Scavenger Life Episode 152: Interview with Bicycle Mark of Amsterdam and Beyond


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

After first visiting Amsterdam in 2005, we have fallen in love with the city and have returned for many trips, short and long, since. Many people ask ‘Why Amsterdam?’. In an attempt to answer that question for ourselves and others, we recorded a conversation with our friend Mark aka Bicycle Mark aka Citizen Reporter. Mark came to live in Amsterdam as a student back in the early 2000s and never left. As a fellow independent worker, media maker and traveler, we were interested to hear how he came to love this city of canals, bikes, cheese and funky old buildings as well as what the next steps are for him as he moves on from student to “adult” life.

Scavenger Life Episode 151: What's Happening In Your eBay Store This Week?


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

This week we are still in Amsterdam, but selling, selling, selling. Some great sales include a mid century, carved cat for $50 and a one of kind, original painting for $650. Just list and and forget it. The right buyer will come along, we just know it. Some great comments on the blog this week including an update from Dan who got suspended for 7 days for accidentally trying to sell a fake Hard Rock Cafe Heidelberg Germany glass. The good news is, his account is ok and he's up and selling again. We mention how great our trip has been renting and apartment on Airbnb for several weeks.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers

Our Store Week September 6-13, 2014

  • Total Items in Store: 3442
  • Items Sold: 36
  • Cost of Items Sold: $187
  • Total Sales: $2,275.26
  • Highest Price Sold: $650 (Vintage painting)
  • Average Price Sold: $63.19
  • International Sales: 6 (4 GSP)
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0

Scavenger Life Episode 150: Parting Out, Selling and Recycling Computers- Jeremiah from ALC Recycling

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

In the blog comments recently, we've been discussing "parting" out appliances and computers. Sellers have said that they can make more money by selling pieces of a microwave vs the entire microwave. Why? Because sometimes people just need to replace a part, and most manufacturers charge a premium for original parts because they want you to buy the entire item new. It's unfortunately not in a corporation's business model for consumers to fix old items. Often parts aren't made or easily found anymore. We had this experience recently trying to replace the plastic shelves inside our refrigerator.

Selling parts is great too if you find a broken appliance that's being given away for free (or found in the trash). For example, someone sold just the lid to a water tank of a Keurig coffee maker for $20. I see this junk all the time. Now I see little gold nuggets.

This week, we talk with Jeremiah Dyke of ALC Recylcing. He works as a Math Professor in his day job, and then sells mainly computer parts through his eBay store. He partners with local non-profits to get donations of old computer equipment and shares the profits with these good causes. Win, win. Reminds me a little of the interview we did recently with Todd and his recycling operation. Both are true scavengers making money from the detritus of our society.

Digital Scavenging: Getting From Point A to B Fast and Cheap


We've talked before about how we've figured out how to live independently by making money selling on eBay and keeping expenses low. We cannot stress enough how important it's been to write down our monthly expenses and figure out how to make them smaller. Many of you know we recently did this for our cellphone bills. We've done it for healthcare. We call it "digital scavenging" since the web is full of new services that help make commonly-used services cheaper.

Because we travel frequently, we take a lot of cabs to and from the airport. We love public transportation, but it's not always possible to get from our hotel to a job efficiently. That's why we've been surprised to find that the new car service, Uber, was as convenient as the hype. The company has been all over tech news for trying to "disrupt" the taxi industry. Traditional cab drivers hate it and there's debate over their place in the market, but it now seems a pretty normal way to get around.

On this trip we used Uber in San Francisco and NYC, though it's available in many other major cities as well.
  1. We used the app to request a car. It tells us how much the ride will cost before we even get picked up. We can accept or decline based on this info.
  2. Since the phone has GPS, you can see the car coming towards your location. No wondering how long it'll take.
  3. Each time, it's been a guy in an almost new car. The driver knows where we're going because he uses the Uber app too.
  4. When he dropped us off, there was no money or credit card that changes hands since Uber already has our payment info (our Paypal debit card).
  5. You don't pay any tip either because it's built into the price. It's a "no cash" ride.
  6. The receipt is emailed to us automatically.
  7. The trips have always been cheaper than a traditional taxi ride.
When we're at home, we never needs cabs--but Ryanne is now addicted to calling for an Uber car when we need one while traveling. We hate to fall into the latest tech craze, but this one has been worth it for us. If you decide to sign up, use this link. It'll give you a free ride up to $30 (we get one too). Or just sign up through their main site.

So no more mysterious cab rides where we don't know how much it'll cost, when the driver will arrive, or when they only take cash. Digital scavenging my friends.

Scavenger Life Episode 149: What's Happening In Your eBay Store This Week?


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Broadcasting from lovely Amsterdam again this week. We had a high number of sales, but have been taking offers like crazy since people are willing to wait for us to get back and we've put jackets and sweaters on sale, so stuff is going cheap. We also have not been listing from the road and more just walking around the city, drinking coffee and taking naps- as a vacation should be sometimes we suppose. We mention Ryan Grant's post Are you creating a job or a business?, an interesting read. Great news from PayPal- starting October 1st, they are initiating one day bank transfers for some customers, which we think is awesome.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers

Our Store Week September 14-20, 2014

  • Total Items in Store: 3457
  • Items Sold: 44
  • Cost of Items Sold: $112
  • Total Sales: $1,412.71
  • Highest Price Sold: $100 (Okotberfest Lederhosen)
  • Average Price Sold: $32.09
  • International Sales: 5 (5 GSP)
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $3

Q&A: Self-employed vs Business Owner


This is our second week in a row where our sales are definitely higher than they have been all summer. I feel like the summer slowdown is now broken. Maybe eBay fixed things? Maybe it's just buying time? If you've been listing hot and heavy for the past several months I hope you're getting the same results.  Anyway, people have been sending us interesting info I wanted to share.

