04/08/2018 at 7:45 am #37320RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
We last interviewed Mark Tew in 2016: https://www.scavengerlife.com/2016/02/scavenger-life-episode-245-talking/ Since we last spoke, Mark quit his
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 355: We Catch Up w/ Mark Tew, Not Your Dad’s CPA]
04/08/2018 at 8:42 am #37324
Mark is a good guy. Communicated with him after the first interview and also downloaded his book back before it was openingly available.
Good stuff, as he and Jay said for the beginner or newbie who is getting started or a serious part timer. Covers all the basic questions that do come up in the very beginning.
In my case I already knew most of what we talked about and his book covered. Some of my questions were more deeply involved being a Sub-S corporation and he referred me to an acquaitance of his that he thought would be better suited for the more complicated issues.
But in my case, my current CPA understands the buying and re-selling of used unique, items because his sisters used to have antique booths and bought and sold very similiar type of stuff.
But the one common thread is that as one’s business grows the need for a CPA not only to do your taxes, but to act as a consultant is very valuable. Especially the COGS / Inventory issues. Yes, one pays for a CPA Services but they also are there to answer any questions you have throughout the year. They become your partner in running your business. I talk to my CPA every 2 or 3 weeks.
Deductions are a big topic and area of our business which impacts what we owe in taxes big time. How to cost out any personal items sold, mileage, home office deductions, utility expense, procurement cost, cell phones, etc., etc. and as Mark is saying there are simple ways to do all of this, but as a seller you have to take the first step to get help by reaching out and get a CPA who will become your business consultant.
Just my opinion on the issue, but a CPA is more than just a form filler at Tax Time, he is your partner in your business success.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art
04/09/2018 at 10:40 am #37401
Very good point. Our tax accountant is more like our financial advisor. Because we live in a small town, we stop by his office if we ever have a question about an investment or change in our business.
He actually doesn’t charge us for the advice since its usually a pretty quick answer. This is especially helpful when we’re thinking of buying a new property.
04/10/2018 at 10:03 am #37486
I agree with both Mike and Jay. Having access to a financial adviser is what can make a HUGE difference in the business. We are lucky that we have that in house with my background as a CPA and 20+ years in accounting.
If you don’t have access to someone for financial matters, find one.
04/08/2018 at 10:18 am #37333Mark SParticipant
04/01/18 – 04/07/18
Total Items In Store: 2,284
Items Sold: 11
Cost of Items Sold: $40 (around)
Total Sales: $348
Highest Price Sold: $70 (Sears Craftsman Screw Drivers)
Average Price Sold: $31.64
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 0 (Not very many good sales out there this week)
Number of Items listed this week: 68
Sales this week SUnday – Thursday were not slow or soft, they were down right non-existant! I thought something was wrong. I only had $104 in sales for the week when I went to bed Thursday night. Sales have picked up, but that was really bad for a bit. I think my lack of listing caught up with me and the after Easter slow down. I just started listing and got up 68 items and 2 sold right away.
Since I was not selling much and I didn’t buy anything, I spent time reclaiming (combining containers that don’t have much in them) containers. I was able to get back 7 small (18 gallon) containers and 1 large 930 gallon). That is a savings of about $45 ($5 each for the smalls and $9 for the Large). But, the real savings is the space in my basement. I can’t add any space and this gets me some space back. I in the process of clearing out another 100 Sq. Ft. to use in the basement. That equates to about 1500 items by my estimation – 15 items per square foot.
04/08/2018 at 11:40 am #37346PaulParticipant
Great episode! I’m a full-time reseller and non-practicing CPA. Mark Tew is the only CPA I refer people to for help with taxes. He knows what he’s doing and graciously spends a lot of time answering tax questions in his free Facebook group: Accounting for Online Sellers His e-book Reseller Finance is a bargain at $11.99 and I consider it a must-have for all ebay resellers. This isn’t a paid endorsement; I bought and thoroughly read Mark’s book so that I could recommend it with confidence. I’m glad I don’t offer CPA service for resellers because I couldn’t compete with Mark’s prices – reselling is far more profitable and less stressful for me.
04/08/2018 at 5:30 pm #37359SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Week of April 1-7
* Total Items in Store: 1135
* Items Sold: 22
* Cost of Items Sold: $39.58 + $31.56 Commission
* Total Sales: $768.42
* Highest Price Sold: $170 pair Stiffel lamps, $150 Sevres Compote
* Average Price Sold: $34.93
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
* Number of items listed this week: 0
I had a pretty awesome week considering I had an extended handling time for a while and did no listing for the second week in a row. Obviously, the two big sales helped, but I had a number of other decent sales as well. I’m still doing well going into Sunday, so hopefully the trend continues. I will finally be listing again this week.
I do have an issue with business policies, which I turned on a few weeks ago. Apparently about 2/3 of my listings have policies applied, and the others were missed. Maybe it is associated with the issues that Jay & Ryanne mentioned during last week’s podcast, but I didn’t understand what was going on. I did call eBay, and the issue was forwarded to their software department. Some of my listings did not get an extended handling time while I was on vacation, so I have a few solds that are shown as being shipped late. If they get to their destination on time, I’m OK. If not, I will have to call eBay and have them adjust any late shipments since they are aware that my account has an issue.
04/08/2018 at 6:06 pm #37362SigiliniParticipant
Thank you 1,000,000 x for the podcast. I have been fretting about this tax issue for a while. This has helped me feel a lot more confident moving forward.
I ran the treasury of our small nonprofit for many years and I am somewhat familiar with accounting so I had a little head start. Now I just need to learn more about how retail sales go but this podcast was enormously helpful.
