A yard sale or garage sale is a great place to source items at a good deal for your reselling business.
Yard sales are all about the treasure hunt; you never know what you’ll find. You can get great deals because people are trying to clear the clutter from their homes and don’t want to have to haul it to the dump or donation site.
Sometimes yard sales can be a jackpot, and sometimes there is only junk. Read on for tips about how to score great items to flip at yard sales.
Make Your List Of Yard Sales
A few days before the weekend, grab a copy of the local newspaper and check the classifieds; there is often a garage sale or yard sale column advertising the weekend’s events. Check the apps. Look at Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and local yard sale Facebook groups to see what’s happening in your neighborhood. You can filter Facebook Marketplace by location and search “yard sale” to see sales in your geographic area. Get to know where people commonly post yard sale signs. Check major intersections early on Friday or Saturday morning, and you might see some signs directing you to a secret jackpot.
Make a list of all the locations you plan to visit. If you input them into Google Maps, you can create pins and schedule a route that makes sense, so you aren’t driving back and forth across town. Sometimes people will post pictures of what will be at their sale and their listing. If there is something you’re especially interested in, prioritize that location on your list of yard sales.
Multi-family or community yard sales can be a win because you can shop from lots of people at once.
Arrive On Time
It’s essential to show up to a yard sale on time or even a few minutes early because the best items usually sell first. Make sure to note what times the yard sales are all open on your list. It’s okay to show up a few minutes early and see if they will let you shop early, but if they say no, be respectful and wait in your vehicle. Some sales will say “no early birds,” so follow their rules if they say that, or they may not be as open to making deals.
Another good time to show up at a sale is toward the end of the sale because the owners will be more likely to make deals at the end of the day to clear out items. A great sale might be worth hitting twice – at the beginning and end.
Bring Cash In A Variety Of Bill Sizes
People at yard sales prefer dealing with cash. Most yard sales will have a change, but it’s nice to have smaller bills, so the owner doesn’t have to make change, and you can pay the exact price. If you are trying to get a deal, you can pull out the exact change of what you want to spend and then walk up and offer the amount you have.
Track What You Buy
As a reseller, you need to track your purchases. Yard sales don’t typically write receipts for purchases, but you can keep a receipt book on you and write one yourself. Make sure to note the address, date of purchase, and the items that you bought. Your accountant will be thankful that you took the time to track your purchases. This is important in case the IRS audits you. If you have a printed list of all the yard sales you’re visiting, track it there, so you also have all the addresses in one place for mileage tracking purposes. You can upload your notes into a Google Drive folder or take a picture of it and put it in a photo folder on your phone.
Be Friendly To Sellers
When you first walk into a yard sale, be nice and say “hello.” It’s important to establish a good rapport with the seller, so they are more likely to make deals with you.
Sometimes people don’t want to make deals with resellers, but telling people what you do can be beneficial. Don’t be afraid to share your story about why you are a reseller, whether it’s to support your family or make extra money as a side hustle to pay off debt. Have a business card on you with your contact info. You can tell the sellers you’ll pick up anything they don’t want to haul to the dump at the end of their sale if they text or call you. Or if they don’t want to make a deal on an item at the moment, you can tell them to contact you if they still have the item at the end of the sale and change their minds.
Negotiation is the most important step for resellers. The money is made in the buy, meaning to make a good profit, you need to pay as little as possible for the item you are purchasing. Know the maximum price you want to pay for an item and offer less than that so you can meet the seller in the middle. Remember, at yard sales, people just want to get items out of their houses, so they are usually willing to negotiate.
People holding yard sales know they’re going to be negotiating, and the prices on the items are just a starting point.
Be Thoughtful With Purchases
As resellers, we often find cool items, but it’s important to consider what items we’re buying. Look up comps, and don’t buy items that aren’t worth it. Yard sales have rock-bottom prices, so it can be easy to get carried away and over purchase. Don’t buy items that don’t have the resale value or items that need a lot of fixes. We recommend looking for items with at least a $50 profit, and we try to 10X our investment. When you consider the time it takes to clean, photograph, list, and ship items, it’s not always worth it to buy a $1 item and sell it for $5 because the $4 is not worth the time it takes to do all of that.
Examine Items And Ask Questions
If you’re considering buying an item, check it out to ensure it works. If it’s clothing, look for snags, missing buttons, or zippers that don’t work. For electronics, ask if you’re able to test it out. Ask the seller questions about the items, so you have the most information possible to include in your eBay listing. Yard sales don’t offer returns, so you want to make sure you’re happy with your purchase at the time you buy it.
Photograph and List Items
Once you’ve hit the spots on your list, it’s time to prepare your items for listing. Clean them up and photograph them before you put them into storage. If you can clean and photograph them the same day, it’ll help beat the procrastination urge. Once the photographs are on your phone, you can list them anytime. Happy reselling!
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