Scavenger Life Episode 263: How To Run an eBay Business by Yourself iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Ryanne's birthday was this weekend which is why we're bringing you an interview with a Scavenger Supreme. 

We met Ben of VooDoo Vintage for the first time recently when we stayed in New Orleans. Even though we already knew some of his story from Wendy when she interviewed him three years ago, it was fun when Ben took us on a scavenger tour of New Orleans where we visited a number of estate sales. With a truck full of goods, we went back to his apartment and shipped stuff together (like true scavengers should!).

Ben makes a living through selling on eBay and a couple other streams of income (as a message therapist and landlord). He mainly scavenges at estates sales which seem plentiful in New Orleans. Ben also works alone which can be difficult since eBay requires an enormous attention to detail each and every day. In this conversation, Ben shares how he's figured out how to work solo and be very efficient in his scavenging and selling.

In Ben, we found a kindred spirit since he also has been ruined to ever getting a full-time job. We talked about traveling, sleeping late, and real estate. As always, Ben will be answering any questions in the comments below. Hope you had a good week!


  1. Sweet, something to listen to while I list tonight!!

    Hey Jay, months ago I expressed my delight regarding the ebay tools in the new dashboard and I promised to make you a video about it (specifically the 'growth' tab). I finally got around to it today, watch at your leisure and thanks again for your work in helping my business grow thru this podcast!!

    1. When I click on my ebay I don't get the same options as you. I get Selling Manager Pro Summary. Any idea how to get to your screen? Thanks

  2. Number of items in store 659
    Total Sales 1229.48 (including $96 from 2 sales on Bonanza)
    COGS: 290.46
    Avg Price Sold: 40.98
    Highest price paid ($129 for pair of Dubarry Boots from Ireland which sold in a few hours of listing)

    Was a great week with some nice sales, many shoes for 50, 60, 90 dollars. and steady sales...

    My thoughts are, if I list more than I sell on average, I should continue to increase my sales over time as long as I am listing good items at good prices. Then its just making sure that my prices sold are worth the time and effort it takes to list. Hope everyone has a great week ahead...

  3. RR Store Week June 12-18, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 1191
    Items Sold: 18
    Cost of Items Sold: $88.58
    Total Sales: $1186.42 ($523 not paid yet)
    Highest Price Sold: $300 (60's video camera)
    Average Price Sold: $65.91
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $34
    Number of items listed this week: 28

    Totally shocked. This week started off terribly, then skyrocketed over the weekend. I just hope the buyers all pay. The video camera ($300), a Run DMC sweatshirt ($200), and some metal record adapters ($23) make up about half of my week's sales, and I'd hate to lose them. Today was a great day too, with over $300 in sales. I hope this streak lasts for a while.

    Jay, I spaced on answering your question last week. I have to move because my family has to sell my house. My uncle is having some health issues, and him, my mom, and my aunt decided it was best to sell. I'm not thrilled about it; I've lived here for 16 years and have plenty of room for my eBay business, so the idea of downsizing really sucks. But my parents are being very generous with their help, so it should be ok. My biggest concern is storage for my business. And Ryanne, I'm honestly not ready to move away from my current area. My girlfriend is very close, as are most of our families and good friends. I need that support system and that sense of community. I'm really a city guy at heart. But I really appreciate your suggestions. They make perfect sense. And Happy Birthday!

    Ok, off to listen and ship. Have a productive week, everyone!


    1. I've noticed too that my sales are coming in bunches... last week I had 11 sales by Tuesday, but then only 3 for the rest of the week. This week, I had 8 sales yesterday. Perhaps with the summer/great weather for a lot of the country upon us, people are outside for the weekends and then once they get back to work on Mondays go shopping? Whatever it is, I'm cool with it as long as it all averages out. :)

    2. Retro Treasures WVJune 21, 2016 at 2:30 PM

      Yeah mine are coming in bunches too. Last week I had a huge Monday, then dead week, then very busy Saturday/Sunday.

      This week, a huge Monday again and now nothing Tuesday.
      I don't care how or when the sales come in as long as they keep coming.

    3. Brian,

      We started extending our sales, we use to do Friday-Sunday. We started extending it out until Monday night and have had some luck drawing in a few more sales from the Monday shoppers.

    4. Michael, I keep ending mine on Sunday at midnight. Thanks for posting - I think I will try including Mondays and see how that goes.

  4. deb truervalues -
    Great week,Paul!!!!! Glad you took the "plunge" and went all in???

    1. Thanks Deb! I really appreciate the encouragement!

      And yeah, I'm definitely glad I went full time. I was just talking to my stepdad (also an entrepreneur) yesterday, and we both agreed that we wouldn't be able to hold a "regular" job again. Just thinking about working for someone else is great motivation when I'm feeling lazy!


  5. Hey guys I remember from one of your interviews (can't remember with who) the seller said they contacted eBay and were able to speak with some type of account manager for suggestions to increase sales. Does anyone know how to do that? When I searched for it all I found was a since ended account management program that was only for sellers grossing $10K+ per month.

    1. I was tutored a couple of times when my store was new. Might have been a program ebay did at the time, as they called me. They didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. You will learn more from this blog. :-)

  6. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 8:59 AM

    Weekly numbers

    Items in store: 365
    Items sold: 14
    Sales: $429
    COGS: $50
    Profit: $379
    Average Sales Price: $30.64
    Average profit: $27.07
    Best item: Vintage Genesco Military combat boots - $45

    Started off week with a big Monday, then silence all week, then a big weekend. I have started to experiment with ending items on last day and relisting with "Sell similar". So far it has had absolutely no effect.
    I started a 10% off sale for the weekend on 250 of my items, and had a great weekend.

    Does anyone know how to put your whole store on sale? It appears that I am limited to 250 listings.

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. I have never been over 200 items but doing your markdown manager sale by using "include by categories" you may be able to do the process without too much headache.. That way you just make sure for the next batch you don't include the categories you did before.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. You may need to step your store subscription up. Then you can put your whole store on sell much easier. However if you want to just select your 250 items you can always choose the individual listings options and hit the advanced tab and put in a criteria such as price. Then it will put up your higher or lower dollar items (depending) and you can click the top box to select each page. Or as Mike said you can do category.

    4. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 2:48 PM

      Ah so a higher level store is the secret. I heard in the amazing taste podcast interview that she constantly has her entire store on sale, so I knew there had to be a way.

      I had planned to upgrade to a mid level store once I hit 400 listings. Really now that I think about it I should probably go ahead. With my average of about 15 sales a week I'm already over 400 listings a month.

    5. Once the math makes sense it's stupid not to. Otherwise you pay more by not having it. But with the new fee structure it's a much larger jump in price. So that's something to consider. It may not be worth it if you don't plan to keep a high inventory.

    6. Here's the link to calculate when you should make the jump:

      For me, it was once I was closing in on 500 items... I was losing money at that point.

    7. deb truer values

      Hi Retro - At 400 x $.20 you are currently spending around $80 per month on listing fees. Second level store is less--a lot less.

    8. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 9:53 PM

      Deb, the first 250 are $20 on a yearly basic store plan. I have 360 active listings and sell on average between 60-80 items a month, so I am currently right at the break even point.

  7. Week June 12-18, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 727
    Items Sold: 14 (1 Amazon)
    Cost of Items Sold: $25
    Total Sales: $335.93
    Highest Price Sold: $90 (1970s Bradley Mickey Mouse watch)
    Average Price Sold: $24
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
    Number of items listed this week: 15

    Another decent week, keep chugging along. For me, 14 is a really high number of sales, but they we mostly low dollar clearance items - 12 of the 14 were under $30 - but at the same time the avg COGs turned out to be $1.79 which is also super low for me.

    No picking this week as I headed home to PA for Fathers Day weekend (was actually Fathers Day, my parents 40th Anniversary, and my dad's 60th birthday). Had a relaxing Saturday out on the lake, then they had fireworks that evening, then Sunday we went to a nice brunch before heading back to NYC. It was good to get away from the hectic lifestyle of the city and just escape it all.

    1. We are looking forward to an extra-special Fourth of July celebration here in Eureka MO thanks to winning a special award for our town's community efforts in recovering from the flood in January. (Plus my oldest granddaughter and I will be celebrating our birthdays on the fourth as well.)

  8. deb truervalues

    Week June 13-19

    Listings 1742
    Total Sales: $ 726.49
    Number of items sold: 30
    Average Sale price: $ 24.22
    Highest price sold: $ 75.00 South American Blanket, embroidered wool/$54.00- Original anime style mermaid art.
    COGS: $ 78.25
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Number of items Listed : 88
    Spent on new inventory: $ 100

    Had an interesting thing happen this week. My husband and I volunteered to help some friends move at the last minute. There was a big black bag of stuff to go to GW. I offered to drop it off for them, because I go all the time. She said it was all new clothes. I mentioned I did ebay, and asked if she minded if I looked thru the bag to see if there was anything I would be interested in selling. She said, “Take it all”. Turns out to be at least 10 pairs of jeans and 5 shirts—all XXL and XXXL sizes --most just laundered, never worn. Got them all listed yesterday.

    1. I love when that happens. My parents recently gave me a bag of old t-shirts, and even though some sold for as low as $15 bucks, it's all free money. Can't beat that!


  9. That's hilarious that he has a Sheriff Harry Lee t-shirt. My boyfriend who is from Nola told me about him.

  10. I had the same experience with a pair of louboutin but I was able to find so many luxury brands that was real I just took the loss. Pleas keep in mind she only charge me $5 for the louboutin but sold me a Stubbs and Wotton, missoni, Marc Jacobs & expensive belts for $1.00 each . Just remember just because they have fakes does it mean they don't have the real deal.

