First, we have a number of ways that we try to make extra money on the side for our family vacations and fun stuff. It is a fun goal to work towards something like this and to work at it as a family and then to enjoy the fruit of our labors as a family!
Our next goal is to make enough for our next family vacation – we have budgeted $2,000 for the six of us for all expenses for the vacation!
So to help us get to this goal, one thing that we have done for several years now is to purchase items used and then, fix, wash, clean (in rare cases not have to do anything to it) and then turn around and sale if for a profit. I am going to focus this post on large items!
A good thing to watch for is large items that could have a potential high retail selling value, that you are able to find “cheap,” or something that is in higher demand at the time. The best places for you to “shop” for these items are at garage, yard, estate, rummage sales. Items in this type of selling environments are typically a lot lower than buying on ebay or classifieds, etc. People just want to get rid of their “junk” and are usually very willing to negotiate prices that are already marked low. Also, you can typically get better prices at these types of environments as most people just pull the stuff out of storage, etc. and do not take the time to fix, clean or “spruce up” the item. This gives you the opportunity to buy it cheap – and with a bit of leg work, have a great resell item!
As an example, we hit a garage sale recently and spotted the big Little Tykes doll house for sale. When we saw it, you could tell it was a high value item, but it looked like it was in poor shape. These doll houses are plastic and very durable – when we found it, it was dirty and had been covered in marker and crayon!! We were able to pick this doll house up for $5! We were not sure of the retail value of this item at the time, but knew that with clean-up, we could definitely make our $5 back!
We brought it home – our girls first reaction was AWESOME – but we explained that this was an item to resell, not to keep. We then got to work and scrubbed this doll house down! Our girls took the Mr. Clean magic erasers to the marker and crayon and we were able to get all of the markings off!!! We then rinsed it with the hose outside and let it dry! Whala! A very nice, nearly new looking doll house! All it needed was a good cleaning, it was in perfect condition otherwise!
We then researched how much we should put this doll house up for sale for. The internet is a great resource for this – immediately we discovered that this house retails for $139.99! If a used item is in great condition, we usually plan to list it for about 40% of the retail cost, and hope to get about 30% after negotiations. You should verify this by trying to find other local classifieds or even Ebay, Craig’s List to see what others have listed an item for too to make sure you are not way over or way under! So, our plan was to list it for $50 and plan to drop to $40 if we needed to! As a funny side note – our daughter said “so if we sell this house, we can then go on our trip?!?” My response was, “no,” this is only $50 towards our goal, we need a total of $2,000! She then said, “well let’s just sell it for $2,000 then!” 🙂
The next step is to take pictures and list it. We recommend finding the FREE ways to list items as it cuts into your profit margin otherwise. Craig’s list is a FREE national classifieds and is a very popular site to use! Also, check with your local newpaper – our newspaper has a FREE classified ads section for items that are under $100. Finally, local T.V. stations also have FREE local classifieds, so check those sites. If you can list it in all the different FREE resources in your area, you are increasing the traffic and the ability to be more rigid on your price if you have more people interested. Just use the same listing for all to cut down time! It is not reasonable to sell an item like this on a site like Ebay, just due to the size for shipping purposes. I know that there are listings for local areas on Ebay, however, save the extra money and go with the FREE local classified resources instead! We will talk about Ebay in a future post!
Then, wait for the emails and calls to roll in! We listed the doll house and it sold the next day and for the full price we wanted!
Here is the picture of the final “cleaned up” house and the ad as an example! (we had a couple of pictures – the more pictures – the better!)
“This is the classic Little Tikes Doll House. This house is pink with a blue roof and in good condition. It is made of sturdy plastic and has 2 stories, each level high enough for a Barbie size doll. It is 38.5″T x 37″W x 24.25″D. Very nice size and good quality! This doll house retails for $139.99. Please call or email with questions!”
There you go! Here is a great way to make money on the side on large items! More money making ideas to come!
*Have you bought a large item for cheap – made improvements to it and resold for a profit? We want to know your ideas and experience – let us know!