Scavenger Life Episode 145: What's Happening In Your eBay Store This Week?

Even though the week was slow, we still sold two Mid Century items for over $100 each, pushing our average price per item to $38. Nice! iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Having a slow week? You're not alone, trust us. We're hoping that the post summer vacation sales are going to start picking up. We didn't have a ton of sales, but we had some higher priced items sell, which kind of evens things out. Our t-shirt selling experiment has been picking up with about three t-shirts selling for $25-30 each this week. Speaking of t-shirts, a lot of people liked Ryanne's "Yes it's true, I'm not on Facebook" shirt from the last post. You can buy one too here. Etsy sent out an email this week about their new program Etsy Wholesale, where people can buy in bulk from individual makers. We thought that was a cool spin on the wholesale market. Jay also mentions another wholesale auction site that looked interesting called BidOnFusion.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers

Our Store Week August 23-30, 2014

  • Total Items in Store: 3551
  • Items Sold: 32
  • Cost of Items Sold: $97
  • Total Sales: $1,212.41
  • Highest Price Sold: $160 (Vintage bakelite necklace)
  • Average Price Sold: $37.87
  • International Sales: 7 (6 GSP)
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $69


  1. Really slow week for me too. I even sold two $30 items for $40 total since it was going to the same buyer. Covered what I spent today at Goodwill's 50% off sale though. Now time for me to take pictures of some fashion bug fat pants!

    Our Store Week August 24-30, 2014

    Total Items in Store: 188
    Items Sold: 5
    Cost of Items Sold: $13.80
    Total Sales: $154.99
    Highest Price Sold: $39.99 - Lauer Toys Water Baby Mickey & Minnie Pair
    Average Price Sold: $25.83
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $122.64

  2. Total Items in Store: 1,871
    Items Sold: 68
    Cost of Items Sold: $103 (goods) + $200 (photographer) = $303
    Total Sales: $2,721
    Highest Price Sold: $175 (Crocodile Leather Shoes)
    Average Price Sold: $40
    International Sales: 6
    Returns: 2
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $48

    1. You have great sales. Clothes and shoes obviously do very well for you. You only spent $103 on 68 items? That's about $1.50 an item. Where are you sourcing most of your inventory?

    2. I'm curious why you paid a photographer?

    3. We pay my girlfriends sister to take a majority of our photos, because listing 130 items a week it too hard to do it by ourselves. We're definitely making good money on her labor, we pay her well so she's happy, and we both like having her around.

      Hiring help has worked out well enough for us to hire another person, hopefully within the next couple weeks. I can see why people do not like the idea of bringing employees into the mix, but it's really has helped us.

    4. We're lucky enough to have 2 different by the pound places close by. The quality is consistent enough to exclusively source all of our inventory from these two places.

      I've also recently started picking stuff up on craigslist. I make a few searches every morning and evening, and have been having pretty good luck finding unique items for pretty cheap.

      We've found some amazing stuff on craigslist, but it's very hard to beat the constant stream of clothing that comes through these by the pound places.

    5. Once you have the eye...and are open to all the possibilities...there's a glut of stuff to scavenge. Then it just becomes a choice of what kind of items you want to buy and sell. What is exciting/interesting to you.

      I could see running a successful business selling vintage T-shirts, and I now there's plenty of vintage T-shirts to buy for's just not that exiting to me. Nice to have choices.

    6. Bryan, have you looked into going to one of the "rag houses?" These are in just about every large city, and most sell clothing by the pound (maybe this is your source already?) Anyone who is interested can look under rags in the yellow pages, and give the company a call. Be prepared to spend X dollars to get in, but once in you pick through their stock pile and usually pay by the pound. When I used them for vintage clothing I had some great finds, a vintage Chicago Cubs baseball shirt that I sold for around $200, prom dresses, leather jackets, lots of good stuff!

    7. We're definitely on the same quest as you guys. Now that we've gotten a solid process down, we're looking to spend our time more efficiently on higher priced items that we think are interesting.

    8. I think the rag makers buy from the same places we do, but I bet it would still be a lot of fun to look through their stuff.

