine what documentation you need.
Know Your Hot Ticket Items
Ideally, your online resale business will focus on items you know something about and that also are popular sellers. Many online resellers have had good luck reselling clothing (particularly baby and children's clothing, but also designer or trendy seasonal items for adults), antique furniture, and handbags. If selling heavier items like furniture, you will most likely need to advertise locally online and either specify that the items are pickup only, or decide if you are willing to deliver for an additional fee.
Now comes the fun part. Start scouring yard sales and thrift stores for great finds. Do your research ahead of time so that you have a clear idea of how much you can typically sell certain items for. You may even want to keep a cheat sheet stored as a note in your phone. This way you can quickly look at an item's price and determine if you'll be able to make a decent profit on it or not. Remember, prices at yard sales are often negotiable!
Presentation is Everything
Make sure that each item you sell looks great. Clothes should be clean and free of stains and come neatly folded and packaged. Furniture and other household items should be in good working order and not have visible damage. Sometimes a quick coat of paint can do wonders on an old piece of furniture.
Consider adding a special, personalized touch to your packaging before shipping or selling your items. For example, instead of simply folding up some baby clothes and sticking them in a box, wrap them in pretty tissue paper sealed with a personalized label that has your business name and logo on it.
Create Online Profiles
As a new reseller it will take a little time to build up reviews and a solid reputation. In order to reassure new customers that you are a legitimate business and not a scammer, spend some time putting together professional profiles on all the reselling sites you plan to use. Include your photo, your business name and logo if you have one, and a bio describing your business. Have a friend proofread to make sure typos and grammatical errors don't slip through, since these can make you look less professional.
Rent a Self-Storage Space
Now that your business is ready to go, where are you going to store all this stuff? Instead of taking over a guest room or half the garage (and frustrating your significant other or roommates in the process), learn more and consider renting a storage unit to house your inventory. This will allow you to keep all of your items neat and organized in their own designated space. Storage units tend to be quite affordable and you may even be able to write off the monthly rent as a business expense come tax time.
By following these tips, your new online resale business will be off to a great start.