20 Best Places To Source Inventory for Ebay

by

Beginners Guide to Sourcing Inventory for Ebay

So you want to start a reselling business, but you need to source inventory for ebay and Amazon to actually have something to sell. What you buy and sell matters. You don’t want to sell junk. It’s important to find good products at a good price that will sell quickly.

If you live in a rural area, it may feel like you can’t find anything to purchase. I totally understand! We live in a small town, and it has been challenging at times. Yet somehow, we have never run out of inventory. Getting creative about where and how you source can help you overcome this problem. This post is going to help you think outside the box with your sourcing process.

Finding ebay inventory can be difficult.

If you live in a rural area, it can be hard to find to inventory. Let’s be honest for a second. Not everyone has a Goodwill on every corner. There are two within 20 minutes of me, and neither of them are very good. Occasionally, there will be something worth buying but it’s not often. Sourcing can also be difficult if you have limited mobility or have a full-time job and ebay is your side hustle.

I am rather envious of people who have more sourcing opportunities than I do. We have never run out of inventory. And I also know people who live in very rural places that make a full-time living selling on ebay. It is possible, you just have to get creative.

Sourcing can be difficult if you don’t know where to find inventory.

When we first started reselling, we didn’t really think of any other place besides garage sales to buy inventory from. The more we looked around, the more opportunities we found. I think that when you find successful places to buy from, you’ll build some momentum.

If you’re not a creative person, and I’m not, you may feel like you can’t really come up with new places. That’s why I am sharing this list of the best 20 places to source inventory for ebay. These places are also great for Amazon, Etsy, Poshmark and Mercari. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it will get you started in the right direction.

20 Best Places to Source Inventory for Ebay

1. Garage sales

Garage sales are great places to find inventory. They are one of the easiest places to source and most people have access to them.

Pros:

  • easy to find
  • cost of product is low
  • wide variety of items
  • ability to bargain for a lower price

Cons:

  • seasonal, dependent on the area/ weather
  • can be full of junk and waste your time

2. Estate sales

Estate sales can have a bad reputation because their prices can be really high. Don’t let the experience of others turn you away. You can still find some great deals. Estate sales companies cannot know everything, and the customers are not likely to be interested in everything either.

To find estate sales, search Facebook for estate sale companies in your area. The two larger ones here have their own pages, and will post photos of the items that will be at the sale. This is a great way to preview, scope out the house, and make a plan. Also, search Estatesales.net for sales in your area.

Estate sales can also be hosted by the family, much like a garage sale. These tend to have better pricing, unless the family is emotionally attached to the items. Then, their prices can be much higher than they should be.

Pros:

  • inventory is higher quality
  • likelihood of finding rare/ hard to find items
  • ability to preview and scope out a plan of attack

Cons:

  • pricier items
  • overcrowded spaces

3. Facebook marketplace/ buy & sell groups

Facebook marketplace and local buy & sell groups can be great places to source. If you’re not sure how to find the buy & sell groups, search your neighborhood or local area plus “buy sell trade” or garage sale.

The marketplace does not require approval to use, but the groups mostly likely will. When you’re approved, go search for items that you know about and are interested in reselling. Remember to search the way that someone would list it. When I post, I try to include words in the title that people would actually search for but not everyone does this. If you like to sell video game consoles, search video games AND search the brand names like Nintendo or Sega.

May people will avoid sourcing this way because they don’t want to meet a stranger. This is a valid concern. At least with Facebook, you can look at the person’s profile and get an idea of who they are. Meet at a local police station or inside a coffee shop (if the item is small enough). Be sure you are in a public place that is well lit and has plenty of people around. If you have a friend or spouse that can go with you, that’s even better.

Pros:

  • Ability to search from the comfort of your own home
  • Bargaining is still possible
  • Can lead to more sales and networking

Cons:

  • Meeting a stranger can be scary.
  • Item maybe not be what you’re expecting when you get there.

4. Flea markets

Flea markets can be an awesome place to source for inventory. It all depends on the nature of the flea market. I would say that the dirtier, the better in most places. I have been to many, and they are not created equal. Sometimes the sellers want retail prices for their items. Um, hello! This is a flea market. Other sellers may be selling a lot of wholesale products from China or leather goods from Mexico. These are not the products you want to buy.

wFind the sellers that look like they are having a garage sale. They have just opened up the back of their car and dumped everything on the table. They might have done this, but they also might just been messy and disorganized. Some people are not regulars, they just want to declutter and make some cash. Find flea markets near you here.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of items to buy
  • Easier to bargain than other platforms

Cons:

  • Can be seasonal depending or weather (or super hot in the summer)
  • Can also be filled with wholesale goods and produce vendors

5. Church sales

I love, love, love church sales! These are usually a fundraiser for their youth group or a mission trip. They are typically held in the church gym, which is usually a large space, and there is so many items there. Many times they will have a fill-a-bag sale where you can get clothing for really cheap.

If you know of churches that have an annual sale, call the church office and see when that is on the calendar for this year. Make yourself a list of the church sales so that you don’t miss them.

