01/01/2018 at 8:02 am #29596
We had a great time in NYC visiting family, scavenging and relaxing. But we’re excited to be home to get back to the work of listing, listing, listi
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 341: Happy Scavenger New Year!]
01/01/2018 at 8:23 am #29601Kathi JParticipant
A Happy New Year Jay and Ryanne and everyone here! Looking forward to a great year for us all!
01/01/2018 at 9:24 am #29604Steven SParticipant
- Location: South Dakota
The year ended with a bang of sales.
Dec 24-30 2017
• Total Items in Store: 825
• Items Sold: 23 (22 ebay / 1 Truegether)
• International 2 GSP
• Total Sales $1368 ($1346 ebay / $22 Truegether)
• Highest Price $350 Amateur radio
• Average Price Sold: $60
• Returns: 0
• Cost of Items Sold: $210
• Cost of items purchased this week $0
01/01/2018 at 10:42 am #29606Marjean28Participant
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
Real quick, some advice from your fellow trash elf in Minnesota, where it is currently double digits below zero and -40F with wind chill, rolled in insulation under your house must be properly sealed on both sides to ensure no condensation, which can lead to soggy insulation. That can lead to all kinds of trouble. A manageable approach for a DIYer is foam board insulation. I bet you two could do that yourselves for the cost of the material. Personally, I would never roll insulation in an application where it is anywhere near the ground. Plus, you need to leave an air gap between it and the floor. Tricky to do. Just my thoughts for what it’s worth.
01/01/2018 at 3:38 pm #29631
Good advice. Our guy says we should do the spray foam since it will resist dampness. But its also $6000 to do the whole underside of the house!
The other choice is to make a “clean space” under our house. They put down vinyl pool liner on the group and seal up the wall. Then they would put the insulation. The idea is that the vinyl liner on the ground will stop moisture from happening.
If we used foam board, does this really provide much insulation?
The best R-Value I see for foam board is R-10.
01/01/2018 at 6:26 pm #29655Uncle TacoParticipant
A few years ago we had all the old rolled insulation under our home removed and closed foam sprayed in. Cost us around 2K. The spray foam doesn’t have as much R value as the bat we had BUT it completely sealed all drafts and air leaks (we have an older home). That alone made a HUGE difference.
The best may be a thin layer of spray foam them rolled batt to up the R-Value
01/02/2018 at 10:09 am #29691
Guess you may not remember but my last business we owned was “Spray Foam and More”. A 2 part set of closed cell foam cost us $1,795 [1 55 gal drum of part A and 1 55 gal drum of part B.] That is ISO and Resin. These 2 chemicals are sucked into heated hoses and mixed inside the hose and then sprayed. We got 1,500 BOARD FEET per “set”. That is 1″ thick x 12″ x 12″. so approx. $2,000 cost for foam to cover a 1,500 sq. foot sub floor application at 1″ thick. Then add labor. We sold “open cell foam” and my buyer of my business still sells open cell at $1.25 per sq. ft. and $1.95 to $2.25 per sq. foot for closed cell which you do want under the floor. Open cell is for the walls and attic areas. So if you have a 1,600 sq. foot house that price should be about $3,500 +/-. Get another quote, or get several. Barter with my old supervisor who bought my business, tell him you will give him $3,500 and a free week vacation for him and his family in the farm house. Ha-Ha. LOL 🙂 For $6,000 you should be able to get your whole floor AND attic done.
The term R Factor does not even apply to foam even though they use it on the foam board. The R stand for “Resistance” and “solid foam” is 100% resistant. Think of all of the styrofoam coolers you can buy at the store. Fill it with water and it will hold it forever = 100% resitance to loosing the water. The rating for foam is “Performance Factor”. Any and all fiberglass and, brnad is 33% effecent. Foam is 92% effeceient.i
By the way Ryanne. Doubling up on fiberglass and then “crushing” it down between drywall and exterior siding does not increase it’s R factor it actually diminishes it. Jambing fiberglass in tight spaces around the jack studs around doors and windows decreasing the R factor in some cases down to belive it or not, to “0”. Any tight spaces need to be filled with a special can foam., called Suda-foam. This foam comes with a 6″ nozzle and is soft enough to not expand and in turn bow your windows and doors in and thus making them stick and hard to open and close.
My house is foamed [of course] completely. You can see when ice or snow is present down here, it stays on my roof for days where all our neighbors is melted and gone the next day due to all the heat escaping.
But I know you heat with wood so no use talking about heating and cooling [natural gas and-or electricity] savings for you guys. It is about comfort.
Make yourself a rectangle cooler out of fiberglass. Tape it together with duct tape and then cut a top for it. Now take a styrofoam cooler you buy for $2 at Walmart. Place a bag of ice in each, set out in the sun and leave for 24 hours. Come back either 12 hours later or the next day and the ice is melted in the make shift fiberglass cooler-container you made BUT there is still half a bag of ice left in the styrofoam cooler. So, there you go, twice as effecient at keeping the heat out. AND YES, that level of 92% effeciency does cost more.
01/02/2018 at 10:20 am #29693
How well foam seals is tested by doing what is called a blower door test. It is a giant fan that sucks from the house side. It is mounted in your front door and sealed. it has instruments on it that measures how much air is being “sucked” from your house. We did 2 tests for each customer. One before we began, and most houses leaked like a collander, then after we ‘foamed” a house, you could see the resistance needle swing way over to the right, showing that now it is much harder to suck air out of the house.
Your walls and windows account for 17% heat loss, the attic is 55%-60%, the floor, chimney, outlets in the walls, around light fixtures, around plumbing fixtures then represents the balance of approx. 20%. You can never get a house 100% sealed. But also wrapping a house in a “skin” like Tyvek wrap when built helps also. And of course when we foam a house for new home builders is the best scanario because we can reach the whole house.
We finally went to selling mostly to new home builders here in the Atlanta area. Easiest and fastest for us and best for the buyer and builders actually use the term “energy effecienct foamed home” as a selling point in this market. The houses sell for more because of it.
01/01/2018 at 11:40 am #29609ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Total Items in Store: 367
Items Sold: 11
Cost of Items Sold: $41 + $24 free shipping
Total Sales: $246
Highest Price Sold: $45 (Midcentury barware gift set in box)
Average Price Sold: $22
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: <$10 thrift + $150 Christmas day RA with gift card from Dad – thanks Dad!
Number of items listed this week: 19 (mostly multiples)
Alllrighty it was a crappy week for me and I did some markdowns to move Christmas stuff. Some items have now made it through two seasons and I refuse to list them again and wait for high prices when I could just have fun finding better stuff. Really hopeful that the RA items start to do well in the next couple of weeks.
I’m pleased that you had a good trip to NYC and good sales this week. Excited to hear about the storage set up. I see you getting a locking camper shell, taking Springtime Airbnb or housesitting trips for the week to nearby cities and cleaning up on Craigslist, thrifts, and estate sales on undervalued $3-20 items. Whatever you end up doing, I want you to know that I really enjoy the podcast and now that I am more experienced there is little else worth listening to. I’m social, love over-analyzing things, and even though I am doing this very part-time, it’s important to me to do it right. Also, I love finding the super cool vintage stuff out there. The last couple of years we have had some emotional challenges and losses in our family and in some way this new Ebay focus has helped me cope. Really the extra money is like a bonus. So, I say – a big thank you!
Reality is that I have a good year’s worth of piles to list and totally limited time. I’ve come to grips that my photos and lighting are going to be quick and dirty style and I’m not going to be that cool and perfect presentation curated Etsy seller. But, I have a good eye and great location going for me. I’ve cut way, way back on purchases and sourcing stops. One goal for 2018 is to find more pinning groups that post in the morning because it’s so fast and I really do suspect that it helps my sales with the Google hits. Setting specific listing goals feels like deciding when you are going to get to your destination while you are stuck in traffic – pointless and rather frustrating. But, maybe Amatino will keep me honest this year. Better time management overall will really be key because I’m torn in so many different directions.
So for those of you still reading this far: Happy New Year all you trash elves! I hope it is a year of learning, good deals, cool stuff, and good health for you all.