    1. One thing I do when I got to a garage sale and see a high end brand like Cristian LB's or lesser end brand like Coach....always ask the owner, "is this authentic". Many people do not want to lie. I dont care if its an awkward question, people should not sell stuff thats fake and not tell you...anyway many many times they will tell you the truth.

      Forget asking Goodwill people, they are usually clueless. They think anything is real have to ask the person who bought it new. This only helps if they tell you its fake. If they say its real, its no more real then before you have to make sure. Usually I dont take chances on anything like that unless I am 1000 percent sure. Its not worth getting banned on Ebay.

    2. Erik a couple of summers ago I went to your dream sale, LOL, an estate sale in a million dollar "view" home, the guy bought himself only the nicest brands of shoes--Gucci, Cole Haan, Allen Edmonds, Mezlan, and many others, the estate people were clueless about the authenticity of the shoes, (and the higher end brands were not cheap) but I deduced by the size and location of the house, and the fact that many of the shoes had the original store boxes (from a high end Seattle dept store) that they were real. I sold the Guccis within 24 hours of listing and the rest also flew out of my store--such a great sale, I love men's high end shoes, just the craftsmanship, sadly I don't find many pairs anymore.

    3. They are all over the place in SF Bay. I love them too. My store is built on those brands and others. Man, I am missing out on these Dream estate sales..

      I have often thought about that, if I had to move out of hear, I would completely have to change my store.

    4. That's the exact reason I prefer estate sales to yard sales, thrift stores, etc, because you get to see the items in their habitat - if someone lived in squaller with all WalMart clothes but then there's a pair of Louboutins in the closest I would lean towards them being fake. :)

  11. Total Items In The Store: 1312
    Items Sold: 8
    Cost Of Items Sold: $12.00
    Total sales: $104.20
    Highest Priced item Sold: Boy Scout Shirt $21.00
    Average Price Sold: $13.00
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent On New Inventory: 0
    Number Of New Items Listed: 0
    Once again a dismal week, I did use feedback given by you forum folks from last week worked on my listing titles, prices and featured store front items here is a link to my store would appreciate more feedback, thanks

    1. Hi, looked at your store...I think you do a good job listing, taking pictures etc. My biggest observation is the types of things you list. It seems like a lot of T shirts, Trucker caps...etc. Now I know some people do well with those items, I have always struggled with those personally. It seems to me that you have to have massive inventory's of those items to do well enough too.
      I am partial to shoes personally. My average sale price is 45 per pair. its what works for me in the area I live in. I know I would not find these shoes in other areas so I would have to sell something else...and I am always trying to find something else that works better or that I can sell in addition. It would be interesting to know in your area, or areas like yours, what other people are able to sell in large quantities and at good profits. That might be a place to start...but I think if over 30-90 day period, if you are not happy with your sales, I think that always re-evaluating what you pick is a good idea...the only challenge there is it takes time to rebuild a store on new types of items...

    2. deb truervalues
      Hi Erik - I have a few shoes in stock, and I know a lot of people do well with them.

      It feels like they take a while to sell. Is this your experience, too? Do you just have a lot in stock, so there's always something selling? Do you have some favorite fast selling brands?

      I DO love shipping them....usually very easy!

      Thank you for any info

    3. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 1:08 PM

      Shoes have become my bread n butter item. I enjoy sourcing them, cleaning them, photographing them, listing them, and shipping them. You can become a shoe expert pretty quick if you keep an open mind and do plenty of research. Hands on research is key so you can easily tell the quality shoes from the generic department store junk. It just gets easier the more you do it.

      I have heard Jay say on here that cleaning/selling old shoes is theraprutic. I agree 100%. The profits aren't bad either.

      As for my store, I currently have 164 pairs of shoes listed. I probably have around 100 not listed that I am working through. I sell between 5-10 pairs every week at an average of $30-40 profit.

      Last week I sold 7 pairs for $210 total profit - a $30 average profit.

    4. Hey RT-WV. We have had some success with our shoes but do not have a pipeline of shoes in that category yet. Our best finds have been the larger men's work shoes and work boots. But we have so few. Never had clothing in our antique booths at the mall. We just struggle with the "sourcing" part. Almost a dead loss at most of the thrifts of any type around Atlanta, and certainly not much at any auctions, so am I correct in the assumption that estate sales is your biggest or most successful source for finding shoes in decent shape and higher end brands? Just asking since you mentioned enjoying "sourcing" shoes above. mike in atlanta

    5. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 2:55 PM

      The estate sale market here in my area is a joke. There is maybe one Estate sale a week and it is always badly overpriced junk. Not worth my time. The shoe sections of all the local thrift stores are awesome though. I tend to walk out with 5-10 pairs of shoes every time I walk in the door of any one of them. I don't just buy anything either - just the good stuff I know will sell. I research every pair I buy before I leave the store.

    6. Deb- Of my 650 items, I would say 600 of them or so are shoes. I sell about 25 pairs a week. I list about that much every week or more. Which means I source that much..

      Mens Dress Shoes are about 50-60%. As mentioned above, I sell Mezlan, Johnston Murphey, Aldens (if I can find them), Cole Haan (everywhere) Eccos, bunch of others. Basically you want to look for brands that sell between 200-300 plus. Dress shoes at or near $100 dont sell well.

      For Athletic shoes, you want shoes that sell for about $130-$200 new.

      For Nikes, always do a search for sold items with the code on the tag. Some models dont sell well, others do great. For ones that are selling for 200+ used, make sure its authentic.

      When I thrift, I first ask myself, is it cool, does it feel well made, are the heels/toes worn? Any issues? If it passes that, I search sold items...if I can make at least 25 profit, I will probably buy them.

      Nikes, New Balance, Brooks, Asics, Merrell have a lot of good models but they have some so so models too so be careful.
      Hoka Ones ones are always great if they are not too worn.
      Dont do well with Adidas unless they are exceptional. Adidas Crossfits do well.

      Thats some from the top of my head.

    7. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 4:19 PM

      Erik you took all the words right out of my mouth. Once you do this a while, you can scan a rack very quickly and just "know" which shoes are high quality and worth your time to even inspect and research.

      Three things to add:
      1. don't assume worn out shoes are not valuable. Some shoes are collectible or repairable and still worth big bucks. The inherent quality will still be obvious in a well worn pair of shoes.
      2. Allen Edmonds is another high end men's Brand. I find a good amount of them.
      3. If you see a pair of dress shoes with an odd, wavy non-cracked pattern at the toe crease area instead of the typical tight, almost cracked creases then you should buy those shoes. Shell cordovan is the most sought after high end mens shoe material. Research what to look for on that front with pictures online.

      Erik, Do you mind sharing any tidbits on your storage methods for that amount of shoes? I use the $5 clear tubs from Walmart and try to store similar style shoes together. Once I have all my shoes listed I'm going to go through and thoroughly sort them, label the bins, and tie the label to the listing. Right now I just generally know where every pair is. I can at least narrow it down to 1-2 tubs.

      I do NOT store shoes individually bagged. I started to do that thinking it would be great, but man it is incredibly annoying to search trough a tub of similar bagged shoes looking for a sold pair. I bag them during the packaging phase to keep my used newspaper dunnage off the shoes.

    8. Great information on shoes! I always look for the shoes at the thrift stores but I don't really find any high end. If I do find some, they are always in bad shape. Guess I will make more effort next time. Thanks!

    9. Well you surprised us with that. Ok, we will give it another shot and try to stay away from the "Franchise" type of thrifts. see if we can find us a nice list of single, locally owned thrifts or church thrifts and see if we can do better. Thanks for the reply RT-WV

    10. Hi Retro, Yes you are right on some brands, some wear is not bad, I do buy shoes with wear as long as its not too flexible in the front or worn down to the wood. I have thought about the idea of getting tools to re-heel shoes...

      Yes Allen Edmonds are great sellers and I get quite a few of them. I have some in mint condition, one pair used like once! They are nice and looked for often. I also like John Varvatos and John FLueogs. And Sperry Top Siders are good bread and butters.

      As far as storage, yes I have abandoned plastic bags for similar reasons. However whenever I can find shoe trees, I will use those on some that I want to protect before shipping. It might be a good idea to invest in those carboard shoe form thingys.

      I have a dedicated large container for Cole Haans, two for Nike, One for Sperry, I have sever shoe racks for other dress shoes (not most efficient space wise). Others I combine one or two brands in one Box. All in all I have about 11 large Tubs with the shoe racks. I do need to get more organzized and label.

      Also I have about 5 smaller tubs that I fill with shoes after I take pictures before they are sorted in storage tubs and then I have two XL large tubs for incoming shoes to be photographed.

      I polish and clean shoes on my Clothes washer (lol). My wife is not too happy about that. I have a nice laundry sink where I scrub soles. The I use goof off to remove the damn ink price marks. I actually take the time to try and sand off the ink marks off nice dress shoes. I just hate the look of a blotted price mark on the soles.

      I have 5 colors of polish, paint, and some conditioner and leather cleaner, mink oil, tool for rocks....good times

    11. deb truervalues -

      What a great community this is! I appreciate all your input...You have suggested several avenues I had not explored. Thanks Erik, and Retro.

      Hey Bryan with a "y"! If you are out there....I know you have shoes, too....Quite a few pairs in stock, as I remember. I also seem to remember you had killer numbers every week.....I would be interested in hearing how many you have in stock/how many pairs you source per week vs. how many you sell per week.....if you want to share.

    12. Jinedo58, I looked at your store and want to offer some suggestions which you are free to take or not; just my ideas for you to ponder.

      First, it looks like you list sporadically, with large gaps of time in between listings, so you might want to do 30-day listings that you then Re-list every 30 days, and that will create more activity in your store.