04/08/2018 at 6:44 pm #37366GompersParticipant
- Location: Connecticut
I didn’t listen to the tax podcast, but for those who don’t know states of Mass and Vermont have a lower threshold for 1099-k from paypal. I think the amount is $4,000
04/09/2018 at 9:36 am #37395RhiannaParticipant
Total Items in Store: 1992
Items Sold: 42 (1 Bonanza)
Total Sales: $1285.22
Highest Price Sold: $120 (Vintage Cassette Player)
Average Price Sold: $30.59
Returns: 1 (belt didn’t fit)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $298
We went to Savers this week because they had 50% off clothing and shoes, even half off their prices are ridiculous. We had another good week of selling and listing. I was up to 2000 items but have fallen under that because of sales, no complaints here. Hoping to get too 2500 by the end of the month. We are trying too beef up our store so that when we go on an upcoming trip where we will be gone 5 weeks, we will have a lot to offer buyers. I think having more items in our store gives us the flexibility to travel for longer periods of time and still make sales.
Great episode. Dreaded taxes give me hives for sure. Mark answered a few questions I had regarding taxes. I do our taxes right now but we plan on finding a CPA for next tax season. It is not worth the ulcer. I am a meticulous paper hoarder, which means the CPA’s job should be a breeze.
04/09/2018 at 9:51 am #37396
I’m a little jealous that Mark and his family moved to Central America for a year. Your kids will gain more from that experience than anything that could be taught in a classroom setting. Good move!
My tax confession – I write down my COGS on a sticker attached to each item (in code just in case I forget to remove it before I ship) and then when it sells I record the cost, shipping, sold price, fees, etc in excel. Therefore, I don’t have a running total of what my inventory on hand is at any given time. Turbo Tax asks what my beginning of the year inventory is versus end of the year. I can’t ever answer that but I found a work around. I guess I may be cheating myself out of an “asset” which would be my inventory on hand. But I can’t fathom ever doing “inventory” so I’m going to keep doing it my way.
I have been audited (not on my ebay business). Like Mark said, these days it’s a letter you receive in the mail. The letter doesn’t say “You are being audited!” It pretty much says that according to their calculation, you owe “X” amount plus “Y” in penalties because of “Z”. It’s not a fun letter to receive but in my case it was an easy fix – my former name is listed on my mortgage interest statement. I just had to prove I was the person entitled to the mortgage interest deduction. I mailed in documentation of my name change and the IRS promptly sent a letter back letting me know that everything checked out and to consider the matter closed. After the initial knee jerk heart attack, I realized it wasn’t a big deal and it wasn’t anything that required a tax professional to help me with. I think as long as I have documentation and calculations for everything I input into my taxes, I can answer any “audit.” *Knocking on wood*
04/09/2018 at 10:48 am #37402GompersParticipant
- Location: Connecticut
I have not been audited, but I did make a mistake on my tax return once and the IRS sent me a letter outlining the mistake and what they think I owed. I double checked my tax return and the math and the IRS was correct – I made a mistake.
I wrote the IRS a check mailed it in and never heard about it again. BTW, it took the IRS about 1 year to find this mistake after I filed the original tax return (with the error).
04/09/2018 at 10:54 am #37404
Items in Store 933
Items Sold 17
Total Sales $515.50
Total Profit $455.25
Average profit $26.78
Average sales price $30.32
Hi, my name is Retro and I have a buying problem. Lol! I just felt really overwhelmed this week because I spent more than I wanted to. We took an impromptu trip to Columbus over Easter weekend. When we do these weekend trips I always make it a scavengenging weekened so I can deduct the mileage and hotel. The combination of monthly ebay invoice paying out, the hotel costs, a couple hundred in inventory purchases, plus slow sales really puts me in uncomfortable waters. To make matters worse, the local Kmart went out of business this week. I stopped by in their last three days and was surprised to find some very, very good clothing deals. Kmart started (inexplicably) selling high end clothing in the last year. When they first started doing it I joked to my wife and said “I can’t wait to buy all this stuff when they go out of business”. Well… that day came this past Friday for real. I spent $250 and could have easily spent ALOT more. We’re talking NWT Spyder shorts for $3, and designer jeans for $4. If I would have went in unrestrained and without a huge backlog, I could have easily spent $1k there. Normally I would have been fine with it, but my ebay paypal account has been cash poor this week so I had several hundred roll over to my personal checking account. I don’t like doing that – I always keep things separate.
The second part of my problem is that I’m reaching critical mass for unlisted inventory. To be honest, I thought I would get let go at work when they had their bloody Monday a couple months back. I thought I would be full time ebay right now and that large unlisted inventory would have been AWESOME – it is my safety net after all. Now I’m on track to a promotion at work in the near future and I have even less time due to kids activities…but…I just… keep… buying…
Yes, I’m aware that it is a stress relieving experience for me. Buying is FUN! I very much need to stop thrift store scavenging for a while. So I’m making a proclamation that I will not thrift store scavenge for the rest of this month.
On the listing front, I started to get back on the wagon this weekend. I created 70 listings and got photos done for 15 of them. This week I will list over 50 items.
04/09/2018 at 11:04 am #37406
The step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
From your posts the last couple years, it does sound like you’re trying to build a full-time eBay business. But it also sounds like you cannot put in full-time eBay listing because of family and work responsibilities.
I would have a serious think about the reality of your eBay store. Sounds like you should be realistic about how many hours a week you can put into your eBay business. Then build your business around that time.
Congrats on the on promotion, especially if you enjoy the job!
04/09/2018 at 11:18 am #37408
I really want to hire someone to help with listing. My wife is not on board – she thinks the person will learn everything and then start their own business. I’ve tried explaining that she shouldn’t overestimate the short-sightedness of the average worker, but to no avail.
I have time to spend on it but truth be told, I’ve gotten lazy. When I should be listing I’m playing a dumb game on my phone. My work space is a mess and I’m in the process of organizing. I did a lot of cleaning/organizing this weekend. I’ve said it multiple times on here, but I really need the weather to fully turn to spring. Poor weather is such a motivation killer for me. While many folks on here list heavily in the winter, I am a summer lister. Last year once spring hit my listings went through the roof as well as my sales. Winter weather just drains me of all motivation and energy.
