Tagged: extreme scavenging
10/30/2017 at 9:36 am #24562
This we want to know your most extreme scavenging confession (and we share ours). Jay shares how he sometimes feels like a soulless zombie in Goodwill
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 332: Share Your Extreme Scavenging Confession]
10/30/2017 at 10:58 am #24564
Hah, great stories.
So last year I went on my annual duck hunting trip with my Uni friend. On the way back, driving the family RV, I stupidly neglected to fill up, because uh, I like the adrenalin rush of driving on fumes? IDEK.
So I had to pull over on a township road about 30 km from town. My wife had to bring me a jerry can, my son was thrilled to “rescue” me. Then she drove back and I followed.
On the way back, she flagged me down. She had hit a bird. So we drove back, then went slowly along the shoulder till we spotted a nice plump grouse. Jumped out, threw it in the back and went home… it was bigger than any of my ducks, and delicious. 🙂
This week has been absolutely brutal for sales. I got $500 in offers, but I am holding out for more on those items (toner cartridges), so I countered and did not get a sale.
Sales: CAD$63, 1 item (AIEEEEEEEE)
Gross profit: $48
Net profit: -$7
Listings: 2, $50
10/30/2017 at 12:08 pm #24571
I know a guy who picks up fresh road kill for food. Deer meat is actually better when its been sitting out in the cold for a couple days.
10/30/2017 at 12:20 pm #24575
I am not a hunter but had a good friend who did hunt all the time. I brought up road kill one time as free meat and he said “Oh no”. That when an animal has been hit by blunt force that all the capillaries burst in the area and it “bleeds” into the surrounding area. Those small blood vessels filled with blood spoil and turn bad quickly. He also said that rigor mortis begins to set in at about 2 hours plus and that many areas through out the body start changing and stiffening. That all meat from those areas and the muscle tissue should not be eaten. He said that fresh butchered meat is just that, “fresh”. So, he seemed to be convincing so I wasn’t going to challenge on those points.
I don’t know if that is true and guess the hunters here may be able to shed light on the truth to eating meat that has been hit by a car or truck and dead for a few hours. His story made it just sound to “funeral like” for me to want to throw a dead animal up on my car, tote it home, string it up in the driveway and start gutting it so I could keep and freeze the carcass meat. Uggh! Give me the “Old Antique Mall” smell of grungy old vintage items any day.
mike in Atlanta
10/30/2017 at 3:40 pm #24584
I couldn’t speak to big game but our bird was fine – think we just whacked its head, didn’t run it over.
I believe here you technically need a permit for harvesting roadkill… I do know a guy who runs a local secondhand goods store I pick at, and prepares game meat as a sideline, maybe I’ll ask him next time. “Uh, asking for a friend…”
11/01/2017 at 11:27 am #24693
You aren’t wrong there. I have never done road kill, but based on the harvesting and butchering that I have done on our own deer & elk, you have to avoid the areas that have a lot of blood (which is why we work hard for 1-shot kills), as that meat is not good. I would suspect road kill has SOME good meat, but not nearly as much as when we dress out what we hunt.
10/30/2017 at 9:36 pm #24599
In Alaska it is a very serious crime to take roadkill. If you hit a moose or anything edible you have to contact the State Troopers. They then give it to individuals or charities on their list of the needy who are willing to butcher it on a moments notice. Nothing goes to waste in Alaska!
10/30/2017 at 11:09 am #24565
Despite my dismal sales, I did have a scavenging success last week, but not for resale. Found 5 new-in-box sous vide machines for CAD$40 each in a thrift (usually these are $100+). I bought one because a coworker had raved about the method, and my wife tried it on some meat last week. We loved it so much, 2 days later I returned and bought the rest – 1 extra for us and 3 for Christmas presents.
You guys have no idea how great meat (and veggies etc.) turns out when you cook it this way… PERFECTLY even throughout, restaurant quality every time. Only thing worries me is heating so much of our food in plastic… but we ordered some silicone bags to that end.
10/30/2017 at 11:28 am #24566
Total Items in Store: 892
Items Sold: 15
Cost of Items Sold: $52
Total Sales: $492.34
Highest Price Sold: $100 13“ TV VCR Combo
Average Price Sold: $32.82
Average Profit: $29.36
Bummed because I had a $100 shoe purchase cancellation. Boo!
I can’t really think of an “extreme” scavenging confession other than my creative lying when buying at yard sales. Maybe reading other folks responses here will jog my memory (or remind me how weird I didn’t know I was- lol!).
I’ve mentioned on here before that I repair and collect vintage arcade and pinball machines. We since we moved 5 years ago we never set back up a gameroom in the new house. All my machines have just been rotting out in the garage since we moved. Well yesterday my wife got inspired and laid out a plan for me to do some rearranging and start the conversion of the ebay room to the gameroom.
Hey, when your wife asks you to move arcade games into the house and she is serious you make it happen! I was able to move one pinball and two video games in and still maintain my ebay space for the most part.
Now that I’m committed to the move I’ll end up converting the garage to 100% ebay business. I’ll need a good heater out there for the winter and will put in a window AC for the summer. This is so exciting to finally committing to making the move!
I tried including a photo.
10/30/2017 at 11:29 am #24567
10/30/2017 at 12:07 pm #24570
Wow, that’s a serious game room!
10/31/2017 at 8:39 am #24618
10/31/2017 at 3:57 pm #24652
Thanks! I have 2 more pinballs, 4 video games, and a plush crane machine still out there. Only two of those are 100% confirmed to make the move inside. I also have a solid wood pub booth I got at an auction. The booth was from this awesome old eatery in Huntington that was in an old railway station.
All of my arcade collection was built on the back of my scavenger mentality. I think you folks here can appreciate this: I have ZERO dollars tied up in my arcade collection. I’ve always bought machines in less than stellar condition for cheap and then restored them. Then I sell the ones I don’t want.
I’ve bought lots of parts and then sold them off individually. I’ve bought parts to repair and resell – trackballs being a big one there. I also do repair work for others. I service and machines to a local pizza chain and get paid quite well for my time there. I also have keys to all their machines and play for free whenever I take my family there to eat.
I’ve had people over in my gameroom before and they asked me how much it all set me back and I honestly explain to them that I have nothing in it but I usually get the “wink wink nod nod, I’ll play along for your wife so you don’t get in trouble” reaction. Most people just don’t understand that hobbies can be investment neutral, if you put in the sweat equity.
11/01/2017 at 11:28 am #24694
Wow! I want to visit!
10/30/2017 at 12:09 pm #24572
Hat tip to the caller with the cool vacuum tube. That was one of my favourite sales, a giant vacuum tube from a radio station, sold for $150 I think.
10/30/2017 at 1:38 pm #24577
I only dumpster dive for packing materials but I’ve found a lot more than that in those iron boxes.
At World Market they throw out expired food and some of its pretty interesting stuff and always good. I once brought home 12 bags of tortilla chips.
At a Pier 1 I found a huge round framed mirror.
I will dig to the bottom of the dumpster at the Ford dealership for the blue plastic backed foam wrap, I use it all the time, best thing I’ve found for shipping fragile items.
10/30/2017 at 1:42 pm #24578
Oct 22-28 2017 $1470
• Total Items in Store: 858
• Items Sold: 23 (21 ebay / 2 Bonanza)
• International 0
• Total Sales $1470 ($1240 eBay/ $230 Bonanza)
• Highest Price $300 vintage speakers
• Average Price Sold: $64
• Returns: 0
• Cost of Items Sold: $204
• Cost of items purchased this week $50
Garage sales are still happening, I went to few on Friday, seems better stuff and not as many shoppers in the cooler weather.
I have way too much stuff unlisted to even be considering buying more but with winter just around the corner, pickin’s will soon be slim, I can cram a bit more in without exploding.
10/30/2017 at 1:44 pm #24579
Do you think there’s a limit to how many old speakers and stereos you can find within 300 miles of your house? I imagine that your area is not heavily populated (compared to the coasts), so it’s incredible that you keep finding them.
10/30/2017 at 2:09 pm #24580
I’m not finding the garage or house full of stereos like I have in the past lately, just individual components.
It seems every week there are new listings on CL but I’m getting more particular, with the experience now of a few years, I can better judge the equipment and what kind of time I’m willing to put in to get them ready for sale.
As with everything now, I aggressively look for the home run sale of $200 and up.
10/30/2017 at 2:20 pm #24581
Do you think what you seek will run out in your area? Curious if a motivated scavenger could scoop up all the inventory in a region.
10/30/2017 at 2:29 pm #24582
This is kind of a weird area, I can find all sorts of cool mid century stuff, it gets passed over a lot at auctions, and I get it real cheap.
Trying to sell MCM on CL is a bust mostly so all the larger items I’ve found have become part of my home like floor lamps and furniture.
I know there are a few people who are looking for stereos like I do but often I’m the first to inquire.
I’ve become friends with the proprietor of a used vinyl record store who has people bring in the coolest stereo gear and he gets it cheap, he sells it but it’s not a big part of his store and I’ve gotten a few pieces from him. I guess that’s an advantage of a brick and mortar store, people know where you are when they’re ready to sell.
I just don’t feel there are as many eBay resellers here, lots of garage sales and antique malls with slow changing inventories so I don’t fear a scavenger swooping in to grab all the good stuff available.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by Steven S.
10/30/2017 at 11:02 pm #24602Anonymous
Steven, with all the high-end electronics you sell, have you had anyone pull a switch & return? Can you share any strategies you have for avoiding that kind of fraud?
10/31/2017 at 8:19 am #24613
I’ve never had it happen.
I’m not sure why other than it likely isn’t a widespread practice.
I do price my stuff high and I take very detailed photos so perhaps scammers are less likely to risk the money.
10/31/2017 at 8:51 am #24624
I of corse want more data from sellers who say the “bait and switch” is a widespread problem.
Often I feel that a seller has a single bad experience (which happens to all sellers), and suddenly it clouds their vision where all buyers suddenly become scammers forever.
For every grumpy buyer who seems unreasonable, we always remember that there’s another 5000 buyers who we sell to without any issue at all.
10/31/2017 at 4:21 pm #24654Anonymous
I guess the risk of losses on high-end, non-unique items is what gives me nerves. As we’ve seen from Steven’s sales, even piece-parts of some electronics are worth $$. But unless I’m missing something, I don’t see why a seller couldn’t just take up the matter with the police or postal service.
