Finding good things to sell on eBay can be a real challenge for new sellers. It can also be a challenge to come up with ongoing eBay business ideas for more seasoned sellers. To help you out we’ve compiled a list of ideas that you can use to find some products to sell.
With most of the suggestions below remember that this is not the 1990s anymore. You should have a smart phone with at least a 3G connection with you when you’re out trying to find good things to sell on eBay. On that phone you should have the eBay completed search page bookmarked and ready to go. You can also do a completed item search in the eBay phone app.
When you find something you don’t know the value of, you can look it up in under a minute. There’s no reason for you to ever leave behind an item because you can’t figure out it’s value.
Where to Find the Goods!
Garage Sales – This is where a lot of sellers get their start and where a lot of old pros still cash in. Garage sales are often full of things that people want to get rid of. Get out your phone and look up those items as you’re browsing. Find the deals and then haggle the price down even more. You can do this especially well if you go on Sunday evening just as they’re about to end.
Estate Sales – They’re like garage sales but there’s often a lot more stuff and the people are even more willing to cut a deal to clear out items. However, there’s fewer of them than garage sales and people know that there’s real deals to be had so you’ll want show up first.
Library Sales – This is an often overlooked place to find good things to sell on eBay. It’s overlooked because not many people are book experts. But if you’re armed with that smart phone we mentioned earlier then it makes you an instant expert. And you’ll probably have plenty of time to find a couple of gems in that book pile. Maybe even bring a lunch.
Thrift Stores – Visit your Goodwill, Salvation Army, and locally owned thrift stores once a week. Get to know what items they regularly put out and which ones they under-price. Get to know the people who work there. You’ll find that people working at thrift store are pretty friendly and they’ll often be more than happy to give you some tips that will help you out. Such as when the trucks make their deliveries or when they’ll be having sales. Thrift stores are great because they’re a constant source for good things to sell on eBay and it’s actually kind of fun going to them. Oh, and don’t forget that smart phone.
Flea Markets – Basically they’re an indoor garage sale on steroids with some retail and hand crafted items mixed in. You never know what you’ll get. But the really good flea markets have a vendor that sells hot pretzels. Try not to get the melted pretzel cheese on you smart phone while you’re figuring out what a Furby is worth these days.
Going Out of Business Sales - At these rare events you’ll definitely find good things to sell on eBay. But the later you go the better. 25% then 50% then 75% off! Just don’t wait until they’re actually out of business and the doors are shut.
Swap Meets - This is where the level of difficulty starts to go up on our little list. Swap meets are usually for a specific type of item. That means you’ll be surrounded by other people who know something about what’s being sold. You’ll have to be quick. That means you should only go to swap meets that are in you area of expertise. You may not have time to look up the going price here.
Free on Craigslist - Didn’t you know there’s a listing for free stuff on Craigslist? It’s for people who own a truck and don’t mind getting up early or driving really fast. Seriously though, there is some great potential for profit here. People who do this constantly refresh that Craigslist page and pounce when a new item shows up. Just a glance at the one in my area and today there’s a working XBox 360 (no really, I’m not making that up), a toy box full of toys, bags of women’s clothes, and some live chickens. Bagawk.
Government Surplus Sales – Just about every type of government agency sells off its unused and outdated equipment. Some have a surplus property division that sells items regularly, others have auctions. All levels of government have these sales from local and state to federal. Schools and universities have them. Even military bases and law enforcement. They place ads in the “notice” section of their local newspapers to tell the public about what they have to offer. If you’re lucky enough to have a local newspaper with its classified section published online, you can easily scan this every day for upcoming events. There are also subscription services you can join that will send you notifications about these sales.
Police Auctions – Police occasionally auction off all of the stuff that they accumulate in the course of doing their jobs. Confiscated and seized goods, impounded cars, and abandoned items. Notifications of these auctions are also placed in the “notice” section of the classifieds in the local newspaper. They often get a write-up in the regular section of the newspaper as well, so watch for them.
