One of the best sources for profitable inventory with a low buy cost and high ROI are garage sales (also called yard sales). With the abundance of ROI opportunities garage saling is a skill that few people have mastered! Join us as Stephen and Rebecca break down their top six tips on garage sale sourcing.
From why a sourcing app is essential, to costly assumptions, to why being nice will get you far in both garage sales and life, this episode is packed with pearls of wisdom. We also hear some examples of the highly profitable items that Stephen might have overlooked if he hadn’t been applying his six tips. To hear all about how to make the most of garage saling, and where you can learn more, listen today.
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Key points from Episode 133:
- Which sourcing app is the key to making the best garage sale sourcing decisions.
- How the assumptions you’re making at garage sales are possibly costing you hundreds.
- How to leave no stone unturned: the benefits of looking under things.
- Look everywhere twice and you just might find something you didn’t see before!
- Why negotiating at a garage sale is expected, and the two types of garage sales you will see.
- How doing “the right thing” can sometimes help you more than you expect.
- Where you can find out more about successful garage saling sourcing strategies.
- And more!
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
- The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games: How to Turn Play Money Into Real Money
- Podcast Perk: Use the coupon GAMETIME to save $20 off the cost
- Garage Sale Webinar Replay
- Scoutify Review
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The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games
Updated 4.0 Edition
My number one favorite item to buy from garage sales and thrift stores to sell on Amazon is board games! The awesome thing about board games is that they sell for really good money in both new and used (collectible) condition.
In fact, I have discovered the secrets to making hundreds of dollars a week selling new and used board games, and I want to pass on my strategies to you.
I find profitable board games at garage sales, thrift stores, retail stores, online stores, and so many other great places. I’ll honestly run out of money before I run out of board games to find and resell. It’s because of this abundance of opportunity that I decided to create The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games: How to Turn Play Money into Real Money. This course is a combination ebook and video course that walks you through everything you need to know about making big profits buying and reselling board games.
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Episode 133 Transcript:
[0:00:01.8] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Full-Time FBA Show. In each episode, it’s our goal to help you turn part-time hours into a full-time income, selling almost anything on Amazon. Now, your hosts of the show, Stephen and Rebecca Smotherman.
[0:00:21.0] REBECCA: Hello everyone and welcome to episode number 133 of the Full-Time FBA Show. We are so glad you are joining us today. We are going to be talking about our top tips for garage sale sourcing and with me today to talk about this is Stephen Smotherman, my co-host. Welcome Stephen to the show.
[0:00:40.6] STEPHEN: Man, I love garage sales, I love it so much, let’s just get right into the episode today and talk about some garage sale sourcing tips.
[0:00:49.0] REBECCA: Today’s focus is going to be on sourcing strategies for garage sales. Garage saling, every time I type that word into a Word document or email or anything garage saling, it always tells me that the grammar check always tells me that that’s wrong but I don’t know what else to call it, garage sale is a verb, garage saling, right?
[0:01:10.2] STEPHEN: Yes, that is a thing.
[0:01:11.4] REBECCA: Going to the garage sales, garage saling.
[0:01:14.2] STEPHEN: Exactly.
[0:01:14.6] REBECCA: Okay. Anyway, we’re going to talk briefly today in this episode, briefly in the scope all the knowledge that we have about garage saling. About sourcing strategies but if you want to go more in depth on this topic, we’ll just tell you right up front, we have a webinar you can watch the replay of it to see more of our overall garage sale, thrift store profit type strategies and techniques and you can find that webinar at fulltimefba.com/garagesalewebinar. That’s over an hour would you say?
[0:01:50.1] STEPHEN: Yup.
[0:01:50.5] REBECCA: That’s over an hour’s worth of video content that you can watch and learn even more about how to find great profits at garage sales.
[0:01:59.8] STEPHEN: Yeah, we had a really good webinar and everyone who showed up asked a lot of great questions and you can watch the replay at your convenience, fulltimefba.com/garagesalewebinar.
[0:02:09.8] REBECCA: All right. So, today, we’ve kind of narrowed down our topic a little bit and we’re going to talk about just the top six garage sale sourcing strategies, garage sale sourcing tips, garage saling tips, whatever you want to call it.
