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When we had been reselling for about a year, I remember walking into a thrift store and wanting to walk right back out again.
Normally I love hunting for treasure but the idea of digging my way through an entire rack of t-shirt and then an entire rack of jeans, and then 3 racks of women sweaters…and so on and so forth had me bummed out.
That day we didn’t go into clothing at all. We found valuable electronics, some figurines, lots of shoes, and other collectibles. It was great!
This led us to wonder, why did we sell so much clothing? We figured it was about time to diversify our reselling business and spend our time where it would be the most valuable.
But where was that?
It was time for an epic hard goods vs clothing show-down!
What Are Hard Goods?
I assume you already know what clothing is. Or at least, I hope you do.
But what the heck are hard goods?
In general, hard goods are classified based on touch or feel. It is a non-specific retail term rather than an economic classification. Some examples of hard goods include appliances, books, sporting goods, jewelry, tools etc. On the other side of the coin, we find “soft goods” which include items such as clothing, bedding, bags, etc.
For our purposes here, though, we’ll consider hard goods to be any non-clothing items that can be sold on eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, or Amazon.
While we actually have an entire article on non-clothing items that you can flip, a few of my favorites include:
- Holiday Items
- Phones & Accessories (such as iPhone boxes)
- Hobby Items
- Sporting Goods
- Musical Instruments
While clothing is a great way for people to start out with (since there’s so much of it) it’s worth noting that anyone who makes a lot of money reselling on eBay either switches predominantly to hard goods or lists clothing in extremely high volumes (often with hired help).
While it’s not practical for most people to source only one or the other, we hate to see people limit themselves to clothing and miss out on all the hard goods profits. If anyone sources their goods mainly from thrift stores and encourages sticking to one type of item (shoes for example) you can rest assured that they are leaving tons of money on the table.
Choosing to stick with only one item is super great if you’re lazy however as it assures that you can simply stagnate instead of learning and growing. Assuming that you’re interested in kicking butt and taking names, let’s continue!
If you have been selling on eBay for any length of time, you’ll know this feeling: every piece of clothing starts looking and feeling the same, and every time you look at your death pile you die a little inside.
Not only that, but you can’t bring yourself to list things that you know are valuable because it’s so boring! Now, we’re all for pushing through the boredom and just getting stuff done, but when we get ultra tired of clothing it’s always nice to know we can simply switch gears a little bit, avoid clothing for a while, and make just as much money! Come and join us on a trip to the wonderful land of hard goods!
Clothing vs Hard Goods – Which Is Easier To Sell?
As much as we love diversification, clothing holds many general advantages over hardgoods
- Clothing (profitable clothing) can be found at almost any thrift store.
- Once you become accomplished at recognizing clothing you can find nearly unlimited pieces to resell.
- Priced competitively, clothing can sell extremely quickly.
- Clothing is small, easy, and inexpensive to ship. Many people are turned off by the idea of shipping a guitar or a bike, not matter the profits.
There are, however, exceptions to all of these rules. For example, TV remotes can be found at almost any thrift store, are easy to look up, and we recently sold one for $64 in under an hour from listing. It was then a simple matter of shipping it first class in a padded poly mailer. If someone is looking for the specific item you find, hard goods can (and do) sell extremely fast. In general, however, quality clothing sells more quickly than quality hard goods.
Remember that sales are biased bases on the area you source in and the items you gravitate toward
How To Find Profitable Hard Goods To Resell
Fortunately, finding profitable hard goods follows the exact same pattern as finding profitable clothing. If you find something promising, you look it up on eBay and see if they are completed listings. As you become more experienced, you get faster and need to look up fewer brands.
Some Our Best Hard Goods Sales
Our Purchase Price: $20
Notes: Vintage stereo receivers go for a pretty penny and this one is the cream of the crop. If we had been able to fully test it (or have it gone through at a shop) we would have priced it in the $1200 range. As is, it sold in 3 days. Although we did have to endure a ton of bull crap offers within that time.
Our Purchase Price: $8
Notes: Genuine leather from Coach? A no-brainer. Finding items like this is pretty much picking up money off the ground.
Our Purchase Price: $3.50
Notes: High-quality side bags are always worth going through. If you’re in a hurry, avoid the huge mass of generic black leather (or faux leather) bags and only check the canvas or brown leather bags.
Our Purchase Price: Free
Notes: This item we actually pulled straight out of the dumpster at our storage unit. It was as simple as seeing it, looking it up, and grabbing it. We just had to deal with an extremely ornery buyer who thought that “ask the seller for a shipping quote” meant free shipping.
Our Purchase Price: $14
Notes: To be honest, I expected this to sell faster and for more money. It sat around for almost a year before we discounted it and it sold. In hindsight, I wouldn’t source dishes if they only sell at this price point. They are too time-consuming and expensive to ship.
Our Purchase Price: Free-ish
Notes: This item we didn’t have to put any effort into finding. I got it as a high-school graduation present and held on to it for sentiment’s sake for a couple of years too long.
Although we didn’t directly source it, there are a significant number of people who make a living sourcing only phones, iPods, and similar items from their local craigslists/classifieds. Electronics typically sell for a very predictable amount and so you can know extremely accurately the amount of profit you can get from each purchase.
Our Purchase Price: $3.50
Notes: Real leather planners, binders, calendars, etc sell very well. The type of people who insist on carrying them also seem to be the kind of people who get stuck on a specific brand. Check out the inserts from this same brand that we also found and sold (keep scrolling).
Our Purchase Price: Ehhhh….free-ish….again
Notes: Whether you find them at a thrift store or in classifieds, cameras can be a great thrift store flip. Just be sure to test them thoroughly! This one was Kristie’s so we were sure that it was fully functional and in good condition.
Our Purchase Price: $7
Notes: Never hear of it…looked it up….saw they were expensive…listed it and sold it 12 hours later.
Our Purchase Price: $6
Notes: If you’re the special brand of weirdo that will only use a certain brand of a planner, you are very limited to the refills/inserts that you can use. Once they are discontinued you are faced with either making your own copies (ghetto/thrifty) or buying refills on eBay (good for sellers, expensive for you). These took a couple of weeks to sell.
Our Purchase Price: $12
Notes: Once you know the look and feel of high-quality leather, you will never want for bags and purses to sell.
Our Purchase Price: $5
Notes: Vintage curling irons and other cosmetic tools sell extremely well. The stranger (more unique) the better.
Our Purchase Price: $10
Notes: In case you’re unaware, eBay actually has a function in their search that allows you to scan barcodes and see the items for sale. For some reason, copies of LOST on DVD were way more expensive than blue-ray copies so we picked this up and they sold just before Christmas.
Our Purchase Price: $6.83
Notes: This is another one that we sourced off of eBay. We knew that it would be a slow sale so we put in on a BIN and sent it to storage to wait. If you are content to play the waiting game, you can win auctions for items that are very valuable but have low demand that was foolishly put on auction by their seller.
Now get out there and source! Now that you know exactly what hard goods are, hopefully, you’ll be able to incorporate some new items into your thrifting repertoire. Good luck!