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Considering Selling Second Hand? Top Tips from Goodwill

second-hand-11070702 Credit: Jan Kranendonk | Dreamstime.com

Resale is a multibillion-dollar industry that’s seeing a renewed growth in popularity amid a down economy. Over the last two years, the National Association of Resale Professionals reports a 7 percent increase in the number of secondhand stores across the country.

The leader in resale is Goodwill Industries, which had nearly 2.7 billion in retail sales at its more than 2,500 stores throughout the United States and Canada in 2010.

Goodwill's Lauren Lawson-Zilai offers the company’s top tips for running a successful secondhand business.

[New Book to Feature Photo Tour of Thrift Stores]Encourage donations of items in working condition only: It is critical to sell things that are safe for your shoppers, so Lawson-Zilai said it is imperative that resale shop owners ensure none of the items they accept have been recalled or banned.

Simplify the donation process: No one wants to wait in long lines or be hassled with difficult donation processes.  Lawson-Zilai advises making the donation process as simple as possible and tailoring it to the needs of the customers who are dropping things off.

Make sure clothes are clean: When taking in clothing, Lawson-Zilai said to make sure donors are dropping off things that have been washed first.  Resale shops don't have the time or manpower to rewash everything — and trying to sell dirty clothes is never going to go over well with the customer, no matter how great a bargain it is, she said.

Hold unique sales: Sometimes the day-to-day bargains of a secondhand store still aren't enough to lure a shopper inside. Lawson-Zilai said unique and fun promotions , like half-off Mondays, are an easy way to drive traffic into the shop.


Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.