Nothing makes me happier than finding out about some new item that I can find cheaply at thrift stores and garage sales that has big upside potential on eBay. So I get really happy on those occasions when I scratch the surface to discover a whole genre of inventory to pick.
Which brings us to Old Tools!
I'm not much of a handy man, I'm more of a 'beat-it-to-fit-paint-it-to-match' kind of guy. Therefore, I don't really know a quality coping saw from a busted-ass power drill. I wouldn't know valuable hand tools if they smashed my fingers, which they usually do. However, I do know who knows what's what in the tool department. That's right - the completed auction listings on my eBay smartphone app.
Man, all those years I was just passing by all those bins of hardware and tools... better late than never. And unlike books and vintage toys, the 'tools' inventory is not a viciously sought by every flipper in town, so there are a lot of deals out there for the grabbing.
If you have storage considerations and a complete inability to repair motorized things like me, you're going to want to primarily focus on smaller hand tools. And my best picks thus far have been older tools in great condition. Small items like tape measures, wood planes and chisels, hand drills, and specialty tools for leather crafts and the like, have done real well for me. For example, here is a sweet tape measure I bought from the reuse center for $3 and sold for:
|That says $29.50|
I'm not averse to picking small power tools as well if the deal is sweet enough and I'm confident on what it will net me online. Most stores or sales will let you plug in a power tool to at least see if the if it seems to be running smooth. If you know what you are doing with it, go ahead and give it a full test when you get home and be sure to take photos for proof in your listing description. But if you're like me and using anything beyond a drill will likely result in lost digits, no sweat, just make sure to be honest with your listing and report that this tool has not been thoroughly tested. Some of these tools will still get you decent dollars even when being sold in "As-Is" or even "For Parts of Repair" condition.
I made over $100 for this power planer I picked-up for $10!
And, if you're really rugged, you can make some big profits flipping heavy duty tools like generators, air compressors, and tablesaws. These types of items are generally too big for easy, affordable shipping, so it might be Craigslist for those.
So get those gloves on and start digging in that crate of old nails and screws. There just might be some old gold in there.