11/05/2019 at 8:29 pm #70122
First a little back story. I do IT for a living but have a small eBay store that hovers at around 200 items. I make a few thousand dollars a year selling stuff I get mostly at garage sales. The IT business I work for takes old computer equipment and “recycles” it as a service to our customers. We have a shed behind the building that we pile all the scrap computers in and when it’s full we call an eWaste company to pick it up and they give us like $20-$40.
Recently our eWaste company has been going through some issues and hasn’t been coming to pickup our computers to be recycled. Our shed is full and we need the stuff gone. My boss told me if I can make the stuff go away it’s all mine for free. I’m contemplating getting a storage unit for $90, renting a truck for $40 and taking it all to part out and sell on eBay.
Am I crazy? I know the parts have value on eBay but I don’t know what exactly I’ll do with the unsalable stuff. I have no interest in becoming one of these scrapper guys that sells computer scrap by the pound, I’m only really interested in the stuff I can sell on eBay.0
11/05/2019 at 8:40 pm #70123
It all depends if its worth anything.
Broken monitors will be worthless. But you can pull out motherboards, chipsets, memory, ram. You can sell mouses, keyboards, and other accessories.
If you work in IT, does that mean you know about hardware? Just start doing some research. Id love to know whats in there.0
11/05/2019 at 8:43 pm #70125
11/05/2019 at 9:03 pm #70132
I know about computer hardware so no issues there. I know some of the stuff sells, I sell it at work once in a while when I find time. My real concern is just the time/profit part of the equation to sort out the mess and go through it all. I estimate there is several thousand dollars worth of parts in there….and hundreds of pounds of eWaste that I’d have to dispose of. I’ll try to take a photo while at work tomorrow and post it.0
11/05/2019 at 9:26 pm #70136SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Old electronics can sell very well and faster than the regular, vintage-y stuff that is most of my store. Considering that you work full-time, you will need that large storage area where you take out a bit at a time to part out and list, perhaps for a year or so depending on how long it takes you. I guess you will need to consider that cost and inconvenience.
My town has a recycling center where we can take analog monitors/TVs and computers. However, it is for residents and not businesses. If you have a similar situation in your town, you would need to take a few things every couple of weeks and hope they don’t start recognizing you. Places like Best Buy and Home Depot take some eWaste, and the area usually isn’t monitored.
And, to answer your last question, yes, you are crazy. But, you are just as crazy as the rest of us!0
11/05/2019 at 10:37 pm #70141
And I personally would be hesitant taking it on if you have to pay for storage and it’ll take months to sort it.
Pick it all up. Pull out all the garbage immediately and safely dispose of it. Then you hopefully have just good stuff that you can sell from home.
How much stuff are we talking about?0
11/05/2019 at 10:39 pm #70142Retro Treasures WVParticipant
We have an e-waste bin at work. I was out in the waste shed one day and looked in there and saw a TON of awesome stuff. I asked our plant manager if I could have anything out of there and he said “take whatever you want”.
The first time I got a few mini form desktops and a laptop. The next time I got a TON of power supplies and HP docking stations. Another time I got another laptop.
Usually you’ll have to reformat old computers. I reformat them with a linux build called Zorin OS. It looks and feels just like Microsoft windows…or Apple OS if you prefer. Yes, it can do both. Free and amazing.0
11/05/2019 at 10:57 pm #70145
I forgot about power supplies. Just selling those would be worth it.0
11/05/2019 at 11:09 pm #70147
Thanks, I have that Billy Joel song running around in my head after reading the title, lol.
I worked in I.T. up until about 5 years ago. I used to do a little computer repair on the side but it got to be too much hassle for too little money. I do have a small stockpile of used computers stacked in my garage that I keep thinking about parting out, as well as a closet full of parts. I think they breed and multiply in the dark, its starting to get out of control.0
11/07/2019 at 6:37 pm #70288
Ok, I finally got around to taking photos and putting them on Imgur so I can post them here. The shed is about 3 feet wide and about 20 feet long. As you can see from the photos it’s a total mess and filled about chest high with computers.
I have made the decision to take this project on. I think I’m going to keep posting about it here so you can see how things progress.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by JasonK.
11/07/2019 at 7:25 pm #70291
If anything you’ll learn a lot. Can you take stuff out in batches? Or only all at once?0
11/07/2019 at 7:50 pm #70296soniaParticipant
- Location: Northeast US
Looking forward to hearing about this project as it progresses.0
11/07/2019 at 7:51 pm #70297Retro Treasures WVParticipant
Quick question: Do any of those computers have windows 7 or windows XP licenses? I don’t mean an enterprise license.0
11/07/2019 at 8:22 pm #70308
I’m going to take everything out of the shed this Saturday, we need to empty it out as this is only about 6 months of eScrap for us. If this turns out to be profitable I won’t have any shortage of more should I want it. I’ve rented a 5×8 U-haul trailer and recruited my wife and father to help move it all. It’s such a huge mess that I need to dig it all out and organize it anyway just so I know where to begin.
