We live in a rural area, so the options for selling clothing our children have outgrown are limited. We don’t get enough garage sale traffic and the closest resale/consignment shop is 2 hours away. We participated in a couple of consignment sales but then they had location difficulties so that option was out. I turned to Facebook…it functions like a virtual yard/garage sale.
How to Get Started
Search for a group in your area that specializes in kids clothing. These groups are free and many are open to anyone living within that area…you just have to send a request to join. The response time depends on the administrator of the group, but is usually quick. There may be several groups with a similar purpose in your area…join all of them or look for the one that seems most successful (typically the highest number of members). I found it too time consuming to keep up with different groups and stuck with the largest group.
How it Works
Listing your items:
Determine what you want to sell and take pictures of each item. You will have the opportunity to write something once you post your pictures, but to save time I used a memo board and included it with the picture. On the board I wrote the price as well pertinent information such as size, brand and anything else I thought potential buyers might want to know (jeans with adjustable waist or fits large) or that would help sell the item (only worn once or new with tags). Be sure to describe your items accurately. If it has a small stain or hole mention it, but really think twice about whether you want take the time to photograph and post these items. There are so many things posted; potential buyers can get a similar item in good condition from another buyer.
Do some research before setting your prices…suggested resale prices are usually 1/4-1/3 of what you paid retail. Look at what the trend is for your particular group…are their prices closer to garage sale prices or resale shops? There was one person who had her prices set near what it would cost to buy the item brand new. No surprise…the stuff never sold. Even brand new clothing with tags is not going to sell for the original retail price. If you got something for 75% off at an end of season sale for $2.00, you should be able to sell it for a little more. If you really want to sell your stuff, be realistic with your prices (ask yourself what you would consider paying).
Making the sale:
Be sure to check often to see if someone has commented on your items with questions or interest in buying. Potential buyers may not be on Facebook very often, so you want to get all questions answered, get the sale, and nail down time and location of meeting quickly. Some buyers expect to negotiate so consider beforehand whether you are firm on your prices or willing to negotiate. Some sellers set prices higher with plans to negotiate, but then you are targeting specific buyers…not everyone likes or feels comfortable negotiating. Sometimes you go back and forth with a buyer several times before you arrive at a agreeable time and place.
Once you have a buyer, you need to arrange a time and place with the buyer. Here is the point where it got out of hand for me…I live about 20-30 minutes north of the city where I was meeting people, so I either had to make a special trip or find a way to be flexible and accommodating when I was there. I was meeting people all over the city and delivering to their workplace or in home daycare often for a just a couple of bucks. The best and safest practice is meet potential buyers in a public area in the daytime. Don’t meet in an area or neighborhood considered unsafe. If you can, send a personal Facebook message to the potential buyer when establishing time and location. Putting this information on the post gives anyone in that group access to it. I was not involved, but there was someone on the group I am part of that got the information, met the seller and said she was the buyer.
Be prepared for those who do not show. To avoid making it a wasted trip arrange to meet several people at once and then if one or two does not show it won’t seem like such a loss. Keep a little bit of money on you to make change…it’s amazing how many people showed up without the exact amount of money. I either had to make change, settle for whatever they had (they usually had a big bill like a $20 or little less then the asking price) or forgo the sell.
Administrators of these groups establish the guidelines, enforce the guidelines and maintain order. If the group is large enough there is usually more than one administrator to keep up with all the traffic and posts. Administrators are never involved in the exchange of money; that is left to the buyer and seller.
I established a separate Facebook page to do my selling and buying and only listed my first name. While I have my Facebook setting to private on my personal page, I still worried about others from the group viewing my personal information and somehow some of the group’s posts showed up in my home page feed. While it is tedious to maintain two Facebook pages, I felt better about the anonymity this provided.
Don’t have time to list all your items individually, list them as a lot. One lady posted that she had a few totes full of girls clothes sizes newborn and up (I don’t remember where the cut off was) and she set a price for all of them. The price was low considering the amount of clothing someone was getting, but it was coming sight unseen. She answered a few questions about what brands they might be and when her girls were born to give buyers an idea about seasons but limited it to those few questions. Other ways to list your clothing in lots is by: gender, size and/or season.
What Worked For Me
I have listed some of the downfalls for me: I live several miles away, the process demands more time than I have and I was way too flexible and accommodating. I found a lady who sells clothing on this group for others and she has a pretty good following so I decided to contact her. I had bought from her previously and observed how she interacted with people on the site, so I felt comfortable handing my stuff over to her. Whenever I have a tote of clothing ready, I contact her and arrange a meeting. I hand the tote over to her and she takes it from there (photographing the items, pricing, listing, meeting and collecting payment). A few weeks later we meet again and she hands me the money…she does 50/50. The first time she sold for me, I made just under $200 with several totes of clothing and baby items. The other two times have been less, but it was pretty easy money considering all I had to do was collect the items in a tote. What she does not sell on Facebook, she sells at a garage sale that she hosts biannually. There is no paperwork or contract involved (I don’t know if I would advise this, but it has worked out for me). Working with this person has been beneficial. I still make some money but I am not stretching myself to thin with all the work required.
Don’t limit yourself to children’s clothing…you can sell many things on Facebook….household goods, furniture, toys, etc.