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Guide To Making Money on eBay Buying and Selling Used Shoes

Updated on August 4, 2015

Introduction

If you are strolling past the shoe section while out sourcing for products, chances are you are leaving money on the table, lots of money! Here you will find brand names that I have personally sold on eBay over and over again. My goal is to help familiarize you with brand names so that you can quickly identify the shoes that can potentially bring money. I will also show you how to increase the value of your shoes, exactly where to find them, the least expensive way to ship them, and a couple tips to get them sold.

The brands included in this guide should be available in most locations. I am including “bread and butter” products, along with some high dollar shoes that are accessible and potentially sellable. I want you to be able to actually find these shoes! Christian Louboutin Louis Sneakers can fetch over $1000; however, chances are you will never find them so there is no point including them in this guide.

The prices included to the right of the brand name are estimates based on current used market value; the prices can and will change over time! The reason for this is because there are three factors that affect price: condition, supply and demand. Supply and demand fluctuate over time; it would be a disservice to you if I represented the current market value of these shoes as an absolute fact. Always do your research! As with anything, there is no substitution for due diligence!

Where To Find Cheap Shoes

There are many places where used shoes can be purchased and sold for a profit on eBay. Your money is truly made at the time of purchase; therefore, I very rarely pay more than $6 for women’s shoes and $10 for men’s shoes.

Thrift stores and second hand shops can be a gold mine. You will most likely find more shoes in thrift stores than any other place. Be sure to call your local thrift stores to find out when they run sales. A lot of thrift stores color code items and have a 50% off sale once a week.

Another great place to look is yard sales & flea markets. The best part about these places is that they are negotiable. If the owner of the yard sale or flea market booth has an expensive taste in shoes, chances are they have many shoes. If you place multiple shoes in piles with the intent of purchasing them all, you will have more leverage when negotiating. Just last summer I bought 8 pairs of Dansko nurse clogs at one yard sale for $50 and sold them all within a couple weeks for a total of $520 on eBay! Do not be afraid to haggle a little, people expect that! Generally when I gather my piles together, I know exactly what I am willing to pay, and have that money counted and ready in my pocket. I then ask the owner what they are willing to take for ALL OF THEM. After the owner shoots me an offer, I usually respond by pointing out flaws in the shoes, countering with half of their asking price. I also pull the money out of my pocket so they can see it when I make my offer. Money talks! If I am unable to make a deal that I am comfortable with, I always leave my number; in many cases the owner will call me back after the sale when they realize people are unwilling to pay the higher prices.

You can also find some good hauls on craigslist.org. You can acquire shoes on craigslist a couple ways. The simplest way is a basic search; however, I like it when computers do all the work for me. You can do this by setting up free alerts by going to https://www.google.com/alerts. You would simply enter brand names as your search term into the "Create an alert about" box and add the Craigslist site modifier to the end of the query. An example would be “Dansko lot site:baltimore.craigslist.org”. I recommend setting up alerts to all surrounding areas within driving distance with multiple search terms. Be sure to include searches for “Lots” so that you can score numerous shoes at once. It may also be in your best interest to create a new email account dedicated to your craigslist alerts and purchases so your personal account does not get flooded.

Another great way to automate the process is to place wanted ads on craigslist. When I place the ads, I am deliberate and to the point. I write that I am willing to pay up to $5 for women’s shoes and up to $10 for men’s shoes. I also provide a list of shoes that I am looking for. Be sure to include a picture as they stand out in craigslist search. I generally leave my personal phone number in the ads because I have a cell phone for craigslist only; however, if you are uncomfortable doing that, people will still be able to contact you via email.

In my experience, the vast majority of craigslist users are trustworthy and I have had many transactions with very little issues. With that being said however, you should always be careful when meeting people on craigslist. Always meet in public places like a mall; don’t ever meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your house. Tell a friend or family exactly where you are going, or consider having them accompany you. Be sure to trust your instincts; common sense goes a long way.

You can also find great deals on eBay to resell on eBay. Your purchase comes right to your front door and you can source in your PJs. Head over to eBay and next to the search field, click on advanced search, type in your keywords, and specify a minimum price. When buying a single pair of shoes on eBay, rather than purchasing a lot, you will spend a little more per pair and lose some margin; however, you will save on both gas and time. You can also purchase shoes in lots and score several pairs at once. Be sure to select the “items listed as lots” tab under advanced search to find multiple pairs in the same listing. Do not specify a price when looking for lots; instead, sort your search by price lowest first. If you check daily, you will find some great deals! I once picked up 8 pairs of Salvatore Ferragamos for $34 free shipping at auction. The shoes sold for approximately $480.

