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Become a Coupon Broker: Strange Ways to Make Money

By , January 12th, 2011 | 17 Comments »

If you already use coupons, chances are that you get coupons in the paper that you don’t use. Even if you don’t use coupons, you probably have access to coupons from the paper or magazines that you receive. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn unwanted coupons into a little extra cash? You can if you sell those unwanted coupons to people who can use them. Many people will happily pay you $1 for that $5 coupon.

People who sell coupons call themselves a variety of things: Coupon brokers, coupon clipping services, or coupon finders. If you pursue this, it’s important to note that you will be providing a service. Coupon services charge for the time it takes to acquire, cut, and sort the coupons, for postage, and for incidental costs in running the business like website hosting fees. They do not charge for the coupons themselves. Why? Because selling coupons is technically against the rules of most coupons. Most coupons carry a message that they are void if sold or transferred. So technically, if you sell a coupon, you have voided it and the person buying it is technically not supposed to use it. There are no rules, however, against charging for your time and other expenses related to running a coupon service.

Since there is currently no way for a retailer to know where or how someone obtained a coupon, coupon clipping/brokering services thrive. Even if the coupon wasn’t available in the buyer’s state, there’s no way for a retailer to know that they didn’t get it out of the trash or from a paper they read on vacation. Since it’s impossible to track coupons and where they come from, the retailers and brands have no way to stop the practice. It’s up to you to decide whether or not this sort of business is for you or if you are ethically opposed to it.

If you decide you want to sell your unused coupons, here are some do’s and don’ts:

Do collect coupons from a variety of sources: Get coupons from the Sunday paper, magazines, tear offs in the stores, or coupons that print out from the register. In addition to the common coupons, look for ones that appear in more obscure magazines and papers, as these may be coupons that not everyone has access to and/or they may be higher value. The more places you gather coupons from, the better your inventory.

It’s also worthwhile to look for discounts for major stores like Staples coupons, office depot coupons, and more. While these are not the typical grocery coupons, they are still in high demand and easy to turn over.

Do determine the best pricing structure for your coupons: Some people sell coupons individually while others sell entire inserts or magazines. Look at what you have and decide whether you’ll have more demand for individual coupons, or if selling them all together is the best choice.

Do try to get multiples of the same coupon and sell them as a lot: If you can gather more than one of the same coupon, you can sell them as a lot. Many people will pay you for five $2.00 off coupons rather than buy five coupons from separate vendors.

Don’t sell coupons that are attached to your name/rewards card/email: Any coupon that is tied to you in any way should never be put up for sale. The buyer may have to provide ID that they don’t have, or there may be other problems associated with using coupons tied to someone else. Only sell coupons that are generic in origin like from newspapers or magazines.

Don’t sell coupons that are specific to one store unless you specify that in your listing: Stores put out coupons that can only be used in that particular store/chain. Make sure you specify this in the listing so your buyers can make an informed choice. If they don’t have the store in their area, they won’t be able to use it and will be angry with you.

Do toss in some freebies for greater satisfaction: If you happen to know of a special sale that your buyer can combine with the coupon, send that information along. If you have coupons that are about to expire and that no one has ordered, send them along with a paying order. Maybe the buyer can use them. The more free information or extras you can provide, the better word of mouth your service will receive.

Don’t copy or scan coupons and sell those (or even give them away) That is most definitely fraud and you can go to jail for that.

As for where to sell coupons, you can use eBay or set up your own site. You can also sell at coupon swaps or clubs, if the groups’ rules allow the practice. Selling coupons can turn unwanted paper into a little extra cash. Just make sure that you only charge for the service you provide and not the value of the coupon itself.

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