11/13/2017 at 8:18 am #25505
Holiday shopping can really give a boost to an eBay seller’s bottom line. But we try to keep a level head about it and average out the months, the qua
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 334: The Holidays Are Just Another Day]
11/13/2017 at 8:23 am #25507
11/05/17 – 11/11/17
Total Items In Store: 2,060
Items Sold: 25
Cost of Items Sold: $100 (around)
Total Sales: $1053
HIghest PrIce Sold: $300 (Vintage Hartmann Suitcase)
Average PrIce Sold: 42.12
Money Spent on New Inventory ThIs Week: $ 21
Number of Items lIsted thIs week: 0
What a difference a week makes! $270 last week after some key orders were cancelled. But good thing, the Harmann was one of the orders cancelled at $150. It sold for $300 this week.
I worked on the 10 year forecast and completed it. If you haven’t seen it, here is the link:
I discussed the forecast in this past week’s What Sold forum. This forecasting tool will greatly assist you in the Strategic Planning of your business. See this link that describes the Strategic Planning Process: http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-the-strategic-planning-process-model-steps-examples.html
I know most of us are small shops, but we have to start thinking Strategicly about our business and plan the direction that it will go. Don’t just let it happen. My late father would often say, “If you aim for nothing, chances are you’ll hit it”. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to be the guy that sees the vision and goes for it! This forecasting tool shows me that I can scale the business much better if I contract out the various pieces that need to be done. I shared with Jay and T-Satt that my long term goal is just to focus on the buying\research and contract out the rest.
11/13/2017 at 8:28 am #25508
Here is the link for the Forecasting tool:
11/13/2017 at 9:14 am #25509
Thanks for posting this Mark. I totally agree with using some type of process to forecast your business to see where it takes you. I love having a process that shows me that if I keep doing what I’m doing, what will be the result. And also to run What If scenarios: What if I list more items? What if I can increase my Average Selling Price? What if I hire someone? It helps you shape your business.
Then the key piece is to evaluate how close your forecasts are to what your actuals are so that you can improve your forecasting process.
If there is any interest out there from anyone, my process is a little different than Mark’s, but I can share my file if there is interest.
11/13/2017 at 9:29 am #25510
Total Items in Store: 875
Items Sold: 13
Cost of Items Sold: $29
Total Sales: $252.50
Highest Price Sold: $30 90’s womens track suit
Average Price Sold: $19.42
Average Profit: $17.18
Last week was one of my best ever, and then this week was crap. I was hoping to take next week off from work to finish the garage ebay transition, but since my boss and his boss are taking off I’ll be the sole engineering resource available. Yay… I love working at a bureaucratic day job.
Crunching some numbers last week really showed how poorly we are prepared to go full time. Bottom line, it’s expensive to feed/cloth/shelter/transport 6 human beings. It’s amazing how seemingly small purchases add up so fast! So my wife and I had the uncomfortable money talks and we’re working on trying to find reasonable solutions to help us get to where we need to be. Food is the low hanging fruit. We eat out way too much and when we do it is expensive because we avoid the low quality processed fast food crap. We’re always so busy and it is just sooooo much work to prep and cleanup for that many meals. Since I’m an engineer I’m process and system oriented. My family…….not so much. I know it will be better once I would be home full time, but we need it to be better now.
11/13/2017 at 9:51 am #25512
I feel you Retro. Those conversations are hard, but numbers reveal the truth. You can cut a lot of expenses and when you focus on them regularly, you find more ways to cut. We cut our cable, removed the phone line, do more of our own gardening, make our own wine, etc. But make sure you don’t cut so much that you hate your life. Budget in some luxuries. We love to find deals, including on food (hence the 5 freezers in the house, tons of canned food, etc), so we don’t feel deprived.
Dining out is our vice as well. We don’t do it often, but we love doing it when we do (and we do when sourcing and it becomes a business meal to lower our tax bill). We love to cook, so that helps, and we do a lot of crock pot meals to make a lot with lower prep work. We also then learned pressure canning so that we can make a lot of food at once and then it is ready for future meals. We do this a lot on Sundays.
The only other advice that I could give is that when you have the expenses as low and the best you can, you have to increase the income. Spending more time listing on eBay, second job, more $ per hour sometime. Easier said than done, I know, but sometimes that is just how the math works out.
I remember that when Veronica and I were first married, we delivered newspapers from 1:30am to 4:30am everyday, slept for an hour, then went to our office jobs. We are both making good money doing jobs we went to college for, but we had some debt to pay off so we just went Hard Routine and paid them off. I really admired one other family that was delivering papers that had 4 kids. We would see some of the kids at the distribution center with them at that time, and they would rotate who worked each night. It is amazing what you can see people do.
I’m sure the answer is out there and will reveal itself. Hoping the best for you!
11/13/2017 at 5:05 pm #25546
Yes, eating out (especially for a large family) is super expensive. Committing to cooking all meals is a big way to save money. Plus you most likely eat better.
Since we bought the Instant Pot (http://amzn.to/2hpnBcz), we’re cooking a week of meals in just a couple hours. I just cooked eight chicken thighs ($4) in BBQ sauce in 15 minutes. Delicious.
- This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Ryanne.
11/13/2017 at 10:39 am #25515
100% agree that you can’t base your plans on what your high months are. Get a solid level of numbers as to what your seasonality is, and then plan accordingly. We get a good bump in Q4, as each year Q4 is over 30% of our yearly sales. 2018 should be the year that we will have enough items listing that our low months of July & August are enough to cover regular personal expenses, so rather than have to use savings to cover those low months, we will be able to expand into other income streams, which right now is rental property.
Week of 11/5-11/11
Total Items in Store: 1,720
Number of Items Listed: 113
Number of Items Sold: 92 (includes 1 Bonanza, 1 TruGether, 2 Etsy)
Weekly STR: 23%
Total Product Sales: $2,383
Cost of Items Sold: $426
Gross Profit for Week: $1,818
Highest Item Sold: $100 – Vtg Pendleton High Grade Western Wear Wool Jacket
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Troy wins the week (three in a row!) and Veronica leads for the year 25-19.
Sales had a nice bounce back this week, with 92 items being sold being tied for our best week ever, and the 23% STR our best rate in quite a while. I think Q4 is arriving…
It was nice to get a solid week of listing in and get our new listings up over 100 again for the week. Right now our goal is to get over 100 each week, with the plan to get it over 125 starting in January. It was interesting to see that the two weeks that we didn’t list, our sales dropped, and the week we list over 100 again, our sales bounce back.
Trying to close an offer from a buyer for over 34 shirts at once. He bought 5 shirts a few weeks ago, and then messaged us on Sunday offering to buy all of the shirts of a same size. We are haggling on price, but we may be too far apart. It would be great if it goes through!
11/13/2017 at 5:11 pm #25547
“We get a good bump in Q4, as each year Q4 is over 30% of our yearly sales. “
Since there are four quarters in a year, 30% in fourth quarter isn’t a huge percentage, no?
25% per quarter would be the average.
11/13/2017 at 5:27 pm #25551
True. I should have made a better distinction.
Our Q4 Sales as a % of total yearly sales for 2015-2017 have been:
2015 – 36%
2016 – 30%
2017 (Fcst) – 31%
Our Q4 PROFIT as a % of total yearly PROFIT for 2015-2017 have been:
2015 – 42%
2016 – 41%
2017 (Fcst) – 42%
11/13/2017 at 5:36 pm #25554
And to clarify, this is on cash basis accounting, not accrual basis accounting. Meaning that this represents our cash basis P&L for tax purposes.
Our three biggest expenses are Shipping (variable), Fees (Variable), and Inventory Purchases (semi fixed). We don’t really spend more in Q4 for inventory, since we spend about the same amount each time we go out shopping. Since the activity of shopping and spending for inventory is independent from sales (so not variable), it acts more like a fixed cost (though I call it semi-fixed since I can control how much I shop).
So come Q4, Inventory purchases as a percentage of revenue drops significantly (like in half), so our cash profits increase dramatically.
11/13/2017 at 5:36 pm #25555
Wow. Making more than 40% of your net profit for the year in just three months is a big deal. And you guys dont sell items that are specifically holiday stuff, right?
11/13/2017 at 5:42 pm #25558
Correct. I did a quick check in SixBit and 5.5% of our items are Christmas related.
