I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been spending a lot of time cleaning out closets whilst being stuck inside. I’ve been researching ways to make some cash selling used items — while social distancing — so I thought I’d pass on what I’ve learned to you.
Before you check this out, be sure to download the KCL app!
1. Get some basic shipping supplies before you begin.
You need to have plenty of supplies on hand if you want to start selling and mailing items. Here’s what I recommend:
- Free priority mail flat rate boxes and envelopes. (Order free on USPS.com.)
- Priority mail flat rate labels. (Print on USPS.com.)
- Gallon plastic storage bags or used plastic shopping bags. (Any dollar store bag, or use your own stockpile of shopping bags. I have a ton since my grocery store won’t let me use my own bags anymore.)
- Packing tape. (I get mine at any dollar store.)
- Empty boxes. (Use Amazon boxes or get them at recycling centers and grocery stores.)
2. Make sure your items are disinfected and wrapped in plastic bags before you sell them.
- Clothes: Make sure they are washed, folded, and don’t have any stains or rips (that you didn’t tell buyers about).
- Housewares and Toys: Give them a good wipe down with a cleaning wipe to be sure you don’t send anything unwelcome through the mail.
- Electronics: Use an alcohol wipe to disinfect or a cotton ball dipped in Hydrogen Peroxide or Isopropyl alcohol.
3. Sign up for any of the easy contactless mobile pay apps and set up an account.
Right now, you don’t want to exchange cash, because money is literally dirty (not philosophically). The best apps I’ve found have zero fees attached to sending or receiving money, and you get your money right away.
- GPay: This app is the best in my opinion, because you instantly get money into your account, and the payor cannot take it back out again! (Lots of scams going on with PayPal, because the money just floats around in cyberspace for a few days and the payor can cancel.) Plus, both parties don’t have to have a GPay account. You can send money to someone’s gmail or text it to their phone. Google launches a wizard that allows them to decide where to put the money.
- Venmo: Super easy to use, but it does have a one-day delay before the money goes into your account, so make sure you trust the payor. One cool feature is where you can scan the payor’s profile qwerty code and the app automatically pulls up their handle to pay them (this way you don’t have to type it in over and over until you get it right). Both parties must have an account for this to work.
- Zelle: Also instant payout, no fees, but some users have trouble getting their money if they too don’t have a Zelle account. Not super user friendly.
- Apple Pay: If you and the buyer both have iPhones, this is ridiculously easy. All you have to do is scan your debit card to set it up, then select the Wallet app on your phone to pay. You can also use Apple Pay at most grocery store registers just by hovering your phone near the point-of-sale device. No need to touch your card or the point-of-sale device.
4. Use your Instagram account to casually sell clothing and jewelry to friends and family.
Instagram doesn’t have any formal selling functionality in their regular user accounts, but people are still making a lot of extra money posting selfies in outfits they no longer want and just selling to their friends. You can just leave the items on friends’ porches and have them pay you through one of the apps I mentioned or send the item through Priority Mail.
5. Hold a virtual garage sale on Nextdoor to sell used furniture.
As you know, Nextdoor.com is for neighbors only. I use it to sell appliances, tools, furniture, and bikes — basically anything super large that I don’t want to ship that I just want out of my garage. You can still social distance by leaving the item out and having your neighbor come by to take a look. Then have buyers ePay you using one of the apps above.
6. Join Facebook Marketplace with your Facebook account and ship used items nationwide.
If you’ve got something you think is really good, like Aunt Aggie’s vintage doll collection, Facebook Marketplace is a good place to start getting a little more serious. But it’s still an easy entry into selling used things, because you can market just to friends (or friends of friends) in your city and view their profiles if you’re anxious about all the scary stories you’ve heard about Craigslist.
Also, if you manage your money through Facebook Marketplace (connect to a debit card, credit card, or PayPal), you get purchase protection on some items, so no need to worry about scammers.
Plus, you can ship from this app now (only if you’ve sold on Marketplace before) using their easy interface called Marketplace Checkout. If you ship from the app, you have to pay a selling fee of 5% of the selling price, and you don’t get the money into your account for 15 – 20 days after you marked the item as shipped.
You also have to physically ship the items yourself, so be sure you have your own boxes and packing supplies. Facebook only estimates the cost and charges the buyer for you, but you have to do everything else.
