Selling unwanted or unused possessions can be a great way to turn old stuff into cash. Heaven knows I've sold my fair share of stuff in this way and made some decent money in the process. However, not everything comes up smelling like roses when it comes to resale.
Over my years of utilizing resale options, I've come across issues that, while not enough to make me stop this using this form of extra income, have at least had me rethinking some of the things I do when reselling old stuff. While I still think resale can be a great way to earn extra cash and get rid of old or unwanted stuff, here are some of the downsides of selling things by way of resale or consignment options.
Probably the greatest downside I've come across in certain resale or consignment selling venues are the various commission rates and fees. In some instances, after everything is said and done, and my item is sold, I'm only left getting about 55 percent of the actual sale value. While I understand that the selling agents have to pay for their own time, money and effort to package, market, and sell the item(s), it is still a downside to the process and one that can cut heavily into any profits I stand to make.
Even when others are handling the selling process for me, there can be a lot of effort involved in resale. For example, when I'm preparing something to go to the consignment shop or similar resale environment, I want to ensure it's looking its best so that I get top dollar for it. Therefore, there can be the time of cleaning up the item, making small repairs, and then hauling it to the sale location and discussing terms and rates with the sellers. Otherwise, in a garage sale resale situation, the work load can be much heavier since I could be responsible for setting up the sale items, pricing them, selling them, marketing the sale through signage and newspaper or online advertising, and then cleanup and disposal of such items after the sale is over.
Then there is the dilemma of what to do with items if they don't sell. It can be exciting, contemplating the sale of an unwanted item and what to do with the money afterwards, but it can also be a letdown if that item doesn't sell.
Not only is there no payday, but then I have to decide whether to keep the item in question, try the resale route again later, discard if, give it away to friends or family, or donate it to charity. No matter what my decision, it will be more trouble than if I had just managed to sell it in the first place.
Knowing the Best Option
Sometimes it's difficult to know the best resale route to go with a particular item. Should I try it in a garage sale and see what happens? Would it be better to sell it online or at a consignment shop, and if so, how much would they take in commission? Would it be better to sell it at a specialty resale shop (a place that focuses mainly on one or two types of product such as baby goods, books/DVDs/CDs, antiques, etc.), or just donate it for the charitable tax write-off?
Many times, my decision comes down to what I think the item is actually worth. Is it even worth taking to a consignment or resale store and would they want it if I did? I might also consider how easy it would be able to sell the item on my own (size, weight, marketability, shipping, etc.), and of course, what my actual resale options are for the specific item. I'm not going to sell a 75-lb table online and then ship it to California.
However, even after answering such questions, knowing what the best resale option is isn't always clear, and I can be left wondering if I could have gotten more money for the item elsewhere, which is yet another downside of resale and consignment selling.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.