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Nearly every business we shop at on a daily basis is based on buying items in bulk and selling them individually for a mark-up.
Let’s take Walmart as an example. Since they have extraordinary buying power they can buy a million (or a hundred million) units of any particular item. Because they order in such quantity they can get a far lower price than their competitors.
This, in turn, allows them to sell their items for cheaper than anyone else while still maintaining a profit.
However, I’m guessing that you don’t have quite the buying power that Walmart does.
So what can the average person buy in bulk and sell for a profit?
Well, before getting to the individual items, let’s talk about some of the things that can make an item profitable to split up and sell for profit:
What Makes An Item Worth Buying In Bulk To Resell
If you’re looking to take your reselling side hustle to the next level, these are the things that will allow it to happen. You don’t need all of these to be true but if at least one of them is you’ll be more certain about the opportunity facing you.
1. You have huge buying power.
If you have the capital to invest, you can buy an entire truckload of shelf pulls, out-of-season items, etc. At this level, you’ll have much less competition and should be able to make a significant profit on your items.
It’s not unusual for resellers to turn $100 into $1000 or more if you can afford large lots.
2. You have a unique opportunity.
If you have an opportunity because of your location (or perhaps your job/connections) you can leverage it into some amazing bulk deals.
For example, I live in an area where there are tons of ski resorts and ski rental facilities. At the end of the season, there are opportunities to buy last season’s rentals in bulk from shops that are trying to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Look around and try to identify what unique opportunities you have that other people couldn’t easily get access to.
3. You can easily add value.
If you have a talent or idea that allows you to easily add value to your bulk buys you can use your idea to make a profit.
For example, I have a friend who buys used VHS players in bulk lots. He tests them and then bundles them with the remote, necessary cords, and user’s manual that he prints off. The value that he adds allows him to charge 2-3x as much as his competition that sells untested units without accessories.
4. You can provide convenience or opportunity.
Many people who pay up for single items do so because they need it at the moment.
Think of someone who pays $10 for a $1 poncho when it rains at a football game or $12 for a beer.
If you can buy in bulk in preparation for a need you’ll be able to sell the individual items for many times what you paid for them.
Now, as resellers, we’re pretty limited on the amount of money we can spend on bulk inventory.
There are eBay flippers that buy Amazon returns or lost mail by the trailer load but we’re still stuck on the lower end of the spectrum.
So here are some of the items that we regularly buy in bulk to resell. All of these should be well within reach of the average person.
7 Items To Buy In Bulk & Sell Individually
1. Playing/Game Cards
If you’re willing to source used items for resale you can get great deals by buying people’s old collections.
You can find great deals at yard sales, thrift stores, or even eBay on bulk lots of cards such as:
- Pokemon Cards
- Magic The Gathering Game Cards
- Sports Cards
Buying cards in bulk is a great opportunity for you to add value to a potential buyer. By going through hundreds of cards, looking each one of them up, and listing them individually you save a collector the trouble of doing the same.
Check out one of the lots that we bought recently:
Card lots like this one are an excellent opportunity to double or triple your money if the seller is too lazy to go through and sell each item by itself.
Many resellers buy clothing but get stuck buying individual items.
Buying clothing in bulk (by the pound) is a great way to up your game. In fact, you can buy entire bales of used clothing which may (or may not…) contain valuable treasures!
You can also bulk-buy clothing from stores like Nordstrom Rack when they fail to sell things for a given period of time.
The Goodwill Outlet near my house sells unsorted media (CDs, DVDs, etc.) by the gaylord.
If you’re willing to drop $200 you get the honor of sorting through 2,000+ individual pieces of media. Even if you sell each item for $5 it makes media a great bulk buy.
Just be sure to look for deals that are “unsorted” as you might end up with someone’s duds otherwise.
5. Video Games
As with media, video games can be great bulk buys. Especially if you plan on selling them via Amazon (where prices are typically higher).
I’ve bought bulk video games from Woot, eBay, and even Redbox that I’ve been able to sell individually for great profits.
Many flippers who are into retail arbitrage will actually buy out all the copies of a game if they find it on clearance or on a great sale.
Books are probably one of the most thrown away and recycled new items on the planet. Barnes & Noble sells or recycles huge numbers of books and, if you can get your hands on them, you can pretty much print your own money.
Many booksellers who get tired of scanning books for Amazon at thrift stores end up buying books in large lots that they can scan at home.
No matter how new you are to reselling, there are lot sizes available in whatever level of bulk you can afford.
Just for something out of the box, I’ll throw this one out there to get your mind working.
Seeds for unusual plants are available in bulk. However, very few people are looking to plant a ton of strange plants. They might want only a couple.
So buy a high-quality box of seeds, split them up into envelopes, and sell them in quantities of 5.
Finding The Perfect Bulk Items To Flip
Just about anything can be purchased in bulk and sold individually. This is the very basis of wholesale.
If you’re just looking to get started, those are the places that I’d recommend looking as you don’t need nearly as much capital as investing in new or imported items.
Finding bulk items to flip to for profit is a matter of putting in the time looking. Once you’ve perfected your formula you’ll start seeing items worth reselling everywhere and will be able to scale up your business in no time. Good luck!