How to make money by becoming a picker


Pickers buy and sell just about anything, and you can make money picking if you are careful about how you buy and sell. Image: Flickr / opie / CC-BY-SA

The job title “picker” is one that has only recently become well-known, thanks to a variety of TV shows. Being a picker is usually far from glitz and glamor like being on TV, but it can be a low-capital business that will turn a profit, if done carefully.

The history of becoming a picker

Picking originally began as an antique dealer’s profession. Generally, picking is a job, profession or hobby that focuses on buying antiques and selling those antiques either to stores or directly to collectors. In the past few years, some TV networks have started following around pickers, but it is a job that has existed for decades.

The payday loan also has a lengthy history.

The basics of picking

Picking, generally, means finding anyone willing to sell you what you want to re-sell at a price that you can afford and then make a profit from. Find something you know quite a bit about, and utilize that knowledge. Just about any product, from vases and lamps to furniture or clothing could be a product ripe for picking.

The secret of pricing

Pricing is the biggest question when you are trying to make money picking. Remember that generally, any dealer that you sell a product to will want to purchase the item for between 40 and 60 percent of the eventual selling price. This means you need to buy items for between 20 and 30 percent of the retail price if you intend on selling to dealers, or 40 to 60 percent if you plan on selling directly to buyers. When you are figuring how to price items, keep in mind that you will need to pay for the fuel that you use driving back and forth to picks, the 30 percent taxes for self-employment, postage, and any entrance fees to selling fairs.

Where to sell

Selling directly to dealers is the quickest and easiest way to sell. Find shops, consignment dealers, or large secondhand stores that purchase inventory. Alternatively, you can sell directly by identifying barter fairs, antique markets, flea markets and online stores where you can retail the items that you pick. Keep a detailed list of the places you sell to and the prices, and work on developing relationships with individuals you buy from and sell to.

An example of modern picking

Modern picking can be for antiques, but it is not always for those products. For example, you could purchase a lot of clothing at a yard sale for 50 cents to $1 per item. Turn around and sell that clothing on Ebay or Craigslist for $1 to $5 each piece. Alternatively, you could purchase that same clothing in a large lot, and then sell it to a clothing consignment store or used clothing store, then donate any unsellable items to a thrift store for a tax deduction.


Journal of Antiques
Do It Yourself American Pickers Guide
Mother Earth News

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