06/11/2018 at 8:15 am #42114
Are you cheap or are you frugal? We believe there is a huge difference. Join the conversation in the forum>> Our Store Week June 3-9, 2018 St
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 364: Being Cheap vs Being Frugal]
06/11/2018 at 8:25 am #42117
06/03/18 – 06/09/18
Total Items In Store: 2,428
Items Sold: 12
Cost of Items Sold: $50 (around)
Total Sales: $ 607 (11 items $346 for ebay + 1 item $261 on TrueGether)
Highest Price Sold: $ 261 (Lot of Covergirl Make up on TrueGether)
Average Price Sold: $ 50.58
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 171
Number of Items listed this week: 30
This week would have been a bust if it had not been for the Covergirl Make up sale on TrueGether. I can feel the Summer slow down starting to kick in.
Buying inventory this week was great. Similar to how great sales come and go, so do great buys. This week it seemed like I could do no wrong where I went looking for inventory. Perhaps it went well because I went to the more affluent area of town, I don’t know.
The condos in this affluent area had a lot of older people who had great vintage items for sale. My buy of the week was a 1964 Electrolux Vacumn (works great) with attachements, Original receipt, papers, and extra Bag. At first I passed on it because I haven’t bought a vintage vacumn before and didn’t know what they were worth. But after looking it up, I couldn’t get the $7 out of my pocket fast enough. And at the time, I didn’t know that it came with the Original receipt and papers for it. I am going to list it for $250. I also bought a Set of 3 Baseball Bases (also a first for me) for $5 and looks like I can get about $60 for them. I also picked up a lot of 12 vintage C Clamps (also a first for me) for $5 which I think I can get $100. And lastly, a 1960’s Conn Shooting Star Cornet in the Original Case. I have bought a Cornet before, but not this brand.
My low point of the week was when someone bought a coat for over $200, then messaged me to say that it was a mistake. That is the second time an item worth about $200 was purchased by mistake. How do you purchase and pay for an item by mistake?
In both cases the owner only discovered that someone working for them purchased it when I printed a label and they got the message that the item was shipped.
06/11/2018 at 8:35 am #42118
Brian Treasures from GrandmasParticipant
- Location: Hoboken, NJ
Week June 3-9, 2018
Total Items in Store: 891
Items Sold: 11 (1 Amazon)
Cost of Items Sold: $29 (11.3% of sales)
Total Sales: $257.46
Highest Price Sold: $34.99 (Eagles – Hotel California https://www.ebay.com/itm/192552954306)
Average Price Sold: $23.41
Returns: 0 (1 NPB though)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $125
Number of items listed this week: 21
Promoted listings test: 4 sales, $102.48 (39.8% of total sales), $6.03 fees (5.9% of sales)
Pretty slow week for me, but it was interesting that it didn’t seem as slow as the numbers show. Guess my life was busy enough to pick up the slack. Excited for this week’s numbers as I sold over $300 on Sunday alone.
Sales were all bread & butter: records, small decor, a jacket, etc. While nothing exciting or high dollar sold, that left my COGS incredibly low – I’m usually around 20% but this 11% is quite good.
Outside of these sales, also ran several auctions on a FB group I belong to for charity – one of the group members had a daughter pass from cancer so we held an event to donate to medical & travel expenses for her treatment… sellers donated inventory & free shipping, buyers bid early & often, and all proceeds went to the family. I personally raised close to $200 and we’re awaiting the final total from the group. Felt good to contribute to a very worthy cause and it cleared out some of my old inventory as well as helps with a tax write-off.
06/11/2018 at 8:46 am #42119
Week of 6/3-6/9
Total Items in Store: 2,194 (Up 42% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 161
Number of Items Sold: 68 (Up 17% YOY)
(Includes 1 Etsy, 0 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether, 0 Amazon)
Weekly STR: 13% (Down 3% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $1,727 (Up 53% YOY)
Cost of Items Sold: $290
Highest Item Sold: $110 – Joseph Abboud Navy Blue Pinstripe Suit
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Troy wins the week (who knew that could happen?) and Veronica leads for the year 12-11.
# Listed: 1,368
# Sold: 48
# Listed: 236
# Sold: 10
eBay Hard Goods
# Listed: 590
# Sold: 9
Etsy Hard Goods
# Listed: 161
# Sold: 1
Our processes are really starting to work. We hit a new high in the number of listings created this week, 161. Our goal is 150-200 per week, and this is the first time we really hit that goal. And on top of that, we hit 161 listings while I was at my contract job for 2 days. With Veronica now on SixBit, and with our photographer, we are hitting the numbers we want to hit.
Now, I need to replace myself in this job. That is the next goal…
06/11/2018 at 9:05 am #42124
You guys are really selling a lot of clothes/shoes. Almost 60 items this week. Are you doing free shipping and free returns?
I imagine that sourcing takes time to keep quality clothes in the pipeline. Do you think you could ever outsource this aspect of the process?
06/11/2018 at 9:20 am #42127
We don’t do Free Shipping very much. I have started trying that on some lower end brands to see if I can kick in some sales. Not on shoes at all.
We have Free Returns on all our items. We are the opposite of KatieScott: We have had no increase at all. We are still at 1.7% Return rate, same as what we were when we turned on Free Returns 2 months ago. We only had 4 returns last month at a total cost of $20.
Sourcing time for clothes and shoes is primarily on Saturdays from 7am to about 1-2pm. We look for them at yard sales on Fridays as well, but that is just a supplement.
Can I outsource the sourcing? I have some thoughts on doing that, and I think I can, but my focus has been that rather than outsourcing the purchasing, I am looking to find ways of doing bulk buys, wholesale, etc. that can be done from anywhere (so I could do some buying while on the road / hiking when needed to keep a crew of listers and photographers working). I have tried two online purchases with mixed success (one wasn’t bad and I will try again, the other was horrible).
06/11/2018 at 9:26 am #42131
Online sourcing is the siren’s song that attracts so many eBay/Amazon sellers. How easy ti would be to just click., click and have instant quality inventory show up. If anyone could figure it out, it’s you.
I’m super skeptical other than buying new items from China which means low profit margins in most cases. Because if it’s easy to buy for you, then it’s easy to buy for anyone.
The act of having to go scavenging in the wild is a big barrier to entry.
06/11/2018 at 9:38 am #42134
I hear you. The good news (and bad news) is that it isn’t easy. There is a lot of research and time spent trying to find items that will yield a profit that is worth it. I have found only one source that SOMETIMES has items that are worth a shot. There is a second source online that has the profit potential, but much longer tail. BULQ and other such sites just don’t work unless you are looking for low margins and your process can absorb that.
The other barrier is the initial cost. the low end of these buys are in the $300-$600 range. One place I’m tempted to try has a low end of $3,500 per order.
There are always the barriers to building scale in this business. For yard sales/thrift stores it is the commitment of time. You can 4X-10X your money in these places, but it takes time, some capital, and commitment to do it. For the bulk buying or online arbitrage it is higher capital and research time to find them.
Ain’t nuthin’ easy…anyone who says differently is selling something…
06/11/2018 at 10:41 am #42155
Yep, I spent a year experimenting buying military surplus from government auctions. The buy-in was usually at least $800-$1500. Plus if I didn’t do a 20-hour round trip pickup, the freight shipping would be at least another $300. So it’s not cheap.
Since these were used items, the quality always varied. We got one pallet that was almost all new and sold for 10x what we paid. Awesome!!!! But mostly we got pallets where we had to list stuff individually because the condition of each item was different. Some of it was very used. At the end of the day, we spent just as much time sourcing/processing this way as just sourcing locally. Plus the big military surplus guys were buying by the truckload each week and killing us on price. I dont know how they make money. It’s not easy money for sure. They must have huge overhead costs (warehouse, employees, shipping dept) to handle the bulk sales they need to produce.
Again, if its easy to just buy online, I feel it’ll be easy for anyone…so then profits will be minimal. And if you can find one good online source, my experience says it wont last again and again. I think that then you spend as much time online sourcing as you would sourcing on the ground.
If your goal is to travel and run the business, we’ve dreamed of having a trusted employee at home who we could run our business with our supervision online. So we could travel, live in other cities, scavenge as we always do, and mail home boxes of items to be processed/listed. This would mean paying someone a real full-time salary and really trusting them.