01/01/2018 at 11:51 am #29612GeoffParticipant
So I loved the “realistic expectations” discussion combined with the humble portrayal of where you guys are today. Sort of a nice reflection of “overestimating” what can be done in a year and “underestimating” what can be done in a decade – or however it goes.
Had a flurry of returns this week – all of which were 100% my fault. Came to the realization that i need to give myself a few hours here and there to just relax and slow down to ensure i am not making costly mistakes. Returns have been backed out of my numbers:
12/24/17 – 12/30/17
Total items in store (beginning of week): 941
Items sold: 16
Weekly sell through: % 1.70
Total Sales: $429.01 (no shipping)
Average price: $26.81
Cost of items sold: $76.25
Gross profit: $352.76
Highest item sold: 1912 Excelsior Diary – Miniature Almanac & Remembrancer – San Francisco ($75.00 cost .28)
New items listed: 12
Asking price of new items listed: $838
Cost of new items listed: $27.88
Month of December
Items Sold: 89
Average Sale price: 42.32
Items in store beginning of month: 869
Value of inventory listed beginning of month: $29,333.42
Items sell through for month: 10.24%
Revenue (minus shipping) / Asset Value: 12.84%
Value of inventory beginning on Jan: $46,979.61
01/01/2018 at 3:45 pm #29634
Geoff: Well done on the growth of the inventory value you have listed. That is huge!
01/01/2018 at 11:52 am #29613IdahoarderParticipant
Store 12/24/17 – 12/30/17
Total items in store: 1559
Items sold: 24
Cost of items sold: $14.40
Total sales: $778.37
Highest price sold: $75.00 (Hank Thompson Autographed sheet music)
Average price sold: $32.43
Money spent on new inventory this week: $2.79
Happy New Year and a belated merry Christmas! I’m excited that the new year is hear and ready to really crack down on my listing. I did almost no listing at all in December, which I realize probably wasn’t great for my sales, but oh was the break wonderful, and that’s exactly why I’m doing this. I’ve been in retail for the last 24 years, and this was the first year that I have been able to truly enjoy a low-stress holiday season. I still had pretty great sales, and enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve sold a bunch the last few days, so hopefully it continues. Now it’s time to get back on track, so I will be listing lots this week, and listening to the podcast today. Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!
01/01/2018 at 11:56 am #29615AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
Wishing all Trash Elves a very happy New Year and a profitable AND FUN 2018!
I’ve done no work in my shop for the past two weeks, mostly because it was the holidays, and using the excuse that I’m giving my Trash Elf Twin a chance to catch up to my 450-odd listings before the Twins Challenge. Love having an excuse! LOL.
But my New Year will start by shipping an order of an obscure, particularly uninteresting mug that I only listed because it was in a box of really nice mugs donated to me, to somebody who apparently really loved his and it broke. Now he gets his favorite mug back and I get a warm and fuzzy. Fantastic start to a fabulous year!
01/01/2018 at 3:47 pm #29636
Love your Twin Elf concept. I hope you guys keep that up. Would be fun to follow!
01/01/2018 at 12:18 pm #29618
Week of December 24-30
Total items in store: 255
Total sales: $94.99 (does not include shipping)
# items sold: 3
Weekly Sell Through Rate: 1.18%
Average Sales Price: $31.66
# items listed: 5
Things really slowed down for me this week as the Christmas spending frenzy ended. Also, I didn’t put much effort into eBay, so I didn’t get much in the way of results.
My listing production was still weak, but I have great aspirations for the new year!
Next weeks total items in store goal: 260
Happy New Year to all you Scavengers!
01/01/2018 at 1:02 pm #29622
12/24/17 – 12/30/17
Total Items In Store: 2,058
Items Sold: 26 (most I have sold in 1 week) – 1 on TrueGether
Cost of Items Sold: $75 (around)
Total Sales: $881.58
Highest Price Sold: $100 – Vintage Army Trench Coat
Average Price Sold: $33.91
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 184
Number of Items listed this week: 12
December was my best month to date. I sold 112 items on ebay for $4002. I also sold 3 items for $63 on
Bonanza and TrueGether. Now I did have $137 in adjustments for canceled orders and returns, but I am
going to say that I made my first $4000 month in December.
I had went to an estate sale this past week. They had 3 Quimper pottery pieces: two were $.75 each and
the other one was a dollar. I snagged them up right away. That clued me in that the place may have other treasures that no one knew about. I looked it over closely, but just some local pottery pieces that I also picked up.
01/01/2018 at 1:24 pm #29624
I had another unique pick this past week. I went to a common estate sale at a lower end house. It turned out to be a gold mine, literally. I found 24k California gold flakes in a small bottle. Now I know it probably won’t amount to a whole lot, but even if I can get just 1 gram out of it, that will be close to $50.
But the gold wasn’t the real treasure there. There were just ordinary everyday items there, nothing extrodidinary. But as I looked closer, I realized that these ordinary items were mostly from the 1920’s – 1970’s! Wow, I have never seen anything like this before.
I was a bit overwhelmed because I had never seen most of these types of items before. Were they worth anything? I didn’t know for sure, but I knew this estate company gave great prices so I just picked up anything I thought may have some value. The sale was at 11AM and I wasn’t working that day, so I had some time. The place was crawling till about noon then most of the people disappeared.
So, I went through the whole house again and looked very closely at everything. I have learned that when you go into a time capsule like this, just about any item could be worth alot.
In the end, I spent about $110. I have two 30 gallon containers full of items to sell and another 18 gallon of items I am still not sure about. I had to do research on just about every item, but it was fun. So far I have about 70 items of value worth about $2800.
From what I could tell, the man who owned the house was born around 1938. He must have inherited items from his parents and kept them in the house.
The most valuable items I found were some new in the box Vintage Roblee shoes. Never heard of them before. Also, there were some very old leather bound hymn books and Bibles. One really nice item was a 1941 Leather Bound Lutheran Hymnal that was basically still new in the box.
01/01/2018 at 1:26 pm #29625
Strike the “most I have sold in 1 week” – that was last week.
01/01/2018 at 1:35 pm #29626
Oh, almost forgot to mention the item I found with the most potential from that unique pick this past week. I found 33 New Vintage Typewriter Brushes. I could only find used ones on ebay for about $10. If I sell these for $14.99 each, that will come close to $500. Of course these will not be in high demand and may take several years to sell, but another great item to add to my pipeline!
01/01/2018 at 3:40 pm #29632
Week of 12/24-12/30
Total Items in Store: 1,644
Number of Items Listed: 88
Number of Items Sold: 58
(Includes 0 Etsy, 0 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether)
Weekly STR: 15%
Total Product Sales: $1,507
Cost of Items Sold: $366
Gross Profit for Week: $878
Highest Item Sold: $100 – Rock Revival Feeney Jeans
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Troy wins the week and Veronica wins for the year 27-25.
# Listed: 953
# Sold: 32
# Listed: 91
# Sold: 4
eBay Hard Goods
# Listed: 691
# Sold: 26
Etsy Hard Goods
# Listed: 121
# Sold: 0
First week after Christmas…and every platform except eBay is silent. We just had a TrueGether sale today (1/1), but amazing how of all the platforms, eBay and Amazon are the two that keep chugging along.
Dealing with an interesting case right now. A lady in Canada purchased a sweater in early December, and when she receives it, she says that she did not know that there was a knit band on the bottom hem. The photos on the mannequin hint at that, but since it is so tight, you never see the band. She files an item not as described case with eBay, and we accept it. Because it is in Canada, I can’t purchase a return label for her unless I go through Canada Post directly. I told her (after she sent very snotty and snarky messages about how we were deceitful and fraudulent by not taking a picture of the band collar, which we ignored) that if she will return the sweater and pay for the return shipping up front, I will give her a full refund, including the return shipping, once we receive the sweater.
A few days goes by, and suddenly I get a message from eBay that the case is closed…because she opened up a PayPal “Not Authorized” case. Now I’m pretty ticked off. I contact eBay, and they were shocked that she was that brazen to try this, but said I have no bad marks or issues on their end. The tracking was automatically sent from eBay to PayPal, so I call PayPal and they closed it immediately in our favor.
Then a few days later, we get a message saying “hey, I sent this back, and shipping was $12, so let me know when you send that to me. And I tried to upload the tracking to eBay, but the return case was closed. Isn’t that strange?”
