From my book: “I made a very modest living for several years selling wigs on eBay. My late husband Cliff had a barbershop for years. He also sold women’s wigs he bought at a steep discount. Local demand for wigs wasn’t very high. His stock had built up to about five hundred by the time he decided to close the shop.
He suggested I sell them on eBay. They sold like hotcakes. I bought more wigs from a wholesaler and kept on selling. However, eBay flows in waves. More wig sellers came on board. More buyers began to expect super-low prices. By the fifth year, there was no longer any profit in it. With eBay sales, you make the profit when you buy the item, more than when you sell it. Before buying anything to resell, check the completed auctions for similar items. This is important because knowing what other sellers are asking for their items isn’t useful information.
What matters is what buyers are actually paying. Is the item selling, or are the auctions ending without a bid? What do the final bids tend to be? Can you buy the item you are considering for much less than those final bids? Or would you be working for little or no profit once all costs are considered?
The important thing on eBay is to always tell the truth, and fully disclose the condition of what you’re selling. One of the wigs in Cliff’s shop started out as a long Rapunzel-type costume wig. He had it in stock a long time. People had bought, worn, and returned it, and he didn’t always store it carefully. By the time the shop closed, that wig was tangled, raggedy, and half bald. I listed it as a living dead zombie wig and it sold immediately.
One way to find things to sell is to watch and see what products are being actively promoted on TV. Then see if you can buy it wholesale. Most wholesalers will require a business license. You can get a license from your county or city for a fee. One example is an exercise video series that sold well for me on eBay while the infomercials aired. Once they stopped, sales dropped off. Watch for fads, catch them at the peak, and get out before the slump.
Half.com is a part of eBay. It’s a good place to sell books, movies, and music. People buy and sell textbooks there, too. Many people I know of have used Half.com to downsize their collections of books, music, movies, and magazines. Www.amazon.com is another online selling site that is worth checking out. You can sell just about anything on Amazon.”
Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.