  3. Hello! Great podcast as usual!
    I've been selling on eBay for almost 2 years now and I must admit, I still do not have a strong business model that I focus on. I have items that I want to sell fast, and then I have a few high dollar items, but most are low dollar which I still slash down the prices when I want them to sell. Well, these past couple of months, we were dealing with an unexpected loss in my family (my dad :( ). I know I have to grieve but I still needed to earn otherwise there will be no income. But the emotional struggle was so hard for me to deal with that listing on eBay was impossible! Good and bad thing.... It was good that I have increased my listing the months prior because I managed to get some sales even without listing for weeks! Bad thing is I wish I had listed more (because I know I could have....guilty of some level of procrastination here!) .
    Now I see and understand better the benefits of putting the work up front. So for my business model, for now I have decided to really increase my inventory, high dollar if possible, so that when "rainy days" do come, things will be better sales-wise than the last time.

    Have a safe and fun trip Jay and Ryanne!

    1. Sorry to hear about your father. My mom died about four years ago much too young.

      But this is a good example of why that larger inventory will let you float when you need time off. I guess those sellers who live on the edge and sell everything as they list need to make sure they have cash in the bank to let them take time off. Either, or.

  4. Total Items in Store: 72
    Items Sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $225
    Total Sales: $831.97
    Highest Price Sold: $400 (vintage military uniform)
    Average Price Sold: $103 (ish)
    International Sales: 3
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $288

    In terms of items sold it was very slow week, only 8, and like you, sales seemed to stop completely at the end of the week, however, I sold the highest priced item in my store, a vintage uniform for $400, and had an additional sale of over $100, so overall it was a good week for me. Since I sell only antiques and collectibles, and I am trying to fill my store with more quality goods, my expenditure for new merchandise was hefty this week, just short of $300, but I have my eye on stocking up for the Fall/Holiday season.

    1. Wow that's a great sale on the uniform!
      I've sold a few field jackets and would like to know more about the uniform you sold.

    2. Yeah, that's the headline here. What kind of uniform sold for $400? Did you put it on auction..or know the price you could get for it?

    3. Hi Jay, Just a comment on the tshirts. I recently sold a vintage rock tshirt for over $100. Cost me $5. Just saying that there can be good money in the right tshirts and sometimes the subject matter actually makes it interesting but I can certainly understand if you just have no interest in it as I feel that way with some types of items as well. P.S. I was at the ebay on location in Philidelphia as well for the thrifting with the boys presentation. Do you still remember where to find the 5 tags on a Tommy

    4. The uniform was a WW1 US military tunic and trousers--the tunic has a couple of patches on it. I looked up "sold" items and found a similar uniform that sold around $400, so that is what I put on mine, it took around 2 months to sell it btw. I found the uniform at a local auction house and that is why, after fees, it cost me around $100, but I was confident that I would sell it at my price. I'm doing fewer auctions these days, as long as I am confident with the price I am asking, I don't bother with auctions too much, there are a few things that I will still put up however.

    5. Eric--yep, I know good t-shirts sell well. Sold a concert t-shirt for over $100 once. But most seem to sell for $20 or less. Tough margins.

      Omfug X -- Glad the patience paid off. Amazing find. By the way, what does your username mean?

    6. I had some trouble signing up with google so the X means zip, but the omfug is this: (sadly I never got to NYC when the punk scene was hot, although in LA I was lucky to see many of the significant New York punks like The Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, etc live in the late '70's.)

  5. Week August 23-30, 2014
    Total Items in Store: 518
    Items Sold: 13
    Cost of Items Sold: $11.50
    Total Sales: $168.40
    Highest Price Sold: $29.95 (vintage Westclox alarm clock)
    Average Price Sold: $12.95
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $25

    Average week for me. This week started off great, 7 sales since yesterday so far

  6. incredibly slow week for us as well, we only sold 12 things this week
    Sales $217
    Sold items 12
    Average sale price per item $18

    we took many low offers but with only 432 items listed it was ok, we managed to eek out just over 900.00 for the month. we both have ok paying full time jobs so anything we make is gravy. We want to go full time at some point but we are in no big rush.

    its going to take at least 3000 items for us to go full time and we are still learning the business. We thought we knew what we were doing a year ago when we started but quickly learned we didn't. If it had not been for Jay, Ryanne, Mikey and Wendy I doubt we would be anywhere close to that goal of independence.