      Second, after you raise your prices, start running MM sales and that may also generate more activity. I frequently run 1-day sales in 2 or more categories at a time. Things that sell may not be in the sale category, but that's okay.

      And finally, raise your prices enough so that you can accept Best Offers, as people enjoy making a deal on items.

      Best of luck to you !

    13. If you up your price by 30% and add best offer for a few days. See how that goes. If no sales, drop your price 30% with best offer or not (your choice). Ebay will email people showing that you just dropped your prices. I had a huge influx of sales Sunday doing what I described.

    14. Another great podcast and great shoe information. Thank you for sharing.

    15. I went to a nationally advertised sale tonight. Everything was very pricey. Except for the dusty pair of Allen Edmonds Lexingtons that I paid $5 for. Very happy with the comps on Ebay

  12. Did we know this? No FVF on international shipping charges if you offer free domestic shipping.

    Most of my items have free shipping and I only charge shipping for international shipping or special heavy/awkward items sold in the US. When I charge for shipping in the US it gets the final value fee charged to it.

    I noticed when I shipped internationally my shipping charges don’t get any FVF charged to them. Hmm, why is that??? I just shipped an item to Australia and no FVF for the $85 shipping charge.

    Below is a cut a pasted from the ebay web site. Bottom line, if you offer free shipping in the US, they don’t charge you FVF on your international shipping! Not sure if we all knew that.

    “However, when you offer an international or one-day shipping service and it's selected by your buyer, your final value fee for shipping is calculated using whichever service is less expensive, either:
    • The first domestic service in your listing that isn't one-day, or
    • Your international or one-day shipping service
    For example, if a buyer chooses international shipping and you specified free shipping as your first domestic option, you don't pay any final value fees on shipping charges for that item.”

  13. Steve & JoAnn's Store Week June 12-18, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 1252
    Items Sold: 35
    Cost of Items Sold: $68
    Total Sales: $503
    Highest Price Sold: $30 (Gucci Shirt)
    Average Price Sold: $14.37
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $150
    Number of Items Listed This Week: 85

    Happy Birthday Ryanne!!!!

    We had a decent week after doing a deep sale on the store. Although we realized that some of our older stuff was not priced for a deep sale, but that's okay, a sale is a sale & we cleared out some old inventory.

    We are started something new on Wednesday. Up until then all of our clothing had free shipping, our prices were average selling prices (I didn't feel comfortable asking for more), and we accepted best offers. So, when we put our store on sale, we're actually selling below the average. Then we were still getting people asking for the best offer. Offers of $5-$10, with FREE SHIPPING. So starting Wednesday, we began listing clothes above average selling price (took me a long time to get to that point), added shipping back in and took best offers off of certain ones. We were really scared that our sales would suffer, but so far we've been doing well, maybe even a little better! So we'll see what next weeks numbers look like. Hopefully we can raise our averages.

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. deb truervalues
      Hi JoAnn - Yes, I have come to the exact same conclusions....seems to work well.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I always enjoy you interviewing style Jay. You always ask interesting questions that give us some insights into the interviewee's life.

    Here are my numbers for the week:
    Total Items in Store: 982
    Items Sold: 30
    Total Sales: $582.07
    Cost of Items Sold: $29.25
    Average Price Sold: $19.40
    Average Cost of Item: $0.98
    Highest Price Items Sold: $30
    Number of items listed this week: 41
    Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 136
    Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 89
    Median age of sales: 29 days
    Sell-through rate: 3.05%
    # of Hats sold: 17

    Another pretty good week in terms of the number of sales. No high value sales this week. Just lots of $20 items.

    I went to an interesting estate sale on the weekend. It was advertised as a "pickers sale" which seems to be the polite way of saying it's going to be a dirty/junky sale. Those happen to be my favorite kinds of sales because I don't mind digging and getting dirty. When I arrived at the sale they made us sign a release saying we wouldn't sue if we hurt ourselves which was a first for me. It was in an industrial area (of Oakland) and was a large property covered in old vehicles and sheds piled full of junk. Most of it was wood and metal and tools and car parts which don't interest me but there was also random bags of household stuff tucked away in corners. I spent several hours there and only walked away with a small box of stuff but it was fun looking.

    1. Simon, I'm really impressed with your low COGS considering your location. Are you mainly sourcing at garage and estate sales?

    2. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 2:58 PM

      I love how you maintain your "shelf life" metrics. I just don't have the energy to maintain something like that. Ideally that would be a simple piece of data for ebay to give in a report for "good til cancelled" listings, but to my knowledge there is no way to get that.

    3. It's possible, but requires a bit of manual work. In your active listing view, you can add the column "Start Date" and that will give you the actual date listed (not time left or time since last renewal). Not super helpful for a quick glace, but if you really want to dig in to the numbers that can be used & added to an Excel doc where you can calculate the days since listed. Maybe if we all make the suggestion to eBay, they'll add it?

    4. Retro Treasures WVJune 21, 2016 at 8:11 AM

      Thanks for that tip Brian! I actually used it to find an item I needed to ship last night. I was able to pull up the start dates to see what other items I had listed that day. Once I knew what else I had listed with it, I knew exactly where it would be.

      My "sell similar" experiment is definitely over. This start date data is a gold mine that I don't want to lose.

    5. Anytime, happy to share some knowledge. I started using that column to inform what goes on sale, what gets donated, etc.

    6. Christine R - Yes. Garage sales, estate sales and Goodwill Outlet are my main sources. I sell a lot of hats that primarily come from GW and I pay by the pound for them so they have a very low cost and a very high profit margin.

      Retro T WV - I guess I'm a bit of a data nerd. I track all of my listings in a spreadsheet for inventory management purposes (so I can find them) and for figuring out my profit. Since I have the data I'm able to get those other numbers with minimal work each week. (I have a little section in my spreadsheet that automatically calculates my Scavenger Life numbers for me. I just add a couple of numbers manually to complete it).

      Brian - That's a great tip on the "Start Date" field. I've never noticed that before. I have the info in my spreadsheet but I've always thought it would be useful to see that in eBay. Not sure why they have it hidden like that.

  15. Total Items in Store: 176 ebay, 305 etsy
    Items Sold: 5 on ebay, 8 etsy
    Total Sales: $350 ($227 on ebay, $123 on etsy)
    Highest Price Sold: $75 (print on ebay)
    Average Price Sold: $27

    A mediocre week, but it could have been worse! The collectibles market is taking a hit this summer (even Will, terminal99, was saying that it is slow on his latest video and he has thousands of items.) I need to suspend buying for awhile, I have more stuff up than ever, but I need to list more death pile items and not spend more money on stuff that is just sitting.

    1. Things may get slow, but I am a big Disbeliever in not buying when stuff isn't moving as fast as one would like. Even Rothschild said to Buy when there's blood in the streets, even if it's your own. He's right, you know. You will rarely see better deals.

      I am a big believer in diversification of products, to the extent one can handle it. That way, one product niche can pick up slack where another one drops off.

      In any event, we are almost thru the "worst" of it. Focus on 4th quarter, and even then, buying will ramp up sometime mid July. Also, keep in mind the BREXIT vote is coming up shortly, and there is a lot of uncertainty, AND we are in a presidential election cycle. My lame personal opinion is to keep an eye on the silver and gold Market. If the price pops, the board is green for listing that junk silver and sterling for the best prices you may see on eBay, for the TEOTWAKI buyers. However, I hope the markets stay stable as that's better for all us resellers, then volatility. Still, sometimes you gotta roll that hard six and go with the result. Interesting times...

    2. To echo Eve's thoughts, if you can make it through now and still buy stuff to list it should pay off in the busy seasons. It's how the rich get richer - when the market is down and people are desperate to sell, that's when you find the bargains and then you hold it and wait... that's true for stocks, it's true for collectibles.

  16. EBay has been trucking along, even without the level of attention it deserves. We sold a Danish abstract rug for $200, which okay, was cheap, but I had bought three of them for $100 two or so years ago, and this was a straggler. A nice one, but a straggler, so I marked it down and it sold to someone in CA several days later. A lot of different odds and ends sold which to me, is the fun of doing this. Sometimes the events surrounding buying them are even better than the resale. I came across a bounty of vintage barrettes, put them in my cart at a goodwill outlet, only to find two cute kids trying to abscond with them because their mother wanted them. I managed to not have a George Costanza like meltdown, Serenity Now!! And I did give up a few sets for the sake of saving time and not slaughtering the Spanish language.

    Anyway, I did make a What Sold on eBay video that deals mostly with fabrics and textiles from the mid century. I plan to get my act together and do more of a "potluck" one later this week, time permitting.

  17. Total Items in Store: 660 eBay, 140 Amazon FBA
    Items Sold: 13 (10 eBay, 3 Amazon FBA)
    Total Sales: $1098.96 ($242.98 eBay, $855.98 Amazon)
    Highest Price Sold: $800 (New fax machine on Amazon)
    Average Price Sold: $24.30 eBay, $285.33 Amazon

    I was shocked this week - the $800 fax machine I had on Amazon FBA sold. Found it new in box for $20 at Goodwill. I also did really well on a new in box printer from the same store, so I'm going to keep an eye out from now on. The Goodwills in New Jersey are insane compared to what I saw when I visited Marietta, Georgia, but they don't seem to price new inventory much higher so I think I've found an edge. People are so lazy - I found the same fax machine selling sold used for $30 on eBay. It wasn't the cheapest on Amazon by a mile, just the only one being sold through FBA.

    -Dan from NJ

  18. I just bought my first sets of Lego and going through the pieces was agony. Does anyone have a method for doing this?

