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RPS #122 – Is Reselling From Thrift Stores Dead?

Is Reselling from Thrift Stores Dead?

Are thrift stores dead? Can you even make money from thrift stores anymore? The prices are rising like crazy. It seems as though all the employees are researching the items. Is it even worth it to go to thrift stores anymore?

I hear this type of talk all the time. Thrift stores are changing, and a lot of people are complaining about thrift stores. Many people are questioning if they should continue to go to thrift stores to try to find undervalued items to flip for a profit on eBay or Amazon.

Yes, Prices Have Gone Up
Since I started several years ago, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve gone to places like Salvation Army, Savers, and Goodwill. I’ve also done quite a few mom-and-pop stores. I can tell you right now with 100 percent certainty that thrift store prices have gone up like crazy.

It was a slow process. It’s not as if it happened overnight. I remember the toys started to go up a little bit, then the suits started to go up a little bit, then the dress shirts would go up a little bit, and then the boutique area would go up a little bit. They had been raising the prices slowly but surely over the last five or six years. So I want to say right now that it is harder to make money from thrift stores than it was in the past.

Prices are going up, and it’s becoming more challenging. More people have smartphones, and more people are able to research things. There are TV shows coming out. YouTube channels are getting a lot bigger. Facebook groups are getting a lot bigger. I think it’s more known to the general public that you can get good money for used items. These thrift stores are catching on, and they’re pricing things higher.

You Can Still Make Money
But the point I want to make is that even though prices are going much higher, there’s more competition, and it’s just not as easy anymore, there’s still tons of profit to be made. For the most part, when I walk into a thrift store, I typically always walk out with something.

Now, I’m not a full-time reseller anymore, so I’m a little pickier. But if you’re a full-time reseller and selling all different types of items—from toys to books to collectibles to clothing—it’s pretty much nearly impossible not to walk out and have something profitable in your cart. There’s definitely money to be made out there.

Do I think thrift store prices are going to go up even more? I think they are. I think they’re going to go up until they can’t go up any more. I think the thrift stores are still getting plenty of donations and selling a lot of their items on the half-off days. So until they run out of store space, I think it’s in their best interest to keep jacking up the prices.

I also believe that the general public is starting to shop a lot more at thrift stores, so it’s all about supply and demand. When more people shop at thrift stores, they bid the prices up. The thrift stores notice when every time they put a certain item out, it sells, so they’re going to keep jacking the prices up.

Prices are probably going to go up for a couple more years until they hit the ceiling and start to get close to the prices of Marshalls or TJ Maxx. So if you’re new to thrifting and selling on eBay and Amazon, and you’re wondering if you can do this full-time—you can. You can definitely do it full-time. It’s just not as easy as it used to be five or six years ago. You’ve got to do your research, study the sold listings, watch the YouTube videos, and educate yourself. You’ve got to get really good at taking amazing photographs. You’ve got to be really good at your systems and processes. You’ve got to know your numbers.

Look for Opportunities
It’s not as easy as it used to be, but I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that there is money to be made at the thrift stores. Some people out there are always crying and complaining, “Oh, the prices are going up. It’s not fair.” But the market’s going to do what the market’s going to do. You can either complain and not make any money, or you can go out there, work your butt off, and get that money. It’s out there.

So many people wonder if thrift stores are dead and if there’s money to be made. Trust me, there’s still money to be made. It’s just not as easy, and you’ve got to experiment with different thrift stores. I’ll be honest—some thrift stores do price their items quite high. Those are the thrift stores that won’t be worth your time to go to. But then there are other thrift stores that are still dirt cheap. There are half-off days and coupons. You have to look for the opportunities.

So get to know your thrift stores; don’t judge a thrift store just based on the cover. Sometimes you’ve got to go at certain times when the new inventory comes out. That’s the opportunity. Maybe you’ve got to build relationships with the people who work at your thrift stores, and they can give you tips and pointers. That could be your upper hand, your advantage right there. There are plenty of opportunities. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t listen to the pessimists out there who make it seem as if everything’s horrible. It’s not like it used to be, but it isn’t the worst by far.

Be Smart and Find the Scores
There’s still plenty of money to be made out there. It may take only one or two items that you find—a couple scores. If you go into a Savers that’s overpriced, but you find a Prada suit for $20, you made a day’s pay; you’re going to sell it for $200 or $300.

It’s the same thing with a book. The books might not be the best opportunity in your area, but all you’ve got to do is find that one textbook. I’ve found a book before that potentially had $500 in profit, and that was with 20 minutes of sourcing.

It doesn’t take a lot to make a day’s pay. It really doesn’t. You don’t have to find 50 items to make it worth your time. It could be one or two items.

You’ve got to be smarter nowadays with the rising prices in thrift stores. The game has definitely changed. You have to change the way you run your business to keep up, but you can do it.

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