Through grit teeth, I only I told her it closed because she opened a PayPal case.
She said “oh, eBay must have done that…I didn’t”.
I just said that IF I get the sweater back, I’ll pay for everything I said I would. I will keep my word.
Really? You have a feedback score of 12. We have over 5800. And you are going to lie like that and think we would buy it?
I wanted to go off and let her know how horrible her actions were, and that by trying to scam us out of the sweater with PayPal (if she won, she would have the sweater AND the money)…but I kept it professional and only to the facts.
As many of you have said on this forum…keep it to the facts and remove the emotion. Works very well in a case that is VERY much possible of spiraling me into a universe of ticked off from which there is a long return to normalcy…
01/01/2018 at 4:51 pm #29642
Cindy from Amazing Taste mentioned paying attention to your Key Performance Indicators. You have listed some of these in your numbers above: STR and ASP for the different types of items. Did you get this information from Wonderlister or 6 bit? How did you get it?
Also, I keep track of Revenue by month, number of items sold, STR, etc. I know what I did last year, the year before, etc. A lot of this seems intuitive to me. I mean I know if shoes are selling and polka LP’s are not, I usually know that. But just because shoes are selling, doesn’t mean I can just order more of them.
So, what I am getting at, is what is really important for me to know from my Key Performance Indicators that I don’t already know? Do I need to dive down and see which type of item is not selling? But, it may not be selling because it is a long tail type of item. Based on your numbers above, I would say you should get out of the eBay Hard Goods and start selling more shoes. But that is easier said than done. What if most of the items you come across are that type of eBay Hard Goods?
Just curious as to what your accountant\scavenger brain thinks about all of this.
01/01/2018 at 5:24 pm #29647
“Just curious as to what your accountant\scavenger brain thinks about all of this.” — Accountvenger Brain…I’m going with that…
Completely agree with Cyndi on that point. She works with a business consultant since this IS her full time business, and they are 100% right. I come from a business background, so I’m already wired this way, but I also spent a lot of time in Manufacturing, so KPI’s are HUGE. “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.”
As to my numbers…Excel is my other significant other. I spend as much time with Excel as I do Veronica. But the basis for many of my numbers is SixBit and eBay itself. SixBit has the most, but I still have to augment the data to provide it meaning. For most of the ones you are discussing (STR and ASP by Category and Platform), I download the past week’s sales from SixBit into Excel, add a column for the Platform and Category, and then plug in those values. After that, a few pivot tables and I have what I need.
The best way to answer your question is with a question: What do you want to know?
I drill down into these three categories so that I can see how they impact the business, what to do more of, how long things sell, etc. And I want the breakout of Etsy to see what it’s overall return is for the extra time and cost to list there.
I used to have many more categories when I was on EAT, but I have just started to break things down again recently. I’m thinking to break down clothing more like I had before (Shirts, Pants/Jeans, Suits/Sport Coats, Jackets). My downside right now is time and effort to get there, but it is something I want to know. It gives me the ability to see how long I am investing my capital in certain areas (STR) and what the payoff is when it sells (ASP). To your point, it could tell me to focus on one area over others (though one week ain’t enough data…need much more), but that is why I’m tracking it.
PS – We aren’t getting out of Hard Goods unless we get a divorce…that is Veronica’s baby and what she loves! But…seeing these numbers does have her looking at her purchasing in a different light, to see what she can do to increase her ASP. Just like I am doing with looking for what I can get into (we have some new markets we are looking at) and what to get out of.
01/01/2018 at 7:46 pm #29666
remember: sometimes buyers are literally crazy people or on drugs. that makes me feel better when dealing with cases like that one, it’s just like what the heck?
01/01/2018 at 3:43 pm #29633Steve ListParticipant
- Location: Richmond, Calif.
This was probably my best month ever, a lot of it is due to information and motivation from J&R’s blog. Thank You both.
Numbers for month of December
Total Listings: 912 (1232 items/total value 27,400)
Sold 84 Items for $ 1624
Cost of Items Sold: $ 208
Highest Price Sold: 3 Tattoo Flash Sheets for $155.75 and 2 Sheets for $80
Average Price Sold: $ 19.33
Spent on new inventory: $278.75
Number of items listed: 79
GSP: 3 – Sweden, U.K. and Norway
My Hallmark ornaments cache buy seams to of worked out. I purchased a total of 42 ornaments for $152 and have sold 25 for $379. Not a great return on each, but they were easy to list and I still have 17 listed at a value of $198, but those will probably not sell until the end of the year.
Me Tattoo Flash Sheet cache buy worked out much better. I originally bought 27 for a total cost of $170. So far I have sold 24 for a total of $901 and have 3 left at a sales value of $130.
Now back to listing.
01/01/2018 at 5:34 pm #29648
“What do you want to know?”
I guess that was my point. I think I already know what I need to know. I know I need to buy higher margin items. I know I have to list more and better items. I know what is not selling so I am avoiding buying those items and items that are under $30.
But, if you were to ask me: “Show me the numbers” then I don’t have the stats to back it up like you do. I am thinking that may be helpful if I had the time, but I only have less than 15 hours per week to put into this and spending even a couple hours getting these exact numbers doesn’t seem worth it to me.
If my business were failing or not growing or going backwards, then I think I would need to figure out what was wrong. But my business is growing and getting better.
So, in my case, do you think there are any exact numbers that I really need know that would be worth the time to get them?
01/01/2018 at 5:43 pm #29651
M question is this: is there a point where the numbers dont matter that much? You’re being efficient as possible with your time, buying items as cheap as possible, and changing your buying habits based on items that dont sell. At some point, you still have to just sell the items that are fun and you enjoy no matter if its wasn’t the most effective.
For instance, if someone told me that selling toilet seats from Lowes would make me more money than scavenging old smoking pipes on junky tables at an estate sale, then I’d choose to sell the smoking pipes. The process is more fun. I wouldnt have the drive to sell if Im selling things that are boring to me. We’re not robots.
So yes, look at numbers! But also ask yourself if you’re having fun selling the items you have. If some category is ultimately boring, then stop doing it because it’s just fuel for burnout.
01/01/2018 at 7:35 pm #29662
I would never say the numbers don’t matter much, unless you are doing something for fun. If it is business, the numbers always matter.
And yes, you have to have some interest in what you are selling. No question. But I also never thought that selling clothes would be interesting. Once I ran the numbers and saw that it was profitable first, THEN I started doing it on my own. If it wasn’t profitable, I wouldn’t be doing it as a business…I would do it as a hobby.
For me, if it is part of the business, the numbers have to be good first. Then I can see if I like it.
01/01/2018 at 7:43 pm #29665
Understood. Yes, you want to be making money with what you sell.
Let’s say the spreadsheet says that selling blue shirts makes me $6 and selling the red shirts makes me only $5. But I hate blue shirts and love love love finding and selling red shirts. I will sell red shirts all day long. Less money but I love my life.
01/01/2018 at 9:06 pm #29674
I also look at the numbers this way. If I love selling red shirts for $5, how many does it take to make a living at it? And how many can I list in a month? How long does it take for them to sell? How big of an inventory does that require? How long will it take for me to build up that inventory?
Those are the questions I look to answer…and only the numbers get me there.
01/01/2018 at 7:29 pm #29661
Mark: For me, I may THINK I know something about the business, but until I can prove it, it can’t be relied on. That is why I stick with the numbers. Before I started tracking the splits lately (Clothes vs Hard Goods), I would have said that the STR is lower on clothes, but the ASP is higher. But that has not been the case lately. So is that a seasonal issue with Jackets & Suits picking up? Or are there smaller items we are purging from stale inventory that is bringing the Hard Goods down? I have the data now to see what is driving it.
I also want to keep this data to understand what our future looks like. I forecast our year (actually, the current year and 2 future years). Right now I do that on just the top level STR and ASP, but I am looking to expand that and forecast Clothing, Hard Goods, and Shoes separately. And my forecast is also my tool that I use to run What-Ifs. By having the data and the splits, I can see what happens if we bring on an employee, how the numbers look if they do 6 items per hour vs 10, or if I pay $12/hr or $15/hr.
