02/13/2017 at 11:37 am #12402
We have always been frugal people. Maybe we learned it from our parents, but I think it has more to do with being offended by inefficiency and waste.
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 297: Being Frugal vs Running A Business]
02/13/2017 at 12:09 pm #12407
Store Week 2/5/17 – 2/11/17
Total items in store: 1031
Items sold: 15
Cost of items sold: $17.10
Total sales: $801.03
Highest price sold: $250.00 (Game Commission patch)
Average price sold: $53.40
International Sales: 2
Money spent on new inventory this week: $66.50
Another great week …I’m loving this! It’s hard to believe I sold a 50 cent patch for $250! After the guy bought it, he questioned its authenticity, so I was nervous. Luckily I found a website online to show how to tell if they are original or not, and it was the real deal. ( I hadn’t even considered that it might be a replica before that.)
As for the return I had, it was a Pendleton wool shirt. The guy said that the measurements didn’t match, so I double checked when I got it back, and they were, in fact, wrong. I figured I just goofed up since the shirt looked fine, so I refunded him. But then when I went to relist it, I realized that the tag with the care instructions on it is now totally blank. In my original photos it had clear, dark lettering. So I’m thinking he obviously laundered it and probably shrank it. I called eBay and they refunded me the total amount. They said he will also get to keep his refund. I was quite impressed with their customer service!
02/13/2017 at 12:15 pm #12408
I cannot wait to listen to this podcast (tonight after my kids are all asleep!). That’s when I get to list…
Here are my weekly numbers:
February 5-11, 2017
Total Items in Store: 731
Items Sold: 11
Cost of Items Sold: $9.91
Total Sales: $223.49
Total Profit: $141.66
Highest Price Sold: $35.58 (vintage SAWZLL Tool Box)
Average Price Sold: $20.31
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $80.35
A very slow week for me – I had a 3 day lull where nothing sold – that is a bit unusual for me. Hope this weeks picks up – I have a lot of inventory to get going with.
02/13/2017 at 12:38 pm #12413
- Location: South Texas
Total items in store:963
Cost of items sold:$8.00
Total sales: $121.08
Highest priced item sold: Tiki owl wall decorations $19.00
Average price of items sold: $13.45
Money Spent on new inventory: $15.00
I was looking forward to a church rummage sale this weekend. I was disappointed, everything really overpriced even a broken 1960″s alarm clock they wanted $4.00. Picked up some books . Here in Mcallen Tx it’s getting tougher then tough to find good deals. Even the yard sales run very tough sales really surprising (considering this a poor economic area). Lots of people who run periodic yard sales so they are not that anxious to sell at a low price. I think Southern California was an easier place to source because you do find people who just want to get rid of their stuff.
02/13/2017 at 1:44 pm #12419
I find that around here in the NYC burbs also… there are some very savvy yard sellers that have on each month so nothing is super cheap. But also, there’s just so much volume that you can certainly find bargains if you put in a little effort & are patient.
02/13/2017 at 12:57 pm #12415
Store Week 2/5/17 – 2/11/17
Total items in store: 744
Items sold: 11
Cost of items sold: $68
Total sales: $468.45
Highest price sold: $135 (Sony D-88 Discman for parts)
Average price sold: $42.59
International Sales: 3
Money spent on new inventory this week: $81
New listings: 23
Pleased with the week especially keeping COGS down at around 15% – not as good as others on the blog, but anything below 20% works for me since I usually have to pay more in sourcing in the greater NYC area. The Discman was a great sale ($5 COGS) and also a Star Wars toy for $120 ($40 COGS) really drove my week.
The return was my first record ever returned because of not being able to play it. The buyer was pretty upset to start, but when I offered Hassle Free returns and sent him the prepaid label, he was very grateful and reasonable.
In other big news, for the shipping nerds out there, I got positive feedback from that lot of phonograph records “Exceptional Packing – great product – Thank You!” that I was worried about. The lot sold for $500 (for $20 COGS), so I insured the box that weighed nearly 20lbs. I wrapped the records in stacks of 10 in thick bubble wrap, stood them on end and lined them up instead of stacking on top of each other, then put air pillows in all of the creases/corners, then a generous amount of packing peanuts for padding. All worked out great!
02/13/2017 at 6:59 pm #12462
I’m glad your big shipment made it safe! Always nice to see great shipping stories.
02/13/2017 at 1:02 pm #12416
Regarding the Shipping Supplies coupon issue– The full amount will show up in PayPal as a purchase, but only the few dollars over the coupon amount is actually taken from your account. It’s odd, but it is known. I believe Griff explained it on eBay radio a few weeks ago.
In other words, if you use your $50 coupon and the total is $53, you will see a “charge” for $53 on your PayPal even though you only actually paid $3. It’s not a glitch; It’s just the way it is. Hope that’s helpful!
02/13/2017 at 1:49 pm #12421
- Location: South Central Kansas
Agree with you Ryanne on other sellers asking you to list for them on ebay. For the same reason I do not like to to tell others I meet or know I sell on ebay. I usually am asked to put a few things on. I have one older guy that has a resell furniture store that said he did not want to do ebay , it was work, but would I list his furniture. No.I look at it as why would I go through all the work to help you make money when I have my own merchandise to list and pack. You have to kind of look at the circumstance when to if ever let others know we are ebay sellers. I have one person that only sets up at Flea Mkts .When she comes back from Roundtop Mkt sale in Texas her left overs she has a big sale and makes all of us other dealers /sellers deals . I have a estate sale owner that he says he marks his items so the ebayers will buy to resell. He follows our ebay stores and is excited for us when we make a profit . There is another estate sale firm that they wont make deals with ones who they think may resell. Others if they know you resell try to get you to buy everything on Saturday afternoon so they don’t have to get rid of it all. So it depends. Have a good week
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by kellysprague.
02/13/2017 at 1:53 pm #12424
Feb 5 – 11
Items/listings in store 1525/1383
COGS $21.09 for items, $85.60 free shipping = $ 106.69 (I offer free shipping on 99% of my items)
Highest Price Sold: $58.30 shipped Burberry’s Navy Blue Pinstripe suit – 6.95 COGS
Lowest Price Sold $12.00 (4 pack of Airwick Oils– cogs 0, shipping 6.30, packaging .25, fees $1.48 = $8.03, profit =3.97)
Average price Per Sale $22.37
Intl – 1 (Puerto Rico?)
Returns – ? The Burberry suit above the cx asked how to do a return but did not initiate – for size of pants
$ spent On New Merch –$65
Listed New 50 Items
Return rate 1.20% overall / 1.92 clothing
A bit of improvement over last week so moving in the right direction. Would like to get my sales per week to $500. The Burberry’s suit may be coming back but so far no actual return request…… we will see. Sold the LAST of my Airwicks Oils RA. Glad to be rid of them. The only RA item I have bought that was a ‘good’ flip was some Walmart clearance fly fishing line. Bought for $2 per box and sold for an average of $16 per box and they ship out at 4 oz. Still have a few but barely look for RA any more. Been trying to list as much as I can with still working my main jobs 55+ hours (total) per week. Can’t wait till the slow down in May to really start listing ‘full time’. I am making a big dent in the death plies and want them finished once and for all.
02/13/2017 at 2:05 pm #12425
Total Items in Store: 350
Items Sold: 24
Total Sales: $451.86
Average Price Sold: $18.82
$$ spent on New Inventory: $245.84
Items Listed this week: 82
Best week listing so far. I’m working to build the inventory so when things slow down I’ll still do ok. All I’m really focused on for now is listing and keeping the wheel spinning. I’m spending a lot on inventory to build it up.
Occasionally I run and auction and I seem to get a high number of non-payers that way. I’ll have to keep track in the future so I can report some numbers.
02/13/2017 at 2:09 pm #12426
Beverly – Far Out and FabulousParticipant
- Location: Edgewood, WA
What the heck … ??? SOLD for US $6,048.25
02/13/2017 at 2:13 pm #12427
Click on the 2 sold… sale price was actually $7.94 (which is still high, but not as ridiculous). I bet the seller is updating the listing and just put a ridic price on so they don’t sell during the update.
