Lots of people got into reselling common consumer products during the pandemic because of money concerns or too much extra stuff lying around the house once they suddenly were stuck inside.
And demand skyrocketed as some goods became difficult to find or new remote-working and remote-schooling needs developed.
There are dozens of websites on which to sell merchandise. There are the big generalists — including eBay, Amazon and wholesale site B-Stock — and a wealth of specialized online marketplaces for books, vintage clothing, jewelry and other things. Most sites have basic get-started guides and communities of sellers that share tips.
Here's some basic information:
Staying legal: As long as the merchandise has been legally purchased, retailers can't prevent you from selling it again to a different buyer. Some retailers require resellers to deface labels, bar codes and QR codes. There is one way folks involved in reselling can get themselves into serious trouble, and that is by not being careful about where they obtain their goods.
Getting products to resell: Make sure to buy from legitimate sources. One is B-Stock, which acquires its goods at liquidation prices from big-name retailers and websites. You will need a resale certificate with a sales tax number. That allows you to avoid local sales taxes when you buy, which lowers your costs. The resale certificate requirements vary among states.
To use a site such as eBay as a reseller, you first have to register by creating a business or personal account. You then decide what you are selling, list it with a description and add a photo.
Upfront costs: B-Stock recently surveyed 145 resellers to see how their businesses fared during the 13 months of the pandemic and found that 25% did not require any financial assistance to start their business.
Once your business is underway, other traditional costs can be low, including marketing. Many businesses advertise their resale wares by using their Facebook and Instagram pages.
Many sites charge commissions and fees on sales, which will eat into your profit. And, of course, you will need to get the products to the customers, which means shipping.
For reviews of sites and a rundown of costs, check out SideHusl.com, which researches and rates moneymaking opportunities in the gig economy.
Resellers generally need to collect sales tax in their home states and pay income tax on their earnings, although occasional sellers usually get an exemption for activities such as hosting a yard sale at their house.