I think that looking at your STR and ASP are essential, as they are the benchmarks for what your revenue is. Though I think that seeing the Average Profit is telling as well. That is where you can see where you are really going, and what a change in the business will do for your bottom line. So, to answer your question, I would track STR, ASP, and AP (Average Profit).
These numbers don’t take long to get to. For those numbers on a weekly basis, it should take 10 minutes per week. With my breakouts, it takes me about 20 minutes to calculate.
01/01/2018 at 10:24 pm #29677
T-Satt and Jay,
This is an interesting conversation. I’m glad we took the time to discuss it.
I do the run the numbers weekly and monthly for STR, ASP, and AP. I just don’t break down from the higher level down into individual categories. But I could see where this may be helpful in the future. My store tends to do a lot better in the cold months. I presume because I stock a lot of winter items such as boots, ski pants, coats, sweaters, etc. I may want to drill down and see how seasonal my store is becoming. I noticed last year that I cut back on the garage sales and that is where I found a lot of my summer items. So, no more skipping the garage sales for weeks on end.
I don’t get bored with items. It doesn’t really matter to me if I do it via retail arbitrage or finding a great vintage item. But retail arbitrage isn’t as consistent and it has to be just the right buy. For me, finding the value is what gets me excited about an item. I always seem to have fun no matter what, so I am good there.
I think T-Satt hit the point when he said “What do you want to know?” I think drill downs should be done on a need to know basis. If you want to find something out, then drill down.
I think I would want to also know if I am buying a lot of items that have a low STR. Worse yet a low STR and low ASP. So that may be a to do for me. Also the seasonal question.
01/01/2018 at 10:52 pm #29679
“Drill downs should be done on a need to know basis”
Yep. 100% right. I don’t think you have to do everything, just what you need. And I enjoy sharing what we do in case it helps others to ask questions.
We have seasonality as well (another reason that I track by week and by month), with summer being our low point. So I use the past to help forecast the future, to know when the lean months will be and a good estimate of how much to expect so that we can cover those months. I also use that as a challenge to find something that sells well in the summer to smooth out the seasonality.
And low STR and low ASP…yeah, not what I want to see. But you can’t tell unless you track. Or, you can go for it if you like it…just know going in that if you want a good monthly income…that will take a lot of storage to get there.
Since we are covering our mortgage on our house (bought when I was making a LOT more than I do know, but still manageable), and trying to cover for 2 boys, I don’t like leaving too much to chance. If it was just Veronica and I, our burn rate would be much lower. But I feel that I have an obligation to be successful for my wife and kids, so I do everything I can, and look for all the data that I can, to make that happen.
01/02/2018 at 7:00 pm #29750
It dawned on me on the way into work this morning that I have access to all the data in WonderLister. I can slice and dice this data anyway I want and set up date parameters because I code this type of thing for a living. I just have to set it up once and then I can use those queries over and over. I can share them with you and you can run them against your WonderLister database. The categories are a bit wierd in WonderLister, so that may be a challenge.
What I am thinking is something like this:
Date Range: 12/24/17 – 12/3017 (or whatever range you want)
Category #Listed #Sold STR ASP Oldest Listed Newest Listed Avg Days to Sell
I can even drill down more into shoes, like Mens, Womens, Golf Shoes, Vintage shoes, Casual, Flats & Oxfords, etc. This could get a little complicated, so I think I will just start out simple.
01/03/2018 at 10:09 am #29765
So I coded that. Here is an actual example of shoes that I found in my store from WonderLister:
Maybe I should lower the price so they sell faster.
Listed for Period 252
Oldest UnSold 03/03/14
Latest UnSold 12/14/17
01/03/2018 at 10:10 am #29766
I should have mentioned that was for the period 03/01/17-12/31/17. 03/01/17 is about when my WonderLister data began.
01/03/2018 at 10:26 am #29771
That looks great.
The STR on that timeframe is interesting. Since it is for 10 months, that would be around 2.4% per month. That looks pretty low.
At that point, I would look at the brands strength. Are there a lot out there? How fast are they selling? I like to see how quickly the market is selling (knowing that sales are for 90 days, I compare the number sold to the number listed. If they are almost the same, then the STR is about 33%). If there a lot out there, and they are slow sellers, lower the price. If there are very few out there, with a normal relative STR (25%-33%), again look at your price.
This is also assuming you have updated your listing title, description, keywords, photos, etc. first. Sometimes those items just have to be tended to. And just double check your pricing to the “market”, meaning to your brand and type of shoe.
01/03/2018 at 10:31 am #29772
Did you see the email I sent to you? It has a lot more detail.
01/07/2018 at 12:28 pm #29948
I’d love to see if by lowering the price, the shoes sell faster. I find that for many things, items dont sell any faster at cheaper prices.
01/01/2018 at 4:17 pm #29638retiredtreasures719Participant
- Location: Troy, Ohio
Total sales. $386.50 (one Bonanza)
Items in store. 936
# of items sold. 32
Avg Sale. $12.08
$ spent on new. 0
# new listed. 15
Highest sale- vintage carved samari cufflinks & tie bar $125
I combined the last two weeks of December because it was so slow. Surprisingly, things started picking up on Christmas Eve. It’s been fairly steady since then. Hoping to have a good strong start in 2018. Didn’t list much due to the holidays and family visiting. As much as I’m hating this deep freeze (and I don’t know how those of you in the northern states do this for months at a time) I am hoping people get bored being house bound and shop on eBay!
01/01/2018 at 4:46 pm #29641ThriftShiftParticipant
- Location: Cabarete, Dominican Republic
From South Carolina: Week of Dec. 24-31
Total Items in Store: 667
Items Sold: 18
Cost of Items Sold: $84.30
Total Sales: $553.00
Highest Price Sold: $90 (vintage 1950s blue velvet swing coat)
Average Price Sold: $30.70
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $72
Number of items listed this week: 8
I had a 10-day handling time on the above items as I took a trip to USVI to visit my husband working there and Florida to visit the parents. I have spent 8 hours today shipping, which took extra long due to a malfunctioning printer and having to travel to my storage unit; but I overcame technology and triumphed in the end. The $90 sale was a “best offer” for a gorgeous blue velvet vintage coat; bought at online auction for $12 and now heading to Napa, California. I also had a $80 sale for a 24-place pipe stand that cost me $15 at a charity store, so thank you Steve and Ryanne for mentioning those in your videos and podcast respectively.
I am VERY excited for it to be 2018! I retire in July at age 42 from federal service. Everyone keeps saying “what are you going to do?”; I say “sell online and own my own time”. That gets me crazy looks and I have heard that I am wasting my graduate education (upon which I owe no student debt and paid in cash at the time). This doesn’t bother me nor my husband…I want to wake up when I want and have adventures on random Tuesdays. Ebay can supplement that lifestyle easily.
A quick glance at my yearly numbers (without my accountant’s help yet):
2017 Revenue: $34,367.12
COGs, Fees, Shipping, Refunds: $15,593.53
I do need to add up other expenses too: mileage, storage unit, new printer, shipping supplies, and provide to my accountant.
1. Go to more auctions and estate sales for inventory. This is consistently where I find the higher dollar items.
2. Set up quarterly tax payments with accountant.
3. Fund restoration of our new “boat home” with ebay funds exclusively if possible.
01/01/2018 at 4:55 pm #29643
Congratulations on the upcoming retirement and your beginnings in a new adventure! Very cool!
“but I overcame technology and triumphed in the end.” — Best line I have read today, and man…have I had THOSE days…
01/02/2018 at 11:17 pm #29755mickdogParticipant
- Location: Portland, OR
ThriftShift, congrats on the upcoming retirement! Also wanted to say that I’ve visited Port Royal a few times (my mom lives in Beaufort) and it is such a cute place!
01/01/2018 at 6:37 pm #29656
Happy New Year! It’s going to be a great year.
Great podcast. I liked the expectation sermon a lot. I think we have to be careful who we listen to on youtube. I’m sure some of those guys make lots of money but most people toil away in obscurity for a long while, paying their bills, enjoying their lives and that’s enough for most of us.
Haul videos used to make me jealous because I just don’t find that kind of stuff in my area. But that’s life! I work with what I have and I’ve stopped watching haul videos.
Have a good week everyone.
