02/26/2018 at 7:30 am #33849
And that pretty much sums up this podcast and most of the other ones too. Join the conversation in the forum>> Our Store Week Feb 18-24, 2018
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 349: Having A Huge Inventory Is Not The Goal, It’s The Strategy]
02/26/2018 at 9:08 am #33854
Week of 2/18-2/24
Total Items in Store: 1,884 (Up 30% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 80
Number of Items Sold: 65 (Down 2% YOY)
(Includes 1 Etsy, 1 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether)
Weekly STR: 15% (Down 5% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $1,544 (Up 23% YOY)
Cost of Items Sold: $308
Highest Item Sold: $90 – Cole Haan Shoes
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Veronica wins the week and Troy leads the year at 5-3.
# Listed: 1,150
# Sold: 42
# Listed: 112
# Sold: 11
eBay Hard Goods
# Listed: 622
# Sold: 11
Etsy Hard Goods
# Listed: 122
# Sold: 1
Great talk about the inventory level. Your focus is NOT on the inventory level first. Your focus is on what weekly income you are looking for, THEN your inventory generates that profit. It is textbook on how we forecast our business. If I know my inventory level, my STR, and my ASP, then I can forecast my revenue. I can also calculate the inventory level needed to generate the revenue I need by using the same formula.
And yes, the comparison game is difficult. You guys handle the large inventory, low STR model well because you buy very low and you have a low fixed cost for storage. Those are the two main keys to make that work. Your only risk is that you will have inventory that will never sell, and that is lost money and time. For others that buy low and have a low STR, they need to have a plan to store the large inventory needed to get the weekly profit they need. It is all about knowing what your model is, what that model will generate, and what the constraints and risks are.
02/26/2018 at 10:37 am #33872
Good points. I think that the size of your inventory is one [of many] tactics that get you to your overall goals & strategies. Also what you buy, how you sell (auction vs BIN), etc.
02/26/2018 at 11:21 am #33882
Yep. It isn’t everything, but it is something. It is part of the answer to the question when people ask “How do I make $1000 per month on EBay”?
What are you selling and can you constantly find it? (Scarcity)
What is your Cost to Purchase? (Capital Requirements)
What is your Sales Price? (Revenue Generated)
How long does it take them to sell? (Velocity)
So if you want to make $1000 per month and you have:
$5 cost per item
$25 Average Selling Price
10% Monthly Sell Thru Rate
You need to sell 50 items per month: $1000/($25-$5)
To Sell 50 items per month at a 10% STR you need 500 items (and $2,500 Capital to invest) in Inventory: 50/10%
If you are on the High ROI, Low STR route (say 5% STR, buy at $1, sell at $10), your Inventory will need to be 2,222 in Inventory (and $2,222 in Capital) and you will have to sell 111 items per month.
If you can buy at $5, sell at $50, with a 5% STR, you will need 444 items in inventory (and $2,222 in Capital), and you only need to sell 22 items per month.
All parts of the equation. The Inventory gives you part of the picture, but not all. There are still time constraints, how long will it take to build the inventory to that level, do I have the capital to invest that much, can I consistently find these items, do I have the storage space…etc.
Most just jump in and get started (like we all did), and that is the MOST important step. But when you want to make it a serious business, you can do the math and see where your current model will take you…
02/26/2018 at 9:33 pm #33947
Well said T-Satt!
And if you want to see where your model will take you, use my forecasting spreadsheet and you will see the next 5 years or more. I have been using it and I see where I am going and I like what I see.
I have been on a quest to get those higher end items. I will post below on this weekend. I find that when I search out those high end items, I can find them and for a decent price.
02/27/2018 at 8:13 am #33967
Mark: God love you for forecasting that far in the future. I forecast the current year and one full year in the future. I don’t get too far beyond that, since it seems that things change each year, so anything beyond that isn’t useful.
Do you still have employees that you are using for listing and photography?
02/27/2018 at 9:25 am #33971
Yes, I take those forcasts more than 2 years out with a grain of salt. What I am trying to do is see the logical end of an actionI may take today, what is the effect down the road? It is like that ripple in the water that keeps reverberating into the future. To give you anexample of how i am using it: i am set up now to list about 300 items a month right now. That is a stretch for me. What if I do that this year and next, then take it easy after that and list only 200 items a month, will I reach my goals that year and the 2 years after that? That is what i use it for. Also it excites me to see where that will take me and motivates me to get there – sorta self positive talk.
02/27/2018 at 10:03 am #33975
Many years ago I was a software developer on a team that did the Engineering budget forecasts for Ford Motor Company. The financial guys wanted to see 5 years out and the software allowed them to do what if scenarios. That is where I got the idea for my spreadsheet.
02/27/2018 at 10:20 am #33978
Me too. I WAS that guy generating the forecasts. They finally put me as head of the FP&A (Financial Planning & Analysis) group. Every three months, reforecast the current year. Every year, look at the out years.
But I don’t HAVE to project that far if I don’t wanna…so I don’t. Love being the captain of my own ship!
My rules…I make them up!
02/27/2018 at 10:17 am #33977
Totally agree on that point. Similar to part of the other discussion today on growth, the last two years for us were pretty lean as we grew to this size, but this year is the payoff year. We can maintain at this level now. But if we take the next leap, that will have at least one tight year, then levels off again.
Always good to see where it takes you, and if the current work is worth it.
02/27/2018 at 12:41 pm #33991
Yes, I still have contractors for listing and photography. I am asking my lister for 250 items lusted per month. I am giving a bonus if she reaches that goal. I did hire s photograher at the end if last tear and she was doing about 20 items a week till she slip on some ice on some stair at a business (not mine) and broke her tail bone. That was about a month ago. I just told her to take whatever tine dhe needed. She was in a lot of pain.
So the contrsctors are key to my business, I couldnt do it without them. That is part of the reason i give a bonus for goals met. My lister had been doing this for over 4 years for me. She understands exactly what i want and she does a great job. If i get a warehouse type deal going in the future, she would be a great operations manager.
02/28/2018 at 8:34 am #34042
Excellent. After enjoying some “Empty Nester” time, we are looking to move in that direction as well. What percentage of your Sales is your labor cost at this point?
02/28/2018 at 9:06 am #34043
Labor costs are about 10% of my gross sales. I guess it depends on how to calculate that. I pay $4 per item to be listed start to end (I price and title it). My average sell price is around $40. That is 10%. Until I reach terminal velocity (meaning I sell as many as I list or there about), I count that labor cost as investing in the business. Or as others have said, creating the beast.
Now that may seem like a lot, but I could not get to where I am at or where I am going without it.
My COGS are about 10% or less of my gross sales, so together that is 20%. There are some people here on the blog that spend around 20% on COGS, so I feel blessed that I can have both for around 20%.
02/28/2018 at 9:18 am #34045
That makes sense on a per item basis. We are looking to be in that realm as well if someone is doing both the listing and photography (we will do titles, pricing, and review the listing before it is sent out).
On a monthly basis, how long did it take to be cash flow positive with your labor? You pay for each item listed in month 1, but based on STR, you are not receiving the cash from that labor until it sells.
02/28/2018 at 10:47 am #34053
It looks like it took about 5 months. But she was only listing about 80 items per month at the start.
02/28/2018 at 10:50 am #34054
Gotcha. We were estimating something a little faster (3-4), but good to know we were in the ballpark. I think our STR is faster than yours, and that is probably the difference.
02/28/2018 at 1:53 pm #34062
Yes, you have a higher STR so that is probably the difference.
The higher your STR, the more it makes sense.
