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A guide to buying and reselling items in online auctions.
5 Mins

How to buy and resell at auction

Jess Gibson
Jess Gibson

If you’re pretty savvy and have an eye for a bargain, or you enjoy purchasing items for the purpose of fixing them up, then you’ll most likely have thought about how you can turn this venture into a viable little money-spinner – or maybe even a business that fits around your day-to-day responsibilities.

Identifying the best way to go about this can seem pretty tricky, however, as many of the avenues available to you require you to give up a portion of your profits to the platform you’re selling on or can include you expending silly amounts of money on delivery costs. But, with auctions, there’s an alternative avenue you can go down that offers you a wide variety of re-sellable products and that doesn’t deplete your profit margins!  

At William George, we run regular collective auctions at which you can list the items you wish to sell for free, retaining 100% of your profits – something that you’re unable to do on typical auction sites – meaning that you’re fully in control of your profit margins and the process surrounding buying and reselling.

Here, we’ve collected some tips to help you navigate your way through the buying and reselling at auction process and how you can ensure you get more bang for your buck working in this way!

What are you looking for?

It’s really easy to use your own tastes and likes to inform the direction you go in when it comes to buying items that you wish to resell, but the issue with this is that what you may deem as an interesting item or a ‘must-have’, may not be reflected in the vast majority of auction buyers. So, before you start purchasing items willy-nilly, it’s a good idea to have in mind what exactly it is you want to do.

Do you want to look for collectables that you can accumulate over time and resell as a bundle to an avid collector? Do fancy purchasing items of furniture or machinery that you can tinker with – maybe repaint, reupholster, repurpose, or update? Or maybe you enjoy the idea of taking a bit of a punt and buying a selection of items in bulk that you can separate and remarket and resell with a specific demographic in mind?

Recognising which of these avenues you want to go down will help you to tailor your entire purchasing process to ensure that it’s got a specific goal for you to work towards.

Keep an eye on the prize

Once you’ve established your chosen route to reselling, it’s important for you to keep an eye on ongoing and upcoming auctions that you can participate in – whether as a buyer or seller.

If you enjoy exploring piles of re-sellable items and working out how best to market and resell them, you will find our regular no reserve pallets of raw returns auctions, which consist of pallets of premium and standard domestic appliances, toys, furniture, and other items sourced from John Lewis. You’ll know what each pallet contains, just not the condition, and this is what makes these sorts of auctions exciting! The key thing for you to take away here is that you are purchasing these items at bargain prices due to their status as returns and the fact they are collected into one bundle on pallets.

If you’re more drawn to the idea of utilising your crafting skills to repurpose, update, or improve items, such as antiques and collectables, then you should keep an eye on our auctions featuring individual sellers. We include a selection of categories for you to browse through and identify any ongoing or upcoming auctions where you can look out for a great bargain – all you need to do is search through the listings, sign up for an auction, and keep an eye on the prize to make sure you’re getting a decent deal!

Steps to success

Once you’ve accumulated a whole roster of items that you can’t wait to resell, you need to decide at whom you’re aiming your wares. Are you selling to tradespeople who’re looking for tools or household items – i.e. bathroom sets that a plumber can install – that they can mount in the homes of customers? Are you specifically looking to focus on selling to avid collectors? Or are you looking to sell to businesses who are looking to kit out their team and business in order to create growth?

Having a firm grasp on this information will help you when deciding which auctions to list your pieces in and which category is most appropriate, as well as inform your language choices when writing descriptions for listings.

A key thing to remember is that, if you have remodelled or updated a product, this needs to be explicitly stated in the listing’s description and clearly shown in the images attached. So, for example, if you simply tidied up an antique item in keeping with the original time period it was made and with the aim of highlighting unique features, this needs to be identified, as it’s very different to taking an item and painting or reupholstering it so that it fits modern tastes and standards.

An eye for a bargain

It’s essential to have a basic understanding of the value of the items you’re buying and reselling, to ensure that you aren’t paying over the odds for an item that should actually be a bit cheaper. Additionally, this will help to identify what the ideal selling price is when you list your items for auction, too, so that potential buyers see you as a trustworthy seller that they can keep an eye out for in upcoming auctions.

Buying and reselling items with us is a simple, beneficial process that allows you to limit your overhead costs, whilst giving you the opportunity to retain the entirety of the money you make. So, why not give it a go? Check out our live auctions today. You’ve got nothing to lose!