August 19

5 Reselling Tips for Today’s Economy

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In today’s economy, making a profit has become much more feasible for everyone. The average entrepreneur can start their business confident in the potential payoff: a sense of accomplishment, networking, renown, and money. One way people become entrepreneurs is by refurbishing used items and reselling. Used does not have to mean obsolete. Used can mean profit too. Take cars for instance. People have an interest in new cars, but also used ones and buy accordingly. If you have the initiative and are seeking more information, keep reading. We have compiled 5 reselling tips for today’s economy.

Business, like any other endeavor comes with risk. The potential risks include a loss of income and failure. Whatever you lose though can be regained if you keep trying. However, you will never reap any benefits without trying. With the right strategy, your business can be a success.

How to get started

First thing’s first! Determine which items your skillset is best suited for refurbishing. For example, if you’re great with electronics, try fixing computers. If you’re brilliant with mechanics, try working on vehicles. Do you have an affinity for anything?

The good news is, not only does everyone have a gift, everyone has played the role of the consumer. You have an understanding of what people want in a product, and how said product should properly function. This is why picking an item you are familiar with is important.

Below are examples of things you can refurbish and then resell:

Next, do some research on how much those items typically sell for and what kinds of upgrades people want in them. You don’t want to invest in refurbishing items with features that no one wants or needs. Make sure to pick items that are in demand so you can easily resell them. Things that people need will always have buyers waiting.

You’ll also increase your profit margin by fixing up items yourself, rather than paying someone else. Self-sufficiency will help you retain some money. This does not mean you have to start your business alone. Starting a business with more people can bring in more profits overall. More people involved means more work gets done. What you should avoid is getting people outside of your business to work for you. That’s when your profit margin will begin to shrink.

Portrait of a stack of dollar bills.

What sites to use

While there are still the traditional flea markets and garage sales, sourcing your items online saves you a lot of time and money. Both of which are expended when you drive to individual events on specific days. An often overlooked resource for resellers is government auctions like Municibid. Online government auctions have a wide range of items like vehicles, heavy equipment, boats, computers, tools, furniture, musical instruments, jewelry, even real estate!

Time commitment

Aside from an increased variety in choice, online government auctions offer another benefit. There isn’t a set day and time where you have to constantly appear in-person. That is the case with a traditional live auction and flea market. Of course, you still have to do your due diligence of appearing at least once to claim the item, but it’ll be a lot faster than driving to a dozen different vendors.

Depending on the refurbishments you’re performing, your turnaround time from buying the item to reselling will vary. You’ll also need to market your refurbished items. If you’re doing everything yourself, your greatest time commitment will most likely be fixing up the items. Then you’ll have to spend time advertising.

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You’ll notice that as you find goods to buy either for enjoying or reselling, that pictures are worth a thousand words. Just as you are choosy about what you buy based on appearances, know that people will judge your work the same. Take the time necessary to capture professional pictures.

Potential costs

Common costs you’ll incur are the initial purchasing of items to refurbish, marketing your upgraded products, and shipping them to customers. You can save on shipping costs by picking up items yourself and requiring your buyers to pick up from you. You could even have them pay for shipping themselves. With time, ideally, you’ll find similar items that need the same types of upgrades. If so, you can save money on parts by buying in bulk. When marketing your items, keep your cost low by leveraging sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and local classifieds.

Potential financial gain

Depending on how you upgrade the items, you could easily see a 50-100% increase on resell price. Keep track of your expenses and you can identify which items had a greater profit margin. This will help you find more of the best items to resell. Overall, you’ll see higher profit margins with items that are already a higher value, like vehicles, as opposed to lower value items like furniture. Specializing in a niche market will give you a huge advantage too with higher demand. It’s an opportunity ripe for resellers to sweep in and satisfy market needs.

Municibid Testimonials

Joseph Hymel – Owner/Technician – Home PC Repair & Refurbishing 

Man sitting in front of computer harddrive stacks.

“For about a year, I have been using Municibid, but have been a member for much longer. Municibid gave me a new trade or job that I wanted to do, but had to learn how to do it. I decided without even knowing how to refurbish and repurpose computers to bid on and buy some computers.” 

“My first auction win had about five computers in it. After winning them I researched and learned how to make the machines like new and usable again. Here I am now, just having bid on and won 29 computers. Those first five were my test batch and the batch did indeed pass. I made quite a lot off of the five. Now I have begun to refurbish those and more than that I have found a stay-at-home job with great monetary returns. Thanks Municibid.”