11/01/2017 at 11:31 am #24695
10/30/2017 at 3:55 pm #24585DoublythumbsParticipant
- Location: Hopedale, OH
Total Items in Store: 762
Items Sold: 11
Total Sales (Gross Profit): $414
Highest Price: $130 (Griswold Cast Iron No. 8 Waffle Iron)
Average Price: $38
Cost of Items Sold: $127
Costs of Items Purchased this Week: $0
Hey! What a coincidence! I just bought an Instant Pot last week! I’ve only done some “baked” potatoes in it so far, but I’m really excited to try new recipes. I might try rice tonight to see if it does just as good of a job as my Zojirushi did before it got ruined in the flood.
So I didn’t have a bad week last week, but it doesn’t even come close to the previous week. But I can’t complain… I’m making money. And I finally visited a local CPA to discuss my business. It was a pretty positive meeting. He said I was doing great in terms of keeping track of my numbers and milage. It’s too late to pay quarterly taxes but next year I’ll start doing it.
I had to scope this Sharp Shopper out. It looks like the closest one to us is just north of Pittsburgh and is set to open around February. I’ll have to check it out! I just need a deep freezer and I’ll be set.
10/30/2017 at 5:03 pm #24587AndrewParticipant
- Location: Pennsylvania
Have to say that I enjoyed hearing the stories of extreme scavenging. I’ve had a bad ebay week, and this was a good pick me up as I listed today.
My extreme scavenge was picking up 4 dozen boxes of donuts from a Crispy Creme’s trash. This was like at 1 in the morning in Manhattan. I got approached by a security guard at the time, but he accepted a box of donuts to look the other way.
I took the donuts to a meeting the next morning and everyone was thrilled to have donuts even though they were old. I just said they were from a friend. This was a student meeting when I was in school, so there were no real connoisseurs in the group.
As I said this week has been pretty bad for me on Ebay. It was slow in terms of sales, and I got my first negative feedback.
The negative came because we had a group of 6 packages stolen from our porch. The 1st time since started shipping regularly over a year ago. We sent emails to everyone explaining what happened, and then canceled the orders. The negative was from someone who obviously never saw the email and said we canceled the order with no explanation.
So the bummer of having packages stolen was then compounded. Needless to say it got me a bit down.
But, although I don’t have this weeks numbers to post, I do know that October has been my best month yet. Grossed just under 2200 so far. So, focusing on the positive!
10/30/2017 at 6:29 pm #24588
I feel your pain. Some months back 3 packages were stolen off my porch. I ended up with a late shipment out of the deal and one of the buyers tried to extort $10 from me to keep from giving a negative feedback.
If you haven’t done so, it’s worth a shot to see if the buyer is willing to reverse the negative feedback.
Congrats on the Donuts. 4 dozen Crispy Cremes… way too much temptation.. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
10/31/2017 at 8:42 am #24620
did you call ebay to get that negative taken away? they should remove that.
11/01/2017 at 5:55 pm #24726AndrewParticipant
- Location: Pennsylvania
Ryanne..Thank You! I had wondered about it, but then convinced myself there was nothing to do. Thanks to your encouragement, I just called EBay and they will remove it!
11/01/2017 at 6:39 pm #24733
nice! glad to hear that. they take feedback extortion seriously, esp if it’s all documented in the inbox messages.
10/30/2017 at 7:23 pm #24589Rydell RelicsParticipant
RR Store Week Oct 22-28, 2017
Total Items in Store: 1,425
Items Sold: 34
Cost of Items Sold: $48.76
Total Sales: $666.24
Highest Price Sold: $76.49 (vintage 80’s Jabba The Hutt playset)
Average Price Sold: $19.60
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $10
Number of items listed this week: 34
Halloween is my favorite time of year, so this week I took some time to enjoy it. I didn’t list as much as usual, and as a consequence, I sold less. Also, the estate sales and thrifts were a bust this week, so not a lot of new inventory coming in to list. Well, there’s always this weekend. Gotta roll with it and stay positive.
I wish I had some great scavenger stories, but mine are pretty dull. If I’m at an estate sale and I don’t know the staff, I’ll feign ignorance if they ask me about a purchase. “I don’t know, I just think it looks cool” is a common phrase I use.
One thing I’m getting better about is parting things out. The counter guy at my local liquor store knows I know my records, so he showed me a box of 45s he picked up for $20 bucks. I grimaced as I thumbed through them. Mostly boring 1950’s easy listening titles, nothing worth much. He shrugged and gave me the whole box for free. I was going to take them in to my local record store, maybe get a couple of bucks from them. Then I got inspired and took the lot apart. I listed 10 vintage plastic adapter inserts and sold them for $5 bucks. I lotted together six red vinyl singles and listed them as “decor”. Another $5 bucks. I listed about eight of the singles for $5 bucks each. I even listed the record holder book. Normally I wouldn’t bother with $5 dollar listings, but records are so quick and easy for me to list. All in all, free money!
10/30/2017 at 8:31 pm #24593ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Total Items in Store: 455
Items Sold: 10
Cost of Items Sold: $116 + $13 free shipping
Total Sales: $294
Highest Price Sold: $63 two new dog art plates, paid $22 last week
Average Price Sold: $29
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $20
Number of items listed this week: 13
Slow week but Sunday was good again. I don’t really have a good scavenging story but I love to pick up overlooked household cleaning products at estate sales.
Treated myself to a rummage sale (one of the big annual 3) and it was kind of a bust. Not much older vintage stuff, more newer items, lots of shoppers, prices fairly high. I felt a bit zombie like in there. Also had a garage sale with my friend, which was hoppin’. I purged about 6 boxes of unlisted used stuff that was bulky, unbranded, or regrettable rookie picks and mostly got what I sourced it for. I decided sometimes I used to go a bit past granny chic right into too granny. I also found another box of vintage Christmas items to list while I was going through things. Now I need to reorganize a bit the unlisted items in storage. There’s some room on the shelves! Still plenty of backlog though.
Had my second real customer issue of all time. I can’t get this person to answer my messages. It involved a item that broke in storage and I’m working on a solution.
With Halloween events and continuing education seminar, it’s not looking good for listing this week. Boo. Happy Halloween! I can’t wait to watch Stranger Things 2 later.
10/30/2017 at 8:44 pm #24595
Week of Oct 22-28
* Total Items in Store: 1104
* Items Sold: 17
* Cost of Items Sold: $186.65 + $7 Commission
* Total Sales: $1041.17
* Highest Price Sold: $550 Karastan wool rug 12′ x 8’6”
* Average Price Sold: $61.24; $30.70 w/o rug
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $34.50 at auction
* Number of items listed this week: 28
Yowza! Biggest week and biggest sale for me ever. Obviously boosted by the rug, but also I had a few other bigger sales. As far as the rug goes, I’m very happy with the sale, but it was actually a mistake to buy. It was too huge and heavy (about 75 pounds) for me to deal with, and I’ve been tripping over it for the past 8 or so months.
I also had an issue with shipping. I had the rug listed with Fed Ex Ground, but I wasn’t able to print out a label. I called ebay, and I was told that I couldn’t buy a FedEx Ground label through ebay for something over 70 pounds that goes to a residence. This was an issue because I pass on the ebay FedEx discount to the customer, which I don’t get through the FedEx website. I was told that I have to call PayPal and file a discrepancy charge in order to get a refund for the difference. I haven’t done it yet, but what a pain!
I’m trying to think of scavenging stories, but I don’t remember anything too interesting. I do remember back in my younger days, when I was a bit more carefree, I had a party where I had rented a quarter keg. I had a little left beer in the keg at the end, so I put it in a pitcher in the refrigerator. I then brought it to another party a few days later. I wasn’t aware that beer gets stale pretty easily, so, yeh, it had to be thrown out. I guess this is an unsuccessful scavenger story.
I do take lots of hand-me-down stuff. Years ago, my parents decided to sell the house I grew up in and move permanently into their FL retirement home. They shipped me lots of furniture that we really needed since we had moved into a larger house.
A few years ago, my aunt and uncle decided to get rid of my grandma’s and my uncle’s mother’s belongings that they had been keeping in storage. My cousins didn’t want anything, so my sister and I split the stuff between the two of us. My husband and I never signed up for china when we got married, but now we have a set of Noritake. We got a second set of regular dishes that have a real cool retro vibe, because they are retro, probably from the 60’s or 70’s. Lots of other stuff as well
10/30/2017 at 8:48 pm #24596NancyParticipant
Jay and Ryanne wasn’t there an issue with business practices and bulk editing in the past?
I don’t have any good extreme scavenger stories but I liked hearing yours 🙂
10/31/2017 at 8:47 am #24623
Yeah, we forgot why we didnt lke Business Policies. We’re doing another experiment in the smaller store to see if we like them now.
10/30/2017 at 8:49 pm #24597IndySalesParticipant
Total Items in Store: 174
Items Sold: 15
Cost of Items Sold: I break COGS down at the end of the month. Guessing $65 – $70
Total Sales: $336.54
Highest Price Sold: $29.99 (Homedics Percussion Massager)
Average Price Sold: $22.44
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 12
Interesting sale: Damaged Texas Instruments calculator that I was waiting to find some replacement parts for, but decided to toss up for $25 after letting it sit for a number of months. Gone in under half an hour.
Plans this week: I’ll be going through all my “long tail” listings and making adjustments as I see fit. I plan to switch some of them over to auctions so I can reinvest in faster-moving inventory.
Well, I definitely can’t top cooking up road kill…
10/30/2017 at 9:44 pm #24601BethGreenParticipant
- Location: Ohio
My numbers for the week of 10/22/17:
Total Items in Store: 108
Items Sold: 13
Cost of Items Sold: $66
Total Sales: $561 + shipping
Highest Price Sold: $152.50 (Lot of Legos)
Average Price Sold: $43.15
While my gross sales are higher than October of last year, it is only because my average selling price is higher. The number of items I sold is actually 20% down for the month compared with Oct 2016, which explains why I don’t feel happy with the numbers. Several categories I sell in are getting absolutely flooded with Chinese sellers. I used to do very well with pre-owned Halloween costumes. For the past two years I’ve hardly ever bought them (unless very special). They don’t even get seen. I’m feeling the results of these no longer profitable seasonal items. Lego minifigure listings are also swarming with fakes labeled “custom”. Arrgh!
I have “potentially” had my biggest sale ever on this past Sunday. I found a Herman Miller Fiberglass Shell Chair on a local FB group and bought it for $20. On Sunday I accepted an offer of $500 for it, Local Pickup. But the buyer has not paid yet. He contacted me, saying he though he would come over the weekend but wasn’t sure he could (he lives 11.5 hrs away), then asking if I could ship it. I directed him to Uship, Plycon shippers. I feel like it is 50/50 whether he will pay or is going to back out. Fingers crossed.
Jay & Ryanne, any results from your Auction experiment?
10/31/2017 at 8:29 am #24616
Great sale on the chair if it goes through.
I recently acquired a fabric covered HM shell chair with a swivel base for $25 but it looks so good in my house I’m reluctant to sell, maybe I’ll price it at $600 and it’ll be here for awhile.