04/09/2018 at 12:22 pm #37412
@RetroTreasuresWV – I’m in the process of hiring Suzanne A Wells to do my listings. I’m a little nervous about giving someone access to my ebay store (they need it in order to do your listings) but I think it’s a risk I’m willing to take in order to grow my business and allow me to delegate the less fun parts. http://suzanneawells.com/hire-an-ebay-assistant/
I’m also looking into hiring a photographer, a local person I met through my volunteer work. I know hiring out these two jobs will cut into my profits but it will also allow me to list a ton more stuff. I don’t find really high quality stuff here in SC but I can find tons and tons of bread and butter items. I’m going to try the quantity over quality store model for a while and see if that is a more sustainable model for me.
If I’m going to build a job for myself, I’d like to do the fun parts (treasure hunting) rather than the drudgery (photos and listing). I did drudgery for a decade in an office job and I don’t want to do it anymore.
04/09/2018 at 12:27 pm #37413
What are the cost of having someone list for you through Suzanne?
04/09/2018 at 12:31 pm #37414
$2 per listing. They can do the pricing for you or you can add it yourself later.
04/09/2018 at 12:46 pm #37415
There is an interesting thread that may even still be in Suzzanne Wells own blog about where she contracted to list all of the items for the owner and founder of Worthpoint.com. Turns out he is or was a big buyer and also had numerous [and probably still has] warehouses here in Atlanta full of his purchases / items from cars and boats down to small jewelry. His corporate headquarters is here in Atlanta and used to be on Piedmont Rd.
In any case Suzanne and her crew worked a contract with him to list his stuff on line. But she had to back out of the deal for several reasons which she explains over several episodes of her thread. Very interesting story about her crew, there time, how she hires others [sub-contracts] work out to them to do the work and the speed and accuracy they deliver. I think I recall she was going to take years to complete his listings and the amount of money that would have been spent was large also. I also think I recall the Worthpoint owner being problematic to work with.
Very interesting story to research and read about. I came across it while looking for our first assistant a few years back. Guess you can Google Suzzane H. Wells and Worthpoint together and come up with a link somehow.
04/09/2018 at 1:11 pm #37416
I saw a couple of videos about a client with a big warehouse. It seemed like he was very rigid in his thinking that he knew the right way to deal with the situation. My thoughts were “Guy – If you knew the best way to deal with all of this stuff, you wouldn’t have gotten yourself into this mess.” I really respected her for not continuing to take his money and work on that impossible task.
04/09/2018 at 3:32 pm #37428
Please start a thread on your experience with this. I’m curious how you get the info to them. I’m assuming you take all the photos and load them online somewhere and they list from the photos. How about weight? Shipping info?
04/09/2018 at 3:18 pm #37423
MDC Galleries – I listened (or read) that Suzanne Wells story too! I live outside of Atlanta (Rome) and man, would I LOVE to walk through one of that guy’s warehouses. I recall one issue was he didn’t want to sell anything in “lots” so right off the bat she was having to list 100s of individual postcards and all as auctions. A lot of time was being spent on postcards that were selling for 99 cents. At 99 cents each obviously the owner wasn’t going to see a lot of return for all of the time and effort. They should have started with some higher dollar items or at least mixed it up. But a 2nd big issue was the Worthpoint owner’s wife did the shipping and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to keep up with it. Therefore they greatly limited the # of items they’d allow Suzanne to list in a single day. I also suspect that the guy is a hoarder and couldn’t let go of anything except for a few boxes of postcards. And as with most hoarders he places much more value to an item than what its actually worth. He was never going to be happy. It was a no-win situation Suzanne.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by Julie B.
04/09/2018 at 3:59 pm #37432
Yeah I agree. If I remeber one of her blog post videos after she had been working with him for a while she started sounding very down about the whole things and was polite but said she wasn’t going to be able to fulfill his needs without coming right out and saying he was a big bunch of trouble, but I heard that was the case later on.
Suzzanne is here in Atlanta and it wouldn’t be that far of a ride south for you to maybe make an appointment with her and go see her. Worthpoint went public not too long ago so guess his company is doing OK but I too would love to get into some of his warehouses. I also saw a few photos Suzanne posted and it all seemed like a big mess of boxes just piled eveywhere. I think you hit on it when you said “hoarder”. Bet you he still has everything he had when Suzanne last tried to help him out.
04/09/2018 at 4:07 pm #37435
BTW Julie: here is her web site… http://suzanneawells.com/
check it out
We have a close family friend that my wife used to work with who lives only 1/2 mile or less [two minutes], that lists for us on Fri. Sat and some sundays for 3 to 4 hours per day 10 to 12 hours per week. we do $10 per hour with her and she does about 6 to 8 or more +/- per hour, so it equals out to be about $1.50 per item. OK for our $30-$35 items and up.
She will be starting to help us with my art portfolios of prints next week. She already has done some foreign stamps for us and will also start on a whole lot of US Mint Stamps after the art prints.
04/09/2018 at 3:23 pm #37425
Antarestar – How does this work exactly? Do you send her a description of each item or photos or do you give her the actual unlisted items?
04/09/2018 at 3:56 pm #37431
Here’s her video explaining how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLhSA7rJXsk&list=PLe5x7eIJ2uUUqMWURGlVodyL0ktENdfaz
Basically you take pictures of all your items. Put the edited pictures in a dropbox folder – 1 folder for each item. In each of those folders you include a picture of a whiteboard with all your information on it – measurements, flaws, weight, and custom label for inventory (if you use it).
They go into the dropbox and create the listing for you based on the pictures and the info on the whiteboard. When they are done, they move them to scheduled listings so that you can review and make live. Scheduled listings don’t cost anything so long as you click and manually make them live.
