The buy and sell concept is simple. Buy low and sell high. It’s a concept that is driving the trade of second-hand goods in South Africa. Websites like have witnessed this first hand – hosting over 700,000 live ads on the site at any given moment. Entrepreneurs from all walks of life are taking full advantage of the profits that can made through buying and selling second-hand goods online.

A number of factors are driving the second-hand economy. Most importantly, the proliferation of the internet in South Africa which has made it easier and more affordable for entrepreneurs to reach a mass audience of buying consumers. Online classifieds have become both the sales venue and supplier for the buy-to-sell entrepreneur. Never before has it been so easy to compare and source a limitless amount of in-demand products from local suppliers.

“Gumtrepreneur”, Johnson Njoroge, began buying and selling on Gumtree after losing his job as a truck driver. He was unemployed and had the idea to start a brokerage service but was shocked at how expensive it would be to furnish an office. He then saw an opportunity in buying used furniture, fixing the broken items and selling it at a higher price on Gumtree. Today, Johnson owns Design-A-Couch which specialises in custom couches and still makes use of the site’s free advertising.

You don’t need to be an expert though to find your success on Gumtree. Anyone with a smartphone can do it but there are a few important points to consider:

  1. Pick a couple of niches to start: You can’t be an expert in every area to start with, so begin with things you are interested in and already know about. You could focus on anything from tools and electronics to furniture and baby gear, but things with you have knowledge.
  1. Know the price ranges for your niches: If you’re buying to sell, you need to be looking for the best bargains. Find out what the prices are in-store and learn what prices are a steal. If items are priced well, they will sell fast so you will want to buy quickly. The same applies for selling an item – learn what a fair price is so you know what price range to sell your item at.
  1. Know the brands: In many niches, knowing brands is essential. Find out what brands sell quickly and hold value – those are the brands you want to buy. Remember that popular brands are trusted so buyers are more ready to part with their cash than with other brands.
  1. Inspect items carefully: Inspect potential purchases well before buying. You need to be sure that the item is in great condition for when you are ready to resell. However, if a damaged item is a bargain, you could make a good profit by spending a little on restoration before selling.


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