Reselling can be a very profitable business. Finding the right products to successfully sell can be quite the challenge and will take research, experience, failures, and determination.
The best items to resell for profit will differ depending on your location, budget, and interests. Also, your business model and whether you sell online or in person will guide you on which kinds of items will be best to resell. Here are some quick things to consider:
Low Buy Cost = Profit
The most important part of buying and selling for a profit is getting a good price when you purchase the items. If you overpay for your inventory, you are cutting into or completely eliminating your profit.
Many times a great inventory source will raise prices over time so it is a good idea to have multiple places you acquire inventory.
Cash Flow and Faster Sell Through
Purchasing inventory will eat up available money, so it is important to not tie up too much money in slow selling items. This will make you cash poor and unable to purchase more inventory while you wait to sell what you already have. If reselling is your main or only income source, this is even more important.
Quick Flips, More Expensive Inventory VS Slower Flips, Less Expensive Inventory
The ultimate goal would of course be items you purchase for cheap prices, sell for multiple times what you paid for them, and sell quickly. This is easier said than done and usually all of these things are not going to line up. Having a combination of fast selling, more expensive items and slower selling, cheaper items is a great business model. This should allow for consistent sales with less cash flow issues.
Popular items that will be a quick flip will usually cost more to purchase, but if you make a small profit quickly it may be worth it. When you purchase more expensive items, more money will be tied up in inventory and you will not have as much free cash flow until you sell off the items.
Slower selling items that cost less money per item are a good option as well. You will need more inventory to make consistent sales but your cash flow may improve due to better return on investment and lower upfront inventory costs.
Size and Shipping Costs
Lightweight and small items are great for online selling since they can be shipped with USPS First Class mail. The cost of shipping can eat up a good amount of your profits if you are not careful.
It is true that you can sell heavy and big items with the buyer paying for shipping. However that still is a chunk of money that could have been your own profit which will go to postage. There are always exceptions to this, but in general I have found this to be true.
Poshmark is a great place to sell items that are 1-10 pounds. The buyer pays a flat fee for shipping anything under 5 pounds. For packages between 5 and 10 pounds, the seller pays an additional shipping fee that is still much less than other selling sites.
Another great way to ship larger/heavier items is selling on eBay and using USPS Priority Flat Rate boxes. Also, Pirate Ship is a website that offers reduced shipping for USPS Priority.
Examples of Best Items to Resell Online
Some common places to sell online are eBay, Amazon, Poshmark, Mercari, Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace.
Returns can be an issue when selling online so that is something to consider. No matter how well you describe something, it is inevitable that you will get unsatisfied buyers eventually. Some dishonest people will even damage an item so they can return it, or return their old damaged item instead of the one you sold them.
Here are some ideas of things to sell online:
Electronics and video games – these are always in demand. Video game consoles, video games and accessories, cameras, cell phones, computers, VCRs, etc. Most people know there are value in these so the prices may be a bit high, but you can still probably find bargains. Many times if you purchase in bulk or purchase a system complete with games you can get more items for cheaper and sell them all separately to make more money.
Some DVDs, VHS, CDs, Cassette tapes – Many are practically worthless, but there are money makers out there. If buying a few items for more money, it is important to look up the price so you know if it is worth anything. A good tactic is to buy bulk inventory so you can piece out the valuable items and then sell the ones worth less in lots.
Textbooks – Many are practically worthless but by looking them up you will quickly know. Older editions of textbooks become worthless so if you found a textbook worth nice money, try to sell it right away.
Nonfiction books – Make sure you look up the books to make sure they are worth it. As always it comes down to research.
Hardcover Series of Fiction Books – A good example is the Harry Potter book series. Single books don’t sell for a huge amount, but sell the whole set together and you can get a nice amount for it. This holds true for other book sets, as well as grouping together books by the same author. Softcover books will sell, but are not usually worth as much as hardcovers are.
Sealed items – All kinds of unused items sell well. If you find a sealed item, look it up to see if it is worth it.
Toys, puzzles, plush toys – Again it comes down to looking up the items to see comps that have sold. Vintage toys are great. Puzzles you’d never think are worth something will sell. Plush toys can be great sellers and are usually cheap to purchase.
Board games – Older and vintage games are great, as are sealed games. It is important to make sure all the pieces are included, or make sure you include in your listing that not all of the pieces are there. You can also piece out the board, game pieces, or cards on their own.
Clothing – Clothes are great sellers! Shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, hats, jackets, sweaters, bras, shoes, women’s, men’s, children’s – it is all great. Learning about brands and fashions can be intimidating but there are so many YouTube videos that help you figure out which brands to pick up.
Pet accessories – People love their pets so naturally they’ll be buying things for them. Harnesses, pet feeders, and doggie backpacks are some good possibilities.
Seasonal items such as back to school, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving – you can usually pick these kinds of things up out of season for low prices, then store and resell at the correct time of year.