Rolling Up Your Sleeves & Increasing Value

The best part about selling shoes is that you can change the value with a little hard work. A cheap can of shoe polish can literally make the $5 pair of men’s used dress shoes turn into a $50+ sale on eBay. I strongly encourage you to take the time and effort to polish and clean your shoes. Shoes that are not cleaned and polished will still sell; however, you will not get a premium price and your chances of a return or negative feedback increase drastically. I use Kiwi shoe polish and I strongly recommend this brand! I have tried many different types of shoe polishes, but Kiwi gives me the best results. I also use buffing rags and a Kiwi horse hair brush that gives a nice professional polished look. I also use Goo Gone to get rid of the thrift store prices often written with marker on the bottoms. For the bottoms of the shoes, I use a coarse brush and lightly scrub any dirt off. It may also be worth the investment to give your shoes a new pair of laces, and for expensive shoes, I usually include new inserts. A clean polished pair of shoes with fresh laces and inserts will crush your competition’s dirty stinky pair. I also recommend you use rubbing alcohol or an antibacterial spray to disinfect the insides of your shoes. All of these products can be found inexpensively on Amazon.

How To Ship Shoes Inexpensively

Shoes are a great item to sell because you don’t have to be as concerned about them breaking in transit. To prepare them for transit, be sure to wrap each shoe in tissue paper and slide them into a polybag. Both the polybags and tissue paper are cheap when bought in bulk. Use the poly bag to keep them dry in the event that the post office leaves the package outside. The tissue paper keeps the polish looking great and prevents the shoes from rubbing against each other in shipment; it also looks much more professional than simply shoving them into a box. You will also need a small shipping scale that goes to 10 lbs. Avoid the small scales that stop at 5 lbs because you will not be able to weigh heavier men’s shoes and boots. You will also need packaging tape, which you will find is least expensive when buying in bulk.

Shoes are best shipped using USPS priority mail as it is fast and affordable for your buyers. They generally receive the item in 1 to 3 business days. USPS also provides you with shipping supplies for free! Please note that USPS prices are subject to change so I am not going to quote exact prices, but rather estimates only. You will need to first head over to https://www.usps.com/shippingsupplies to grab your free supplies. If you are ordering a large quantity, you can do so by calling 1-800-askusps.

You should consider the following when shipping shoes domestically.

Bubble mailers are around $5.50 to anywhere in the United States. These work best for women’s shoes, as men’s will not fit. Avoid shipping heels or other fragile shoes in bubble mailers.

Regional A top loaders are priced depending on where the item is being shipped. They are the prefect size for most women’s shoes. If the customer lives close by, you can get it to them for around $5

Priority mail shoe boxes are priced according to weight and distance. Men’s shoes and larger boots are best suited for this method. You may want to consider putting packing material in the box so your shoes are not bouncing back in forth during shipment. Your price for this method is around $5 to $13 depending on location.

Regional B top loaders are also priced depending on where the item is being shipped. You can save money on men’s shoes if you are shipping to a state close by. Also, check this option before shipping large shoes via Priority mail shoe box. Your price for this method is around $9 to $13 depending on location

Fedex Smart Post is something to consider when shipping heavy shoes long distances; however, it takes much longer compared to Priority mail.

Before shipping anything on eBay to your buyer, be sure to check all of your options before printing a label. Save money and increase your margins!

When charging for shipping you have a couple options; I suggest running tests to determine what works best for you. One option is to offer free shipping and incorporate shipping into the price of your item. $45 + $5 shipping, and $50 free shipping will achieve the same result. If you have 1 day handling time and ship priority, eBay will give you a fast and free logo under your listing as well. You could also offer a flat price for your buyers. A good example is $6 for small light women’s shoes and $10 for boots and men’s shoes. If you chose to offer flat rate shipping, you will sometimes lose a little and sometimes gain a little; however, it seems to even out in the end. Your last option is calculated shipping. With this option, the buyer will pick the method that is the least expensive depending on weight and distance. For instance, if you were listing a small pair of women’s shoes, you would allow the buyer to select either Regional A or Bubble mailer. The shipping price is than calculated by weight and distance. Please note that eBay’s calculated shipping is not always accurate so you may gain or lose a little.

Tips To Get Your Shoes Sold

Take great pictures! You should have nice clean white backgrounds. The only thing that should be in your picture is your shoes. Clutter looks unprofessional and diverts attention away from what you are selling. I use a three point lighting system to avoid shadows, with a white backdrop to create a professional appearance. Use a good camera as well; Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and Cannon all make affordable cameras. eBay requires a minimum length of 500 pixels; however, you should go bigger! Larger photos allow for the zoom feature in your listing.