[0:02:24.3] STEPHEN: It’s hard to say that.
[0:02:25.6] REBECCA: It’s fun to say, okay. Top six tips, start us off. Number one.
[0:02:31.1] STEPHEN: Number one, use a sourcing app and you might be listening to this and thinking, that’s like the most basic tip possible but I want to make sure we’re all in the same page because you can’t just use any sourcing app, you needed the best sourcing app that’s out there. A lot of people will use the Amazon seller app when they’re starting and it’s a good starter app, it’s got some basic information.
[0:02:52.4] REBECCA: Or, some people even just use the Amazon app that you would use for buying items off of Amazon. I’ve heard of people just going and using that one to scan at garage sales too.
[0:03:01.8] STEPHEN: Right and yeah, that’s very limited amount of information and how it’s presented. The Amazon buyer app is presented towards customer’s point of view but if you are a reseller, you would rather see the Amazon reseller app. If you want a quick little breakdown of the pros and cons of the Amazon seller app, you can go to fulltimefba.com/azsellerapp. That’s AZ for Amazon. AZ seller app and I’ll break down the pros and cons of the Amazon seller app but to make the best decisions for your garage sale sourcing, I highly recommend the sourcing app called Scoutify.
Scoutify comes bundled with Inventory Lab, if you want to see my review on Scoutify, you can go to fulltimefba.com/scoutifyreview and I’ll break down all there is to it but when you are sourcing at a garage sale, time is very important. You want to hit as many garage sales as possible and those Scoutify sourcing app, gives you all the information you need from the sales rank, the category, what percentage that sales rank number falls in comparison to the rest of the category so you can kind of know if that sales rank is good.
You can see multiple seller offers for both new and used condition in the FBA offers, you can see if you’re restricted right there on the app, you can even apply to be approved for a restriction right there through the app. Quick links to Keepa Graphs can be added to Scoutify, there’s so much but my favorite thing at a garage sale is the buy list because I can justify, if I find something I want to buy, I can add it to the Scoutify buy list and then easily, email that buy list to my email address, upload it to inventory lab and have the batch ready to go just be sent to Amazon in seconds.
It’s a huge time saver. So using the right sourcing app will help you choose the right items to purchase to sell on Amazon and will help save you time when it comes to processing it to send to Amazon.
[0:04:52.5] REBECCA: Okay, that’s a great first tip. Always make sure you’re using a sourcing app when you’re out there. Sourcing at a garage sale. So, moving on to the second one, talk to us about making assumptions at garage sales, is that a good thing to do?
[0:05:06.8] STEPHEN: No, I mean…
[0:05:08.8] REBECCA: I mean, that’s totally say you’re up for that.
[0:05:09.8] STEPHEN: That’s right.
[0:05:10.3] REBECCA: It’s like talking to the kids, “Is that a good thing to do?”
[0:05:14.0] STEPHEN: No?
[0:05:15.5] REBECCA: Maybe? I don’t know. Okay.
[0:05:17.6] STEPHEN: Right, so don’t make assumptions is the second tip and that can be broken down on a lot of different ways. I mean, sometimes you pull up to the driveway of a garage sale and you look and you’re just making assumptions based on what you can see if this is going to be a good garage sale or not.
Don’t do that. Take the two-minute gamble, get out of your car, walk around for two minutes and see if you can see something with your own eyes that’s different from what you saw from the driveway. Don’t just drive up and make an assumption and pull off, you might be driving away from a huge profit possibility.
To give you an example, I pulled out to a garage sale that I even thought maybe they were moving and it didn’t even look like a garage sale if it wasn’t on my list of garage sales because most of it was just kind of big furniture and I was not thinking and just looked at that and thought, “Okay, that’s just a bunch of furniture I’m just going to keep driving” and then I remembered, take the two-minute gamble, get out, walk around.
So I did and what I saw that was for sale inside of the garage where it was dark and I really couldn’t see anything from the driveway, there was a bunch of boardgames that I was able to find and I bought about $10 worth of boardgames, which equaled about 20 different boardgames that I was able to sell on Amazon for a really nice profit and I would have just driven past that if I hadn’t gone out and looked.