10/31/2017 at 8:47 am #24622
Our 6 auctions end in three days. We’ll have an update on the next podcast. So far, not a single bid.
10/30/2017 at 11:38 pm #24603
My scavenger story? Once we bought a big old World’s Fair 1904 3 story home in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, built by the city’s first postmaster. It was quite a bit larger than our previous ranch in the burbs at 5000 square feet, So I started hitting garage sales, thrifts and estate sales to furnish it over the five years we lived there. When we decided to sell the money pit (the buyers did an $800K rehab on it) I had my own estate sale to get rid of everything I no longer wanted and didn’t want to pay to move. I called my friends to come and help me hold the 2 day sale. I made $6K selling the stuff I had bought for much less to begin with, and the sale cost me nothing but the ad in the newspaper. Not to mention that we just about doubled our money on the sale of the house come to think of it. Sometimes things just work out.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by Linda Shields.
10/31/2017 at 10:00 am #24640
5000 square feet is pretty large for a 1904 home! What makes it a World’s Fair house?
10/31/2017 at 1:17 pm #24645
It’s an area of homes that were built by famous architects during the St. Louis World’s Fair for the well to do and foreign visitors coming to the fair. Ours was a modest one compared to most, which were upwards of 10-20K sq ft. With detached carriage houses. A couple of blocks away was the house used to film Meet Me in St. louis with Judy Garland. Many famous whiskey barons and celebrities have lived there over the years. However the downside is that they are extremely expensive to maintain and heat/cool. Just solid brick walls with lathe and plaster. The radiators couldn’t warm the house if it got below zero. It had the original knob and tube wiringnwhich was scary. Original plumbing. Etc etc. And the crime is bad there. We could walk to Forest Park and the zoo, but I wouldn’t leave the house on foot without my dog. The recent protests where they were throwing bricks through the mayor’s windows every night was just across the street four houses away from our former home. We are glad to be gone, although we miss a lot of good things about it.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by Linda Shields.
10/31/2017 at 12:00 am #24605ManateejaqParticipant
No ‘extreme’ scavenging stories that I can think of, but if I remember one I’ll swing back. 🙂
October 22nd – 28th 2017
Total items in store: Etsy 435 // Ebay 546 (Items not crossposted I list different types of things on Etsy and Ebay)
Items Sold: Etsy 8 // Ebay 11
Cost of items Sold: Etsy $21.92 // Ebay $28.21
Total Sales: Etsy $113.80 // Ebay $136.64
Highest Price Sold: Alegria shoes $29
Average Price Sold: $13.18
Number of items listed this week: 71 (listed at $1,119)
Wow, this was a really bad week for sales for my shop. 🙁 I feel like I did a good job listing this week though, so I am happy with that.
10/31/2017 at 1:45 am #24610mickdogParticipant
- Location: Portland, OR
One scavenger confession story from 15 years ago was when I worked at a medical company start-up. One day I went in the break room to get a coffee mug out of the cupboard and I noticed there were two Fiesta retired lilac mugs (like this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fiesta-RETIRED-LILAC-Coffee-Tea-Mug/172884779247?hash=item2840bc60ef:g:8aoAAOSwy3NZYtQG) mixed in with the all the other hodgepodge of mugs in that cabinet. I went home that night, got two cheap mugs from my house and switched out the mugs the next day. I wasn’t selling on ebay at the time or I’d probably have listed them in a second. They instead went in my personal mug collection and still are there today. I did feel a tiny bit guilty, but I worked there for another year and no one seemed to notice or care.
10/31/2017 at 8:53 am #24625
I doubt anyone even noticed. That’s cool that you switched out the mugs though!
10/31/2017 at 2:34 am #24611dearmilaParticipant
Oct 22 – Oct 28, 2017
Total Items in Store: 337
Items Sold: 23
Cost of Items Sold: approx. $23
Total Sales: $ 325.35 (excluding shipping costs) + $25 on Etsy = 350.35
Highest Price Sold: $32 (VTG purse)
Average Price Sold: $14.15
Returns: 1 (issue w/ item – my fault for missing flaw)
International Sales: 0
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $50.30
Number of items listed this week: 25
Steady sales daily last week, hovering around $50 a day… half my goal, but still, glad it’s been steady. I attribute it mostly to making sure new listings go up every single day. Trying to beef up my listing muscles by upping daily listing goal each week. Last week it was 3-4, this week it will be 5 new listings going up each day. Thank you for the podcast!
10/31/2017 at 8:54 am #24626
The road cheeseburger wins in a landslide! All bow to the scavenger queen Ryanne! I loved the whole story – I was dying from laughter. You guys make my day every Monday. Thanks!
I guess my grossest scavenger pickup was around 2008 or 2009. A buddy told me there was an arcade game just sitting by the railroad tracks in Huntington. I hopped in my SUV to take a look. It was a Championship Sprint, which is a fairly valuable game. It had obviously spent a while in the weather, as the particle board sides had roughly doubled in size. It was near a business, but set far enough away that I was fairly sure it was fair game. So we quickly tipped it into the back and off we went before anyone could question us.
Dang that thing got stinkier and stinkier as we drove back to the house! I had the sense to at least disassemble it outdoors before bringing it in the garage. There was a rats nest in the bottom and a huge ants nest in the marquee area. In the end I stripped it of all valuable parts and threw the cabinet on the burn pile. I made about $400 selling the parts, so that worked out well.
As for food scavenging, I’m not big on it. It always bugs me seeing people leave large amounts of food untouched at restaurants. What a waste! One time at a pizza place I was in a mood and I did grab some pizza the next table left and brought it over to our table. Why is it that this would be considered gross in my mind, but if I was at the restaurant with these strangers it would be normal to share a pizza with them? The fact I don’t know them makes it taboo. We have a lot of screwed up, wasteful stigmas in this country.
10/31/2017 at 9:28 am #24630InglewoodParticipant
I use to live in a city in the early 2000’s that practically had a scavenger week every single year in the spring. The city was about 80,000 people.
For this particular week, the garbage limits were lifted and you can throw out anything to the curb (bulk items, unlimited piles of junk) – and some people cleaned out their whole house, and many interested items were found just driving or walking around.
My biggest find from these weeks was an antique dining set that has been dated to the 1880’s – it was in rough/painted shape when I found it, but I restored it. I used it for over 10 years until I recently sold it for $3000.
One year a guy had a vintage Coke machine and cooler on his curb – I took it and sold it a couple hours later for $300 for the pair. I had no idea what they were really worth, but a quick flip at that profit is fine with me.
Wish they had something like this in my community now – I would during this week fill my house and yard with electronics, lawnmowers, wood furniture, toys, board games, lamps, tools, sports equipment, and lots of other goodies all for free. It would take me forever to sort through!
The city no longer has this week (sadly) and I haven’t found any other communities that have one locally either. Most areas now just have a phone in service to pick up bulk loads of junk. The old system probably eliminated lots of illegal dumping, and the amount of items going to the landfill as they would be fully scavenged for anything good before the waste management company picked it up.
10/31/2017 at 9:57 am #24638
My town has an upcycling event once a year where you can take your unwanted stuff to a large township owned parking lot. Volunteers take stuff from your car and arrange it in categories. I bring the unwanted stuff I get from auction lots.
They specifically say that you can’t take stuff for resale, but last year I took two boxes of vintage Autocad (software) manuals that I knew no one wanted. I sold both to the same person in Canada for $30-$40 each.
This year, I had a family event on the day (actually earlier this month), and I wasn’t able to make it. 🙁
10/31/2017 at 9:42 am #24635flimParticipant
Ahahahahha I had to chime in because it’s been a while. Scavenger confessions cracked me up. Yes chapstick, yes deodorant, yes food, yes shampoo and booze.
R+J, you know how the streets of New York are lined in gold for scavengers. The curbs have free books and castoffs, recycling has free boxes and bubble wrap, and trash has free food. The most recent secret scavenging was a couple of weeks ago. Those fancy home grocery delivery kits (Blue Apron, Home Chef, etc) have infiltrated even Queens. I hate them. I noticed that the building next door to me had a box sitting outside for several days in a side alley when I realized the person must have moved or didn’t know the delivery had happened. We share a driveway, so I just walked over and opened the box to see if it really was food in there. It was a week’s worth of groceries, all individually wrapped and sealed tiny bottles of staples, wrapped veggies, and *ugh* meat. I salvaged what was still OK and tossed the rest, leaving a note by the original spot that I’d refund them if they contacted me. I scored a LOT of veggies, fruits, spices, and oils. The original owner never reached out. Another day or so, the entire box would have spoiled. I figured someone should use the food rather than leave a spoiled mess. 🙂
10/31/2017 at 9:47 am #24637
NYC is really a scavenger’s dream because everyone’s business gets put on the sidewalk each week for trash day. And everyone knows it’s open season for scavenging.
good to hear from you. Hope scavenging full-time is still profitable and fun. We’ll be in NYC around XMAS again.
10/31/2017 at 10:57 am #24641Julie BParticipant
- Location: Georgia
I’ve not personally had an extreme scavenger event, but I do vividly recall from childhood, my best friend picking up used chewed up gum from off the sidewalk and putting it in her mouth! I remember her exact words, “Oh! Gum!”
I follow a dumpster diving group on Facebook although I’ve never dumpster dived (dove?). It’s amazing what dumpsters divers find just tossed away everyday by stores.
My ebay store is mostly on autopilot at this point since I’m working for an outside company on other things. I do try to list at least a few items a week.
Total Items in Store: 962
Items Sold: 19
Cost of Items Sold: $276 (I had some high dollar items I flipped so not a great ROI)
Total Sales: $931
Highest Price Sold: $180 (lot of 8 MetalGear action figures sold to buyer in Italy)
Average Price Sold: $49
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week:0
Number of items listed this week: 5
11 of the 19 items I sold this week I had purchased through retail and online arbitrage.
The ROI for such items isn’t always as great as finding used items at thrift stores to flip but it’s usually much quicker to list the items since I purchase in multiples and I’m able to find details about the items online that I can copy from (like measurements, fabric content, etc). And since I’m pressed for time these days due to other work commitments, it’s quicker for me to find the items online versus hunting through various stores and estate sales.
10/31/2017 at 1:30 pm #24646
You all are killing me with your food scavenging stories. Too funny! Ryanne’s story was a bit cheezy. (pun!) I am not that brave! I just dig for bubble wrap and boxes. In doing so I did find a couple of nice items last year (a vase and an orca figurine) that I sold for best offers of $75 each. That’s as good as I’ve scored. Other than the former estate sale.