Pick great keywords in your title so your buyers can find you. Your title should at least include the brand, size, shoe type, and color. Check out the Terapeak Keywords app on eBay; it is free and will help you come up with good filler words that are relevant to your listing.

Fill out the conditional notes under your title. This is a great opportunity to tell buyers that the shoe you have for sale is in excellent condition, or to disclose any flaws it may have. It’s important to note that some mobile users may only view your conditional notes and not select the item’s description; so, filling out the conditional notes section can be very beneficial to you in either making the sale, or avoiding a possible future return or negative feedback.

Avoid returns by providing measurements. There is nothing worse than having a $100 pair of Tory Burch flats come back to you because they did not fit. Measure the length, width and heel of the shoe and put it in the description.

Bolo List

The following is a list of shoes that I have sold over the years. These brands have served me well and I sincerely hope they help you in your eBay journey. Under the right circumstances, and with hard work and dedication, it is not unreasonable for one person to achieve a healthy income selling nothing but shoes. It is also very possible to do so working out of your garage, or back bedroom, in the comfort of your own home. Take this list seriously and remember the brands provided here. You may want to also view this on your phone or tablet so that you can reference the list while you are out sourcing. Please note that I have not provided pictures and for good reason. Most brands make many different styles of shoes. For instance Cole Haan and Coach make both women’s heels and men’s dress shoes. If I were to give images for each brand, style, and gender, this “short guide” would be endless.

Brand
Price Range
Cole Haan
$30 - $75+
Dansko
$40 - $120
Frye
$80 - $200+
Via Spiga
$30 - $70+
Dr Martens
$35 - $100+
Born
$25 - $60+
B.O.C.
$25 - $60+
Bruno Magli
$40 - $200+
S.A.S Tripad
$25 - $40
Josef Seibel
$25 - $80
Merrell
$25 - $45
Sperry Top Sider
$25 - $100
Ariat
$25 - $80
UGG
$40 - $200+
Birkenstock
$40 - $60+
Clarks
$25 - $50+
Sanita
$30 - $70+
Stuart Weitzman
$35 + $125+
Ralph Lauren
$25 - $100+
Ecco
$25 - $50+
Mephisto
$30 - $150+
Keen
$25 - $100+
Tods
$30 - $200+
Johnston & Murphy
$50 - $100+
Allen Edmonds
$50 - $150+
Tory Burch
$50 - $150+
Naot
$30 - $70+
Minnetonka
$25 - $65+
Timberland
$50 - $100+
Toms
$50 - $100+
Bear Paw
$50 - $150+
Harley Davidson
$50 - $125+
Brooks Brothers
$50 - $200+
5 out of 5 stars from 6 ratings of this Guide to selling shoes.

© 2015 Jesse Forbes

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    • DaBlackwallstreet profile image

      Darvis Pompey 16 months ago from Charlotte NC

      To be honest eBay is great but if you looking for a place to buy and sell shoes only The SneakerHead Auction Site is the best www.Kickstors.net checkout pretty good

    • Jesse Forbes profile image
      Author

      Jesse Forbes 2 years ago

      Gloriusconfusion. You should check out amazon FBA for books. We send them all into amazon and do pretty well. You can scan the books before you get the inventory with the amazon seller app for free to determine margin. Happy Selling!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I've just sold a book on eBay for £299 so I'm feeling all enthusiastic, but books can be a bit of a nightmare, as, if you don't know what you're doing, it's easy to buy/source books which look good (new cover and all that) but which will only sell for next to nothing. I see decent books on eBay and Amazon selling for only £1 or so, and it's just not even worth advertising, parcelling and queuing up in the post office to post them if that's all you're going to earn. So your idea provides a lot of food for thought - interesting and thanks

    • Wrath Warbone profile image

      Terry Chestnutt 2 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      Tremendously nice of you to provide this top quality info on the used shoe business at eBay for free. Really got to thank you for that. The potential for your readers to benefit financially is huge. No doubt about in my mind at all. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Peggy 2 years ago

      Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge. I found it very informative and definitely will start looking at shoes

    • Jesse Forbes profile image
      Author

      Jesse Forbes 2 years ago

      Thank Jenny! Hope you find some of the brands while your out sourcing :)

    • profile image

      Jenny 2 years ago

      Great article! I like how this is geared towards shoes that are in a reasonable price range.

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