    -Dan from NJ

    1. I've done Lego in the past (had a store on brick link). I'd use a site like BrickLink to get the list of pieces, or put it together (if it's not a huge amount of pieces). Plus, if you're taking a picture for eBay, and it is used, I'm looking way more for the photo of it complete than a bin of parts.

      I bought a lot of Lego when I started. Now I sell them in 10 lb as, the running an individual piece store (that's what BrickLink is) was too time consuming when I was filling orders for $5-10 each.

    2. I've got some to do. I've heard to it can be worth it to separate out the mini-figs and look and lot them up, then sell the rest by the pound. If anyone has experience with selling multiple pounds / used sets with the manuals but no mini-figs, please share.

    3. It depends on the minifigs. Superheros and other licenced ones go for far more than something like "policeman". There are around 15 series of just minifigs, which range from about $2 to over $40... so a lot of it is just "it depends"

      What I tend to do is fill up a medium or larfe flat rate box, and sell my bulk listing that way. Take a picture of it on the scale for proof of weight.

    4. I bought a big box of Lego at an estate sale. The box (like the size of a case of printer paper) had been sitting in the attic uncovered since the 1970s - they were filthy. I gave them all a quick wash with dishsoap and hot water & sorted out by color to sell that way thinking it would be the most profitable. However, I believe the lot may be one of the early train sets with the blue track... think I should put the lots back as one and relist as a train set?

  19. Week of June 12-18, 2016

    Total in-store: 1870
    Total Sales: $1001
    # Items sold: 27
    Avg Price: $37.07
    COGs: $193.96
    Highest price: $279 (Oneida flatware)
    International: 2 (down vest to Australia, boots to Indonesia)
    Returns: 2 (both sold again within same week!)
    Spent on new inventory: $22
    Number of items Listed: 31
    Donated to Project Semicolon: $12.80
    Sold on Amazon MF – $13.21
    Sold on Amazon FBA - $7.98
    Sold on Bonanza - $49.47

    Happy with my sales this week, especially since I'm now officially cut off from unemployment benefits and severance. Will probably take some freelance jobs as well so I can further delay any thoughts of returning to the corporate world. Did not list as much this week because I was focused on sending another shipment of CDs and assorted NIB stuff to Amazon FBA. The tedium of listing, labeling and boxing up 100 or so CDs was only tolerable because I watched the OJ documentary while doing it. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend.

    To all those scared of taking returns - just do it. Arguing or getting upset with buyers who lie is a waste of your time and energy. Most people who return are quite nice about it, but there are a few jerks. Vengeance will be yours when you resell at a higher price. Above, you will see that I had two items returned this week. One was my fault (holes I missed), one was not. I raised the price on both, and both resold within a matter of days - even the item with holes! A couple of keyword changes and that item was re-marketed as "trashed and distressed," making it worth $5 more to a new buyer. Victory is mine.

    Going out of town a few days this week with college friends. Plan to source along the way.

  20. Hey Suzanne, thanks for the OJ doc recommendation...I think that's what I'll stream today while I "work" from the couch on eBay and FBA! Question for you...what has been your experience w/ selling used CD's on FBA? I just came across a lot of 450 CD's (for $20) in great used condition and I just sent in the first group of 75 or so to FBA...they all ranked pretty high. Have you had good luck selling the CD's you've sent in? My lot I sent in just hit the warehouse a week ago or so and so far only 2 have sold...although I think about half of them are being 'transfered' to another FBA warehouse.

  21. friday, this was only my second shipment of CDs to send in, and frankly, I suck at it. I bought a huge box of CDs at a garage sale for $15. There were about 300 total. I sold a bunch of them for $1 each at my garage sale, and decided to try FBA on the rest. They have not sold quickly or for very much. Most of what I purchased was popular music from the '80s and '90s. In the future, I will not buy big lots like that -- only ones I scan first and see the rank and potential profit.

  22. Hi Everyone!
    Sorry I've been out of touch for awhile. I've been catching up on reading the blog, listening to the interviews and watching the videos. Thanks for all of that!

    My sales are way down and my store is still at about 900+ items. Still maintaining my TRS status. I've been busy helping two of our daughters start an ebay business. One fizzled out after about 6 weeks, didn't like going to the post office and it "wasn't for her". That's OK though. She still made aver $1,000 selling my inventory that I photographed and wrote descriptions to teach her how to do it right. So, she knows how to sell and what to sell if she ever wants to pick it up again or just needs money.

    My other daughter is doing great. After only 9 weeks, she has sold over $2,000 (that's $222.22 per week, $30 per sale average) and she has opened a basic store with 68 items as of today. She's spread her wings and is listing on her own, taking her own photos in her LED light box and has an inventory system. She's even bought some things at garage sales and went to a Goodwill.
    It feels so good to have taught her how to do ebay the right way and make money on her own. I've given her items from different categories, so she knows what to look for know and knows what will sell. She loves selling shoes. She couldn't believe how fast and profitable selling my old dirty Birkenstocks was for her. I hesitated about giving them to her to sell, but I wanted her to be shocked. This is a skill she can now use for the rest of her life. It's also fun to have someone in my family who "get's it".

    Glad to read all of your successes. I missed this blog.
    Happy birthday Ryanne! Thanks to you and Jay for all you do.
    I put my old photo up, so hopefully someone will remember me. I took my last name, Ewald, off and use my middle name, Sandy Mae.

    1. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 1:22 PM

      Great to hear your children gave it a try! I love hearing stories like this. So many teenagers feel obligated to do "what everyone else is doing", and go get their crappy part time minimum wage jobs. If they would only think outside the box and put some effort in, they can make way more money working for themselves.

      I have a nephew who is hating his part time minimum wage job this summer at a grocery store. I just sit back and chuckle when I hear his misery because I offered several times to teach him what I do so he could work for himself this summer. He just rolled his eyes like a typical know it all teenager. I even offered him $10 an hour to learn while helping me!

    2. Great job teaching your daughters a new skill. It certainly seems like it is something that people can keep in their back pocket even if they have other interests career-wise. I tried to get my son interested but, even with sell-able items basically handed to him to generate some income, he was too lazy to list more than a handful of things.

      How is that LED light box working out? I just bought one for my wife to use as she found the lights on full-size tripods to be annoying and blinding. I haven't tried photographing anything in our LED box yet.

    3. deb truervalues

      Hi Sandy Mae!!! Of course we remember you. Welcome back. Looking forward to seeing your numbers again.

    4. Having four teen girls and an eleven yr old boy grandchildren staying with us this summer has been a blast. (Its especially nice when their parents aren't here. No 'Parental Interference"!) they love to earn money by doing things for me. So I am now employing a gardener, a window washer, and an ebay photographer. Sweeet!

    5. Correction: three teen girls. Four grandchildren in all.

  23. Slow week for me with about $110 in sales on Ebay and Facebook, but I sold some of my daughter's toys and thrifted items, so my COGS was very low.

    I'm in a regrouping phase of my Ebay life and listened to one of my favorite episodes "List it or Donate it". My family was away this weekend and I spent a lot of time cleaning out the house and garage. I resisted shopping, organized my shipping supplies, listed on Facebook and CL, dropped off hand-me-downs, and worked on some active listing maintenance. Ebay is ending my new items GTC because the UPC I tried to enter was and is still not being recognized in their database. They also have a new beta growth feature where it includes a yellow ribbon in active listings stating that there have been no sales of that item in XXX days or months. Luckily I only have a few of those apparently quite undesirable items. Running some auctions for charity on stale and lower priced stuff.

    My biggest challenge with EBay is that I'm not wired as a multitasker and I prefer to tackle projects like photos or listing with a big chunk of time. That opportunity is not often available to me, so I'll have to strategize. I really admire those of you part-timers who have posted that you list on your lunch breaks or on the go. Kudos.

    Happy Birthday Ryanne. Hope you enjoyed it.

  24. June 12 - June 18
    Total items in store 887
    Sold 13
    Total Sales $482.89
    (plus one $30.00 sale from my travelpickin acct.)
    Highest price sold a Meat Marinator $64.99
    Intl Sales - 1 to Canada
    Returns - 0
    Spent on new Merch $33.00
    New Listings 8

    Happy with my sales for the week. Hoping I can continue growing my store It will be a challenge now that I am taking care of my Mom who is 88. Grateful I am in a place where I can be the care giver.

    1. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 21, 2016 at 12:08 AM

      Liz - thanks for mentioning that you are your mom's caretaker. I may soon find myself in a similar situation so your great sales and the fact that you continue to build your store are inspirational.

    2. Caregivers deserve huge blessings!!

  25. June 12-18, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 531
    Items Sold: 13
    Cost of Items Sold: $16.00
    Total Sales: $260.42
    Highest Price Sold: $59.99 (Big Pony Ralph Lauren Shirt)
    Average Price Sold: $20.03
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $35
    Number of items listed this week: 20

    Another great interview. I loved Ben's statement: "honor the burnout". I recently had a short period of wondering if I even wanted to do Ebay anymore. I just took some time from doing much with it and the negative feeling eventually went away. Now I am going to be more intentional about recognizing when I need to "honor the burnout" and give myself a break.

    Thanks for the podcast! Have a great week and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RYANNE!

  26. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 20, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    The Trove Gnome Week June 12-18, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 215
    Items Sold: 10
    Cost of Items Sold: $0 (pre-owned or donated)
    Total Sales: $300.55
    Highest Price Item Sold: $195 (Egyptian headrest)
    Average Price Sold: $30.05
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: 0 – working through stuff we own
    Number of Items Listed this Week: 54

    I’m helping my parents downsize stuff they’ve collected over the many years we lived/worked overseas. Their African items continue to sell well. My mother has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so some of this is preparation for when she needs more care and less clutter. It’s hard to see her not recognize things that she once collected.