Pros:

  • Lots of inventory in one place
  • Prices are usually really low

Cons:

  • Sometimes filled with lots of junk and worn clothing
  • Can be crowded and hard to walk through

6. Goodwill outlet stores

Goodwill outlet stores are sometimes referred to as “the bins” or the “weight and pay.” This is because most of the items there are sold by the pound. These stores are full of large blue pins that roll out for a certain amount of time, and then they are rotated out and new stuff comes in. These bins are full of all kinds of things. Be prepared to dig!Gloves are a good thing to bring with you.

We only have two of these stores, and they are not set up like the typical Goodwill stores. I have been to both, though they are several hours away. Both times I’ve gone, it’s been quite the experience! Go here to find one in your area.

Pros:

  • Lots of available inventory
  • Very cheap buy cost
  • Big variety of the items they carry

Cons:

  • Outlets can be little wild and crazy.
  • Broken glass or other sharp objects, dirty clothing, etc can be in the bins.

7. Charity/ mom & pop thrift stores

These thrift stores are either privately owned or benefiting some type of charity. They sell donated items, but some may also sell overstocked items that they purchase in pallets. You ca n find these kinds of thrift stores in your area with a quick google search or by going to this thrift shop locator.

Pros:

  • Prices are generally cheaper
  • Easier to find vintage items in

Cons:

  • Can be messier/ mustier than corporate thrift stores.
  • Prices tend to be written directly on the items.

8. Moving sales

Moving sales are often somewhat like garage sales. Oftentimes, at least in my area, the homeowner may open the house, much like an estate sale, and let the buyers inside.

We tend to find that people don’t price anything at these sales, probably due to the large amount of items that are for sale. This means you will have to ask and negotiate. Gather everything you want first. You may get a better deal by buying multiple items.

Pros:

  • Large amount of available inventory
  • Owners are motivated to sell items
  • Good deals can be had by bundling.

Cons:

  • Items are not always priced.
  • May be hard to discern with items are actually for sale.

9. Craigslist

Craigslist has become outdated in some areas due to the popularity of Facebook Marketplace and buy/sell groups. In other areas though, it is still very popular and the main place to find garage sales and items for sale. If you use Yardsale Treasure Map, it pulls listings from Craigslist.

The great thing about Craigslist, you can set up notifications for saved searches. This means that Craigslist will email you when new items with your saved search term are posted.

Pros:

  • Lots of different inventory
  • Ability to be notified when specific items are posted
  • Free section where you can get inventory or shipping boxes/ supplies for free

Cons:

  • Meeting a stranger can be scary
  • Item maybe not be what you’re expecting when you get there.

10. Local resellers

This is where networking (making friends) can be super helpful. If you know other people that resell, they can let you know about other garage sales. They might also call you up and offer you items that they have if they know what you buy.

We have several people who call us when they need to sell of extra inventory. This is super helpful because we go to their home and essentially get the benefit of having a “private pick.”

One thing to note about this is that if you think this person is a potential source long term, you may need to buy a few things, even if they are not exactly priced the way you need it to be, just to be invited again. If you turn down too many invitations you may not be invited again. Just keep that in mind.

Pros:

  • Access to inventory others may not have access to.
  • Advantage of making bundle deals.
  • Possibility of future invitations.

Cons:

  • Cost per item may be higher.
  • Fear of offending or losing a friend if you don’t take the deal.

11. OfferUp/ Letgo

OfferUp and Letgo are much like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. They are mostly app based but they also have a web version.

Both sites allow you to post your items for free. OfferUp allows you to send offers on the individual items. Search items based on keywords and your location.

Pros:

  • Ability to search from the comfort of your own home
  • Bargaining is still possible
  • Can lead to more sales and networking

Cons:

  • Meeting a stranger can be scary.
  • Item maybe not be what you’re expecting when you get there.


12. Ebay/ Mercari

This may be an odd idea for some who have not heard of this before, but ebay and Mercari can be great places to source. Look for lots of smaller items to save on shipping.

One of my favorite ways to source inventory for ebay on ebay is to look for auctions that end at weird times during the week. Sort your ebay search by ending first and lowest price first. Look for those auctions that are ending when people are typically not awake.

Use Gixen, a free sniping website, to bid right at the last second. Put in your max bid and don’t be upset if you don’t win the auction. Know your limits.

On Mercari, look for lots with non-professional photos. You want to look for people who are just cleaning out their clutter. The same goes with ebay.

Pros:

  • No need to leave your home to source.
  • Works great when weather prohibits garage sales.

Cons:

  • Cost of goods can be higher per item.
  • Waiting period between purchase date and delivery date.

13. Goodwill/ Savers

Goodwill and Savers can be a great place to source because they are in so many towns. It’s likely that you have one near you. They are full of inventory, especially clothing and books.

Pros:

  • Can be full of clothing and books for ebay and Amazon.
  • Often has multiple locations in the same town.

Cons:

  • Can be hit or miss.
  • Pricing in these kinds of stores seem to be on the rise.

