Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Target Profit Margin

Anonymous said: 

"Love hearing about your sales! I'd like to know how you decide on pricing. What profit margin do you try and make off each item?"

Obviously, that's going to depend on the item. I don't have a hard and fast rule. I aim for 10x my investment on most things, but that's hard to do. Here's a sampling of some of my profit margins:

Shoes. I usually get them for $2.99 around here. Converse sell for $25-30, so that's pretty close to 10x. Occasionally I'll find a better brand and get even more than 10x. On the flipside of that, occasionally I'll pay $5 or more for shoes, so that's less than 10x.

Pants. I don't buy pants often, but when I do, they are usually $4.99. I'm lucky to get $20 out of them.

Shirts. They are usually $3.99, and I sell them (depending on brand, of course) for anywhere from $16.99 (basic Gap) to $35 (Ralph Lauren men's XXL)

Mugs. They are 50 cents at my Goodwill. I sell them for $10+. That's a good bit more than 10x.

Books. I try to stick to 25c-50c each for them and sell them in series lots for around $1 per book. Some series I can get more out of, like Babysitters' Club. I can get $1.50 per book out of them in a large lot, so sometimes I'm willing to pay up to $1 for those, if it's one I don't see often (super mystery or a really high book number).

Pans. I don't buy pans too often anymore, but when I do, they are usually Revere Ware or Vision Ware for an average of $5 at Goodwill, $2-3 at yard sales. Depending on the size, I can sell them for $20-$35.

Board Games. Totally depends on the game. My Goodwill sells games for 50 cents. I can make a very nice profit margin on them if it's the right game.

Hot Rollers. I'll pay up to $5 for a complete set. Again, depending on the particular set, I've sold hot rollers for anywhere from $15 (Hot Sticks) to $50 (Clairol Kindness 3-Way Deluxe), and even $75 (Lady Schick).

Plush. 50 cents at my Goodwill. I sell Care Bears for anywhere from $10 to $35, depending on the size and who it is.

I know that was a lot of "depending on..." statements, but that's a really hard question to give a blanket answer to. To summarize, of course I'm going to aim for a higher profit margin. I love 10x, and really, that's probably pretty close to my average profit margin. Just remember ... you determine your profit margin when you BUY an item, not when you SELL it. YOU can control how much you spend on an item. The MARKET controls how much you'll get out of it. Purchase wisely, and you'll do just fine.


  1. Wow! I wish our GWs had your prices. There are at least 2 in my town (one very near my house), plus an outlet, and I almost never go in any of them. The lowest price on books is 99 cents, plush are usually $3.99, mugs are often several dollars. And the toy aisles, where I would want to do most of my hunting, just have things crammed on the shelves, broken, pieces strewn about, totally disorganized. It all looks like trash. And they never run sales. Sigh. Thank goodness for Value Village, where everything is clean, and organized in baggies, and everything in the store is 25% off on Mondays. :-)

  2. Good advice. Our GW never has sales. I have gotten spoiled at my favorite thrift by picking things out of the 25c bin and the free bin. I have gotten some real gems from there.

  3. I'm with Kari. I agree on the target profit margin.