The reason I decided to pay a bonus is that I had about 1000 all ready to be listed, but were not listed. I was losing about $1500 a month in sales or so. So to pay a bonus was really worth it. So, another way to look at this is the opportunity loss versus the cost. In my case, the opportunity loss was way more (after just a couple months) than the cost, so it is was a no brainer. But I can’t scale that to the ridiculous. I have to weigh that with how many items I can buy, prep, ship, etc. I can deal with 25-300 \ month, on a part time basis, but I will admit that is a stretch for me.
02/28/2018 at 1:55 pm #34063
I had a few typo’s above, here are the corrections:
1. That should be 1000 items that were ready to be listed.
1. And “25-300” items a month should have been “250-300 items a month”
02/28/2018 at 2:06 pm #34066
Makes sense. I would agree that if you have that backlog, it is definitely worth it to go hard to catch up. You are right on the head with the opportunity cost loss. It won’t sell if it ain’t listed!
We don’t have much of a backlog (until yard sale season hits, Veronica is week to week on having items to list.), so for us, the increase in listing that takes place will immediately be a cash flow drain as we will have to buy more Day 1 to keep them fed with items to photo. So we are looking at a probably start date of Apr 1, and a 4 month hole (APR-JUL) until the sales increase takes hold. My forecast showed that starting 4/1 vs 10/1 was a $9k increase in profit in 2019 (though with the 4 month hole). We could start 10/1 (when increased sales will cover the increased cost), but we figure the time to start is now.
02/28/2018 at 4:04 pm #34079
That is the thing that I also have to consider: the cost now versus the reward later.
I know the reward is going to be worth it down the road, but can I afford to take a hit for several months where my income will be down? I run the numbers in my forecast and then usually go for it if it makes sense on paper. It usually does, I just have to strike the right balance in how many items that is.
02/28/2018 at 5:30 pm #34085
Amen brother. That was the conversation we had today. Should we take a lower income now for the bigger payoff later?
Age old question…
02/27/2018 at 8:49 am #33970
Hey Mark: Mentioning your spread sheet didn’t you post your email at one time and stated if anyone was interested to contact you and you would provide a copy? I thought you did and I book marked it but now can’t find it. I had been using Easy Auction Tracker for a few years but moved over to WonderLister years ago and then stopped using the EAT spread sheet. But WonderLister and also SixBit that T-Satt uses does not provide the type of data a good excel spread sheet does nor does it work the numbers in the way that the discussion about using these numbers for casting does.
Don’t get me wrong, the numbers needed and many financial reports are available and contained within WonderLister but the analysis of the numbers in the manner in which being discussed here would have to be gathered from WL and then a spread sheet created and formulas written for the type of analysis to do the forward projections.
So, if I was correct, then let me know how to contact you and it would be really appreciated if you are willing to share your spread sheet. It would save me a ton of time from having to go and build a copy for myself since I am no longer using the EAT spreadsheet. I have the 2017 numbers by quarter, monthly, and weekly. [date each item bought, where we bought, what we paid for ea. item, items sold ea. month, sold amount, expenses, etc., etc. but to take a few of these and take a look at velocity, projection for growth, etc. is what I am missing. Just need the sheet to date those in for an analysis.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
02/27/2018 at 9:27 am #33972
Yes, I can get the spreadsheet to you. I posted the link to it on google docs. I will get the link and put it here later.
02/27/2018 at 9:32 am #33973
The link is in the forum for episode 334. Seach on forecasting tool there and you should find it.
02/27/2018 at 10:14 am #33976
Thanks Mark: I thought I remembered seeing it. Actually going to my account in 30 minutes with all of 2017 numbers for both the corporation and personal. Corp. is due by March 15th.
The projection SS will be a topic of discussion and by using it, that will help me do some projections for next year. As of now WonderLister shows we have sold 479 items last year, avg. of 39 per month, we are at 911 total items, avg. cost of $8.61 per item with an avg. selling price of $35.32 each for a total of $16,919 [or approx. 4.1 times the money invested into inventory]for 2017 [$20,719 if shipping is included]. So now with the SS we can calculate the Sales velocity we experienced over the past several years, and do some projections to see where we need to be [purchasing wise] with all variables such as type of item, demand, interest, and other “soft” factors considered for the coming next 2 to 3 years.
Of course the margins are always able to be increased based on buying at lower costs and by increaseing sales price. Our collectible home decor items are harder to find and cost more, but about 5 years ago our cost per item was over $20 each. We have been able to get that down to $8 and change for the same if not better quality items and items that sell. But even after “donating” over a thousand itemns from the closing of those six booths we still have a lot of low selling cost items that we paid too much for.
These days we do find $8 to $15 dollar cost items that we seem to sell for about 10 times the money like T-Satt tries to do. But as we all know the sourcing is much harder and requires more knowledge than just buying a $5 box – tray lot and re-selling a dozen items. It is knowing the type of crystal, pottery, china and the type of art and prints then buy low and sell high.
Hopefully with your SS we can get a handle on the quantity of inventory within a calculated aquisition cost and with the projected sales through rate figure out where we need to be to double the sales amount. Plus our other online platforms are now getting established and those will start to figure in the mix.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
02/27/2018 at 10:26 am #33979
Totally agree with the plan Mike. Just remember the most important part about any forecast…the assumptions. I can make a forecast get to any place I want, the question is, can I make that a reality?
Always test yourself on your assumptions. Are they reasonable? If I remember right, you work with your wife, correct? Have her agree to your assumptions. Test them. Hell, send them to me and I’ll test them. But make sure you are solid with a baseline forecast, and even a stretch goal here or there.
We had a new guy come in once and did a forecast that made no sense. Math was correct, but the forecast would never live up to his assumptions. He didn’t last…
02/27/2018 at 10:39 am #33980
Oh I am on board with that. As VP of Operations I had to do tons of projections on capacity, through put, conversion, output per unit in a time span. I had to justify buying million dollar pieces of machinery and laying off personnel in order to increase output, lower unit costs and thus increase bottom line net. And the use of the word “assumptions” is totally correct. I had a clip board on 6 stop watches measuring every move a line of people made. If they took more than 3 steps in any direction it was too far and I would buy whatever it was they were “wasting time” on going to get. BUT.. then when I started to work the magic it was always using my spread sheets to play the “what if” game. What would happen if I could increase a line speed, make people move faster, bend less, talk, blink or breath less and if not what robot could I buy at what cost, to replace them with faster machinery and in return calcutate the ROI, break even point and then projection future sales, profit, growth, increased capacity which in turn lead to our sales dept. being able to go after even larger accounts which we previously could not handle.
So what I really like about the spread sheets is the ability to “play what if’s” based upon the difference between WAG and SWAG. WAG is my Wild Ass Quesses vs. my “Scientific Wild Ass Guesses”. LOL 🙂
Mark… our e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
and T-Satt.. yes my wife works with us as does a helper on Some Fridays, Sat. and Sun. And yes, it is an assembly line process, with “bottle necks” identified and those being smoothed out for consistent flow. And NO I do not use my stop watches on them. They would KILL ME!!! LOL 🙂
Mike in Atlanta
02/27/2018 at 11:51 am #33984
Wow. Scary how much you and I are from the same (previous) world. Brings back memories..
More like Flashbacks… 🙂
02/26/2018 at 9:27 am #33857
Feb 18-24, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1217
Items Sold: 20
Cost of Items Sold: $115.19
Total Sales: $665.73
Highest Price Sold: $250.00 (carved wooden figurine)
Average Price Sold: $33.29
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $61.72
Number of items listed this week: 17
Total Items in Store: 268
Items Sold: 3
Cost of Items Sold: $0.75
Total Sales: $35.98
Highest Price Sold: $14.39 (vintage embroidered patch)
Average Price Sold: $11.99
Number of items listed this week: 3
Pretty slack on the listing this week as we had a bunch of stuff going on personally, and were focused on preparing for an antique show/sale that we were part of this past weekend.