So when you first drive up, don’t make assumptions. Another way to not make an assumption is when you are actually looking at the inventory. A lot of times, we might find something and think, there’s no way that’s profitable on Amazon but if it has a bar code, scan it. Scan that barcode, see if it’s making some money, if it’s new condition or used or collectible, depending on the category, scan those items, don’t make assumptions.
I mean, there’s one item that I would find often. It was just a piece of plastic with a sticker on it and I passed by it so many times but then I decided to just scan it one time and it was something I could buy for $2 that was selling for over $80 on Amazon and since then, I’ve been looking for that forever and I find it from time to time but just don’t make assumptions because again, those assumptions can cost you profits.
[0:07:23.9] REBECCA: Okay, that’s a good tip. Number three, let’s talk about looking under things. You’re at a garage sale, there’s stuff everywhere, why should you make sure that you look under things?
[0:07:36.8] STEPHEN: Well, when you come to a garage sale, most people have table set out with items that are on the tables, sometimes they’ll have boxes with stuff in the boxes that are sitting on the ground and so most of the time, our eyes are trained to look at what’s on the table and sometimes we don’t look under the table for the stuff that’s down there.
Well, you might be missing a profit potential opportunity under the table of items that are down there. Other times, you might see a box that has you know, well it looks like to be just a bunch of clothes because there is four or five coats on top of the box that’s opened up and you know, you were just assuming at which go back to the last one tip, don’t make any assumptions but you are assuming it is a whole box of clothing.
Well, look under things. So I actually picked up a couple of coats that were on top of the box, it turns out someone just put it on that box as an afterthought and didn’t want those coats and under the coats, the box was filled with educationally related books and I was able to scan them. I ended up buying half of those books that were there.
I ended up buying about 30 or 40 books at 25 cents each, they were all focused on education. It was a teacher that was retiring and half of those books were still selling well and add a nice profit on Amazon and I was able to make a queuing.
[0:08:47.0] REBECCA: That goes back to when you said like when you drove up and you saw, “Oh, it looks like somebody’s moving.” It is just a bunch of furniture, everybody runs their garage sale differently. Some people are super organized, other people are just kind of, “You know, let me get this stuff out of the garage” and they are just doing what they can to get it out and get it in front of people but they don’t take the time to organize it.
In other cases, you might not be there super early in the morning and so maybe it was organized at one point but there has been so many people picking over things that you really can’t assume that everything is going to be presented in the same way that it would be even if it was at a thrift store or much less a retail store. You’ve got to assume these boxes might have anything in them, you really just have to do the hard work and look through everything.
Pick over everything, make sure that you are not — you know, leave no stone unturned and that you have done your due diligence when you leave that garage sale, you can leave knowing I looked at everything, looked everywhere that they could possibly be something that is worth reselling.
[0:09:48.1] STEPHEN: Yep and it actually kind of leads us into the very next garage sale sourcing tip, tip number four, look everywhere twice. You mentioned being confident that you looked everywhere, one of the ways that you can do that is to look everywhere twice and what I mean by that is when I get into a garage sale, I will take a certain path through the garage sale but instead of having that path end up back at my car, I turn around I make that exact same path out of the garage sale.
So I am looking at the tables, I am looking at under the tables, I am looking at the boxes from two points of view because sometimes I will see something standout when I am walking into the garage sale and I will see something else completely different stand out to me when I am walking out of the garage sale, so those two perspectives have two points of view and potentially find more inventory to sell.
[0:10:35.2] REBECCA: Okay, tip number five, talk to us about negotiating. This is some people’s favorite thing to do and other people like me do not like to do this but it is an important part of garage saling.
[0:10:45.0] STEPHEN: Yeah, with the years and years of experience I have with garage sales, I know that there is two types of garage sales. Type number one are the people that are trying to make money off of it, their stuff is priced way too high and then other times, there are people who their stuff is priced really low and they just want to get rid of it and the majority of people who are doing a garage sale, they want to get rid of their stuff.
They are not trying to make a profit, they are not trying to increase their pocketbook, they just want their stuff gone.