11/13/2017 at 10:51 am #25516
Week of Nov. 6-12, 2017
Total Items in Store: 474
Items Sold: 26
Cost of Items Sold: $66
Total Sales: $730
Highest Price Sold: $75 (twice)
Average Price Sold: $28.07
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $42
Number of items listed this week: 15
Sold prices do not include shipping charges (we do not offer free shipping).
Had a great week selling snow boots and other cold weather items. Ave. was held down by unloading 6 “junk” items: $5-9 range-glad to get them out! Only hit 50% of listing goal due to unexpected other tasks. 1/3 of inventory was priced at 15% off sale to get things moving.
11/13/2017 at 11:08 am #25518
Nice ASP anyway!
11/13/2017 at 11:05 am #25517
Hey Retro, a couple of ideas.
If you go full time ebay can you get down to one car? My wife and I are semi-retired, and dropped our second car 4 years ago. I figure we save $300 to $400 a month (depreciation, gas, repairs, etc.)-that is a lot of money over 4 years! We rarely both need to use the car at the same time, but if we do, I rent a car. $35 or so, but it only happens a couple of times a year. Or, Uber. Big savings.
When my wife travels without me, and I cook alone, I try to fix enough of one thing for 2 more meals since I am already cooking. I will grill 3 chicken breasts, for example, instead of one. Then, I just microwave when I want chicken again. Nearly as easy as eating out. My wife makes huge pans of lasagna, freezes 1/2, and we get 3-4 meals out of one preparation.
Something that gets lost in planning for going to ebay full time, is how much money can be saved downsizing your house payment. Like J&L, can you move to a lower cost of living area, perhaps finding a home better suited to ebay in the process? We did that 4 years ago, and save about $300+ a month on payment, plus have a nice unfinished basement for ebay.
Also, once you start ebay full time, you might reconsider how much $$ you put into retirement savings. Perhaps once you have your “dream” job, ebay full time, you can cut back some. It all adds up.
11/14/2017 at 10:38 am #25588
If I went full time my car would be gone in a flash. I wouldn’t need it anymore.
I will have a beater work truck though to haul things. I suppose I could just rent a truck when I needed one, but if I needed it more than a few times a year it would end up costing more than keeping a work truck around.
We’re working on figuring out how to cook in bulk. It’s one of those things that you just have to get over the hump on. Cooking in bulk for one person is easy. Cooking in bulk for 6 people is the difference between a 200 item ebay store and a 2000 item ebay store. Lol! You gotta have a plan and dedicated space/tools for that.
If we truly had to, we could move to Southern WV near my father in law and he would hook us up with one of his houses. That is the emergency plan but is an option. We’re keeping an eye out for foreclosures that are cheaper and would need some work. We’d move if the right property presented itself.
11/15/2017 at 8:46 am #25629
–Yes, learn to cook for six at one time. It’s easy to cook a whole chicken + potatoes while we list. Whole chickens are really affordable. It’s like having an expensive Boston Market meal. Again, the Instapot (electronic pressure cooker) makes it super easy. Big pots of stew and chili are also easy to make, eat, and freeze.
–If you;re serious about doing eBay full-time, you may want to consider moving to your father-in-laws extra house. Getting rid of rent/mortgage for a year or two would give you the breathing room to get the business going, rethink your priorities, and then move to where you really want to live. We moved from San Francisco to rural Virginia, so we know what a big change can mean!
11/15/2017 at 9:07 am #25634
And if you want some large pot meal recipes, just let us know. We have some EXCELLENT meals that we make that are for making more than 1 meal at a time. Veronica and another reseller that we are best friends with will get together regularly and will make 4 batches of enchiladas at once, with will cover meals that night and in the future.
We have Veronica’s Chili, my Green Chile Stew, my Bourguignon, and I’m trying an Ancho Chipotle Stew recipe soon.
Maybe we should have a Recipe section Jay! 🙂
PS – On that same front, if you can learn to pressure can, it is SUCH a time and money saver. I make Green Chile Stew and will can 4 quarts of it, so when we are too tired to cook, just heat up a can, grab a flour tortilla, and you are done with dinner. We are seeing that if you are going to make a good meal, why not make 2-3 times the amount and freeze or can it so you are ready for the future.
11/15/2017 at 9:10 am #25635
Very good points. There’s been an explosion of “lifestyle” blogs in the past couple years. Every mom in the world now has her own site to share what she cooks. Its awesome.
I just google the food items I have available and someone has a recipe on how to cook it.
“chicken thighs ketchup onions instant pot”
11/15/2017 at 9:14 am #25637
Yep. Recipes CANNOT be copyrighted. If you want to learn how to make something, you can. I like to do that a lot. Find a dish at a restaurant that I like, then learn how to make it myself. I sometimes feel like we eat like kings on a paupers income…
11/15/2017 at 9:20 am #25639
This. We eat so well since we cook all our meals. And in the USA, food is so cheap if you’re willing to prepare it yourself.
Eating only prepared meals is the expensive option.
11/15/2017 at 9:24 am #25640
As we have now taught our boys. My youngest son is getting ready to get out on his own, and he told me “I just can’t see paying for food at the restaurant. It is just too expensive.” He works at a local mall, so he is really seeing the pricey stuff, but lesson still is there.
Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out on the rare occasion, but now it has to be something I can’t make myself…so I can steal new ideas…
11/15/2017 at 10:36 am #25644
Agreed. We see eating out as a treat, rather than just sustenance.
11/15/2017 at 11:07 am #25653
We can cook for 6. It’s cooking for 18+ that takes the learning so we have extra meals out of it. We have a couple soups & chilis as well as a lasagna that lasts for a couple meals.
If anyone has a great “first recipe” for an 8qt instant pot, I’d be very appreciative. I’m talking maxing it out and knowing that the cook times are right and that it will be awesome.
11/15/2017 at 11:20 am #25655
Yep, cooking for multiple meals for six people is just spending a couple extra hours cooking. Instead of cooking one chicken, cook two. Instead of one pot of chili, cook three.
Honestly, google Instant Pot recipes for big families. There are so many homeschool moms out there with big families that have solved the cooking problem.
11/15/2017 at 2:14 pm #25668
Separating the cult following crap from an honest recipe is not too easy with the instant pot crowd. Figured a fellow like minded scavenger would have a good one. My bad.
11/15/2017 at 2:16 pm #25669
we just google recipes and try them. i’ve made a couple cakes that sucked. BUT meat is so easy it’s almost too easy, you don’t even really need a recipe. just throw it in there for 20 minutes with some sauce.
11/15/2017 at 2:26 pm #25674
We just experiment as well. Ask Dr G and give it a try…
11/15/2017 at 2:25 pm #25672
Sorry I didn’t mean any disrespect. The Instant Pot just makes cooking large meals so easy. Mostly we just throw in big packages of chicken with some simple spices. All the recipes really do is tell me how long to cook it for.
Maybe others here are real cooks, but I’ve found that most cooking is pretty basic. Start with fresh ingredients and then cook with salt and pepper. I have never made a bad meal this way.
11/15/2017 at 4:43 pm #25703
Retro, shoot me an email at email@example.com and I can send you a couple of my recipes. Most of mine make 4 quarts, but you can expand to make more.
I don’t know much about the insta pot, as we use a pressure cooker to can our meals when we make the large ones. We are of the old school crock pot crowd…I like the house smelling good all day…
I would say the best way to expand your pre-made items is when you make one meal, double to make two and stick one in the freezer or can it. That is how we expanded our freezers and basement full of food (and other items). When I make one bigger meal, I double and throw the rest in the freezer. When I need 1 item on the shopping list, buy 2 until I have a good backlog.
And to Jay’s point, most crock pot recipes are the same basics:
Take meat and add salt and pepper
Sear both sides, set in crock pot
saute garlic/onions/other veggies, add to crock pot
Add chicken/beef broth
spice to taste
cook on low for 4-6 hours (until done)
90% of them are variations on a theme. My Ancho Chipotle venison stew I am trying tomorrow is just that…an experiment for a unique flavor. We have Green Chile Stew for New Mexican flavor, Bourguignon Stew (with red wine) for a high end flavor, Veronica’s Chili for hearty flavor, so I want one with chipotle and ancho for a smoky flavor.
11/17/2017 at 6:34 am #25749
Retro, we made a recipe recently and thought of you. Easy to do, makes a lot, and very tasty.
We will tweak this going forward. We like a more hearty soup (more stuff, less liquid), so when we make this again we will double the corn, beans, and chicken. And we will quadruple the quinoa. We also add chipotle powder, cumin, and chile powder to taste.
This recipe made enough for 6-8, and if you double the other items, it will be even more.