06/11/2018 at 12:37 pm #42163
Your last paragraph is part of the goal: The ability to scale (at least at this stage, before we go to the REAL level of scaling) while requiring a set of skills that can be deployed from (almost) any location.
There are two large barriers to a full time living at this:
1) It takes a lot of work, especially at the beginning, and the payoff is slow. You have to invest a lot of time, a decent amount of capital, and sales take time to flow in. I believe this is why 90% of people only do this part time. Not knocking that at all, but the time to grow this into a serious money making operation is significant. Growth Takes Time. And the quick return crowd fall out fast. And the churn and burn crowd fall out after 12-18 months. It just takes a lot of work and time to get good at this, knowing what to buy, what price to buy it at, how to list, what photos work, how to price, how to ship, how to inventory, how to do accounting, how to do taxes… Barrier 1: This ain’t easy.
The second barrier is the ability to scale. When scaling up:
Step 1 is to hire employees to list/photograph.
Step 1A is to make sure you have the margins on your products that can absorb that extra cost.
Step 1B is to be able to find enough product to keep your employees working (I call it “keeping them fed”)
Step 1C is to make sure you have the capital to pay for the inventory for them to list, and their labor, knowing that the payoff in higher sales will come months later. For us at our STR, we are looking at a 4 month hole in cash flow to absorb this next step. Other people will be higher or lower than that depending on what they are selling, but that hole is there, and it is real.
After successfully navigating Step 1 (and that is a big step), how do you move to Step 2, which is your original question: Outsourcing the sourcing. Private label, bulk buys, store buyouts, wholesale, or hire an extra people that you pay to shop for you. This is our next move I’m plotting now. While we are working solid this year at getting through the growing pains of Step 1, I’m hoping to get Step 2 nailed down. This is why I decided to move my Colorado Trail Hike to next year. I can’t leave while we are growing through the hole and leave Veronica to manage by herself. She could, and she would…buy I won’t do that to her.
And that is the rub on scaling: How to grow the sourcing. If we were a manufacturer, it would be easier. Once you have a product that is selling, you can scale up or down as demand requires, and your skill is how to increase demand or find a new product. For resellers…it is a different question.
And when I get it nailed…I’ll let you know… 🙂
06/11/2018 at 12:54 pm #42165
I dont listen to Craiglist Hunter to know his process, but I assume he must do something like this. From what I hear he has a large gross profit because he has a team of people working for him. He must do a lot of sourcing in bulk, right?
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Jay.
06/11/2018 at 1:03 pm #42169
I haven’t seen him a lot, but from what I have seen he mainly shows that he has a brick and mortar shop that he can get a lot if items coming to him. He also does auctions, some estate sales, some driving around as well, but I think most of his high dollar stuff comes to his shop. And he has employees there, so they are essentially doing a lot of buying for him.
I think he shows a lot of driving out to deals, but I’m not sure what % he buys vs. people in his shop.
06/11/2018 at 7:10 pm #42237
“How to grow the sourcing”. This is a good strategic question and I like to do and talk about strategy.
I am trying to understand exactly how you see your model going for step 2. Can you explain this a little more? What percentage of buying would be in the wild, percentage of Private label, bulk buys, store buyouts, wholesale, etc.? I know it would depend on what you can find, but what would be your ideal?
Do you really want to give up sourcing in the wild and do it only online? For me, I could do some that way if it made sense, but sourcing in the wild is what is really fun to me. And, as far as I can tell, that is where you find the best margins. I see way to many potential issues getting someone to shop for you in the wild. I would only trust family for this, but that is me.
I understand the need to scale and be efficient, but the items are so plentiful and cheap where I live that I don’t think I would need to look elsewhere. Time would be the only factor for me. I figure it takes about 5 minutes to find each item in the wild. Sometimes it is much faster, sometimes slower, but I think that is a good average number. That means I can find on average 12 items \ hour or about 100 in an 8 hour day. Two days of that a week should cover me no matter how big I grew (that I can imagine right now). The average selling price is about $35 – $40 and I can get them for about 10% of that, or $3 – $4 per item. Are you not able to get that where you live?
06/11/2018 at 7:20 pm #42238
One other item you may want to add to step 1 is having processes in place. Knowing you, I think you probably have a process for everything, but most people probably don’t.
As I start to scale my business, I am seeing the need for more processes to be put into place. My Refund process is really working great this year. Last year the process wasn’t so good so it was more difficult at tax time.
I discovered a very good process to implement last week. Not sure if this is what Mike in Atlanta did, but I sorta got the idea from him in a round about way.
I have a bunch of boxes that I have been collecting all stack up in my garage. I decided to break them down, record the size, and put them on a shelf and record that in a spreadsheet. I have had great results already!
I am saving space, time, and money. Those are the big 3 for my business right now.
1. It saves space – They are not taking up nearly as much room as they did before and I am getting my garage back.
2. It saves time – I have already found 2 boxes to use that were the perfect size for shipping. Just looked it up in the spreadsheet and found the perfect box right away.
3. It save money – I save money in getting the perfect shipping box which saves on shipping cost. Also, I don’t have to buy a box I already have.
06/12/2018 at 7:20 am #42255
Mark: Completely agree on the processes need to be in place. You are right, I work processes a lot, so I skipped having that step nailed down before you bring in extra people. This is why I changed how I was doing my listing, so that I could make the process a pure photographer and a pure lister (which is me for now).
Interesting thought on a spreadsheet for the boxes. That is mostly Veronica’s area. We have them broken down and organized by size, small to large. No spreadsheet though. She seems to find them pretty quick, and I would guess we have 100-200 boxes down there right now.
06/11/2018 at 7:31 pm #42239
I guess it all depends on your ultimate goal. Tsatt will need to correct me, but I think he’s imagining being the hands off CEO where he devises the “system” and hires people to do all the work, including sourcing. I assume this model is the same model that most big companies do. The big biss is always focused on the next strategy and not on the day to day operations.
I agree that sourcing in the wild is what makes this fun for most of us. Sourcing in the wild is where all the real profit is. Anytime some one hypes online sourcing and wholesale, I just don’t know where the net profit is.
06/12/2018 at 7:24 am #42256
Jay: You are somewhat correct. I don’t look to be completely hands off on the day to day, but to be in a situation where I’m not required. For me, the goal is to have the business continue to run while I’m gone for 5 weeks on the hike. I can check in when I’m in town for resupply, but the day to day can run without me.
06/12/2018 at 7:15 am #42254
Mark: We will never stop doing some sourcing in the wild, as we do enjoy the hunt and the surprise at what we find. The plan though is that we wouldn’t HAVE to do it if we didn’t want to.
One of my goals is to be able to be gone for 5 weeks next summer and the business keeps running without me. That is the fun challenge. I have replaced myself (and most of Veronica) on the photography. And I have set up the process to replace myself (and some of Veronica) on listing. But how to make sure that everyone stays fed for 5 weeks when I’m not sourcing. And I don’t want Veronica to feel the pressure of having to source that much by herself to keep everyone fed. Again, she could, and she would, but I won’t.
Your time estimate is spot on with ours. When I’m sourcing at thrift stores, I find something every 5 minutes. The downside is that for the margins I like to keep, I have to source on Saturday’s when it is 50% off. I can source during the week, but it is harder to find the items where the margins can absorb the labor cost of 2 people. I have some thoughts on improving this with some new sources and some focused buying, but haven’t really tried to put into action yet.
06/12/2018 at 7:28 am #42257
I see now that your issue is the sourcing. This is not an issue where I live. Wed – Sun I can find more than enough items for a good price. I don’t go to Goodwill or the like very often. I find most of my items at Rummage Sales, Estate Sales, and garage sales. I really stock up at the Rummage sales. The stuff is so cheap and plentiful. Of course, these are seasonal, so I have to be prepared and go all in while they are happening. Sometimes it is just plain exhausting running from sale to sale, but I try to plan for it. I also always try to do the research, pricing, and put in lots for TBL for it asap while I am still excited. I still have over 800 all ready to go in this TBL state, but I don’t do the volume that you do.
The sourcing online will work, but I see that going towards Jadowa’s old model. At his height he had 10 employees and did $2.1M in sales, but only $150,00 net income. So, it worked for him, but it was 60 hours a week work and not so fun. He turned into a manager which he didn’t like. It looks like your model is leaning towards this. If that is what you want, then that is fine. I think you could do better, but still I think your model is shifting that way. How do you see it?
