Six things farmers can sell online for extra income
Many turn to the online resale market to buy items for cheaper prices or a place to sell quality items for extra money when economic times are uncertain. While it takes hard work and dedication to pick up this “side hustle,” it can be a great outlet for farmers and Rural Americans to help make ends meet.
Selling items online through e-retail sites like eBay, Poshmark, Mercari — and even Facebook Marketplace (which now offers shipping options in addition to in-person meet-ups) — is a fairly straightforward process. However, making good money from it as a “side hustle” takes time, dedication and discipline. But, these are all qualities that farmers must have to be successful in their main line of work! Think online reselling might be a good fit for your operation? Read on for some tips on how to get started.
When economic times are uncertain, many turn to the online resale market to buy items at a cheaper price or to sell quality items to bring in some extra money when finances are tight. In fact, some consider online reselling a “recession-proof industry.”
Consumers reduce their spending during economic downturns, but it does not stop them from seeking out the items they need through more creative means. This ranges from purchasing secondhand clothing online to stockpiling dry goods and cleaning supplies at cheaper prices. People also spend more time at home, so spending during tough times tends to increase in categories like media & entertainment, tools and materials for home improvement projects, and even purchases of pre-owned outdoor gear & camping equipment to use on cheap getaways that won’t break the bank.
With the right knowledge, farmers and ranchers can successfully start reselling items they have around their homes and business online for profit from any any outpost across the United States with access to a local USPS post office branch.
Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- Utilizing Google Lens — Available through the Google smart phone app or the desktop search engine, Google Lens allows users to take a photo in real time or select one from their camera roll and perform a quick reverse image search. With this, resellers are able to find specific product details about the items they want to sell as well as links to other similar items currently available online. Many times, you will find the exact item listed on eBay or Poshmark already — and by clicking “sell similar” options on either platform, use that listing as a template to post your own item instead of starting from scratch!
- Pricing Like a Pro — Both eBay and Poshmark allow users to search for items for sale on their sites as well as filter those results to see similar items previously sold on their platforms. Researching this information can help you accurately price your item. It can also help calculate information like the “sell through rate” of items so you can determine how long it will take for the right buyer to come along and purchase your item.
- Taking Quality Photos — Providing potential buyers with high quality photographs, accurately capturing any flaws in photos along with the item description on your listing, is by far the best way to sell something online quickly and for a good price. High-quality photos can be taken with any newer model smart phone without purchasing additional equipment. However, many sellers also use AI programs to replace the backgrounds of their product photos so they look even more professional. While eBay provides a free background removing tool within their listing tool, you can also download a separate app like PhotoRoom to make the process go faster (for a small fee).
- Accessing Free Shipping Supplies — Purchasing shipping materials can be a hefty expense for new resellers. While you can use (or reuse!) any shipping box to send packages through USPS Ground Advantage and Priority Mail, UPS or Fedex, you can access free shipping boxes, poly-mailers and envelopes through USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate program to use with that specific service. Pick them up at your local post office or have them shipped directly to your home for just the cost of the postage.
- Learning more on YouTube — If you are interested in learning more about how to sell items online and be successful at it, take a look at YouTube. There are dozens of great content creators sharing in-depth information about their sourcing methods, listing processes, and the financial ins-and-outs of their reselling businesses as a free resource to others.
But what can farmers and ranchers gather to sell online today without spending a dime? Here are few ideas:
Used Work Clothes & Vintage Western Wear
When it comes to clothing, specifically, economists noted a huge rise in fast fashion purchase by young shoppers during the 2008 recession. However, sustainable fashion and thrifting experienced a meteoric rise during the COVID-19 pandemic and has only gained traction among Gen Z consumers.
According to Forbes, around 33 million consumers purchased pre-owned clothes for the first time in 2020, and the secondhand clothing industry is expected to double by 2025, reaching $77 billion. Another study by ThredUp projected that the global secondhand market would reach a net worth of $350 billion by 2027.
We’ve already told you about recent Western wear trends in mainstream fashion, like the “coastal cowgirl” aesthetic — but now, a new fashion trend called “gorpcore” is gaining popularity among America’s urban youth. So, it is a great time for farmers and ranchers to cash in on the kids clamoring for their dusty, old Carhartt and Levi’s, (which can net profits in the thousands of dollars), as well as quality outdoor brands, industrial gear, vintage western wear, and cowboy boot brands that are extremely popular in rural areas but much more difficult to find elsewhere.
Small Tools, Farming Equipment & Replacement Parts
Clothing is far from the only category worth selling online! eBay also has a number of categories that cater to agricultural and industrial businesses. While shipping costs prevent first-time sellers from easily selling large or heavy machinery online, small items (smaller than a cubic foot and lighter than 70 pounds) like machinery and tractor parts, hand tools, and even hatching eggs can be sold on the platform for a decent profit.
Vintage Toys & Collectibles
Don’t just stop at real tractors — vintage toy tractors, especially classic John Deere models with their original boxes, can also fetch a pretty penny online! Whether you are searching in your own basement, cleaning out an adult child’s old room, or visiting local garage and estate sales, make sure to keep any eye out for vintage toys, trading cards and comic books to resell online for big money. These items can range in resale value from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on what you have and the condition of the item.
Pyrex & Vintage Kitchenware
Beyond toys, many other vintage items are seeing a resurgence in popularity right now. Another category to peruse is vintage kitchenware and dinnerware. While packing and shipping these items requires extra materials and care, it can be well worth the extra effort. Certain Pyrex patterns, tea sets, and vintage kitchenware like Anchor Hocking Fire King or Corning ware can be worth thousands of dollars — especially if they are in complete sets, in excellent condition, or exceedingly rare. While there is less of a payoff, selling one-off replacements for larger dining sets is also an easy way to flip cheap thrift store finds for extra income.
While many are considered invaluable heirlooms meant to be passed down from generation to generation, some antique Bibles can fetch upwards of $10,000 online. While we not suggest selling something precious to your family or a blessed religious item, antique stores across America usually house stacks of old books, including Bibles. So, the next time you make the rounds at your local antique shops or flea market, keep a keen eye on the books. The heavens might just open up and pour out a blessing!
While the online selling platforms previously mentioned here work to highlight handmade items, those with a penchant for crafting and sewing should also consider selling on Etsy to reach a much larger market of customers with an appreciation for handmade goods like quilts, needlework and knitwear. Amish-made items, specifically, as well as items using the popular keywords “Made in the USA” tend to fetch a higher premium online.