Had a decent sale of a $250 hand carved wooden figure that really brought our numbers up for the week. We almost threw it out, but thankfully, I took the time to research it before hand and found that the carver has a small cult following. It’s been listed for a few months, and when the offer came through we took it almost immediately. We got it as part of an estate lot that we purchased back in November, and probably paid roughly $1.00 for it.
02/26/2018 at 9:28 am #33858
Total Items in Store: 468
Items Sold: 12
Cost of Items Sold: $79 + $13 free shipping
Total Sales: $414
Highest Price Sold: $120 UK Needlepoint kit, paid $10 estate sale https://www.ebay.com/itm/232662616338
Average Price Sold: $35
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 16
Number of listing sessions: 2
Part of this week I caught an unexpected school hours break from my day job and spent the time working on kitchen remodel planning (ugh), Ebay bookkeeping, and Turbotax. Doing my COGS and determining my net profit was only $8.5k. On one hand I’m thrilled that amount kind of from nothing in my spare time, on the other I can’t help but feel disappointed. I’m currently moving away from RA for a couple of reasons, and I think I’ve got a pretty good eye for vintage so hopeful that this year I can make the same sales with better margins. I only have so much time for reselling, so I need to figure out my optimal mix and pricing. Continuing to work through the piles and towards my reward goal of going to estate sales. I only got to listing twice this week, but did get a sales boost both times. This is unlike January and early February when I felt no boost occurred.
There are some news articles being discussed on FB about Ebay changing the algorithm, which they apparently announced at the last Open event. No hard facts yet to share but I’m wondering if that seller boot camp Ebay has coming up will shed more light on things. One of the changes apparently has to do with stale listings. I’m going to make myself cull some old stuff and create lots, since I am also getting over the break even point in my basic store anyway. This is probably my least favorite task of Ebay – admitting that I have duds.
Regarding the Podcast topic, it really sounds like a lot of the stuff in your area is super long tail and you are making the most of it. Again, I’d love to see you spend some time in the urban areas during garage and estate sale season and scoop up goodies to bring to your warehouse. You have the knowledge to pick relatively inexpensively and the space to store items. Maybe you’d enjoy a better sell through rate without overspending. Feel free to ignore me. “) Have a great week!
02/26/2018 at 10:16 am #33865
Numbers for the last two weeks since I was away last weekend and most of last week.
Week February 11-24, 2018
Total Items in Store: 864
Items Sold: 35 (3 Amazon)
Cost of Items Sold: $637 (30.6% of sales)
Total Sales: $2,080.79
Highest Price Sold: $1000 (2007 PGA Masters Flag – autographed by 8 champions https://www.ebay.com/itm/191919959815)
Average Price Sold: $59.45
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 0
Promoted listings test: 20 sales, $1,548.90 (74.3% of total sales), $92.61 fees (6.0% of sales)
Was away for the long holiday weekend and woke up last Sunday to an amazing $1000 sale of that Masters flag. I had purchased it at an estate sale about two years ago. The estate sale had hundreds of signed sports memorabilia, but most (like the flag) was not authenticated. I spent $350 on the flag and then about $150 to get it authenticated. I had hoped to get closer to $1500, but gladly took $1000. That’s where my COGS are high this period at 30%, take out the flag and COGS were only 12.7% which is quite good for me.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Brian Treasures from Grandmas.
02/26/2018 at 10:55 am #33874
Amazing sale on that flag!
Funny that you bring that up. There was the discussion last week on COGS as a % of sales. Every model is different. 2X Return in your case was a $500 profit. But you probably didn’t have that much extra time into listing the item. Even if you were 2 hours total with research, getting it authenticated, and getting it listed, you are at $250/hr.
02/26/2018 at 11:06 am #33878
Exactly. I had 34 other sales that all had 10x-15x ROI but they also took considerably more time to clean, research, photograph, list, store, pack, etc. Anything over $200 or so I’m cool with making a lower % because the actual in-pocket profit is so high.
02/26/2018 at 1:57 pm #33912
Congratulations on the sale of the flag. That is awesome!
02/26/2018 at 10:22 am #33868
Week of Feb 18-24
* Total Items in Store: 1142
* Items Sold: 8
* Cost of Items Sold: $11.25 + $9.60 Commission
* Total Sales: $147.95
* Highest Price Sold: $40 Vintage BTC keyboard
* Average Price Sold: $18.49
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $5
* Number of items listed this week: 25
This was the crappiest week I’ve had in quite a while. I had no sales on Monday and Tuesday, and only one sale on Saturday, which should be a good day. However, I’ve had five sales from Sunday night into this morning, which is more than half what I did last week. Hopefully, this is the end of my slump!
I went to the Goodwill bins for the first time, which takes about an hour to get to. I have a friend who lives nearby, so we had lunch and did a few other things, and I was able to make it into a full day. I didn’t buy much, but did get some good stuff. I’m willing to make the drive again when I’m better caught up with my death piles.
02/26/2018 at 10:23 am #33869
O, also, on “Monday dread”. Yes, even if you make a lot of money, you get Monday dread. Possibly at a higher rate because you might know what’s coming or because you have more responsibility. As I’ve noted before on here, my wife & I make a very nice living. We’re paid well and have nice titles at work – but that comes with incredible stress. I know personally, I’m responsible for a large team, driving business results, etc. Even if I’m not physically at work on the weekends, I’m still getting emails & messages and sometimes I can put them off til Monday, but it’s a stack of things for me to do already.
02/26/2018 at 10:58 am #33875
Brian: Yep, I remember those days. Being Controller at a startup Oil & Gas company that is constantly doing the money dance…keeping employees and vendors paid and trying to keep money rolling in…there are no REAL Mondays.
Except…on Mondays, the mail would arrive, hopefully with checks from customers. I would repeat my mantra…”Big Money! No Whammys!”
02/26/2018 at 10:25 am #33870
Good podcast… think you hit the right note on the different selling models.
I had a fantastic week, which makes this my best month ever. If every month could be like this I could quit my day job.
Sales: CAD$3261, 9 items, COGS $470 –> item profit $2236
Expenditures: $423 –> Cashflow after tax $1791
Hours: 11 –> $163/hr
Notable sales: on Friday I bought 5 large boxes of 3.5″ floppy diskettes (new in packages) at surplus for a total of $565. There are two brands, Maxell and Imation. On Saturday I got an offer for all of the Imation ones (323 packs of 12 diskettes) for $2000. Buyer and I are working out the shipping now… he wants to use his UPS account, which I think should be fine, but I have not done before. Considering I should be able to sell all the Maxell ones for another $2-3k, I am calling this as my most successful ever pick.
Also sold a Norwegian-made rosewood coffee table for $650. I sold this last year for $1300 but the buyer never paid… maybe I should’ve held out for more but I was happy to move it (to San Francisco). I removed the legs to ship. Originally paid $75.
New listings: 12, total 328 on eBay
02/26/2018 at 11:00 am #33876
I would love to know what people are going to do with those 3.5″ floppy disks!
02/26/2018 at 11:11 am #33880
People still use those old computers! Just like why are people paying $10-$20 each for a cassette tape that I (or @Steven S) sells? Because these are the last of them, no one is making them anymore.
02/26/2018 at 11:26 am #33886
What are they storing on those bad boys? I think they each held like 2.2MB didn’t they?