11/13/2017 at 11:37 am #25519
Bingo Season? 🙂
11/15/2017 at 11:22 am #25656
On our area, when its gets cold, people start bingo-ing.
11/13/2017 at 12:05 pm #25520
Here are my numbers for the week
Total Items in Store: 2058
Items Sold: 31
Total Sales: $586
Cost of Items Sold: $46
Average Price Sold: $18.92
Average Cost of Item: $1.48
Highest Price Item Sold: $22.95 Polaroid Sun 600
Number of items listed this week: 43
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 278
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 160
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 83
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.51%
# of Hats Sold: 25 (80% of sales)
Just low-priced sales for me this week which kept my total sales number down. We had one day without any sales at all which is pretty unusual now that we’re over 2,000 listings.
In regard to taking listings down for an extended period I was wondering if anyone knows if software like 6bit or Wonder Lister could be used for that. I know you can sync to your existing store so it seems likely one of these packages could do it.
11/13/2017 at 12:16 pm #25522
Yep, both would work. They are databases so the entire listing remains in the database and can be resubmitted to EBay at any time.
11/13/2017 at 12:44 pm #25525
Absolutely. Very Easy in both programs. In WL click on Active Items folder, click select all, click end listing and sit back and wait for them to all unlist. When you are ready to re-list all of them, just do the same process. Click Unlisted Folder, click select all, click submit to ebay and sit back and let the database do it’s work. One interesting option that is available in both SB & WL is you can select to re-submit all of your listings “now” or choose for the database to re-submit them at a specific interval [scheduled listings]. You can select as an example, 60 secs. and both programs will re-list your items 1 per minute until all are re-listed. Ebay has a “scheduled lister” also but SB & WL will handles thousands of re-listings. Click all means just that, “ALL”. You have 15,000 items, you can do them in bulk. Ebay has a lmit, like 500 I think depending on your store level. On WL, the amount is unlimited.
Some people like to do this so they have a constant stream of listings. Some people say list or re-list [either] every hour, thus 24 items listed on a daily basis. I have known guys that create 100’s of scheduled listings and once they have a big stock pile, they then have listings happening every hour, all day long for months on end.
As T-Satt states, as a relational database, these programs are or can be programed to do just tons of stuff.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
11/13/2017 at 1:26 pm #25529
100% agree, and the scheduled listings is one feature I love. I love having new listings hitting every day, so I will schedule listings to hit every 2-4 hours, so I have a pipeline of new listings contantly hitting.
11/13/2017 at 1:40 pm #25530
T-Satt I am pretty sure you know this so just a few questions. When we end listings every day or so, when do, and we are running one of our Sales, then when we do the auto re-list those items now are not included in the current Sale that is running because they were ended completely then re-started.
So one way we deal with this is to make sure our Sales are only run for a few days at a time anyway. We run short Sales for couple of other reasons also. But when we re-list and the items are not on Sale, then it will only be a few days before we start a Sale over again at a different percent off, and we pick those re-listed items back up into a Sale. The short Sales help to make sure the re-listed items don’t sit for a long time without getting included back into a Sale. I know some people don’t include newly listed items in a Sale but we do because many of those newly listed items could possibly be months old.
But just wondered what your take is on the 30 day end and re-list process and how that interfaces with a Promotion Campaign or a Store Wide Sales process.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
11/13/2017 at 5:01 pm #25542
Mike, totally agree with you on the challenges with Sales and Promoted Listings on 30 Day listings. Here is what we have done (and still do).
For sales, we only (generally) run a sale on items that we want to just dump. So we have a store category called Clearance Sale. Anything we just want to get rid of is put into that category and then we would run a weekly sale (Friday to Friday) on that store category at 50%-75% off. If the item fell off and was then relisted, it is not on sale until the next sale kicks off on Friday.
It is similar with Promoted Listings. When and item falls off after 30 days, it is not promoted when it is relisted until it is selected again manually through eBay Promotions Manager. For those, I check on them each day and for items that have newly relisted, I will manually put them back on Promotion.
We have not run a storewide sale yet, but might around Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday.
11/13/2017 at 12:12 pm #25521
Total Items in Store: 414
Items Sold: 12
Cost of Items Sold: $304 +$27 free shipping
Total Sales: $532
Facebook: 1 $20 sale of something from our house
Highest Price Sold: $190 (New duvet + shams, paid that amount two years ago in my rookie RA days)
Average Price Sold: $44
Returns – oye!: 1 broken in transit item, 1 switched out item (I won on appeal)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $50 new RA – clearance door knockers
Number of items listed this week: 12
Not my best week on Ebay all around. My usual Ebay glow is a bit battered and bruised. I had to talk to the foreign customer service reps twice, which irritates me to no end even though I escalated things and got a good outcome. I’m going to take a $100 loss on a Smartpost cracked item. I sold one of my original RA purchases that I overpaid for and got my money back but gave free shipping. Sold a color bleed item (Vera Neumann scarf) for .99 on auction. Hardly any free time to list with Christmas approaching. BUT, I look forward to this week and anticipate being able to get a few more listings up. I still LOVE selling on Ebay. The bright spot was I met some extremely nice Midwestern transplants who gave me a ton of packing materials – all tidy and organized by type. People from that part of the country are so nice.
I spent some time reorganizing my backlog and looking for stray Christmas items. I have everything off the floor of my garage and guests can now hang some clothes in the closet! Some of the piles are cool midcentury stuff, and some is hyper-grandma stuff of value but I won’t get too excited about listing it now (the latter aka my death piles). It’s fun to revisit the treasures but I miss shopping.
Regarding housing prices, remember that the expensive areas tend to appreciate at a faster rate. Real estate that looks expensive at the buy in can be a great capital investment and nest egg if you plan to move somewhere cheaper in retirement. It’s not spinning off income of course if you can only afford a primary residence.
Re new item shopping, we only have Kmart and Costco here. I had also bought Prime with a good discount and did not renew when it expired. I bought a few free shipping items from Amazon afterward and they didn’t ship out for SO long. So I switched to Walmart.com and it ships immediately, gets here in two days, and I get free packing material. I also didn’t like how Amazon doesn’t show you the best price right away or how third party sellers get at least $4 for shipping each item. We buy enough staples and food at Costco that our dues are free with the rebate check. Our grocery and drug stores here have strong mark ups, so Walmart.com is a good option and I think Costco is standard about 20-25% less than other retailers. IF you haven’t seen the documentary on Costco, it’s fascinating. Have a great week.
11/13/2017 at 5:31 pm #25552
You make a great point. If you plan to move to an expensive urban area and know you wont be forced to move because of a job, the real estate can appreciate by a large percentage.
he danger for urban workers is being forced to move at a bad time because the job changes out from under you.
11/13/2017 at 12:32 pm #25523
- Location: Wheeling, WV
Nov. 5 – 11
Total Items in Store: 815
Items Sold: 22
Total Sales (Gross Profit): $1,413
Highest Price: $280 (RTS Systems MRT327 User Station and Mic)
Average Price: $64
Cost of Items Sold: $118
Costs of Items Purchased this Week: $50
It was a fantastic week for me! I know I was just complaining about it being slow in last week’s post. It’s funny how that happens.
I hit a huge achievement on Friday… I made my final student loan payment! So now instead of paying an extra $175 to the Man every month, I’ll be throwing that amount right into my savings account.
Not much else is new except I’ve really kicked it into high gear in terms of listing. And it shows! I’m constantly selling items that I’ve listed just the day before.
11/13/2017 at 12:49 pm #25526
Bingo night sounds awesome! What a totally fun (and cheap) date night.
Better insulation is definitely on our list as soon as we’re done paying off the house. It’s a really worthwhile investment. It sounds like you guys did an awesome job of insulating your house.
This week wasn’t great for me numbers-wise. We were away all week though, so I didn’t list anything new. I still did about $500 in sales, but that’s a pretty low week for me. I had 10 day handling on my listings so I’m not sure if that hurt my sales or if it’s just that I wasn’t listing.
11/13/2017 at 1:44 pm #25531
My numbers for the week of 11/5/17:
Total Items in Store: 93
Items Sold: 20
Cost of Items Sold: $75
Total Sales: $ 640 + shipping
Highest Price Sold: $129 (Equestrian Boots, purchased for $20)
Average Price Sold: $32
It was a very good week of sales. I have been keeping track of my monthly numbers for the last 5 years. Historically, 4th quarter (which I “consider” to be October-February since sales seems to be higher through those winter months) run just under double what they average the rest of the year. It is a noticeable difference. That being said, my main area of expertise is used toys. I sell quite a bit of holiday collectibles and boots as well. They are easy flips and they really bump up the sales overall at this time of year.