[0:11:11.4] REBECCA: They are just trying to clean up the house.
[0:11:12.8] STEPHEN: Exactly and hopefully get a little bit of money for that time and energy that they put into that. Most people are accepting of a lower offer. As long as it is reasonable and even though negotiating might seem confrontational, it is actually expected in most people’s garage sales. So as long as you are asking for a reasonable price in negotiation, you know most of the time they’ll accept it and if they don’t, you can just move on but always at least try to negotiate when you are purchasing something from a garage sale.
[0:11:38.1] REBECCA: All right, so that leads us to our sixth and final tip, this is a big one though and very important, our final tip is that you should always be nice at a garage sale.
[0:11:48.1] STEPHEN: Yeah, I mean these people spend a lot of time and energy to get this stuff out into their driveway and then through their garage to sell, you know be nice to them. I mean, as a reseller, I have been to tons of garage sales but I have also hosted garage sales and it surprises me the number of people who come up to me and throw stuff on the table and be like, “How much do you want for this junk?” and I’m like, “That’s rude.”
That is still my stuff that you are talking about even though I am trying to get rid of it and they’re just being rude. I am more likely to negotiate with someone or give someone a better deal if they’re nice to me and so just being nice to the person, saying, “Hi, how are you doing?” develop that rapport, that kind of connection and ask them questions if you want to but just being nice goes a long way.
I remember one time I went to a garage sale and it was a really windy day and somebody’s clothing rack fell over and so I just instinctively picked it up, picked up the clothing rack, kind of put stuff back on the hangers, it wasn’t a whole lot but they are really thankful for that and I didn’t think anything of it until I went to buy the items that I wanted to get at the garage sale and they’re like, “Don’t worry about it, it is all for free. Thanks for picking up the clothing rack for us.”
I was like, “Whoa, that’s awesome. Can I go back and get more stuff?” I didn’t ask that but just being nice goes a long way in life and that includes garage sales.
[0:13:01.1] REBECCA: Not just so you can get something for it that just because you should it’s the right thing to do to be nice and sometimes people are nice back to you. Sometimes they’re not, sometimes you are nice and you don’t get that in return but that’s not why we’re doing it. We are doing it because it is the right thing to do.
[0:13:16.12] STEPHEN: Absolutely.
[0:13:20.0] REBECCA: All right, so again if you want more information about garage sales and how to make the most of your sourcing time at a garage sale, be sure to check out our webinar at fulltimefba.com/garagesalewebinar and you’ll get more information than what we have given here. We are going into more detail on some of these tips and give you other tips about how to have the best sourcing strategies for garage sales.
[0:13:44.2] STEPHEN: Yeah and last week on the podcast, we talked about boardgames and how you can find a lot of boardgames at garage sales and right now if you are listening to this soon after the episode drops, we have a promotion going on and if you want to save $20 off of our Resellers Guide to Boardgames course, you use the coupon code “gametime” you can get $20 off that course but that ends soon, so be sure to take advantage of that. You can find out more about our boardgame course at fulltimefba.com/boardgames.
[0:14:11.9] REBECCA: Well, that’s about all we have for you today. As a reminder, we have the shownotes for this episode available for you at fulltimefba.com/133 because this is episode number 133. Any links that you have heard in this episode plus the transcript will be found in the shownotes, fulltimefba.com/133.
[0:14:31.0] STEPHEN: Don’t forget, we are having a special promotion for our boardgame course, fulltimefba.com/boardgames, learn about that, just the opportunity to buy boardgames at garage sales and even thrift stores and other places to help you grow your Amazon business and next week on the show, we’re going to talk about understanding Amazon’s search algorithms as a reseller. This is going to be a fascinating conversation that I think you are going to be interested in, so join us on The Full-Time FBA Show.
[0:14:58.1] ANNOUNCER: That is all for this episode of The Full-Time FBA Show. So head over to fulltimefba.com/podcast, where you will find the shownotes and links from this episode. While you’re there, subscribe to our newsletter where you’ll get several free downloads of our popular and helpful Amazon FBA resources. Now, take action on what you have learned today so you can find success at turning part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.