02/13/2017 at 5:03 pm #12457
Beverly – Far Out and FabulousParticipant
- Location: Edgewood, WA
Thanks, didn’t notice that.
02/13/2017 at 2:57 pm #12432
I list on the an iPhone 6+ but the Gallery box has never been checked. Perhaps an app reboot might fix that.
02/13/2017 at 3:27 pm #12438
Man I am glad Ryanne was able to bail Jay out on the hilarious scavenging story. It was wading WAAAYYYY into creeper territory the way Jay was telling it. Lol!
You guys crack me up every week. I love that even after all these years of selling you still thoroughly enjoy what you do.
02/13/2017 at 3:31 pm #12440
trust me, i forget important details to stories all the time. jay is usually like ‘what are you even talking about? your details are all out of order’
02/13/2017 at 3:27 pm #12439
Slow week for me. I actually had two days with nothing to ship.
My numbers for Feb. 5-11
Total items in store- 685
Items sold- 9
Total sales- $93.71
Highest price item- Bombay Company Cribbage Board $36
Money spent on new inventory- $21.38
Number of items listed this week- 15
I didn’t get nearly as much listed this week as usual. My 93 year old dad was keeping me occupied, but that’s what’s great about EBay. If life gets busy, you can ignore it for a bit. I did try the Goodwill outlet for the first time. I still haven’t decided if it’s worth the drive to get there vs. prices. That being said, two of the things I found sold right away and more than paid for the trip.
My thoughts on frugality for what they are worth. I am a conundrum in that I like to spend money, but since I retired I don’t have much to spend. EBay allows me to feed my inner shopper and supplement my income. I also have found since I started this in earnest I won’t spend full price on most things, knowing that if I’m patient and look around I can find it at a better price. Early retirement (in my case anyway) forces frugality upon you. I knew things would be tight, but I needed the time to take care of my dad and husband. It also gets to be my ‘thing’ which anyone in a caregiving role will tell you is really important. I can honestly say we have nicer stuff around the house now than we did when I was working and for a fraction of the cost.
02/13/2017 at 3:38 pm #12441
Total Items in Store: 596
Items Sold: 8
Cost of Items Sold: $19
Total Sales: $221
Highest Price Sold: $75 Johnston & Murphy Golf cleats
Average Price Sold: $27.64
Average Profit: $25.25
FBA items sold: 9
Total FBA sales: $138.38
FBA COGS: $18.20
FBA Fees: $66.05
FBA Profit: $54.13
FBA Average profit: $6.01
Still not listing, but I am getting ready to hit the listing wagon hard here soon. I am still waiting on my photo box for shoes and smalls, and I’ve also ordered a photography backdrop/lighting kit for larges and clothing. A couple weeks ago I got two mannequins for free from a mall store that shut down. We’re going to try mannequin photography for all of our clothes. With two mannequins and two people, we’re hoping we can crank through a lot of items very quickly for the photographing portion. On person can be photographing while the other strips and dresses the next mannequin.
Another reason we wanted to photography backdrop/lighting kit was so we could start taking professional photos of our family ourselves.
I also had a great scavenging weekend. It was our daughters ten year old birthday, so we took her to Columbus for the weekend. There is a nice Holiday Inn Express there with a really awesome indoor pool that is basically a small waterpark. MUCH cheaper than Great Wolf Lodge. Since we were going, I decided to go ahead and make this my OFFICIAL first travel scavenging trip. I logged all the miles and hotel costs for deduction, but not meals. In total I bought $400 worth of merch and I shopped each day. It filled 6 totes when I got back home.
02/13/2017 at 3:44 pm #12442
Jay ‘gallery plus’ is never already checked in my listing forms. I list on my mac. I never have to uncheck any of the extras you have to pay for like gallery plus or BOLD. Is it because you are listing on your phone?
02/13/2017 at 3:46 pm #12443
Nope, I list on my Macbook Pro. I use the Chrome browser. Happens to our helper as well who using the same configuration.
02/13/2017 at 3:50 pm #12446
Ditto for me… MBP & Chrome and sometimes it’s checked. I usually notice when I get to the bottom and it says “Estimated fees: $1.00” or something… then I have to go back and figure out what’s checked.
02/13/2017 at 3:46 pm #12444
but we start our listings on the computer, my helper said that when she made the drafts it was just automatically clicking it. the real issue is that even when you unclick it, the fees are still there. so there is no way to list without getting charged the fee on certain categories. it’s so annoying.
02/13/2017 at 4:11 pm #12449
anyone else having this Gallery Plus issue (that even when you uncheck the box, it still charges you), please call ebay and report it. i called just now and they said a lot of people have called in. so the more, the better. they need to know it’s a big issue.
02/13/2017 at 4:59 pm #12456
Sales for 2/6-2/12
Items Listed: 172/116/10
Items sold: 3/0/0
Total (less shipping): $62.47/$0/$0
Top Sale: $37.49 + shipping Vtg Eagle gooseneck lamp ($6.41 COGS)
Net Profit: $50.16/$0/$0
New listings: 2/3/0
Spent on new inventory: $46.00 (Thrift + 1-RA from Lowe’s)
I’m happy with the sales this week compared to the new listings volume. I also got positive feedback on the watch so I’m happy to have that transaction complete and a happy customer. I have started running auctions on some of my lower value to keep the store active and as an attempt to move out some of those small items as I get ready to start listing higher dollar items in the next few weeks. Not much luck on the auctions, but my sales do seem to be more frequent and I’ve even had 2 already today (I am happy with 2 a week so 2 in one day is a nice treat). I’ll probably keep running them to make it look like I am consistently listing until we are done with the house which should be in the next month (I feel like I say that every month though).
We have a massive pile of scrap lumber in our yard right now….along with piles of extra lumber. I’m building my entire storage shelving out of the extra lumber, but my husband doesn’t want to use any of the scrap for the wood stove so we have been giving it away to those who are less picky than he is. We knocked down a good number of trees to build so we have a lot of firewood anyway.
02/15/2017 at 12:04 am #12596
Yes! I had the same issue Ryanne. I would uncheck that Gallery Plus checkbox but the $1.00 fee remained at the bottom of the listing screen. I tried saving and refreshing the draft and the checkbox would be checked again. I ended up unchecking, listing and getting charged the $1. I called and got it reversed but I don’t think the eBay C.S rep believed me when I tried to explain the problem. Super frustrating. Ending and relisting / sell-similar didn’t fix the issue. I’ll have to recreate the listing from scratch and rephotograph the item.
02/13/2017 at 4:53 pm #12454
- Location: Pennsylvania
Total items in store: 310
Items sold: 13
Cost of items sold: $6.00
Total sales: $241.53
Highest price sold: $$45.00 – Corningware Percolator
Average price sold: $18.58
International Sales: 2
Money spent on new inventory this week: $22.51
New Listings: 27
I really enjoyed hearing you guys talk about your auction experiences. I am one of those working full-time with kids, so it always takes coordination to get out to one. And I am, quite frankly, intimidated by the experience. So I enjoyed hearing you talk about your experiences, it sort of helps gird me for getting out to more of them.
Curiously, 2 days after I sold the percolator I received an email from Ebay saying my listing was canceled. This didn’t affect the sale, but now I can’t give or I assume receive feedback. The percolator I sold was not a recalled item, but because these Corningware percolators have had a bunch of recalls, they are apparently not allowed to be sold on Ebay.
02/13/2017 at 4:57 pm #12455
- Location: Southern California
Total Items in Store: 319
Items Sold: 6
Cost of Items Sold: $3 (used) + $53 (new RA)
Total Sales: $187
Highest Price Sold: $48 (Anthropologie pajama pants)
Average Price Sold: $31
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $20 week 7 of the no scavenge challenge – oops.