10/31/2017 at 1:47 pm #24650
I’ve never dumpster dived for food.. However, I do love the Manager’s Special (almost expired) food at the grocery store. Last night I got lucky and bought 3 loaves of bread, 12 glazed donuts (bakery), a pint of ice cream and a pound of ham for the sum of $5.65..
Life is good.
11/01/2017 at 11:43 am #24696
Amen there. We don’t eat a lot of bread, but when we need it, I can get the older stuff cheap in the clearance section and freeze it. I NEVER go through the grocery store without hitting the clearance area.
Similar for salads. I find a lot of salads that are close to expiring for dirt cheap. Buy and eat that night…
10/31/2017 at 3:34 pm #24651omfugParticipant
When I lived in LA, I found stuff by the side of the road (no food however, LOL) we picked up 2 dog bone 50’s sofas on the curb, had them recovered and made about a grand on them. Up here, I got a couple of vintage tonka fire trucks off a trash pile and sold the pair for nearly $200, but nothing really interesting seems to show up on the side of the road here. I’m truly bummed about my local auction house which I have relied on for several years for stock, they just up and went out of business with no warning…ebay, which was doing pretty well for me last week, completely crashed–sales down over 50%! I am listing so I haven’t a clue what the issue it. Etsy remains my better venue, I typically do better after Christmas when people are buying for themselves.
10/31/2017 at 4:31 pm #24655amandawParticipant
You mentioned Productivity in the podcast this week so I thought I would share with everyone this one sheet that I have used to organize my to do list. It has help me so much to keep from getting overwhelmed.
10/31/2017 at 4:42 pm #24656Anonymous
My extreme scavenging confession is a sin of omission: back in the early 80s, a friend of mine who I’d jam with on guitar was recording on some second-hand reel-to-reel tapes he’d gotten from the father a friend of ours. Seems the father had hosted a public-affairs show on local, commercial-free radio in the 60s. Well, turns out the tapes contained several hours of interviews the guy had recorded with Martin Luther King Jr. As far as I know, those were the only copies of the interviews. And even though I suspected a unique piece of history was being irrevocably destroyed, I did nothing to stop it. Ouch.
10/31/2017 at 6:37 pm #24659
I joined just so I could confess my scavenge that I can’t tell anyone else about. One day I was out driving around looking for boxes and packing material for Ebay when I happened on what must have been eviction stuff sitting on a curb for the trash truck. I stopped to look and I discovered an absolute treasure-trove of vacuum sealed bags of Starbucks whole bean coffee. I also found a couple of Starbucks aprons and hats (Ebayed those), but the real treasure was the coffee. I was loading up my car when some lady across the street started yelling at me. She was like “do you live here??” and stood there watching. I didn’t want an audience while I was curbside shopping so I left. I’ll never know what was in the rest of the boxes and bins. I ended up with an entire year’s worth of whole bean Starbucks coffee! It must have been the free bags the baristas can take home every week. I was so sad when it ran out and I had to start buying it again. I guess this counts as eating (drinking?) from the trash lol.
10/31/2017 at 8:01 pm #24663
Wow! I would have gone back that evening to get the rest!
Bags of whole coffee beans is an ultimate score.
10/31/2017 at 8:12 pm #24664
Yeah I totally should have gone back. The last bin I was looking through before the angry granny started watching me had box upon box of that Starbucks Via stuff on top and who knows what down below. It was like a Starbucks threw up on the curb. I still wonder what I missed lol.
11/01/2017 at 3:49 am #24673skydogParticipant
Enjoyed your game room post, Retro.
At one time, as a Realtor, I represented 4-5 major banks by listing and selling their foreclosed properties in my area. People routinely leave some valuable items when they move out. Part of my job was arranging the clean up of these homes. BUT, I would walk through and take anything of value I wanted. We found nearly new ladders, furniture, kitchen items and even a one gram gold bar (about $85). We used to take the books to half price books, and put a few larger items on CL (this was before my ebay experience, or I would have really made some money!). Once I found a non-working pinball machine in otherwise excellent condition. My teenaged sons and I loaded it into the van, and took it to a guy who fixes machines part time. It cost about $50 to get it repaired. My eldest son still has it.
Week of Oct. 23-29th, 2017
Total Items in Store: 495
Items Sold: 22
Cost of Items Sold: $72
Total Sales: $575*
Highest Price Sold: $60
Average Price Sold: $26.13*
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $23
Number of items listed this week: 30
*does not include shipping charges (paid by buyer)
In the last 10 days, I have been notified of 4 returns-all did not fit! Ouch! 2 shoes, 2 belts. The belts are really head scratching, since we measure each one-I mean, how hard is it to measure your own waist? But, I know some buyers purchase off the listing headline and never read down to the measurements. I’m hoping 1 or 2 will decide it isn’t worth the hassle to return things.
11/01/2017 at 9:28 am #24680ThriftShiftParticipant
- Location: Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Items sold: 44
Total sales: $914.69
Highest: $92 for stained Burberry trench coat
Confession: three weeks ago I was at MY church’s bazaar; I love church sales. I bought a 1963 cardboard Barbie “new dream house” with furniture for $3. I sold it within two days for best offer of $245. Then this past Sunday one of the older church ladies asked how my 3 year was enjoying the doll house, and I lied and said she loves it. Now I worry what Jackie will say to the church ladies if they ask her about it this next Sunday! Jackie will take her pretend phone and put her stuffed animals on my photo background boards and say “cheese you’re on eBay”. She also tells me not to sell certain things in the house, like the couch. Will see this Sunday…
11/01/2017 at 9:55 am #24682
Whenever I buy my 4yo son a toy or something he confirms that I’m not going to “sell it to somebody far away”.
And yeah, the number of relatives I’ve invented rivals the progeny of Chingis Khan
11/01/2017 at 10:06 am #24683SigiliniParticipant
OMG you guys are so funny!
We are new so nothing extreme to tell but I did score some good stuff on the free section of Craigs List: a vintage Sony Alarm clock (with the numbers that flip) from a guy that works for the movie studios and it was used as a prop, it did not work well and sold it for 35.00. And last week a local Estate Company did a “free day” after their sale was done. They do that so that they don’t have to pay for a dumpster and for hiring a crew to clean up. The seller told me that this way 80% of the stuff gets taken and then he cleans up the rest. I took a vintage framed black and white colorized photo, super nice, and some blow glass pendant lights and an awesome wooden chair that I will keep. And another time I got a free shredder for myself which I really need.
Jay, I PROMISE to never EVER again suggest or mention going through your inventory! I totally get that you have your successful actions and they work and no reason to fix what ain’t broken — and you would rather climb Everest in the middle of winter. Got it!
So this is kind of scavenging: I stole your extreme story but it backfired. Sometimes when my husband cannot sleep I will tell him a story to help get his mind off whatever and he will fall asleep. Usually I will think of something I did when I was a kid or a trip I took somewhere and what I saw. But it was 1AM and I could not think of ANYTHING! So finally I said, “Want to hear a Jay and Ryanne story?” I told him about the hamburger and we both cracked up so hard! And then I told him about the chapstick and that did not help at all!
And finally, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that chimes in when I cannot figure out what something is. I always think THIS time no one will know and of course I am dead wrong cause you guys know EVERYTHING!
11/01/2017 at 11:13 am #24688GompersParticipant
- Location: Connecticut
I don’t really have any extreme scavenger stories, but I have found some free stuff that I later sold.
At one garage sale they had a box at the end of the driveway full of “free stuff” it was mostly books, and instead of standing there and scanning them I just took the whole box.
I made about $100 on the books since most of them were nursing school textbooks. Some of the books were worthless though and those went in the trash.
Went to an estate sale that was mostly selling furniture at high prices. However, I found a new and still sealed VHS set of “classic movies”. It was a set of “musicals” like Oklahoma, etc. Paid $1 sold on Amazon couple weeks later for $60.
One thing I’ve learned with garage sales and estate sales is that even at the high priced ones (which we have a lot of here) I can nearly always find one thing to flip. The trick is to work thru the sale(s) fast enough to find that one thing and move on to the next sale.
Sales tend to be spread out here, so I may only be able to hit 8 – 10 in one day.
11/01/2017 at 11:18 am #24689IdahoarderParticipant
Store Week 10/22/17 – 10/28/17
Total items in store: 1602
Items sold: 21
Cost of items sold: $25.81
Total sales: $757.44
Highest price sold: $80.00 (It was a tie between a Pepsi hat and a set of vtg. Gym locker baskets)
Average price sold: $36.07
International Sales: 1
Money spent on new inventory this week: $106.61
Great podcast! I loved the extreme scavenging. The road burger had me laughing out loud! I’m not sure what mine is. Nothing quite that exciting, but there was one estate sale house that had been totally mouse infested and there was mouse poop everywhere. It was totally gross but I dug around there for hours and have made a ton of money from it. Totally worth it!
I went to an auction this weekend and scored a box of really old Halloween die-cuts, one of my favorite things to sell. I already got a $125 offer on one, and I can’t even believe it, but I countered it. Hope that was the right thing to do!
11/01/2017 at 11:49 am #24697
As for “extreme scavenging”, I can’t think of one example, but it seems like Veronica & I are “extreme” in our lifestyle compared to many others in our area. We are routine bargain hunters on EVERYTHING. Our motto is “We don’t pay retail”. We grow a garden, hunt, fish, make our own wine, we have a large room in our basement with canned goods we get on sale (or what we have canned ourselves…I loved that I have learned to pressure can…making extra large batches of Green Chili Stew and Venison Bourguignon to can), we have 5 freezers for meat we harvest or when the stores have a sale. Our house has so many things we have purchased from garage or thrift stores. I laugh when I go hunting, as the only things I purchased new are my gun and my boots…
Totally agree that you have to enjoy what you do and what you list. That is why we do this job. Owning your time is paramount to us. I’m planning to take a month off next year to hike the Colorado Trail, and this job allows me to do that (just have to get shippers!). But my life has changed so much for the better since I left the 6-Figure Income life. The cash isn’t everything…
I will agree that the “List It & Forget It” is a great way to grow your inventory. Since we went to SixBit and now have SixBit automatically relist our items, we have saved a TON of time by not manually relisting items, which has helped us grow our store. However, for sales, we have found that 30 Day listings are better. Since SixBit is relisting as a third party (not relisted through eBay), we are still seeing a good sell thru rate. We have tried using GTC a few times in the past, and we see our sales drop significantly when we do. So I feel that we are now in both camps: We list and forget on a daily and weekly basis, but we use “list and attend” strategy to sell (30 Day and a periodic review of old inventory).
Been way behind on numbers with our deer hunt. Good news is my son got his first solo deer (meaning he had the plan, saw him, and got him with one shot all by himself), so he has been very happy and proud that he provided meat for the family. Unfortunately my father had some health issues and we had to cut the trip short. He is back in Montana now, and almost fully recovered, but a little nervous for a while.