I have been unable to leave bulk feedback since the page was updated with a new look a few weeks back. Unlike the caller on this weeks podcast, I am opted into the Seller Hub. When I click on “shipped and awaiting your feedback”, I check the boxes of multiple items, use a stored comment, and click the leave feedback box. It does not give any indication that it didn’t go through. But the feedback does not register. I can only get it to work by going into each item one by one which is a huge waste of time. Is anyone else having this problem? I reported it weeks ago, but no change so far.
11/13/2017 at 2:33 pm #25532
- Location: South Dakota
Nov 5-11 2017
• Total Items in Store: 864
• Items Sold: 21 all ebay
• International 3 GSP
• Total Sales $1032
• Highest Price $330 Mobile Transceiver
• Average Price Sold: $49
• Returns: 0
• Cost of Items Sold: $270
• Cost of items purchased this week $70
$167 in the change jar and I received $100 check from a USPS claim. I think I’ll take a little trip to Denver this week, see how my kids are doin’.
11/13/2017 at 2:36 pm #25534
- Location: Texas
Amazon Prime has been part of my family for over a decade now. I got my daughter onto the joint Prime Shipping option before it was phased out to the newer Amazon Family, and she still has it grandfathered. My husband is on the new Amazon Family program. With the old Joint option, all the “family” got was the shipping. With the new Family option, the hubs has full access to anything I have. However, I can’t add my daughter to it because it shares bank accounts, not that she would buy something off my debit card deliberately, but mistakes can happen.
We love Prime. We don’t have cable, so we use Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Videos for our viewing pleasure. I get Prime Music, Prime Books, and the monthly Kindle Firsts. The hubs has access to all the books, videos, music, Audible books, etc. and we can watch it on his Kindle Fire, our Nexus tablets, the home computer, or my Android smartphone. We have an Echo (Alexa) and use it constantly, although we don’t have a Smart Home. I can order any Prime-eligible item via the Echo and it arrives in a couple days: a stress-reliever when I’ve forgotten to buy something, as we’re 20 miles from the nearest grocery store! The Echo plays all available Prime music, can read Kindle books or play Audible books, has a variety of radio and voice channels, takes shopping lists, sets timers and reminders, can add a variety of alarms, once off or repeating, and even plays games with us or my grandson.
Finally, we use Prime shipping. We can choose the free shipping options, or select the slower shipping times in return for credit. Rack up a few bucks and you can rent a movie or buy a digital music single, or even an ebook.
The $100 per annum we pay is well worth it.
11/13/2017 at 5:41 pm #25557
That does sound awesome. You guys are doing it right.
For us, we have more than enough stuff to watch on Netflix (we watch maybe an hour of stuff a day in the evening). We listen to some free online radio station throughout the day. It’s the free shipping I’d like to get!
11/13/2017 at 5:44 pm #25560
Amen. YouTube, NetFlix and some Amazon Video for us, with some Broadcast TV thrown in. I listen to podcasts all day, with some Pandora or my MP3’s for music. Very cheap entertainment.
Plus, we keep an eye out for DVD’s we want at yardsales…
11/13/2017 at 4:12 pm #25537
You guys mentioned a debate over whether to display clothes on a mannequin or not. So I’d like to share the most effective dollar I’ve ever spent:
Takes up no space, is a helpful white color like the backdrop, and frames clothes photos with a human form. I still kind of want a mannequin because I think they’re so creepy, but this works so much better.
- This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by DantheDiner.
11/13/2017 at 4:53 pm #25541
Store Week 11/5/17 – 11/11/17
Total items in store: 1624
Items sold: 23
Cost of items 1085.73
Highest price sold: $150.00 (Levi’s Sherpa Jacket)
Average price sold: $47.21
International Sales: 2
Returns: 1 (for size)
Money spent on new inventory this week: $45.52
This was a great week for me, with numerous sales most days. The yard sales have pretty much dried up for the year, so I guess I’ll have to pay up at the thrift stores for a while. (Although, I also have a number of death piles I’m avoiding.) I did hit up the Goodwill outlet that’s about 2 hours away from me this week, and got some stuff. Nothing amazing, but it was cheap and will sell. And I’ve got my eyes peeled for estate sales and auctions! Now, time to work!
11/13/2017 at 6:05 pm #25562
Items sold: 6
Average Price: $35.08
Highest Price: $119.81
Worked through a pile of equipment I’d set aside for parts/repair/testing and listed it all. Only about 5 or 6 items and one of them sold right away. It was an untested HDD for an Xbox 360 S, so we’ll see how that turns out once the buyer gets it.
I’ve been revamping my inventory system that I run on a small webserver at home. Previously, I could only track stats (COGS, etc) by month, but now I have a handy weekly view that includes the stats listed at the start of this post. Nothing major, but it works perfectly for me.
Re: Dropshipping. I’ve been on the receiving end of a dropshipper’s buyer wanting to return something that’s been way outside my return window on eBay, but since “item is defective” seems to go outside of that timeframe, they just used it. I didn’t know I was dealing with a dropshipper until I tried communicating with them and got a bunch of snarky, pointed comments that were more or less “You’re insulting my intelligence. Accept the return right now.” Some basic research – like checking their old seller IDs – led me to an Amazon store where my item was listed as a different condition than I’d listed it for 1.5-2x the price. I accepted the return, but when I got the item back the buyer had actually included 3 printed pages documenting the return via Amazon, including an email correspondence with the dropshipper (or in this case, the Amazon seller), which I attached to a message between me and my buyer. He shut up immediately. I then sent the information to eBay and they returned the money to me in full, marked the dropshipper for bad behavior, and told me to block him until they could ban him from the site (he had dozens of pages dating back 5+ years full of negative feedback left for other sellers.)
Without evidence, you are pretty much toast. I feel bad for anyone that it happens to since it typically seems to be expensive electronics with insane return shipping cost.
11/13/2017 at 6:17 pm #25563
Ah, so he was selling to customers and then buying from sellers like you to fulfill the order?
11/13/2017 at 8:28 pm #25567
Yup! His entire Amazon shop was filled with popular models of this specific item. I’ll admit that it’s a pretty good business strategy, but I’d assume a dropshipper would be prepared to eat the cost of a return should it happen. Cost of doing business and all that.
11/13/2017 at 7:29 pm #25564
Week of Nov 5-11
* Total Items in Store: 1143
* Items Sold: 13
* Cost of Items Sold: $7.40 + $16.25 Commission
* Total Sales: $247.93
* Highest Price Sold: $39 Vintage Hurricane style lamp
* Average Price Sold: $19.07
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $90
* Number of items listed this week: 23
Kind of a crappy week compared to the last two, but I’m seeing a higher number of sales this week so far. Things are looking up!
I really don’t want to buy much right now, but one of the online auctions had some good stuff. I ended up spending $90. I am going to a live auction on Thursday. Thankfully, their December auction is on a Saturday, so I won’t be able to go. On the other hand, the following Sunday is a rummage sale literally down the road from me. Oh well. I’d like to see if I can go the rest of the year without spending too much on inventory. I can only hope. I’ve got a backlog, and I’ve got death piles.
Regarding Amazon Prime. I signed up for the free month a few years ago when I was late in buying some holiday gifts, then I cancelled. However, my dad has prime. So, whenever I need something quickly (or I don’t have enough to add up to free shipping), I’ll use his account. I found that I need to select my address at the very end and not on the side when I’m about to put something in my cart. I did that once, and, the next time my dad went to buy something, he left my address in and it was shipped to me. Otherwise, it works out, and I think my sister uses it as well.
11/13/2017 at 10:35 pm #25570
RR Store Week Nov 5-11, 2017
Total Items in Store: 1,394
Items Sold: 36
Cost of Items Sold: $62.93
Total Sales: $943.87
Highest Price Sold: $300 (Acetate record)
Average Price Sold: $26.22
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $74.50
Number of items listed this week: 22
I’m still on a high from that acetate record sale! For you non-record nerds, an acetate is master copy of a record. It’s not vinyl, though. It is aluminum with a lacquer finish. It starts out blank, then a lathe-type machine etches the recordings into the blank directly from the master tape. The master is then used to make vinyl copies or as an archive copy. This one in particular was “Nancy & Lee” by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood. Lee has garnered a bit of a cult following, so I knew it would sell. And the thing was beat to hell. When I found it, it wasn’t even in a sleeve. I graded it as Good+, which is pretty low. Found it at an antique store half a block from my house for $2 bucks.