Number of items listed this week: +/-15
An ok week of sales for February. I spent some time doing sell similar on some high view listings and other maintenance. Suzanne A. Wells came out with a video on Youtube reminding us all that we are not allowed to use stock photos without permission. She used – of course – Anthropologie as an example. Between her calling attention to this and noticing that Anthro has recently made it harder to locate photos of discontinued items, I decided to modify some recent listings since I had relaxed this. I also got in a good listing day (for me) Sunday and started listing some cool old stuff from the piles – Quimper, Georges Briard.
Feeling a wee bit guilty because I’ve stayed out of the thrift stores but did hit a church sale on Saturday. I was very selective and out of there in 20 minutes. I saw people in line to pay before I checked out and though to myself “those are probably the best pickers in here.” Also, I passed on items I knew I could make money on – like a big box of Teddy Ruxpin stuff – because I know I can’t process everything and want to limit new acquisitions to what I am personally excited about. I feel like I have graduated to the next level of picking and Ebay selling.
Regarding the topic at hand, we don’t fit any of those categories exactly. Mainly having kids, living in a very, very expensive city in a high tax state, and going big on retirement eliminates the need to ponder how to invest our extra cash. 🙂 However, we have worked the housing market and moved up a couple times. We are more frugal than our peers when it comes to cars, wine, meals, etc. but we do spend on good reno and semi-annual vacations. Our furniture is high end used. I used to use paper coupon too before Ebay, but there is a trade off between time vs. savings.
It was fun to hear about your scavenging weekend since I’ve been (mostly) good. I think location is your sourcing challenge and it makes sense to housesit, exchange airbnbs, or even rent on a Friday night. I’m pleased you were able to get away and do that already with all that’s going on. Quick thank you to Brian @ Grandma’s Treasures, Eve, Beth, Steve and everyone else who shares interesting retro sales. I miss Sheldon. Have a great week everyone.
02/13/2017 at 9:46 pm #12468
Does anyone know what happened to Sheldon??? I miss him, too!
02/13/2017 at 10:17 pm #12473
I mentioned that last week as well. He had said in his last few videos that he was recovering from a bad illness. I hope he didn’t quit the videos because of his health. Another thing he mentioned was that he was busy with other businesses he has, so I hope that is the problem.
02/14/2017 at 3:11 pm #12552
I missed that. So sorry about his health problems. Hopefully he will return. His videos are just wonderful–great artistry and warmth vs the usual youtube fare.
02/13/2017 at 5:17 pm #12458
The week was OK for me, $480—about half of what I sold last week. I had a $100 return on a piece of jewelry, the main complaint seems to be that she can’t make any money on it (she is also a seller) LOL, I take returns period, she made a molehill out of a minor flaw (the stone was a little loose in its bezel.) Whatever, I am slightly astonished because I try to price at retail, and I honestly wouldn’t have picked that particular item to resell if I saw it in someone else’s store.
02/13/2017 at 6:27 pm #12460
RR Store Week February 5-11, 2017
Total Items in Store: 1147
Items Sold: 15
Cost of Items Sold: $20.97
Total Sales: $369.88
Highest Price Sold: $50 x 2 (Prince club flyers/50s dress)
Average Price Sold: $24.66
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $43
Number of items listed this week: 21 new/54 sell similar
Not a good week. The truth is, I’ve been using health issues as an excuse to slack off, and this is the result. My health care doesn’t kick in until next month, but I can’t live on $350 dollar weeks. Gotta push through and do the work, period.
After filing a formal complaint with the USPS, my local post office called and assured me they would not skip my packaged any more. They even followed up a few days later! I didn’t expect that. And so far, so good. I hope to have my Top Rated Seller status back next month. I never would have thought to contact the national USPS help line to resolve an issue with my local post office, but someone on here suggested it. Whoever it was, thank you!
02/13/2017 at 8:12 pm #12463
We don’t have our gallery plus auto checked.
02/13/2017 at 8:41 pm #12465
Feb 5-11 2017
• Total Items in Store: 712
• Items Sold: 17 eBay 3 Bonanza ($150)
• International 0
• Total Sales $900
• Highest Price $140 Hansa Branta parka
• Average Price Sold: $45
• Returns: 0
• Cost of Items Sold: $30
• Cost of items purchased this week $40
It seems like the best time for a vacation, a move or anything else that would interrupt your normal eBay operation is in the winter. Sales come in even with very little or no listing going on. It’s in the summer when you need to be listing new stuff constantly to keep the pipeline flowing.
I would live frugally even with a million dollars in the bank.
When I go to the Union Gospel mission to thrift they always have a rack of free bread items donated by a local grocery store bakery, I’ve asked and have been told it’s for anyone, they get way to much and end up throwing out a bunch of it. I alway take the whole grain stuff, seems it’s not very popular. Today there were at least 15 dozen farm fresh eggs as well.
02/13/2017 at 9:58 pm #12469
Feb 5-Feb 11 2017
Total items in store: Etsy 324 // Ebay 141
Items Sold: Etsy 5 // Ebay 6
Cost of items Sold: Etsy $20.88 // Ebay $41.48
Total Sales: Etsy $69.25 // Ebay $172.94
Highest Price Sold: Red Wing Boots $55
Average Price Sold: $22.02
Number of items listed this week: 32
Progress is slow but steady. 🙂 I am going to work on cleaning more shoes tonight while watching Cake Boss.
02/13/2017 at 10:08 pm #12470
Week of Feb 5 – 11
* Total Items in Store: 642
* Items Sold: 12
* Cost of Items Sold: $17.76 + ~$46 Commission
* Total Sales: $130.00
* Highest Price Sold: $28 Sugar & Creamer
* Average Price Sold: $10.83
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $240 – ouch
* Number of items listed this week: 22
I sold about the same amount of items the previous week, but this week I was only selling low price stuff. I could complain (and I always reserve the right to do so), but this week has started out with a very large bang (sold 9 items Sun & Mon with decent prices). Sounds like a number of people are having a slow week. I wonder if sales picked up on Sunday for them as well? Perhaps I’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
The money I spent on new inventory was quite high for me – my largest purchase was $124ish for a Karastan wool rug in good condition, similar in size to the one Ryanne mentioned. I also bought some smaller wool rugs. These will not be the first things I list because I will want to clean them all first.
I’m currently working on some clothes my dad gave me a month ago. He lost a good bit of weight over the past year and seems to be keeping it off, so he cleaned out his closets.
02/13/2017 at 10:13 pm #12472
I should mention that I usually start with “sell similar”, and I don’t automatically have the gallery plus selected. The only time that happens is when I start with a listing where it doesn’t cost anything, but I change the category in the new listing to one that charges for it. I always catch it except I think once.
02/13/2017 at 11:27 pm #12476
I’ve had the same problem with Gallery Plus this week on some (not all) items. Totally annoying! To get around it, I saved it as a draft and then completed it on my phone, and it didn’t charge $1.00. I thought it was something to do with my computer, which has been trouble lately. Glad to know I’m not crazy.
02/14/2017 at 1:57 am #12481
Stuff My Mom Threw AwayParticipant
- Location: South Texas
Week of Feb 5 – 11
* Total Items in Store: 331
* Items Sold: 33
* Cost of Items Sold: about $49
* Total Sales: $523.32
* Highest Price Sold: $70 (pair of vintage paint-by-numbers)
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: 0
* Number of items listed this week: ?
This was a good week for me. COGS is less than 10% of gross. Lots of book sales. My store numbers are not increasing because I am just barely keeping up with listing. Since books are selling, I’m listing those as fast as I can, and they are selling just as fast as I can get them up. I am still experimenting with auctions, since I have the free listings. I don’t have a way to run a true experiment, but gut feeling is, unless you have a super rare item that is in high demand, auctions are really only useful for quickly clearing out old merchandise. I am basically using the free auction listings as a “clearance section”.
02/14/2017 at 6:34 am #12487
I have about 5 items on auction right now and they are all round 2 on the auction. I had one item sell last round, but it ended up being a non-payer. Apparently, I can’t give this stuff away on eBay so if it is still around in the Spring, it will be going towards a tax deduction.
