03/26/2018 at 2:26 pm #36220
Just curious, after listening to the Podcast, what Philosophies/Rules do you have as a scavenger? Mine are:
-don’t buy anything too big or awkward in dimensions – the time it takes to pack and ship is never worth the profit.
-don’t buy anything too heavy (keep it under 2lbs) – heavier items cost more to ship, and people don’t want to spend too much money on shipping.
-no death piles – if you can’t list what you have, don’t buy more
-if you are unsure, don’t buy it – it may look good, but if you can’t find any previous sales, and don’t know the item, leave it alone.
-if it’s dirty, and you can’t easily clean it, leave it – not everything can be cleaned to look presentable
-if you can’t test it, but if for “parts” value – if you don’t know if it works, only pay what a broken item is worth for selling (electronics)
-the sale price has to be at least 4x the purchase price – not worth risking $20 to make $40
-the sale price has to be at least $10 – small profit is not worth the time to clean, photograph, list, and ship
-know your shipping materials – use the same size boxes/envelopes to list dimensions and print shipping labels easy
-ignore all dumb questions, lowball offers, and questions about shipping to strange places
-accept any offer that makes a 4x profit – turn and burn and churn out the cash
-when eBay becomes too much, take a break – when it’s not fun anymore, take the time until it is fun again
-always take free stuff from friends/family – if it’s junk, you can get rid of it without offending them, they may offer better stuff in the future.
-if it breaks, sell it – part out anything that breaks at home (appliances, electronics, etc) to help pay for a new one
-set aside time in the morning to pack and ship items that sold the day before and overnight – if nothing sells, enjoy the free time!
Curious what everyone else has as a Philosophy or Rule that they follow…
03/26/2018 at 3:40 pm #36237AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
I like this list, Inglewood. I’ll just print it out and put it on my wall! 😀
03/27/2018 at 8:26 am #36327SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
I definitely agree about taking free stuff from friends and family. I don’t want to tell my parents which of their friend’s stuff I don’t want. I want to do the sorting, not them!
04/02/2018 at 6:20 pm #36941MichiganJeffParticipant
These are great rules/philosophies. Thanks for posting! I’m just now experiencing the “parting out” thing with an old vacuum cleaner.
My biggest rule, which is more a behavioral thing on my part, is that I never want to turn into a jerk because I’m so focused on getting “the prize.” Whether the prize is a small item I’m interested in at an estate sale or in a bigger sense of the word. That would suck the fun out of it all (for me, at least).
So, yes, that makes me the friendly, dopey, smiling guy at the estate sales who maybe doesn’t get every deal there is to be had, but I can live with that (and I’ve had no problem finding more than enough stuff).
04/04/2018 at 6:37 pm #37105MichiganJeffParticipant
“-always take free stuff from friends/family – if it’s junk, you can get rid of it without offending them, they may offer better stuff in the future.”
It’s interesting what some others consider junk and what some consider valuable. I got a box of cookbooks from a relative (specifically for me to sell), which was very thoughtful and appreciated. Turns out none of the books were worth anything, even though they all looked pretty cool.
Also in the box were a few decorative tiles, which the relative said I could have if I wanted——even though they were just “some junk from the ’90s.” Turns out they’re pretty hard to find and could be worth something.
(As an aside, I accidentally liked my initial comment twice on this thread, the second time thinking I could click it again to undo the first like. That doesn’t work. Mentioning in case anything is seen on the back end and you think, “Damn, that guy is full of himself.”)
04/02/2018 at 8:16 pm #36947So Cal JoeParticipant
For us in the states, the weight isn’t so big an issue, if it fits in a Flat Rate envelope or box.
Also for cheaper like items.. bundle bundle bundle. I’d rather sell 4 items together for $30, than 4 separate $10 items.
04/03/2018 at 9:28 am #36983
“-don’t buy anything too big or awkward in dimensions – the time it takes to pack and ship is never worth the profit.
-don’t buy anything too heavy (keep it under 2lbs) – heavier items cost more to ship, and people don’t want to spend too much money on shipping.”
Have to strenuously disagree here. 2 lbs is a HUGE limitation, that would exclude like 90% of the stuff I sell. I have buyers paying $50-150 for shipping on the regular.
Sure, there are some items like fine china that always seem to break. But on the whole, you can pack anything with big boxes and liberally applied 1/2″ bubble wrap. It’s not that hard.
Example: a few months ago I sold an Optelec Clearview magnifying viewer, and shipped it. Bubble wrap and box probably cost me $10, and about an hour to pack. Sold for $750, profit was $483. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever packed, but was it worth it? For $483 an hour? Yep.
OK, that was an unusually good sale. A more bread & butter heavy sale: back in October I sold a broken microtome (weight: 63 lbs) for $90 + $120 shipping.
Kerosene heater, 16″ x 16″ x 20″, sold for $425 plus $174 shipping.
Printer tray sold for $95 + $160 shipping.
Vacuum cleaner $500 + $90 shipping.
Optics rail $200 + $90 shipping.
Ceiling fan $250 + $130 shipping.
Old copper switchboard (wall hanger) $150 + $110 shipping.
Waterski $80 + $94 shipping.
Buyers will pay shipping for good items!
One caveat: you have to be VERY sure you won’t get a return on these kind of things.
04/03/2018 at 10:01 am #36989
The return issue is what has kept me away from heavy items on eBay – also, I find it easier to sell those items on local classified websites where shipping isn’t an issue and buyers can check out the item in person before deciding against it.