Didn’t get much listed this week because of a health issue. But I hope to be back up on my feet this week and hitting my listing goals.
11/13/2017 at 11:19 pm #25572
Hey Jay, how about a picture of one of the PRVs?
On the topic of currency, around age 12, I refused to attend summer camp and instead spent the summer tramping daily to the local bank branch and exchanging $2 of pennies so I could harvest stray wheat pennies. After a while, though, I began to suspect that one particular teller was seeding the rolls.
11/14/2017 at 4:37 pm #25602
It’s basically this in different sizes: https://www.ebay.com/itm/6-150mm-TA-Cast-Iron-Balancing-Valve-Class-150-pressure-reducing-valve/322866483595
11/14/2017 at 7:14 pm #25614
So one of these. Not a PRV, then, but a balancing valve. Used to control fluid flow in hot/cold water “hydronic” HVAC systems. Also used for industrial “process” piping, like controlling fluid flow in a manufacturing process using fluid inputs or cooling/heating processes. My knowledge comes from HVAC, though. Mention in the listing the grooved ends–valves like that come in grooved, threaded and flanged-end flavors. If they’re stainless steel, they’re probably suitable for food processing, so mention that, too, if you can determine.
- This reply was modified 7 months ago by Luftmentsh.
11/15/2017 at 8:50 am #25630
That’s it! I knew enough at the store to be dangerous and go all in on these items. We’re going to list them today. If interested, email us and we’ll send you the listing to check it out. We’d love to get your feedback.
11/13/2017 at 11:26 pm #25573
Brian Treasures from GrandmasParticipant
- Location: Hoboken, NJ
@ LuckySparrow in NE – fantastic wine/liquor scavenging story! You noted that you were trying to sell some of the scotch & other liquor… where are you going to try to sell? I found some 1976 bottles of Pol Roget champagne at an estate sale and haven’t been able to sell. Approached some liquor stores/distributors that also buy & collect and they had major (legitimate) concerns about how good it would be. And selling online isn’t an option because (at least in my state) it’s illegal.
Week November 5-11, 2017
Total Items in Store: 954
Items Sold: 18
Cost of Items Sold: $116 (14.6% of sales)
Total Sales: $793.28
Highest Price Sold: $215 (c1962 Barbie with Bubble Cut Hair)
Average Price Sold: $44.07
Returns: 0 (1 NPB though)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $150
Number of items listed this week: 42
Promoted listings test: 14 sales, $614.94 (77.5% of total sales), $32.86 fees (5.3% of sales)
Nice little week highlighted by a few high dollar sales. Volume has been down for the past two weeks, but average sale price has remained high. Also sold 10x items for over $300 yesterday, so hoping for a big week – although last time I had a huge Sunday the second half of the week was dead.
Listings this week were above average as I was moving through records pretty quickly.
11/14/2017 at 12:16 am #25575
Hi @Brian Treasures from Grandma’s! Yes, it is a sticky wicket to sell spirits online. There are a couple of auction houses in the US that will work with collectible spirits. Here is one that we have contacted: http://www.skinnerinc.com/specialty-areas/vintage-wine-auction
The other option is to sell privately, directly to a collector. There are vintage spirit collector private buy-sell-trade groups on Facebook.
11/14/2017 at 6:17 am #25577
That was a bit of a slow week, but acceptable.
Sales: CAD$405, 4 items
Net profit: $128
Hours: 6, $21/hr
Listed: 11 items, $230 at least
Notable sales: Blue/green jadeite Aladdin lamp, broke a little in the car on the way home from that garage sale, still $50–>$150.
In terms of scavenging, I think I found some good sci/med equipment, we’ll see how it sells. Forked over $40 for one piece, a sonic sample homogenizer, think I’ll get over $400 but who knows. Also selling a surplus tampax dispenser. For all these great deals and more, visit my store at “E” Bay Dot Com.
11/14/2017 at 8:14 am #25578
Chris and ElaineParticipant
J&R, I love your free shipping concept on large items. I do not have the storage space for the kind of item. However, I just saw a commercial for wayfair.com and they offer free shipping on even couches. They may have broken the code on free bulky item shipping. It may be a place for more research. I love the mobile forum! Chris
11/15/2017 at 8:42 am #25628
Thanks for the heads up. I’ll take a look. Bigger companies like that can usually have a wider spread on shipping since they sell so much quantity.
11/19/2017 at 10:51 am #25815
So Cal JoeParticipant
Many of the larger companies have warehouses strategically located within the United States, so that shipping to the end customer is never too far away. This enables them to greatly reduce costs as well ship quickly.
11/14/2017 at 10:00 am #25586
Mark S – thanks for sharing your spreadsheet – very nice.
Second week on a row I did not hit my listing goals. Have made a few adjustments this week and so far on base to well exceed 100 listings. Still plenty of inventory on hand to list, however end is in site so i will have to get my buying hat ready soon.
11/05/17 – 11/11/17
Total items in store: 734
Items sold: 15
Weekly sell through: 2.04%
Total Sales: $ 538.24 (no shipping)
Average price: $35.88
Cost of items sold: $223.09
Gross profit: $315.15
Highest item sold: Lot 285 cds (cost 104, sold for 140.)
New items listed: 60
Asking price of new items listed: $2812.5
Cost of new items listed: $209.49
11/15/2017 at 3:17 pm #25684
Your Welcome Geoff.
11/14/2017 at 10:50 am #25589
But change this week for us too. Sales up almost 150%.
Total Items in Store: 2000
Items Sold: 29
Cost of Items Sold: $22
Total Sales: $1078
Highest Price Sold: $123 (7 packs of small Harry Potter Legos)
Average Price Sold: $37
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $50
Number of items listed this week: 50
11/14/2017 at 11:05 am #25592
I’m on a waiting list for Guaranteed Shipping. I hope they roll it out to everyone soon. I think in the holiday season it is going to be a big advantage.
My sales go up quite a bit during the holiday season. I do sell quite a few holiday items…vintage ornaments, holiday decor, holiday craft kits. All of that stuff starts flying out the door.
11/14/2017 at 9:46 pm #25621
My numbers for the week:
Total items in store 878
Items sold 21
Cost of items sold $50
Total sales $280.67 (not including shipping and after fee’s)
Highest Price Sold $70.89 10 High Grade cassette tapes
Money spent on new inventory $30
Number of items listed this week 30+ (I am attempting to reach 1000 items by the end of December)
The cassette tapes came from a ONE ROOM estate sale. I wasn’t going to go, but we went the last day since it opened before the others. I purchased 20 items for $12. STEAL! I think he wanted everything gone.
Sold a vintage airline bag today to a PROP company in NY. (probably my 3rd sale to a prop company, and I have a duplicate of the bag to sell)
Sold my FIRST vintage Polo $hirt today. It took me awhile to look up what I needed to look for. I listed a couple of shirts and have a vintage Polo hat to clean up.
Today was probably my best day on Ebay. $247 in sales (not including shipping)
I have recently gone from $10 -$20 items to more higher priced items after 14 months of selling on Ebay.
And now I am exhausted…. Good show this week btw and good callers!
11/15/2017 at 3:14 pm #25682
- Location: South Dakota
I just sold a pair of Pan Am travel bags to a prop company today as well. Wonder if we’ll ever see them on TV?
11/14/2017 at 11:12 pm #25624
That was a Great Episode! So many neat topics.
Drop Shippers, imagine doing research on eBay. Hey, that looks just like my photo. Hey, those bullet points just like my listing on Amazon. Haaay, that is my Amazon listing on eBay at over twice the price. Hey, Hey, Haaaaaaay!!!!!
Yep, they did. So, of course, we ordered 2, just to be sure. Sure enough, with a few minutes my Amazon line was a chingin’. I received them, and sent them back. These were Branded Bundles I created. I do Wholesale, PL, etc., etc. on Amazon.
So, I had to research this culprit. Turns out the Seller has something like 18,000 listings on eBay. I looked up his Feedback and figuring Feedback is a fraction of actual sales, suddenly, became very interested. The numbers were there, for sure. Prime cannot be used to purchase items to flip from Amazon to Amazon. But, Amazon to eBay isn’t an issue. So, they don’t have to pay shipping in on these items.