02/26/2018 at 12:47 pm #33900
02/26/2018 at 11:28 am #33888
A lot of businesses still rely on machines that use floppy drives. Keep replacing cheap floppy discs and drives, or replace a million+ dollar machine. Which do you think makes more sense?
My best sale on floppy disks was a sealed new box of 100. I sold it on amazon FBA for $150.
02/26/2018 at 11:38 am #33891
Just boggles my mind that people still use them. I haven’t even owned a computer that had an a:\ drive in decades…
If my business was on my computer that is that old, I would not be happy. Risk of failure is just too great, and computer costs are so low (or even Cloud storage). That Risk Mitigation would be worth it to me.
I remember my last system implementation was because our company was still on the AS400 computer system, and since it was becoming obsolete, we needed to switch over to avoid risk of failure. And that was an AS400!
02/26/2018 at 12:56 pm #33901
We have CNC mills where I work that still use floppy disks. Mechanically the machines are great – built like tanks.
We actually just bought two new CNC machines and they are between $200-400k each. That isn’t even with all the available options. So yeah, keep those floppy disks flowing as long as possible.
Eventually we’ll mothball and sell 1-2 of the older machines. A small mom & pop machine shop will HAPPILY buy them from us and then they will need to find parts and floppy disks for them for years.
02/26/2018 at 1:09 pm #33904
So, what files are being saved to a floppy disk and how many disks are needed? I remember in the 90’s having to save a program that we were building onto floppy disks. Using a span disk program, the zipped file took over 30 disks and it took FOREVER to save. I was there for 90 minutes during each save, waiting to feed the machine each new floppy disk.
It just seems to be an inefficient way to store data in this era. I backup my hard drive on a drive that is 500G and is smaller than a floppy drive.
Not knocking it, just seems strange that these are still used.
02/26/2018 at 2:04 pm #33913
I remember doing that. Those were the days. 🙂
02/26/2018 at 11:22 am #33883
I get the impression this guy is reselling them again in a storefront. Nice to know my place in the Great Chain of Being.
Like Steve says, I think it’s just people running vintage computers, either for pleasure or in a business that doesn’t want to upgrade.
02/26/2018 at 11:26 am #33887
Thanks for the BOLO. Probably only NIB right?
02/26/2018 at 4:10 pm #33920
You can resell used disks – just that you need a huge quantity to make it worthwhile compared to NIB disks. Same goes for reel to reel tapes, “blank” cassette tapes, etc. Someone will take the time to erase them for their needs to save a few dollars.
02/26/2018 at 11:39 am #33892
There are a lot of collectors as well for vintage computers – here is one local group I know the founder of and is a good buyer of vintage computing items from me for over 20 years:
If every small town has one guy like this, that takes the hobby to the extreme and also supplies films/TV shows with props, there is a lot of interest out there.
Anything pre-Windows PC area I find an easy sell – and even items from the early 2000’s are getting to be collectable.
02/26/2018 at 11:06 am #33879
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
I’m one of those spreadsheet folks! Mostly because it helps me track what I have listed, which I am trying to be accountable for with the twins challenge and for this weekly posting. 🙂
Feb 18-24, 2018
Total Items in Store: 681
Items Sold: 13
Cost of Items Sold: $7.50
Total Sales: $138.30
Highest Price Sold: $35 – lot of 6 hardcover children’s picture books in French (most only a couple years old)
Average Price Sold: $13.54
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $300 + (trying jewelry)
Number of items listed this week: 32
average value of items listed this week: $41.67
The good thing I can say is that I am above a 1%/week STR. This is a good metric for me to identify consistency on. The goal is to raise the Average Price Sold, which will occur now that I am listing higher priced items.
Happy Listing All.
02/26/2018 at 11:24 am #33884
Spreadsheet Geeks United!
Maybe we should create a group: SGU!!!
02/26/2018 at 11:25 am #33885
Yeah, I like spreadsheets too. It’s a powerful way of keeping records and running what-if scenarios.
As long as you run the numbers somehow, that’s the main thing! It gives some objectivity to what can be an emotional rollercoaster.
Nassim Taleb has this whole thing about what folly it is to check a ticker symbol every day. Your emotional state will be chaotic because you take a dip in the price as a psychological hit.
Spreadsheet helps me look back at monthly, yearly numbers & get a little objectivity. Also, locate problems (such as high cost of inventory).
02/26/2018 at 11:30 am #33889
Amen brother. Going back to Jay’s point about “what is slow”, I always compare mentally to the prior week. But with the spreadsheet that I have, I can automatically compare to the same week last year. That helps remove the seasonality from the equation, and since we are still wanting our business to grow, it let’s me know that we are.
And by breaking out Volume vs. Price, I can see that while our volume of sales is down (so something to look at and correct), our ASP is up, and that is driving the growth. So I not only know if I am growing, but I can see why.
02/26/2018 at 11:45 am #33893
So wow – I had a bad listing week. Looking back at the week I see that on a personal level it was just challenging. Nothing bad by any means; 2 young kids, working at home with a bit of extended family drama stuff scattered in. This morning I kind of looked at everything and had to acknowledge it is difficult at times. This business is all me and it is a lot of work.
This week and going forward the focus for me is “emotional intelligence” – no matter what, even if there is a day where something happens and i don’t have the best listing day or whatever, I am jut going to do what i can to be consistent and pick it up by creating the time i need to get something done to move in the right direction.
My goal is to get over 100 listings this week and every week and will stay focused on getting to 2,000 by the summer / 3000 by years end. I think likely this is a tall task with one person but remain confident that i can do it. With the nice weather i have gotten back into the running and that goes a long way keeping me balanced as it will be a grind obtaining the above goals.
2/18/18 – 2/25/18
Total Listing in store (beginning of week): 1202
Total items (including multiple item listings): 1323
Value of inventory listed beginning of week: $ $39,828.42
Value if inventory listed end of week: $ $40,511.20
Items sold: 22
Weekly sell through (based on number of listings): 1.83%
Total Sales: $ $654.56 (shipping backed out)
Average price: $ $29.75
Cost of items sold: $ $164.94
average cost of item sold (pre fees): $7.50
Gross profit: $ $489.62
Highest item sold: Bronze Coal Hod – sold 170 cost 91.64
New items listed: 18
02/26/2018 at 11:45 am #33894
Items in Store 987
Items Sold 22
Total Sales $686.00
Total Profit $593.00
Average profit $26.95
Average sales price $31.18
I left out a few things I don’t think will be paid. A while back I started my suits experiment. A strange thing has happened with the suits. The nice suits haven’t sold, but the crappy ones I listed anyways (holes, missing buttons, wear at pockets, etc) have ALL sold. These were items I considered simply not listing at all. Average sales price of the damaged sold suits and blazers is around $35. Just goes to show that there is a market of everything. I made almost $200 on stuff I was gonna toss just with suits.
The inventory size debate is definitely an interesting debate. I originally ran a high STR store that never crossed 100 active listings. My highest month was $3k. I was doing ebay full time, micromanaging my listings, pricing so that my item would sell first, etc. Once I went back to work at my new job that wasn’t sustainable.
My strategy the last 2 years has been to amass inventory and list what I can when I can. I always list slightly above the market high price. I’ve reinvested in inventory, equipment, and storage. The whole point was to create all the infrastructure and inventory needed so that if my day job ended I could switch immediately to ebay with several months of backlog inventory to list. I won’t have to buy anything for several months if I go full time, which is critical to building up capital/profit quickly.
I know what I can do in a very limited part time business, and I know what I can do in a full time business with zero experience or facilities.