I have my photographer starting tomorrow. We’re going to do a small batch of 20 items so that we can make sure we want to work together and test how I like the listing service.
The idea is that we will do pictures of ~50 items a day. It will take a few days for the listings to be completed but with new pictures being sent over every day, there will be a constant pipeline of listings to make live.
04/09/2018 at 4:15 pm #37436
I was wondering if you could share more as to the benefit of hiring someone if you provide them with all of the needed info and pictures to complete a listing. Does it save time verse just creating a listing with all of the information?
04/09/2018 at 4:27 pm #37440
Funny AdventureE: I see we were thinking the same thing at the same time and posted probably within seconds of each other.
We use Goggle drive, shoot photos with phone and send to our folders on Goggle drive. Folders are by the month and year but if we get faster and more items will just create folders every two weeks or weekly . Then using WonderLister [you know the drill], we click open one of the many templates we have, fill in the custom fields we have in that particular template, click on photos which opens automatically on the Google drive master folder, clcik on those photos and click submit and up it goes. By the time Anatarestar typed all the info for Suzanne Wells our listing would be up and listed.
Just don’t see any time saver there. Our assistant works directly from the object that is sitting in her work station after we photograph it. So other than assigning an inventory sku number when the item comes into our office, we only type information one time and that is into the listing form. we have 3 work stations, 3 scales, double screen on each computer. We tag, photo, fill out a form, attach photos and upload. Pretty easy and straight forward.
Mike at MDC
- This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
04/09/2018 at 4:28 pm #37441
The reason I want to use the lister is because they will do the pricing for me. You may be right, I may decide that after this trial run that it’s just as much work to do it myself or I may decide that I am happy to take the loss in profit in order to have someone else do the work.
I’m trying to think about this long term – what can I do myself and what can I delegate in order to make this a sustainable job for me? Maybe I pay the photographer a little bit more and she does a whiteboard for me with measurements and flaws and I do the listings from that.
04/09/2018 at 4:59 pm #37445
I agree that if you’re providing photos, measurements, and descriptions, then $2 an item is a lot of money to pay for simple data entry.
If you have a someone taking photos, teach them how to list.
I would not trust a random person would be able to price better than you. I don’t know who Suzanne is hiring to list, but I assume it’s people who work for minimum wage and wouldnt have the deep research skills of pricing vintage items.
04/09/2018 at 4:16 pm #37437
Sounds like you have already done all the work for her. you have everything you need except attaching the photos. Seems like redundant work. by the time you type everything for her, you might as well have typed it into a template you have created and saved.
But no offense, and just my opinion of quickly thinking about what you said.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art in Atlanta
04/09/2018 at 5:53 pm #37449
You all may have me convinced. I think I’ll start out with just the photographer taking pictures and me doing the listings. And from there decide if I want to hire out the listing process.
I also got to thinking, I inquired about the listing service before I bought my new computer. So maybe not having each page take minutes to load and pictures take minutes to load and not dealing with a constantly crashing computer that will cut down on the frustration significantly.
04/10/2018 at 2:29 am #37474
I do think all of the small frustrations of being a seller and listing can make one want someone else to do the listing for them because it can be very frustrating and make you feel like you are spinning your wheels at times. I am just wondering what happens when someome hires another to do their listings and turns their account over to them and then something goes wrong inside of the account? What are the ramifications?
On another note, I would like to offer that a job is simply a mindset. An agreement to bring one’s skill, knowledge, abilities into a particular environment for a particular purpose in order to receive a particular amount of pay. This also includes abiding by certain rules, standards, guidelines, work schedules, goals, expectations, growth and change possibilities. I would offer that if you want being an ebay seller to be more of a job than a hobby, you might want to set up a job environment for yourself with a particular designated work space, a schedule, an expected amount of pay, goals, and noted opportunities for growth and change etc.
There are several sellers in SL who have turned ebay into their business/job full time and have been doing it for a while, so they have had a chance to work out some of the kinks. I would offer that you might want to start a thread focused on the experienced full-time sellers in here to get some feedback from them as to how they turned ebay into their full-time “job” and how they have maintained being a full-time seller. This might be of benefit to you in seeing yourself as your own “employee” and boss.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by AdventureE.
04/10/2018 at 10:23 am #37488
antarestar, I agree with Mike and Jay on the time spent. Our photographer is working out great to speed up our process, so keep with that process first would be my advice.
I also agree that by the time you write out the information for a person to create the listing, you could just create the listing. I initially went that route when I created listing sheets, but then realized it was easier to have the item in front of me and create a draft listing right there.
On our side, when we get a lister, it will be that they have the item in front on them and they are creating listings on the spot. That is the most efficient method.
04/11/2018 at 7:04 pm #37543
Thank you all for all of your advice. I am reading and taking it all in.
The photographer came by for the first time on Tuesday and I quickly realized it was not going to work out. She was told ahead of time that I would pay her per item and in the few hours that she was at my house, she only photographed 8 items. At least I wasn’t out a lot of money.
On the plus side, she brought her older special needs child (I agreed to that ahead of time) and the cats were all thrilled. One of my cats is very ill/dying and had a rough morning but positively basked in the attention all afternoon. The child told me that playing with the cats was the most fun she’d had in a while.
In the spirit of honoring the greater good, I have invited them back for more pictures and will plan to lower my expectations. The cats and kid can love on each other and the mom will probably only earn a few dollars but I think that will be ok for a while. I’ll just be on the lookout for a real photographer rather than a cat sitter.
04/09/2018 at 7:43 pm #37458
Good luck Retro with your listing! Buying bargains and internet (not games for me, but still…) are both sirens, but you’ll probably feel better about everything if your life has more balance. Stick with the no thrift plan this month and see how you are feeling then. 🙂 Time management is a challenge for me as a working parent, so I totally get it!