02/14/2017 at 9:42 am #12507
stuff my mom, What kinds of books are selling well for you? I’ve got tons to list….
02/14/2017 at 2:37 pm #12546
Stuff My Mom Threw AwayParticipant
- Location: South Texas
Right now, vintage and antique books are selling for me. A lot of mine have been 1st editions, but they were all in really rough shape, (they’d been sitting in a barn for years and years). I bought about 100 Victorian-era books for $5, and have sold 30 so far, (and then lugged the unsellable ones to the used book store, and got $13 back for them, ha ha!).
02/14/2017 at 6:30 pm #12583
Thanks! I really should get more books listed!
02/14/2017 at 9:29 am #12504
Hello all: For those of you who enjoy Ryanne and Jay’s podcast and who also watch the Craigslist Hunter videos I thought I would pass along the seminar the Craigslist Hunter and other resellers are promoting The Reseller Rally Chicago. Check out https://www.resellerrally.com/ for more information on this upcoming event.
02/14/2017 at 10:42 am #12510
My numbers for the week of 2/5/17:
Total Items in Store: 102
Items Sold: 11 (1 Auction + 10 BIN)
Cost of Items Sold: $51
Total Sales: $390 + shipping
Highest Price Sold: $74.99 YuGiOh Launcher
Average Price Sold: $35.45
I have a small store. As I look at everyone’s numbers, it is hard not to compare myself. I know we all have different ways of doing things, different things we sell and ways of selling. Still, it surprises me to see so many sellers with hundreds of listings, even up towards a thousand or more, report that they had 20 or less sales this week. So, not much more sales than my 100 listings produced. This makes me nervous. I’m a planner. When I set my goals, I feel like if I do double the listings, it will produce nearly double the income. Looking at everyone’s numbers, that seems highly unlikely. I remember you guys did a podcast on the Law of Diminishing Returns. But I remember not really understanding the concept when I listened to it. (I should go back again and re-listen.) I can understand a saturation point of a specific item, like there are more used Women’s size 8 Converse shoes than there are people looking to buy them. But I’m not understanding how that relates to a store full of individual one-off items. That I PERSONALLY would notice a dip in selling those used Converse shoes because I have X number of shoes listed (for an example). I realize it’s a real thing. If anyone can help me understand the concept better, and when you noticed it’s effects, I’d appreciate hearing from you.
Stuff my Mom Threw Away: I love Auctions…though I don’t do near as many as I used to. No proof, but it seems very clear to me that when I have hot auctions going, it bumps up my visibility as a whole and I sell a bunch of BIN item as well. I would advise not using them as Clearance. Those “not in demand” type items need a specific buyer to come along and buy them…that’s why you can’t give them away at auction. Better to use auctions for “sure things”. For me, it is rare that they end at a disappointing end price. And even if they go a few bucks lower than the average going rate, the bump it seems to give my BIN items makes it totally worth it.
02/14/2017 at 11:46 am #12516
Beth, the law of diminishing returns simply states that each incremental dollar you invest (in supplies, inventory, stocks, bonds, etc) will have less marginal value that the previous. For example, you spend $1 on a pair of shoes for your first item ever in your store. That first pair might net you a $50 sale (50x ROI). So you buy 2 more pairs of shoes for $1 each ($2 invested) but you sell them for $80 total (40x ROI). You’re still making more money overall ($80 vs $50), but the incremental $1 spent only netted you an extra $30. When you have $1000 invested in items for your store, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll still get that original 50x ROI as your first $1 invested. It a curve that is very steep to start and then flattens out.
Here are some resources to read – it’s not an easy concept to understand, but it is very common in almost all areas of business:
02/14/2017 at 1:49 pm #12534
Brian, I read through the links. Every one of them explained Diminishing Returns in the context of production. That is logical and makes sense to me. I’m having a hard time seeing where this would apply in the world of re-selling. We don’t manufacture any product, so the only thing we are really “producing” is adds for sale. How would the Law of Diminishing Returns apply? If I triple my inventory, we are talking another couple of shelves in the basement, some extra bubble wrap, the fees paid for a store upgrade, minor expenses. It does not seem that this Law would apply (for any of us) until the point of paying for outside storage, hiring an employee, or other huge investments in the business (things that Jay & Ryanne are currently in the midst of, but too far out for me to even consider in my equation).
So I’m wondering, not including big business investments as mentioned above, what are everyone’s experiences as far as increasing inventory vs decreasing sell through? Have you felt what you believe to be Diminishing Returns as your inventory increased? At what point? I’m not sure I buy the connection. I feel that it has to do more with a saturated market and a changing platform. I definitely believe that if I went back to 3-day auctions with less than 50 active items, I would not have the same results today as I had 7 years ago. No way. But I can’t blame my increase in inventory for that. Not seeing the logic in it. PS – My career before having kids was as a Purchasing Agent in a manufacturing environment.
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by BethGreen.
02/14/2017 at 2:01 pm #12538
I agree its all about saturation. There’s just a lot more people selling items online than 2, 3, 5, 10 years ago. But there’s also more people buying online. There’s only so many collectors of weird items. That’s why “long tail” items take a long time to sell.
We spoke about it on this podcast: http://www.scavengerlife.com/2016/12/scavenger-life-episode-288-war-attrition-will-not-grind-us.html
We like money so we list a lot.
02/14/2017 at 2:22 pm #12543
Beth, I guess we would replace “production” with “sourcing” in many of our cases. No matter what, when you increase inventory whether you produce it yourself or buy it from elsewhere your sales will go up – no doubt there. It’s just that the rate at which it increases is not linear, it’s a curve.
One of the reasons for this is because as your base store/inventory increases, the marginal return percentage is less as compared to the base. If your sales base is $100 and you increase by $50, you’ve increased your return marginally by 50%. But now to get that same 50% increase, you actually need an incremental $75, which is the difficult part. You get another sale of $50 and it’s only a 33% increase on the $150 base. In order to keep the marginal return at the same level, you need to sell more and/or higher dollar items – not the same things at the same rate, and there is where the curve comes in to play.
Your head hurt? Mine does.
02/14/2017 at 11:47 am #12517
I did $3k in a month with a running inventory of 70-80 items back when I started. I was unemployed and had LOTS of free time and pretty much every waking minute was packing, listing, shipping, and researching. I thoroughly researched every single item to guarantee a sale. I scavenged every day obsessively looking for the perfect items to sell. My goal was to sell within 30 days. Also it was summer so we weren’t homeschooling the kids. I did all that before I ever found Scavenger life – just figured it out as I went.
Now I have a 600 item running inventory balance and I am doing 1500-2000 a month. I haven’t listed in over a month, and I only ship 2-3 times a week. I have a full time job, an additional child I didn’t have then (we have 4 kids all 10 & under), and school is in session. I adjusted the items I sell to slow dime, which lets me make more money with drastically less work. I have honed my scavenging skill to the point I can go through a thrift store in 30 minutes or less and fill a cart with high quality merch. I always shoot for the highest price now rather than the best price. I pass over many of the things I used to buy with a small quick turnover store – they aren’t worth my precious time now.
Two very different stores, two very different situations. Everyone’s situation is very different. You know what your system is and you know what your potential is. Currently I am quite happy with my ebay situation. I also know what my potential is, but that will be saved for a day when I go full time.
No need to run with Dick & Jane down the street – just keep doing what works for you. And by the looks of it, you are doing a pretty darn good job. Keep learning and listing!
02/14/2017 at 12:17 pm #12521
I agree that people with small inventories can still do very well, but it just takes constant work. Small store sellers have to always be listing to replenish their small inventories. They may also have to pay more for more valuable inventory that will sell quickly and for higher profit.
Our interview with Mr Customer Service is a great comparison:
Tim probably makes close to what we make each month. He only uses auctions and sells/donates all his inventory within 14 days. No storage.