    My aunt and uncle found out I was selling on eBay and I am now in possession of a 6-man motorized, inflatable raft… Hoping to sell that locally. I could fit it into several boxes and ship it but I’m not looking forward to that. Plus there’s a marine battery that I would have to declare as “hazardous” when I ship. Anyone have any experience selling items like this?

    Continuing to list – it’ll be between 112-118 degrees here for the next 10 days and I’m sure not going to spend a lot of time outside. Gotta love living in hell’s waiting room!

    Happy birthday Ryanne! Happy belated birthday Jay!

    1. Hi Jen!

      I just checked out your store... for such a new seller, your store looks great! My one constructive suggestion is that you put some of the better/higher end items in the "Featured Listings" section at the top of the page. They'll get the most view and that's key when you're listing things at $1000+.

      On a side note, what made you list your Righteous Brothers cassette at $600 (by all means, I hope you get it)? I just checked and didn't find anything to point in that direction - even sealed they might only bring $15-$20.

    2. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 20, 2016 at 3:56 PM

      Hey Brian - thanks for the kudos. I will definitely take your insights into consideration.

      OMG - THANK YOU for telling me about the Righteous Brothers cassette! You know that old saying "blind in one eye and can't see out of the other"? That's a pretty accurate description of my vision. I am truly blind in one eye and have polyopia (multiple vision) in the other - damage from an autoimmune disease. That was a TYPO! Thank you for finding it and letting me know. LOL.

    3. O wow, glad I found it then... at least it wasn't the other way around, listing something for $6 when it should have been $600! :)

    4. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 21, 2016 at 12:09 AM

      Yeah, that would be bad!

  27. Yes, Simon. It's hard to motivate others. We grew up with nothing, so we always found the motivation within.

    I love the lightbox. My daughter and I have the StudioPRO Studio All-In-One LED Product Photography Light Box Tent Kit 24" Cube. It's so bright, it's hard to see the screen on my phone, but I've gotten used to it. The pictures look awesome.

  28. Retro Treasures WVJune 20, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    I looked at that photo box on amazon, but the reviews are all jumbled together for multiple products. So this has a flat panel on top that puts the light into the box?

    What kind of phone do you take pictures with?

    Can you link to your store so we could see some examples of the images taken with this box?

    It looks awesome, and I'd love to have something like this.

    1. I bought this on ebay from fovitec for $99.99 with free shipping. The others on ebay are $140. Yes, the LED panel fits onto an opening on top, so no lights to mess with. It has really nice vinyl backdrops. Mine came with little clips that don't work well (too small to hold the heavy backdrop), but my daughter ordered hers recently and it came with Velcro that she likes (instead of clips). I could probably add Velcro to mine and get rid of the clips. I use an iPhone 6 S plus for photos. I hold a piece of cardboard over my phone when photographing something reflective (between the lights and the object) so the led lights don't show up in the photo.
      Sorry, I can't link and not sure how to include a photo. It's the one Griff, from ebay radio, recommended. Hope that helps.

    2. I bought the StudioPro lightbox too. It was recommended on eBay Radio. The ebay listing for it doesn't really show that it has super bright LEDs inside the top and reflective panels on the sides. It seems very bright. I haven't taken any photos with it yet but the first ones my wife took seem fine. eBay listing:

    3. Retro Treasures WVJune 21, 2016 at 4:14 PM

      I go back and forth on one of these boxes. I do photos anywhere and everywhere - my desk, my shed porch, the trunk of my car, etc. As long as I have good natural light and a blanket for a backdrop, I'm good.

      I have to keep slapping my hand away from the buy now button for this thing. Its a flashy toy I don't need to list on ebay.

      Has anyone noticed a quantifiable difference in their sales when going to a light box setup?

    4. If you're happy with your current photo locations there's no need for one of these but I take a lot of photos at night so I need artificial light.

      I had a fabric lightbox but I gave up on that and was using a large white trifold piece of cardboard.

      My lighting was 3 fluorescent lights on stands (2x5ft stands and a 1x2ft stand.) which took up lot of space and was fairly hard on the eyes (which bothered my wife) so I was interested to try an alternative.

      As long as your photos are of good quality I don't think it matters much if you use a lightbox or not.

  29. I went out of town the first part of June to visit family and go yard saling with one of my sisters. I found a couple of cool items and made sure that I listed those items right away. But I haven’t posted my numbers for the past few weeks, trying to catch up. I was only gone for a few days but it really messed up my schedule.

    May 29th to June 4th
    Number of items sold: 8
    Cost of items sold: $23.27
    Total sales: $263.94
    Highest price sold: $70.00 Bob Marley wool sweater
    Average price sold: $32.98

    June 5th to June 11th
    Number of items sold: 5
    Cost of items sold: $7.25
    Total sales: $135.95
    Highest price sold: $39.99 Hawaiian shirt
    Average price sold: $27.19

    June 12th to June 18th
    Total listings: 995
    Total sales: $244.97
    Number of items sold: 4
    Average sale price: $61.24
    Highest price sold: $150.00 Vintage leather briefcase
    COGS: $12.19
    International sales: 0
    Returns: 0

    I bought the briefcase at a yard sale for $10 so I was happy with the price! It certainly made my week. I have another briefcase to list but based on my research I may not get that much for it. But I only paid $1 for it at a yard sale so it’s all good.

    Happy Birthday Ryanne! Hope you had a great day.

  30. Flim Store Week June 12-18, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 575
    Items Sold: 23
    Cost of Items Sold: $220
    Total Sales: $1,683.39
    Highest Price Sold: $250 (high end boots)
    Average Price Sold: $73.19
    Returns: 2

    Whew! Happy for a very solid week. Probably one of my highest ever. Just got back from a Goodwill by the pound location. Now I understand why clothing sellers can just churn out cheap listings. But I much prefer picking out a select few items I know I can sell for $40+. But the bins were fascinating - there were people there that looked like they practically lived there.

    Great interview with Ben. My new fulltime scavenger self fully appreciated his sense of making it work outside the norm. Also love Nola - can we all have a Scavenger Host Network in popular vacation spots?

    1. Wow! Amazing numbers! I marvel at the label knowledge you and so many other sellers have. If it's 80's and back, I'm all over it. But current brands? I'm clueless. I follow a few sellers on Instagram hoping the knowledge will rub off. That said, I'm glad I know my vintage, otherwise I'd still be slinging vinyl at the record store.


    2. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 21, 2016 at 12:12 AM

      Scavenger retreat in NOLA - what an awesome idea!

    3. I haven't a clue about luxury brands outside of the obvious either, but Flim is lucky that she lives in a area with good exposure to luxury brands, Tacoma, WA isn't exactly awash in them even if I wanted to deal in such goods.

    4. @Flim - which weigh & pay did you go to around here, LIC? Not sure if there's another one or not. I've never been, but wondering if it was worth it (considering I'd have to cross 2 rivers) :)

    5. I've been storing brand names in my brain for 5+ years now. At the old job,I'd literally look at recent solds of searches like "shirt" or "dress" btwn $40-$150 to get a sense of what to look oyt for. I'd love to get into more hard goods, or vintage stuff, but it's not what people have in NYC.

      Brian, it was the one in LIC. Worth a trip to at least check out. It's easy to get to from Midtown.

  31. A discussion during this podcast made me most trash elves take the weekend off from listing or do most of you work nearly seven days a week?

    1. It's good to give yourself some sort of break. It doesn't have to be on the weekend.
      I'm a hobby seller. I choose not to list on weekends. My husband works long hours Monday through Friday so the weekends are family time. Most of the moms I know that are doing eBay full time tend to only list during the week when the kids are at school.

    2. I work seven days a week, 8-10-12 hours a day. Up at 4:00 AM this morning and will go until dinner time tonight. BUT.. Here is the motivation / Reason and most don't have this need.

      Wife and I had 6 antique booths (600 Sq. feet) of space that we decided is just an old, antiquaited business model and we dropped 4 of them last year. We pulled over 2,000 items out of those booths and now have about 600 listed in our Ebay store. That is our retirement money (I am 68 yrs. old and wife is 65), so we need to turn that investment into sold profits. We have about $8,000 tied up in that inventory and it won't sell and get provide us with our expected $80-$90,000 return until it is in the store, in front of buyers and selling. Plus we still get in a little buying for a day or so each week. My wife says she has to get me out and "air me out" weekly. :-) LOL.

      So, that is a very strong motivation to burn the candle at both ends. But I have worked more than 50 ++ hours a week for over 40 years so, no sweat for me.

      You asked.. mike in atl.

    3. Retro Treasures WVJune 21, 2016 at 8:23 AM

      I have a full time job, a half hour commute, 4 kids, and a honey do list about 5 miles long. I fit in the time whenever and wherever I can. I do ebay at work during breaks and lunch. I always keep some pictures on my phone so I can list on the go when I have a few minutes.

      I wake up early on weekends and do work. I stay up late to do packing and listing a lot too.

      If only I could get one of those time turner things from the Harry Potter world I would be set. Lol.

    4. @losingitagain - I echo the sentiments of the other replies, it's about what works for you. If you're a full timer and are putting in work scavenging or listing every weekday, sure why not give yourself weekends off? For me, I work a full time job (50+ hrs plus commute time) during the week so my only time to pick & list is weekends. Even then, when I'm feeling burnt out I'll take a weekend off... it's the best part of having your own business, there are no set rules - whatever works for you. :)

    5. I work full time, commute 2 hours a day. I go to a thrift store at lunch and after work and on Saturday and Sunday + garage sales and Estate sales. I take prep, take pictures and pack most nights. List at free time during day.