04/09/2018 at 8:49 pm #37463SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Retro – A thought about the clothes you purchased from Kmart – I know someone who does retail arbitrage, and she uses stock photos found off the internet. I’m not sure if any photo you find is OK to use; I’m just saying that is what she does. It would save you lots of time.
Sometimes you can type in the UPC and a stock photo will come up. If that happens, then there is no problem using it. That’s really only happened to me for books and one toy I posted.
04/09/2018 at 11:58 am #37411totommytoParticipant
- Location: Naples, Fl
Nice surprise to see a podcast loaded up on Sunday night!
EBay Store totommyto
Total items in store: 552
Number of items sold: 11
EBay sales (not counting s/h): $790
Cost of items sold: $22
Consignment payouts: $11
Highest price sold: tie between two vintage dolls, $200 each
Average price sold: $72
Money spent on new inventory: 0
Number of items listed this week: 7
Etsy Store Oldfleatoymarket
Total items in store: 468
Number of items sold: 6
Etsy sales (not counting s/h): $134
Cost of items sold: $20
Consignment payouts: 0
Highest price sold: Tie between an old key tag and a vintage doll, $25 each
Average price sold: $22
Money spent on new inventory: 0
Number of items listed this week: 11
I also did a quick flip, selling off a lot of old toys and things I would rather not list on line. The COGS was about $20, flipped for a quick $70 to a flea market vendor I deal with from time to time.
My listings slipped, a problem we all share from time to time!
Take care all,
04/09/2018 at 2:33 pm #37420apertureParticipant
- Location: ARVADA
This week, I invested in my store:
– purchased parts and assembled light stands to improve my photo studio
– bought a godaddy bookkeeping subscription
– started an inventory system for my storage that I hope will serve me well as I increase volume (retiring in July with more time to dedicate)
After listening to the interview with Mark, I went ahead and purchased his eBooks and look started reading the finance book. Thanks for all you guys do, Daniel.
04/09/2018 at 3:24 pm #37426DoublythumbsParticipant
- Location: Hopedale, OH
April 1 – 7
Total Items in Store: 1528
Items Sold: 33
Total Sales : $1364
* above yearly average of $693
* above 2017 total week sales of $795
Highest Price: $153 (Vintage Sony FH-7 High Density Stereo Component System)
Average Price: $41
Cost of Goods Sold: $70
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $134
Number of New Items Listed this Week: 49
Great interview with Mark! You covered a lot of good information that would have been helpful when I first started out. I’m so glad I found a CPA to take care of my taxes. I’m good at figuring out a lot of things, but tax-speak goes right over my head.
I had a great week of sales! I almost doubled what I made the previous week. These 1K+ weeks are becoming more and more common. I LOVE IT!
I tried my luck at another auction on Saturday. Same as always, the stuff at the beginning was selling for way more than I would have liked to pay. But after a few hours, half the people left and the other half spent all their money so I was buying tons of stuff for dollars. My scavenge of the week were two 100% complete high end flatware sets. I’ll have to contemplate whether I should sell them as whole sets or part them out in sets of single place settings. I also scored some vintage John Deere and Mack trucker hats for a dollar!
The lady who received an empty box a couple weeks ago opened a case in Paypal. It took a few days, but Paypal closed the case in my favor without me even having to do anything. I wonder if they ended up reimbursing her?
04/10/2018 at 10:24 am #37489
Great sales Doubly!
04/09/2018 at 3:24 pm #37427SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
My numbers for this week….
Total Items in Store: 2242
Items Sold: 36
Total Sales: $686
Cost of Items Sold: $66
Average Price Sold: $19.05
Average Cost of Item: $1.86
Highest Price Item Sold: $25.46 Belt Buckle
Number of items listed this week: 66
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 310
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 184
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 115
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.61%
# of Hats Sold: 26 (72% of sales)
It was a very quiet week for me. My sales were about 60% of the average of the last 6 weeks. I’m not concerned though because I’ve been doing this long enough now to know that there are unexplainable ups and downs. I guess this down week is at least partially related to my lack of new high-price listings recently. My biggest sale was an embarrassing $25.
I recently completed my taxes. I’m happy to have that behind me. I’ve been doing my own taxes now for 30 years but it still bugs me and with my reselling biz there are lots of details that need to come together to finalize it.
I got a dreaded IRS letter last year about my 2015 taxes but it turned out that it was painless to resolve. I wrote a letter, provided some more info, my a correction and sent a small check and was all done. If you do your taxes honestly to the best of your ability I don’t think there’s much to worry about. It’s more of a fear of the unknown.
Hope everyone has a good week.
04/09/2018 at 3:33 pm #37429SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
I forgot to say “Thanks for the podcast”. It was great to have a Monday-morning fix of Scavenger Life even though I know you guys are in the middle of a trip!
04/09/2018 at 5:03 pm #37446
I agree that if you are consciously doing taxes honestly, then the worst that could happen is simple arithmetic mistakes.