06/12/2018 at 7:30 am #42258
“I think you could do better” – by that I meant you could do better with your model than Jadow’s old model – a better ratio of gross to net. But my point is that the margins will get much tighter and leaning towards that model.
06/12/2018 at 8:10 am #42260
Mark: Yes, we are shifting more into that direction, but no plans now to go to that level. My plan is to get the people and processes in place where my main focus is on the sourcing. The photography and the listing pieces are not where the profit is. The profit is in the sourcing. If I can keep two people fed while sourcing for 2-3 days per week, then I am free to start up another line of business.
But I like the challenge of how to set up the business to run while I’m gone for 5 weeks. Forces me to look deeper at where I can go.
06/12/2018 at 8:17 am #42261
–Do you not source enough now where you have a backlog of inventory to process? I know that if we sourced 2-3 times a week, we would have way too much stuff to list. We actually have to purposely not over-scavenge. After you build up your inventory to a proper level, will you need to keep listing as much week after week? What’s your “dream” inventory level and when will you get there?
–If the goal is to be away for 5 weeks, then isn’t this an easy goal? Just build up your inventory and dont let the “listing of clothes” part of the process worry you since you’ll have a large enough inventory to handle that time period. I assume your wife will keep listing her hard goods and can handle the business, right?
06/12/2018 at 8:39 am #42263
Jay: Right now, 4,000 listings is our goal. When we hit that level, we should be at the sales goal we want each week. I want to get to a 150-200 listings per week level on a consistent basis.
So right now our process has me listing shirts, coats, suits, and pants. I list, our photographer photos. Veronica does jeans, shoes, and hard goods. The jeans and shoes she treats like my clothing. She lists, then the photographer does the photos. Then she does the hard goods all the way (though we will start giving the photographer the hard goods soon. He bought a HUGE light box and is ready.)
Yes, we COULD just build up the inventory and let the sales come in during that 5 weeks. But then we don’t keep the photographer with enough items to keep him fed. I could just let him know that we won’t have much during that time.
But that isn’t what I’m looking for. I’m much more enjoying how to stretch and grow and get the business set up so that it can keep the photographer (and lister) fed while I’m gone.
Besides, I need to also look at how to be gone for 5 months on the Appalachian Trail. Or the PCT. Or 4 weeks in Italy in 2020 for our 25th anniversary.
I COULD just go that route…but I would much rather get a pipeline that can work with less of my time. That is a much more fun goal to work for.
It isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to find. There isn’t a simple way to do it.
That is why I’m liking it…
06/12/2018 at 9:21 am #42267
You dont think you can scavenge enough beforehand to have a backlog of inventory to for your helpers to photograph and list?
That was my main question before: it would be very easy for us to spend a couple weeks at auctions, flea markets, and thrifts to get carloads of items needing to be listed. Way too easy.
But maybe it’s because we sell anything and everything? Maybe you have a more specific kind of inventory that more difficult to scavenge?
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by Jay.
06/12/2018 at 9:32 am #42271
Jay: For 5 weeks, yes, I could do that. I have a backlog now of Suits and Sport Coats since I’m losing 2 days a week at the other job.
But the search is do be able to go beyond just the hike. The hike is bringing it forward, but I would ultimately like to have a process for sourcing that I can make purchases faster, as well as being able to do this from any location. If we move to a rural location, where the sourcing isn’t as simple, it would be good to have a pipeline that could be sent to us.
Yes, your situation is different. You are working at a 10X model and a 4% STR. Low cost of inventory, but requires a large amount of inventory (7,000+) to get your sales amount. You have a lower burn rate with no mortgage and no kids. For us, we have much less space unless we pay for it (doing that now with one storage unit), and with a mortgage and 2 kids, we need to have the cash flow coming in quicker. So we run at a 5X model with a 13%-15% STR.
So ultimately, it isn’t just the hike to cover…it is a model that requires less time for the same cash, and is more location independent.
06/12/2018 at 9:53 am #42272
Totally understood. We do have different circumstances, needs, and strategies.
If you keep the same sourcing strategy, I don’t see how you can walk away for good and make the same or more money. Look forward to seeing how you build a solution for your situation.
06/12/2018 at 10:00 am #42274
Yep. That is what I like about this forum: diversity of strategy and situation.
If we were all doing the same thing the same way and talking about it…well there isn’t much to learn. But part-time, full-time, long tail, churn and burn, collectibles, records, clothes, shoes, free returns, no returns, free shipping, charge shipping…
In all of that is what works for each person. We choose and implement what works for us…
06/12/2018 at 8:24 am #42262
Oh absolutely the margins get tighter at that level. I would say that looking at the numbers that are posted each week, the vast majority of sellers are at a 10X Gross Return (buy at $3, sell at $30). We find these types of returns sometimes, but we can’t find those at scale to provide the margin we are looking for.
So we are running at a 5x (buy at $5, sell at $25). That is good and we have a good STR at that level. When we get to 4,000 listed items, we will be humming where we want to be. We should hit this in 2019, and then it is how to maintain the store, with less hours required, so that we can start a different business line.
Once you go to the next level of scale, the margins get even tighter. And they have to be higher priced items to handle the absorption of labor cost. Assuming labor is $4-$5 per item listed, I need to have items that are at a higher price point to justify the labor. I don’t want to buy at $5, pay $5 in Labor, $5 in Fees, and net $10 at a $25 ASP. I will if the item has high velocity and easy to source, but that isn’t ideal. I would rather buy at $20, sell at $60. Now that can absorb the labor. Or buy at $50 and sell at $125.
Most scaled retail is at a 2X gross return. I would like to avoid that if possible.
06/12/2018 at 5:49 pm #42321
I am curious to see if your projected growth rate will match your expectations once you hit 4,000 items listed. I guess it could result either in the same rate of sales that you have now, depending on how long-tail some items could become, or it could lead to a higher rate of sales than expected, depending on how popular the items are.
I expected a certain level of consistent sales with my store once I reached over 5,000 items, but that has not happened. There are days when I still will only sell 3-5 items. At least it has stopped the 0 sales days.
Now that I am near 10,000 items, I thought I would be insanely busy each day. I’m not. Most days are the same as when I had 5,000 or fewer items. However, some days do get crazy and I have 20-30 items that sell in a 24-hour period. Then, back to a smaller amount of sales.
I am strictly long-tail, but still thought there would be more of an overall stabilization at an increased rate of sales at a larger inventory rate level. I was wrong.
06/12/2018 at 5:54 pm #42323
Almasty: Completely agree. We have seen some degradation in our STR as we have grown, and it appears that it is due to more long tail items in the mix. We are also looking to remove or blow out the really old stuff (bad buys) so that they are no longer in the warehouse, taking up space, taking relist fees, and just generally in the way.
Something I am watching…
06/12/2018 at 5:54 pm #42324
Yeah, we’ve discussed here many times how growing a large inventory of tail tail items does not exponentially create more sales. Rather than thinking its an eBay conspiracy to throttle large stores, it’s probably more a function of saturating the market for items that have a small audience.
I can sell one 1950’s hand carved wooden bowl for nuts, so why cant I sell twenty quickly?Because the audience is very small for this weird item.
As we’ve learned a large inventory of long tail items allows us to “walk away”from the business for weeks/months at a time (except shipping) and still have a consistent income.
06/14/2018 at 11:53 am #42498
We have talked about the diminishing marginal returns to inventory size before. I think it’s basically a selection effect. Huge inventory implies a large fraction of old inventory.
The best items you listed in 2016 have sold already so the proportion of stinkers (at least, stinkers AT the listed price) grows with bigger inventories.
06/14/2018 at 11:59 am #42501
Simplico: Yep, 100% agree. This is where I have to make Stale Inventory Management a bigger part of my process.
Some “stale” items are long tail and just take a while to sell (so as you grow, your long tail items take a bigger % of your overall inventory, while the churn and burners take a smaller %). But if the value is still there, you leave them.
Then there are the items that should have sold fast but didn’t. Is it the listing? The price? The photos? Or was it just a bad buy?
We are culling out about 20 items from our inventory now. Just flat out bad buys…
06/11/2018 at 8:48 am #42120
Sales: CAD$687, 5 items, COGS: $89 –> Item profit: $474
Expenditures: $135 –> Cashflow after tax: $305
Notable sales: bulb for arc lamp $5–>$300, another miter saw laser $10–>$125, last 3 of my medical lead vests $15–>$125.