14. Friends and family

There are two ways to source inventory for ebay from friends and family. One is to ask if they have anything that they would be willing to donate to you, and the other is to sell their items on consignment. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re selling on consignment, here are a few tips:

  • Create clear expectations.
  • Decide on a consignment fee beforehand.
  • Research all items before you promise to sell them.
  • Be very transparent about what you expect to get for each item and how much you get after the sale.
  • Hold payment for the duration of your return policy.

Pros:

  • Free inventory or low cost after consignment fees.
  • No need to spend time to source.

Cons:

  • Possible awkward situation if items are not desirable.
  • Mixing business with family/friends can change the relationship.

15. Wanted ads

Most people think of ads they think of ads in the newspaper, but it can also include ads in other places like Facebook buy/sell groups or Craigslist. All you have to do is make an add that says that you are in search of (ISO) or that you buy whatever it is like video games, clothing, shoes, etc.

You will have to wade through a lot of junk to find the gems but they are out there. This can be a great way to source if there are no garage sales due to weather or if you don’t have access to thrift stores.

Pros:

  • Ability to get specific inventory
  • Opportunity to network for future purchases

Cons:

  • Meeting a stranger can be scary
  • Item maybe not be what you’re expecting when you get there.
  • There will be a lot of dud replies to one good one.

16. Storage unit auctions

Storage unit auctions are not as glamorous as they look like on the popular reality TV shows. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find some treasures there.

Some auctions are online and some are online. After you win the auction, you’ll have a limited time clean the entire unit, so be prepared to put in some grunt work.

Here are three places to find storage unit auctions:

Pros:

  • Potentetial to get lots of inventory in one place.
  • Cost per item can be low.

Cons:

  • Risk of getting lots of junk.
  • Responsibility to clear the entire until and dispose of unwanted items.

17. Live auctions

Live auctions are a lot of fun. If you have one near you, go check them out. Go observe and see what it’s all about. Some auctions can be overpriced and some can be really cheap. It just depends on the owners. You can find all my best auction tips here.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of inventory.
  • Chance to network with other buyers and resellers.

Cons:

  • Excitement of bidding may cause you to overspend.
  • Big time investment if the items you want come up near the end.

18. Big box stores

Don’t overlook stores like Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot. Their clearance aisles can be a great place to source inventory for ebay. Brand new items are easy to list and ship.

You can also scan the bar code of the item with the store’s app, and sometimes the actual price is lower than the marked price. This applies to most of the big box stores in your area.

Pros:

  • Brand new products.
  • Quick and easy to list and ship.

Cons:

  • Buy in cost is generally higher.
  • Market may be flooded.


19. Your own home

This is near the bottom of the list but should be at the top. If you want to source inventory for ebay but have no money, your own home is the best place to do that. Your own home is the best place to source if you are new to ebay as well.

Here are some things to look for first:

  • Unopened Christmas or birthday gifts
  • Video games
  • Unopened cosmetics
  • Small kitchen appliances and/or appliance parts
  • Clothing, especially new with tags items

Pros:

  • Helps you declutter unwanted items.
  • No cost upfront to source.

Cons:

Selection is limited.

20. Antique malls

A booth at an antique mall can be a great addition to your reselling business. It can also be a great place to source too. While a lot of items in these booths may be priced at retail, the booth owners do not know everything.

Stick to the junkier, flea market type booths for the best deals. Go on a regular basis so that you are familiar with the booths and can spot new items easily. Let the mall employees know what you are looking for. They may know vendors that have those items and haven’t put them in their booths yet.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of inventory.
  • Networking opportunity.

Cons:

  • Items may be priced near retail.
  • Very little ability to negotiate prices.

Best Tips to Easily Source Inventory for Ebay

Sourcing can be work, but it can also be a lot of fun. Here are my best sourcing tips:

Tip 1: Learn to negotiate.

Anywhere you can, negotiate the price. We negotiate the price at garage sales all the time. Bundling items (making a pile) is a great way to get a cheaper price. If you see similar items priced individually, ask how much the seller will take for all of it. It may be cheaper to buy it all, even if you have to find something to do with the rest of it.

Sourcing is how you get your inventory but it’s also where you make your money. The money is made on the buy, so buy items for the least amount possible.

Tip 2: Look in unlikely places.

When you are discussing price, never be the first person to throw out a number. Many times, the price they were going to give you is less than your offer. See where they are first and then see what you can do lower it if it is too high.

Inventory can be anywhere and everywhere. Don’t dismiss an opportunity until you check it out. This could be a new thrift store, free stuff someone offers you, a pile on the curb, etc.

Tip 3: Step outside your comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to dig around, get dirty, ask questions, etc. If you’re hungry, you can go a long way in this business. Work hard, build connections, and treat everyone with kindness. You’ll go a long way.

Sourcing is an adventure and a learning process. Have fun!

No one know everything, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not a natural from day one. Scan and look up everything you can until you learn what to buy and what not to buy.

This is the fun part. Be adventurous. Look under tables. Ask the sellers if they have more or certain items you are looking for. If you feel like you can’t find items to resell, turn over some rocks until you do find items you can resell for profit.

Where are your favorite places to source? Leave me a comment and let me know!

You may also like