SWAP.com: Selling your clothes for cash. How it works and how you get paid!

Two years ago when I started my downsizing journey, I had totes full of clothing. Nice, designer clothing that I had worn pre-baby. I bought most of these items (Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Tahari) either on sale, at outlet stores, or a very favorite chain store “Value City”, which went out of business years ago. At Value City I purchased several high end suits for $50 each, which is a steal! I still own 3 of them. One is a skirt suit. One is classic black with nice lines and appropriate for winter. The third is a classic pinstripe that is better for warmer months. I wore this to a work conference and the winter one came in handy for a job interview. If you are in the work place, it’s good to have a formal outfit around, especially if you need to make a presentation or are actively seeking other employment.

Due to pregnancy and subsequent breastfeeding, I was unable to wear 80% of my work clothes after my first child was born. Then my employer instituted a casual dress policy and the need for my pant suits and dresses (I still love dresses though!), fell aside. I have held on to most of my dresses because you can wear them casual or dress them up. I find wearing “one” piece of clothing is such a time saver versus trying to match slacks and tops. But that’s another conversation…

The fact was, as long as I was breastfeeding and pumping at work, most of these clothes were not practical. I mean, try nursing  a baby in a pullover dress….not happening!  With adding more work from home days to my schedule, I just didn’t need all of those clothes anymore. I had to figure out what to do with them. They were in good condition but I have not been happy with our local consignment scene (for kids or adult clothes). I kept seeing adds for SWAP.com and thredUP.  So I decided to try both. I sent my most upscale clothing to thredUP and my other nice pieces (e.g. GAP, Old Navy, RL, J. Crew) to SWAP.com. Anything that was not name brand went to the donation drop off.

What is SWAP.com anyway?

Swap.com boasts to be the “largest online consignment and thrift store for women’s and men’s apparel, baby, kids’ items and accessories.” Their tag line reads “THE LARGEST ONLINE

The process to sell your clothing is quite easy. Essentially, I loaded up a box I had (I reused one we had laying around), printed out the prepaid shipping label (yes! you don’t have to pay them to ship your clothing!), and mailed the box of clothes.  I personally suggest that you take the time to iron and fold your clothing neatly before shipping them. They will present better and you are giving them the good vibes of care and love they need to find a good home.

At the time when I decided to sell my items there was a back log of about 4 months. This means that it took SWAP.com 4 months to process my box and contact me with information about the items they ‘accepted’. I then had to log in and price my own items. I personally priced them to sell because $1 is better than $0. It can be difficult to put a low price on an article of clothing you once paid good money for, but I have learned the hard way, that there is no ROI on clothing. Clothes are a poor investment. You will never get back the amount that you spent.

Another thing to consider when pricing items; people love a deal. Your items will get purchased faster if you price them to sell, rather than pricing them at what you ‘feel’ you should get for the item. Feelings need to be put by the wayside. Our emotional attachments to inanimate objects is real, so knowing this going into the consignment world is key. What is important to you, is not important to someone else and they will not hold your Louie Vitton purse in the same regard or care to spend what ‘you think is fair’. Nope. Price your items to SELL!

How you get paid:

I chose the cash back option and linked payment to a Paypal account. Having been the victim of credit card theft in the past, I now pay through Paypal whenever possible. And people can pay you this way as well. The list price of your item will determine which consignment percentage rate your item falls into and your commission is based on the actual sales price.

“For example, a $10 item that sells for $8 would earn you 50% of the $8 sale (i.e. $4) in credit, or alternatively 40% of the $8 dollar sale (i.e. $3.20) in cash.
Once your item sells, we’ll send you an email and you’ll earn $ for your secondhand clothes!” (Source: SWAP.com)

Here is an actual payment I received that was deposited into my Paypal account.

I sent my box of clothing back in August 2016. Eighteen months later, once in a while I still get a small payment. I have no idea at this point how many items I still have on consignment (I’ll have to login to my account…note to self).

Now here is the really important part….To date, I have earned exactly $27.85. I sent a box stuffed with brand name clothing (at least 25 items) and this is the return on investment. After SWAP.com takes their 30%, you actually earn very little.

Take aways from my seller experience:

Clothing is NOT an investment. Although I never paid full price for my clothing to begin with, this data reinforces the reason why we should NEVER pay full price and we should purchase used when possible.

Overall, I liked the easiness of SWAP.com, but it’s been 18 months and I still randomly receive a small pay out. thredUp uses a different model and I will talk about that in a another post. Essentially, they buy your clothing outright in one lump sum. *But, if you have clothing in great shape and you are looking to make a little money for little effort, I would suggest trying this. You can donate straight to Goodwill or try SWAP.com first.

*I am unsure how much work the FB swap groups are and Craigslist you have to meet up with people which is not convenient

Take aways from the consumer perspective:

I ended up purchasing a few summer maternity items when pregnant with baby #2. I got denim front panel maternity short for $10, plus I had a 10% off coupon code. In fact, SWAP.com offers a lot of coupon codes and free shipping. From a customer perspective, it was a good experience and worth shopping on this site. The downside to any on-line shopping is that you are taking a risk because you can not physically try it before you buy it. I went with simple pattern tops and the basic shorts. If you haven’t been in the market for maternity shorts, they are upward of $30, even at Target. I thought $10 (or $9 with coupon) was a good deal and I wore the heck out of them that summer!

Have you ever used SWAP.com? Do you sell item on Facebook swap groups? I would love to hear your tips and experiences. 

**I have only sold my personal clothing items, not any children’s clothes or toys

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