7. Use OfferUp to sell locally and protect your privacy.
OfferUp is a listing for used and new items, and also allows users to boost their items for a fee to get more buyers to see them. The things I like about this app are that you can message the buyer and handle the money through the app, without the buyer knowing your name and address or seeing your Facebook profile. It’s good for buying furniture or sporting goods for local pickup.
You can also ship things by weighing them then printing a label and attaching it to your package. You need your own packing supplies for this, though, so take note. And, take note of the 12.9% service fee to sellers for shipping — the highest I’ve seen. Note also that your anonymity goes away when you ship, as your address is on the label.
I’ve found OfferUp to be a little spammy, so be wary of questions like “Is this item still available?” Followed by, “I’m out of town and will pay you three times the value for this if you will ship it overseas.”
Plus, users tend to lowball on items, so feel free to ignore any offensive offers.
Payments go through:
- Bank account
- Debit or credit card
- PayPal (you will pay a fee here)
8. Use Mercari to run your transactions.
I haven’t looked into Mercari personally, but my friends say it works pretty well. They list clothing, small appliances, and electronics and offer to help the seller’s ship. But they charge a hefty 10% fee to sellers who print labels out from the app, second only to OfferUp’s fee.
Mercari has their own payment processor set up, which gets linked right to your debit card or bank account. If you want to wait for your money, you won’t get a charge for Direct Deposit, but the money takes five business days to reach your account. For Instant Pay, you get the money immediately but have to pay a $2 fee.
Just like with OfferUp, you can remain anonymous from the buyer, meaning they can’t view your personal information. But when you ship, your address is on the label.
9. Sell used designer clothing with Poshmark.
Poshmark and DPop are very hot with Gen Z and Millennials right now. Poshmark is great for used, high-end designer items for less. It’s really easy and quick, with reasonable commissions on sales.
Download the Poshmark app and set up an account. Users tend to just snap a pic of the item on a plain background. When you sell an item, Poshmark sends you a Priority label and builds the cost of shipping into the selling price. They recommend you get free Priority shipping supplies through USPS.com.
Poshmark charges a flat-rate commission of $2.95 for all sales under $15. For sales of $15 or more, they get a 20% commission. I sold a sweater on here for $25 and Poshmark got $5, while I kept $20.
Poshmark accepts the following payment methods:
- Credit or debit card
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
10. Sell trendy thrifted clothing on Depop.
Depop is good for items with that thrifted-vintage look, popular among high school girls but in order to understand the complicated fee structure, you have to be much older than that. Users snap selfies in the clothing for sale, obscuring their faces.
You can only connect it to PayPal, which triggers PayPal fees for items sold as a business, not as a “friends and family” payment, so in the U.S., PayPal takes a 2.9% cut of the sale, plus a transaction fee of $0.20 for each individual sale. Stay with me here, because now it’s gonna get complicated.
Depop then charges a 10% commission on every sale.
For shipping, you have to make sure that you select “Buyer Pays” or Depop will charge you, the seller, for shipping.
If you don’t take note of all this, you could end up paying someone to buy your item, which happens all the time on Depop because items are listed at very low price points, like $3 for a top, for example.
Here is what happens when a newbie tries to list a top for $3:
- $3 top
- 10% commission to Depop $0.30
- Paypal fees of 2.9% and transaction fee total $1.07
- Shipping costs $1.80 (accidentally selected “I pay shipping”)
- Envelope, bag and tape shipping estimate $1.00
- Total profit: -$1.17
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11. Sell used electronics fast with Gazelle.com.
Gazelle.com is a trade-in program, in that you enter in information about your device, it generates a quote and a shipping label, and you pack the item up and send it to them.
The quotes it gives are pretty low: for example, $145 for a 64GB iPhone 8 Plus. On OfferUp, those are selling for around $400.
Once they get your device and inspect it, they will send you money via PayPal (gets sent out 48 hours after they inspect your item, but then takes another 72 hours to hit your account once it clears in your PayPal account).
Or they will send an Amazon gift card, which also gets emailed within 48 hours, but you can use it immediately.
If you opt for a check, good luck, because that will take anywhere from five to ten business days to even get sent out. That’s like three weeks. Then you gotta deposit it and wait for it to clear.