By combining the two – the experience, equipment,and facilities I have now with the time I had when I started, I can do some serious ebay business!
02/26/2018 at 11:50 am #33896
I haven’t chimed in for awhile, but I’m one of those sellers with a very large inventory. I have 18,500 postcards currently active as of this morning. I’m averaging sales of about $1,000 a week, selling an average of $142 a day which is +/- about 20 postcards. So, I’m a quantity over quality seller. For me the benefits of a huge inventory, which far outweigh the negatives are: my entire active inventory sits on a wire shelving unit right by my desk. I can pull, pack and ship a days worth of orders in about half an hour, and that entire days order can fit in the mail slot at the post office. I don’t get returns for items not as described, that don’t fit, or are broken. Cost of goods sold is less than a $.25 per postcard. Some of the cons: I have 18,500 postcards listed, so that is a lot of inventory to keep track of. My monthly listing fees are $725. About 1 in every 500 postcards are lost in the mail. By this time next year I’m hoping to have about 25,000 active listings as I gear up for retirement from my real job. 25,000 postcards should bring in about $200-$250 gross a day.
02/26/2018 at 12:17 pm #33897
Thanks for the podcast R&J. I generally listen on Monday morning on the way to work. It makes my work week just a little bit brighter so I’m grateful for that.
Here are my numbers for the week:
Total Items in Store: 2189
Items Sold: 43
Total Sales: $1148
Cost of Items Sold: $122
Average Price Sold: $26.69
Average Cost of Item: $2.85
Highest Price Item Sold: $298.95 Rollei 35 S Compact Camera (bought for $30 at an estate sale)
Number of items listed this week: 81
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 314
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 137
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 93
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.96%
# of Hats Sold: 30 (69% of sales)
I had a great week. It started off well with that camera sale mentioned above. I’m not really a camera guy but I found that one up at an estate sale. I didn’t recognize the brand but when I held it in my hand it was much heavier than I expected which sometimes indicates quality so I looked it up quickly on eBay and thought it might be a $100 camera. The final listing price was a nice surprise. I’ve also been doing well with paper items this week in addition to a good number of hat sales.
I remember about 3 years ago when I first found the Scavenger Life podcast and I heard the suggestion to list 500 items. It really helped me realize how much I’d have to scale my business to make some reasonable money. If I hadn’t heard that I might have thought that 50 or 100 listings was a huge number. By the time you hit 500 listings you’re definitely figuring things like sourcing and shipping out. I think I’d argue that 1000 listings is probably a better goal for anyone wanting to consider doing this full time.
02/26/2018 at 12:27 pm #33898
- Location: Pennsylvania
It is always interesting. Last week you mentioned on the podcast that your store felt ‘slow,’ and yet in our own store we had a great week. And then this week it sounds like you had a great week, and we had a terrible week. A real roller coaster feel high to low.
As we are adding more and more listings, we also get smarter and smarter about what we should and want to add. We try to be aware and somewhat analytical about things, but we have a lot of things pulling us in different directions right now (namely our daughter and other work commitments), So we like building our inventory based on things that we enjoy or choose from a gut-level. That said, we have doubled our income so far year over year, so we feel our strategies of steadily building inventory are working.
My wife and I operate our store together, and we are set to cross 2000 items this week. We’re planning to celebrate.
02/26/2018 at 12:33 pm #33899
Total Items in Store: 1359
Items Sold: 23
Total Sales : $800
Highest Price: $260 (Lot of 24 Vintage Eyeglasses with Cases)
Average Price: $35
Cost of Items Sold: $135
Costs of Items Purchased this Week: $5
I had a pretty good week of sales. Mostly smaller priced items, but a few higher ones to bring up my average. We took the weekend off from any form of eBaying due to a flood warning. On Friday, we spent the evening pulling everything up out of our basement to store in the first and second story of our house. It was a complete disaster zone for a while. It felt like living in a hoarder house for sure with mazes of totes and stuff. Luckily, the storm moved more south of us so no flooding, at least in our neighborhood. Sunday when the coast was clear, we took several hours to put everything back. The nice part about it was that I got to reorganize a bit. I now have a lot more room in my storage space for more items, though I might keep it that way for a while and not start buying more things.
My buy of the week came from an estate sale on Saturday. There wasn’t much stuff that I was interested in. Mostly granny knick knacks and googahs (thanks for that new word!). But I did stumble across a near mint condition set of Jarts for a couple bucks! Now I’ve been collecting these for a little while (I’m up to 6 sets) and haven’t tried selling them on eBay. From what I understand, they’re a restricted item but people get around that by selling “just the box” with the unwritten understanding that the box won’t be empty. Sounds kind of risky to me. I think my backup plan is to try a set a Guinness record for most lawn dart sets owned by a single person. I’ll be one of those kooky people that get on TV.
02/26/2018 at 1:38 pm #33908
- Location: South Dakota
I sold 2 sets of Jarts last summer on FB marketplace for $100 each and I had more buyers wanting them.
02/26/2018 at 10:49 pm #33956
I remember when you mentioned your Jarts sale a few months ago. I might have to reactivate my old Facebook account and try out this Marketplace.
02/26/2018 at 11:05 pm #33959
- Location: Sandy, Utah
So, having no idea what “Jarts” are, had to GTS (Google that shit). What is the first thing that came up? “Send a Jart: Send a Fart in a Jar. Laughs for hours, stinks for days.”
I’m assuming that is NOT what you sold for $100. LOL
02/27/2018 at 4:31 pm #34024
Ha! Jart! Too funny! You probably were able to figure out what real Jarts were, but in case you haven’t, they’re a lawn dart game from several decades ago. They’ve been restricted from being sold due to too many injuries. I thought I read somewhere that there’s never actually been any fatalities though, but it would have been bound to happen eventually. If they were thrown straight up into the air and landed just right on someone’s head, it’d pop right through the skull for sure.
02/26/2018 at 1:05 pm #33903
J&R, you went through all of that effort to organize into bins your totes & bags…take the extra step to label the bins and throw a bin tag in the custom SKU of each item. You’ve already done the hard work, finish the last step!
This past Tuesday I was really sick lying on the cold floor of the bathroom for comfort. I was able to hand my phone to my wife with my ship list pulled up. She was able to go out into my storage shed and pull all of my items to ship easily. Keep in mind that I think my wife has only stepped foot in my shed maybe 3 times in 2.5 years. She had no idea what she was doing, and yet she was able to pull everything easily and within mere minutes.
02/26/2018 at 6:33 pm #33933
between 2 stores, we have 7000 items. you think i want to go put a custom SKU on each of those 7000 items? nah!
02/26/2018 at 7:09 pm #33936
Ryanne: Good point. To that end, my suggestion would be to list into your SKUs. By that I mean, after you have an idea of how you want to use your warehouse with SKUs, pick a day and then every new listing after that day has a SKU with the location.
Then you are listing into using SKUs, and selling out of not using them. At some point, the unSKU list will be manageable, and you can tackle those at that time.
02/26/2018 at 7:11 pm #33938
right, that’s probably what we’ll do and the old listings will just eventually get phased out, you know, after they sell in 5 years…
02/26/2018 at 7:13 pm #33940
02/27/2018 at 3:34 pm #34018
One tub at a time. And then whenever you add things to that tub you already did, you just add the SKU to that item. I did mine one tub at a time. Eventually it was all done and implementing the system did not affect my old system as I went.
I really would love to see a video of you all finding your items. I gotta see this process, even if in a fast forward style video. I remember what it was like to find my items when I had a tub of brown shoes, black shoes, or womens shoes, etc. It was crap even when I only had a couple tubs of shoes. I couldn’t imagine doing that with 7000 items. My mind can’t even process it.