Week of 10/15-10/21
Total Items in Store: 1,687
Number of Items Listed: 23
Number of Items Sold: 77
Weekly STR: 20%
Total Product Sales: $2,301
Cost of Items Sold: $556
Gross Profit for Week: $1,450.12
Highest Item Sold: $150 – Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 Wired On-Ear Headphones (Like the previous week, I just barely lost. I sold a pair of Rock Revival jeans for $125, and still came in second!)
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Veronica wins the week and Veronica leads for the year 25-16.
Week of 10/22-10/28
Total Items in Store: 1,668
Number of Items Listed: 35
Number of Items Sold: 65
Weekly STR: 17%
Total Product Sales: $1,557
Cost of Items Sold: $340
Gross Profit for Week: $1,001
Highest Item Sold: $85 – Rock Revival Jacoby Straight Flap Pocket Bootcut Denim Jeans – I FINALLY broke through!
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Troy wins the week and Veronica leads for the year 25-17.
Number of Items Listed: 182 (Forecast: 300)
Number of Items Sold: 311 (Forecast: 281)
Monthly STR: 17% (Forecast: 16%)
Total Product Sales: $8,476 (Forecast: $6,964) – Increase of 51% YOY
Cost of Items Sold: $1,853 (Forecast: $1,741)
Gross Profit $5,588 (Forecast: $3,726)
Our best month ever. STR was slightly stronger at 17%, but the big boost was the increased Average Selling Price of over $26 vs a forecast of $24. Downside is our listing activity was much lower than I predicted. I planned to lose some time with being gone for hunting, but I had way more prep this year than I planned and days just slipped away. I’m going to have to focus and make up time! Veronica is kicking my butt (and taking up my slack), so I need to start pulling my weight!
11/01/2017 at 2:07 pm #24706
How did you find the transition from career to full time ebay reselling? Were you already super frugal, or did you start to be in order to make the transition?
The income loss switching from day job to full time ebay scares me. I know it will be a pay cut. We already are raising 4 children on a single salary, but it’s a pretty good salary for this area. My wife stays at home with kids and homeschools. We’re already frugal in many areas, but mainly just to get more “bang for our buck” – not to save money.
I know that once I am at home and fully in charge of my time that a lot of things will fall into place. I KNOW we’ll be happier as a family and have a much more fulfilling life. But dang, that’s a big cliff to jump off of. I’d really prefer to be shoved off. Lol!
Anyways, I think you guys would make for a great interview with J&R. It’s been a while since there was an interview episode. I think we’re definitely due for one.
11/01/2017 at 3:32 pm #24710
It was a bit of a change, but I can now say that I am proudly Unemployable…
My thoughts on making the transition:
Make sure you have the type of personality that can be self-employed. Before all things, be sure of that first. The large majority of your fellow citizens are only trained to take orders and work for others. Our school system is designed that way as well, so “more education” doesn’t help with that. When you are on your own, you are on your own. If things don’t get done, if money isn’t coming in, if the business isn’t producing…it is all on you. You can’t blame your boss (you are the boss), you can’t blame your coworkers (you don’t have any), it is only on you. And you can’t blame the market if they don’t buy your stuff. If the market talks, you can’t just blame the market, you have to learn what the market wants and provide that. Whining doesn’t help, only action does.
I grew up with my dad running his own business, and I worked with him a lot in that world growing up, so I was exposed to that and was aware of the difficulties. I think growing up on a family farm helped as well (if animals need fed, cows need milked, plants need sowing…it has to get done…period). I was also good at school and following orders and making things better, which is why I was successful in the “traditional” workforce, but I always wanted to do things my way.
To make the transition, first have at least 6 months of expenses in the bank, more if possible (I would shoot for 9-12). That reduces the initial shock of no money coming in. But I will tell you, when it starts to get down to the last three months worth, you start getting nervous.
Reduce your “burn rate” (the amount of normal spending”). My wife and I were already frugal, so that was good to start, but we still found ways to cut. No more cable (don’t miss it), no more phone land line, rarely go out to eat (and when we do, we make sure it is a business meal), look for cheaper alternatives for recurring items (we stock up on food when on sale, using cans in the basement, multiple freezers, etc.).
But also budget some luxuries first! If you hate and miss too many things, you will hate your life, and then what was the point? We make our own wine, so a luxury item but at less than $4 per bottle (and we prefer the taste). We still keep Netflix since we like shows & movies. Look for very good bedding linen at yard sales/thrift stores (very nice sheets go a long way to feeling wealthy).
Take your corporate discipline to your work at home life. Have a routine, get up, get dressed, go to “work”. Have that mentality, since what you do in your business will pay the bills. When I get back into the flow of eBay, I’m hard core and put in the serious hours. But when I need to schedule time off and not do eBay, I’m 100% off as well. Find what works, but keep the discipline when working at home.
Make sure you have run numbers on your business to know what it can do when you go full time. Start tracking your final profit (not revenue, but final profit after all business expenses) and look at how many hours it took to make that profit. It will show you how much your work is providing per hour. Look at how many hours you can devote to your business (and be reasonable…don’t plan to work 90 hours per week. I think 50-60 is reasonable, but you have to know yourself.) That is a starting point to see what you can do.
Dig into your numbers deeper. What are your profits each month, and what are your low and high months? Can you survive the low months? Can you make and save (in a separate account) enough in your best months and use that to cover the low months? If you are lower than what you need to be at, how long will it take for you to grow your inventory to the level you need it to be at? If you will need to grow your inventory, where will that capital come from, and how long will it take to for that capital investment to come back to you as cash? Most small businesses miss this point. If you are using the profits from the business to buy more inventory to grow the business, you can’t take it out for personal expenses (i.e., you don’t get paid as much when you are growing since the business needs the money to grow).
I was trained in the financial world as an accountant, and did forecasts and budgets for many years, so it was easy for me to slide into this business and start answering those questions. This is why I track sales and revenue by day/week/month, Sell Thru Rate, Average Selling Price, New Listings per Day/Week/Month, Sold items per Day/Week/Month, and the amount of time to list each item. By having these numbers, I could forecast how much work and hours it would take to get to get to the income we need, how long it will take to get there, and make sure we have the capital to do it, with 2 sons to provide for. And I keep those numbers still now, update them constantly, and forecast each month of the current year, as well as the next year. Having the numbers and a realistic view of what you can do is key before you make the leap.
To make the leap…the “shove” as you say definitely helps. My company at one point offered Early Retirement, I mentioned it to my wife and kids, and they told me to take it. That shove was HUGE, since I always view myself as the provider, and I could not see losing the “safe income” to make less money and have them make sacrifices. But now, I don’t want to go back, and my wife and kids don’t want that either.
Guess what? That “safe income” is a myth. You can lose your job at any time, so it really isn’t safe. But when you run your own business, you develop the skills to grow in any environment. Sure, markets may go down, sales may be slow, but you have learned the skills to pilot the ship yourself and make corrections, or start new ventures.
The safest income is the one you make for yourself.
11/01/2017 at 6:44 pm #24734
This story just needs to just be plastered on the front page of our blog and we could stop doing the podcast.
11/01/2017 at 7:15 pm #24742
We should all put our story and manifesto out there. We can all learn and get motivation from each other.
11/02/2017 at 8:10 am #24816
T-Satt thanks so much for the detailed answers!
I definitely have the mind for self-employment. I have the drive and I do love making spreadsheets. I quit making them over a year ago though because I just didn’t have the time to maintain it – that time was better spent listing since I have VERY limited ebay time. If I go full time I will switch to six-bit or wonderlister as my first step and develop a more robust inventory management system with all of my metrics front loaded.
I’ve spent the last two years reinvesting in my ebay business to build all the infrastructure needed for full time. All the equipment and supplies I need, the storage facilities, the processes, and most importantly all the knowledge to be an expert scavenger across a wide variety of inventory types.
I also have a mother load death pile that has been quite intentional. Since I have no control over when my job will end, I have been stockpiling high value inventory so that I would not have to scavenge at all for at least 6 months.
While I did survive the layoffs at work in October, there are still a lot of questions here. There are rumors the facility will be shut down or relocated to Texas. I think there is a greater than 50% probability one of those things will happen within the year. There will definitely be more layoffs unless some drastic changes in culture and safety happen here. I’m doing my part, but there are a lot of cogs in the wheel. In the mean time, I’ll keep prepping and making the adjustments necessary to make the transition to self-employment easier every day.
11/02/2017 at 9:07 am #24820
Sounds like you are on the right track. I would start working on it now to build your online inventory up and let that start generating more and more average sales per day. The work you put in now will start bearing fruit in a couple of months. Growth takes time. As they say…the best time to plant an apple tree is 10 years ago. The second best time is now.
Let me know if you ever want to connect directly to talk about numbers, forecasts, lifestyle, schedule, inventory, process, etc. when you go full time. I am by no means a 100% expert, but I would be glad to share what has worked and not worked for us, and can be someone that you can bounce ideas off of.
11/02/2017 at 9:49 am #24823
Following up on what T-Satt said. Plan now for later. If you do plan on using a total inventory, multi-platform inventory control listing software like WonderLister or SixBit, I would suggest you get a trial subscription to either of them or both and start going through the tutorials well before you plan to jump into this. These software apps while not too complicated still have a learning curve, if nothing else than just learning how to navigate and find everything they can do. These programs offer a ton of reports, screen views, ways to sort and filter your store inventory, present financials, create and store templates and you will need to learn the in’s and out’s.
With regards to your death piles, if you go ahead and start with one of these programs, you should at least create a quick, short title, add the SKU number, where you bought the item and what you paid for it. That way you at least have a means of tracking what is included in your “death piles” and have a “COST” available for your accountant or tax picture. If you have hundreds or thousands of dollars in those piles your accountant needs to know that. Also at year end we just pull a report of what is in our “WAREHOUSE” folder and there is the “total cost” of everything we have in our unlisted death piles that will eventually be available for sale once we upload it. These programs allow you to create custom folders whereby you name them whatever you want for any reason you want. Our “WAREHOUSE” folder contains everything we have bought but not listed yet. Sort of a “draft” type folder. They will hold as many drafts as you want for as long as you want. You can also apply a description template at the click of a button and then just have it sit. As soon as we get anything home, by the next day we have all items “quick listed” in this folder. So from a database perspective, there are no death piles, just inventory that we haven’t completed the listing process on.