His week = one day scavenging, two days listing, two days shipping, one day off.
But if he chooses to take a week off, he makes zero money.
He lies to juggle five things at once.
For us, the benefit of a large (and growing inventory) is an almost guarantee of consistent profit. We can put our store on autopilot for up to three months and know we’ll make a certain amount of money. We’re just front loading the work (aka filling up the pipeline). We rarely put in 40 hours a week since we have a lot of different projects and fun activities that keep us distracted.
The biggest challenge to a large inventory is storage. If you can figure out a storage solution, then the pipeline is almost guaranteed.
02/14/2017 at 12:58 pm #12527
Brian, thanks for the links. I will read up on it. I understand the definition but don’t understand WHY it’s true.
Retro Treasures – I DON’T know what my potential is. That is what I am struggling with. I also started with quick flips and originally did almost all auctions. If I decided to go back to that model today, I would not have the same results that I did 5 years ago. Just because you did it in the past does not mean you can flip a switch and replicate it…because the platform continues to change. I know this is true when I look at my numbers from year to year. Always increasing, but I have to say 2016 was a disappointment. I put WAY more time into eBay than I had in prior years, and my numbers were higher but just barely.
The reason I’m delving into this right now is because I am on the cusp. I started eBay when my youngest started preschool, to fill the time and have some supplemental income. Once all the kids were in school, I continued to devote more time and energy to eBay, but it has still always been part time. Now, looking ahead to college expenses for 3 and future goals…I’m at a decision point: to go back into the outside workforce or to go all in with eBay. But since 2x the work does not equal 2x the money, it is hard to figure out what might be financially best for us. And I see pros and cons with either decision, so the $ is actually really the deciding factor for me. It would be great if I could be confident that a weekly sell through of 10%+ would continue if I increased my inventory to 500 items. But it doesn’t seem like it works that way.
02/14/2017 at 2:06 pm #12541
I could absolutely flip the switch and go back to the model I used before. FredsPremiumOutlet has a very hands on, quick sale store and does extremely well – $1200-1500 a week.
Sourcing for a quick turn store is very different than sourcing for a long tail store. I like to buy 80’s and 90’s vintage jackets, windbreakers, & clothing. Many of these items have to sit and wait for the perfect buyer. There is no way I can price these things for them to fly out the door at the prices I want.
I would have to go back to selling toys and electronics to have a quick sale store. In those categories, research is easy to show if the item will sell quickly and for how much. There are no alternate sizes, styles, etc. Your research is apples to apples and all buyers are competing for the exact same product. For instance, a talking Barney plush from the mid-90’s can easily be sold in 30 days. An 80’s transformer is a very quick sale. Vintage NES games are a quick sale. A vintage Sony discman is a quick sale. Of course my researched price controls how quickly I will sell.
I highly encourage you to keep branching out and trying to sell new things and in different ways. You’ll identify your weaknesses & strengths. You’ll learn what you like selling and shipping, and what you LOATH selling and shipping. In the process, you’ll learn your potential.
02/14/2017 at 9:53 pm #12594
I don’t think diminishing returns are true for resellers. Say you buy a pair of shoes for $1 and sell it for $50. What’s to keep you from buying 50 more pairs of shoes with that income and selling each one for $50? Now you have $2500. (Minus fees.) You can actually start out with zero money and build a large business as Jay and Ryanne have. They started just selling odds and ends they already had. I started that way too. In the past few years I have sold over $100K without taking any money out of our bank. I just opened up a separate Ebay checking account and whatever I sell goes into it; whatever I source comes out of it. I don’t see any diminishing returns with 1200+ items in my store and 2-6K/month income. It was all started pretty much with nothing but has contributed quite a bit towards an early mortgage pay off plus many other purchases for our home. And all was done as more of a hobby than a job while managing a home and having a life.
02/14/2017 at 11:18 pm #12595
Linda, you’re right that R&J have built something incredible from nothing. And your story sounds awesome. But what Beth’s original question was about was why she can sell 10 things per week with only 100 items in her store, while someone with 1000 items only sells 20 things instead of 100 (10x as many items should equal 10x as many sales). The equation isn’t a straight line – it’s a curve that eventually flattens out. I think this is why R&J’s theory on different pipelines works so well – when on pipeline flattens out, another is there to pick up the slack.
02/15/2017 at 12:17 am #12597
I have the same question as Linda and Beth, namely, *why* does it have to flatten out so quickly, before storage becomes an issue? Is there an intuitive example of why this happens for reselling?
For example, if your business is picking cherries, and each worker can pick 10 boxes a day, then every additional worker adds the same incremental revenue & profit. You’re going to have to reach a really high number of cherry picker workers before the curve starts to flatten out, but of course it will happen eventually b/c they’ll be a bottleneck/lineup of workers waiting to put their full boxes of cherries into the truck or storage facility, so each incremental worker will no longer be able to produce 10 boxes a day in time to go home at 5pm, b/c they’ll have to allocate some of their time to standing in line. Now if your business is baking cakes and you have only one oven, then that curve is going to flatten out pretty quickly, b/c you can add tons more workers, but the oven can only bake X cakes per day.
So usually the flattening out of the curve happens b/c of a process/resource bottleneck of some sort. What’s the bottleneck in the case of reselling? Or is there some other factor that is causing the flattening out? Why wouldn’t the 50th pair of shoes sell for $50 just like the first pair of shoes?
To make my post even longer, I’ll say that I can see a flattening out *eventually*, say when you have such a huge inventory that you need to walk half a mile down the aisle of the huge warehouse to grab an item to ship. Then the additional time spent storing and gathering up inventory will eat into your time so much as to become a real cost, thus eating into profits. But I don’t see that happening for inventories of size <10,000. What am I missing?
02/15/2017 at 12:34 am #12598
I’ve pondered your question myself in the past because I saw the same pattern. When my store was small I sold a much higher percentage of my items.
I don’t know if I can explain it well but my theory is that as you list items, a percentage of those listings (let’s say 20% for argument’s sake) will sell almost immediately, a percentage (let’s say another 20%) of those will sell over the next 2 weeks, 20% will sell in the next 6 months and 40% will sell in more than 6 months or maybe never. Over time your store fills up with those very slow moving (or “never sell” items) so the % of sales drops over time. When your store is small, those quick-sellers account for a much larger % of your sales. I tried to do an analysis of my own sales but never put sufficient effort in to figure exactly what those percentages look like for me but I’m pretty sure that’s what happens. I kind of think of of my store as a lake. There’s water (items) flowing in and a smaller amount of water (sales) flowing out and over time my lake is filling up with sediment (dead, slow-moving items).
Let’s face it, if we were selling very popular, one-of-a-kind items that sold quickly, it would be very hard for a single person to find, list and ship sufficient items to build a big store because the stuff would be disappearing quicker than we could replenish them.
02/15/2017 at 12:50 am #12600
I like your explanation, Simon! I, too, had been thinking about how the long tail items continue to pile up, but it wasn’t completely clear to me until I read your post. thanks!
So that explains why large slow-dime-style stores have lower sell-through rates than small slow-dime-style stores.
I think I will sleep better now. 🙂
02/15/2017 at 7:29 am #12607
Great example, Simon – better than mine. When we only have 10 items in our stores, it’s imperative to get them out the door quickly. However, once we have 1000 items, a large percentage of them will take longer to sell.
I think this is proved out by some of the sellers that only do clothes (forgive me, I cannot remember your names). Their model is so impressive – week in and week out, 50% of their inventory is selling or more. They have a commodity item that 1) people need, 2) people need all the time, and 3) they are willing to compete on price in order to get things out the door. Many of us, myself included, focus on high quality, unique, antique, collectible items that we’re willing to wait and sell for top dollar – which in turn takes longer. No one needs most of the stuff in my store – but I’m there when their human desire to consume interesting things comes in to play.
02/15/2017 at 9:32 am #12608
Great explanation, Simon. I think that’s the key. The long-tail or undesirable stuff that isn’t selling continues to pile up and skew the sales percentages.