    I still can't get over how open they are to offer all this information to us and want nothing in return. I know its kinda of mushy to say but this podcast and blog changed our lives. We live in the poorest state in the USA, can you imagine what an extra 1000 a month has done for us?

    Yes we put in the hours and did the work but we had no direction until we landed here nearly a year ago now. So a HUGE THANK YOU to Jay and Ryanne who openly showed us how to do it.

    Tony And Deidre

    1. I totally agree with you about Jay and Ryanne, finding them was like having an epiphany, LOL. I was getting ready to limp through another summer of low sales just waiting for the Fall, and having no capital in reserve--direction is a good term for what the scavengers have given me.

  7. August 24-30, 2014
    Listed Items: 245
    Sold Items: 9
    Sales: $181.50
    Cost of Items: 11.00
    All US sales

    It was a slow week for sales. I am back to work so trying hard to balance working, shipping, buying and listing. My summer goal was to up listings from the 85 average to 250-300. As of today I have 252. I want to take my listings up to 1000 by the end of next summer (2015). Following this blog has really helped me with goal setting and focus.

    Have fun at the wedding, interesting work week and then 3 weeks vacation!

  8. August 24-30, 2014
    Listed Items: 115
    Sold Items: 7
    Sales: $371.00
    Cost of Items: $46.50
    Highest Price Sold: $100 (lot of vintage model car kits)
    Average Price Sold: $53

    My sales have bounced back quite a bit from the zero-sales slump I had after putting my shop in vacation mode. I've also had a few sales already this week, so I'm feeling good going into Tuesday. If I'm going to be totally honest and transparent, I'll have to note that I had a sale which I had to cancel because I just couldn't find the item anywhere. I think it may have been donated at some point. I'm sort of a Type ADHD (as opposed to Type A) personality and I'm at that crucial 100+ item point you've discussed, where if you don't have a good inventory system things can start to break down. My next goal is to improve storage and inventory so this lost item/canceled sale issue doesn't happen again. Thanks.

    1. as we also said, sometimes you can't find stuff. we were even looking at where the item was and for some reason could not see it! luckily jay eventually cleared his vision and saw the thing to ship it. but organizing and categorizing your stuff is really going to help you find stuff in less than 5 minutes.

  9. I just wanted to let you guys know that I went on vacation for a week in August. I changed my handling time to 10 days, put the store in vacation mode, and messaged all of my buyers. All of them saw the handling time and were perfectly fine with it! I don't think you guys should have any problems :)

    Quick question! I sold an item 2 weeks ago, I was getting it ready to ship out and noticed a little hole that I didn't notice before. Whenever this happens (which is doesn't too often), I just message the buyer and offer a discount or refund. Most of the time, they just take the discount and all is good in the ebay neighborhood! But this time the buyer never responded...I've messaged her 4 times and even called ebay to request her phone number. I haven't heard from her...I also tried emailing her personal email that I got from Paypal and apparently the email is invalid because the email I tried to send bounced back! Any advice on what to do? I feel awkward waiting with her money and not sending the item.

    1. Call ebay...they will tell you what to do.

    2. i say wait a bit longer to hear from them. if you don't hear anything, send a cancellation request and wait for that to time out, then relist it. you don't want to send it and have them, despite all your messaging, open an item not as described case because of the hole, even though you told them.

    3. I think that's what I'll do Ryanne. I'll send her another message even though it's a shot in the dark.

      Sandra, I called eBay last week and they basically said I'm in a pickle. If I send it to her, she could open a "item not as described" case, like Ryanne said. If I refund her the money and do the cancel transaction, the eBay rep told me that the buyer could leave negative feedback. I was under the impression that once a transaction is cancelled, feedback wouldn't count...I guess I was wrong about that though. I always get anxious about receiving negative feedback because right now I have 100% feedback. I only have about 511 feedback and wonder what my percentage would change to if I got a neg.

    4. In a situation like that I often just send the buyer a note stating "I have refunded your purchase price to your Paypal account after finding a small flaw on your item. Please let me know if you would like to re-purchase it for half price." --or something of that nature. They are usually very thankful for that, rather than upset.