Total items in store at present: 77
Items sold: 2
Total Sales: $259.99 (doesn’t include shipping)
Average price: $129.99
Cost of items sold: $12
Profit before ebay/paypal fees come out: $247.99
Highest item sold: Equestrian Riding Helmet for $200
New items listed: 0
Asking price of new items listed: $0
Cost of new items listed: $0
Found some great stuff this weekend…hope to get it listed this week.
01/01/2018 at 7:21 pm #29658BlackcatParticipant
I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this but you may have sold your Alexandria paintings because of Walking Dead. Alexandria is an important location in the Walking Dead tv show so it could have went to a Walking Dead fan. Either way, great sale. If you happen to live close to Alexandria though, you could easily buy souvenirs with the town name on it and people would probably buy it for a Walking Dead souvenir.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Blackcat.
01/01/2018 at 7:24 pm #29659
Huh, thats cool!
01/01/2018 at 8:56 pm #29673BrianBParticipant
I listed my first item in 2018. It sold within 10 minutes of being listed. Nice.
01/01/2018 at 9:20 pm #29676Rydell RelicsParticipant
RR Store Week Dec 24-30, 2017
Total Items in Store: 1418
Items Sold: 29
Cost of Items Sold: $30.08
Total Sales: $809.85
Highest Price Sold: $280 (1960’s barbershop hot lather dispenser)
Average Price Sold: $27.93
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $30.07
Number of items listed this week: 63
Happy New Year, fellow scavengers! I hope everyone survived the holidays relatively unscathed. Now that all the hoopla is pretty much behind us, I’m super motivated. I’m currently reorganizing my office/storage, sorely needed after a busy 4th quarter.
My grandfather was a barber for many years, and I inherited most of his old equipment. I saved a few choice pieces, but I’ve been slowly listing the rest. The hot lather dispenser is so cool, but I can’t keep everything. I also think Gramps would like the idea of it being used in a barbershop again instead of collecting dust in storage. The buyer was over the moon with the deal, and even offered to engrave my gramps’ name on the piece! Can’t wait to see how it turns out.
I’m still pulling records from my personal collection to sell. I knew I had doubles, but not this many. I’ve already pulled over 100, and that’s from just a fraction of my collection. Some of them are in rough shape, and so I’m listing them very low. I thought about the sweatshop analogy, as many are going for less that $5 bucks. But if I were to sell them to my local used record store, they’d give me like a quarter a piece (I should know, I worked there for 6 1/2 years as a buyer). Plus, they’re easy for me to list and ship, so I don’t really mind. I’m long overdue for thinning the herd anyway.
OK, back to work and the podcast. Let’s get that money and have fun doing it!
01/03/2018 at 6:48 pm #29809
We have something in common, my dad sold barber supplies for a long time.
I have a lot of the supplies and haven’t got around to listing most of them. But some are way cool and a lot from the 1960’s and 1970’s. I have a vintage barber pole glass from the 1970’s. I have some Shaving Mugs listed. I have some New in the package 1960’s combs that I have been selling. I have a lot more.
We should exchange stories on this in the future.
01/03/2018 at 6:53 pm #29810
Also we have the records in common. I can relate to that. I have several thousand that I need to get around to listing. The problem is that like you said, most don’t sell for much.
However, I picked up a mid-century Blues LP a while ago and saw that it is worth over $200. I believe it was in good to Very Good condition so I should be able to get close to the $200, just have to get around to listing it.
I used to sell at the Record shows, so I remembered that the Blues Records sell really well and I always have a BOLO out for them.
01/02/2018 at 8:49 am #29684Brian Treasures from GrandmasParticipant
- Location: Hoboken, NJ
Happy new year Scavengers! Didn’t get to post last week, so here are my numbers for the past 2 weeks:
Week December 17-30, 2017 (two weeks)
Total Items in Store: 863
Items Sold: 50 (7 Amazon, 3 Bonanza, 1 LetGo)
Cost of Items Sold: $410 (21.5% of sales)
Total Sales: $1,904.66
Biggest Sales: $215 (1962 Barbie), $150 (vintage K&E slide rule), $130 (Beatles record)
Average Price Sold: $38.09
Returns: 0 (3 cancellations though)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $605
Number of items listed this week: 65
Promoted listings test: 21 sales, $532.82 (28% of total sales), $32.19 fees (5.9% of sales)
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. We welcomed a new addition to the family – my brother’s wife had a cute baby girl on 12/23 and we spent pretty much 12/24-12/29 with them out in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. First couple days we just helped out running errands, making meals for mommy & daddy, etc. I’ve noted before in the forum, my brother is a full time Amazon seller, so I also made runs to Target/WalMart to pick fulfill some of his sales – he turned his store off a couple days before his wife went into labor, but there were a few straggler sales that needed to be fulfilled. I know December is obviously his busiest time of year, so I was asking him if turning his store off at this time would crush him… but he had actually started listing his holiday & gift items earlier and made even more than forecasted/compared to last year.
Really good couple of weeks for me, especially with the extended handling time last week. One sale in particular made me feel so good. Had this 1960s Santa blow mold decoration listed for a good 3 years. Couldn’t get rid of it, had it on clearance several times. A buyer contacted me, asking if I could call him because he needed the item the next day – was a red flag, but did it anyway. Turns out, this man’s little brother died in the early 1960s when he was like 5 years old. His mom placed this Santa on his tombstone every Christmas since then. This year, someone stole it from the cemetery and he had been looking for the same one to get there before Christmas. I was able to help him out, he paid for express shipping, and it was delivered on 12/23 in time for him to place on his little brother’s grave. Only made like $18, but really made me feel good about helping someone out like that.
01/02/2018 at 8:59 am #29685
Very cool story!
01/02/2018 at 9:13 am #29687
Neat Brian! Makes it all worth while!
Curious about your brother’s amazon biz. What if the item is no longer in the store when he goes to fulfill the order? Does he just take the hit to his rating?
01/02/2018 at 10:16 am #29692Brian Treasures from GrandmasParticipant
- Location: Hoboken, NJ
There’s apparently a window where the seller (especially a pro seller like he is) can cancel orders without penalty. That’s just what he told me, but not sure. He also might take the ding if it’s 1 or 2 orders… he was selling nearly 300 items a day in late Nov & early Dec!
01/02/2018 at 10:34 am #29694MyCottageParticipant
Great story Brian!
01/02/2018 at 10:35 am #29695Retro Treasures WVParticipant
Items in Store 965
Items Sold 16
Total Sales $568.00
Total Profit $516.80
Average profit $32.30
Average sales price $35.50
Best item: Composite Softball bat for $150
Since my kids got into baseball softball, I started scavenging baseball equipment. This was a composite bat that originally cost $400! Got it for $4 and cleaned it up with a magic eraser.
I had a great scavenge the other day – got a whole tub of Thomas the train stuff from Goodwill for $25. To gauge if I should get it, I researched the most interesting piece. That piece is very desirable and sells for anywhere from $150 to $250! Normally I have a bad habit of buying something great and then throwing it in the death pile. Not this time – I researched and listed everything in the tub ASAP. It took 20 individual listings for a total potential value of $711. But most importantly, it is LISTED!
I didn’t hit my goal of 1000 listings by the end of the year, but if you include multiple quantity items I am technically there. I have a pretty good system going now with my new setup and I have plans to ramp up my shoes and clothes inventory heavily this month. How I do this month will go a long way to determining what my goals for the year are.
01/02/2018 at 11:51 am #29705DoublythumbsParticipant
- Location: Hopedale, OH
Dec. 24 – 30
Total Items in Store: 1093
Items Sold: 27
Total Sales (Gross Profit): $785
Highest Price: $70 (Set of Six Tressemanes & Vogt Limoges France Salad Plates)
Average Price: $29
Cost of Items Sold: $53
Costs of Items Purchased this Week: $0
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a nice holiday! I sure did. I got so much listing done over my two-week holiday break.
So the new year is upon us and now is a good time for me to write down my goals. I’ve met my 2017 goals despite the disaster in August. I was able to make it to 1K listings. And I was able to put $20K into my savings. I would have never believed I could save that much a couple years ago when I was merely living paycheck to paycheck. This year, my goals are to make it to 2K listings and to make $40K in net sales with $50K into my savings. I hope that’s not too unrealistic, but I think I can do it. Once I get my taxes paid, I’ll be able to take a closer look at how well I did and I’ll post a full report of my numbers for 2017.