Antiques – This will take time and research to learn, but if you find a niche and learn it well it can be very profitable.
Hiking supplies, backpacks, sleeping bags – These are a bit larger than other items on the list but usually can be quite profitable if you find expensive brands.
Kitchen supplies – Again these are larger, but can be very profitable if you know what you are doing. Some examples are electric mixers, coffee makers, coffee grinders, pots, pans, Corelle, Corningware, Le Creuset, etc.
Examples of Best Items to Sell in Person
When doing in person sales, pretty much anything is a possibility. Selling larger and heavier items is much easier. As long as you have storage space and the ability to transport items it will work. Some common places to sell are swap meets, Facebook Marketplace, yard/garage sales, Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo.
These are great because once you sell the item you are done and don’t have to worry about returns. You also get the money right away with no holding period.
All of the items listed above in online selling should sell great in person as well. In addition, here are some other ideas.
Bicycles – People are always looking for affordable bikes for themselves and their children. If you can find cheap ones or even damaged ones that you can fix or sell as is, this could be a great idea.
Furniture and Appliances – They are big and bulky but usually can be found for cheap or even free. Couches, bookcases, hutches, side tables, ovens, washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators are some ideas.
Tools – There are so many possibilities here. Drills, saws, wrenches, air compressors, even battery packs for tools sell for nice money.
Children’s Outdoor Toys – Some ideas are play houses, trampolines, and kid sized cars.
Strollers, Play Pens, Other Kid Stuff – Parents always need affordable stuff for their children, so these would sell very well.
Exercise Equipment – Treadmills, weight sets, exercise machines, and stationary bicycles could all sell for nice money.
Outdoor Equipment – Lawn mowers, weed wackers, barbecue grills, patio chairs, patio tables, outdoor couches, fire pits, pizza ovens, and snow removal equipment are possibilities.
Large Pet Accessories – cat trees, dog crates, dog houses would all sell very well.
This may give you some ideas of what you can resell, but remember that there are so many other possibilities. Research, be creative, and keep finding new inventory sources. It can take quite a bit of time to find fresh things to sell but the effort is well worth the reward.
What Are Some Things You May Not Want To Resell?
Since we discussed some things that would be good to sell, here are a few that may not be a good idea. Most of these are from my own personal experience and others may disagree but I think it is worthwhile to mention these.
These mainly apply to online sales as you do not want to risk losing your selling account or get into legal hassles.
Worn out items – If something is too used up or worn, it is probably best to toss it away. You do not want to deal with upset customers or possibly dangerous items.
Food/Grocery or Medicine – This one is controversial as many people sell these items, but in my opinion edible items can be a bit risky. Years back it wasn’t a big deal, but now it is more complicated so I don’t bother. Amazon has also gated the category and makes it harder for small time sellers to be approved. It all comes down to if you want to deal with the hassle. Another issue is that higher selling fees plus direct competition from Amazon have made it difficult to make money.
Baby formula – Amazon makes it impossible for a small seller to resell baby formula with the gating and requiring money to apply for certain brands. eBay does not restrict selling there, but I have had a baby formula listing pulled with threats of restricting my account for further issues. After that I stopped selling formula as I do not want any problems.
Medical devices – Certain devices such as CPAP machines are not allowed to be resold. It isn’t worth the risk to your account to try and sell these things. Even selling accessories or cords isn’t worth it to me.
Breast pumps – In the past these were great sellers. Cleaning, sanitizing, then selling used pumps was a great money maker. Now sometimes the listings are removed. I have sold breast pump batteries but still sometimes get an error message when listing.
Car seats – Sometimes there are recalls or issues with the seat. It is not a good idea to sell items like that, and oftentimes an item looks fine but can have a recall or problem you don’t know about.
Sexual items – They are allowed, but I prefer to stay away from things that have a lot of category restrictions. In the past I have sold condoms on Amazon FBA, but now I just avoid all of these kinds of things.
Certain brand name items – The eBay VERO list is a hassle, and sometimes you can get one randomly without even thinking you did anything wrong. Some brands like Otterbox and Beachbody (Makers of P90X) are aggressive about going after resellers. Amazon FBA is no better as you may still get threatening messages or letters from lawyers. The hard thing is you never know if a brand is going to be like this or if they are fine with items being resold. A person is allowed to resell things they have purchased, but it doesn’t always work out how it should when you can get unfairly banned from the big online selling platforms.
Private label items – These are most commonly brands that smaller companies or individuals create and sell on Amazon. In my years of reselling I have tried selling items like this before and gotten VERO or cease and desist letters. The worst part is that many times these private label items don’t even sell for much since customers love brand names. When purchasing items from bin stores, this can be a problem as many stores get Amazon inventory. Amazon has been overrun by private label items so it is important to be careful with your selling so you keep your account safe.