Public Auction Houses – Many cities have a public auction house that takes consignment items from the public and auctions them off once a week. If there’s not one in your city it’s worth the effort to find one nearby and make the drive. You never know what you’re going to find. And they’re actually a lot of fun.
Storage Auctions – No, Storage Wars on TV is not real (get over it). But there are deals to be had at real storage auctions. Tons of household items and the occasional collectible item. There are plenty of opportunities to make a profit. Just don’t believe that you’re going to find something worth $10,000 in a hidden box. At a real storage auction people are allowed to see everything in the storage unit before they bid. They don’t have to stand outside and guess what’s in it.
Consignments – You can sell goods on consignment. Ask your friends and family if they have anything they’d like you to sell. Take a cut for your services. Just make sure that you charge enough to cover all of your fees and shipping too.
Alibaba - If you don’t believe in cheap Chinese goods you can skip this suggestion. But if you don’t mind ordering profitable items from China and you can wait 2 – 4 weeks for them to arrive, then you really should check out alibaba.com. I have a friend that orders from them and does very well. Although the prices on many items are already low enough to turn a profit on, he says you can make lower offers and they are sometimes accepted. Especially if you’re able to order in bulk.
Ebay Itself – What better place to find good things to sell on eBay, than on eBay. Just go to eBay Wholesale and sign up. You will have to send them a copy of your resale/sales tax license in order to join though. If you don’t, they’re only $25. This wholesale program is fairly new to eBay and to be honest, there are a lot of things priced to high to be considered “wholesale”. But if you can take the time to sort through the listings then there are some deals to be found.
Drop Shippers – Drop shipping is something that takes a lot of time to set up, and even more patience to do long-term. You can make money at it though. Basically, you post listings online and take orders. Then you pass them along to the drop shipper who ships the items to your customer. Patience comes in when you have to deal with any sort of return. You’re going to have to give a refund to the buyer immediately then square up with your drop shipper afterwards. If it’s something that interests you, then you can read more about it in our article about Drop Shippers for eBay.
Liquidators – When items are returned to a store like Wal-Mart they eventually end up at a liquidator. The items are then sold by the bin or pallet. Some of the items that are returned are defective, but most of them are not. It’s up to the buyer to assess what can be resold and what can’t. There are several of these liquidators in the United States but one in particular that often partners with eBay sellers, Genco Marketplace. They frequently advertise on eBay radio and the owners have even been guests on the show.
Product Shortages – If you were lucky enough to have a few of the new Xbox One consoles this Christmas you would have made a bunch of money. Or if you had a dozen Google Chromecast units when they first came out. The key here is that you have to know how to spot an item that will have a shortage. Then you have to be willing to get up early and go get some of them. If it’s an item that’s being rationed out one per customer, you’ll need a few friends to come along with you who can also make additional purchases.
Wholesalers – Now we’re getting into real eBay business ideas. Here’s where the big money can be made. The goal is to find a supplier with an item that can sell consistently and profitably. At this level selling on eBay is no different from running a retail business. You’ll have to have a resale/sales tax license and cash on hand to buy items by the case. Every item that is sold in retail is available wholesale first. Your job is to find out where and if you meet the qualifications to become a reseller. The best method is just to call or email a company you’re interested in and ask them who their distributor is. Then call the distributor and set up a purchase.
Making Products Yourself – The biggest eBay business idea of all. Forget finding good things to sell on eBay, make them yourself. Buy a T-shirt press and get busy.
Make decals, bumper stickers, personalized coffee mugs, candles, wedding invitations, cat toys, spice racks, or even Ouija boards. It really doesn’t matter, there’s a market for everything on eBay.
After all of that I hope I’ve helped you find some good things to sell on eBay. Maybe even helped you develop some eBay business ideas of your own. Whatever the case, work hard at it and you’ll eventually succeed. There are thousands of other people who have done it and you can too!
Now that we’ve covered there “where” you might also like our article What are the Hottest Selling Items on eBay?