Some other goals include balancing my time better between eBay and fun, finding more sources for free packing supplies, and getting back into jogging and eating healthier.
01/02/2018 at 12:14 pm #29708
I think your goals sound fine.
1000 listings growth for the year is a growth of about 20 listings per week. So you have to list 20 more items per week than what you sell (on average). Very reasonable.
And if you are “doing more of the same”, meaning listing the same type of items as before, then the dollars make sense as well. Always tougher to set a sales goal, as we have less control over that side, but if you back into the listing side (which you do control) and you hit those goals, the sales should follow.
We have one goal, $250k in Sales, with the same net profit percentage that we have now. That is a BIG goal for us, and requires an employee to do it. It boils down to listing 250 items per week. We can get to 150 on our own (if my contract job stops getting in the way!), and the employee gets us the other 100. So while we want $250k, our goal to hit is 250 listings per week (of the same things we are doing now).
MY big problem is my only other goal this year, hiking the Colorado trail. I will be on the trail for 4 weeks (so no listing, no sourcing, nothing). I have to list and source from now until July (when I start) and have scheduled listings in SixBit to cover that time I’m gone. If our employee works out, they might be able to cover some of that as well…we will see.
I love setting goals (usually one BIG one, I like to focus), and I always keep them in perspective. I like to set big goals, so that if I still miss them, I’m farther along than if I set a small goal and made it. And I never beat myself up if I miss it. I don’t set my value in whether I meet the goal or not…but in how much I learn and grow by trying to achieve it.
01/02/2018 at 2:34 pm #29722
If you dont mind sharing, how much net profit do you expect to make on $250k in sales after expense and an employee?
01/02/2018 at 2:58 pm #29729
After all expenses (which would include the employee and an outside storage unit in 2018), we would net $75k pretax. We would drop down to a 30% net margin at that point.
That forecast is based on keeping the same STR and ASP each month as 2017. I’m hoping to improve the ASP vs last year, but I don’t have enough facts to make a prediction I can rely on. Inventory purchases each month are tied to the number of new listings that month, at an average of $5/item cost (a good average for where we have been for the last 2 years).
01/05/2018 at 7:39 am #29883
I ran those numbers through my forecast spreadsheet and it says you should net $135,000 based on what you said. That is about 55% of gross.
Why would you only net 30% of gross?
01/05/2018 at 8:38 am #29885
The $250k number is including shipping. From there (on a cash basis, not accrual basis):
Inventory Purchases: 23%
01/05/2018 at 11:58 am #29887
That makes more sense with the shipping in there.
Looks like you have a much lower ASP than I do, but you have a way higher STR.
Do you think there is a direct correlation there?
Also, I was thinking of adding other procedures for WonderLister. More of a “Store Health Dashboard” that would give you an indicator where something may be wrong. For example, I ran a query to show which items have had less than 100 hits in the last 7 months. I was surprised at that.
Any other ideas for the dashboard? The idea here is to show what is good and bad. Then you can drill down into it if you see an issue at a high level.
01/05/2018 at 12:25 pm #29888
Hey Mark: I noticed you have mentioned the manipulation of WonderLister several times. Are you talking about actually changing the coding for WL so these re-arrangements work directly in the WL app, or are you talking about a spread sheet whereby you export the customized columns / view data from WL over to your spread sheet then write the formulas and add or deleted the data columns as you see fit?
01/05/2018 at 2:31 pm #29890
Actually it is neither. I don’t think Wonder Lister would ever give anyone access to their code.
But what I do have is their database that they give to you with all the tables, data, etc.
This would make no sense to most people, but I do Microsoft SQL Server coding for a living and this is the database they use.
So, I looked at their tables with the data in it to see how it was set up. That alone was a chore. I’m still trying to figure out where everything is and what they call it.
Then, I wrote SQL Server Queries to slice and dice the data the way I wanted it. Then, to make it easier to send to other people, I created what they call “Stored Procedures”. The stored procedure accepts parameters and then my queries act on those parameters.
For example, here is an example call to my stored procedure:
exec WonderLister.mjs.Stats_For_DateRange ‘2017-03-01’, ‘2017-12-31’, ‘shoes’, 1, 1
This will provide stats on all listings that have ‘shoes’ in the title for the date range 3/1/17 – 12/31/17. It gives the following information back to you:
# Listed for Period
In addition, those last two parameters tell the procedure if you want to see the detail behind the summary. The first ‘1’ will give you the Active listing detail, the second is the sold detail. So, to test this, you could take the detail data and copy it to a spreadsheet and slice it like I did and you should come up with the same numbers I did in the summary. That is how I tested it.
I do this coding in SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio). This is what the developers at Wonder Lister probably use. This is a developer tool.
If I had access to their windows program code, I could ask for the input parameters and then make a call to my stored procedure and display the results in their GUI (graphical user interface).
But, that is where you could help. If you think this is useful, you could ask Wonder Lister if they would consider doing what I described in my last paragraph – I would provide the stored procedure. Then this functionality would be available to everyone who uses Wonder Lister.
01/05/2018 at 3:19 pm #29894
I am familiar with the SQL server and where it is but nothing about writing queries for it. I know SQL from the Control Panel, Services folder because of and on I have to go into the Services folder, find the WonderLister SQL and turn it back on. MS SQL seems to just stop working and stops running periodically.
I also have several other older SQL servers that were for a couple of other apps I use to use for the home remodeling & estimating software. But those are not used now but just never deleted those SQL Services they used to use.
Being a complete novice on queries for the SQL Servers wont it be easier to just create a custom view in WL, using only the columns you want. Then filter WL any way you want, both outside of and within the grid, then sort and then just export as a .CSV file and open in Excel. There you do the number analysis and write your formulas at the top headings or on cross over tabs or sheets. Excel is the champ at number analysis vs. most databases.
With regards to WL allowing acess to their Windows code, it never hurts to just ask. All they can say is either yes or no. But I thought some developers use MS Azure and go through the cloud to do developing across continental boundaries. I know WL has a team out west, in either Neveda or Utah but also in India. So unsure how they are team working on projects. I have stayed out of their way for a few months, letting them work on the Shopify and Etsy projects without bugging them. Don’t want to create a Ren and Stimpy thing there.
01/05/2018 at 3:51 pm #29896
I suppose you could do what you are describing. Although I am not seeing any easy way to export as a .CSV file. Where is that functionality?
Actually, the database is much faster and is great at number analysis. This is what all the big companies use. The database can do stats on millions of records if needed. But, the main thing you get is speed and accuracy by using a stored procedure (that has been tested). My queries are virtually instant and they should be accurate every time. Also, I can get any data that I want, not just the data that is available in the GUI.
However, if you go the spreadsheet route, which is what most people know, this can be time consuming (but could be better in some ways) and you are always open to errors in a manual process like that. Also, you may not have the data that you need.
01/05/2018 at 3:58 pm #29897
Well, Big companies also use spreadsheets.
But as companies grow, then tend to rely on more industrial strength tools, like databases. The reason why is because you write it once, test it like crazy and then you have a proven tool you can use over and over again.
01/05/2018 at 9:13 pm #29906
Highlight everything you want included in the export, then place cursor in the grid area and right click. Look down the drop down list to you come to “send to clip board as XML/Tab delimited, click on this and u get a pop up, then select Tab delimited with or without header and click save, then go to spread sheet and select your paste function. You may have to work on the formating somewhat. But I guess it is whatever one is comfortable with. But either way will provide these more in depth loks at the overall numbers, for those that are interested.
01/07/2018 at 10:08 am #29939
Thanks for the info.
But it did not work for me because it came back with a message that I need at least a Silver subscription to use this feature.
01/07/2018 at 1:04 pm #29963
Sorry Mark. That did not cross my mind. I do have the Silver Level subscription. Sorry about that. One gets used to navigating and forgets about who can and can’t see or do something if they are on another plan.
mike at mdcg in atl.
01/07/2018 at 8:01 pm #29979
No problem. I will have to get the Silver soon if things go as planned.