04/09/2018 at 4:01 pm #37434Marjean28Participant
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
I had a great week overall. I have been only posting my numbers from my main store (me & hubby’s store), but not really of my 2nd store I have with my friend. Mostly, because we took that store down from 1000 + listings to a basic store of 250 listings. And because of other obligations, she and I haven’t been listing as much on that store. We still spend about 2 hours a week on it though and I used some of the strategies on that little store of promoted listings and sales to give it a boost. So, I’ll start including that store in my weekly numbers as of now. I also have decided that I need to have best offer turned off if I have a sale going on, because I’ll run a great sale, like 20-30% off and then folks make an offer from there. I don’t really like that. In fact, its irritating to me to deal with offers at all. So, I think for the moment the strategy will be to remove best offer. It will either be on sale or it won’t. whew! Now that that decision is made, on to my numbers:
Big Store (http://stores.ebay.com/tjdigs)
total items in store: 1111
total dollar amount sold (no shipping): $524.68
total items sold: 24
total shipping collected: $213.14
total COG: $12.19
total paid shipping: $180.79
total ebay & pp fees (insertion, marketing, final value): $97.39
ebay store fee for week: $17.50
average sold price (not including shipping): $21.86
returns: 3….well, not really 3, but because I accidentally refunded the money to the wrong buyer on one of the returns, it made it 3 out of my pocket! I had one return where the cd player didn’t work upon arrival to my buyer. So, I refunded her and put in a claim with USPS because I sent it priority. All I can think is that the process of shipping it must have jarred it in someway. I don’t ask for items like that back because I don’t want to pay return shipping on a broken item that I only paid 29 cents for in the first place. The other return request is on a bedspread set that the buyer says is too faded, so I offered her a partial refund, less shipping fees and making her responsible for the return shipping. She denied it. Ebay continually told me to educate my buyer. I don’t feel I should have to go beyond my initial explanation I sent with the partial refund offer, so I won’t be sending her another email. I will instead ask for eBay to step in on 4/13/18 as apparently, that is the earliest I can do that. I assume the buyer will be doing the same thing. I told eBay that I described the item accurately and the fact that she feels it is faded relates to color (saturation and hue) which falls to buyer’s remorse. I hope this doesn’t go sideways. For now, paypal has my payment on hold.
Little Store (http://stores.ebay.com/diggers)
total items in store: 250
total dollar amount sold (no shipping):$248.73
total items sold: 10
total shipping collected: $57.73
total paid shipping:$39.86
total ebay & pp fees (insertion, marketing, final value):$50.98
ebay store fee for week :$4.67
average sold price (not including shipping):$24.87
I have 35 items listed. I sold 1 bra this week for $10 and probably have 50 cents into it.
I have 47 listings, many of which are cross posted on ebay too. None sold last week
I have a few dozen listings up and didn’t sell any last week – mostly because I can’t deal with the buyers right now….here’s an example….it would be hysterical if it weren’t so crazy making!
Here’s the listing info: Title – 30 Pre-K Picture HC, Board & Paperback Books. Description – one money for all 30 books. This is a random lot of books. The photos are representative of what I have in stock. I have multiple lots available.
here’s the communications:
buyer: Hi I would like the Elmo. Books.
me: You are welcome to a lot of random books which are age appropriate for a preschooler, but the exact title is not guaranteed. Please let me know if you’re interested in this. Thanks
buyer: Yes I would like the Elmo !
(me: pulling my hair out and mouthing “noooooooooooo….just make it stop!”
and in yet another transaction, a woman asks me many questions about some math text books I have for elementary school age, then ends up asking if I’d like to donate them as she is a teacher for a charter school (trolling for materials on in person apps)
well, that’s my week folks! Marjean28
04/09/2018 at 5:38 pm #37448mtewParticipant
- Location: Las Vegas
Thanks again guys! It was great to be on and talk tax again!
04/09/2018 at 7:26 pm #37456
Hi Mark I have a question for you if you don’t mind answering in the forums. I do my own taxes. I’m part-time but I’m going to switch from hobby to business in 2018 as this is my third year selling on Ebay and the IRS guidelines indicate that I am beyond hobby treatment. Occasionally, I sell my kids’ items (at a loss) in my store on the same account as the items I buy for resale. I’d really prefer to not create a new account at this point for our personal stuff as I donate most of that. Do you have any advice?
As a quick follow up, my sales are small and I live in a very expensive place, storing inventory in part of the garage and a closet (not a dedicated space – I think that’s required?). I’d be somewhat apprehensive about taking home office deductions. It’s kind of like being a NYC hot dog vendor and storing your stuff in a penthouse apartment. It might look off.
Thank you in advance!
04/10/2018 at 8:44 am #37482
If a former President can claim his used underwear (Clinton), then you can absolutely take the deductions you are legally entitled to as well. It doesn’t matter where you live.
04/09/2018 at 7:21 pm #37455
Total Items in Store: 409
Items Sold: 10
Total Sales : $613
Highest Price: $224 (New duvet and shams – purchased 1.5 years ago for +/- $85)
Average Price: $61
Cost of Goods Sold: $202 + $5 free shipping
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: About $35
Number of New Items Listed this Week: 8
Had some nice sales over the weekend after I remembered to launch a sale. I’m curious if anyone is noticing a pattern of slow or no sales during the work week, with better sales on the weekends. I heard some rumblings on youtube about that.
As always many non-Ebay things going on, but spring break and travel is over so should be a bit easier to list. I’m a little bit nervous as I sell off more of my RA stuff without buying more, but I had a couple of really nice vintage sales too so I’m not sure why. Lots of bills for unusual things so need to list. Also need to pay quarterlies.
Regarding taxes, I have an offer and a question. There is a new withholding calculator. If you or your spouse have a day job anticipate significant changes in your tax situation like we do, you might want to check it out. https://www.irs.gov/payments/tax-withholding
I’ll ask my question above and see if Mark swings back to look. Have a great week!
04/09/2018 at 8:55 pm #37464MoCoyotesParticipant
- Location: St. Louis
Total Items in Store: 2330
Items Sold: 33
Cost of Items Sold: $40
Total Sales: $1033
Highest Price Sold: $85 (Vintage Helen Wolff Coat)
Average Price Sold: $31.30
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $28
Number of items listed this week: 78
Business has been consistent most of the year. Here’s to it staying as such!
04/10/2018 at 12:47 am #37472Marjean28Participant
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
As usual, I forgot to mention my highest sale and best scavenge of the week. First for my big store, I sold a rayon/polyester curtain new old stock in the package from the 1970s to a theater prop department for $75 that I paid 50 cents for. For my little store I sold 4 ephemera to onebuyer for a total of $116. They were 1980s cruise ship menus with lithographs by the French illustrator, Jean Mercier.
