How to Start an Amazon FBA Business with Little Money (For Real)

By Carrie Wilder | Last Updated: February 3, 2022 

*This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit my affiliate disclaimer here.

If you're looking for how to start an Amazon FBA business with little money, this article is for you.

Starting an Amazon FBA business can seem like a daunting task. It’s not easy to start your own business, but it doesn’t have to be hard either. 

With the right tools and knowledge, you can start your own Amazon FBA business for less than $1,000 and grow it into something bigger than you ever imagined. 

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about starting an FBA business with little money. We’re going over: 

  • How much does it cost to start an Amazon FBA business? 
  • What’s the best FBA business to start with little money?
  • How to source profitable inventory at a low cost for Amazon FBA.

And much more, including essential tips for success, freebies, and more. So, let’s get started!

What is Amazon FBA? 

Amazon FBA stands for “Fulfillment by Amazon” and it's a great way to get started making money online as an Amazon seller.

An Amazon FBA seller purchases products at a discount to sell at a profit on Amazon.

Selling on Amazon is an amazing opportunity to make money online for beginners, because you don't have to deal with any of the product yourself.

Once you source your inventory, you ship it to Amazon's warehouses and list it for sale right on the Amazon website.

Once someone buys your product on Amazon, the warehouse will package and ship your product, as well as handling all the follow-up emails and customer service.

When people buy your products on Amazon, you keep the profits!

Most of all, starting an amazon FBA business is easy!

All you need are some simple starting steps, like creating an Amazon seller account, finding inventory that's in demand, and shipping your items to the Amazon warehouse.

And, unlike other online businesses, you don't need thousands of dollars to get started. It's entirely possible to get started with less than $1,000.

This article will teach you how to start an Amazon FBA business with little money.

How to Start an Amazon FBA Business With Little Money

The best way to start an Amazon FBA business with little money is through a process called “retail arbitrage”. With this method, you buy products locally at a discount (like on clearance). Then, you sell them on Amazon for full price!

I'll go into much more detail on retail arbitrage in a few minutes.

If you're looking for a way to start an Amazon FBA business with little money, you're in luck. There are many ways to start a FBA business, but all of them require a bit of money to start up.

So, when I say “little money”, I really mean “little money”. For full transparency, the more money you're able to spend getting started, the faster you will see success.

But you don't have to have thousands of dollars to get started selling on Amazon. If you research and plan it right, you can even get started for less than $1,000. Some people have even had success with retail arbitrage for $500 or less.

How Much Money Do You Need to Start Amazon FBA? 

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors. In general, you'll need at least $500 to get started. However, if you're willing to invest more money in your business, you can definitely make more money in return.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you don't need to have a lot of money saved up to start an Amazon FBA business.

You can actually start with just a few hundred dollars and grow your business over time. So don't let the fear of starting an Amazon FBA business with limited funds hold you back!

When you start an Amazon FBA business with just a few hundred dollars, plan to re-invest all of your profits back into sourcing more inventory for the business.

With time, you will become more and more profitable. All you need is patience and determination.

The 4 things you need to start an Amazon FBA business are inventory, tools, supplies, and the right training.

Related: 20 Small Business Ideas You Can Start from Home

4 Things You Need to Start Amazon FBA 

There are four main categories of things you'll need to truly get started with an Amazon FBA business.

1. Inventory

Every Amazon seller needs inventory. There are many ways to source inventory, from dropshipping to arbitrage to private labeling.

The key to starting a successful FBA business is being able to purchase your inventory at a deep discount and make a profit from selling it on Amazon.

If you want to start an Amazon FBA business with little money, retail arbitrage is the best place to start. We'll cover this later.

2. Tools

Yes, you need tools to sell on Amazon! Popular seller tools include product scanning apps,  a computer, a smartphone, and a label printer, for starters.

3. Supplies

As an Amazon FBA seller, you'll need to stock up on supplies for storing and shipping your items to the warehouse. You also need to print out individual labels for each product. So, supplies you'll need include boxes, shipping tape, a label printer and labels, etc.

4. Proper Training

In order to be a successful Amazon seller, you need the proper training.

If you have a lot of money and not a lot of time, you can spend your money to hire people to help you become successful faster.

However, if you don't have money, you need to plan to spend a lot of time learning so you can get it right.

You'll find plenty of free resources for learning the basics of selling on Amazon, like this article. But, when you can afford it, I highly recommend investing in furthering your FBA education by signing up for a course from a legitimate and successful Amazon seller.

The Most Low Cost Amazon FBA Business to Start: Retail Arbitrage

Like I mentioned before, there are many ways to start an Amazon FBA business.

But, since we're talking about starting an FBA business with little money, the most low-cost way to get started is through retail arbitrage.

If you want to do private labeling, you can always work your way up to that after becoming profitable with arbitrage.

What is Retail Arbitrage?

Retail arbitrage is the process of finding discounted items at one retailer and then selling them at a higher price to another retailer.

This is a popular way to get started selling on Amazon, but retail arbitrage can also be done in-person.