Even if you subscribe to the program it is a price that comes with the education you will receive by using and practicing with the program of your choice. Using either of these for a year will give you tremendous insight into your “business”, what you own, where it is and also all of the Ebay monthly statement and financial data is downloaded and presented in one control location. But just my opinion and don’t know if T-Satt agrees.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
11/02/2017 at 12:19 pm #24830
+1 on what Mike said regarding the inventory software like SixBit or WonderLister. SixBit has a similar feel to the JDEdwards software I have used (and still use at my side gig) for accounting, so I slid into it well and have been able to coach Veronica on it.
+1 on the inventory of your death piles. While not critical now, we make sure that before we end the year, we have everything inventoried so that we have proper accounting for tax and for year end.
For our financials, I use a spreadsheet that I created that used information from SixBit as well as Quicken (where I manage the cash for the business as well as personal). I use the spreadsheet since there are more items I like to see than what they can calculate, plus I maintain charts and graphs to get good visuals on the business.
11/02/2017 at 1:42 pm #24838
The main reason I don’t want to do the inventory software right now is that I know I don’t have the time to sit down and figure it out proper. I don’t even have time to list hardly!
If we don’t travel, I’ll make a commitment to trying one of them out over the thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
11/02/2017 at 1:51 pm #24839
When you have some time, check out videos of how the software works on YouTube. Great place to start.
11/02/2017 at 2:47 pm #24844
Just be careful about which programs you spend time reviewing. T-Satt and I use software that has a lot of bells and whistles but remain price friendly. There are programs that will pop up in Google searches if you search Ebay Inventory Management or Listing software that will cost you a ton of money. ESA is one of them. It can run into a whole lot and is way over kill for just an Ebay store.
In nay case, SixBit has many great video tutorials. I think John is the person responsible for most of the videos. Last time I talked with him personally he said he was going to be re-doing many of the SixBit videos and updating them. Especially with all of the recent Ebay changes.
SixBit is about $10 more per month, but for a real newbie to the whole inventory management process I probably would suggest SixBit. [T-Satt is probably laughing right now]. It is more colorful, somewhat more customizable, a little more newbie friendly but will cost $120 more per year at $39.95 month instead of $25 per mo. like WonderLister.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
11/02/2017 at 3:02 pm #24847
I think either one is good, just more of a Coke/Pepsi, PC/MAC thing. Whichever fits best!
I do like that SixBit is customizable, so I can make my screen flow with how I enter data, and the Etsy piece is great too (though that platform is still really slow for us). But try them both and pick the one that fits your style. They both have free trial periods, so try them out.
11/02/2017 at 2:35 pm #24842
That is one of the main reasons you should. You can quickly drop in a 3 or 4 word short title, enter a sku number of your choice and the price you paid for it. Then stop right there. Once you save in in a folder name of your choice such as “In process Items”, “Started but Unlisted” or just “Warehouse” that we use, you can save it and close it. Then it is there for as long as you want to leave it. Then you can come back and work on it a little at a time and close and save again. I think the benefit to this as compaired to Ebay’s method, is one that Ebay will only allow so many drafts and two only let you keep them for just so long. [Maybe they have changed that]. But SB or WL will let you keep thousands of “drafts” [partially started listings] and keep them for years or decades if you want. I wouldn’t suggest you buy something thn not get it listed for 10 years but SB and WL will let you if you want to.
I want you to read this, then count how many seconds it takes you to repeat the following:
Click open template] 11/02/17 $2.50 Estate Sale Vintage Portable record player SKU: 11170250g1542a [click save] Now all you have to do is hang or tape a tag on your item that has #11170250g1542a on it and that is all you ever need to do until you are ready to get back to it and finish it.
This just took me 15 seconds to say this. That is how fast I can also start an item listing and save it. It then tells me what I have, when I bought it, where I got it and how much I paid for it. Then I can come back to it 5 months from now, open it and pick up where I left off. But come year end, if I have created 1,323 of these, at one click I can hand my accountant a report that says 1,323 items in unlisted inventory for a total of $3,307.50
On all of the items you have listed, you get a report that tells you how many items sold in total, how much total dollars in sales, how much for fees, how many sold in each state, how much sales tax is owed in any state you want, etc., etc. But we have gone over all of that before.
But for just starting up, either program is great for just capturing the pure, raw basics of what you need to know about your item as soon as you buy it. If you go to the weigh and pay and buy a ton of clothes, then every 15 seconds you can create a quick entry tag and listing with this brief info. on it. You can even create a capture listing. Title just says 5 ladies blouses, assorted colors 11/02/17, GW weigh and pay, $3 total = $.60 total and save. Then come back to that pile later and break the WL quick entry down into 5 single listings. Just tons of ways to handle your data and financial info. I am sure T-Satt agrees on all fronts.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
11/02/2017 at 2:58 pm #24845
Our listing plan is that we don’t put it into SixBit until we list, so our unlisted items are not in “Inventory” until then. But in about 1 hour max at the end of the year, we create the database records for the value of the unlisted items and we are complete.
So many ways to do this, as long as you get it right.
11/04/2017 at 10:50 am #24971GeoffParticipant
T-Satt – Just wanted to mention that I am giving SixBit another try after reading some of your posts. I only tried it briefly years back and moved away from t quickly after being overwhelmed by the interface. My store is currently 738 items and I would like to get it to 1,000 before the New Year and then 2,0000 by mid 2018 while maintaining or improving my sell through rate ( I have taken the leap and have family to support – full time since April 3 )
My though process is that SB could be worth the investment if it is able to increase my efficiency by a meaningful percentage as well as be helpful once i hire someone. I am a one man operation today – my wife just does not have the bug – and i have been falling short of my current goal of 116 listing per week. (last week i did 120 but this week only 67 so far). I have the feeling that the future version of myself may advise me to hire someone soon, but probably like many of us, i am hesitant and determined to get to a high inventory value as a one man show through improved efficiency and determination (the more of the former the better)
Just thought i would mention my endeavor in case you or anyone else have any tips for someone gearing up on Sixbit based on your experiences. I intend on joining the group on the weekly updates w/numbers to help keep myself accountable (and everyone else not on the internet thinks I am nuts in regards to my business, so to hopefully keep me sane) — and I will be interested to see if i can increase my output in the coming months leveraging SB.
11/04/2017 at 8:33 pm #25020
Here are my thoughts for doing the “implementation”:
If you are using the Custom Label field in eBay as a SKU (unique number for each listing), make sure to designate it as such when importing your items. SixBit asks if you use this field and if so, for what purpose (as a SKU or Inventory Location). In SixBit, these are two separate fields. If you are using it as a SKU, make sure that you don’t have any duplicates. That is a no-no in a database like SixBit.
When importing your information, I would recommend to import your active items only. I let it pull information from the past 30 days, and it was WAY more than I needed, and I had a lot of cleaning out to do.
Take the time in the free 30 days to customize your screen the way you like it and practice listing with your screens. This helped me a lot in moving efficiently.
Use the Snippets in your Item Description for some information so that you only have to enter it once. For example, I put the Item Condition Snippet in the Item Description as well, so when I type in the Item Condition, it puts it in the Item Description automatically.
Use the heck out of templates. I used them in eBay, so I had to recreate them, but that keeps my listings efficient. For clothing, I currently have 17 different templates, that have lots of the data prepopulated, especially custom Item Specifics. It helps to get a lot of relevant information in your listing quickly.
Think out your Shipping Presets. We have 13 Shipping Presets that handle all of our listings. The downside is that you will have to manually put the correct shipping preset onto each active listing (and that is where your Handling Time is done). So if you want to quickly change handling time for vacation or such, you will have to put a preset on each listing.
To be honest, just using SixBit only made me a little more efficient than where I was with listing through eBay direct. The improvement on the process was that if I was listing something similar to and item I listed a few months ago, I could quickly find it in the database and make a duplicate. Cindy of AmazingTaste uses SixBit a ton, and she said her efficiency increased a bunch when she went to SixBit.
(side note: I am very familiar with using the QBE line in the database. It is Query By Example. on the grid views, there is a blank row at the top of the grid. You can type into that row and the grid will find matches for that information in the column you type in. I LOVE this since JDEdwards software is the same. If you need help with this, let me know.
The largest time savings is the Auto Relisting feature. We swear by 30 day listings, since in clothing, you have to stay up in search, and 60+ day listings are “stale” and drop in search. With the Auto Relisting, you can stay on 30 day listings, but it will relist for you. And since the listing is coming from outside of eBay, eBay sees it as a true relist.
Above all, when you have your 30 day trial, you get Gold Star support, so ask a TON of questions. I have met John Slocum and some of his team. They are great guys and their support system is fantastic. I didn’t keep the Gold Star support for the price after 30 days, so hammer them early. But even without Gold Star support, they respond within hours and are great.
There are still some items that I have to do extra with SixBit as an OCD measure each day, but it is worth it. If you want my morning task list, let me know.
P.S. – If you have your eBay store tied to Bonanza or TruGether, AND you are auto relisting, sales on those other platforms can be tricky. When you sell on those platforms, they end on eBay. Well SixBit sees that the item ended on eBay, but it doesn’t know that it was a sale (since eBay doesn’t show it as a sale, just an ended listing). So if you aren’t careful, it will relist on eBay and could sell again. The solution is that once you see a sale from one of these platforms, you manually create an order in SixBit, and it will move the inventory in SixBit to zero and not relist (or will end a relisted eBay listing). Takes about 1 minute.
If I think of anything else I will let you know. Ask questions if you have them. And watch all the YouTube videos. They are a great primer!
11/04/2017 at 10:37 pm #25024GeoffParticipant
Thanks for the great feedback!
Custom label field – I have gone back and forth in the past on this with my book keeper. It was my inventory field. It then tuned into my cost field. Now transitioning into SixBit I do not know what do with it. One of the things I heard about SB is that it is good with tracking cost. I assume you are using the cost field? I plan to just transition to the fields as designed by SB “vanilla if you will.” I will put cost in the cost field (what I paid for an item) and I will put location in the appropriate slot etc For previous listings I have recently been using bottom of descriptions for location (for me same as item number). Fortunately I have an excel that also tracks location.
I did the 30 days import – it is a lot.
With snippets or anything else – any negative on mobile? I had been moving towards a minimalist description due to what I have heard on mobile – of course if there is a more expensive or complex item I will use the description – but then otherwise pretty basic largely due to the notion that ebay is more into structured data and moving away from description (not based on facts just impressions listening to other ebayers.) Seems like SB is as good as anyone in terms of keeping in sync with eBay trends. I am all for going back to more description (seems like your sales conversions are very good) and will definitely check out the snippets.
Do you find yourself more often listing off a template or off of a previous listing filed away in Sixbit?
I am using business policies – my understanding is you are not and hence using the shipping presents?
I am familiar too with QBE and also from the JDE ecosystem – I was selling JDE for Oracle and then a partner would be curious where you were. I would be very interested in seeing how you leverage QBE and I bet five minutes talking with you might stand to advance me substantially.
