One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Or in this case, one kid’s old toys are potentially a way for you to start cashing in. It could be some extra cash, or something you could turn into a respectable income.
In this article, we’ll delve into why this opportunity could be worth checking out and some of the ways you can buy and sell toys online profitably.
Buying And Selling Toys On The Internet
The reason this business model works is simple.
Mom and Dad are constantly buying new toys for their kids to play with. As soon as Christmas comes along, or it’s little Johnny’s birthday, it’s time for a new toy, or toys. It doesn’t take very long for these ‘once loved’ toys to become clutter. They rarely get used and parents want to recoup some of their costs.
Some do this online via sites like Craigslist, eBay or Amazon to name a few, while others do this through garage sales. Either way, there are practically endless amounts of toys and games you can flip for profit.
How much money you make depends on a range of factors, but there are some basic principals to consider as to why this model works.
For example, if you are buying from a garage sale:
- The seller has very little time, and just wants/ needs the product gone
- The seller may not know what they have
Garage sales are a perfect example of a potential gold mine. These folks have “stuff” they want gone and they are almost always willing to accept an offer. They don’t have time to take pictures, catalogue and list their items for sale online, so they try to sell it all on the weekend. All at once.
This is why (when you know your numbers and the trends) that the profit margins can potentially be high.
Where To Buy Toys
There are many places you can pick new or used toys up for the right price, both online and offline. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
Buy Online From Amazon or eBay
For sourcing purely online, two good options to consider are Amazon and eBay.
These are very well established sites with millions of listings so there are many opportunities to buy and sell. Although this may not be the best way to buy since many of these sellers have taken the time to present the item in a way that lands them the maximum profits. In other words, they did take the time and they are going want the “going rate”. Makes sense.
One way to overcome this could be to search out the listings that, well… suck!
If the person doesn’t have much of a seller reputation or they have no or low quality images and poor descriptions, then chances are they will not be able to ask the same price as someone who does have these elements in place.
Herein lies your opportunity. Seek out these listings and flip them by simply being a better marketer.
Local Classified Websites
This is similar to buying on eBay or Amazon, except it’s about striking the deals online, and doing the deals in person.
There are many local buying and selling sites such as Craigslist, Offerup and Letgo that facilitate trading of used goods. How good the deals are are going to vary greatly depending on the seller and the website.
Be sure to check out the selling fees and only pay for the item once you are holding it in your hands though.
Garage and Estate Sales
This is arguably one of the best ways to source used toys since, as I mentioned earlier, these folks often just want this stuff gone. If you have an idea of what the various toys are selling for online, then you are going to know what you can pay for these items.
Many successful garage sale “flippers” get to these sales at the crack of dawn to scoop up the best products before the masses, so it might pay to be up bright and early! There are quite a few good sites that list current and future garage sales which can make your job of hunting these down a piece of cake.
Depending on where you live, there are always garage sales and many of these sales have assorted toys.
Discounted New Toys
It’s not all about used toys. If you can find discounted toys across online or offline stores, this could be a great avenue to explore. Whether it’s a seasonal sale, a stock clearance or even a closing down sale locally.
In addition to this, many stores have loyalty programs or coupons you can use. This can further increase your profit margins should you decide to come back and source more products down the track.
The lower your costs, the more potential profit you can make.
What Toys Should You Buy?
Given the sheer volume of brands and individual products, how do you know which toys to actually sell?
There are many options, here’s some ideas to get you thinking:
- Cars & Trucks
- Learning Toys
- Building Toys
- Video Games
- Puzzles & Games
- Outdoor Toys
- Activity Gyms
Many parents buy their kids new toys every year, so they will often sell the old ones after a year or so when they are ‘obsolete’ or no longer used. This can be a great way to get a gauge on what people are likely going to be selling and what products to focus on.
Regardless of the individual product you flip, this is a numbers game. Once you have an idea of what you want to sell, it is super important to know your numbers and take ALL of your costs into account including shipping, advertizing and even travel, before doing any deals. Always carry a smartphone with you if you are doing garage sales so you can quickly refer to sites like Amazon or eBay as a price gauge.
To come up with more ideas and figure out what to buy and sell, it’s worth learning what others in this space are doing. What they are currently having success with, and what they are not.
For example, a guy named Jordan Malik has been doing this for over ten years and says the best idea is to find ‘Out Of Production’ toys. These are toys that, as the name suggests, are no longer being made. The great thing about this is that there are people looking for these online and willing to pay for them. OOP products have always been around, but sites like Amazon have made finding hungry buyers for this stuff monumentally easier.
Another successful entrepreneur in this space is Gary Vaynerchuk. He made a brief video showing people how he goes about sourcing products from garage sales:
I also found a useful article published by Briana Bell, she talks about different children’s items beyond just toys and games that will give you some addittional ideas to think about.
Where To Sell Toys
The most obvious, and certainly a good way, to start selling is through some of the sites I mentioned above such as Amazon, eBay or any of the popular classified sites.
A good example of this in action, is a guy named John Minchillo. He says he made $10k in two months by selling toys through Amazon FBA and goes into detail on how he did it.
FBA allows you to source products and have Amazon store, and once you receive an order, they fulfil it for you. There are costs involved and it depends on what you are selling as to whether or not it will be worth your while, but it’s a good option to consider.
Here are a few other sites to consider selling on.
Swap.com specializes in ‘kids stuff and womens apparel’ and make the process of moving these products super simple.
You box up your toys, send it in to the company and they sell it for you! Simple.
It costs you $14.90 for shipping materials, and to have them unpack, catalogue, photograph and list your items. They also charge a 30% commission and $1.50 per item on the final sales revenue generated from your items once they do sell.
The upside to this site is that it’s easy, and you are tapping into an active and targeted customer based. The drawback is the fees. The only way to know if it’s truly worth it is to do your research on what items are selling for on this site, and others and work out the fees they all charge.
In other words, do your homework.
This is a unique website that specializes in buying and selling vintage Star Wars, Batman and a host of other niche toys. If you find something like this, it may be worth enquiring as to how much they would give you.
They’ve been around since the mid 90’s so they must be doing something right, right?
This is a franchise thrift shop that specializes in maternity wear and kids toys. They have many stores throughout the United States and Canada. One cool thing about these stores is they give you 20% extra for your items if you accept ‘in-store’ credit instead of cash.
If (and that’s a very big IF) they prices are right for selling, and they have items you think you could flip online, then this could be a way to leverage that 20% to your advantage.
That being said, stores like this are often built on giving people the lowest price imaginable, and selling stuff for more than you could get it online. So, while it’s a potential idea, it may not be that great. It all depends on the individual products and the store.
There’s no doubt that some people are really crushing it with this business model, and it’s not hard to see why.
It’s important to know your numbers, plan well, and be happy to haggle people on price face to face. But if you take the time to research the trends and where you can source the right products for the right price, you can make money doing this.
People are buying millions of dollars worth of used toys online each year, and there’s no reason you can’t take your slice of the pie.