I’m a small store seller (150-250 items) and, since 90% of what I sell is clothing, I choose to put aside out-of-season listings that haven’t sold and bring them out again later. I never have winter stuff listed in the summer or vice-versa. All my winter listings that are ending now are going into an Inkfrog storage folder to come back in September/October. I’m very comfortable with a small store and my profits meet my needs, so I don’t have any grand growth plans since I don’t count on Ebay to survive.
For the most part, when selling pre-owned items, I think if you want to grow your store and income, there are basically two models:
–J & R’s long-tail pipeline model where the cost of the majority of your inventory is very low, and you’re willing to pay more for store subscription fees and storage capability in order to have a very large inventory which provides for a steady stream of income, even when you take time off from Ebay to pursue other interests/income streams.
–Fred’s Premium and, on a much larger scale, Amazing Taste’s models of low purchase price and fast nickel. They thrive on quick turnover and quantity of sales versus a higher return per item. For continued growth, this model will probably require hiring extra help.
02/14/2017 at 10:47 am #12511
- Location: Wheeling, WV
It had been a slow week for me. Made $125 net. My highest price item sold was a Tiffany paper stationery set for $40.
I did want to share about an exciting cache I acquired. Where I work, they were cleaning out an old forgotten room for expansion. Everything was getting thrown away! Well they let me dig through the trash bags and I pulled out over 100 technical service manuals for all kinds of audio and video equipment. Thanks to Steven Schultz and his What Sells videos, I knew that they could be worth something. I brought them all home and hopefully I’ll get around to listing them soon.
I’ve also been frequently stopping at the Goodwill Outlet store in Pittsburgh. I usually don’t do too bad, but on Saturday I found a 18K gold nib Parker fountain pen! I couldn’t believe it. It was in an old bin too. It goes to show that treasure can be found even after its been picked through.
02/14/2017 at 11:03 am #12512
2/5 – 2/11
Total Items in store: 406
Items sold: 2
Cost of items sold: approx. $2.25
Total Sales: $48
Highest price sold: $ 32 – revere ware vintage dutch oven
Average price sold: $24
Int’l sales: 0
Number of items listed this week: 0
Amazon disbursement – $0
Full time ebay goal – was March 2018; now – ????
Ebay to Amazon – 3 sales – $643, COGS – $268, fees – $60, profit – $315
02/14/2017 at 11:45 am #12515
I received this message from a potential buyer-
Would you please have a NON-smoker give this the ‘smell test’.
If it comes from a NON-smoking environment and I purchase it, I’ll provide great feedback.
If it comes from a SMOKING environment and I purchase it, I’ll provide very bad feedback.
Any NON-smoker will immediately be able to tell which environment it comes from.”
The reply in my head was; No it does not smell like smoke but I will not jeopardize my seller reputation on the whim of a buyer who writes a message like this over a $19 item.
I simply blocked and ignored.
02/14/2017 at 11:50 am #12518
You should write them a thank you message. As in “thank you for identifying yourself as someone I don’t want to do business with.” 🙂
02/14/2017 at 1:46 pm #12533
I ran that buyer’s note through “Google Translate” and it came back as “block me!”
02/14/2017 at 12:13 pm #12520
- Location: South Carolina
I’m gonna try and start doing my numbers every weeks so I can see how my business is growing.
Week February 5-11, 2017
Total Items in Store: 866
Items Sold: 12
Cost of Items Sold: $15
Total Sales: $188.19
Highest Price Sold: $39.99 (my old computer monitor that I just upgraded)
Average Price Sold: $15.68
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 40
Had kinda a slow week but I did manage to list all the paintings/prints I got at a auction a few weeks ago. It was a slow week for listing because I just got out of my storage unit and into my new (well it was used but new to me) 12×28 barn shed. I found the shed on Facebook, it is a rent to own but I have plans to pay it off this year with eBay money and it’s only $100 more a month then my storage unit, it’s also at my house and is three times as much space so well worth the investment into my business.
You guys talked about selling your old electronics and I did just that this week with my computer monitor, I think I got it 6 years ago and I sold it for about the same price I paid then.
I’m really excited about getting close to 1000 listings, but I need to be at around 3450 to need to upgrade to a anchor store… I wish there was something in between anchor and premium but I’ll just shoot for tripling my listings in the next 6 months.
My shed looks like one big death pile at the moment. I have 30+ tubs in the back full of listed items and framed prints lining the walls but at the entrance is a huge pile of about 20+ boxes of auction junk to go though, mostly box/table lots I have gathered over the last 3 months. I now know that I will never have a lack of stuff to list. I’m gonna be working though this pile over the next few weeks to get it all listed/donated and hopefully by then my store will be generating more money for I can invest in more inventory!
02/14/2017 at 12:47 pm #12525
The financial independence blogger lifestyle is a complete 180* from running an Ebay business. We have to understand what collectors like and involve ourselves with viewing and picking from thousands of tiny items on a weekly or monthly basis that might catch someone’s eye; they have to live lives like monks for the pursuit of monetary freedom. In order to best understand what collectors like, we have to think like collectors as we’re out & about looking for items. They have to completely detach themselves from the idea of anything additional in their lives, such as 1 meal out of schedule or a piece of clothing that is not necessary. It is such a strict regime to accomplish during the early part of one’s life and they seem so serious about it, that I wonder if they are really having fun? The strictest ones will not let 1 thing get out of place in order to meet their goal, or so they seem from their blogs.
My husband & I sell online full-time, and outside of saving for taxes/general savings/putting money back into inventory, we’re pretty easy-going about anything beyond that point. We’ll eat on a huge pot of rice & beans for several days, but then order something from Grubhub because we’re tired after working all day on listing, or other projects outside of listing. We’ll plan meals for 2 weeks, but then go somewhere for a day and blow a bunch on a movie, cab rides, food. We still manage to save a bit, but it might help that we’re kidless and living below our means. I guess we’re overall frugal, but not worried about the nitty gritty about being super dramatically frugal.
02/14/2017 at 1:10 pm #12530
You make a great point. Though we’re super frugal and don’t buy unnecessary items, we sell to people who often buy stuff that might not be a priority (which is their right). It’s an interesting ecology.
I feel that we live in total luxury. We eat great, have nice things, and have total freedom of our time. I think part of being frugal is “never pay retail”. With a little bit of time, we can always scavenge an item for much cheaper than buying new.
02/14/2017 at 3:42 pm #12567
You can also many times by a BETTER product than new when scavenging.
02/14/2017 at 1:58 pm #12536
February 5 to 11
Total Items in store: 150+/-
Items sold: 5
Cost of items sold: approx. $38
Total Sales: $388
Highest price sold: $200/herend pottery
Average price sold: $75
The big news this week is that I’ve hired someone to come in and help me declutter and organize my house, including my eBay space. She started in the basement and the results have been just amazing. Right now, she’s working on the main living areas of the house (we’ve got a small house and the clutter is pretty tremendous), then once we’ve reclaimed the living spaces, we’re going to go deep and sort out the bins of old papers that have accumulated over the 15 years I and my family have been here. It’s such a relief.
We’ve had quite a bit of snow and ice and I haven’t gotten out to source as much as I’d like. Hoping to head up to an auction Thursday.
02/14/2017 at 2:03 pm #12539
–What exactly are you guys doing? Just throwing away anything that isnt worth selling?
–Will she eventually help you list?
–How’d you find her?
02/14/2017 at 2:52 pm #12550
Being frugal has been a way of life since I was born and I don’t see it changing any time soon. We are both retired and I’m not eligible for social security yet. But being frugal to me doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything or aren’t able to afford anything. Being frugal means being happy with what you have and not wanting new everything every couple of years. I get “new” things all the time if I need them. I have what I need, a house that’s paid for, a car and a truck that are paid for and I don’t think I’ll go out and buy something new, really new, ever again unless it is the best thing for the situation. We just had to buy a furnace. New is more efficient so we save and the environment saves. If you are patient used will come to you if you need it. Better quality older items is definitely the better buying decision over the mass produced merchandise being pushed on us today.