Retro, yes most of the computers in there will have Windows 7 or XP OEM license stickers on them. I’m banking on some of the PCs with Windows 7 licenses being new enough and in good enough working order to refurbish them, upgrade them to Windows 10 and sell them as working systems. I estimate I should be able to sell a refurbished PC for $100-$300 depending on the specs. There is also a huge lot of old decommissioned servers in there and I’m curious if the parts on those sell for a decent amount on eBay.0
11/11/2019 at 12:13 am #70464
Well the pile of junk has been sorted, my plans changed a bit in the process. It seems that shed is not even slightly water-tight and a lot of stuff was wet and ruined. I ended up just taking about half of the computer towers, a bunch of hard drives and a bunch of busted laptops. I left a little over half of the equipment in the shed. We will have to get an escrap company to come get all the printers and wet stuff and hopefully they are ok with it since they just care about the gold content and scrap value of the metal.
Here is what the storage unit looks like with the 41 computer towers, half dozen servers and bins of hard drives, laptops and some other miscellaneous items. I’ve already pulled a few computers out of the pile and finished refurbishing 2 of them tonight, I’ll hopefully sell them next week on social media.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by JasonK.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by JasonK.
11/11/2019 at 7:23 am #70467
That’s disappointing so much was ruined, but glad you saved what you could. Bigger question: are you going to get everything from here on out? How much computer waste does your company create?0
11/12/2019 at 9:02 am #70541
After you are rolling on the most profitable stuff you might want to look at parting out printers too.1+
11/11/2019 at 10:10 pm #70528
My boss agreed to let me have my pick of stuff before it gets tossed in the shed. I’ll throw the business a couple of bucks for what I take. The escrap vendor really does not pay much, I think the most we ever got was $70 for a whole shed full so even if I gave $2 per complete computer the company would be making more money and I would be getting a huge bargain.
The volume of computer waste varies, but I’d say what you saw in those pictures was about 6 months worth of stuff. I’m going to try to keep a log here of what I’ve spent and how much I’ve made so we can see if this turns out to be a profitable experiment or not.0
11/12/2019 at 8:56 pm #70583
Old Dad, have you had some success parting out printers? If so, which ones? We get inkjet printers by the boat load and I’ve generally felt that they are made to be disposable with very little value in fixing them.0
11/19/2019 at 12:37 pm #70826
I haven’t parted out printers, or any computer equipment, in quite a few years, but I have in harder times and still will sometimes buy used parts to keep an old printer or computer going, as well as other equipment around my house. I call myself “frugal”, others might call me a tightwad.
Unrelated trivia: There’s actually an unincorporated village near me named Tightwad, I don’t live there.0
11/18/2019 at 9:06 pm #70794
Week 01 Recap
Nothing but expenses and spinning wheels this past week. Kind of a bummer but it’s mostly due to me wanting to test the waters on social media before doing eBay listing. Basically I pulled 3 computers out of the pile and fixed them up. 1 went to my mechanic as partial payment on a car repair and the other 2 I posted on my neighborhood and small town Facebook groups, no takers. Ironically the same computers sell very well at $250-$350 in the shop at work but this goes to show you different markets justify different prices. Everybody wants garage sale prices on Facebook. Here is my current costs. Hopefully next week there will be some sales to offset this.
($178.98) – Storage unit first month rent plus other BS expenses like a lock they made me buy
($117.49) – 10 plastic storage bins, might be returning half of these as I didn’t need them
($28.00) – U-Haul trailer rental
So I’m $324.47 in the hole, no small sum. That’s more money than I probably spent in the last 3 years on inventory for my very part-time ebay store but I’m ok with it so long as this experiment starts making money.0
11/19/2019 at 9:05 am #70804
Nice job trading an old computer for car repair work. I wish we could bargain more with items we find.