By taking advantage of price discrepancies between retailers, you can make a profit without having to invest a lot of money up front.

How to Start Amazon FBA Retail Arbitrage with Little Money

There are a few things to keep in mind when engaging in retail arbitrage.

First, make sure that you are aware of the going prices for the items you plan to sell. It's also important to do your research and find reputable sellers who have good reviews.

Finally, always be sure to calculate your shipping costs and factor them into your overall profit margin.

You can do almost all of this using the Amazon Seller App. Here's how to get started.

Sign Up As an Amazon Seller

The first step to getting started selling on Amazon is to sign up for your Amazon Seller Account. 

There are two types of Amazon seller accounts and which one you sign up for depends upon which type of business you want to run. 

The Individual plan costs you .99 cents per item sold and has no monthly fee. 

This is the right option for you if you plan to sell less than 40 items per month and don’t plan on advertising or using advanced selling tools. 

The other plan is called the Professional plan. This plan costs $40 per month, but the price is well worth it. 

The professional selling plan gives you the opportunity to sell more than 40 units per month, allows you to advertise on the Amazon platform, and more. 

Additionally, you’ll get advanced selling tools and the ability to have top placement on product detail pages. 

Although the Professional plan costs more, it’s a wise choice. 

However if you’re a total newbie and just trying to get started as low-cost as possible, you can sign up for the Individual plan and then upgrade when you’re ready for more advanced seller tools. 

Find Profitable Products to Sell

Once you have your Amazon seller account set up, your next step is to download the Amazon Seller app and find profitable products to sell. 

There are many ways to find products to sell, but the first place you should start is your local department store clearance sections! 

The key to being a successful Amazon seller is to take advantage of price discrepancies. 

This means finding discounted items in local stores, comparing them with the same product price on Amazon, and taking advantage of the profits if there’s a wide enough margin.

You can learn more about profit margins and sourcing profitable items in this article from JungleScout, a leader in helpful Amazon FBA seller tools.

How and Where to Find Profitable Products to Sell on Amazon

So where’s a newbie Amazon seller to go looking for profitable products to sell? 

I recommend hitting up your favorite local retail and department stores. Especially the ones with the juiciest clearance sections. Here are some ideas. 

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Burlington
  • TJMaxx
  • Ross
  • Petsmart
  • Petco
  • Joanns
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Belk
  • JCPenney
  • Menards
  • Home Depot
  • CVS
  • Walgreens

…You get the idea. 

If you find a super popular product at one store, head to the other local stores in your area and see if they have the same item marked down. 

For example, I’m currently in Northwest Arkansas, aka the land of Walmart HQ. I can think of four Walmart supercenters within a 20 minute drive of where I’m currently sitting, and many more within an hour’s drive.

Do you want a free 10-step roadmap for finding profitable Amazon products at stores like Target and Walmart? 

Check out this freebie from Jessica and Cliff, successful FBA sellers who have taught countless people how to be profitable with FBA. 

This roadmap will teach you exactly how and where to find profitable products before you spend a single cent on inventory or any special tools. 

List Items on Amazon

Once you purchase your inventory, it’s time to get your items listed on Amazon. You can walk through listing your items and setting the price in the Amazon seller app. 

The app will ask you the product condition, how many you have, and more. 

When listing your item for sale, don’t ever select “match lowest price” without actually checking the other prices first. This can set you up to lose money, and you don’t want to put yourself in that position. 

Prepare and Ship Your Items to Amazon

Once your items are listed, it’s time to get them ready to ship to Amazon. 

In your Amazon Seller Dashboard, go to “Send/Replenish Inventory”. 

Then, you’ll be able to choose how many you are sending, how many boxes, etc. 

If you use Amazon’s partnered carrier, which is UPS, you will be able to get a really nice discount on your item shipping. Once you’re ready, you will print your FBA labels, pack your items, and ship them out. 

When Items Sell, You Get Paid

The last step is to sit back and wait for sales to roll in! 

When sales come in, you get paid. When you make a profit, re-invest it in your business! 

As you begin to get the hang of Amazon FBA and make more and more profit, you’ll be able to source more inventory, invest in more softwares and tools to help you be more profitable, and invest in your education.

The Key To Amazon FBA Success: Education

The final step: your education. 

The best way to become a successful Amazon seller is to learn from the pros. 

You can learn a TON from free resources found all over the internet. 

In fact, the main way I learn things at first is through consuming all of the free info that I can find. I highly recommend it because it can be really helpful when you can’t afford to buy courses. 

I also highly recommend signing up for any “freebie” or “free mini course” you can find. Yes, they will offer for you to buy their main product at the end. But it’s not a requirement, and the free information is usually really good. 

There are plenty of Amazon FBA courses and YouTube videos out there on the internet, and a few throughout this article. Here’s a free 7-day email course to help you learn more about becoming an Amazon FBA seller.

Carrie Wilder

Carrie has a passion for location independence and nomadic lifestyles. After traveling full-time in an RV and living the van life, she created Making Money and Traveling to help others make the switch to a remote lifestyle. Learn more about Carrie on the About page or connect on social media below.