Jeff mentioned an article detailing how the USPS is subsidizing all the cheap products from China. It gets deep into the numbers and is an interesting read. Another reason why selling one-of-kind items will always be a safe bet. We're still interested in trying an Amazon FBA experiment, but the competition just looks fierce if you try to go big.

Justin from Selery.com advertises on this blog. He said he began selling shipping for a couple clients so decided to create a business out of it. After hearing about how people like the convenience Amazon FBA, he decided to try offering an FBA-like experience for eBay sellers at seleryfulfillment.com. Send in your items and they do the rest: photographing, listing, storing, packing and shipping. We haven't tried the service yet, but Justin has always been straight up with us.

And lastly, Ryan at Online Selling Experiment just posted an intriguing question: Are you a business owner or just self employed? His hypothesis is you're a business owner if you can walk away and the business runs itself. You're self-employed when you do all the work, so nothing happens if you aren't in the equation. This goes back to our continuing conversation about "building an empire" by renting a warehouse, hiring employees, etc. Is it worth it to go big? Or can you be successful staying lean and mean? It's always difficult equation balancing costs vs. your time vs. what excites you.

Some simple rules-
  • We do allow anonymous commenters, but we encourage you to use your ID so people can get to know you. Plus you won't have to re-enter the code for each comment.
  • Be civil. People have different ways of doing the same thing. If we disagree, no big deal.
  • We are solution oriented. If you want to simply hate on eBay, go to the dark depths of the eBay forums where your hate can be polished like a precious jewel.
  • Please back up any issues with facts and specific links. We don't deal in rumors.
  • Comments are threaded (what?). So you can either reply to a specific comment or start an overall new topic.

VIDEO: Scavenger Life Trip to IJ Hallen Flea Market Amsterdam


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mov  Download .ogg

Last weekend we went to the "biggest flea market in Europe", IJ Hallen, and we decided to make a little video of our adventure. We didn't find anything too crazy cool, but we were able to find enough neat stuff that we'll resell and pay for much of our traveling expenses. Overall, we had a fun two days hanging out at a European apocalyptic looking warehouse buying old junk. Scavenging is the (other) universal language.

Scavenger Life Episode 148: What's Happening In Your eBay Store This Week?

Our highest sale was a $225 pair of antique steampunk style safety glasses. Neat!


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

This week we are finally back into a regular sleep schedule in Amsterdam. We attended the huge monthly flea market called IJ Hallen and you'll see more about that soon. People always ask us how we get all our flea market loot home from Europe. Since we are flying internationally, each person gets one free checked bag up to 23 kg or 50.5 lbs. The key is to use this handheld luggage scale to weigh each bag before you get to the airport so you don't get charged. It really works wonders when traveling. We've had a better week than last while selling on vacation, so that's a nice boost. Ryanne has been using Scraperella's YouTube videos about jewelry to learn more about the huge lots we see people buy. Also mentioned in research are Nail Polish Lemmings who buy one bottle of polish on eBay for $400 and up. Pretty amazing.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers

Our Store Week September 6-13, 2014

  • Total Items in Store: 3585
  • Items Sold: 51
  • Cost of Items Sold: $147
  • Total Sales: $2,358.61
  • Highest Price Sold: $249 (Vintage traveling case)
  • Average Price Sold: $46.23
  • International Sales: 5 (3 GSP)
  • Returns: 1
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $200

Q&A: Open Thread

Bad news dudes: no second podcast this week. All the traveling and jet lag has slowed us down. And no one wants to hear us talk just to talk (least of all us). This is Ryanne sleeping in the middle of the day (a horrible way to fight jet lag by the way).


BUT we are going to one of our favorite flea markets in Amsterdam, IJ Hallen, on Saturday and Sunday so the rest will be rewarded.


In the meantime, our store has been on fire this week even though we have delayed shipping. It feels good to be selling multiple items each day.  How's your store doing?

Some simple rules-
  • We do allow anonymous commenters, but we encourage you to use your ID so people can get to know you. Plus you won't have to re-enter the code for each comment.
  • Be civil. People have different ways of doing the same thing. If we disagree, no big deal.
  • We are solution oriented. If you want to simply hate on eBay, go to the dark depths of the eBay forums where your hate can be polished like a precious jewel.
  • Please back up any issues with facts and specific links. We don't deal in rumors.
  • Comments are threaded (what?). So you can either reply to a specific comment or start an overall new topic.


Scavenger Life Episode 147: What's Happening In Your eBay Store This Week?

Went from a wedding in NYC (that's Ryanne's brother and sister) to landing in Amsterdam in less than 24 hours. We need a nap. Serious luxury problems.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Another week, another airplane to catch. We are on a traveling roll, having finished up our San Francisco and New York portions and on to Amsterdam for a month the moment after we recorded this. Our new vacation mode method has been working with the same results as the old one with only a few people needing refunds. How we’re trying it this time is change our handling time to reflect when we come back (we started with 30 business days handling), add a new banner that says when we’re coming back and message people when they buy. We just didn’t click the little ‘Vacation Mode’ ebay box. We’re hoping our customers will be ok with this. So far, so good. We got a question about the Global Shipping program and how it works- here is the link to that earlier podcast. Next episode will be recorded in beautiful Amsterdam. Hurray!

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers

Our Store Week August 31-September 6, 2014

  • Total Items in Store: 3515
  • Items Sold: 26
  • Cost of Items Sold: $95
  • Total Sales: $1,024.83
  • Highest Price Sold: $120 (Thai temple rubbing artwork)
  • Average Price Sold: $39.38
  • International Sales: 3 (3 GSP)
  • Returns: 2
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0