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With unemployment and inflation numbers through the roof, more people are looking for alternative types of work than ever before.
Add in the anti-work movement and thousand of people are leaving their jobs every day and needing to come up with new forms on income (me, 5 years ago).
There is a third group of people who are still working their jobs but want (or need) to come up with a way to make some extra money to be sure that the rent is paid at the end of the month.
Whatever your reason for wanting to flip clothing, the first (and most important question) is how much money you can make reselling clothes.
The answer, of course, is that it depends. However, there are some generalities that we can draw from my own experience and the information I have gathered from talking with dozens of other resellers.
How Much Does The Average Reseller Make?
The average clothing reseller makes less than $300 per month. However, this number is heavily brought down by the huge number of resellers that put in very little effort and reap very few rewards.
It makes more sense to talk about what the deciding factors are for making money reselling clothing and how much you can make for the time you spend (eg. how much do people make per hour on eBay).
The Deciding Factors:
The most important factor (by a magnitude) in determining the amount of money you can make reselling clothes is the time you spend doing it.
Which seems like a no-brainer.
However, many people are astounded by the amazing flips they see on social media and don’t take into account the hours that the seller spent learning brands and the dozens of hours spent combing through rack after rack at the thrift store.
If you want to make money you need to spend as much time as possible sourcing and listing items for sale.
Most beginning sellers (non-full-time) have success by making a goal to source and list at least 5 items per day.
We sell mostly on eBay and, once we figured out how to sell on eBay effectively, we were able to source and list 5 items in less than an hour. At an average profit of $28 per item, we were easily able to make $50-100/hour at part-time clothing resellers.
Pro Thrifting Tip: When it comes to reselling clothes, you get out of it what you put into it. If you want to make more money, work more hours.
Where & What Your Source
There are a dozen different viable business models for sourcing and flipping used clothes. From buying in bulk and selling individually to buying Amazon Returns (we use liquidation.com) to just hanging out at thrift stores.
The speed of your sales, as well as your profit margin, will be highly influenced by the types of items you source and the deals you can get.
If you are just starting out, I would recommend sourcing mainly from thrift stores or the Goodwill Outlet. This allows you to make mistakes without losing much money when you make mistakes.
At Goodwill Outlets, you can buy clothing by the pound which allows you to calculate your profits fairly accurately.
There are sellers who source only at the Goodwill Outlets that are able to make $500 or more per day reselling their finds. However, doing so requires spending the entire day digging through bins.
With that being said, the amount of money you will make is highly influenced by your location and plain old luck. Can you make $1,000 per month selling clothes online? Easily. But it’ll take some work and experimenting with different sourcing methods.
Pro Tip: Experiment with buying cheap clothing (such as t-shirts) from the Goodwill Bins to refine your brand knowledge, picture-taking skills, and listing speed.
Where You Sell
Most people who are trying to make money selling clothing gravitate towards eBay. The obvious reason for this is that eBay has the largest customer base, by a very large margin.
However, there are lots of alternatives to eBay that can leave you with higher profits (or just higher fees, depending).
If you are a new seller, focus on one or two platforms to begin with. I would recommend sticking with one or two of the “big three” in selling platforms if you want to maximize how much money you can make from your clothing.
The Reselling “Big Three”
- eBay: eBay is the largest and oldes of the reselling platforms. It supports thousands of full-time resellers who make up to tens of thousands of dollars per month selling clothing.
- Mercari: Mercari works much the same way as eBay
- Poshmark: If you are into trendy and cute clothing and want to incorporate social-media into your reselling experience, Poshmark is a strong choice. They have the highest fees of the Big Three but, with a rabid shopping base, you can typically price your items a big higher than other platforms.
Pro Tip: If you want to make the most money possible reselling clothing you should be listing your items on multiple platforms. “Cross posting” is a common practice in the reselling community and most successful sellers use a piece of software called List Perfectly to make the process much easier.
How Much Money Can You Make Selling Clothes? (My Experience)
If you’re wondering exactly how much money you can make selling on eBay, we can use my experience as a case study. While I can’t guarantee that you’ll make as much (although you might make more…) it will at least give you a good idea of what is possible.
How Much We Made Selling Clothing Part Time On eBay
When we were part-time sellers we put in 10-15 hours per week (mostly evenings and weekends).
Here’s what we were able to get done per month:
- Sourced and listed 150-250 items
- Sold and shipped around 100 items per month
Those two things meant we were able to average just over $3,000 per month in sales.
After sourcing costs and fees we ended up right around $2,000 per month ($500 per week) selling clothes part-time.
How Much We Made As Full-Time Sellers
We we decided to make the leap to full-time clothing sellers my wife and I both quit our jobs, meaning we had to replace $4k per month in lost income.
Working full-time we were able to:
- Source and list 400-600 items
- Sell and ship around 300 items
Most people who go full-time experience a decrease in profit margin and average sales price. Luckily, we have so many thrift stores in our area that we didn’t run out of places to thrift.
The biggest difference, however, is that we were able to start buying lots from government liquidation and public surplus. That, coupled with our thrifting and yard sale shopping gave us all the inventory that we could list.
With two of us working full-time we ended up with $12-15k in sales per month.
This meant that we made almost $10,000 per month selling used clothes.
However, we were a bit lazy. There are couples that have broken the $30k per month mark reselling on eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark.
If you are hard-working and ingenious, the sky is literally the limit.
People who are able to successfully scale up their eBay businesses are able to make an excellent six-figure income without working themselves to the bone.
In short, the answer to how much money you can make reselling clothes is, “as much as you want.” The harder you work, the more you can make!
Once you master the basic of sourcing, listing, and shipping it’s simply a matter of doing more of it and, when you’re maxed out, getting help.
So get out to your local Goodwill Outlet and start finding something to resell!