How to make money buying and upselling cheap items
Looking for your next money-making project? Buying things from cheap high street shops and reselling them online is a surprisingly effective way to make some quick cash!
There’s no denying you can pick up a bargain or twelve at the pound shop.
In fact, it's even possible to walk out richer than you were when you walked in – by getting your hawk eyes on, your phone out and your money-making brain in action!
According to money-making guru Gary Vaynerchuk, you should be able to find between 7–15 items on each visit to a pound store that will sell online for upwards of £5 – £10 apiece. Some might say this is a smidge optimistic, but play it right and there's definitely potential to earn up to the £100 mark by selling on your cheapo purchases.
You just need to choose your items carefully and know how to work the eBay selling game like a pro. Here are some upselling tips to get you started!
What’s on this page?
The best items to resell for a profit
Pound shops aren't the only places to pick up great fodder for upselling, either. Primark is a great shout, with items like this Beauty and the Beast coin purse and these Aristocats slippers selling for upwards of a tenner on eBay.
Budget supermarkets like our beloved Aldi and Lidl are also particularly effective for this game. Most non-edible products sell for a limited time only, meaning people will pay big bucks if the item is in demand.
A recent example is Aldi's scented candle range that saw shoppers queuing out the door – they cost just £2 but are now selling for just over a tenner a pop!
If clothes are more up your street, you could try buying designer clothes from TK Maxx or investing in popular streetwear brands like Supreme – then check out the best places to resell your clothes online!
Is it legal to buy and resell items?
It's totally legal to resell items you've bought on the high street. Once it's yours, it's yours, and you can do what you want with it!
There are just a few things to keep in mind to make sure your reselling practices are completely legal and above-board:
- Be honest about the fact it's second-hand, and list any damage or faults with the item
- Watch out for copyright issues – you won't be able to use the shop logo in your images and marketing to help you sell the item
- If you start making some serious money, you'll have to pay tax. Check out our simple guide to the rules and regs of tax and make sure you know how to submit a self-assessment tax return.
4 steps to buying and reselling items online
Choose what to buy
Bog standard items aren't going to fetch much interest online, so keep an eye out for the more unusual items (kids' sections tend to be a gold mine, FYI!).
Topical, trending, limited or niche products will undoubtedly bring in the most cash. For example, Disney-themed items will almost always sell well online, particularly if the products coincide with the release of a new feature.
Remember, you can always check websites first – you can't buy from pound shops online, but they're a good place to check out what's on offer before heading in. Do some quick price comparisons as well; just because it has a £1 price tag, it doesn't mean it's a bargain. You can get some items cheaper elsewhere.
Scan the item to see what it's worth
When you come across an item in store that you've sniffed out as a potential money-maker, look it up on the Amazon app.
While Amazon isn't the place to cash in on your items (they don’t have a bidding system and selling fees are higher than eBay as they include substantial extra charges), the app is great for checking product keywords and market prices quickly.
You'll also get an idea of how easy it is for shoppers to get their hands on the item. If there are loads of third-party sellers listing it at low prices, this is a sure sign the item isn't worth your time.
Checking the item on Amazon couldn't be easier – you can either scan the product barcode to get an instant result, or you can even just take a picture of the item via the app's camera function and you’ll be presented with all the info you need in a jiffy.
Check Google Shopping too (enter the product name into the search bar then click 'shopping'), as this will give you a good idea of your item’s true market value and will ensure the market isn't totally flooded with this product (in which case, no one will pay good money for it).
Check its market value on eBay
If you reckon you're onto a winner with the item, the next step is to do a quick search for it on the eBay app (using the product name/keyword that came up on Amazon) to see if anyone is already punting the item and what it’s recently sold for.
Don’t bother looking at what price sellers have listed the item at – focus only on what it’s already sold for (do this by clicking 'Advanced search' and checking the 'Sold Listings' box).
This is because sellers will often list items on eBay at ridiculous prices to try and push their luck, but that's no indication of what they’ll actually be sold for. Check out our eBay buying guide for more tricks!
If it's a gem - bag it and resell it!
All that's left now is to part with your pound(s) and head home to upsell those babies on eBay!
If you find an item that seems to be particularly valuable, there's no harm in scooping up a few to sell on, but don't go overboard – you could end up with a box full of Disney pencil cases that nobody wants if you can't flog them quickly enough.
For everything you need to know about getting the most out of selling your items on eBay, check out our ultimate seller's guide.
How much money can you make from reselling?
Now on to the money bit! It is worth bearing in mind that you will incur a few charges on eBay with every item you sell. These include postage, packaging, eBay's charge and PayPal charge. You can find out the exact details about prices in our eBay seller guide.
We've heard of people making anything from £100 to £2,000 a month by reselling stuff online. But it'll take a while to find your niche in the market and for the money to come rolling in.
Be prepared for a bit of trial and error at first. Some items might make a small loss or only break even, while others will make you some serious cash. Stick with it until you find the items and brands that sell best!
Looking to seriously cash in? If you've got any of these childhood toys in the attic you could be sitting on a small fortune!