I am also very interested in the auto lister. That was one of the things I liked about Auctiva. I try to balance the list it and forget it patience philosophy with managing my inventory / looking for that correct tipping point and found auto lister really helpful in the past. I also saw your previous post about seeing sales drop off when you went to good till cancelled. There are some other big sellers I follow that take the 30 day (or even 10 day) listings and have a sell through crazy higher than mine — so this is definitely something I want to continue to evolve.
I would love to see your task list and frankly would be awesome to pick your brain for a few if you are ever up for it.
Again – really appreciate the feedback.
11/04/2017 at 11:54 pm #25026
Custom Label Field – For us, it is both a SKU and an Inventory Location. We keep a spreadsheet list of each item, so that we have a unique item number on each item, that satisfies the SKU designation. Then we use a dash and put the inventory location. This helps us when we pull inventory for shipping (since we ship through eBay) as it has both numbers. For Jeans, since we package everything in plastic sleeves and file away in file drawers, we put a sticker on the outside of the sleeve and put the SKU and location on the sticker. That way when you are looking for the right pair of jeans (and they are all blue in the drawer), you can look for the number on the outside.
PS – Even though we have the inventory in SixBit, the spreadsheet gives a secondary listing of our inventory, location, SKU, and cost, just in case something goes wrong with SixBit, it is our backup.
SixBit has two fields to handle this, a SKU and a Location. Right now we are not using the Location, but I’m going to populate that soon. This will provide the ability to do a cycle count of inventory. Rather than count all of your inventory at one time (taking days), we can select an inventory location each week and count one location each week, making sure to hit all locations within the year. Splits up the time and keeps things tidy.
Yes, SixBit handles cost. It has a cost field and we populate that when we create the listing in SixBit. This allows us to have a total inventory at any time (and ready for year end taxes) as well as using that field for your COGS in all reports (daily, weekly, monthly, whatever you need). In fact, it’s reporting is so nice this saves me Admin time. LOVE that part.
No negative on the snippets on mobile that I have seen, although right now, like you, I have pared down the info in the Item Description, so the only snippet I use is the Item Condition (so the buyer can see the description in both locations so they are aware of any flaws).
I hear (and have transitioned) to more information in the Item Specifics as well. That is the main reason that I use the templates, as I have a LOT of custom specifics based on categories that are pre-populated so I can efficiently produce a lot of relevant keywords.
Correct on the Business Policies. We don’t use them since we use SixBit for Shipping Presents and Payment Presets. They do the same thing.
If you want to talk QBE, let me know and we can. I use it daily. Part of my morning routine is ensuring that SixBit active listings is in sync with eBay/Etsy. When you have listings on both platforms, I QBE “ebay” in the Site column, and it returns only the eBay listings and I check the total with my active number on eBay directly. Ditto for Etsy using “etsy” in the QBE. We had some early issues with some auto relist items either not relisting or SixBit thought they were running but in fact they were not. Bugs were fixed, but I still do the quick check. Always checking the barn door…even if the cow is home…
QBE is also great for quickly finding listings. When something sells on Bonanza/TruGether, since I have to do a manual sales order, I can QBE on the title and find items quickly. Also helps if I want to find a listing to do a duplicate listing (a quick Sell Similar).
My daily tasks first thing in the morning:
1) Check active eBay listings for photos – We had a bug at one point where auto relisted items did not have the photos. Fixed now, but I still check. If you find one, just open the listing in SixBit (in Check Listings), check the box at the bottom left to resubmit photos, done.
2) Ensure SixBit & eBay/Etsy actives are in sync – just a side note, sometimes the auto relister takes about 20 minutes from the time it ends until it relists.
3) Send Invoices / Open Unpaid Item cases – I have a specific plan on when to resend invoices and when to open unpaid item cases and I just follow that plan each day.
4) Add items to Promoted Listings – We started doing this and sales have definitely improved. Since listings drop every 30 days, I update the Promoted Listings each day.
5) Download PayPal and enter into Quicken – Daily is best since this in manual, and I can remember what sales were eBay vs. Etsy vs. Bonanza vs TruGether (since I split out each to track).
6) Enter Mileage – I have a spreadsheet I use to track and it is best to do the following day.
7) Update Pinterest Pins – Been doing this for a while, so I add new Pins for new Listings.
8) Check Available to List view in SixBit – This view shows what you have in inventory but don’t have listed. Helps to make sure everything is listed and if something goes haywire, you can find it.
9) Check Submission Errors – Makes sure you don’t have anything that puked when submitting. sometimes you may get a duplicate, bad photos, or submit incorrectly (especially when learning). FYI – When submitting multiple listings, remember that you have to have the same type of listings selected (Auction, Auction w/ BIN, Fixed). I have made the mistake of mixing them up and if you don’t have an Auction Price, you can’t submit to Auction. Took me a while, but I have learned. I batch upload now, spacing out my listings so they don’t hit all at once. (and I LOVE the ability to schedule listings out into the future).
Hit me up anytime directly…
JAY – what is the proper etiquette for sending out my personal email address? Is it okay to put here on the forum?
11/05/2017 at 6:55 am #25029
We dont mind if you put your personal email address here.
11/05/2017 at 7:41 am #25031
11/05/2017 at 9:50 am #25033
T-Satt I may take you up on your offer. Thanks for posting you pm email addy. I have been vacillating for months now on should I abandon WonderLister and gravitate back to SixBit. I used to pay for and use both at the same time. The issue is that WL keeps saying that the interface with Etsy has dropped down on their priority list until some time next year. Also no progress on the Shopify interface, even though I could forego that option. In the mean time I have just been doing Etsy by hand and copying and pasting the listings into Etsy and have created a custom folder in WL to hold items sold off of Ebay. WL does capture Bonanza stuff though.
I know that SixBit has had issues on and off with Ebay but so does WL. The Ebay issue of not re-setting original prices back after a sale ends has struck us 3 times in the last 2 years or so. That is Ebay fault. It is an Ebay problem most of the time.
Don’t forget that SB loads it’s database with the photos on the front end and it gets bloated very quickly and will max out MS-SQL ability to handle the SB database. At approx. 750 listings at 12 photos I had about maxed out SB MS-SQL capability. There is a trick I learned from WonderLister that they do, on how to keep the SixBit database much smaller. When I discussed this with SixBit they were not aware of this technique and was going to explore it. That was a few months ago and would like to get your thoughts on it and if SB has implemented that technique [ability]. Ryan checked me out while I had him on the phone and said, yep, I was correct and that he would bring it to John Slocum’s attention.
I would love to compare some notes on a few things and see what your response is to the things I have had to deal with or are still dealing with in WonderLister to see if going back to SixBit would be worth it or if those issues are common to both platforms. To afford the switch and also to cover the higher cost of SixBit over WonderLister I could also drop my Shopify Store Subscription and allocate that monthly amount back to covering the SixBit monthly cost.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta.
11/06/2017 at 8:33 am #25068
No problem Mike, hit me up anytime. You have a ton more experience with these types of programs, but we can compare notes and see which one is the best fit for each of us.
Yep, we were hit with the sale bug a few times as well, with our prices plummeting when they are relisted at the sale price rather than the original price.
For the photos, SixBit has the option to keep your photos outside of the database. Based on what you were saying, I choose this option so that the database size does not grow quickly. This was available when we moved to SixBit in early July.
So send me a message whenever you want!
11/06/2017 at 9:05 am #25080
Yep.. When I had a nice long talk with SixBit back in the first of the year, I suggested to them to create a scenario whereby users could create either a Google Drive or MS OneDrive Account, then create folders there and upload all of the photos they were going to use for Ebay, Etsy, etc. Then when one creates a listing in SixBit, they go to the outside drive to open and attach to SB. Then when you upload the photos, so SB has control and can use the photo thumbnails, that they create a SixBit folder themselves on the cloud drive and all of the photos that SB uploads to Ebay they keep a dup in their own cloud folder. Ryan said they had never thought of that. Of, course WonderLister already had this in place at the time.
But the great final results was that now all of the photos were “outside” of the SixBit database and it’s size was reduced tremendously.
I also had a chance to try to pick their brain on that Ebay bug of re-listing items at the reduced Sale price and they had no solutions either. It is an Ebay problem with no fix in sight I am told. They both said they were just hoping that the new Fall Ebay updates would address the problem when Ebay did a rework on the Markdown Manager and Promotions Manager. That has now been done and we all just have to wait and see how Ebay is ging to handle reduced items that are on Sale and how they get ended and relisted.
But be on your guard every time you end and relist anything that is on Sale.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
11/06/2017 at 9:34 am #25091
Yep, we are doing that now on sale items. Watching like a hawk.
JC Ryan is a good guy. He was at the Barenaked Ladies concert with us. And John is a great guy…and a HUGE Barenaked Ladies fan!
11/01/2017 at 9:25 pm #24753Mark SParticipant
My “extreme scavenging”:
About 20 years ago, long before I started on ebay, a friend of mine and I went “Into Business together”. Our plan was to pick up old washers and dryers, fix them and resell them. So, it came to the night when we were to pick up our first washer at someones curb in my friends parent’s neighborhood. We had never scavenged anything in our lives and now we were trying to do it in the neighborhood where my friend was known. Needless to say, we were extremely nervous. I think we circled around the block 4-5 times or more before we got the nerve up to stop and put that dang washer in the van. We were so nervous of being seen, that we practically threw the washer in the side door of the Windstar (I think that was what van it was) and we chipped up a lot of the paint on the sliding door (we would always have fond memories of this night when we looked at the door of his van in the future, lol).
That business did work. We sold about $800 worth of washers and dryers that we basically got for free. The problem we ran into was that we could not find a steady supply line of them, so we had to call it quits.
I think that was really where I got my first start into the world of scavenging\ebay. Now I tell my friend that finding a steady supply line is no problem at all with ebay. I’m still trying to get him into ebay because I think he would make a killing.
11/02/2017 at 7:38 am #24804
How did you guys know how to fix the machines?
11/02/2017 at 9:06 am #24819Mark SParticipant
I didn’t know how to fix them, my friend did. He was pretty good at it too. He could fix most anything. He did the fixing (and I helped as much as I could) and I stored all the washers and dryers in my basement. We both did everything else. And most of the fixes were very easy. Most were just a new belt for the dryer. The washers were usually easy too. Sometimes it was just a mater of adjusting the feet so that it was level so that it didn’t shake when it ran. Our joke was that one of the couple would use these little issues as an excuse to get a new washer or dryer. Then we got to capitalize on that.
Doesn’t seem like much has changed. Most of the items we all pick up now have little to no issues with them. I guess people just get tired of seeing the same old clothes, hat, case, etc. and get a new one. That’s when we all buy it!