  32. I dont accept returns (on paper) but I will if I screwed up or I'll just let the buyer keep it and refund. Well I got a message from a guy saying the t shirt doesn't fit him. It's a newer standard sized shirt so I didn't include measurements. . I want to say sorry I don't take returns only because now I know he's tried it on or washed it which can make the shirt harder to resell. It was basically new without tags when sent it. But I don't want to risk neg feedback. Has anyone ever just said no to their buyer? And if I do accept it, what do I tell him to do as I clearly don't have hassle free returns set up. I don't want to be stuck with shipping costs. And do I refund the initial shipping cost back? I need some help. This is my first I didn't screw up return.

    1. Typically my return policy he would have to pay shipping both ways if it wasnt my fault. I would just work it out with him and ask him. This is another reason why you should just do returns. You will not get more returns by having a return policy and it is just good service and makes your life easier. And dont loose sleep over a t shirt. Just work something out with him, its not worth trying to save a buck.

    2. Call ebay and tell them what's going on. Plus ebay nulls your "no return policy" with the ebay moneyback guarantee. Returns are such a small part of the business, just might as well accept them and get TRS. My return rate is 1.5% and I offer 30 day returns.

  33. Items in store: 330
    Total sales: 354.91
    Number of sales: 16
    Avg sale price: $22.18
    Avg COG: $2.10

    Experimented with upping my price by $10 and adding Best Offer. Probably wasn't a good idea. The idea was to make the items seem better because expensive stuff is more desirable. Yet, at the same time a buyer could offer half the asking price and I end up getting about the same as before the price increase or I could even luck out and they buy at full price (happened once, $38 Wrangler pearl snap shirt). Number of sales went down. Not the worst sales numbers but I think $350 a week is my minimum.. I want to do $2000 in sales a month ($66 a day) is my next goal (it says I am $2011 in last 31 days).

    Having problems with my ISP not giving me enough bandwidth. Takes over an hour to list 10 things. For me that just means uploading 4-5 pics and typing title, entering shipping weight, price, and 3 measurements. So I am doing a batch of 20-30 or so listings, writing it all down, coping the pics to a flash drive, and doing my listings at McDonalds on my laptop.

    Hoping to up my store size (and sales) some more this week and possibly check out the thrift stores this weekend (haven't been in two weeks).

    1. My advice, if possible in your location, is pay extra for better service. It always pays dividends to invest in your business and time is money. This might be obvious advise but I know the scavenger in me can hold off on spending money. I just bought a brand new Zebra label printer. It cost way too much money but its saved me hours already.

      I think playing around with the price (adding 10 dollars) only works for one of a kind type things. Doesnt work if there is competition.

    2. FredsPremium, how many hours are you putting in a week? Ideally my goal is $2000 a month as well, but that has only happened for me during the fourth quarter.

    3. deb truervalues

      I live in a rural area, so slow internet as well.

      If I start drafts on my phone, it goes quicker. I can get a lot of drafts set up on the phone and just go in and tweak on the computer. This has been an enormous time saver for me, plus I can use odd little minutes, like when I'm waiting in line, to list.

      With the phone, you have the added advantage of talking your input,faster than typing

    4. are you in a rural area? is your ISP limited because of that? (ours is). or, like erik suggested, can you pay for more bandwidth?

    5. Yep, I am in a rural area and its just the only option besides satellite and I hear that it isn't worth it. Went to Martins grocery / Starbucks lounge. Their WiFi sucked worse than my ISP! One tip I should mention though: I saved myself at Starbucks and whenever my ISP goes down by using my phone as a wireless hotspot and using my 5GB of data from Straight Talk. It is fast if you are in coverage areas. Someday, I want to move to a place like Tennessee by the mountains or South Carolina and be out in the woods but close to the city and still be able to have cable size bandwidth. Bandwidth is probably the number one factor in where I want to live though.

      It is hard to tell how many hours I put in. I definitely don't source all the time. My last haul was the end of last month when Goodwill, Vinnies, and this other church thrift store all had 50% sales on the same day. I picked up 140 items with an average cost per item of $2.45. My Miata was stuffed full! I am about to finish that death pile tonight or tomorrow. I honestly have slacked off from listing in favor of research. I am changing that though and will push my store past 400 soon. This week is going strong with no experimental price schemes. Going with what works for me which is pricing an average of about $20 and free shipping and no best offer. I would say though that almost everything I do besides going to the gym or going to my parents to help them is related to eBay and it definitely isn't like I have to force myself to do it. I tried to pick up playing some classic SNES games but can't keep interested long enough.

      This week I am a first time Top Rated Seller. I hope it increases sales.

      The two big clothing sellers on here have two opposite strategies. One sells ultra competitive with an average price less than $20. Does thousands in sales a week. The other prices high with best offer and has thousands of items in store and also does very good numbers. I tried to be like the later and it just won't work if you have a relatively small inventory like mine. I think the bigger your inventory the higher you can price things. It is just about how long do you want to wait for it to sell (or how long can you afford to wait for it to sell). That is why I think with a big inventory you can afford to wait for that maximum ROI.

    6. we're in a rural area too with very limited bandwidth up. you might want to resize your photos so they dont take as long to upload. they might be too big for what you need. right now i export mine to be 1600px max and that makes them faster to upload even on our slow speeds.

    7. Ryanne,

      Do you have Hughes net in Luray? We are thinking of getting it for our cabin but I have heard a lot of bad things about it. Spotty coverage, limited downloads and streaming, and expensive. Do you have it at your house and farmhouse?

      Wondering if its worth it. Plus if I get it at the cabin it means I have to answer emails at the cabin, not really looking forward to that.

    8. do not get hughesnet whatever you do, it's horrible. we had it when we first moved here in 2008. they limit your bandwidth to a daily cap, if you go over that they throttle your speeds for 24 hours down to dial up.

      we use centurylink, as they are available in both our neighborhoods, just call them to check their availability in your neighborhood. if they don't service your road, call HighSpeed Link, they are a local ISP out of Harrisonburg and often can connect places that Centurylink can't.

    9. We have NO CHOICE except Hughesnet.... That being said we switched to a "business" account and that helped give us more band width during the day (8am-6pm). It is expensive but right now its our only option.

    10. We're rural as well. We thought our only choice was windstream dsl, but after doing a bunch of research, we're now using a Boost Mobile phone tethered to our router. We live out in the sticks and we're getting 15 down/6 up. Nothing earth shattering, but it's fine for listing and streaming Netflix. The reason we went with boost was that they offer unlimited data. I've heard that they throttle when there is network congestion, but that's never been a problem in our area. I don't know anyone in our area who has sprint coverage. If sprint is no good in your area, there are other options. Just have to get creative. Just stay away from satellite.

    11. We also have a rural home and can't get ANY internet connection...not even satellite. They told us there are too many trees to hit the satellite and to move the dish out in the open, it is too far from the router to work (I guess it has to be within 100 feet of the router). It is so frustrating how rural American gets screwed compared to urban areas.

    12. This should be one of the main political issues in the upcoming elections. It is 2016 and so much of the United States doesn't have the kind of internet speed that is acceptable.

  34. Great interview and congrats to Ben for being able to do it all himself. It had to take guts to leave school. Wonder what he does for health insurance though. 'Course he's young and no doubt healthy. For those of you (over 40) who have quit your time-sucking jobs what do you do for insurance?

    1. we got insurance through, that's the beauty of the system, is that it's not tied to a job, you can just apply for insurance as an individual.

    2. I've been self-employed for around 20 years and did without health insurance. Now I have it through the Affordable Care Act (

    3. We have been going through a local insurance company for several years. Our plan is equivalent to ACA plans, but it is not an "ACA qualifying plan" so we have to pay an additional 2.5% tax every year. Our family monthly plan is $300 compared to over $800 for the cheapest qualifying ACA plan. We are also on an individual plan.

    4. Healthcare is our big expense - nearly $800 a month for a bronze plan through Many of the Drs in our area will not accept our plan but the local health department does and they are excellent.

      Our income will be a lot lower this year than last so we're hoping for an adjustment as some time. We left our jobs and have attacked eBay & AZ. Got rid of our mortgage but health insurance slammed us. First year it was about $500, this year it went up to $780, and they've already sent us notice that our rates will rise again in 2017. Rates are at the mercy of the geographic group you wind up in.
      I'm looking for alternative insurance options.

    5. We're members of Christian Healthcare Ministries and have used plans like these for more than 10 years. Our plan costs $165 mo. for a family of 6 with a $5000 deductible. It's a low cost option that is exempt from the ACA and works great for our family.

  35. Thank you Deb, retro treasures and Simon for the warm welcome back!

  36. Another great interview. Inspiring to hear someone that took an unconventional route through their younger years, and still came out on top. Love it!

    As for me, slooooow week, with a few highlights.

    - My first Amazon FBA items arrived at the fulfillment warehouse, and yesterday, my first sold (new LOTR book set). Currently prepping my second shipment. Still testing the waters, and just grabbing things as I find them, but diversifying income streams a bit, without having to store items in my house is appealing...

    - After almost six months of part-time listing/selling, I hit two big milestones that I've been striving to get to. First, I FINALLY hit 500 items in my store. Second, I finally made Top-Rated seller yesterday! Next goal is 600 listings. Hoping I can get there in a month or two.

