Make Money selling old Tools

October 22, 2015 by  
Filed under New, Spotlight

Make Money selling old Tools

Since we’re talking about making money I have to mention this really great niche – make money selling old tools. 

This works in part because most of us know have some knowledge about some kind of tool. Not to mention they’re available almost everywhere you look from flea markets to garage sales. Planning a few hours on a Saturday morning will always yield a few used tool deals.

I’ve even found discontinued power tools on the discount table at my local big-box store. You’ll have no problem marking them up reasonably and selling them accordingly.

Focus on power and professional tools.

Also look for specialty-purpose and over-sized tools. Don’t forget to look for bargains on the accessories as well. People may own the tool but want to buy a case or an extra power pack.

The over-sized tools are mostly contractor-type but they may be a specialty version tool for the consumer. Things like large mixing drills or floor staplers.

Even over-sized pry-bars and levels. Someone will always need what you have – if only for a single project. You’re saving them money over buying a brand new tool for a single use.

To make money selling old tools keep these details in mind.

What are people buying? People will buy everything basically. As long as you focus on the three areas, specialty, power and over-sized. I have sold cement mixers (specialty/power) all the way down to special purpose drill bits (specialty/over-sized/accessory).

They sell quickly in the warm months but you can also make good money in winter if they have been priced well.
The cement mixers were small enough for the homeowner and the drill bits were a professional item. They were over-sized concrete bits. In both these cases they were priced much better than a new tool purchase. And in both cases the homeowner had a project they needed to accomplish at their home.

Another type of buyer you may get is the professional contractor.

I’ve had contractors looking to expand their tool inventory in advance of a particular job. Or they found something in one of my ads that was an exceptional price.

I’ve also had contactors that have called in a panic. They needed a particular tool asap because theirs had just broken on the job. In a case like that they probably don’t have time to go shopping. Or the expense of a brand new tool is not cost effective at this stage of their job. Note: In cases like these I’m referring to higher-end power tools.

Some hot sellers.

Keep in mind they are usually only interested if it’s available immediately. That interest level drops if they have to wait on you since they are potentially losing the work day anyways. In cases like those I try to to meet with them asap.

You may be a contractor yourself with a supply of tools that you have retired. The good news for you is that since you are probably using professional grade tools to begin with – these are hot sellers. Just make sure to write your ad detailing that fact.

Start by cleaning them and making sure they are safe to use. ‘Tag’ them with any notes as some tools have quirks that only the seller may be familiar with.

If you want to turn this into a legitimate business you could use your business card in place of a tag. Just punch a hole in the corner and attach it to the tool with wire or a zip tie. Jot any important notes on the back. Bag any spare or loose parts that are included.

You can attach the bag to the tool (or cord) again with a zip tie. Include the manual if possible. If you don’t have the original you may be able to download one from the internet.

“To make money selling old tools your first step is to make sure you price them well.”

It’s time to take great pictures.

You want to include as many pics as you’re allowed. Here are a few tips for the best pictures. Start with a clean item – no one wants to look at, or purchase a mud-caked tool. You may have trouble generating interest in a case like that unless it’s marked FREE.

Put something relative close-by to indicate its size.
Next pick a clean spot to stage your item. Even better if it’s appropriate to the tool. For example, an open spot on your tool bench.  I’ve held it in my hand and I’ve also open a tape measure in the shot.

You’ll need a master.

You want a few ‘master’ shots – showing the entire item. You want a few close-ups too. Remember to show details such as the manufacturers label as well as any wear or damage.

Finally, if you really want to make money selling old tools then take a picture of the tool in the context of it’s intended use.  If that isn’t possible use a workbench surface or shop floor. You could also use your imagination and create an industrial themed backdrop.

I would take many tool pictures using a diamond checker plate on the garage floor. This gave me a rugged industrial theme and some consistency across all of my industrial items. Get a picture of it in-action if possible.

If you can’t create the action-shot you could download a stock shot as long as it’s consistent with the actual item. That last one can be more difficult to arrange so consider it optional. I wish you success in your quest to make money selling old tools.

Best of luck and collect well.


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