$325 isn’t a bad upfront investment if you realize you’ve built a pipeline. Your employer will now give you all the old computers before they go in the rain. Dont forget about old software and accessories too. You also may realize you dont need the paid storage if you can get rid of the junk and just fix stuff at home.0
11/19/2019 at 12:41 pm #70827
Are you looking at Facebook Marketplace, which is different from the Facebook user groups? You will probably get a little wider exposure as well as a more structured layout to display pictures and related information.0
11/21/2019 at 8:52 pm #70910
Old Dad, Yeah I was just posting in the user groups. My wife basically told me the same thing that I should try Facebook Marketplace. I’m not really much of a fan of Facebook so I’ve never used their Marketplace and I don’t know if there is a way to limit items listed to a specific geographic area. I don’t want to be driving far away just to meet somebody to sell these things.0
11/21/2019 at 9:25 pm #70911
I’ve only done this a few times with some things around the house, so I’m not expert by any means. I’ve also bought several things for my personal use. My business inventory doesn’t really work for this type of environment.
I don’t think you can limit the distance, but I think you will find that the buyer’s distance filters will pretty much do that. I personally wouldn’t drive to them anyhow unless maybe it was a large purchase. They can come to you if there is some reason to meet, or ship it to them. If you do need to meet them face-to-face I would do that at McDonald’s or a convenience store, etc.
It’s really a pretty easy format to set up a listing, really, I’m sure you will not have any problems if you have figured out listing on eBay.
I have heard Steve Shultz, who does the Wednesday ‘What Sold’ videos, show & tell some things that he sold on Marketplace, maybe he or someone else with more experience can add more here.0
12/04/2019 at 10:20 pm #71371
I think I’m going to just update my progress monthly for now. Since I do this part time I just move too slowly to have a ton to say each week. I do however keep a nice spreadsheet of my sales so here is where I stand at the end of November.
“Computer” items listed: 10
“Computer”: Items Sold: 5
Most interesting sale: Motherboard and CPU combo from an almost 10 year old Dell Vostro PC $25
Total Gross Sales: $99.48
Cost of Goods Sold: $1.00
Shipping Fees Collected: $8.30
Shipping Fees Paid: $22.79
*Estimated* Ebay and Paypal fees: $15.56
Startup Fees and Rent: $324.47
Total estimated income after fees and rent: -$256.04
Definitely didn’t make back that $325.00 Yet. The good news is we are only 4 days into December and I’ve already listed more and made more money than the two weeks I was doing this in November. The bad news is I have to pay for the storage unit out of my own pocket again for December. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll be in the black and have enough money to cover January’s rent. That Dell Vostro motherboard/cpu that sold was interesting not for the sale price so much as the fact that it sold at all. Normally you couldn’t give away a computer that old yet there was clearly somebody who needed that part as it sold within a day or two of me listing it.1+
12/05/2019 at 7:28 am #71376
Seems like the key is to cut out the storage unit. Do you have any space at home to run this kind of business?0
12/05/2019 at 10:29 am #71386
In my experience, sales of non-giftable items are slow through mid-January every year so keep that in mind when looking at December results. I think much of the used computer items are going to be long-tail, so storage fees and recurring listing fees are going to make it difficult to be profitable without more listings. I agree with Jay that you should try to figure out alternative storage for now. If the business continues to be a drag on the household budget you might not be able to keep it up.
There are buyers out there for these components, folks like me continue running old equipment if it’s adequate to do the job needed. Right now my main system is a Thinkpad T420 which is 8-9 years old and I have an even older Thinkpad T60 running at my warehouse, used just for shipping, that used to be my primary computer.0
12/06/2019 at 9:31 pm #71432
I found a local scrap metal recycle company that will take the computer cases once I take the good parts out, already have about 8 to take over to him. I think once I go through that stack of PC towers, pull the saleable parts out and get rid of the cases I’ll probably be able to get rid of the storage unit. I wish I had more space at home to store this kind of stuff but living in Florida with no basement our garage is already full of stuff. I also live in a deed restricted neighborhood that has rules prohibiting sheds in the backyard. I have a whole wall of shelves in my garage that is dedicated to the ~200 items I already had in my ebay store before I started this project. Maybe once all the PC parts are stacked neatly in bins I’ll be able to just store them in with the rest of my normal ebay inventory. The computer stuff sure sells better than my other ebay items so maybe a purge is in order to make room for the computer stuff.0
12/16/2019 at 4:53 pm #71752DantheDinerParticipant
This looks like a completely worthwhile, manageable project to me. Computer towers, even old ones, are easy to take apart and full of parts you can sell. Most parts of a tower will sell: hard drive, power supply, motherboard (usually sell with the RAM), optical drive…
Monitors sell really well for me, both eBay and FB/CL. Most accessories sell.
I would sell these a lot more if I could test computers and diagnose what was wrong with the ones that don’t work right. I don’t want to be selling repair people broken parts.0
12/16/2019 at 7:53 pm #71756
I agree. If he could get them to his house and work on each computer to test and/or part out, its very doable. I just worry about the overhead of expensive monthly storage.0
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