Listed: $3115, 26 items
Scavenge of the week: professional GPS tracker/messaging systems x3, sorta for parts, $60, hoping for $2000. Also 9 Hilti anchoring adhesives $60, expecting $500 or so.
By my standards I have been listing like mad for the past month, but so far sales are still pretty slack. I am badly overspent so now I’m trying to cool it on buying new inventory unless it’s cheap.
I ran the numbers and decided now it made sense to open a basic store, so pulled the trigger on that last week. Should save me about $50/month.
Found a nice big area rug, probably like 6×8, at the local dump’s salvage centre for $40. We’ve been looking for one for ages but never could find a good price. This one is synthetic, not super fancy, but it has a nice pattern and will fill our needs nicely. I think it’d be $300 or so new.
Now for the podcast!
06/11/2018 at 8:58 am #42121
Just be aware that listing like crazy this time of year wont necessarily sell more just because of the slow retail period during the summer.
But rest assured that all the listing you do now to bulk up your inventory will pay off in the next four months when the holiday seasons starts the gear up in October.
Listing is never bad; just doesnt always show immediate results.
06/11/2018 at 9:01 am #42122
For sure. I think because of the things I sell (mostly business/industrial) things seem a little bit less seasonal for me than they would be for you guys. E.g., April was my best ever month, while December was merely good. We’ll see if that holds true in the future.
06/11/2018 at 9:09 am #42126
Huh. What kind of items are Business/Industrial? Are you sourcing from a particular place?
06/11/2018 at 9:21 am #42129
Business/industrial is the eBay supercategory I find myself listing in most. It’s kind of a catchall but includes: medical & scientific equipment, industrial parts (for e.g., lathes, drills, arc welders… etc etc etc), restaurant equipment, point of sale equipment… to many to list. Have a flip through the category and you’ll get a feel for it.
I get a lot of stuff from government surplus and from industrial auctions (e.g., a machine shop closes and their equipment and inventory gets auctioned). Obviously at the latter I’m “small fry” – I’m not buying the lathes or whatever, just the smaller parts & consumables.
Anyway the point is, this kind of stuff is bought for a purpose, not as a christmas gift.
06/11/2018 at 10:04 am #42145
Tat’s very cool. I think you’re the first scavenger that we’ve met that focuses on that category. Assume you find it fun! Great that you’re able to have a continual source of those items.
06/11/2018 at 9:07 am #42125
Oh yes I forgot – happy birthday Jay!
Here’s a question for the forum – thumbs up if you’re a scavenger who’s into preparedness (not necessarily of the full doomsday variety, but enough where you’ve actually made some time/money investments in e.g., contingency food & water supplies).
I have leanings that way but I’m trying to prep by scavenging rather than spending a ton of money up front.
06/11/2018 at 9:23 am #42130
Preparedness would be us. Water, food, supplies, tools, clothes, etc. Just works out in daily life. Each vehicle has a Get Home Bag, and we use that stuff regularly. We could live on the food in the basement for probably close to a year.
And I’m always looking for more stuff when scavenging…
06/11/2018 at 9:29 am #42133
That’s great! Sounds like you’re much farther ahead than we are.
Our food situation is pretty pathetic atm but I plan to rectify that by the end of the year. We may go nuts and just get a big order of freeze dried stuff from Mountain House or something.
06/11/2018 at 9:42 am #42136
For the love of Holy, don’t do Mountain House. Way overpriced for the calories you get. I go the hiker route…
Try Knorr packets with foil packed Chicken or Tuna. Or the Idahoan Potatoes with same. Much cheaper, tastes better, better value. I even did a Thanksgiving Dinner once: Boil water, add to Stove Top Stuffing, add chicken, add cranberries. One Pot Hiker Thanksgiving Dinner.
Or go higher end with Harmony House. That is much better Freeze Dried Food.
06/11/2018 at 10:11 am #42149
Cool, I’ll check it out. Hadn’t got too far into it, that’s just one brand I’d heard mentioned. Looking at prices I see you’re right.
06/11/2018 at 10:16 am #42151
Knorr packet or Idahoan packet – $1
Foil Chicken Packet – $2.50
Calories: about 750. Add 1oz of Olive Oil and you are over 1,000 calores for that price.
Check that cost per calorie to many of the premade stuff.
And then you can add Harmony House stuff to make it REALLY good. More expensive, but really good.
06/11/2018 at 9:49 am #42137
We aren’t preppers, though we shared in earlier podcasts how moving to a rural area in 2008 made sense to be more connected to a community which is the best strategy for emergencies.
The typical Prepper mentality is the fantasy that zombies (aka any disaster) attack and you have to go it alone. Living in isolation wont last long. We find its better to invest in your community so when the zombies come, you have any number of people to help. For instance, we certainly have a full pantry, but we also support local farms who would actually grow food for the long term. We put time into local volunteering and community boards to have a say in how things are run. This is what we would rely on if things crumbled on the state/national level.
I would avoid buying freeze dried food unless you actually want to eat it. I guess it doesnt hurt to have a little bit for a short emergency, but it’s silly when people spend thousands of dollars on years worth of food they’ll never eat. I bet most of those people have never eaten a week of that freeze dried food to see if they could even survive on it.
It’s better to keep food you are always eating on: rice, beans, flour, etc. This way it stays fresh because you’re always cooking. Grow a small garden and learn to can. And when the zombies come, you’re eating like you always eat.
06/11/2018 at 9:54 am #42140
+1 on both of your points Jay. Community is best, and store what you eat.
The only “prepper” food I have are MREs that I have found cheap at garage sales. Gonna have to eat a few soon before they expire… 🙂
06/11/2018 at 9:59 am #42142
We had a friend whose Mom died. She lived in Montana. She lived alone in her house, but was part of a survivalist community. She had a basement stacked full of “prepper” food. I bet she had been collecting the stuff for years, but never touched it. Much of it was bad or not really edible. We tossed it all. On the plus side, our friend found a roll of gold coins that he probably sold for tens of thousands of dollars.
That kind of prepping is not practical and more just emotional. She was obviously afraid of something and would have been better to spend that money on therapy.
06/11/2018 at 10:10 am #42148
It’s just like insurance, right? Ideally, your house never burns down. That doesn’t make the premiums a waste of money.
06/11/2018 at 10:13 am #42150
I agree with that…but better to keep the insurance to as low a cost as possible.
Using food you will ACTUALLY use makes sure you don’t have things spoil and if you have to use it, you know how and what it tastes like.
06/11/2018 at 10:52 am #42157
Its not really like insurance. If your house burns down, the insurance company makes you whole (so you hope).
But if zombies attack and you must live on the food you’ve stored over the years, what happens if the food is bad? or you’re not used to eating that food for long periods of time? My point is to just keep a full pantry of things you always eat and keep restocking with fresh food.
I only bring this up since there are so many websites that prey on people’s insecurity and sell those food bundles. People buy and just stick in their attic for their kids to find when they die.
You’ll save money just buying a 50lb sack of flour, beans and rice…growing small garden…and eating on that. And healthier!
06/11/2018 at 12:52 pm #42164
Agree Jay. But it also works in other ways, not even for “Doomsday”. Just good to have what you need. If I spend on one thing (not cars, houses, or clothes), I spend on consumables that we will need at some point and can use up when either money is tight, there is a snow storm coming, etc.
When I use 1, buy 2 next time. It slowly grows your inventory without a huge investment up front.
If on sale and doesn’t go bad (TP, Deodorant, Shampoo, Detergent), fill up the cart. I have’t had to purchase shaving cream for 18 months now, and my boys are still raiding the basement when they need it. We found a deal once…
Keep at least two of everything in the basement. So 1 in use, 2 in the basement. You never run out, and when you need a shopping list, go see what you only have 1 of in the basement.
We are so full right now, I’m not allowed in the grocery store this summer. We have 3 full freezers, and I need at least one to be empty by October for hunting season. So when summer is tight, we “eat on” the storage in the basement.
06/11/2018 at 12:56 pm #42166
We do the same thing and don’t even think about zombies. When there’s a good deal, we go “all in”. The only times I’ve regretted a purchase is when I didn’t buy enough.
Then we eat on that food till the next good deal. (currently we have 100 gallons of olive oil that will last us a long long time. we bought for dirt cheap)
06/11/2018 at 1:00 pm #42168
Ok. 100 gallons of Olive Oil? You win buddy!
That is awesome!