    June 12-18
    Number of items sold: 6 (two still unpaid)
    Cost of items sold: $18.39
    Total sales: $147.96
    Highest price sold: $100.00 (front grille off of a Nissan)
    Average price sold: $24.66

    Reeeeeally slow week. I've been spending my mornings re-listing items that are expiring, and not listing new items, which is a PAIN. I'm in Canada, and ebay has recently stopped allowing Canadian sellers to list on in US $$. That's where I started a few months back, so anything that hasn't sold (approximately 200 listings) is no longer GTC, but instead are no longer re-listing when they expire. I'm manually having to re-list each items one at a time, since the "migration" tool that ebay rolled out to us is plagued with major issues, and is not working for me. Downside is I'm not getting any new items listed, silver lining is that it'll only be for a month, and then it'll be forgotten. Ugh.

    1. Good for you Winchester38 .. Seems your status parallels ours. We broke the 600 listings yesterday, 605 as of a few minutes ago and also we are almost at the 500 100% Positive Feedback mark, have 497 so just three more to go and Ebay will give us a new color star. Been a TRS Plus for a long time, but still you will have to work at it to keep it. So, great work, keep it up, just keep plugging away, as we will. We all will eventually get up into the thousands and that will be wonderful income. mike in atl.

    2. Nice job, Winchester38, for setting and attaining your goals. I am still looking for my Top Rated Seller...I have 61 items sold, so hopefully in the next couple of months (I already have over $1,000 sold, just need the 100 items). I am also working toward my 250 items listed (I have about 189...I keep selling things so I have to keep up with my sales...not a bad problem!)

  37. 6/12-6/18/16
    Total items in store: 366
    Items sold: 6
    Cost of Items Sold: $6.50 thrift + $4.78 retail/free shipping
    Total Sales: $82.94
    Avg. price: $13.82
    Highest price item: $19.99 Boys Lands End Rain Jacket
    International sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory: $50.00
    Number of items listed: 4

    Very low average price sold.

  38. ZEBRA PRINTER QUESTION - I just got my Zebra GK420D label printer (recommended by our fellow participant Linda). My only sale since installing it yesterday has been for a FEDEX SMARTPOST label, but I couldn't get it to work with it and just sent to my regular printer on 8 1/2 x 11 paper and had to tape it on the old way. Anybody able to set up a Zebra printer for the Fedex labels and if so, how do you print one USPS label then another Fedex? Is there an option or something easy to be able to print both?

    1. Have you tried calling FedEx?

    2. I have only got them to work with USPS. I do love it though, but I just print UPS/Fedex labels on my regular printer.

    3. Thanks. I had a sale yesterday for a package using usps...I agree, works great! Nice little printer.

    4. We have a Zebra ZP450. For Fedex and USPS international postage we save the label to a PDF on the print shipping label screen, we then go to adobe open it up go to edit take a snap shot of only the necessary info then go to print on the same screen and it shots it out just like it does for regular USPS labels.

    5. That's how we do it. Choose Take a Snap Shot - Drag mouse and highlight the label - choose the correct printer, printer set up, choose 4x6 labels. Its a pain at first but you get faster at it after a few labels.

    6. Retro Treasures WVJune 23, 2016 at 3:10 PM

      My gold standard is UPS clear shipping label pouches. They are big enough to fit a folded in half sheet of 8.5x11 paper.

      I thought I was ordering these on amazon and got a killer deal on 1000 of them for $40. The ones I got are 7x5.5 though. I have to trim every label with scissors.

      These are the ones I wish I got:

      Just print out the label on standard 8.5x11, fold in half, slide in pouch and stick on package. Super easy and they are super sticky.

    7. retro-
      you can get those for free on USPS and UPS.
      here is a link to the ones on USPS--

    8. Retro Treasures WVJune 24, 2016 at 1:24 PM

      I'd be hesitant to use those as they are spelled out to just be for customs forms. Have you used them?

    9. ah, i forgot about that. i've used them for shipping labels on occasion without issue. but i forgot they are supposed to be for customs forms. i bought from another seller and they sent my box FedEx Smartpost and they used one of these to put the packing slip in and it got here fine.

  39. Retro Treasures WVJune 21, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Finished the podcast at lunch today. Very cool listen. An interesting comment I have is in regard to Ben's talk about telling other people what he does.
    Because the general public is brainwashed into accepting a 9-5 job with a basic title, people do not understand what you do if the answer is anything other than a single word (Teacher, engineer, sales, marketing, nurse, etc). It also seems that most 9-5'ers will look at anyone with a complicated job title (or no job title) and no set work hours as lazy or as a failure. Sometimes you get the worst: flat out thinking you are lying (I've got that look with ebay stuff and with my arcade/pinball hobby).

    Since I have been doing ebay and officially started it as a business entity, my mindset has changed so much! I love hearing about folks who have outside the norm jobs or sources of income. Keep these interviews with folks living their dream coming. They are great.

    So in closing, you GO Ben! Awesome work.

  40. I haven't counted the comments, but my feeling is we have about a 60/40 split in favor on whether or not the summer is off to a good start. All things being equal, I think online sales are going up. All business stats point to it unequivocally, so we should benefit.

    Though it means more competition, I think the increased traffic will benefit most online sellers in the coming years. I also think (again, all things being equal) we will get to a point where there are no real "slow months." My guess is the increased numbers, ease of transaction, and sheer ubiquity will make a dent in the retail cycle. Pure speculation, but sometimes it's fun to speculate.

    One more anecdotal bit: Every time I search for something (depending on the item of course), ebay seems to be higher and higher in the search results. I don't know if that is because google has lifted the gate, but if I'm not imagining things, that is a very good sign.

    BTW, I rarely use google to search. is a great search engine. It doesn't track you and can utilize google if it has to, so you're not giving up anything. It is also an option to use as an integrated search on almost all browsers. Worth checking out for sure.

    1. > we will get to a point where there are no real "slow months.

      There will always be slow months because it's all relative. 4th quarter is always going to be busiest due to holiday sales. Summer is always likely to be the slowest because people are outside/away and not thinking about shopping.

      While ecommerce is still growing the question will be whether eBay can continue to retain a sizeable share of that. Amazon has done very well at grabbing a lot of those sales.

  41. I just got back from the GW where they had a lot of nice brand name men's dress shirts. Usually I avoid bland shirts but they had so many I think I'm going to lot them. I bought about 20 and got to the register to see a buggy flowing over with men's shirts. The cashier said a lady with a flea market store just came thru and got them all. So I wondered if I got left with the junk she didn't want or if she simply didn't know these brands. Either way I know it's not going to be fun getting them ready to list but listing should go fast since their similar. I'm trying my hand at parting out an expensive coffee maker too. You can make more with parts than the machine sometimes.

    1. Retro Treasures WVJune 21, 2016 at 5:00 PM

      Parts are a great source of listing goods. One time I saw a canister vacuum at goodwill. As I was looking at it the worker came over and said there was something wrong with it because she used it to vacuum the store and it was making a burning smell. I said "keep the vacuum - I just want the hose".

      I sold the hose for $30. Good times.

      Another good part out I did was some high quality JBL floor speakers. One woofer was shot and the cabinets were junk, so I parted them out. I made over $150 parting out the components. Now I use the cabinets as saw horses.

      Parting out works awesome in many electronics and even board games.

    2. Yeah. I actually got the drive to try from pinchingpesos on YouTube. I just need to not let it sit around forever like I have a tendency to do. Analysis paralysis gets me sometimes.

    3. BTW brand name men's shirts always sell good on line. These thrifters usually grab the decent not necessarily the great of the best. Without knowing the details, usually this is the pattern.
      I cannot beat them bug I learned in my case they grab the popular of the top, not necessarily the finest, which would be the ones yielding the highest for us

    4. If your at the GW pay by pound and you don't mind putting in the work you can sell bland white,grey,blue dress shirts for $12-15 plus a few for shipping. Go for your standard name brands like Jos.A Bank, Brooks Brothers ect.. they will sell. Not sure what your GW charges but that's a .50cent purchase into a average $12 profit after fees.

    5. I've re-considered parting out my coffee maker. I can make good money on it without taking it apart because it works. I'm not comp sure if the noise it makes is right so I'm going to take a page from Stevens book and make a video on it so the buyer can hear and see what I do. Plus I checked my competition and their pics are not good. I also plan to print out the manual for them. Should bring in around 100 bucks. I don't drink coffee so I'm running water cycles.

      I can't bring myself to buy GW outlet clothing. It always smells like poo and I'd have to fight the Hispanic ladies for it. They will devour a new bin until its empty and then they go thru it to see what they have. It's the craziest thing to watch. My normal GW charges 1.50 for tees and 3.75 for other shirts. Jackets and pants are more. Lotting works well for me as there's a lot of brand saturation.

    6. Just to second Michael D. This is the bulk of my GW purchases: top designer brands first, rare/sought after items second, bland standard brands. My average profit is $20 though plus the effort.
      And to second Anne too. Using one of the many great moments of Jay's interview today, the ladies was one of the things burning me out on this venture and it got me a big relief when I realized that.

    7. stuff_my_mom_threw_awayJune 23, 2016 at 12:34 AM

      I love parting out stuff. There are always kitchen appliances or small electronics that no one wants at the auction. They don't want to take the chance on an item not working. I don't care if it works; I'm going to sell the cord, knobs, screws, etc. off the thing!

      I hate selling clothes. I almost never do it. It makes me cranky to list it, and it has a higher rate of return than other things. No thanks. I'll stick to accessories, shoes, and all the weird stuff that gets left behind at estate auctions.

    8. I'm going to part out our old refrigerator - compressor died, but shelves handles, etc are all fine.

  42. Happy birthday Jay and Ryanne! I haven't had much time to follow you lately, nor to do much at all on ebay. But have fun with going to some garage sales and thrifts with the grandchildren. My sales chart on GoDaddy/Outright looks like downhill steps ever since Jan this year. In Jan I sold almost $6K. Last month was $2.5K. Yet I am having family time these past couple of months that I can't get back after they leave, so I couldn't care less about ebay right now. Still able to list a little now and then. Was getting burned out. So I guess I will honor the burnout and enjoy life. Will try to fit in some travel later this year. Meanwhile am keeping around 1200 listings, so all is good. Loving having 8 people in the house, plus 2 cats and a yappy mini-dachsund grand dog.