My question is: Who is paying 2+ times Amazon prices on eBay, really? And, can you imagine managing a software program that tracks the inventory in and out of stock on this? I guess a VA could do that. I have inventory tracking that lets you know, when competitors add to their inventory, but, not when they are out of inventory. I guess everyone has a business model…..
Another fun topic was the Money Guy. You should So do a poll on how many people looked thru their wallet after the podcast. I found one, right off. It looks like it says, 666OH. I so want to draw an exclamation point behind it, OH!!! Lol, so funny
And, speaking of long tail pieces, I sold one of the most expensive items, ever, this week, a late 1700’s Caneware Squab Dish, which is a bisque-like covered baking roasting dish for small birds. The top is adorned with a hen with chicks, and it had a newspaper article from 50 years ago giving it provenance to the 1700’s with a picture of this exact piece. I dropped the price from over $600.00 all the way down to $416.00. It had watchers on it for about 3 years. I finally figured I wanted it gone and lowered the price. It’s not close to perfect. But, it was the most ornate of it’s kind over the past years listings.
Thanks for all of the fun and the sharing,
Finds and Furnishings
11/15/2017 at 8:51 am #25631
What are you selling on amazon that someone else was drop shipping?
11/15/2017 at 9:12 am #25636
The crazy thing is, if you scroll around on YouTube, you can see these guys that have software that they will use to import thousands of listings from WalMart, Amazon, Jet, etc. that they can instantly create on their eBay store, with a certain markup. They aren’t making a ton of money on each item, but the software helps create the listing, manage the inventory, does the buying, etc.
It is out there…
11/15/2017 at 9:19 am #25638
There’s also software that scans Amazon and tells you the latest hot items, what factory to purchase those items from, and helps you place and order and list on Amazon for yourself. This is why it seems impossible to find a successful “niche” on Amazon for any period of time. Even private label brands eventually get overrun by cheaper competitors.
11/15/2017 at 5:42 pm #25705
What are you selling on amazon that someone else was drop shipping?
Kitchen Linen items.
11/15/2017 at 5:48 pm #25706
Where do you get a steady supply of these items?
How much do you make in profits after COPGS and Amazon fees?
11/15/2017 at 7:21 pm #25716
Where do you get a steady supply of these items?
How much do you make in profits after COPGS and Amazon fees?
We are Wholesalers and Branded Private Labelers.
11/15/2017 at 5:55 pm #25708
The Drop Shipping issue is going to cost us Sellers more money on Returns with new Amazon Return Policy that went into effect on the first of this month. Per Amazon reps, if a Customer wants to return an item for ANY reason, whatsoever, the return shipping is paid by the Seller…..
So, depending on how the DS markets the product and what kind of return policy they offer, when they return it to AZ, the Sellers have to foot the cost. Considering that the Seller fees do not get refunded on the AZ platform, either, these policies indicate that AZ is pushing out smaller resellers. This has been in the rumor mills for some time. We have been preparing for this issue. This is why we are doing more PL and branded bundles.
AZ policies have been very good reason for sellers to return to eBay. I really think eBay doesn’t have to try very hard to entice more sellers onto their site. My Company was contacted by eBay to bring all of my AZ listing over to eBay. They gave us a deal on a store and Inkfrog to get us up and running. I wish they’d give me a VA to get it done.
11/16/2017 at 11:29 pm #25743
Nov 5 – Nov 11, 2017
Total Items in Store: at the end of this week… not sure exactly, but in the 300’s.
Items Sold: 21
Cost of Items Sold: approx. $21
Total Sales: $312.59 (excluding shipping costs)
Highest Price Sold: $65 (Free People Sweater)
Average Price Sold: $14.88
International Sales: 0
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $48.76
Number of items listed this week: in the 20’s
Avg per day: 44.65
In skimming through the threads, the food topic caught my eye. Food/eating out costs are usually the main budget category that can be trimmed. Like Jay said, committing to not eating out will make a huge difference. Make ahead meal prepping is trendy these days, but I’m totally buying into it. Having food ready to go can help the budget & health. I love batching work, including cooking. This week my friend and I had a smoothie/salad prepping party. We made ahead 12 smoothies in jars and froze them (put in fridge night before, good to go in the AM). And we prepped 12 salads in jars for the week (wetter ingredients on the bottom). Yes, mason jars… also super trendy, but they’re such cheap containers. It’s already helping my days alot.
Have tried a different approach w/ my eBay schedule recently and am liking it, more batching. Fri: sourcing/washing, Sat: photographing/editing, Sun: drafting listings/measuring, Mon: final listing (+scheduling out listings to go live all week), Tues: loose ends, organizing, ordering supplies, thinking about the business… Wed/Thurs: more attention to home life… cooking, paperwork, cleaning home before I bring more stuff into it on Friday! It’s been a better flow, but still need to work on getting more total listings up each week.
And also trying a different approach w/ challenging myself. It may not matter, but it helps me to have goals. My goal is to have 500 items listed in my store by the end of 2017! It’s doable, and at least I will know that my store is growing. Each day by the end of the day, I’ll make sure that the live listings are at a growing number (already marked on my calendar), by listing/relisting. After working at eBay slightly more seriously for about a year, I wish I had made an incremental goal like this from the beginning. I feel I would have a bigger store by now w/ probably a more consistent income, probably also w/o stressing myself out so much and feeling like I was failing. At first I was trying to do unrealistic listing goals daily, and then would get burnt out and not work consistently. At 500, I will reassess and plan the next goal, it will probably be to get to 1000. 1% of 1000 = 10 sales a day at asp of $20 = $200 day/ 6000 a month. That’s been my real goal, which at first seemed increditble, but learning about how the numbers work out, etc., and making some progress over a year, I think it’s possible and would be a very comfortable income for us and would exactly replace my salary from my last job, which would be more than great.
Even if nobody reads this, this is therapeutic for me. Have a good week everyone 🙂
11/17/2017 at 7:19 am #25751
dearmila: Excellent post! I agree with the batch process, as I have found it to be much more efficient overall. When I started listing, I did one item all the way through, and it took FOREVER. Now, we use batches to be more efficient, as well as to not burn out.
For me, Monday is my prep day in the morning, steaming and cleaning items for the week, and I do any weekly admin work. I sometimes am able to list on Mondays, sometimes not and use the afternoon for jobs around the house. Tuesday through Thursday is hardcore listing, Friday is either listing or sourcing if it is yard sale time, Saturday is sourcing, Sunday is off.
I use a lot of batch process in my days as well. I do my daily admin work in the morning, then list 10-15 items (photo/measure/draft list, then photo edit, then price and submit). Hike and lunch, then do another batch in the afternoon.
I can also attest to what sonia said about the non-linear progression of your STR as your store grows. The larger your store is, the more long tail items you will have and it lowers your STR. For some basis on our store:
Q1 2015 Avg Inventory – 354; Avg STR – 41%
Q2 2015 Avg Inventory – 530; Avg STR – 26%
Q3 2015 Avg Inventory – 641; Avg STR – 23%
Q4 2015 Avg Inventory – 834; Avg STR – 26%
Q1 2016 Avg Inventory – 1086; Avg STR – 20%
Q2 2016 Avg Inventory – 1250; Avg STR – 14%
Q3 2016 Avg Inventory – 1266; Avg STR – 12%
Q4 2016 Avg Inventory – 1345; Avg STR – 20%
Q1 2017 Avg Inventory – 1372; Avg STR – 20%
Q2 2017 Avg Inventory – 1501; Avg STR – 20%
Q3 2017 Avg Inventory – 1627; Avg STR – 16%
Q4 2017 Avg Inventory – 1713; Avg STR – 19% (currently)
When we started having the lower STR in Q2 & Q3 of 2016 was when we started to analyze our inventory and decide if we needed to purge out bad buys to keep the dead weight from dragging our numbers down.
I think you can keep in a more linear fashion if you are willing to consistently analyze your slow moving inventory and see if you made a bad buy and just need to remove, or accept that it will take some time and you want to hold on for the good price.
I still forecast our store with one STR for the entire store, but this non-linear function has been something I would like to forecast better by calculating an STR by type (clothing, collectibles, etc.). Since our store has seemed to stabilize, I don’t think it is worth my time (I would rather be quickly close enough than taking a long time to be dead on in my forecasting).
So, when you are running your numbers for the future, forecast a degradation in your STR. I always try to keep some storm clouds in my forecast and not just all sunny skies.
11/17/2017 at 7:36 am #25752
The difference between our kind of store and a retail/amazon store is supply.