06/11/2018 at 1:05 pm #42170
Let me edit that. 29 gallons. I got too exuberant!
06/11/2018 at 1:07 pm #42171
Well, we have 3 gallons…so you still have us beat!!!
06/11/2018 at 1:19 pm #42173
How will you stir fry when the zombies come?
06/11/2018 at 1:26 pm #42176
Then Coleman Fuel.
Then Portable Wood Stove.
We gotcha covered!
06/11/2018 at 2:01 pm #42178
- Location: South Dakota
I have an inch left in the bottle of olive oil I have in my cupboard. The HyVee grocery store is 2 minutes away. If the zombies attack I think I can outrun them to get some more. I’ve watched all the episodes of Walking Dead so I’m prepared.
06/11/2018 at 2:03 pm #42179
“I’ve watched all the episodes of Walking Dead so I’m prepared.”
Funniest thing I heard today!
06/11/2018 at 2:03 pm #42181
Except for 100 gallons of Olive Oil… 🙂
06/11/2018 at 2:20 pm #42183
Any idea when the zombies are coming? Maybe I can sell them my items so I don’t have to list them. Oh, wait, but that would be off of eBay and incur FVFs! Or maybe they know how to use computers! Hmm! I wonder if anyone has ever successfully sold anything to zombies. This could be a whole new consumer base!!! I wonder what size they wear??
06/13/2018 at 8:49 am #42371
I always enjoy the irony of many preppers personal health and physical fitness compared to their “prepper supplies.”
I’m not a prepper, but if I were I’d be FAR more concerned with my level of physical and mental fitness than I would be my amount of guns, ammo, or rations.
As for us, we keep our pantry stocked with non-perishables that we normally eat. We could easily survive on packs of salmon, tuna, rice, beans, and vegetables easily for a couple weeks. I have no desire to “prep” for holing up for multiple years. Why? Because I have a firm grasp of reality and know if something bad enough to cause that kind of preparedness happens we’re screwed anyways.
06/13/2018 at 9:21 am #42373
“I’d be FAR more concerned with my level of physical and mental fitness than I would be my amount of guns, ammo, or rations.”
Amen Retro. I always laugh when I see that too…
Stuff runs out quick. Strong body and mind last a heck of a lot longer…and is more beneficial in everyday life too…
06/13/2018 at 2:34 pm #42405
- Location: Atlanta
Hey Retro WV: We have friends who are Mormons and they [and Mormons] are big preppers. When I asked how long they could go, they said about 7 years. They have metal shutters that go over all windows and doors from the inside and screw into place. Have 7 years of stocked food. Collect rain water in several 250 gallon tanks, eat from their own inventory to deplete older stock and replaces that with newer stock [first in first out method], has plenty of guns and thousands of rounds of ammo including automatic weapons [or semi auto] inclucing assault rifles, has flares, generators, basement panic room, cars with custom options built in like armored car [customized Escalade] 55 gal drums of fuel stored and all within a surburban sub-division. It is all hidden in special storage spaces and is totally inconspecuous.
Some people will be around long after you and I are gone after several weeks. he says the biggest threat will be the civil unrest, anarchy and total riots when those of us run out of everything after 2 to 4 weeks. That will be when I will be watching carefully. He said after several months we will be all dead or gone and his exterior surroundings will be less hazardous.
He sounded like the old Charleton Hestom movie Omega Man and a newer Will Smith movie called “Alone” [I think].
So even after diaster strikes, he says there will be “haves” and the “have nots”, but you will have to protect what you have if you are one of the “haves”.
Interesting to say the least.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art in Atlanta
06/13/2018 at 4:29 pm #42423
- Location: East TN
The problem with storing dehydrated food that long is that you have to eat 7 year old powdered food-like substances. Very unhealthy stuff IMHO. I guess the Mormons want to be the ones who repopulate the earth, lol. I’d rather kick off than try to survive a bunch of BS apocalypse nonsense.
06/13/2018 at 4:38 pm #42425
The guys in my county who are like this (big arsenals and years of food) are just so scared. Must be a tough way to live. This is why the best way to prepare/prevent civil unrest is to actually get involved with the community. The world is not as scary as some want us to believe.
06/11/2018 at 9:20 am #42128
Total Items in Store: 381
Items Sold: 8
Cost of Items Sold: $47 + 22 free shipping
Total Sales: $246
Highest Price Sold: $50 Textbook (ours)
Average Price Sold: $30
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $12
Number of items listed this week: 17
This week felt very slow, no action on several consecutive days, but numbers are pretty typical actually. Got back to listing as life was calmer even with a graduation. Should be a good week to slip in some listing and I tidied up and consolidated my new and used inventory. Lots of piles left but I definitely have made good progress. 🙂 Happy belated birthday Jay!
06/11/2018 at 9:58 am #42141
Total Items in Store: 2161
Items Sold: 49
Total Sales: $1353.19
Highest Price Sold: $133(Ralph Lauren Blazer – White) Paid $5 at an estate sale
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $249 (Goodwill and Estate Sales)
Great podcast. I loved you defining cheap vs frugal. Who doesn’t want to be frugal??
I had a nice sale of a coat for $680, once I shipped it I got a message from the buyer saying they did not buy the item.
I called my local post office and they were able to intercept the package and bring it back to me. What a relief. The person
opened a case saying their computer was taken over by a third party. I guess I don’t understand how that scam works if her
computer was truly hacked.
Returns have been a pain for sure. For some reason a bunch of my sales are by brand new people with no feedback. I already got a couple NAS cases that were truly just buyer remorse.
This week I helped my mom open an ebay store and helped her list a few items. She has some health issues and is not able to work so hopefully this will help her stay busy.
My listing this week was very weak, I am hoping to get my butt into gear this week.
06/11/2018 at 10:03 am #42143
Your numbers are always incredible. I hard to believe how far you guys have come in just the last three years? that we met you in Austin. Remember when you were worried you might not be able to replace your income at your last job?
We’ve had those big purchases where sellers say they were hacked. The only way the hack could work is if the hacker changes the shipping address. I often think the buyer had remorse or had a family member buy on their account. Its a bummer.
06/11/2018 at 10:27 am #42154
Thanks Jay, we have been working our butts off to build up our store. I really have to give you and Ryanne credit for giving me the courage to leave my full time job. You helped me “look at the numbers” and decide that it was the right move. 🙂 We can’t wait to be in a position to allow Edgar to leave his job as well. It is a hard decision because we do carry insurance for our kids and I use the heck out of our insurance as well. But we will get there for sure.
06/11/2018 at 10:04 am #42144
- Location: Naples, Fl
Good Morning to all!
6/3 – 6/9/18
EBay Store totommyto
Total store items: 530
Number of items sold: 15
eBay sales (not counting s/h): $567.15
Cost of items sold: $29
Consignment payouts: $47
Highest price sold: $100 – small metal industrial stool found at flea market for $5.00
Average price sold: $37.81
Money spent on new inventory: .50 cents
Number of items listed this week: 7
Etsy store Oldfleatoymarket
Total Store items: 491
Number of items sold: 4
Etsy sales (not counting s/h): $62
Cost of items sold: $6
Consignment payouts: 0
Highest price sold: vintage key – $25 from $1
Average price sold: $15.50
Money spent on new inventory: $2.00
Number of items listed this week: 5
Flea market flip, old toy assortment from a big vintage toy buyout not suited to list online – $25.00. (Bonus)
#1. Stupid Disney Princess dolls! I always confuse characters! Sent a Jasmine instead of an Esmeralda, corrected for $10 to ship the right doll, just let buyer keep the wrong doll, no biggee.
#2. Sold a doll house furniture lot, very careful, TOO careful packing, when buyer received claimed missing two (of the rare pieces!). After the email dance, the experienced buyer/ seller found the elusive pieces! Fishing for a partial refund? Not sure. To be honest, I used a ton of packing material and believe the small pieces were lost in it all. All fixed, no loss.
Finally did some real scavenging yesterday, lady in our community moving, spent $105, lots of freebies for me & wife included, will be back.
About 1/2 my sales or so are shipping PRIOIRTY with the guaranteed 3 day. Buyers are bumping up shipping costs more than a couple of dollars to do this. It is beginning to feel like some of these sales are because of the 3 day guaranteed shipping. Is it more than a feeling? Not enough data yet. Certainly come Holiday time, it will be a fact.
Now to the Podcast…
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by totommyto.