02/14/2017 at 3:04 pm #12551
–In most cases “gently used” items are perfectly fine.
–Spending a little more for used quality items works for us because items will last longer than we will.
–Sometimes it makes sense to buy new if its an important piece of infrastructure (like a furnace) because the installation costs just as much used or new.
02/14/2017 at 4:39 pm #12575
On the eBay coupon it will show the full amount taken out of PayPal but if you check on the Activity tab then Activity (Balance and Fees) you will see that eBay has deposited the money back into your account so it washes out if you applied the coupon correctly.
02/14/2017 at 5:20 pm #12580
- Location: Texas
One of the positives about being a newbie is that you may have recently investigated something while you were learning the system and can give info on it. So nice to give back! LOL
Gallery Plus does exist, but perhaps so few people know about it that nobody ever uses it?
You will find eBay’s explanation of Gallery Plus here http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/gallery-upgrade.html and they considerately provide an example here http://pages.ebay.com/sell/galleryplus-landingpage/
I noticed almost everything listed in the Disney category has that enlarging symbol, but nothing under grommet curtains (personal research.)
Now, in some categories, Gallery Plus is free and eBay is kind enough to check those options for you when listing in those categories … BUT… when you move to a new category that does not have a free Plus upgrade, the check button remains checked. You need to pay attention to that button every time you list. Not only that, if you missed one and it went through checked, it will charge again every time it renews on GTC. Such fun! (According to the eBay Community, for Jay’s source requirement. Multiple posts on it.)
As it is a “valid” listing upgrade, eBay is quite happy to take your money and is not likely to change it. Caveat emptor. 😉
02/14/2017 at 8:16 pm #12591
Thanks Amatino. I don;t think I’ve ever noticed that feature while shopping on eBay. They should really just make it a default feature for all sellers. I wonder why they chose to make it free for some items and not others.
02/14/2017 at 9:33 pm #12593
I think it’s free on all collectables category items and maybe some other categories. I guess they think it helps them sell.
02/15/2017 at 12:49 am #12599
Here are my numbers for the week:
Total Items in Store: 1522
Items Sold: 29
Total Sales: $638.25
Cost of Items Sold: $119.26
Average Price Sold: $22.01
Average Cost of Item: $4.11
Highest Price Item Sold: $89.95 4 piece Snap On Tools File Set
Number of items listed this week: 53
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 200
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 136
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 55
Sell-through rate: 1.91%
# of Hats Sold: 18 (62% of sales)
Another solid week for me. I hope things continue this way. Is this really a spike caused by tax refunds? I wonder.
I had to do a business trip to Seattle this week and have been going through that annoying daily experience of changing handling times on a slow internet connection. Wow, what a pain that is. It takes forever, fails half the time and who knows whether it actually worked.
Side note, the closest AirBnB to the Seattle office for my company happens to be an old renovate trailer (like an Air Stream trailer) so that’s where I chose to stay. Kinda different to a typical boring hotel room.
02/15/2017 at 9:35 am #12609
2/5 – 2/11/17
Approximate # of Items in Store: 220
# of Items Sold: 16
Average Cost of Items Sold: $7.94
Total Sales: $626.67
Highest Price Sold: $110 – Men’s Shoes
Average Price Sold: $39.17
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $2.09
Number of items listed this week: 4
As you can see by my continued low listing numbers, I’m kind of on autopilot these days. Have been involved in some other household stuff and just not feeling Ebay at this time of year. I’m sure next week’s numbers will be completely dismal. Had a lot of listings end yesterday and probably won’t relist most of it until the fall. Heading out of town Friday-Tuesday, so I’m pretty sure I won’t get anything new up this week.
If I can get motivated again after I return, I’ll be starting on spring/summer, bathing suits and miscellaneous non-clothing stuff. Oh, and taxes, of course.
02/16/2017 at 3:09 am #12679
The Thrift RaiderParticipant
So a week after hearing about you guys losing an item, I lost my first item ever. I wrote the person asking them what they would like to do and they never got back to me. Thankfully it was something that could be ordered off Amazon and sent to the customer. So I just did that. I’m hoping for the best since I haven’t gotten a tracking number yet from Amazon. I’m going to do an inventory check tomorrow to make sure there aren’t any more issues like this. It made me really upset and confused because I swear I’ve seen the item semi recently. I only have half a closet to store inventory in so where could it have gone? I guess if it ever turns up I’ll relist it but it took a while to even sell. So disappointing.
02/16/2017 at 10:44 am #12702
J&R: We started back to hitting our old Auction Trial two weeks ago. We have laid off buying new inventory during the transition from closing down all of our antique booths and transitioning a ton of inventory to our online venues. But it was time for us to just get up and “air oursleves out” after all of the months of listing and culling junk. So we hit our favorite auction haunts.
We have the exact same situation and experiences as you stated. Almost identical. We have couple that are “nice” and higher resell items and then the local, country type auctions. We have gone to these venues for years and spent lots of money with all of them.
We have certainly learned though to not buy from the seat of our pants. We do go to the preview day the day before or of. We have an spread sheet form and we log the lot numbers, dealers or items we are interested in. I always carry a small LED flashlight on my belt, a small tape measure and a 10 power loupe in my pocket. We make sure we discover flaws, flea bites, etc. prior to auction time. Then we go to lunch or early dinner and stay there while we eat and look what we can find on our databases we use. We can check about 4 different sources for Sold prices. We do this for what we can identify. Somethings we just don’t know what to call them. 🙂
We use the sheet to write down the avg. sold prices and then in the last column what our max. bid will be depending what gross margins we may be willing to accept. This helps us during the Flurry of the Auction Chant to not over bid. We know our cut off point. This has helped us a whole lot. Also helps us to ward off all the crazy buyers that, like you said, don’t know what they are doing, newbies just buying to get their new booths stocked up and those that just have no idea of what “real” profit margins should be. We win about 2 item out of ten. A list of 24 items will yield 5 or 6 “wins”.
It wa sfun to get back into the auction race. We always enjoy auctions of all types. One of the callers at our high end auction house is the state champion caller and she is lightenting fast.
If you want to see what we mean, Google Auction Chant Champions and listen to how the USA Champions call an auction. One is a 9 year kid. Man oh man, you have to pay close attention. They went through 164 lots in 90 minutes and that includes a description, bringing the items to the podium, holding it up selling it and then carrying it off. My wife has thought she has bought a tea cart in the past and when we went up to carry oit off, they handed her a old chest of drawers. I laughed so hard. Susan said what about the tea cart, he said that was sold a few moments ago, before this dresser drawers you bought. LMAO 🙂
Any way they did have a bunch of rugs. About 12 or more each week. Nice ones too BUT we didn’t buy. YET!… Ryanne or other SL members.. what is a laundry list of what you look for as you preview the rugs up for auction or you find at Estate and Yard Sales? I have heard you mention a few things here and there in different podcasts… but would you list just exactly what it is that will make a rug up for auction go on your I want to buy this to resell list?
Things like material, thickness, colors, type, weave, selvage, condition [I know prayer rugs with holes are ok :-)], brand-mfg., shape, sizes, etc., etc. We skipped over 24 rugs in two weeks until we got the load down on what we should be looking for. We like you, will and can ship anything so that is not a criteria to filter out a rug. Really would appreciate it.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
02/16/2017 at 12:39 pm #12716
Mike – When I picked up a Persian rug from an auction I took it into a rug store to get cleaned. I was able to talk to the owner to discuss the find and he gave me some great info. The one I got was a tribal pattern from Iran so it had some good age to it. There was moth damage which was evident with some almost spiderweb like white lines on it and some thinner areas. They told me to store the rug loose in a freezer for at least 1 week to crack any potential eggs since washing the rug would remove the dirt, but not necessarily any moth eggs. Moth damage does reduce the value. They also indicated that animal urine destroys the value and most rugs damaged with pet urine are not salvageable because the urine breaks down the fiber and dyes. It is also nearly impossible to remove the smell.