02/26/2018 at 1:40 pm #33909
Probably overly excited about doing this, but it’s the first time I get to do it so…
Total Items in Store: 79
Items Sold: 4
Cost of Items Sold: $2.97
Total Sales: $157.43
Highest Price Sold: $90 TI-84 Graphing Calculator
Average Price Sold: $39.35
Number of items listed this week: 79
It’s not much, but as far as I’m concerned it’s a good start! I can’t wait for the weather to really improve so that I can expand beyond thrift stores and estate sales, this early spring we seem to now be experiencing here in southeast Michigan has me itching to be able to get out and source in the sun.
02/26/2018 at 10:08 pm #33952
Welcome to posting your numbers. You have to start somewhere.
I am also in Southeastern Michigan, the Ann Arbor area. Where are you?
Garage sales are fun to go to, but they are time consuming and just like that box of chocolates (never know what you will get). I like them because you can get good stuff for cheap, but real time consuming. But you are right, you can get out in the sun and it is fun. My go to source is estate sales – I can get the most high quality items in a very short time and here in Southeastern Michigan the estate sales are plentiful.
02/27/2018 at 12:35 pm #33990
Hi Mark S,
I live in Waterford but have only been here for a year. From Flint, but lived in the Lansing are for around ten years. I hear what you’re saying about garage sales being time intensive, but I’m interested in seeing how it goes. Plus, I live about 10 minutes from Dixieland Flea Market, so the outdoor weekly setup gives me what I think is going to be good access to a pretty large amount of goods.
02/27/2018 at 9:40 pm #34037
Yes, go for the garage sales. I love them too.
Here are some things that I have found helpful with garage sales:
1. I try stop at them on my way somewhere so I don’t go out of my way.
2. I try to stick to the parts of town where I have had success with garage sales and avoid those where I haven’t had success.
3. There are some garage sales that I will specifically target. That is how I got a pair of 1960’s Converse All-Star shoes that I sold for $850.
4. If there is a sub-wide sale in the parts of town where I have had success, I hit those because you can sometimes hit 20 in an hour, especially those in a condo community.
I don’t usually get out to the Waterford area. would you recommend the Dixieland Flea Market if I would have to drive a bit to get there? What type of items do you find there? How are they priced?
02/28/2018 at 11:28 am #34058
Dixieland is a fun place if you’re not bothered by chaos. The indoor part is all permanent booths, there’s a lot of neat random stuff inside but the prices are high enough that there’s not much margin. The outdoor setup is where the deals are at. As for what you can find, honestly, anything. Outside there’s not much super high value antique type stuff, but plenty of stuff worth flipping for me. I wouldn’t travel to it unless the weather is extremely nice, otherwise the volume of sellers can be fairly low. The great thing is that between the flea market, thrift stores, and estate sales there’s really no end to the amount of places to source on the weekends. Also, with the close proximity to many very well off communities here in Oakland County the clothes in the thrift stores can be really high quality.
02/26/2018 at 1:50 pm #33911
- Location: South Dakota
Feb 18-24 2018
• Total Items in Store: 844
• Items Sold: 22
• International 4 GSP
• Total Sales $3160
• Highest Price $1800 hand carved chess set
• Average Price Sold: $144
• Returns: 0
• Cost of Items Sold: $502
• Cost of items purchased this week $60
I usually don’t track my packages to determine if they’ve arrived but the chess set was another matter. I saw that it had arrived on Friday and each time I received new feedback I’d check to see if it was from that sale.
Last night I saw an eBay message pop up and recognized the buyer ID and a feeling of dread overcame me, usually you only hear complaints but it was a thank you for the great transaction and packing….whew!
I drove through some snow to attend our local auction about 20 miles south of town. Although I have plenty of experience I’m not a fan of winter driving, having been a professional driver and driving in the worst conditions imaginable I really try and avoid it now. But I knew there would be lower attendance and some good deals to be had.
I spent a total of $60 on a van full of box lots, the highest bid was for a Coleman steel belted cooler at $9. If a box lot had just one item of interest I would get it for 3 or 4 dollars. Some really good stuff like boomboxes, old metal toys, watches, car parts and a ton of old ceramic doo dads and gee gaws.
02/26/2018 at 6:21 pm #33931
Wow nice sale !
02/26/2018 at 6:35 pm #33934
i’m sure you also found some thingamabobs and knick knacks as well.
02/27/2018 at 12:19 pm #33987
Good on ya, Steve. I love auctions in snowstorms! So long as they’ll still hold it. I have been to ones that were shut down after a couple lots because “ya’ll aren’t bidding high enough” according to the auctioneer. Grrrrrr.
02/26/2018 at 4:26 pm #33921
Here are my monthly running stats for February:
• Total Items in Store: 105
• Items Sold: 23
• Total Profit $782.43
• Highest Price $78 Bike Saddle
• Items Listed this Month: 20
• Cost of items purchased this month $58 (20 Items – Only Items Listed This month).
Enjoyed the podcast – especially the “Spectrum” of sellers goals on eBay. I like to flip my items as fast as possible, never have a death pile, and would love my inventory to be zero! But I understand the other end of the Spectrum you play, small gambles, big inventory, bigger payoffs.
I love the quick flip – for example, I found a vintage radio this weekend for $4 at a local Goodwill. Looked at the sold items (while in-store) on eBay and see they sell consistently for $40 to $50. I listed mine for $35, sold in a couple hours! I could have listed for $50, waited, and competed against other sellers, but my item isn’t unique, and rather not compete and flip it fast.
I’m not sure how much money I leave on the table with my strategy – I’m sure some items I can get more for them, but do I want to wait? Also, when competing on an item where 20, 50, or 100 similar items are already up, the cheapest always sells first, and the others occasionally get lucky. I rather sell, pocket the profit, and move onto the next flip.
It would be interesting to see what the Spectrum of eBay sellers looks like – it probably is more of a square with Used/New items on one axis, and “Quick Flip” or “Buy and Hold” on the other.
02/26/2018 at 7:47 pm #33941
Here are my recent stats, for last week – Monday-Sunday 2/25:
Total items in store: about 200
Items Sold: 15
Total sales: $805
Highest Price: $120 – flatware
Cost of goods sold: About $100
I’m so grateful for this month so far (no jinx!) but I’ve also been listing more items, more selectively and finally gotten over my earlier hump of about 160 items, up to about 200. This feels like the right amount, time and space wise.
January: 34 items for $1,192
February so far: 41 items for $2184 (+ 2 never payers + 1 return)
I probably have about 30-40 ultra-stale items and need to run a sale/cull to unload these and make room for some more “freshies.”
02/26/2018 at 9:36 pm #33948
02/18/18 – 02/24/18
Total Items In Store: 2,254
Items Sold: 22
Cost of Items Sold: $80 (around)
Total Sales: $791
Highest Price Sold: $100 (Vintage Polo Cologne)
Average Price Sold: $ 35.97
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 70
Number of Items listed this week: 66
This week was very similar to last week in terms of sales.
I am getting serious now about getting higher priced items. On Sunday afternoon, I went into the “wealthy” area for estate sales because I am getting serious about buying much higher priced items. There were very crazy prices like I expected. One house had a lot of items priced $1000 – $4000.
I had no idea what they were, so I avoided those.
This is what I learned: 1. The prices can be very expensive for what you get 2. The estate people can be very pushy 3. Most Clothing items are not priced 4. You can still get deals, you just have to know your stuff and stick to your guns. For example, at one sale, the lady told me she wanted $10 for each pair of shoes. One pair was a pair of Bass, the other pair was a $100 pair of Tod’s. I took the Tod’s and left the Bass. In the end I paid $100 for 11 items which were worth $600. That is 16.66% COGS. Average sell price $54.26.