    5. Totally agree with Linda. If you are professional, clear, undramatic, AND PROVIDE OPTIONS, then buyers are usually always happy.

    6. Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice!

  10. Aug 24-30 2014
    Numbers for the week:
    • Total Items in Store: 406 as of 9-1
    • Items Sold: 27
    • International Sales: 2 (1 GPS)
    • Total Sales: $1122.04
    • Highest Price Sold: $150 Sony 400 CD Disc changer
    • Average Price Sold: $42.56
    • Returns: 2
    • Positive Feedback: 12
    • Neutral Feedback: 0
    • Negative Feedback: 0
    • Cost of Items Sold: $70
    • Cost of items purchased this week $175

    Sales picked up for me this week along with a couple $100+ items that sold made for a good recovery from last weeks slow sales and vacation.
    I was perusing CL looking for shelving and I came across an ad for some shelf units that came out of a liquor store, I figured they would be strong as they held expensive inventory in glass containers. I went to look at them a this guys garage and he was using some himself to store stuff his deceased wife had put away in boxes, they were all labeled very nicely with interesting items inside. I struck up a conversation about those boxes and learned they hadn't been opened in years and he would be willing to go thru them and offer them to me. I ended up paying a little more than the quick estimate I did in my head but it was way less than he originally wanted, after some awkward silence he decided to just let me have it at my price. I'm hoping for some interesting treasures that I didn't notice on first glance. I've already listed some Polaroid cameras with film and a pair of vintage hurricane lamps that will more than pay for the other items and the $100 I spent for the five 4'x7' units which are working out great, just the right size to hold banker boxes.
    Sometimes scavenging for one thing opens the door to other opportunities.

    1. Great story. This is a good example of why we love scavenging. Gets you int people's homes, into their lives, and into their stories. And you can make a living.

  11. My Store Week August 23-30, 2014:
    (Launch week of my store!)
    • Total Items in Store: 16
    * Items waiting to be listed: ~15
    • Total Sales: No sales yet, started listing this weekend
    Money Spent on Inventory so far: $40.5

    1. Welcome to the fun world of scavenging...and learning to be organized. Most new sellers never learn the organizational part. You have the opportunity to do it right from the get go. Let us know when you have your first sale.

  12. TheFleasKnees Store Week August 26-Sept 2, 2014
    • Total Items in Store: 862
    • Items Sold: 27
    • Cost of Items Sold: $135
    • Total Sales: $1,102.42
    • Highest Price Sold: $500 (wood carving)
    • Average Price Sold: $50.23
    • International Sales: 4
    • Returns: 0
    • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: 0
    I had my store completely closed week before last to go to Alaska--did not
    want to be bothered with emails or problems. Before leaving I had scheduled
    several auctions to download the night we returned. I had a lot of nice items
    on that which ended Saturday, making up for my "lost" week of sales.

    Jay and Ryanne, have a wonderful Vacay! I got over my fear of flying years ago (with the help of a visit to the bar on the way to the gate--Hopefully you won't need that.) I'm jealous--I love Amsterdam in September!

  13. I was listening to the comment you made about defect removals in episode 145. Here is a tip for everyone.


    This will allow you to save all your records in pdf format (in google Chrome browser) for future reference. By doing this you can triangulate between the item number in ebay defects, the auctiva record with the date of shipment + item name, and the saved pdf ebay sales record (which has the tracking numbers, etc). Between those 3 items you can basically find out anything you need to know about past sales.

    Auctiva doesn’t keep the pictures in their system forever but they keep all the basics FOREVER – even retroactive from late 2011. In other words you could sign up today and it will show everything you sold since late 2011 in their records. If you are reading this and you don’t have Auctiva – you need to sign up right away. It is the best. I only pay for the basic subscription which is just $2.95 a month and the only services I really use is the insurance and records. I have all my international shipments set up to insure automatically. The only catch is you need to know which countries they do not offer insurance to and which specific items they will not insure. I have had a handful of insurance claims through them and they paid very quickly every time. Price of item + shipping cost. If that isn’t worth the couple of extra dollars on a sale ..I don’t know what is!