As for the scavenge of the week, my sister donated some antique Japanese figurines to me, that I need to research,but have high hopes for.
04/10/2018 at 8:21 am #37478KatieScottParticipant
Posting late – here is 4/2/18 – 4/8/18:
Total Items in Stores: 943 + 538 + 218 + 1055 = 2,754
Items Sold: 25 + 7 + 7 + 2 = 41
Total Sales: $530 + 119 + 150 + $35 = $834
Highest Price Sold: $90 Eileen Fisher jacket; $44 Boden Dress; $40 Hot Topic Pants
Average Price Sold: $20.34
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $50
Number of items listed this week: 21
I’m still hitting my old goal of at least $700 week, but not hitting my new goal of $1,000 a week. This week was a couple hundred short of the weeks during the last month or so. One reason for my slow week is that my sister came to visit so I had a busy time and didn’t get much listed.
I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts. I had Baby Step #1 in my pay pal account from eBay so that was done no problem. Sadly, I’m 47 and on baby step #2, I feel like I’ve been pretty stupid with money for a long time; happily, I’ve seen the light and have been throwing money at the stupid debt and have made good progress and feel motivated to get through baby step #2 as fast as I can – we have a very minor amount of credit card debt, but a 2nd mortgage on the house that is a bit more. We are in the process of getting our house ready to sell, if/when it sells, then the 2nd mortgage will get taken care of; and we should be able to accomplish Baby Steps #3 and #6 with the money from the house. We’re basically going to sell our big house with a mortgage and downsize to a smaller house that we buy for cash with no mortgage. My goal is to be debt free and own a house outright by the time I’m 50. We also have some money in retirement accounts (baby step #4) and have pre-paid college funds paid in full for the kids (baby step #5). Then at that point, my goal is to start saving as much money as possible (baby step #7). My husband is 13 years older than I am, so he is 60 now. He’d like to retire from our business and sell our office building on the sooner side of things which, realistically, probably means somewhere between 5-10 years, in that case, we’d go forward doing the ebay thing because we’d be debt free, own a house, and have some money socked away. That’s the plan anyway.
I upped my 3rd ebay store to the $20 a month level. I wish they had a level between $60/month and $300/month. So I have one $60/month store and 2 $20/month stores so that’s $100/month for, I think, 1000 + 250 + 250 = $1500 listings. My $60/month store is just under 1000 listings, I think the math is that to make it worth jumping up to the $300/month level you should have 3000 listings. So having three stores is kind of my fix; it also lets me try different things with the different stores and to have some security in knowing if one store got shut down then I’d still have the other 2.
04/10/2018 at 6:44 pm #37506Mark SParticipant
“and to have some security in knowing if one store got shut down then I’d still have the other 2.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that is not the way it works. If they shut down one store, then they shut down all of your stores. The only way for that not to happen would be that the other stores are in completely different names and you use a different computer with a different IP address so that there is no way for ebay to tie the stores together. I doubt that is the case, because that is a lot of work to do.
If ebay kicks you off, you and your whole household are banned from ebay for life. That is the way I understand it.
04/10/2018 at 8:24 pm #37513
I believe you are correct. It’s not the store ebay is shutting down but the seller and it is very easy to track the IP address of a seller as well as track activity due to the cookie that is dropped on the computer or phone upon use of the website or app. I did not know ebay allows several stores for one seller.
04/10/2018 at 10:31 am #37491
Week of 4/01-4/07
Total Items in Store: 1,947 (Up 31% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 57
Number of Items Sold: 75 (Down 18% YOY)
(Includes 0 Etsy, 0 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether)
Weekly STR: 17% (Down 10% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $1,864 (Down 12% YOY)
Cost of Items Sold: $364
Highest Item Sold: $80 – NWT Woolyback Shooter Sweater
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Troy wins the week and Troy leads the year at 9-5.
# Listed: 1,184
# Sold: 51
# Listed: 125
# Sold: 7
eBay Hard Goods
# Listed: 638
# Sold: 17
Etsy Hard Goods
# Listed: 164
# Sold: 0
Our photographer is working out great, and really helping our process. Considering all the time we spent travelling last week, and that I was working the consulting gig for 2 days, I was happy with the 57 items we listed. We already have 55 done for this week now. I can hit 40 per day now provided that I have the stock (I’m actually getting low).
Veronica sold an item to the FDR Presidential Library this week. Now that is pretty cool…
04/10/2018 at 7:31 pm #37510SilverFoxFindsParticipant
- Location: Virginia Beach
Thanks for a great podcast! Jay, you are an excellent interviewer, and Mark, you provided clear and informative answers – much appreciated. Glad to hear of your southerly adventures – enjoy the remaining months!
I had an uncommonly excellent week in sales, selling several higher dollar items. Look forward to sharing some of those on Thursday. Sold nearly 2x as many items as the previous week, and made 3x as much profit. Ebbs and flows.
04/01/18 – 04/07/18
Total Items In Store: 860
Items Sold: 30, some to the same seller in a bundle
Total Sales: $1,563.83 (not incl shipping)
Cost of Items Sold: $179.23
Highest Price Sold: $290 (incl shipping) Berkey Imperial Water Filtration System (mine, used for a year; selling at a slight loss. Love it, but my partner complains he can taste the charcoal and wants to do an under-the-counter system)
Average Price Sold: $52.13
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $113.54
Number of Items listed this week: none to speak of; was traveling this past week
No clear scavenge of the week over here, but I brought back several “free” items from visiting my mom last week, a few good items from thrift stores in her neck of the woods, and purchased a vintage barbie, skipper, and clothes/case in an online auction – hoping that one works out well.
Have a great week everyone!