06/11/2018 at 10:07 am #42147
- Location: SEPA
Belated Happy Birthday, Jay!!!
06/11/2018 at 10:41 am #42156
Marie in FloridaParticipant
Total Items In Store: 356
Items Sold: 1
Total Sales: $ 0 They never paid
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 11 Piazza Sempione & Thomas Pink
Number of Items listed this week: 25
Yeah, the dreaded made $0 week
Weird thing that I have seen over and over again-When I come back from time away I get home, change my shipping time back to normal and get listing. Then, after doing those positive things I usually have a precipitous fall in sales. No idea why. One would expect an uptick. Bracing for continued soft month. Hubbie has a conference this week and I’m going with. So I’ve got 5 day handling as of today. We’ll enjoy ourselves, but June numbers will be very sad. Maybe July?
06/11/2018 at 11:23 am #42158
- Location: Virginia Beach
Summer sales remind me of the Wah Wah Wahhh music that NPR’s Marketplace plays when the market tanks… 🙁
Been selling LOTS of low dollar items, and some of my older items though, so happy about that. And still fielding lots of questions – some about the items, as well as the usual “Can you do better on price?” I invite anyone to make an offer, and wish they’d just do so in the first place to speed up the process. Also, finding it a good time to shop on eBay, since sellers are eager to make sales. I’ve bought two sweaters, and some other items in recent weeks, at great prices.
06/03/18 – 06/09/18
Total Items In Store: 935
Items Sold: 16
Total Sales: $356.64
Cost of Items Sold: $22.50
Highest Price Sold: $80 – Large Gray Leather Coach Tote Bag Purse
Average Price Sold: $22.29
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $41.59
Number of Items listed this week: 15
06/11/2018 at 6:38 pm #42231
This is a good point. It’s a great time to make best offers on Ebay as a buyer.
06/11/2018 at 11:24 am #42159
Re your comment in the podcast on all these free shipping, free returns questions.
99% of my listings have calculated shipping (and Canada Post is kinda pricey compared to USPS). I have 3-day handling. And I take returns but buyer pays shipping. Dunno how things would be if my policies were more aggressive but I’m doing OK.
06/11/2018 at 11:43 am #42160
Hi R&J – Thanks for the show as always. I’m curious about your mystery project….. It’s not like you guys to keep secrets 🙂
Here are my numbers for the week:
Total Items in Store: 2355
Items Sold: 30
Total Sales: $759
Cost of Items Sold: $67
Average Price Sold: $25.3
Average Cost of Item: $2.26
Highest Price Item Sold: $94.95 Starrett Combination Square Set (bought for $10 at an estate sale)
Number of items listed this week: 69
YTD Sales: $19297
YTD sales compared to this time last year: +18%
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 332
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 177
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 131
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.27%
# of Hats Sold: 19 (63% of sales)
Just an average week for me. It felt slow but the numbers show it was normal.
I was going to switch on free returns but I decided to try business policies at the same time since they worked for you. When I opted-in, I got an error message that it didn’t work (and that someone from ebay would be looking at the problem) but it’s still in an error state so I haven’t switched on free returns yet. My TRS+ discount is only about $25/month these days so it’s not a huge incentive to have free returns.
Also inn regard to free returns, eBay has probably proven that it boosts sales by some %. For sake of argument, let’s says 10%. For eBay, a change that increases sales by 10% is huge but for the average eBay seller, a 10% increase isn’t noticeable at all. The weekly swings in sales are easily more than 10% so there’s no way to know what factor is causing the change. I don’t think the average eBay seller could ever accumulate enough data to know whether free returns makes a difference to them personally. For some sellers it probably will. For others it probably wont.
Hope every has a great week.
06/11/2018 at 12:10 pm #42162
I agree that eBay Corporate probably sees itself as a giant store. A big spreadsheet where they are constantly trying to tweak numbers to make more profit.
But as you said, eBay is really an ecosystem of individual stores that have requirements that eBay most likely doesn’t put as much interest in. I can imagine its a difficult to balance to ensure that an eBay buyer has the same buying experience no matter what store they buy from VS realizing that every seller has different abilities and resources to make that experience happen.
06/11/2018 at 6:42 pm #42233
I can’t find it, but Ebay at least briefly sent a short promo video to me saying the average sales bump was over 20%. I’m certain that is unlikely.
06/11/2018 at 1:07 pm #42172
Happy belated birthday Jay!
My numbers for the week of 6/3 – 6/9/18
Total items in store: 211 eBay & 144 Etsy
Items sold: 19 (17 on eBay & 2 on Etsy)
Cost of items sold: Approximately $10.00
Total sales: $338.90
Highest Price Sold: $39.95 Dansko Nina Sandals
Average Price Sold: $17.84
Returns: 0, but one buyer had her address wrong so I got that item RTS and had to reship it. So that cost me $6.00 additional in postage (she was not a native English speaker and I felt it would be difficult to explain that she should pay me again to reship the item).
$ spent on new inventory: $17.50
Number of items listed: 35
Funny that you spoke about your Dyson vacuum as an example of the difference between cheap and frugal. My husband’s business (before we retired in our late 40’s) was a retail and internet business selling mainly vacuum cleaners (and also air purifiers, humidifiers and the like).
We sold only the higher end brands; mainly Miele and Dyson, and it was a struggle to educate some customers on the cost per use idea. We’d say “If you buy X brand for $60 and use it for one year and then throw it away, it’s actually way more expensive than buying Y brand for $200 and having it for 10 years” but some people didn’t get it. It was interesting to see them come back within a year and buy what we’d suggested originally – after the cheap vacuum they bought elsewhere broke so quickly. It does pay off to pony up for quality, now if I could just apply that to my eBay inventory buys!
Have a great week everyone!
06/11/2018 at 3:48 pm #42198
We were definitely “cheap” before we were “frugal”. Both Ryanne and I have bought plenty of items just to save money that cost us more money in the end (old cars that needed repairs, cheap cookware, cheap tools). I once bought a cheap, old John Deere tractor that I was having to repair every other week.
We now know that paying more for something that will always work is the way to go.
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by Jay.
06/11/2018 at 3:49 pm #42200
06/11/2018 at 5:48 pm #42218
Curious now why you needed a tractor. Mower attachment?
Didja part it out?
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by simplicio.
06/11/2018 at 6:10 pm #42222
Sorry, it wasnt a farm tractor, but a bigger sized riding mower (though you could haul things around with it too). We sold it on craigslist for what we paid for it. Happy to let it go.
06/11/2018 at 3:19 pm #42191
I’ve only listened to the first 10 minutes of the podcast so far, but I have to say that you 2 probably have your s**t (self-censoring myself) together better than just about anyone on the internet that is open about what they do with reselling. It is almost refreshing to hear about the anxiety & doubt from people as put together as you both are.
It’s not good, but it’s a realistic feeling for what feels fine one moment, but then feels like a self-destructing roller coaster the next. It’s fine. It’s rough. It’s disorienting. It’s so many mixed things. It’s definitely not a straight course in life that is just “oh, I’m getting a paycheck.” At least it’s interesting.
Also, happy late birthday, Jay!
06/11/2018 at 3:51 pm #42202
I assume any one that runs a successful business is always keeping one eye on the next thing that could go wrong. Overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer.
06/11/2018 at 3:55 pm #42206
You always look to cover risk. You can’t avoid risk, you look to manage it the best that you can.
Back to insurance…this is why our business insurance covers so much for so little. For $500/yr, we have outstanding coverage if we lost ALL our inventory. We don’t get our time back, but we get the cash to repurchase inventory.
What are your biggest risks…and how can you manage them.
You sleep good at night too…
06/11/2018 at 3:22 pm #42192
The zombies better stay away until I get my daughter married on Saturday! Not a horrible eBay week for June. Since it’s sale season, I have been spending more on inventory and creating new death piles, but garage/estate sales usually slow down a bit around the 4th of July, so I will have time to catch up. Selling a nice combo of both older items and newly listed stuff. Interesting comments about worrying too much, the bride and groom are two of the biggest worry warts I know-i might make them listen to that part!
eBay June 3-9
Total Sales. $159.95. (One bonanza sale)
Items in store. 1044
# sold. 13
Avg sale. $12.30
Ret/unpd/canc. 1 cancelled
$ spent on new. $23.95
# listed. 17
Highest sale-$40 oriental dragon finished needlepoint (cost $3.25)
06/11/2018 at 3:54 pm #42205
Congrats on your daughters wedding. A big milestone!
