Selling collectibles online has been popular for years, but where does one start? We’ve made a guide on what steps you need to take when trying to start a side hustle (or full-time hustle) when selling collectibles on places like eBay.
Note that you should always do a good amount of research before starting a new business venture, even if it’s something that seems easy on paper. Also be sure to start by checking for all kinds of scams that come with selling stuff online, because there are plenty of them.
How to Make Money Selling Collectibles Online [Step-by-Step Guide]
Doing your research
Knowledge is power when it comes to the collectibles business. You might go to a comic book convention and see an Incredible Hulk 181 comic book for $2,000 and think that is a lot of money, but if you know how to grade comics, then that comic might actually be a steal (CGC graded 8.0 copies of this comic can sell for between 7-9k).
This is probably why doing research on values and other important aspects of selling is one of the first and most important things you need to do. If you’re armed with knowledge, then being the first person at a flea market or garage sale might not be necessary, as it could be possible that the uneducated person who beat you to the sale didn’t do their research and missed a possible gem.
We suggest looking through eBay sold listings for some of the higher-priced items. This will take some time, but it will be worth every minute you put into it. You can also check online auction sites like Heritage as they can sell very high-end stuff. There are also some online price guides that can help but aren’t always comprehensive.
If you’ve been collecting something for a while (ex: video games), then you’ll most likely have the advantage as you’ll probably have an idea of the values already since you’ve been buying for a while. If you’ve been collecting, then be sure to know where to draw the line when it comes to collecting and selling.
You can’t keep everything for yourself or you won’t be able to make a profit. You might need to give us collecting in general, because it will present a conflict of interest. That or maybe put collecting on hold for a while until you’ve figured out a balance with the selling aspect.
This is arguably the hardest part of selling anything online. Where do you find your inventory? There are a few options here. You can start by scouring local garage sales and flea markets. Depending on your location, this can be pretty competitive. You might need to go very early (usually when they first open) to make sure you get first dibs when looking through the bins.
Estate sales can be another way to find collectibles, however, they can be more competitive than garage sales and flea markets. Many estate sales post pictures and advertise online beforehand, so the competition will be even more fierce so you might need to line up hours and hours before the doors open to get a first glance at their collectibles.
You can try Craigslist, but we don’t suggest doing that these days. It’s rare to see anything good on there, and scammers are all over the place. You can try using Craigslist to put up ads for buying collectibles, but be sure to know how to filter out scam emails.
You can sometimes find items on eBay that are underpriced. This is where your research would come in handy. Also be sure to look on eBay for titles that are misspelled or have some other errors, as those can sometimes be found for cheap.
Auctions that end at odd times (ex: 5 AM EST) can sometimes be found cheap as well. Buying larger lots or collections from local sellers can be a good way to get some inventory as well.
You don’t want to lose money on shipping, especially if you’re selling low-dollar items. You also want to decide what service to use. We find that FedEx is usually the cheapest with heavier items and USPS is best with smaller items that are under 1lb (First Class Mail).
Also, be sure to buy good boxes that are well-suited for shipping. Don’t buy cheap boxes from Walmart as those are pretty flimsy and can easily be crushed under some weight. We find that Uline has the best boxes for the price.
See Related: Best Books on Making Money Online
Pricing Your Collectibles
This part really depends on you. Do you need money fast? Or can you wait? If you need money fast, then we suggest putting items on eBay through their auction format. This will allow you to sell the collectibles and get paid within a week or so. Auctions usually get less than buy-it-now pricing, but they are a good way to unload stuff.
Selling venues also depend on your personal needs. If you’re better with using apps, then we suggest using LetGo or WhatNot (live sales). WhatNot requires approval before you can sell on there, but we find it to be one of the best apps to sell on.
You can sell 100 items in a matter of hours through live sales if you have a good following. You can also sell items on Facebook and Instagram, but you usually need a good following on both before you can start selling.
You can also sell on Amazon’s marketplace, but note that Amazon is very strict when it comes to selling your merchandise (they also take over 20 percent in seller fees). The package needs to be perfect and customers expect the best quality.
Also, note that Amazon only allows sellers who meet a certain sales threshold to sell on their marketplace during the holiday season (November and December).
eBay is probably the most popular place to sell low to medium-end collectibles. If you have anything of higher-end (ex: 10k+) then we suggest using a reliable auction house as those are safer. Just be careful using any venue these days as scammers are taking advantage of inexperienced sellers.
Generally speaking, selling collectibles online can be a great way to make some extra cash without giving up your day job. Some people will get so good at it that they find that it’s more beneficial to give up their day job and focus completely on the hustle of making money online.
While looking online we found that there were some useful websites that could give advice free of charge if you find that you’re overwhelmed. This is one comic buyer that we found gave some good advice on selling comic books. There are plenty of other helpful people who have been selling online who can provide advice if you’re new to the whole thing. Sometimes all you need to do is ask.