11/01/2017 at 9:30 pm #24758RhiannaParticipant
After listening to your caller who ended items and then did a sell similar, I thought I would give it a try. I am doing a test on just hats. I figured one category would be easier to track.
Regarding auctions on eBay: I decided to try doing a couple auctions starting at 99 cents and they both turned out well. One I did was a pair of antique bisque dolls. I did several hours worth of research, more then I am willing to admit, and was not able to come up with a marker. I decided to take a risk and start the auction at 99cents. I got the dolls in a huge lot so they probably cost me about $1. They ended up selling for over $300 to someone overseas! I was very excited.
Go Scavenger Life Team!! Let’s put our heads down and list, list, list. 🙂
11/02/2017 at 7:40 am #24805
$300 sale is a beautiful outcome. I wish auctions were always like that. We just tried eight auctions and most sold for opening bid or not at all. No big deal since we wanted to move the stuff anyway. But not a good business model for us.
11/02/2017 at 11:19 am #24826InglewoodParticipant
@Jay @Mark S – fixing things is very easy these days. If you find appliances on the side of the road or anywhere they usually have something small wrong with them that you can easily find a YouTube video with instructions to fix. The good thing about this is others want to fix stuff as well! So they need parts…
I make a lot of money each month scavenging appliances – and stripping them down. Simple things like the timer (dial) on the dryer will get $50 to $100 used. Also off a dryer you can take off the lint screen, basic dial covers, switches, handles, etc. and they are easy $10-$25 or more. If you do the same with ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. it is easy money. I also know a guy who will pick-up the carcass/remains and share the scrap money with me – which is usually another $20.
I’ve just started getting into automotive parts and kitchen/bathroom faucets as I find them – take off the parts that don’t look good, and sell the parts that are good. Last week I sold the spray head off a broken Delta Kitchen faucet for $80.
Other items I’m starting to research are BBQs – they are plentiful at the end of summer, and some high-end ones have parts that get good money.
I recommend that if anyone finds an appliance on the curb in their town, grab it, look up the model number, find a parts list, and sell the parts that are worthwhile.
11/03/2017 at 6:44 am #24885
Here are my numbers for the month of October. It was nice to return to nearly normal after Irma disrupted pretty much the entire month of September! My cost of goods sold is low in Oct. because a bunch of items were free from a house my friend was cleaning out to flip. It was worth the sweltering morning I spend in that house going through stuff to find a bunch of cool vintage items for free! My highest sale of the month was a vehicle cargo cover that I found sticking up out of a trash can on the way home from picking the kids up at school. I calculated profit as gross sales minus fees and COGS, so I still have taxes to pay on this.
Total Items in Store: 1013
Items Sold: 205
Cost of Items Sold: $68
Total Sales: $3612.93
Highest Price Sold: $144.90 for a vehicle cargo cover
Average Price Sold: $17.62
Average Profit: $10.66
# of hats sold 74
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by ChristineK.
11/03/2017 at 6:19 pm #24944TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
Extreme scavenging – what a great topic! I spent a number of years trying to make a living as a musician before enlisting in the Army. (That’s what having to play “Feelings” just one too many times drove me to!) The 3 – 4 am period after gigs was great for curb shopping and dumpster diving to supplement my meager income. I lived in Philly at the time so could cover a lot of ground quickly. Everything was fair game, I wasn’t proud. In the late ‘70’s there was no ebay or CL (let alone internet) so I spent my daylight hours figuring out where to sell whatever I could not use or eat, usually taking it around in my car to various places or putting ads in shoppers. I had the use of a garage with my apartment so I had some storage. I would eventually end up with a garage-full of beat up and broken furniture that wasn’t worth trying to sell individually. The first time it happened I called a used furniture place that was willing to come by based on my representation of having like 20 pieces to get rid of. I did warn them it wasn’t in the greatest shape. The guy came, looked around in disappointment, and said “you know this is just stuff like I can pick up on the curb on trash day?” I just said “well, can you use it or not?” And after a bit of negotiation of course he bought it all. It never seemed to dawn on him that that’s exactly what I was doing.
11/03/2017 at 6:50 pm #24945
I love hearing stories of scavenging before the internet. I think younger people forget that scavengers have been doing what we all do forever. They just sold in shops, flea markets, swap meets, and the classifieds.
11/03/2017 at 7:09 pm #24949pmjParticipant
I don’t know how to start a new forum. I have been taking low offers and I have make offer, when I counter they don’t respond. Is it because they look at my solds? Yes, I am desperate, they want to take my home away. I filled for disability over 3 years ago. We have been living on my daughters school loans-so bad. Anywho- I get few sells and very low offers-I remember you said once get 500 listed and you will make 500 a week. Well that is not happienng here. I did do a free upgrade and had over 600 items listed, I had to cancel because I just can’t afford 60 bucks a month at this point.
I am having a problem listing the upgrade on mac changed everything and i can’t get the photos on my drafts, I sound like a boo, who, who. But I’m not and I am. I
11/03/2017 at 7:23 pm #24951
Sorry to hear of your troubles, but running an eBay store at home is a great way to earn a living.
–Will you share a link to your store so we can see what you sell and your presentation? Maybe we can give you some advice.
–How much per month are you selling now?
–How much do you need to make per month?
11/03/2017 at 8:59 pm #24957
When I was growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot of money.
I don’t remember how it actually started. Maybe I found one or someone gave one away, but I started collecting damaged bicycles and building better ones. I found some cool broken or wrecked bikes in the trash and stripped them for parts.
In the northeast, we had those long cold winters and I’d go down in the basement and go to work.
I actually inherited a Schwinn Stingray and eventually turned it into a chopper with extended forks and a small front wheel. I wish I had that bike today.
I found a 10 speed with a trashed rear wheel and put on a single speed with a coaster brake. In the early 80’s it was pretty unique.
At one point, I think I had seven running bicycles.
I didn’t make any money at it, but I did have some cool bikes…
11/05/2017 at 7:28 am #25030
A couple of summers ago on a hot sunny day, we were garage saling and at this one house was a pile of stuff at the curb. In the midst of the crap was a beautiful string art. Snapped it up and put it in the trunk before going into the sale. Was out the whole day but never added anything to the trunk. That night we popped the trunk to retrieve our treasure and realized it had been at the curb because a cat (hopefully) had been using it as an alternate litter box. My trunk smelled like cat pee all summer :/
11/05/2017 at 7:46 am #25032
Such a wonderful aroma…
Growing up my dad was a carpet installer and I would help. Loved those summer jobs pulling out old dusty carpet from a house with 15 cats. Then the small would baste in the van in the hot New Mexico sun while we put in the new carpet.
11/05/2017 at 6:34 pm #25049
I volunteer occasionally at the local food pantry. They throw quite a bit of bread and produce… When I am there it never makes it to the garbage 🙂 It’s how I first tried Jack fruit! Not quite a road hamburger…
11/05/2017 at 6:49 pm #25050
What did you think of the Jack Fruit? I haven’t had it, but saw a lot of people growing it in Hawaii. Always wanted to try it!
11/07/2017 at 9:42 am #25212
This is not a personal story of extreme scavenging but something that’s happening in our town in CT. Apparently a company or person convinced the town administrators that they really needed someone to pick up “textiles” as part of the recycling program. Now, at the town’s expense, all residents receive a pink recycling bag for “clothes, shoes, etc” that they can put out with their trash each week. This new company then picks it up and disposes of it as they please. Ostensibly, this is another way to keep reusable stuff out of landfills, but am I the only one who sees it as a major scam (or coup) for this company? They can now drive around town and pick up their pink bags full of clothes and shoes for free, re-sell the good stuff, and dispose of the junk. Sure beats paying for it at Goodwill!
11/07/2017 at 9:44 am #25213
have you asked the town who the company is? is there info about what happens to the items after they pick it up? must be public info if they have a contract with your municipality.
11/07/2017 at 10:02 am #25214
It’s called “Bay State Textiles.” Info on the town website says the town gets a “$100 rebate” for each ton of textiles recycled. Here’s what they say happens to the stuff they collect – it’s kind of vague about the clothing, but sounds like they stand to make a good profit:
“Approximately 45 percent of the material will be packed for export and as used clothing. About 30 percent of the items including flannel, t-shirts, towels, denim and other adsorbent material will be cut into rags and resold to industrial companies for cleaning equipment. The remaining 20 percent will be turned into fiber material. This material will be shipped to fiber mills and ground down and made into new material for use in items such as carpet padding, insulation, and high tech building materials.”
11/07/2017 at 12:47 pm #25218
Here they are: http://baystatetextiles.com/
Usually at that level of scavenging, they just bale up the clothes and turn into rags. I doubt they are going through each piece to sell on eBay.
Here’s a corporate video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=40&v=LgLV4YUqZb8
They dont talk about how used clothes demolishes local industries in developing nations.
11/07/2017 at 2:47 pm #25223
Thanks for the info Jay. you’re right they’re probably not selling on eBay. I guess it just seems odd how they get support from local governments when it’s a for-profit business like any other..
11/07/2017 at 2:57 pm #25226
Many localities pay commercial companies to pick up the garbage, so its already a for-profit business. I assume your county thought it would be a good idea to help recycle.
11/07/2017 at 8:56 pm #25239retiredtreasures719Participant
- Location: Troy, Ohio
My former boss taught me the ways of extreme scavenging. She would see something on the way to work and come in and grab me to go get it. Furniture, fencing and weird stuff in general. With the influx of stuff from my parents I haven’t had to work too hard to find items to sell. I’ve been doing this long enough now that I’m starting to figure out my parameters and limits. My space and my time will accommodate about 1,000 items. More than that and it just becomes unworkable. I do still do estate sales and garage sales and Goodwill because to me, that is the fun part. I have become much pickier in my purchases however. I also try to keep up with trends. 12-18 months ago Vera Bradley was the hottest thing around. Now EBay is flooded with the stuff and you are lucky to get more than what you paid.
Last week was the best week i’ve Had in ages, but I did lose a sale because I couldn’t find something. I spent two days reorganizing my inventory. I got rid of some really old cheap stuff I started with and took a serious look at my death piles. I would like to think the great week I had was because I have become more discriminating in my purchases and listings. Since I am limiting myself to 1,000 items, out with crappy stuff as I find better items.
eBay week of Oct. 29-Nov. 4
Total sales. $504.46
Items in store. 897
# of items sold. 13
Average sale. $38.80
Returns/cancelled. 1 by me, 1 unpaid, 1 by customer
$ spent on new inventory $5.97
# of new items listed. 15
Highest sale: $250 Toshkane seahorse cufflinks & tie clip. 2nd place, $110 Armani Women’s suit
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