04/11/2018 at 2:32 pm #37537shayward23Participant
- Location: Metro Detroit
04/02/18 – 04/08/18
Total Items In Store: 364
Items Sold: 27
Cost of Items Sold: $74.77
Total Sales: $711.97
Highest Price Sold: $58.75 (Rawlings Baseball Mit)
Average Price Sold: $26.36
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 250
Number of Items listed this week: 68
A little late on my update this week, been sick for the past few days. Things are remaining at around $700 a week in sales, still primarily all clothes. Getting ready to start looking for a second area to move into, so if anybody has any tips on areas to move into, I’m always looking for information.
I liked the interview with Mark, it was actually by his new book that I set up the entire backend of my business.
Hope everyone has a good week, take it easy.
04/11/2018 at 6:35 pm #37541Rydell RelicsParticipant
RR Store Week April 1-7, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1540
Items Sold: 34
Cost of Items Sold: $26.24
Total Sales: $584.74
Highest Price Sold: $79.99 (1960 missile structural analysis report)
Average Price Sold: $17.20
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $80.65
Number of items listed this week: 44
Paul’s Bargain Basement last week! A good amount of sales, but mostly low dollar stuff. I also took some time off from listing to celebrate my girlfriend and my birthdays, and unfortunately it shows. Gotta make up for it this week.
04/11/2018 at 7:03 pm #37542VintageTreasuresParticipant
04/01/18 – 04/07/18
Total items in store on 4/1/18: 147
Cost of items sold: Approximately $16.00
Number of items sold: 19 eBay, 3 etsy
Total Sales: $312.08 (includes buyer paid shipping) eBay + $18.00 etsy (doesn’t include buyer paid shipping)
Highest price sold: $29.95 – but this item has been returned for a refund. So a 3 way tie for $24.95 between Embroidery Machine CD, Vintage Crewel Embroidery Kit and Tarot Card Deck.
Average price sold: $15.00 – ouch!
No new returns
# of new items listed this week: 46 🙂
$ spent on new inventory week of 41-4/7/18: $8.59
Number of items in store on 4/7/18: 177
Listing my weekly sales on this forum has been really helpful to me as just a part-time hobby seller. I’m seeing that I really need to get my ASP up. I’m a sucker for sewing related items but those $5.00 sewing pattern sales pull my ASP down a lot. Unfortunately I have about a zillion sewing patterns in my death piles so unless I decide to donate them my ASP will continue to be pretty low… I do think I’ll try to pull out a few “high dollar, sure thing” items to list to boost my spirits. So far this week looks like it will be horrible $-wise for me, my sales are dead! So I’ll need the boost next week. Thanks everyone for all the great information, it’s because of this forum that I knew to pick up the tarot cards!
Wishing you all great finds and sales!
04/12/2018 at 9:17 am #37552simplicioParticipant
Interesting episode. I will be finding out this very April how much of what Mark said applies to Canada. Just need to find a few hours to crank through my taxes.
Last week was decent, and I got a little listing done too which was nice. Still finding it hard to scavenge good stuff lately but hopefully my luck will change.
Sales: CAD$940, 6 items, COGS $100 –> item profit $694
Expenditures: $182 –> after tax cashflow $459
Notable sales: 6 of my medical wall panels $30 –> $540 ($418 net profit)
Notable buys: 3 ATV axles $15 apiece, should all be $120+
Hours: 9.5, $48/hr
04/12/2018 at 9:44 am #37553SueParticipant
- Location: Wisconsin (Florida for the worst part of winter)
Date: April 1-7th
Total Items in Store: 940
Cost of Items Sold: $156
Amount of Items Sold: 31
Total Sales: $1168
Highest Price Sold: $175.00
Average Price Sold: $$38
Money Spent on New Inventory: 0
Number of items listed this week: 27 (working on inventory)
We have a meeting with our tax accountant on Friday afternoon.
I think we will be fine because we paid in our quarterly last year.
As our inventory has taken over our basement, we should have a bigger write-off for that.
I’m interested in getting business liability insurance now. Although I don’t know what I could get sued for, I am running a sole-proprietorship and wouldn’t want my personal assets to be at risk.
04/12/2018 at 9:53 am #37554
You can certainly buy insurance for any fear you have, but I’d recommend talking with someone objective about the risks. I have never heard of a case where an eBay seller was sued for selling old clothes online.
04/12/2018 at 10:12 am #37555
Or sued for selling old planters, plates and wall decor! :-).
Now maybe a home owners rider for the destruction of your inventory by fire, water from a busted pipe since you are in a basement, or something like that, maybe.
04/12/2018 at 11:21 am #37558
Right on Mike. We added a business policy to cover our inventory at our house and outside warehouse. Also came with internet protection, business interruption, etc. $500 for the year.
04/12/2018 at 11:55 am #37559
Thanks for that info. T-S. Which reminds me I asked one of our agents a few months back and she never got back to me. I will check with the other one. The first was an independent agent and the one I am going to call now is our auto-home insurance agent. Probably one I should have called first anyway.
mc at mdc in atl.
04/13/2018 at 6:18 pm #37608mickdogParticipant
- Location: Portland, OR
Was supposed to post my monthly numbers last week but better later than never:
38 sales (including my 2nd Bonanza sale!)
$ sold (minus shipping): $970.72 (goal $1k, close!)
Per sale average: $25.55 (goal over $25, yay)
cost per item average: $3.69
Items in store peak for month: ~525
Biggest sale: Tilley Winter Wool Hat for $53
One more sale than February and less cheap items selling made for an okay month.
I bought more than I listed this month and was on vacation for 6 days (found a couple nice items including some military boots that hopefully sell for over $125!) but I did manage to creep up my listings numbers a bit by doing some listing over Easter weekend. Hopefully this weekend I can get another 20-30 items up as well by going through a death pile or two!
Have to finish taxes this week as well. Pretty much done but just need to relook at everything and send them out.
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