    Anyway – to get back to the point…just go in and save your sales records every now and then. Save them as “2014 sales 1 to 200” or whatever and then just keep downloading them every few weeks and you will be golden. When I called ebay and I had all the information immediately about the items in question, it was taken care of quickly. The defects were removed.

    Another thing is: if anyone ever files a case against you and you know they are in error (full of crap), you need to file a case against them immediately for abuse of buyer protection. That automatically prevents them from leaving negative feedback and puts the ball right back in their court. And, of course, block them immediately. I even go so far as to get their phone number from the slaes record and block their phone calls. YES – I have had weirdos CALL me…

    Hope this helps someone out there. CHEERS!

    1. We love these kind of specific tips. Thanks for sharing.

      And yes, if someone starts a return and says you're at need to dispute it immediately if you don't agree.

  14. Hi, really enjoy the podcast it has been a wealth of information. I am the guy who wrote about a month ago and had 1500 items for sale with no store. My wife and I opened our store about 2 weeks ago and have seen our sales from about $1400 to $1800 every thirty days. We do sell a lot of t shirts. Works for us. we are having an issue with our store as the month has just started and we are being charged insertion fees. Called ebay they see it is probably an issue, they were going to work on it and call back (any ideas what that can be about?) Anyway thanks again, enjoy your trip, Joseph gr8picks&finds

    1. Why don't you think they should be charging insertion fees? A store subscription gives you a certain number of "free listings", and then you get charged a discounted rate. What level store do you have?

    2. we have the medium level store (500). I understand i think about being charged insertion fees,but at the beginning of the month we are already being charged fees Before are 500 are used up. Ebay agrees that we have been incorrectly charged and are working on giving us credit. Anybody else had this issue before

  15. • Total Items in Store: 620
    • Items Sold: 45
    • Cost of Items Sold: $60 (approx)
    • Total Sales: $497
    • Highest Price Sold: $51 (Dr. Suess Crib Bedding)
    • Average Price Sold: $11
    • International Sales: 1 (GSP)
    • Returns: 0
    • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $10

    I realize I'm selling mostly LOW dollar items. I'm trying to find better items for the future, but for now want to list the PILES of "stuff" I already have. Live and learn!!

    Great podcast on women selling on eBay- I think you pretty much pegged it!! I am also the "engine," that runs our ship, and my husband is a great, "project manager." He is very consistent and keeps us focused. Together, we make a great team!

    Have a wonderful week, and thanks again for all the work you do on the podcast!


    1. Ryanne definitely makes it all happen. I'm just good at keeping things on track. Alway fun to hear of other couples working together.

  16. Just a heads up--I listed 7 things last night and woke up this morning to 3 sales (all new things) I think that the 4th quarter has begun friends! Now, I need to go on the "hunt" again (in my case thrift stores have been my major source recently.)

    1. You will never go wrong by scavenging and listing more on eBay.

  17. I phone ebay uk last week and they told me that if your upload a tracking number now there can't leave low dlr or open a case for late despatch time or item not delivered

  18. Anyone else having trouble signing in to eBay? Their customer service number just rings busy as well.

    1. Yes, I was in the middle of shipping and got signed off, having the same issue, can't sign in and ebay # is busy... Hacked???

    2. They posted a message earlier stating that there would be routine maintenance today, but I've never experienced this problem before.

  19. Yep, looks like Ebay is down for the count..

  20. I noticed something very interesting in the Seller Experiment statistics each month he increases his effects and his sales and net profits go up his business is stable and growing. I have been finding the same thing with my experience on Amazon. In 14 years of professional selling on ebay I have seen countless ebay "improvements" and changes over the years all seem to have produced the SAME results for me personally instability and wild unexpected and unexplainable fluxuations in sales always to the down side. I recently moved some of my stagnant ebay inventory vintage cameras over to Amazon most have sold within a few weeks and some for more then they were listed for on ebay and sat for months. I had to RAISE the price of some of my FBA products on Amazon because they were selling to FAST! The Amazon platform looks way more stable and predictable so I am moving my efforts and attention in that direction, With all of the ebay changes for the holiday season I am doing all I can to avoid the possible and highly likely train wreck for sales on ebay in the 4 quarter. I honestly down understand ebay's motives and policy and stopped trying to figure them out I just know my results.