Is Selling Online Worth Your Time?


Is Selling Online Worth Your Time?

To give everyone a little context, I’ve used Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for years. Since returning home, I have spent the last 3 years going through my dad’s collectibles and helping him turn his treasures into profits. And, I have had a fair amount of success selling vehicles, furniture, collectibles, and an array of other odds and ends. Although my dad thought every penny was worth the effort, it became tedious to only make $10 here and $20 there. So, I started asking myself, is selling online worth my time?

The Downside of Online Sales

When you talk to professionals, everyone makes it seem like selling online is so easy. And in theory, it should be simple – you create your listing, respond to inquiries, then sell to the first person who shows up with cash in hand. Understandably, people usually want to inspect the item. But if they decide to buy it, they pay on the spot.

However, I didn’t realize the unpleasant aspects of online platforms until I was in the thick of it. First, there is the sheer amount of messages. Tons of people will contact you about items with all kinds of questions and offers. Some never respond after the initial inquiry. Others will try to lowball you, offer barters, or arrange a payment plan.

But, the worst part is how much time you waste. I don’t mind waiting a bit when people are running late. Although, nothing irks me more than when someone makes plans to meet up and never shows. I fell victim to this several times in the beginning, wasting hours of time and disrupting weekend plans. Not only does this show a complete lack of consideration for other people’s time, but it made me feel like making some quick cash wasn’t worth the hassle.

How to Make Selling Online Worth Your Time

Now that my father has passed, we are still left sorting through everything. However, he had too much stuff for one person to handle. So, we worked with an estate liquidator who helped us sell about 70% of his inventory.

Yet once again, I find myself in a position where online selling is the best solution. After his estate sale, we were left with many large items with significant value. So, I’m throwing my hat back into the online sales arena.

However, I like to believe I learn from my mistakes. So, I have guidelines to help me make the most efficient use of my time.

    • Focus on big-ticket items with a minimum value of $100.
    • When selling the smaller items, group and sell them as lots.
    • If there are no serious inquiries after a week, reduce the listing price.
    • If you still don’t have much interest after the price cut, consider donating items to local charitable organizations.

In the end, I want to honor my dad’s memory by trying to find people who will appreciate his possessions. While I understand that most of these items have value to someone, it would take years of hard work to sell everything. Unfortunately, this is not how I want to spend my time. So what I’ve learned is that unless you plan on making it a full-time business, turning a profit by selling smaller items online probably isn’t worth your time.

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