06/11/2018 at 3:23 pm #42193
- Location: Sussex County, Delaware
Total Items in Store: 1436
Items Sold: 23
Cost of Items Sold: $91.26
Total Sales: $808.48
Highest Price Sold: $119 (oval cotton area rug)
Average Price Sold: $35.15
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $280.51
Number of items listed this week: 62
My sales bounced back this week after last week’s low numbers. Hopefully that continues thru the summer. I had no returns this week so I am reluctantly keeping the free returns on, for now.
Also enjoyed the frugal podcast. I hope everyone has a good week of scavenging and sales.
06/11/2018 at 3:32 pm #42195
- Location: PA
Personally the free returns policy has not been good. My returns are up and sales are down although it is summer so expected down anyway. I don’t think Ebay has thought this through. I usually sell big at Halloween. Masks, props, etc. I can no longer do that. What’s to stop buyers from returning all their masks the day after Halloween? I use to cut off shipping two week before to prevent that but with the new policy, I would have to stop selling in September when most of my sales had been in the first two weeks of Halloween.
06/11/2018 at 3:53 pm #42204
That’s a greta point. What about the people who buy formal wear just to “rent” for an event. According to the eBay rules, the buyers can certainly return for a full refund.
06/11/2018 at 3:48 pm #42199
“What’s to stop buyers from returning all their masks the day after Halloween?”
By the belief that people are generally good.
Wal-Mart and Target have this issue now. “Renters” that buy big screen TVs the week before the Super Bowl, and then get them returned the week after. Same was true for video cameras (bought on Thursday/Friday, returned after the weekend or after a 2 week vacation).
Bad people do bad things…but most people are good…
06/11/2018 at 4:51 pm #42210
RR Store Week June 3-9, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1597
Items Sold: 35
Cost of Items Sold: $60.64
Total Sales: $1261.17
Highest Price Sold: $179.99 (50’s gabardine gas station jacket)
Average Price Sold: $36.03
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $7
Number of items listed this week: 16
So crazy. Despite a serious lack of listing, I still had one of my best weeks of the year. Lots of higher end items, including some sales north of $100 bucks. A few weeks ago I bought a bunch of Egyptian and Lebanese records at an estate sale, then listed them nice and high. I sold a few of them this week; $50, $40, etc. Paid a buck a piece.
I’m finally getting on board with meal prep. I started P90X two weeks ago, so meal prepping will help keep my diet on track. I’m already vegetarian, but this weeks plan is mostly vegan. It’s a four day plan, so tonight I do all the cooking. I’m actually looking forward to it! This new schedule allows me to get so much more done. Shoulda done it long ago.
Here’s to another great week, for me and for the rest of us scavengers.
06/11/2018 at 5:05 pm #42213
Congrats on all the sales. Yes, meal prepping is a good way to stay healthy.
06/11/2018 at 7:46 pm #42240
Thanks Jay. And happy belated birthday.
One (possibly stupid) question about meal prep: since you two do it bento box style, how do you reheat the hot stuff and keep the cold stuff cold? A separate plate? I bought individual containers for each dish, side dish, and salad/cold stuff. This is all very new to me.
06/11/2018 at 5:50 pm #42220
Week of June 3 – 9
* Total Items in Store: 1190
* Items Sold: 24
* Cost of Items Sold: $97.81 + $17 Commission
* Total Sales: $622
* Highest Price Sold: $150 for Pewter Seashell hanging lamp
* Average Price Sold: $25.90
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
* Number of items listed this week: 38
I had quite an awesome week, but keep in mind the following: 1. I had high COGS due to paying higher prices for a few items & a couple of mistakes in there, and 2. About 4 weeks ago I sold 5 items for less than $200 so it’s kind of evening out. In general, though, I’m very happy. I hope it continues this way through the summer!
06/11/2018 at 7:57 pm #42241
Awesome work guys. I completely agree with the statement that you are not selling anymore with the free shipping. The rep told me that they saw a 30% increase. Definitely not… But on a different note I watched a youtube I have watched for a while. An artist in New York named Jimmy Diresta. Anywho he did a video of the stuff he found on the streets of New York, totally thought of you two. Heres the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epBIl4zDk8c Thanks again, silently watching every week.
06/11/2018 at 7:58 pm #42242
Store Week 6/3/18 – 6/9/18
Total items in store: 1700
Items sold: 16
Cost of items sold: $24.38
Total sales: $698.89
Highest price sold: $84.99 (Filson Vest)
Average price sold: $43.68
Money spent on new inventory this week: $48.46
A bit busier last week with a nice average price sold. I’ve now sold 2 items for a total of about $125 out of the big closets full of men’s clothes that I purchased for $46. I keep reminding myself of that as I wade through the piles yet to be listed!
06/11/2018 at 9:38 pm #42244
Thanks Jay! I will smile when I sit at the reception and look at all the scavenged books I got her for the decorations!
06/12/2018 at 9:20 am #42266
Good Morning, Ryann, Jay and All here is what I fear all the recent changes on ebay are leading.
eBay Plus is a relatively new subscription feature on eBay that provides members with exclusive access to features such as premium shipping or free return shipments.
eBay Plus works in many regards just like Amazon Prime. eBay customers pay a yearly fee to become eBay Plus members, and benefit from the features that the membership provides them with for as long as they remain members.
You may not have heard of the feature up until now; the main reason for that is that it is only available on eBay Germany and no other eBay marketplace.
Would Love to see what you think?
Thanks For All you both Do. Alan
06/12/2018 at 9:23 am #42269
Thanks Alan. We did discuss eBay Plus on a recent podcast (two weeks ago?). It’s also starting up in Australia.
I dont hate the idea, but have not seen any real detail. The biggest change would be offering free shipping in return for a discount on Final Value fees. No one has said what the discount on FVF would be.
06/12/2018 at 9:23 am #42270
Alan: Depending on how it is structured, I would love to see an eBay Plus program. Good for buyers, and good for sellers that can (and choose) to meet the requirements of eBay Plus.
They have touched on this on eBay Radio. Depending on how it works in Europe, I would expect us to see it here soon.
On my list to talk about with eBay folks at eBay Open.
06/12/2018 at 10:17 am #42275
Has Griff or anyone mentioned the discount on Final Value Fees eBay would give if a seller chose to do free shipping? That’s really the key piece of info needed.
06/12/2018 at 10:28 am #42277
Nope. He is usually pretty tight lipped on details until formally announced. I just like to listen for any new directions coming…
06/12/2018 at 1:38 pm #42285
I am in the 10X Gross Return 4% STR crowd. This model has worked for me and I see no reason for me to change at this point. What I do see changing is the scaling part. To scake, I would just keep doing what I am doing, just more on a full time basis instead of part time and hire more people. I would just max out at 20,000 listings and this would be about 8X of where I am now. I would gross about $300K per year. I would have 4 employees working about 20 hours each a week. 1 for reasearch. 1 for photos, 1 for listing, 1 for shipping but would cross train so each one could to all 4 areas. I would have everyone cone in at the same tome for 4 hours a day, M-F. I would also rent or purchase a building. I would have them list about 200 items a week for about 40 weeks (December and July would be down time except for shipping). At my estimate, I would have to get items for about 16 hours a week. The rest would just be managing the process. In this model, I would net after taxes about $10,000 per month. Not bad for only working 16 hours a week for 40 weeks a year with some management tossed in.
06/12/2018 at 2:40 pm #42291
Mark: Sounds feasible, but I would have some things to cover off:
1a) At 20,000 listings, you have some serious issues to deal with. First is tight inventory control. You can’t have unlisted items, and you REALLY can’t have listed items that can’t be found. You need to have an Inventory Nazi (my title at old places I worked as I was OCD on Steroids about the system being accurate with what was on the floor).
1b) You also have to ensure that your shipping personnel can quickly find each item. And when something is put away, it is in the right location, and it doesn’t move unless you move it in the system.
1c) You also have a risk of obsolescence. At a low STR and high inventory, you have items listed that were purchased years ago. Make sure it is still in good condition when it sells (climate control, covered and protected) as well as something that people still want. What sells today may not sell tomorrow. That is the biggest risk of high inventory with low STR.
1d) Solid backup system (I think you are on WonderLister). Make sure it can handle the data, including photos, if something goes wrong. You don’t want to have to redo 20,000 listings. Plus making sure your relisting, refunding, etc. is handled.
