What is a reseller?

When you see a for sale ad, you may see phrases like “great for resellers” or “reseller ready” or “resellers welcome.” So what is a reseller? And why does someone selling something want to attract one?

I’ll answer those questions. And if you think you might want to be a reseller but don’t know where to start, I have some tips for that too.

What is a reseller? I’ll tell you.

what is a reseller
What is a reseller? Someone who buys things at one venue intending to sell them at a profit at another venue. There’s a stigma about resellers, but it can be a perfectly honest way to make a living.

A reseller is someone who buys items intending to sell them again for a profit. Hence the name. They re-sell, which is just what it sounds like: selling something again.

They might have a booth in a flea market or antique mall. Or they may sell their wares on Craigslist. It’s also possible they sell online on sites like Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy. I’ve even seen people buy stuff at garage sales, then turn around and resell those items at their own garage sale.

The more successful ones have a storefront. Some resellers make a good living. Some barely scrape by.

The attitude toward resellers

I’ve dabbled as a reseller myself in the past. I didn’t like to talk about it much because the attitude toward resellers is so bad. Some people are gravely offended that someone might buy their stuff and make a profit off it. It was never worth my time to talk about it, because those 300 minutes on Saturdays are precious. But reselling is just part of capitalism. If you don’t want someone reselling your stuff, you can sell it yourself. Do the research, list it online, ship it, deal with customer complaints, deal with the taxes and having the business license.

Yes, I was making a buck off those people. But I wouldn’t call it easy money. So I don’t begrudge resellers. There’s a Bosnian family in my neighborhood that holds a garage sale once or twice a year. I’ve gone to enough garage sales to know the difference between someone selling their own stuff and someone reselling. They’re reselling. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It helps them pay their bills and helps keep them from being a burden on society.

Now, some resellers are jerks about it. I’ll totally admit that. I don’t think I was. Being a jerk consumes time, and like I said, you only get 300 minutes on Saturday mornings before the sales dry up. If someone hassled me, I just apologized and left.

Why you would want to attract a reseller

People who include a welcome for resellers in their ads are trying to increase demand. It’s marketing. First, if you’re not a reseller, it suggests this is a good deal. After all, it’s priced low enough that a reseller can make a profit, right? If you are a reseller, it’s a mixed signal. It’s nice to know someone doesn’t care if you’re buying it to flip and won’t hassle you about that. But if you’re trying to convince people your price is a good deal, a reseller will be suspicious.

To me, those words raised my suspicions. Kind of like the phrase “huge sale.” To me, “huge sale” meant they had two folding tables of stuff, not just one.

The words “reseller ready” may be a bit less loaded. It’s a euphemism for something being in good condition and not needing a lot of work. The implication is that a reseller would be able to flip it quickly. That also implies a higher price.

How to be a reseller

What is a reseller? It could be you, if you want. The key to being a reseller is knowing a lot about something. Know where to find it and what it sells for. Have some marketing skills. And if you sell online, you need enough computer skills to take photos of it and list it for sale online.

Start off doing it for extra cash. Maybe it takes off and someday you can do it full time. Maybe you just do it occasionally like me. The key is having something else to support yourself so you don’t have to rely on reselling alone. I think the reason some of those resellers I ran across in the past were jerks was because they couldn’t pay their bills.

I have some tips on scouting garage sales and estate sales. Both are good sources for potential merchandise. I also have some tips for selling on Ebay.

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