As a developer, I prefer to query the database directly. But that is good to know.
01/05/2018 at 12:50 pm #29889
As a general rule, usually there is a relationship: Higher ASP, lower STR. But not always. Most of it depends on what you are selling and how good you are at selling it.
Craigslist hunter is really good at having high ASP (over $100 ASP for the year) and a high STR (I can’t see that as reliably, but I know he churns through a lot of items he is listing). I realize that he is cherry picking what he lists from his store, and with a huge following, his items get a lot of eyes. But still to be very respected.
I don’t like being caught in the trap of believing that there HAS to be that relationship. I like to keep looking for the diamonds (high ASP and high STR). Unicorn hunting is much more fun! Though I haven’t found a true unicorn. You know, that thing that people tell you they want to find: Small, easy to ship, readily available, low cost, high profit, sells quickly. Why can’t we just find that to sell?
As for your dashboard, the important piece of the database to me would be slow moving inventory. I started using that with SixBit now. We run 30 day listings, so I can’t sort on old listings, but I can sort my data by SKU (oldest) and by last modified (so the last time the listing was updated). We are using these tools now to routinely look at old inventory and make decisions on how to get it to move.
01/05/2018 at 2:43 pm #29891
My covergirl make up is the closet thing I have found to that unicorn with the exception of “Readily Available”. Here are my stats for the make up. It is small, easy to ship, easy to store, low cost, high profit, sells quickly:
Start Date 2017-06-21
End Date 2018-01-05
Listed for Period 129
Oldest UnSold Jun 16 2017
Latest UnSold Jun 29 2017
Also, I make about $5 on average for the shipping. I started with 633 pieces across 54 listings. I paid $150 for it and it has a potential of about $10,000 with the money I make on shipping.
For the slow moving inventory (what of my big issues), what type of report do you think would be best for a summary level, then for a detail level?
01/05/2018 at 2:46 pm #29892
Note: the “Listed for the period” is thrown off by the fact that I add the number of listed items with the number of solds. Since this is items with many multiples, that gives a “Listed for the period” more than the actual number of listings that I have. Maybe I can work on that issue.
01/05/2018 at 8:43 pm #29904
Again, it will depend on what you want to see. And there will be a difference between multi-quantity listings vs single quantity.
Mainly for me, I know that the last time we did the analysis, our average days to sell was 120 days. OK, then maybe I would want to detail that out at the category level. What is my average days to sell by category (Clothes, Shoes, Hard Goods, etc.). Then I would also like to see the STR for each of those categories so that I can try to benchmark that against the industry standard somehow. Just because I know MY numbers, I need to have some context to that to gauge performance.
After I can get what I expect for what the “benchmark” days to sell is for that category, return to me any items that are not meeting that criteria. Then I can decide if action is needed, and what that action should be.
Is it seasonal? Is it unique? If so, maybe I just have to sit on it. If not, let’s recheck price, photos, listing, keywords, etc. to see if it needs some love. If you are using GTC, I would definitely end and relist after tweaking so that it is refreshed and gets back into Best Match. We are 30 day listings, so we never go “stale”, but maybe the market has changed. Maybe it is missing info. Just needs to be redone.
Just my thoughts.
01/02/2018 at 12:41 pm #29711DoublythumbsParticipant
- Location: Hopedale, OH
I just checked out the Colorado trail. That looks fantastic! Will you be sleeping in lodges and motels along the way or will it be pure wilderness camping?
01/02/2018 at 12:47 pm #29712
Wilderness camping for 80-90% of the trip. Only staying in motel when I go into town to resupply.
Really looking forward to it. If it goes the way I hope, I’m looking to do the Appalachian Trail in 2019-2020. Then I REALLY have to set the business up to run without me…being gone for 5-6 months and all…
01/02/2018 at 2:32 pm #29720
If you hike the AT trail, make a stop in Luray where we live. We’ll host you for a night of good food.
01/02/2018 at 2:44 pm #29726
That would be on my list, to hit up as many folks as possible, to meet folks in person and get to spend time face-to-face with our online family!
01/02/2018 at 12:58 pm #29716simplicioParticipant
What ho all, happy new year!
That week made me grumpy. Nothing sold from Dec. 24 to 31, then 3 things sold on the weekend. Ah well.
Sales: CAD$226, 3 items
Item profit: $150
Cashflow (after tax): $86
Notable items: fancy shower head $20–>$125
01/02/2018 at 4:04 pm #29736pythoneskParticipant
- Location: East TN
What is STR?
01/02/2018 at 4:10 pm #29737
Sell Thru Rate. It is a measurement of how much of your inventory is being sold within a timeframe
01/03/2018 at 10:47 am #29774
This had been bugging me for awhile. How do you calculate STR? I have been dividing the number of items sold each week by the number of items listed and multiplying by 100 to come up with the percentage. Is this the correct way to do it? I want to be reporting my numbers correctly each week.
01/03/2018 at 11:10 pm #29836
Yes, that gives you the rate per week. Units sold divided by total listings.
I calculate for both the week and the month. To keep them on the same rate, I take the weekly sales, divide by 7 then multiply by 30. That is a month’s worth of sales at the weekly rate. THEN I divide by the total listings.
01/04/2018 at 10:35 am #29858
That makes sense. Thanks for clarifying it.
01/04/2018 at 10:58 am #29859
No problem at all.
I came from a business perspective that is used to Inventory Turnover, but the reselling community likes Sell Thru Rate better. They are the same measurement, velocity of sales.
If you have a 20% STR, your Inventory Turnover is 2.4 (.20*12). This means that you sell all of your inventory 2.4 times per year. With a 33.3% STR, your Inventory Turnover is 4.0 (.333*12).
You can use this to benchmark your “industry” standard by checking some places on the web. RetailOwner.com/benchmarks has multiple benchmarks for different types of retailers. Men’s Clothing is around 2.3-2.5, which is a 20%-22% STR. General department stores are over 4.0, so their STR is closer to 33%-35%.
After you see what your STR is, you then decide what you want to do with it. Match your industry? Beat your industry? Use it as a benchmark to improve in the future (without lowering Average Selling Price…no cheating!).
I love numbers and metrics, but I love even more using them to drive change and improvement.
01/02/2018 at 6:44 pm #29747AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
My husband wants to hike the AT. I don’t know if he will ever get around to it. If I can get the business going well, he might, but he’d worry about me having to take care of the ranch on my own. Are you going to post a blog or something of your Colorado trip, T-Satt?
01/02/2018 at 6:52 pm #29748
I think I will. I have thought about starting a blog, and this would be a good reason to start one.
Thanks for the push!
01/02/2018 at 7:44 pm #29752Steve ListParticipant
- Location: Richmond, Calif.
Okay, I finally was able to listen to the pod cast. About packing peanuts, if you have a heath food store or a vitamin supplement store near you HIT THEM UP. Most of those small bottles come in nice small boxes with lots of packing peanuts. I go to one near me and they are happy to give me a couple large garbage bags full of them each time. They even divides them up into the biodegradable and the non-biodegradable types. I am normally too late to get the boxes because since they take up so much space they put them in there cardboard compacter. Hope this helps somebody save some cash.
01/03/2018 at 12:10 am #29756mickdogParticipant
- Location: Portland, OR
Time for my quarterly numbers, as a small part-time business I usually don’t feel I have the number consistency to post weekly. However as one of my 2018 resolutions, I think I’ll start posting the numbers monthly since I do accounting at the end of each month any way.
So here is Q4 (Oct-Dec)!
# of items sold each month: 40, 35, 56 – November was weirdly slow, no black friday for me! However December rebounded to be the best month of the year! I averaged 38 items a month for 2017 which I thought was good for a store with 250-350 items at any given time.
Monthly sales $: $1087, $847, $1488 (average for the year $986)
I tried to find some higher dollar items via scavenging and going to local auctions. I had some success, two examples were a Brooks Brothers leather duffle Bag I found while on vacation over Thanksgiving at a resale shop on sale for $35.00 – took one month to sell for $125.00; and at an auction I got two model airplanes for $30 and one sold quickly for $130 (I have the other listed still for over $100).