Walmart or an Amazon seller can see that beanie babies are selling well so they make an order for 1000 beanie babies. As they keep selling, they just order more.
For us, we depend of skill, knowledge and luck. We may know that a certain kind of item sells well, but we can’t make an order for 1000 of those items. Instead we go out scavenging to see what we can find. Based on our experience and knowledge, we know what to look for…but ultimately we are at the mercy of whatever people are selling.
This is why our sales do not always rise with a larger inventory. We’re listing the stuff we find, not necessarily the “hot items” that sell right away.
Its the difference between the blacksmith who can make items on demand versus the fish seller who can only sells what he finds in the ocean that morning.
11/17/2017 at 7:50 am #25753
Excellent analogy with the blacksmith and the fisherman. I absolutely love that!
Absolutely true as well. Between the two of us, Veronica is much more the fisherman, and I am closer to the blacksmith. Still true that in the strictest sense, we are at the mercy of what is for sale (something I am wanting to try and control better in the coming year), but it is much easier for me to find and sell items than it is for her, at least in this area. The farther away from large cities that we go though, it is much more the non-clothing items that we find which is her wheelhouse.
This is also the reason I went down this route. I do have some enjoyment for the clothing, but I also like that it is more available.
Maybe for us, we are both fisherman…but she and I are fishing different waters with different bait.
11/17/2017 at 8:08 am #25754
Since you focus more on “best sellers” (if thats the right word), is your Cost of Goods Sold more than your wife’s COGS who buys the weirder, vintage stuff?
11/17/2017 at 9:35 am #25759
Not really. Whether Veronica’s or mine, we average $5 per item. Sometimes cheap, sometimes more, but we always seem to average $5 COGS.
11/17/2017 at 8:56 am #25756
Question Jay: Do you think you could become more of a blacksmith and less of a fisherman if you did more sourcing trips in the nearby larger towns and cities? I’ve suggested before that you consider swapping Airbnbs or signing up for a luxury pet sitting service. As T-Satt says the farther away from large cities they go, the more they find for the fisherman. If the reverse proves true, you could change up your equation with the vast knowledge you have for name brands and undervalued items. Don’t you just love this injection of armchair quarterbacking your life? LOL!
11/17/2017 at 9:08 am #25758
Its a good question. Getting away from the analogies, the issue for us with selling commodity items is the low profit. Every now and again you can find some clearance sale and snatch up an armful of new items for cheap. That’s awesome because you buy low and sell at market rate.
Every model I’ve seen of someone with a wholesale, retail arbitrage, or private label store shows very small profits. They depend on selling in quantity. Like huge quantity. So they have to pay more to get the quantity of items they need. We make a great living selling less than 300 items a month. Amazon sellers would laugh at that. They probably sell that many items a day. (I bet they don’t make much more profit than us after fees/COGS.)
So I don’t see the value in shopping specifically in big cities. I think its just more competition and higher prices. We’re scavenged in large urban areas and actually see LESS variety and selection of items to buy.
I believe that you buy a lot of clearance at, right? Do you find that to be a good steady source of profits? What are your profit margins after fees/Cogs?
11/17/2017 at 9:46 am #25760
You make the great point on the profit margins. Most Manufacturing companies run on 8-12% net profit. Grocery stores are 1-2% profit. But they do have demand. People will always eat…
We run a basic 4x model, buying at $5 to sell at $20 on average. We are beginning to look at if we deploy more capital, can we get a lower return (3x or 2x) but have a higher dollar return per hour worked.
Comes back to the 3 T’s…Time, Talent, & Treasure. Time is the only one you can’t get more of…
11/17/2017 at 11:27 am #25765
Maybe a variation on your 4x times model might be more interest to us. Buy an item at $5 then instead of $20 try this:
Buy for $5.00 then times x 4 = $20 then ..
$20 x 1.40 = $28 [broken down this way]
the 4x is what we would want to walk away with BEFORE the cost of the item and to do this throw on top of the $20 enough for a 15% OFF Sale, AND 15% negotiating amount because almost everything we have has Make an Offer on it and most buyers offer about 15% to 20% below the SALE Price then up another 5%-6% for a Promotional Fee or buffer – padding.
We run constant 2-4 day sales of 15% to 20% with one or two days in between.
So $5.00 x 4 x 1.40 [17%+17%+6% = 40%] = $28 then Sale makes the item show at $23.80 then an offer at 15% less than that sells at $20.23 then less the 6% promoted listing fee = $19.01 then less the $5 cost of the item = $14.02 = about 3 times our original investment.
BUT … don’t forget all of the FVF and Fees on shipping at approx. 20% brings the item down to about $11.21 or approx. 2.25 times your original investment.
Personally we go even higher, we do research on historical sold prices going back for a year or two. Many times we are more like 10 times what we invest and even more on our “treasure – gem finds” but those don’t count in the routine, everyday items.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
11/17/2017 at 3:02 pm #25775
Agree. The concept of starting higher and then running sales has been on my mind, and a potential area for us to experiment with in 2018.
We aren’t strict pricing on a 4x model, it is just what we average. We research every item to price the market. With my clothing, I usually have a pretty good known price after research. But I have thought to start increasing my price to factor in a sales discount price and see if that speeds velocity.
11/17/2017 at 11:38 am #25766
Good morning Jay. I’ve been listening a long, long time. I totally get that you are not into RA / commodity items. I also remember that you enjoy picking estate sales, yard sales, and flea markets but don’t have so many in your area. I was thinking not of changing so much the type of items you pick, but expanding where you pick. There is more competition but you have a deeper knowledge base and see value in things others would not. With all of the abundance a populated place can offer, you could find good stuff at fairly good prices if you spent a bit more time there and found some honey holes. You did want to experiment at one point with paying more in the past and seem to be looking to expand into furniture after the building is up. Ryanne’s expressed interest in Craigslist hunting. I see an opportunity there but you know best what’s right for you and how your past city picks have done (price and velocity wise) vs. your rural picks.
As for me, my favorite finds are cool vintage items that I get for cheap. However, I have limited Ebay time so I do some narrowly focused online and physical RA at a couple of stores I like to shop in myself (though not at full price). Originally I got into that type of picking to fund my own purchases there, then I figured out their sales cycles and to focus mainly on animal theme and artist collaboration items. On those items I only make like 2x-5x the money. However, the new items move much more quickly because I price slow dime. There are other things I like about selling new items but mainly I think it’s important to keep my small store active.
11/17/2017 at 6:21 pm #25784
You’re absolutely correct. If we lived in an urban area (or spent a significant amount of time there), we could find a whole new category of stuff to buy.
Craigslist, Estate Sales, and high end auctions would be huge for us because we have developed a knowledge base. You’re also correct that we’d be willing to pay more so we could find more items that might sell for $500+. I’ve been wanting to break into that category on a more regular basis. We would just need to push ourselves to find ways to spend more time in a big city. Our current 5-6 hours ventures just isnt long enough.
We need Scavenger Airbnb where hosts would be cool with us staring for a week and bringing home truckloads of stuff during our stay!
11/17/2017 at 6:31 pm #25785
We once met a retired couple who had stayed in some amazing properties and guest houses doing professional housesitting/petsitting. They told me the website, it might have been this one. Trusted Housesitters I’m sure there are others. I was thinking you make runs there to shop for yourselves and the rentals, so makes sense to pick there for your customers.
11/17/2017 at 12:37 am #25744
I read your post! Sounds great that you are doing things so systematically – I think I could benefit by batching up my ebay tasks more.
Re: planning for a larger store, don’t forget to take into account that sales don’t increase linearly with store size. In other words, doubling the size of your store doesn’t translate to double the revenue, though it certainly does increase it. Or, to put it another way, just because you sell 1% of the items in your store per day today, doesn’t mean that you will also sell 1% per day when you increase the size of the store. I think it was Simon who posted a simple explanation of this some time ago, having to do with the fact that the more items you have in the store, the higher the percentage of your store is made up of long tail items, which sell at a much slower rate.
I hope I’m not coming across as a wet blanket for your goals, just want to help you make realistic ones. I am impressed by your planning – I haven’t been organized or motivated enough to do any planning myself – maybe some day…
11/17/2017 at 2:27 pm #25774
dearmila and sonia,
This is an aspect of forcasting that I too have noticed and struggle with. I have an average STR of 10% weekly. When I try to plan for the future, I feel that the most I’d be able to realistically accomplish for 2018 is double what I did this year (I am small with just over 100 items and part-time). But when I look at people’s posted numbers it is clear that larger stores don’t produce equally larger sales numbers. I have yet to see a store with 5x the number of my active listings produce even close to 5x my sales. So I’m wondering what that percentage of decrease is, on average, for sellers like us (meaning with items across many categories, mostly scavenged pre-owned items).
