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Upcycle For a Profit: How to Grow Your Small Business With Yard Sales

Two white tires filled with plants model an idea for an upcycling business

As more and more people are becoming aware of the fact that recycling isn’t a cure-all for the enormous amounts of trash that humanity generates, we are seeing a trend towards upcycling as an alternative. Some people are even creating their own upcycling business!

Today in the Yard Sale Radar blog, we are looking at how you can use yard sales to grow your upcycling business. If you have your own small business or are looking to start one, then read on for some great insights and ideas!

For Those Just Getting Started: What Is an Upcycling Business?

“Upcycling” refers to taking existing materials and repurposing them into something else. Today, many people see it as an important part of a larger strategy for building a more environmentally sustainable (and profitable!) society.

Upcycling businesses are leading the way in getting this conversation started. By upcycling for profit, they’re proving that upcycling isn’t just a matter of charity or personal responsibility. They’re showing that there is also money to be made, and that really gets people’s interest. Upcycling is for real and it is here to stay!

Take Advantage of a Yard Sale’s Low Costs

Not only are yard sales great for selling your products, but they are also great ways to source your products! Unsurprisingly, the main point of an upcycling business is upcycling used and/or old products into something new and interesting. Searching yard sales for cheap and interesting yard sale treasures can be a financially savvy way of sourcing materials for your business.

By browsing yard sale listings in your area and searching for the best things to buy at yard sales, you can visit other people’s sales and pick up promising items on the cheap. Whether that means picking up a nice desk and refurbishing it to look brand new or collecting recycled teacups to make succulent planters, yard sales have a plethora of materials to help you upcycle for a profit!

An upcycled pallet painted in rainbow colors livens up a garden setting

Tap into a New Market

If you’ve run your own business, you know how hard it can be to find new customers. Paid marketing helps (and word-of-mouth is priceless) but growing a customer base for your upcycling business is still a long-term project.

Yard sales can help you speed this up and help you upcycle for a profit. Yard sales are great at bringing a lot of people to see your wares in a short amount of time. More importantly, the people who shop through your online store or show up at your booth during a street fair are probably not the same people who will show up to your yard sale.

Another way of thinking about this is to realize that by advertising and holding yard sales, you can tap into an entirely new market of potential customers for your upcycling business!

A skateboard made into a guitar as an idea for an upcycling business

Use Yard Sale Shoppers to Iterate Your Product Design

One of the challenges with upcycling for profit is that it’s hard to create a consistent product. Upcycling uses only what’s available, and what’s available is always changing — it’s hard to find the same goods twice! So if you find yourself with a hot product, you can’t easily make a lot more of them without deviating away from your upcycling business model.

If the product is always changing, this makes your brand as an upcycler much more important when it comes to earning repeat business. If you only refurbish old electronics sourced from yard sales, for example, it can be hard to guarantee that you’ll offer the same electronics for sale month after month.

Your style — or the type of products you sell — is what’s going to get customers to come back. So how do you create the right brand if you’re only using recycled materials that constantly change?

One way is through iteration. If you choose to sell your items through a yard sale, you have the opportunity to get a lot of different people to look at your products. You can observe their reactions and their purchasing patterns closely and gain valuable insight that you wouldn’t get through online sales. What kinds of objects are they interested in? What kinds of color palettes, materials, and utility do they like? These are important questions for the long-term success of your upcycling business, and holding a yard sale is a great way to start taking the pulse of your customers and learning how to make money at yard sales. It’s like renting space at a street fair except with no booth fee!

At the same time, yard sales can also help you source a greater variety of materials and goods. Rather than searching through the bins of the same donation store week-after-week, searching for yard sales allows you to tap into a variety of different sources who may all have a bulk amount of the same items or materials. Homeowners generally use yard sales to get rid of lots of the same type of item at once, so it can be easier to find matching sets or pieces for your upcycling business.

For example, if you refurbish and upcycle furniture for a profit, you have a greater chance at coming across a full set of old furniture at a yard sale than you do at a Goodwill — not to mention you can use Yard Sale Radar to search your city for the best yard sale items and the exact thing you need!

Ready to get started? Create an account and start searching for your perfect materials today!