  43. Total Items in Store: 6350
    Items Sold: 136
    Cost of Items Sold: $75
    Total Sales: $2218.05
    Highest Price Sold: $140 (2 Firefighter Helmets)
    Average Price Sold: $16.30
    Returns: 3
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $675
    Number of items listed this week: 158

    Didnt list a lot last week, took a four day weekend to catch up on some things around the house and took the kids out to the cabin for the rest of the weekend. More firefighter equipment selling which is good, we purchased a huge lot of it months ago and it has been slowly moving. Still selling a lot of winter clothes, several sweaters, turtlenecks and one ski jacket (shrug) wish some of the summer stuff we worked so hard to get listed back in April would move.

    Someone mentioned collectibles taking a dive and I definitely see that in our store. Last two weeks I think I have sold maybe 2-3 items that we consider collectible.

    Made a new inventory contact that wants us to start buying in bulk sometime next week. Not sure if we can handle the influx of inventory but I'm willing to try for awhile.

    1. Michael...being able to list 158 items in a week, seems like you would need extra hands for that. Have you taken the step of hiring others to help with your eBay business? Just curious how to get to those type of listing numbers.

    2. Retro Treasures WVJune 22, 2016 at 8:38 AM

      Listing 158 and shipping 136 buy yourself, and taking a 4 day weekend? Whoah! Oh and $75 cogs on 136 items?

      You are the superman of ebay sales! Please elaborate on your process. There has got to be an awesome story here.

    3. I should record a conversation with Michael if he would be up for it. Without telling his story too much here, he has a couple employees and a warehouse space. He's partnered with several non-profits who feed him inventory to list and they split the profit. He also buys on his own as well.

      But he's a good example of really setting up a pipeline.

    4. Michael--please let Jay interview you! It sounds like you have a fascinating story to tell.

    5. It would be interesting to hear how the numbers work for Michael, because even if you're grossing 150K a year, that seems like a lot of overhead (employees, warehouse, etc.). I'm thinking about one employee and I can't make the numbers work if I want to give them a decent income.

    6. Yes, absolutely no way I would do this by myself. Ebay is actually my secondary market with Amazon being my primary. I have a part time and full time employee that helps. One is a family friend and the other is family, I pay them what I can and they have other sources of income so it works out.

      Considering hiring another full time employee (not a friend or family) because I don't have death piles I have death mountains.

      I would be up for an interview or face to face if Jay wants to meet up, planning a week trip in August to Luray.

  44. What the hell eBay? I checked on several of my listings since I'm having such a slow week and I noticed there's this ugly ass peach brown border around my pics put there by eBay. It makes my pictures look bad and less desirable. Can you opt out of eBay's "help". And it's on different types of items, a mug, nib vintage NASCAR item, a puzzle, etc.. I like my white background but now it's all goofed up.

    1. Can you give a link of an example of this? I checked all mine and I don't see something like that.

    2. For some reason when paste an item link and clink in it the border goes to white which looks way better. So I can't really link you. Just type in any word on EBay and scroll. You'll see those dark side or top borders. I think eBay's trying to match the background color. It's not to bad on small items but on box items it looks tacky.i hate it and it has to be part of my bad sales only because usually my pictures are what makes people buy mine over others and this makes my pics look awful.

    3. Weird. Mine just have white to fill in the box that the picture doesn't. There must be a way to tweek pics so that ebay doesn't do that.

    4. We had ebay do that with a few of our listings as well last year.
      I had to call ebay and tell them to op me out of their program and to never do that to my listings again.Since then I have never had another listing messed with.

    5. I think if you set your pictures to a 1:1 ratio pixel size you take up all of the space allotted. There would be no room for any kind of borders.

    6. Fred, how would I do that? Is that an eBay setting or on my phone or editing software. I do have access to an old Photoshop cs3 program.

    7. Anon, If you use an iphone to take your pictures, just use the "square" option, then take your will give you a 1 to 1 ratio, perfect for ebay Gallery photo.

    8. I guess my problem is I crop my photo later because it just looks better. I can't get that close to some objects without it being blurry or losing details. Hmmm. Not sure what to do.

    9. Retro Treasures WVJune 23, 2016 at 8:41 AM

      Any decent photo editor on your computer should have a square crop option.

  45. For Ben and Jay: I was born in Brazil, lived there for 40 years. My 30 y.o. daughter decided to go work and live there.
    I would be more than happy if any of you would like insight information (topics mentioned are language of Brazil compared to the "hispanic" countries, non residents buying land, cost of living - this is one important misconception, current political, social and economic turmoil, etc).
    Even though difficult, I promise to try my best to be as neutral as possible.

    1. We used to holiday in Belize and there are similar hoops to jump through when buying properties. There's a large Canadian/American ex-pat community there so that helps.

  46. debtruervalues

    Hi Paulo- What cities do you think are the most desirable travel destinations?

    1. Hello Deb ;-)
      What is your preference? Brazil is larger than continental US with deeper differences than US. Each state is more than different than the other than many hispanic countries for example.
      Also, from city to city, you will find tremendously different food and costumes.

      So you prefer stereotype Beach Brazil, Switzerland/Germany European Brazil, Eastern European Brazil, etc?

  47. deb again....

    Also, can you thrift there? are there flea markets, estate sales, etc?

    1. This is a great question and I would need a looooong response.
      Trying to be brief: US and Brazil are like two different Planets.
      With the exception of MacDonalds and relatives, nothing is alike (imagine things that are even difficult to comment like Homecoming, Prom, Middle School locker, and go to thrift, flea market, these things do not exist).

      Starting there, the second hand or long tail culture does not exist and is seen very differently.

      Also remember the social pyramid that is much worse than Trump's wall to separate things in Brazil.

      As a tourist you will be able to find a similar to Thrift Stores (they are called BRECHÓs, only for clothing), usually the prices are above and beyond imagination, even more they have been discovered by classes A and B with the rare Christian Loboutin and similars.
      There were magnificent second hand book shops (they are called SEBOs), however they are difficult to find and only on more culturally cosmopolitan cities like São Paulo that you would never go as tourist.

      However there are the "open fairs" (FEIRINHAS) in many of the capitals and tourist cities where you find a mix of traditional, folklore, handcrafts and thrift as well. They are usually more on the cultural side though.

      I would recommend to go targeting something, otherwise is even difficult to explain scavenging, picking, thrift, flea markets (they will take you to a BRECHÓ and you will get frustrated)

  48. Got an email from a company wanting to import my eBay listings over to amazon - Anyone have any experience with them or another service that does this?

    1. I am not familiar with them, however there are seller review sites that seems to be mixed experiences:

      But in my search I also found this, and article written by an ExportYourStore programmer that actually shows how to do it on your own if you're comfortable with .csv files from your Inventory page or TurboLister:

      Best I can tell is that what ExportYourStore offers is turn key for people not comfortable with the download/upload process on their own.

  49. Just got a deal alert from slickdeals - eBay Valet is offering a free order using the code: VALETSUMMER. I tried eBay Valet once last year. Process was slow, but it all worked out okay (sold an iPhone). Here's the link - Slickdeals

  50. I haven't found a CPA yet and am not paying quarterly taxes. My question is how much can I expect to be taxed on my net income (after eBay, Paypal, cost of goods, and shipping). Is it simply this table
    If I make more than 10,000 a year I will be taxed 15% of my net? Or, would it be typically less than 15% after my CPA does some magic? I just want to estimate how much I am really earning.

    1. Sonia
      you can also deduct mileage, if you kept track of miles traveled for scavenging purposes. For us rural scavengers, that's a big deal. And if there is an area of your home that is used exclusively for your business, I think you can deduct that as an expense as well. Also shipping supplies. Other than that, yes, I think it's basically the tax brackets table. Check out the schedule C form online to get a better idea of what can be deducted.

    2. After your business expenses, you get to pay your Self Employment/Medicare taxes (about 15%) Then, you take all your Personal/Mortgage/IRA deductions. After that, you look at the tax table to see how much more you owe, if anything.

  51. Hi Jay and Ryanne - Here is a Clark Howard post about a guy who uses Vanguard and the 4% rule like the gentleman you interviewed. He is 33 and basically retired looks like.

    Here’s what one man did to retire at age 33, and how you can apply these tips to your budget:

    Vince from ThingsWonky - CashFromClosets

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. What sold last week: Sold 13 items
    Highest: 20$ for 3M Chess game. Really low avg this week: $15.14

  54. Awesome interview, Ben - you have some incredible stuff in your store and I love your store name! As someone who lives in the Midwest there is such a mystique around New Orleans and voodoo all seems so exciting and interesting. Like you said, the people there (from an outsiders POV) seem like they would be very interesting/eclectic characters with really neat stuff.

    I love what you guys touch on here about burn-out. Like Ben, I have other work that I also rely on for my income and the eBay is more of a part time gig. As a solo seller, I too go in spurts. There are months when I really get the bug and I photograph and list 100+ items, and then I go in auto-pilot for a few months before hitting it hard again.

    I want to make sure that this "job" stays fun and interesting. I've learned to start to say no to items that bore me to death even if I can make $15 off of them. I'm trying to really find stuff that I like and enjoy - still not specializing, but just being a bit more selective.

    Thanks for all you guys do, and let me know if you ever want to come visit Fargo, ND...I know a guy!

    Adam - The Mysterious Caravan