Other things he said to look for was more of a tribal patterns than the ornate floral patterns since those are basically produced only for the Western commercial markets. The tribal designs hold value better than the ornate patterns. Most of those tribal rugs will also be dyed with vegetable dyes.
I am by no means a rug expert, but I learned a lot just with a trip to a rug store.
02/17/2017 at 12:42 pm #12765
Thanks for the reply S&S. Will pack this way in our minds when we are previewing.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
02/16/2017 at 11:44 am #12705
Why I do ebay: My husband works full time, I stay home with our 4 children. My ebay business proceeds go towards paying down debt faster than we could with just one income. We have 400k debt (car,graduate student loans, mortgage). Our goal is to have it all paid off within 10 years.
02/16/2017 at 11:53 am #12707
That’s an awesome goal. We have about $250k in debt (mortgages mainly). I want to blow it up before Ryanne turns 40.
02/16/2017 at 11:46 am #12706
Hey! This podcast change my life, this is my forth year full time on ebay. 85,000 in sales last year. Bought a duplex and have been dumping every penny I have into real estate. Ive met a couple pivotal people in my life in the last ten years and these guys are one of them and ive never met them lol.
02/16/2017 at 11:55 am #12708
Wow. If we were able to provide an example, that’s awesome. But you did it. I wish the long term rental market in our area was good. We love duplexes.
02/16/2017 at 12:08 pm #12710
02/16/2017 at 12:13 pm #12713
–Do you just have the one duplex?
–whats your short term master plan (5 years)
02/16/2017 at 12:34 pm #12715
Yes just one duplex. My plan once my taxes are done is to look for a flip house to work on for the next year to generate some cash and put that money into another multi unit home. Then keep doing that until im 40 or so and retire lol. I love doing ebay though and dealing in vintage so I dont think ill ever quit.
02/16/2017 at 1:02 pm #12717
best way to see if there is any Airbnb interest is to look at Airbnbs in your area and check their calendars out. you never know.
02/16/2017 at 1:54 pm #12718
Wow, I guess there is a market, how many days out of the year is your guys place rented out?
02/16/2017 at 2:03 pm #12719
Last year was about 220 nights, but we also live in a big vacation area. If you live in an urban area, those can also be very popular. Suburban areas might be the toughest areas.
We do a whole podcast about our rental business at http://shampooandbooze.com (shameless plug)
02/16/2017 at 2:06 pm #12720
you may not be a big vacation area, but people travel and need places to stay for all different reasons, family visits, nearby hospital stays, universities, work stuff. so an airbnb in the suburbs can work for sure.
02/16/2017 at 2:42 pm #12721
Will drop this quickly on this forum instead of S&B but we have a walkout basement in the Atlanta Suburbs. Jay probably knows Gwinnett County and the other side of Lawrenceville is Dacula, GA [where we live], near the Mall of Georgia. We have a full time renter for the last 3 years down there but they may be leaving this June. It is 1,200 SF, Full bath, 2 bedrooms, living room with gas log fireplace, dining room and fully equipped kitchen and separate parking, fenced yard, covered patio, etc. We would only have to furnish it for AB&B rentals.
Do you think it may be an idea to explore the AirBnB aspects of this. We get about $8k rent per year and that includes the space and all utilities. In quick math we may be able to do much better than that at only having it occupied 6 months out of the year!! Any thoughts? If you think a good idea, I will transfer further discussions over to S&B forum.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
02/16/2017 at 2:45 pm #12722
i think airbnb will always win in terms of profit at the end of the year. you just have to be willing to clean and do laundry every time a guest leaves. you should check other places on airbnb in your area for prices and occupancy levels.
02/16/2017 at 3:17 pm #12723
YEah, just type in your zipcode into Airbnb.com. See what pops up. There may be stuff in your zipcode that could attract people. Sprawl crawlers.
02/17/2017 at 12:37 pm #12764
- Location: Texas
Thanks, MDC, for the interesting info on auctions. I’ve not had the pleasure yet, and I’m on the Death Pile Challenge, so won’t for a while, but I will save this info for when I do.
02/18/2017 at 12:47 pm #12820
- Location: South Carolina
FYI – The Gallery Plus problem seems to be fixed. I have been switching back and forth between collectables and other items and I have been able to click the gallery plus check mark off and it and the fee goes away on non collectable items.
02/18/2017 at 10:44 pm #12845
- Location: Northern Minnesota
I thought it was interesting that this article on unloading family heirlomms quoted Chris Fultz, co-owner of Nova Liquidation, in LURAY Virginia.
02/19/2017 at 1:21 am #12850
Hey Guys, I feel like I’ve heard somewhere along the way to be cautious when a buyer contacts you after the sale and says “hey, i screwed up, please actually ship to this address..” Should I be concerned? Should I ship to the address they are requesting versus what shows up in eBay for them? Thanks. -LoveJam
02/19/2017 at 9:10 am #12854
we’ve never had a problem shipping to someone’s new address if they’ve messaged us through ebay. as long as the info was sent through ebay messages, ebay should cover you for sending it to the new place.
02/19/2017 at 10:51 am #12859
Hey Ryanne… you sure about this? I usually make it a point to only ship to “verified & confirmed” paypal address or at least an address that is on the order page or shown in PayPal. I do this because I thought I remember reading that PayPal won’t provide the seller protection if the address is unconfirmed.
I have also had customers do this and I message back, that they need to go to PayPal or Ebay and change their address there and re-confirm or get it to show on the order form somehow. I don’t think an email [even if through Ebay Messaging] will hold up in the end if something goes deep south. PayPal has a place to do this easily on there form, unsure about Ebay. Several customers have done this. A couple did not so I only shipped to the “confirmed” address and the rest was up to them.
Oh… here is what I just found about this from Ebay…
“As long as you ship to the address found on the eBay Order details page or the PayPal Transaction Details page, you are eligible for certain protections under the eBay Money Back Guarantee.
While you’re not required to ship to a confirmed address, address confirmation is useful because it provides a way for a seller to verify a buyer’s identity.”
Guess it is open to some interpretation, but I always play it safe and ask that they change. They made the error, I think they should have to do a “little work” to make it right, IMHO.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
02/19/2017 at 11:03 am #12860
good point! yes i often ask them to change their address in ebay and paypal too and then say no problem, i can ship to the new address.
02/19/2017 at 11:39 am #12862
I have a question about COGS that I’m hoping someone can shed light on.
I notice when looking at people’s numbers, it seems that the COGS are often just what was paid for the items. Where do you account for store fees, item fees, PayPal fees etc…
Especially those of you who then post profit? Is there another category of costs begond COGS?
New to the forum so forgive me…
Thanks so much.
02/19/2017 at 11:52 am #12863
COGS is just “cost of good sold”, so that’s the only cost included in that number.
We do a very simplified accounting each week. It’s more of a snapshot of our sales. I know some Amazon sellers who blog post every detailed spread sheets of every single cost. Unfortunately, eBay doesn’t provide that kind of nice layout that we can just copy and paste from.
Basically eBay/Paypal fees are about 13% of profit. You can easily deduct that from anyone’s weekly profit after COGS to know the net profit.
Obviously there are other expenses as well (shipping supplies, storage rental, internet access, mobile phone, printing labels), but that’s more about what each of us keep track of for tax purposes.
02/19/2017 at 11:59 am #12864
Thanks jay. I think we have a pretty decent process ourselves to keep track. Was just wondering how others were doing it, thanks so much for your answer. I always think of it as 15% because it’s easier than 13. Lol!
Thanks again. Love your show
02/19/2017 at 12:43 pm #12868
I like 15% too! In my forecasts in our budget, I always overestimate costs so I’m not surprised.
We use GoDaddy Bookkeeping to keep track of our yearly expenses. Makes it very easy to label costs on our CC as business expenses. Other sellers here will say they do spreadsheets. No one way.
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