02/26/2018 at 9:40 pm #33949
First timer for posting here on weekly:
Total items in store: 350 average
Items Sold: 17
Total sales: $447
Highest Price: AKRIS Silk Women’s Blazer: $89 + Free ship
Cost of goods sold: $82
All in all, a better week of all Feb. I chalk it up to running 25% Off clothing sale and doing a listing binge.
02/26/2018 at 10:52 pm #33957
- Location: Sandy, Utah
We had a really good week this week, which was appreciated since today was my husband’s first official day without a corporate gig. 🙂 We are encouraged.
• Total Items in Store: 552 (as of Sunday night)
• Items listed this week: 126
• Items Sold: 28
• International 1 GSP
• Total Sales $986
• Highest Price $249.99 CPAP Machine
• Average Price Sold: $35.19
• Returns: 1 (Actually a refund of $37 because a cup & saucer broke in shipping.)
• Cost of Items Sold: $75.50 (7.66%)
• New Inventory Costs this week: $280
The CPAP was definitely our scavenge of the week. We bought it, along with a box of new accessories (tubing, nose cushions, full face masks, etc.) for $3.00. We have all the accessories listed separately and sold two of the nose cushions tonight for 17.95 each. Of course, after the CPAP had sold and been paid for, I got an email letting us know that our listing was removed because you need a prescription for a CPAP (who knew). But since it was already paid and shipped, not much we could do.
Our lesson learned this week was in shipping china. We shipped a set of 4 cups and saucers and 1 cup and 1 saucer broke. The buyer was pretty upset when she emailed me (apparently she had 3 damaged items arrive that month). However, I immediately refunded her the shipping cost and half the cost of the items and apologized profusely, admitting it was our first time shipping china. I also tried to be empathetic with the fact that she had received 3 other damaged items (I told her her I’m sure that was frustrating.) I was dreading the feedback, but I think my quick response and empathy helped the situation. She left positive feedback: “Great seller. Very kind and honest. I will do business again. Many thanks.” So, all is well that ends well. And I’ll be watching many more YouTube videos on packaging china to ship!
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by mallybills.
02/27/2018 at 11:21 am #33981
That Zeppelin live concert film is called The Song Remains the Same! It’s the most famous live concert film of all time… Hello….
02/27/2018 at 11:22 am #33982
- Location: Virginia Beach
Very blah week, sales-wise (half of last week!), though I got some listing in, which is good, as I’m traveling much of the next two weeks. Many of this past week’s sales were small dollar items, and many were old items that I was happy to see scoot. Spurred me on to put a lot of them on sale for the next few weeks.
02/18/18 – 02/24/18
Total Items In Store: 807
Items Sold: 20
Total Sales: $441.00
Cost of Items Sold: $38.24
Highest Price Sold: $29.99 College of William & Mary Track Suit Jacket
Average Price Sold: $14.33
Returns/Refunds: 1 refund for an item that USPS found to be undeliverable Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $111.63
Number of Items listed this week: 57
Love hearing about everyone’s different business models and strategies. Life, and work, just isn’t one size fits all.
Scavenge of the week is perhaps a Baumalu French copper saute pan, for $4 at a local thrift. This small joy was sorely squashed later that evening when I realized I hadn’t registered the ending time of an online auction, and missed out on a matched (and mis-identified) pair of Reglor lamps – they went for $40. $40! I will be kicking myself when I’m 80 over this one…garrr. So, put a reminder on your phone/calendar, and be sure to enter your top price at the beginning!
02/27/2018 at 12:27 pm #33989
If those lamps were on eBay, use Gixen, which is free. Not as much fun as manual sniping, but much more effective because it hits closer to the end than you can get manually (at least for me). Set it and forget it and you won’t miss another one.
02/27/2018 at 11:35 am #33983
Something to consider about having a huge inventory as a scavenger – if the worst happened (next depression, next world war, etc) does your inventory have real value? If Ebay disappeared, could you sell 5,000 pairs of old gym shoes and coffee mugs?
02/27/2018 at 11:55 am #33985
Very good point. If SHTF, hard to know how well our items will do (but at that point, there will probably be bigger issues).
But you bring up a good point. How much at risk is your income stream? If 100% eBay…that is a risk. Something we are still looking to mitigate. Jay and Ryanne are set with the rental income and video work. I still have a side gig doing accounting, and we are looking to add another stream in the next 2 years.
02/27/2018 at 12:27 pm #33988
I keep a relatively small inventory but sell on 5 different marketplace websites. Just selling on Ebay wouldn’t work for me. I would be very nervous if Ebay was my only selling platform, but everything in life is a risk I suppose.
02/27/2018 at 12:59 pm #33992
I think that you need to have diversity – not only outside of eBay for income, but within eBay for income.
I first started out as an eBay seller with Baseball Cards only – most of those are now worthless today and if I built up a huge inventory, I would have been burned over a period of several years as the market tanked. If I kept with only selling Baseball Cards, I would be out a lot of money.
I then started to figure out other items would sell, and slowly diversified as my knowledge of other categories was expanded. I haven’t sold a Baseball Card in over a decade.
I personally don’t think eBay will last forever – something new and shiny and better will come along one day – but for now I think it is safe, and inventory can be moved to the next platform that comes around.
02/27/2018 at 1:13 pm #33995
Hey R&J, great podcast. You guys were on quite a roll Sunday. I still don’t use GSP and I can confirm that you won’t get a delivery scan with Priority Mail to all countries. I more often ship First Class Package International and tracking gets a little better all the time. It seems with more and more countries I’m getting a delivery scan or at least one or two steps into the destination country, like at customs clearance or “office of exchange” or nearest major city. I insure with Shipsaver if item plus shipping is over $50 so I don’t sweat it.
Never heard of Board of Canada before but am enjoying some right now. Nice. With a cat in my lap while I’m trying to listen and work. He can be a bit needy. At least he’s not sneaking up and grabbing my arm, which he likes to do occasionally if I’m not paying enough attention to him.
02/27/2018 at 5:09 pm #34027
RR Store Week Feb 18-24, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1505
Items Sold: 46
Cost of Items Sold: $41.21
Total Sales: $534.38
Highest Price Sold: $71.99 (1950s trophy)
Average Price Sold: $11.62
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $50
Number of items listed this week: 53
As an experiment, I ran some auctions last week to blow out super old stuff that was getting on my nerves, stuff that was generating very little interest. Dirt cheap, mostly priced to cover my initial cost, which is always very low. A good chunk of them sold, and while it felt like a sweatshop packing up $2 and $3 dollar items, I was happy to be rid of them. My storage area is pretty small, so I’m happy to free up space. Plus, I saw an uptick in traffic; I’m already close to $500 just since Sunday.
I’m definitely not a spreadsheet person. If I thought it would really help my business (and lately it’s needed some help), I would be all over it. But I’m very much like Jay & Ryanne; I sell mostly weird vintage stuff, and I’ve found that the best way to increase sales is simply to list more stuff. That has resulted in a larger inventory, but I’m totally ok with that. I knew when I listed a Chesterfields Cigarettes vending machine display button that it would take a while to sell, but it did sell…today, for $99 bucks. But the pool timer replacement motor I listed on Saturday sold the next day, which surprised me. Since I have no way of knowing what will sell and when, I don’t bother trying to codify the process. I’d rather be out sourcing or home listing. And this is not a knock on the spreadsheet geeks; if it works for you, awesome.
