Your Complete Guide to Making Money by Selling Unwanted Items
Over a third of the population are now making money by selling their unwanted items online and offline. Although eBay is obviously popular there are many other options that are easier and capable of bringing in some much needed cash.
We’ve put together the best ways to earn from you unwanted stuff, along with fees and guides on how to make the most out of each one.
Read more about:
- ONLINE SELLING:
- THE BEST CLASSIFIEDS ONLINE:
- SPECIFIC SITES:
- OFFLINE SELLING:
- Extra Tips for Selling Unwanted Goods:
Starting with the site that every new seller gravitates towards it’s easy to sell on eBay. There are, however, factors you must take into consideration such as fees, postage, time and feedback.
To start with set up a seller account, you’ll need a PayPal account too. You won’t be charged anything until you list an item for sale.
TOP TIP #1: In our experience it’s much easier and quicker to use a smartphone to list items for sale. Listing via a PC can be time consuming depending on your broadband speed. This may mean though that you have shorter descriptions.
A Good Listing
A listing on eBay attracts more visitors if it has photographs and a good description. You may not want the item but make sure you sell it, list the positives. Bear in mind also what people will search for and use these terms in your title.
TOP TIP #2: Example, you’re selling a pair of floral curtains. Research the most popular searches for curtains. In this case William Morris or John Lewis. Then in your listing label them as “like John Lewis” this will bring in more traffic.
|Category||Starting Price||Insertion Fee|
|Media products||1p – 99p||No insertion fee applicable|
|All other categories||1p – 99p||No insertion fee applicable|
|£5 – £14.99||25p|
|£15 – £29.99||50p|
You also pay 10% on the final value price. eBay listings have a number of upgrades designed to make you spend more. At first they may not look like much money, 20 pence here for an extra image, 90 pence there for a bold listing, but they can add up.
Don’t forget too though that you will have PayPal fees to add onto this which can range from 1.5% to 3.5%.
Many people find that it’s difficult to make a good profit once the fees have been taken off, the time spent uploading and communicating and the postage. To minimise costs always weigh your item so you don’t get stung paying for extra postage.
Amazon used to be a marketplace for just books and DVDs but now you can sell almost anything. Many people prefer it to eBay as the pricing structures are clearer, there’s no need for a PayPal account (thus no need for PayPal fees) and no need to upload photos. Quite simply, if Amazon have sold the item before, you can sell it too and there are lots of features that help you make the most of selling this way online.
All you have to do is register for a seller account. You can add items using a barcode or a description. Amazon do the rest. It’s that simple. Items can be available for 30 or 60 days.
TOP TIP #1: When selling on Amazon you’ll notice they tell you about the lowest priced item currently for sale. This gives you an indication of what to sell your item for but don’t be tempted to undercut. Remember, millions of people buy every second, so even if your item is the 4th cheapest it will have a great chance of selling and you’ll have more money in your pocket.
There is a completion fee of 86p on every item listed and closing fee (% of sale price).
|Product type||Referral Fee Percentage|
|Consumer Electronics (ex. Accessories), Tyres, Spirits||11.50%|
|Consumer Electronics accessories, Tools, Musical instruments & DJ, Wines||13.80%*|
|Video Games Consoles||9.20%|
|Large Appliances (with the exception of Accessories, Microwaves and Range Hoods)||8.05%|
|Any Other Products||17.25%|
Check the fees for Pro-merchant subscribers and more detailed info here.
Amazon also charges for delivery on items.
TOP TIP #2: As Amazon’s postage charges are set, for example, £2.25 for a book, weigh your item first and calculate postage. You may have to raise the price a little so as not to suffer a loss.
Play.com have changed. They’ve risen in popularity since the fall of HMV and kept up with trends by allowing others to sell online. Their fees are reasonable and they have other options. On the surface they seem just like Amazon. Basically when their customer’s search for a product yours will be offered too. As a PlayTrader you receive the money into your PlayFunds account. This is where it differs, you can then use the money to buy other items from the site or you can pay an extra 5% to transfer it directly to your bank.
TOP TIP: Do not forget about that 5%, it adds up!
Other fees include:
- Complete sale fee: 50p
- Commission: 10%
Another advantage of Play.com is the fees although high, are simple. There’s no calculator needed as you can easy work out 10% or 5%. This is welcome for those who find the confusing fees of EBay and Amazon time consuming and frustrating.
You can only sell media, technology, DVDs and CDs on Play.com but it does look as though it will expand very soon.
There are other marketplaces like this online yet the general rule of thumb is if you haven’t heard about them it’s unlikely your buyers would have.
Ten years ago if we had unwanted items to sell we’d list them in the classified section of the local paper. We’d hope that readers would get to the ads and wait for the phone to ring. Now you can list unwanted items online in much the same way however it’s much more profitable.
