Using Yard Sales for Side Income-Fun? Yes. Difficult? Definitely.

by Matt B

Yard SaleWho doesn’t enjoy a brisk Saturday morning, driving around town in search of the deals offered by friends, neighbors and strangers alike? I’m talking of course, about yard and garage sales. I’ll be the first to admit that this is not my first choice of “fun” activities for a weekend day. I would much rather still be sleeping. Or watching football in my underpants on the couch. Or even cleaning the house…(believe it or not, it’s true).

Just because I’m not a big fan of shopping of any kind, that does not mean that while I laze on the couch, you can’t enjoy the bright sunlight and meet some nice folks looking to shed some dead weight around their house. If you play your cards right, you can even turn a profit!

Know What You’re Looking For-

If you are looking to make some money, you are going to have to have a niche or two. Some people have a good knowledge of antiques. Others have an eye for toys or obscure collectibles. Some just know the market and frequent sites like ebay, amazon or any number of outlets that offer an interface to sell items.

If You don’t Have a Niche, Get One-

Like anyone else, you know what you like. Maybe your hobbies are too technologically advanced for you to make that your yard sale specialty, but there are plenty of places to learn about collectibles and the like, and how much they might go for on the open market. If that is too much work for you, stick with what you do know, even if it is limited.

Research-

You’re not trying to become self-employed, you are just trying to get a few extra bucks on the side in your so-called “spare” time. Do not go overboard and become obsessed with the yard sale game. That said, you will still need to take some time to research. Know before you start negotiations at the sale, how much certain kinds of items go for, what it will cost you to list and ship the items, and approximately how much of a profit you may expect. These are critical factors to help you decide to “pull the trigger” on your purchases.

If You Are Looking For Rock-Bottom Prices-

For the most frugal yard-salers, these two tips are priceless. 1) Find sales (online or in the newspaper) that are off the beaten path. If you are out in the country, you know where the people are not. Go to these sales to find the down-trodden sellers who have seen little to no traffic and are just looking to get rid of things. This makes for easy and more importantly, inexpensive finds. 2) Sunday afternoon=prime haggling time. You may be faced with a depleted selection, but sellers do not want to pack everything back up. This makes them more than willing to let items go for next to nothing.

Don’t Expect to Find a $10,000 Baseball Card (or Anything Comparable)-

People today are much more savvy when it comes to what things are worth. Now more than ever! Your chances of hitting the lottery are far greater than finding an item that will make you thousands. My advice- Don’t even bother. I don’t think you’re looking to get into a fistfight with anyone else that recognizes the same “treasure” that you just noticed. Look for items that have potential for modest profits, but if you’re looking for the golden goose, you will be disappointed. Willy Wonka doesn’t have yard sales.

It Takes Work-

Do not expect that you will be earning plenty of money without putting plenty of time and effort in yourself. There are a few people who do this for a living, and I can practically promise you that these people put in far more hours than you do. Nothing comes for free, but at least you can talk other people into giving you stuff for cheap!

Photo: jbcurio

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