02/28/2018 at 9:14 am #34044
You definitely make the best point…spend time sourcing and listing!
I’m lucky that I’m very good with spreadsheets, so I only have to spend about 30 minutes at most doing my numbers for the week.
02/28/2018 at 3:09 pm #34073
T-Satt, I do envy how you and other can “see” the numbers. My brain just isn’t wired like that. I had a roommate who was a whiz at car repair. He could “see” in his head where parts came together and how they moved, then diagnose the problem. Conversely, he said he was jealous of my creative abilities. It’s fascinating how these abilities inform our eBay businesses, from how and what we buy to how we store and ship. And for the most part, there is no wrong answer.
02/28/2018 at 3:15 pm #34074
And more importantly, get a team around you that can see your business differently. If two people are looking at your business the same way, one isn’t needed.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
02/28/2018 at 1:45 pm #34061
My numbers for the week of 2/18/18:
Total Items in Store: 122
Items Sold: 17
Cost of Items Sold: $57
Total Sales: $456 + shipping
Highest Price Sold: $71 (talking disney dolls)
Average Price Sold: $26.82
Regarding the “slow compared to what” question, I have kept a 1 page chart of my gross sales per month since 2013. So at a glance I can see that Feb 2018 I had exactly $99 less in sales than Feb 2017. (But the day’s not over, right?) I love to look at this chart frequently, to see how far I’ve come in just a few years, to reassure myself when things just “seem slow”. The trend is definitly upward and, overall, eBay has improved in their policies and procedures in my opinion. I was just thinking that this morning as I left bulk feedback with a couple of clicks, so much quicker than it once was. And remember Photobucket?!
02/28/2018 at 2:00 pm #34065
Beth: Right! Well said!
02/28/2018 at 2:41 pm #34072
@bethgreen – Good Job! Your numbers are where I like to see mine. For me to have those numbers, I need to go to about 2-3 thrift stores a week, and pick up 10-20 good items/week from those locations.
10-15% of my inventory sold in a week is my typical track record, with 20-25% being a good week with inventory levels at 100 items or slightly above.
For me, when I keep replenishing what I sold, it is easy to make close to $2000 a month with the same inventory/turnover.
02/28/2018 at 3:18 pm #34075
I’ll second that. That STR is amazing! 40% for the month is great! And about a 9X return.
Could you scale that up? Are there enough items you find that you could keep that up?
02/28/2018 at 6:53 pm #34087
Thank you Inglewood and T-Satt.
Yes I could definitely scale up. Finding inventory is not an issue, it’s literally everywhere. I don’t go to Thrift stores much (maybe once or twice a month). I buy most of my stuff in the summer at garage sales and just stop when I have enough boxes full to get me through the winter. I’ve also got a couple of honey holes in some local FB Buy/Sell groups. I could definitely source enough to do it full time, the issue for me is I’m a slow lister. And I really only have part time hours to devote to it currently (raising kids/helping aging parents). My goal for 2018 is to double the number of listings I did in 2017. Minimum of 20/week. So far so good…although double the effort doesn’t always equal double the sales. I find that I get out of eBay what I put into it. And I haven’t come close to maxing my potential, which is exciting for the future.
03/01/2018 at 4:29 pm #34177
Beth, can you generalize how you do your pricing compared to solds? Are you on the low end? Thanks and congrats on your success.
03/01/2018 at 5:09 pm #34184
I check completed/sold listings and sort highest to lowest. Once I start seeing a trend on the high end, that’s where I price. But the biggest factor is alot of what I’m selling does not have that many results. If there’s only a few active, I often go higher than the highest sold price. Also I still do auctions, but start with a high starting bid…enough that if it only gets one, I’m happy with the price. The only exception is a few “sure thing” items that are best started at $.99. When I throw in a couple of these to the mix, it seems it boosts sales for ALL my BIN items as well. Sales (and bidding activity) beget sales.
03/02/2018 at 2:59 pm #34251
Thanks for sharing Beth. I had an unusual break this morning at home and started 22 .99 cent auctions on stuff that’s been around over a year and a half that I am tired of looking at. Instead of donating it, I thought I would try to get some activity going. Immediately sold something once I got a bid on the first item. Being someone who has my foot on and off the gas with Ebay, I have noticed that activity definitely leads to short term sales. Thanks for reminding me. I’m certain you are a good picker as well. Congrats again.
02/28/2018 at 4:25 pm #34080
Total Items: 2,603
Items Sold : 66
Total Sales: $973.00
Highest Sold: $44.00 (St. John Pants)
Average Price: $14.74
Money Spent on Inventory $240 (probably bought too much this week)
Listed This Week: 35 (probably not enough listed this week)
I shopped mostly at Goodwill. This coming week, I’m going to go to an auction that I haven’t been to before.
03/01/2018 at 9:42 am #34122
Ok, I think Fedex SmartPost has gone crazy here.
I had a package that was 11 X 9 X 4 going to the GSP in Kentucky. It was like 2 lbs 15oz. So for 3 pounds it was $6.05. I wondered if I didn’t want to take a chance it was over weight, how much would it be for 4 pounds? 4 pounds was $6.01! $.04 cheaper for 1 more pound!
So, I wanted to do an experiment because those dim sizes seem to increase the cost a lot. I changed the dimensions to 14 X 9 X 4 and it was still $6.01. But, if I changed the dimensions to 14 X 10 X 4, the cost goes to $9.72!
So, my take away is that if your dimensions are more than 14 X 9 X 4, then forget Fedex SmartPost. Also, try a heavier weight, it might be cheaper!
03/01/2018 at 9:54 am #34126
Hay Mark: We don’t use SmartPost but both of your sizes shouldn’t be even close to having DIM weight kick in. I think I recall 1,728 CUBIC inches is the beginning of the DIM weight concern and that is 12x12x12. After 1,728 cubic inches I think that is where DIM wieghts begin and start to slowly climb from there. One of the reasons I belive Ebay stopped making the larger boxes and also why the C size box was dropped from USPS but that is just an opinion.
From what I have been reading from all you SmartPost users it seems that that postage category has been really wonkers.
mike at mdc galleries and fine art in atlanta
03/01/2018 at 10:17 am #34128
I made a lot of money last year by listing with parsel select, but using Smartpost.
The package test above is one of the few packages that has been worth using Smartpost.
Seems had to believe that they would still be having issues well over a month after the price increases.
Either this is their new rates, or ebay and Smartpost just can’t get it right.
03/01/2018 at 10:58 am #34134
Yes, SmartPost is still messed up, but usually on the high side. When I have run tests, I usually use 12x10x8 for box size, and weight usually has no impact, as it is all DIM weight.
We haven’t used SmartPost in weeks, as the cost has been double what it was for last year, higher than Home Delivery or Priority.
It ain’t right.
03/01/2018 at 3:38 pm #34163
I just had a real good experience with Brother International, the printer manufacturer.
I have a Brother model HL-L2360D Series Printer. I have been getting dark lines down the center of my printed pages. I tried changing my toner, but still got the same.
Couldn’t easily find anything thru google, so I called Brother Support at 877-276-8437.
They walked me through how to clean the roller inside the drum and prep it to put back. I was only told they might not be able to fix it because I am not using a Brother Toner Cartridge.
I am happy to say that it is working great now!
Also, for those of you who don’t want to do what Ryanne has suggested – filling up your toner yourself. Here is a great alternative on Amazon:
It is only $10.88 per cartridge. I found a deal on Amazon for 4 for about $36.99, so I am set for a while. In contrast, if I go to Staples, I am paying over $40 per Brother Cartridge and can only get it under $40 if I mention the web site price which was $38 last time I checked.
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