Selling at Yard Sales vs Online Auctions

Category Selling Tips
Choosing the best way to sell your unwanted things can make a difference in how much time it takes you, and how much money you get for them. This is a page about selling at yard sales vs online auctions.
Advertisement

Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
August 24, 2011

If you've ever devoted an entire Saturday to a yard sale, but only earned a few dollars, you've probably questioned your selling technique. Yet, for every yard sale failure there's a person who sits in front of a computer screen wondering why she can't earn a profit selling her items online. Which is the better choice, yard sale or online auction? A mix of the two is your best bet.

Finding the Right Buyer

A good sale is made only if the perfect buyer finds your product. Could that happen at a yard sale? It certainly could, but it often doesn't.

An example would be a brand name youth leather baseball glove that remained at the end of my spring yard sale. I was asking a meager $3 for the lightly used glove. Reluctant to toss it in the donation bin afterwards, I posted it on eBay with a starting bid of $0.99. It caught the attention of more than a few viewers, and in the end sold for $13. What's the lesson learned? Somewhere a parent was looking for a glove for his son, and the new gloves were beyond his price limit. His browser found my auction, and everyone was happy in the end.

Advertisement

Online sales allow you to reach more viewers, creating the opportunity to find the best buyers. Evaluate your items and ask if there's a wide audience for your sale or if it is more limited to buyers. The same father could have come to my yard sale, but he didn't.

What Won't Sell on Your Yard

Unless you're very lucky, there are some items that will never earn you a profit at a yard sale. At yard sales, people demand that items work. Malfunctioning electronics are better aimed at online sales, and yes, you can sell broken electronics and earn some cash towards the replacement. People scroll through auction listings looking for parts or looking for cheap electronics that can be fixed and resold. When selling electronics, eBay even has a condition category called "parts not working."
Advertisement

When our Xbox flashed a red circle and refused to turn on, we replaced it. Yet, someone out there knew what to do with the malfunctioning system, and the broken machine sold online for $16. Would it have earned that amount at a yard sale? I'd bet the new system that it wouldn't have sold.

Other great products that you can list online are extra cables and adapters that are floating around your house. If you no longer have a need for certain audio cables and video adapters, list them online. These cables are pricey new, and people appreciate the discount earned by purchasing them used. However, this is a very select audience, so online auctions allow your item to find the person looking for it.

Keep It Hands On and Off Line

Just like the products that sell online for more than they're worth in your yard, certain products don't do well online. They get lost in the myriad of listings. Keep craft items and knickknacks for yard sales. The beauty of the yard sale is that people see the item; they touch it and fall in love with it. Online auctions don't offer this type of sale.
Advertisement

Did you ever buy a sweater because you couldn't get over how soft it was? There's little sensory impulse purchasing online. People look for particular items or categories. At a yard sale they're surprised; the fun of yard sale shopping is not knowing what you might find. Those are the things to keep in mind when you set up your yard sale.

The Best of Both Sales

Use this split sales option to your advantage. Start off by separating your items carefully, and list some online at a fair price. If the items don't sell, move them into your yard sale pile and reduce the price. This should allow you to put forth your best effort in finding the perfect buyer to create the perfect sale. After all, shouldn't you both be happy?

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 4
Read More Comments

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
July 29, 2010

For the average person, selling used items is easy and generates a pleasing profit. Whether you opt to organize a yard sale, advertise in the newspaper, or sell online, you'll most likely earn enough money to go out to dinner but not enough to make a car payment.

Sell Onine Or In Person?

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 2
Read More...

Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I had a booth in a small town antique store. I didn't really make any money, but as long as I made enough to cover my rent and expenses, I kept my booth open. As the economy worsened, my booth no longer paid for itself, so I brought everything home. Now, I would like to have a yard sale with all of my remaining items. Any suggestions?

Advertisement

By Mamie from Kingston, TN

Answers

July 18, 20100 found this helpful

I don't have any advice, but in the area that I live in people expect to get everything at a yard sale, for next to nothing. It doesn't matter what the item is the customers just plain act like you should be giving it away. It might be different in TN, but in SD people don't want to pay anything for items at a yard sale.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 20, 20100 found this helpful

That's how it is in the antique business too. Most of the time, I would buy something that needed some work on it, like a old bedroom dresser or rocking chair. I would touch it up (clean, sand, refinish, etc.) to make it nice to sell, but no one wanted to pay enough for an item to even cover my expenses. Goodwill may be the easiest way to get rid of my old stuff. Thanks!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 23, 20100 found this helpful

Try ebay or craigslist or take a loss and sell to another dealer.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 26, 20100 found this helpful

Sorry about your booth not bringing you income now. Just think about all of the time you spent having the booth, keeping up with the descriptions, displaying and etc. You are even loosing money if you just pay for your booth space. You are loosing lots of time, effort (which is money) and, the cost of the antiques when you purchased them. So, any money you would get elsewhere would have been in your hand quickly and allow you to do something else to make money with that money.

Advertisement

However, you probably were making money at first and that encouraged you to do more. Glad you are getting out before loosing more. Bartering might bring you something you like, instead of having what you do not need. Who knows, only one person needs to want what you have and there is that sale. Oh, what if you advertised estate sale or antique sale on your signs and put them out by Wed. since some dealers buy on Thur. and Fri. and sell on Saturdays, that is what a person told me once. Hope you get back something for your hard work.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...
Advertisement

Categories
Selling TipsOctober 11, 2014
Pages
More
🐛
Pest Control
📓
Back to School Ideas!
😷
Coronavirus Tips
🌻
Gardening
😎
Summer Ideas!
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube
Instagram
Contests!
Newsletters
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Categories
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2020-07-17 08:52:47 in 912 msecs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2020 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
https://www.thriftyfun.com/Selling-at-Yard-Sales-vs-Online-Auctions.html

Add to PageAsk a Question