11/17/2017 at 3:14 pm #25777
I agree. Your 10% per week would be 40% per month (which is very nice!) and would be closer to what we were when we were a smaller store (see my Q1 2015 numbers I posted).
As a placeholder, you can look at the slide we had the more we grew and forecast accordingly I don’t know if others that are tracking that and have some similar results they can share, but if we can get more people to post that, we can see if there are some trends that we can follow.
PS – One thing to look at is are you selling items that are vastly different or at a much lower price that would drive that increased velocity? Can you continue to find these items and keep that velocity up? And is that Average Selling Price one that you can live with for the work that growing your store would entail?
I always look at STR and ASP together. I can look at STR and increase it if I slash prices, but ASP suffers. Hence why I’m starting to also calculate STR on dollars, not items. Meaning I have started to calculate the STR on $ of sales as a percentage of $ of inventory listed. That is a more accurate calculation anyway, and encompasses ASP into the STR. There will still be degradation based on an increasing store, but it would remove any “games” I can play with pricing to show an increased STR. At the end of the day, STR is not what we are looking for…it is profit.
11/19/2017 at 12:54 am #25806
Thanks BethGreen, Sonia & T-Satt for your replies and suggestions! Yes, I’ve heard that things don’t grow at the same rate as your store grows.. faster in the beginning, and slower later. And I’ve also started thinking, given the rate at which I’m able to work at this point, I’m not sure that I would be able to keep up the numbers of a REALLY large store. But, I guess at this point, I’m just looking at the next goal, which I can control, get to 500.. as I’ve heard Jay mention, get to 500 as fast as you can! I’ve also heard some resellers also say that things seemed to change for them when they hit around 400. I’m close.
And I agree, soon I’d like to weed out “the bad guys”… lower priced things that keep rotating around in my store not selling. Now that I’m focused on getting my numbers up though, I don’t want to flat out purge anything right now. But once I hit my goal, and can maintain around 500, I’ll be purging. I’ve been doing a form of purging by running auctions on things that are remorse buys and things that have flaws.
11/19/2017 at 5:47 am #25807
Going for the Adjacent Possible is always the best strategy. Just keep making the next improvement, the next goal, the next milestone, and suddenly you are running a good sized business.
When we did 30 day listings, we tried to cull out the bad stuff regularly. Now our plan will be that once a quarter, we will look at the oldest 10% of items to refine, reprice…or recycle.
11/17/2017 at 3:08 pm #25776
That’s a great question. See Tsatt’s awesome data above for an idea of what that decrease has been for his growing store over time. I may start to track this for my store as well. But also important to keep in mind that even if your sell-through percentage rate goes down, it’s a lower percentage of a much higher # of items, so overall it’s a win.
11/17/2017 at 3:55 pm #25779
Agree. Dollar wise, the increase is nice. Here is the increase on quarterly sales dollars for the last eight quarters. The increase is Year over Year (meaning Q1 2016 sales dollars compared to Q1 2015 sales dollars, Q2 vs Q2, etc.
Q1 2016 – 70% Increase
Q2 2016 – 39% Increase
Q3 2016 – 7% Increase
Q4 2016 – 9% Increase
Q1 2017 – 1% Increase
Q2 2017 – 31% Increase
Q3 2017 – 66% Increase
Q4 2017 – 37% Increase (using forecast for Nov & Dec)
The growth is worth it, just plan on a degradation on STR, and keep an eye on if you drop waaaay too much. When we slowed in 2016, it made us look at listings, move dead inventory that were just bad buys (we held the items that still showed promise), and had us look at freshening up our old listings. We will be doing some more freshening during Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks (easier to freshen than list new, but still productive).
11/17/2017 at 3:35 pm #25778
Yes, if more people have tracked this info (the type T-Satt posted), I would love to see if it follows a general pattern of decrease. That would be so helpful in figuring out realistic growth numbers.
T-Satt to answer your questions:
are you selling items that are vastly different or at a much lower price that would drive that increased velocity? No, generally my prices are above average for the item.
Can you continue to find these items and keep that velocity up? Absolutely. I stop sourcing for months at a time so I don’t end up with a deathpile bigger than what I can list over the winter months. I source mostly from Garage sales which are over by this time of year. I only occasionally go to thrift stores (less than 1x per month) and have only been to a handful of auctions. Never even been to an estate sale yet. I do source on FaceBook groups throughout the year. So there is tons of potential to source more. I don’t, however, have a big space for inventory. Working out of the basement of our family home. I will have more room in 2 years or so, when my oldest graduates High School and potentially moves on. Her room could be converted to storage space.
And is that Average Selling Price one that you can live with for the work that growing your store would entail? My average sold price has consistently been moving up. I am currently at an ASP of $28-low $30’s…which I am happy with but of course would like to continue to improve.
T-Satt, the STRs you posted are based on Qarters? So for example the forcasted 31% for Q4 2017 is average 10% per month? And is that dollar value or number of sales? Just want to make sure I am understanding correctly.
11/17/2017 at 5:07 pm #25782
So, I don’t see anything in what you are telling me that is an outside restriction for doing your forecast. I would continue to ramp up, and track your STR each week, and see what your trend is.
Just to be clear, my last set of percentages are my increases in sales dollars year over year. So I’m forecasting Q4 2017 to have 37% higher sales dollars compared to Q4 2016. So while my STR for Q4 2017 is 19% vs Q4 2016 of 20%, I’m slated to make 37% more in revenue. Lower rate, but on a higher inventory, so more revenue.
How I calculate STR…
Calculating STR is always easy, but comparing them is the challenge. I do everything using a monthly STR. So I’m looking at the rate of what 30 days worth of sales is compared to my inventory. When looking at the total units I sold for a month, just divide the total units sold for the month by the inventory in that month. (it should be the average inventory for the month, but I just use the beginning inventory for that month).
When looking at my week, I take the sales units for the week, divide by 7 days, then multiply by 30. That tells me how many units I would sell in a month if that week’s rate was for an entire month. Then I divide that by the inventory quantity at the beginning of the week.
For the quarter, I divide the quarter units sold by 3 (back to an average month, and divide by the average inventory for the quarter (here I took the average, since it can change by a lot over three months).
I always do this so that my rates are always in the same time frame (monthly). If my STR for the past month was 19%, but the last two weeks have been 18% and 17%, I know that I am trending down. If they were 4.5% and 4.25%, it is hard to quickly compare that to last month of 19%.
All my STRs are in units sold right now, since I like to see the STR and the ASP. The one downside after I thought more today about using $ STR is that if you are going down or up, you can’t tell if it is by volume or price. I’m an old cost accountant, so I am used to looking at what is a volume variance vs a price variance. So the more I think about it, using Unit STR and ASP lets me compare two different items over each time period. That way I can see if my improvement is via increased velocity or increased price.
11/17/2017 at 6:16 pm #25783
I follow you. I calculate my STR (# of items, not $ value) very simply as I have about 100 active listings, I sell about 10+ items weekly, which is 10% of my inventory.
I like to track STR in number of items because I feel it’s a direct reflection on if I am sourcing the right things. My ASP is more an indicator of an upward or downward trend in a combination of my sourcing knowledge with the current market.
11/20/2017 at 11:29 pm #26153
November 5 – 11th 2017
Total items in store: Etsy 499 // Ebay 633 (Items not crossposted I list different types of things on Etsy and Ebay)
Items Sold: Etsy 21 // Ebay 17
Cost of items Sold: Etsy $46.09 // Ebay $82.86
Total Sales: Etsy $425.85 // Ebay $381.29
Highest Price Sold: Scare Glow MOTU action figure $135
Average Price Sold: $21.24
Returns: 0 One package came back because the buyer gave me a bad address – they very nicely paid to have it mailed a second time.
Number of items listed this week: 46 (listed at $748)
Had a bit of a setback on last Monday – so late posting this. For some reason my external hard drive where I store my files deleted any files I used on Sunday. 🙂 I checked the recycle bin and searched the whole drive to see if they had just been moved, but they have vanished. This included my main profit spreadsheet, my Etsy inventory spreadsheet, and a couple other things. I have a backup… but it was a month old. Great. So, these files and some others are going on Google Drive for constant backup now. Hopefully that will prevent the problem in the future.
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