This couple made $20,000 reselling returns from Amazon, Walmart, and Target

The younger generations have given a true lesson in resilience in the most difficult times of the post-pandemic, when the economic recession threatens to aggravate a panorama already marked by scarcity, rising prices, the housing crisis and general financial uncertainty.

FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2010 file photo, Humberto Manzano, Jr., delivers an arriving pallet of goods at an fulfillment center in Phoenix.  Products are flying off the shelves at Amazon warehouses across the county as Californians prepare to start paying sales taxes on online purchases.  The change, which takes effect Saturday, Sept.  15, 2012, will pave the way for the e-commerce giant to open warehouses in California and offer same-day shipping to customers.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, file)

FILE – Pallets of products at an Amazon fulfillment center in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Now more than ever, millennials and centennials seek to distance themselves from conventional work modelsto prioritize a lifestyle that allows them to manage their time and future projections, at their own pace and under the conditions they deem appropriate.

Hence, in recent years the culture of the “side-hustle” has become popular, which in Spanish would be the inclination to try side jobs with which you can earn a good amount of additional income, without necessarily requiring a lot of effort or time.

Jamie and Sarah McCauley were encouraged to test out side-hustle ground in December 2020. “It really started out as an experiment to see if we could make real money,” they told CNBC. And indeed, they have pocketed nearly $20,000 in winnings.

The business of the couple – 33 and 32 years old, respectively – consists of buying pallets full of items that customers return to Target, Walmart and Amazon.

“We did it for fun, but then we realized it was a great way to make money.”

The McCauleys, who also resell furniture and renovate rental properties in western Michigan, got the idea when they first saw a dealer selling returns through a Facebook group.

The process seemed simple. They would visit a local warehouse and pay an average of $550 for a pallet containing several sealed boxes. The risky? You don’t know what items are inside or what condition they are in until after purchase.

It’s a “gamble”, but it may be worth it

Jamie and Sarah decided to try their luck and estimate that they have spent around $7,150 on pallets from Amazon, Walmart and Target. But it has been worth it because the total winnings have been US$ 19,500after reselling each product separately on platforms like eBay and Facebook Marketplace.

In just one month, they both earned $1,880 when they sold about 25 Amazon items that they bought for just over $500.

“Buying the pallets is a real gamble,” the couple warns, as you may end up with excess inventory of items that are too damaged to list.

They explained that after selecting a pallet, they load the boxes onto their truck trailer, drive them home, and record themselves unpacking the goods for their YouTube channel (another lucrative side-hustle).

As they reveal the items to their 110,000 subscribers, they estimate the retail value of each product based on its original price and condition. Most have been lightly used, so they are listed for resale at 60% of their original price.

Jamie says it typically takes one to two weeks to get the money back and four to eight weeks to sell 90% of the items. So far, they have never lost money on a pallet.

“We’ve had some really bad pallets, but at least we always break even,” he explained.

The recession and soaring returns

Every time there is an increase in online purchases, returns also increase, recalls CNBC. In 2021, an average of 16.6% of all retail purchases in physical and online stores were returned.

Some of those returns are sent to closeout warehouses, especially when retailers don’t have space for unplanned inventory or find it too costly to inspect and repackage returns.

“When a recession hits, people don’t want to pay full price for things,” says Sarah. “Resellers thrive in a recession because people are trying to save money in whatever way they can.”

Videos on YouTube, featuring content on furniture reselling, home renovations and real estate investing, have also earned the McCauleys more than $102,000 so far this year.

“We started to realize that this is a great way for people to earn extra money when they just can’t pay the rent, or if they want to go on vacation with their family,” insists Sarah. “Anyone can do it.”

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