Pete Grave – Owner – Ted Covington Sales

“We are an auto salvage/used and vintage car business that I started in 1962, when I got out of the Navy. The original location was in Buckingham, PA. With four moves we ended up on Route 611 in Ottsville, PA, in 1986 where we are today. We started in 1962 buying used Police cars from Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. We could recondition them and sell for a very reasonable price. This morphed into selling repaired wrecks to townships and boroughs and at one point remanufacturing Chevrolet Caprices.” 

“We are probably the longest living buyer of City of Philadelphia vehicles. Today with the Global market we are exporting used police vehicles to Europe and the Middle East. My wife of 55 years drives a 2011 Crown Vic Philadelphia K9 car. She trains German Shepherds and we have four. At 83 I am still going, retirement is not for me, just slowing down.” 

Rene Rigau – Owner – The Rugged Little Shop

Woman using metal tools to construct furniture.
A double bourbon barrel table.

The Rugged Little Shop is an industrial rustic custom furniture design and build company. I recently bid and won a radial arm and a table saw that I needed to complete a build that a customer ordered. It was a one-of-a-kind double bourbon barrel table that is with a very happy customer in his Cape May NJ airplane hanger. Thank you, Municibid!

Charles E. Snyder – Owner – Unique Automotive

Man standing in front of resold traffic lights.

“The journey to where I am today started with a Municibid auction win in June of 2014. I am an automotive guy. I have a decent sized garage with a couple of antique cars filling the bays. I am always looking for decor and automotive related antiques and memorabilia to line the walls of my garage with. In 2014, the one item I was looking for was a stop light.”

“I was looking at single traffic lights for sale on other auction and merchant sites and I just couldn’t come up with the current asking prices. I was doing some basic online searches for traffic lights to see if I could find a more reasonable price and Municibid was one of the top suggestions. I registered but I didn’t think I had much chance of winning any of the auctions. The prices of single traffic lights were high and I figured that an auction with multiple lights would be even higher.”

Five different auction traffic lights.

“To my surprise, and maybe a little bit of horror, I ended up winning a group of 25 lights for close to the same price that I would have paid for one. 

“I work in a fairly large manufacturing plant and I found out quickly that I wasn’t the only one locally that wanted a traffic light for their garage. Just through word of mouth at work, within a couple of weeks, I was able to move all of the lights from that first Municibid auction win. Just through conversation at work, and with friends and family, I found out that a lot of people enjoyed vintage traffic lights and signs. I even had people requesting certain specific lights and signs if I ever came ‘across them in my travels.’”

“Since that first auction win in 2014, I realized that I could bid on items, add to my own collection, help friends and family add to their collections, and maybe even make a few dollars at the day’s end. I didn’t realize it at the time and it wouldn’t really set in for a couple of years, but that first Municibid win on that day in June of 2014 was the beginning of Unique Automotive. Over the past 7 years, I have slowly gotten braver, and I have bid on larger and larger groups of items. That first auction opened up a lot of unknowns, I had no idea what I was getting into at the time. Now, it’s nothing for me to bid on and pick up 25 traffic lights at once or to bid on and win 100+ traffic signs in one auction. I have enough of an inventory now that I’ve even began bidding on auctions for parts and pieces.”

Outside display of resold traffic lights and signals.

“Unique Automotive has evolved into a place for me to share my finds and for others to share their interests and finds with the rest of us. I am no longer limited to traffic lights and signs. I buy, sell, trade, and share all sorts of unique automotive and travel related items now. Anything you might see along the highways while you are on a cross country trip can be found in the Unique Automotive inventory and archives. Traffic lights, street signs, fire hydrants, parking meters, vintage payphones, automotive advertising, vintage maps, and so much more!”

“It’s been a fun, educational, and fruitful trip so far over the past 7 years. I enjoy the hunt, the thrill of the auctions. I don’t see it coming to an end any time soon, this is just the beginning!”

The Next Step

Now that you’ve taken the time to read and learn about reselling, it’s time to act. As these testimonials show, the rewards for hard work and dedication are clear. To get there though, you first need ambition and then a good item to refurbish and sell. With these qualities set in place you are set to find a unique high demand market that you can service will put you in an excellent position to serve and make great profits! Start your search for interesting items here at Municibid.


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