I’ve been burned a few times with ridiculous INAD cases on heavy items where I’ve eaten the shipping costs on very heavy items. Personally, if I have to take a $10 or even $20 loss on shipping I can handle it. When it is over $50, and sometimes over $100, I can’t take the risk. Hence why I only ship lighter items. It just angers me too much to lose the shipping costs (and be asked to cover return shipping) and it isn’t worth the stress.
However, it looks like you are successful in the larger/heavier items.
04/03/2018 at 9:34 am #36985
As far as profit goes, that’s a very complicated equation.
Generally I look for:
-Sale price $50+
-Sale price/buy price ratio 4+
-Interesting to me personally is a tiebreaker
-Quantity has to be evaluated differently, it magnifies both the potential risk and the potential reward…
04/03/2018 at 10:05 am #36990
Quantity is an interesting factor. It saves a lot of listing time, as well when you can bundle a listing the potential profit is better for the time spent listing and packing.
I’ve had a lot of success on blank media lately (old VHS/Beta/Hi-8 tapes, audio cassette tapes, older floppy diskettes, etc) where selling them individually would be a struggle, however, in quantity they are good profit.
04/03/2018 at 11:52 am #36999T-SattParticipant
Ingle, love your rules. We go heavier than 2lbs, but we do consider the shipping cost in our thoughts. I don’t like the Shipping Cost to be too much compared to the sale price in case of returns.
So $4 shipping on a $20 item, no problem. $4 shipping on a $10 item, problem.
My biggest rules are 4x Sales Price to Purchase Price, and at the WORST, $10 profit (and even then, only if I get desperate for inventory). These are on items that are quick to list (clothes). Veronica has raised her game on this since her items are longer to list, so her line is higher than $10 these days.
04/03/2018 at 12:03 pm #37000EdwardParticipant
- Location: Orlando, FL
I don’t think the shipping cost is an issue for many buyers, especially if they really want the item. My wife sold a Budweiser frogs beer mug to someone on Shetland Island in the UK. Mug sold for $8 and shipping to the GSP center in KY was almost $10 for the buyer, Who knows what the rest of shipping will be to their island in the North Atlantic, north of Scotland.
The wall art piece I mentioned in my call will have a shipping price of around $150-200 because of size and weight. I estimate it will be 6ft x 3ft and 26 lbs boxed. I still need to determine best method of packing and which shipper to use before I list.
04/03/2018 at 12:16 pm #37001T-SattParticipant
Edward: I agree with that part (that the buyers don’t mind). And since we are GSP now, our shipping cost is still only to get the item to Kentucky.
We just consider that if the shipping cost is too much of a percentage of the overall price, and it is something that has a chance of being returned (some flaws, clothing, shoes, etc.), then we risk having low margins if we have to pay for a return. It is not a game changer, but we do think it through.
So if it is a $50 item, and the cost to ship is $20, we know that we are taking a risk of losing money if we have to pay for return shipping. If it is new, or in excellent condition, and not a high return risk, then no issue. But if it has some flaws, not in great condition, and we have to deal with a potential INAD case (or we go to free return shipping, something we are implementing now on clothing), then we consider the risk.
So, not an avoidance of risk. But we manage that risk.
04/03/2018 at 2:03 pm #37019
As someone who buys using GSP often – I LOVE GSP!
I don’t think many Americans realize how many options they have for buying “stuff” and the selection they have that other countries don’t have. I just live over the border in Canada, and as a 6’5″ guy with size 17 feet, to actually have a choice of clothes and shoes from the U.S. is amazing!
The retail landscape here has very few players compared to the U.S. – including online. Take advantage of it as a seller with GSP.
The one example I like to use is T-Shirts – I wear a 3XLT shirt – here in Canada, I can get them for $45 each for a brand you never heard of. On eBay with GSP, I can buy heavyweight Hanes or other major brands for just under or over $10. With GSP, the shirt may be over $20 all in with shipping and duty, but still, I’m getting a “deal”, plus brand and color options I can’t get normally.
04/03/2018 at 2:23 pm #37021SigiliniParticipant
Inglewood, when I hear Canada and size 17 feet together, all I can think of is Giant MacAskill! I saw his tiny house and his large bed. (c:
To back up your point, all of the sudden we are getting a lot of buyers from Canada and they totally don’t mind the shipping fees — at least the ones that actually purchased from us.
However, I will have to disagree with you about size and shape. I shipped this item to Canada just a couple of weeks ago: https://www.ebay.com/itm/162908601491 (paid about 4.00 for it)
I made several larges item sales that were completely worth it though I 100% agree they were horrible to pack!
04/03/2018 at 5:03 pm #37031
My thinking is that being willing to ship annoying items is a competitive advantage, inasmuch as other sellers won’t touch the stuff, so it’s rarer on ebay and cheaper to source.
Returns are a risk, and I’ve eaten a couple big refunds. But drastically outweighed by the profits. For heavy stuff, I am extra careful to test it and generally list as “for parts” if there is any lingering doubt.
Plus lugging these damn things around is the only exercise I have time for! 😉
04/03/2018 at 6:48 pm #37035Mark SParticipant
Seems like a lot of people have a difference of opinion about what is too big.
I think we each have to set our own limits and stick to them. That is the key. If you can handle storing and shipping the big stuff, do it. But, stuff that is too big for you to easily store and ship. You will ignore it and it will take up a lot of room you do not have.
Know your limits and stick to it!
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