The tight economy makes it tough on eBay sellers who don't have the cash to put out for inventory. However, if you are just a little bit creative, you can collect free stuff and then sell it on eBay. Here are some ways to do that.
FreeCycle is a great way to get free inventory to sell on eBay. You can get all kinds of things from home accessories to toys to furniture. Subscribe to the mailing list and when someone has something they want to get rid of, you will be notified. You don't have to tell anyone you want it to sell on eBay. Just make arrangements to pick it up and they'll be happy to get rid of it. Craigslist is another good place to find free inventory to sell on eBay. People post ads when they are putting their items on the curb and whoever gets there first to haul it away gets it for free.
(Side note about FreeCycle: It is an organization set up to help keep things out of the landfill. The FreeCycle organization has not issues with selling items obtained from the site. The FreeCycle website says, “Welcome! The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,936 groups with 8,376,006 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them's good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on 'Browse Groups' above the search box. Have fun!” However, moderators and members might impose their own opinions here and punish those they feel are taking items away from the financially needy, even though that is not what FreeCycle is about. It is best to stay under the radar and not broadcast that you are an eBay seller or you might be removed from the group.)
In fact, picking useful items up on the curb is a good way to find free stuff. It's best to drive through the more affluent neighborhoods, especially on trash pick up day or take it a step farther and go dumpster diving. You never know what you'll find.
Garage sales are a great place for freebies when you get there late. By the end of the day, the people hosting the yard sale are usually worn out and the last thing they want to do is drag what didn't sell to Goodwill, so you can offer to haul it away for free.
Start collecting free samples by joining coupon groups and forums. Some good sites are Money Saving Mom, Coupon Cravings, and The Krazy Koupon Lady. You'll be kept informed when manufacturers offer free samples so you can send for them. Before long you'll have quite a collection you can sell on eBay. . Or even tune into the new show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing.” This program profiles extreme couponers and how they obtain thousands of products for free.
Another way to get free samples is to "like" manufacturers on Facebook. Sometimes you are rewarded with a coupon for a freebie, plus they will occasionally send free offers to their fans on Facebook. Some examples are General Mills, Clairol, and Neutrogena.
Finding free inventory to sell on eBay can be an adventure in itself but is worth the effort since you'll be rewarded with pure profit.