Average sale price $: $27.18 $24.21 $26.58 (average for the year $25.72 – I’d like to get that over $30 in 2018). I live in an urban area so my cost per item is higher that Jay and Ryannes (around $3.25).
Sadly I got my first negative, for an item not as described (which it may have been, I may have missed some damage). Guy left the negative even after I said I would refund in full or do a partial refund (which is what he wanted and I did immediately while on vacation). The seller said he was teaching me a lesson by leaving the negative. Called ebay and tried to get it removed but to no avail. Did report the seller as he had left 4 negatives in the past month and seemed to be abusing the system. Listening to the podcast for the last year had me much more calm about the whole thing that probably would have happened before, so thanks Jay and Ryanne!
Also had a new old stock electronic item be bought and opened by the buyer and it didn’t work. I refunded him in full and told him to keep it as it was big and shipping would eat up most of the profit even if I could fix it. Again, not a big deal.
I listed a lot in December and have been hovering around 330-350 listings. This leads me to my 2018 ebay business resolutions:
1) Post more/ read more on Scavenger Life!
2) Get my Average Sale Price above $30 by by taking a few more risks with purchases (especially at auctions). I need to find more things that I buy for $25-50 and sell for $125-$250 this coming year!
3) List enough to get up to that magic 500 items, this would mean I’d move up to the next level store as well, as my break even for that is around 450 items. This may not happen until the Summer but I’ll try my best.
4) I’d like to increase my yearly sales to around $15000 in 2018. I think that is doable, and, if I get my store close to 500 items, should happen.
5) Use my ebay profit to pay off personal debt and reinvest some into buying more inventory.
That is it from me, I hope everyone has a prosperous 2018 in both your personal and business lives!
01/03/2018 at 10:12 am #29767
Mickdog: Love your goals!
01/03/2018 at 7:37 am #29759Retro Treasures WVParticipant
Follow-up on my call-in.
Technically, amazon does have a much better resolution system. You can call them. They will also email with you. They document EVERYTHING and they have rules. I had a buyer return the wrong item on amazon FBA. I was able to resolve it with a clear process. I generally never had a problem with their customer service to me as a seller. With a wrong item on ebay, CS basically told me tough crap and that it was my obligation to get the customer to admit to it. The only issue I had was that they’d sometimes take 2-3 days to do a call back.
With ebay, they refuse to document anything. They don’t seem to follow any rules most of the time. They are inconsistent and often extremely illogical in their decisions (like refusing a refund to my customer). Even though my buyer and I got refunds, we were both really upset afterwards -he messaged me to get my side of the absurd process and we discussed. Basically, ebay lied to both of us repeatedly.
I did nothing wrong, but ebay severly damaged this buyers confidence in the ebay system. They also damaged this buyers confidence in sellers by lying to them about me to cover for their own incompetence. This is just one customer who is so jaded they may not buy on ebay again. How many times a day do they do this? Thousands? Tens of thousands?
So yeah, the flawed resolution system totally effects us as sellers and it does concern me going forward if they cannot fix it. The easiest fix they could have is to start documenting calls and messaging a summary back to you for your records. Why don’t they do this? It is industry standard.
01/03/2018 at 10:15 am #29768
Retro: I totally agree with your resolutions. They should document both sides of a resolution and have that available to both parties upon request. Keeps out the opinion and sticks to the facts.
01/07/2018 at 12:23 pm #29945
I agree that eBay should document calls and conversations. This would solve the issue of Customer Service Reps telling you one thing, and then having to re-argue the case with someone else. This would mean CS reps would need to be more empowered since their decisions would hold fast.
We had the opposite experience from you on Amazon. Or maybe we didn’t understand the system. Returns always favored the buyer. Buyers would returns items and say it was our fault. When we tried emailing, we would get boiler plate email in flowery language from some dude in India who basically “You make money on Amazon from high volume. As a seller, we expect you to eat some loss because then it makes buyers happy to buy on Amazon and you’ll make more.”
But maybe we didnt take the time to learn the system.
01/03/2018 at 4:19 pm #29801
I was away last week for my normal end of year trip, so I did not list and I had extended handling time for part of the time. My numbers reflect the lack of attention.
Week of Dec 24-30
* Total Items in Store: 1164
* Items Sold: 14
* Cost of Items Sold: $14.80 + $0 Commission
* Total Sales: $222.60
* Highest Price Sold: $47 Copco casserole with stand
* Average Price Sold: $15.90
* Returns: 1 – Copco casserole was damaged in transit
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
* Number of items listed this week: 0
The worse part of it was that my highest price item was damaged in transit. I thought I packed it well, but not as carefully as breakable items like porcelain. Some of the enamel was damaged, and the buyer wanted to return it. I decided to refund, and I’ll see what I can get back from FedEx.
I just finished some photography, so I gotta get back on that listing bandwagon. I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years, and here’s to 2018!
01/03/2018 at 7:28 pm #29817
Ugh, my gmail account is sending Scavenger Life emails into SPAM again. I think it started yesterday, but I didn’t realize it until an hour or two ago.
Check your SPAM folders!
01/03/2018 at 7:35 pm #29822
yep mine too. i created a filter that made sure it would not be marked as spam, but it’s giving me a message to beware that this might be spam. that being said, i was invited to edit some google docs for a video work project today and those OFFICIAL GOOGLE emails went into m spam folder. so google is literally marking their own emails as spam. weird!
01/03/2018 at 8:07 pm #29825
That is where I found my emails when I realized I wasn’t getting them…
Good old Yahoo trying to do my thinking for me. That is one thing I hate about the latest trend in technology. Don’t think for me. Stop helping. I know what I want to do.
Sometimes I think Google is like that annoying friend that is always trying to finish your sentences for you…
01/03/2018 at 10:22 pm #29834ManateejaqParticipant
December 24 – December 30 2017
Total items in store: 0 Etsy (shop on vacation) // Ebay 491
Items Sold: Etsy 0 (shop on vacation) // Ebay 9
Cost of items Sold: Etsy X // Ebay $36.09
Total Sales: Etsy $0 // Ebay $132.91
Highest Price Sold: Merrell Shoes $30
Average Price Sold: $14.77
Number of items listed this week: 0
Finally back from visiting family (yesterday), and glad to be home. I love visiting family and making good memories, but it also nice to be at my own home with my own bed and my own space.
Anyway, I am feeling quite an accomplishment at completing my first year as a full time reseller. It didn’t turn out as fantastic as I had hoped (didn’t make as much money as I had hoped), but I think it went pretty well. I love what I do and I look forward to my work every day! The head of the biology department at the local college called me today to ask if I would consider teaching a class again (because the person who replaced me when I left has also decided to quit) – and I very gladly said ‘no, but thank you for the offer.’ My life and outlook on ‘work’ has improved so much in the past year I would never consider going back! Thanks Jay and Ryanne for helping me realize that full-time reselling was possible. Looking forward to year #2.
01/07/2018 at 12:29 pm #29950
Congrats on going out on your own. It’s such freedom to take the jobs you want and say no to jobs you dont. Good news is that you may find a teaching gig you actually enjoy. In fact, with your new freedom, you could even set the parameters for which you want to work in.
01/04/2018 at 11:51 am #29860tpkrause86Participant
Hello, this may have already been asked, but can you link to the 20 dollar security camera that sends to your phone. Ive been wanting to get one for awhile
01/07/2018 at 12:26 pm #29946
01/04/2018 at 3:45 pm #29871SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
I’m late this week but here are my numbers for last week:
Total Items in Store: 2089
Items Sold: 36
Total Sales: $766
Cost of Items Sold: $82
Average Price Sold: $21.28
Average Cost of Item: $2.29
Highest Price Item Sold: $74.95 Southern California Rapid Transit District Metal Bus Sign
Number of items listed this week: 7
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 301
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 165
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 71
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.72%
# of Hats Sold: 24 (66% of sales)
For the year, we had 1750 sales and our gross sales were just under $40,000 (plus shipping) which is about 25% above the previous year. The cost of those 1750 items was just over $5000. We sold about 1100 hats for the year (67% of our sales)
I hope everyone has a great 2018!
01/07/2018 at 12:31 pm #29951
1100 hats! I really am in awe. Incredible that you find so many that sell. What percentage of your inventory comes from buying big lots of hats online?
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