- Users can search for your items
- Buyers will pick up items
- There are rarely any fees
Gumtree allows you to sell anything that can be picked up from your home. You set a price and wait for people to get in touch. Unlike the local paper, many people search Gumtree from quite a few miles away, believing the bargain is worth the extra distance.
With sites like AnyVan making it easy to find cheap transport for items bought online you may even find your ad viewed by buyers from hundreds of miles away.
It costs nothing to sell on PreLoved, the premise is exactly the same as Gumtree and allows you to list your items for free.
FreeAds allows you to sell livestock and animals too. Maybe you don’t like the thought of selling the family pet to pay for this year’s must have gadget but it’s worth bearing in mind.
All of these of course have optional extras that boost the price, from increased visibility to featured ads.
If you’re selling specific items such as DVDs and media or old mobile phones you could find you can make quite a bit of money with the following websites:
Music Magpie allows you to enter a barcode to sell unwanted DVDs, games, CDs and technology. It can be quite time consuming especially if you have quite a pile to get through but despite this it’s still quicker than uploading photos and listing on eBay.
They’ve recently upgraded to include clothes but beware, they don’t offer a lot for items so selling just one CD may not be worth your time.
Many people have mobile phones they no longer use and it’s worth popping by a recycling website to see how much you could get in return. A site such as mobilecashmate.co.uk will give you a free valuation. Occasionally you could be surprised but in most cases selling individually on an auction site is more profitable. Before selling you may need to pay a small fee to have the phone unlocked.
Although there are many ways to sell online don’t forget that there’s still a real world out there where buyers are just waiting to snap up your bargains.
Your local area is rich with opportunities to make money out of your unwanted items all you have to do is get out there.
Here are the best ways to sell offline:
A car boot sale is a lot of fun, you pay a pitch fee usually between £5 and £10 and present your unwanted items to the public. These are usually on a Sunday and you have to be there earlier than the public, generally around 7am.
TOP TIP #1: Don’t waste space in your car taking tables to place your items on. Take a wallpaper paste table and cover it with an old sheet.
Many people find they can earn hundreds in just one day from selling off unwanted baby toys, clothes and unwanted goods. You don’t need to look professional as this can actually put people off. Car boot buyers love a rummage as it makes them feel like they’re searching for treasure.
TOP TIP #2: Don’t be too strict on pricing. Haggling is part of the fun at car boots. Price your items with a little wiggle room in mind. This is usually about 20% either side.
You can find out where your local carboots are and when in the local paper or look online, simply search for Carboot + your county name.
Local newspapers still run classifieds and these are scoured by bargain hunters. You will be charged about £5 per listing, but buyers will pick up the item and you can name your price. There are often special offers too so if you don’t sell one week, the paper may relist it the next for free.
Many people forget about noticeboards but they are a wonderful way to sell anything for very little money. A postcard in a newsagents shop window will cost as little as 25 pence per week. Big supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s allow you to put your unwanted items for sale on their boards for free.
TOP TIP: Write your ad before you go on any piece of paper and card and cut to postcard size.
In winter car boots tend to move inside to table top sales. You may not find any in the heart of a city but travel a few miles out and you’ll find plenty in the villages. They’re usually advertised as coming up on boards on the side of the road.
These cost up to £10 for a stall and sometimes you don’t have to take your own table.
These have been popular in the US for decades but now many Brits are cashing in. Simply take all your unwanted items to your garage and open the doors and sell.
It’s a good idea to put a sign outside your house a few weeks before so people know when to expect you. You can also place a small ad in the classifieds of your local paper or on a noticeboard.
TOP TIP: You don’t have to have a garage to have a garage sale. You can use the garden on a fine day, the shed (as long as people can walk in and out) or even a room in your house.
Almost every town has a dress exchange where you can take your clothes and let someone else sell them for a price. Usually this is a percentage of the final sale price and you only receive the money after the dress has sold. This can sometimes take a while.
Extra Tips for Selling Unwanted Goods
You’ll notice in January that many people sell their unwanted gifts. This is a little silly as it’s the one month of the year when people have very little spare cash and are all shopped out. Consider selling for occasions, maybe they’d do well at Valentines or if you can wait until November again and sell as Christmas gifts when the time is right. This all applies to selling summer clothes in winter and so on.
To make money online you need to make sure you ARE making a profit. How much did packaging cost (the materials not the postage). Did you charge correctly for postage? Did you use fuel to go to the post office? How much time did it take and what where the fees? It seems pedantic but some people can find that they’re actually selling at a loss, meaning it costs you money! If this is the case, don’t despair just choose another way to sell instead?
You will probably have a social media account, so make sure you use it to shout about your sale. You’ve a free advertising opportunity for your items there! Sometimes on Facebook there are also local pages where you can list your items for sale.
Finally if you’re not concerned about money but would like some new items, think about swapping! Swapz is a great place to start.