2) You may find it tough to find employees to fit the bill. Not always easy to find people that want to work only 20 hours a week. And then having them not work at all for 2 months of the year may make it hard to keep them around. I would consider a contract basis where they take the items with them to work on. This works great for our photographer, who has his own studio. We do a “drop” twice a week, where he drops of the photos and items he took from the last batch, and picks up items for the next batch. I have thought to do this with listing as well (Lister picks up the items from us, does the listing, drops off to photographer, then photographer drops back to us).
All things that can be handled, and I’m sure you have thought this out. Just the things that come to mind for me when I think of that level of inventory and that type of business.
PS – If you lived closer, I would manage it for you. 🙂
06/12/2018 at 3:50 pm #42295
- Location: Wheeling, WV
June 3 – 9
Total Items in Store: 1596
Items Sold: 20
Total Sales : $597
* below yearly average of $773
* below 2017 total week sales of $701
Highest Price: $75 (Pair of Sheffield Sterling Silver Handle Cake Knife and Pie Server)
Average Price: $30
Cost of Goods Sold: $41
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $10
Number of New Items Listed this Week: 42
Great podcast! Especially the first part about worry and stress. I need to make sure my partner listens to this one. She will stress herself out to the point of a nervous breakdown sometimes over the smallest things or stuff that she has no control over. I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I’m chill almost to a fault. Maybe that’s why we make a good team? LOL
I came down with another nasty bug last week. I’m still battling it. Sore throat, ear infection, and now I just found out I have pink eye. I just can’t win. This is the worst possible time for be to be sick with all the packing I have to do for the move to the new house. But the good news is, we finally closed the deal today! What a stressful event! Contrary to what I mentioned above, even I was stressed out!
Sales were soft last week, but that’s just fine by me. I’ve got so much going on in my life at the moment that I don’t think I could deal with the 5-10 sales a day that I was getting a couple months ago. Starting now for a few weeks, I’m even going to stop listing in order to focus on the move and the minor repairs that the new place needs. I fact, I’m thinking about turning my store off maybe tomorrow until I get my new workspace set up just for peace of mind. It would be my luck that something breaks on the truck and then sells before I can notice.
06/12/2018 at 4:00 pm #42300
Congrats on the house closing. It’s a good feeling to have you own spaces that you can set up the way you want. Hope you have some serious inventory systems planned.
06/12/2018 at 4:06 pm #42302
- Location: Wheeling, WV
Thanks, Jay! We have some great ideas for inventory. With the amount of space in the basement alone, we’ll be able to operate so much better, and not have to be constantly surrounded by inventory in our day to day living space. I took a video of what I currently have to work with before I tear everything down. I’ll make another video showcasing my new space once it’s set up, then I’ll post them here.
06/12/2018 at 3:51 pm #42296
Thanks for your feedback. I am no where close to getting to this point, but this is how I visualize my final state for ebay. When I reach that point, I could go off and do other things as well.
I have to deal with all the issues you stated now, but I get your point. If I dont have a good process to handle it now, it will grow out of control at that size. I have a very good inventory system, but even so, an item does get lost every so often. I know i should take a full inventory check to ensure this doesn’t happen, but that is very daunting right now as a part timer.
So, my take away is to make sure on my way up to this level, I take the steps to solve these issues by putting processes into place.
Thanks again for your input. It is so easy as a small business owner to come up with plans. But there is often no one to check your ideas and challenge your assumptions. This forum is a good place for that sort of constructive feedback. Thanks again.
06/12/2018 at 4:00 pm #42299
Anytime Mark. And it is always good to think like you are. Ironic that your goal is a 10x inventory level where you are now. Something I have heard a lot (and I do try to do) is to imagine what it would take to grow by 10x. How would you do that? How would you source, list, ship, do admin work, store, etc? It is a great exercise on what it takes to go REALLY big, how you can do it, what you would do. It stretches your mind in ways the day-to-day grind doesn’t.
PS – On the inventory, try cycle counts. Instead of doing it ALL at once, mark off your inventory area into 12 sections. Then count one section each month. Or divide into 52 sections, and count one each week. You still count every area once per year, but not as daunting.
PSS – And on your comment about plans…Amen. And plans are great, but execution is everything. The best part about Veronica is she is great on execution. I can do the plans…I was paid to do them! But sometimes taking that first step is tough. She is great at starting without the need for a plan. We work well together… 🙂
06/12/2018 at 6:42 pm #42331
The cycle counts may work. That is a lot less daunting to think about.
“execution is everything” – yes, very true. My problem right now is I can’t totally control my time and my lister’s time so plans can slip.
My plan is to take baby steps to get to my goal. In the end, the goal may change, but that is the goal right now.
I think I can fit 6000-7000 (maybe more) items in my house, basement, and garage. This is the safe place for me. 1. No external storage to deal with or pay for. 2. I can easily get to my inventory anytime day or night for questions, shipping, etc. 3. My costs are low.
I will stay at that point for a while and decide what I want to do and stash away money from my regular job and that. At some point I will need to decide if I want it to stay that way or grow bigger. Part of that decision will be if I want to go full time at it or not. I can still outsource listing, photos etc while at home which is what I am doing right now.
So, I will take it step by step, develop my processes, stash some money and decide what I want to do. At some point it will just make sense to quit my job. As Dave Ramsey says (about transitioning from your full-time job to your own company), it is like being in a boat, the closer you are to the dock, the easier it is to jump off and land safely. Meaning, if you make $5,000 \ month now at your real job, the closer you can get your company income to $5,000 \ month the easier the transition will be. So, that is one of my short term goals, make from ebay what I make from my regular job each month. At that point the world of opportunity opens up and I just have to decide what I want to do when I grow up.
06/13/2018 at 7:48 am #42360
Mark: Totally agree, especially with what Dave Ramsey said. I think a good target is 70%. When your side job is 70% of your full time job, then it is a good time to jump in.
Good luck! I’m pulling for you!
06/12/2018 at 7:54 pm #42334
Jay, I’m not sure Germany and Australia work the exact same way on this, and—IF—it comes to the USA, I imagine there might be some differences as well. So, UNTIL and UNLESS it launches here, I doubt eBay will provide any details or even substantial hints.
06/12/2018 at 7:59 pm #42335
But its weird that we (or maybe just me?) cant figure out what those numbers are in the eBay Plus program in Germany. How much of a discount do those sellers get to join the program?
06/12/2018 at 8:37 pm #42337
Discount on the final value fee
Applies only to sellers who offer 0 day handling for all their plus listings: For eBay Plus transactions, they will be granted a discount of 20% on the final value fee.
06/12/2018 at 9:14 pm #42338
Now we’re talking.
–You also have to offer Free Returns:
Free (domestic) returns within 1 month or longer – eBay provides buyers with free-of-charge return labels
–If implemented the same way in the US, I think you’d have to ship Priority since it has to get there fast:
Free, fast domestic shipping (1 to max. 2 business days)
–So let’s say you got 20% off your FVF. An item sells for $10. FVF is 12%. So that’s $1.20. 20% discount would be 24-cents back to you. Did I do the math correctly? That’s seems like a weak incentive to ship for free.
06/13/2018 at 8:10 am #42363
Jay: I think for us, we would do it, and our net profit per item would be the same.
We already do Same Day Handling and Free Returns. We can do Free Shipping (just adding the cost in to the purchase price). If we have to go to Priority rather than First Class, the increase of FVF to 20% makes the net profit the same.
We already always ship shoes, jeans, suits, and a some hard goods via Priority. Doing ALL hard goods via Priority (vs FedEx) could get pricey for buyers.
Anyway, looking at First Class vs Priority:
Sales Price (Including Shipping) – $24
Shipping Cost -$4
FVF (9%) – $2.16
FVF Discount (10%) – ($.22)
COGS – $2.70
Net Profit – $15.36
Sales Price (Including Shipping) – $26.90
Shipping Cost -$6.90
FVF (9%) – $2.42
FVF Discount (20%) – ($.48)
COGS – $2.70
Net Profit – $15.36
PS – Our FVF are usually 9%, then 3% for PayPal fees.
The real question would be if there is an increase in sales velocity when selling through eBay Plus, and how our return rate is affected. So far, Free Returns hasn’t impacted us at all, so if that stays constant, I would assume an increase in sales velocity through this program.
If buyers are paying for this service, and they can filter their search results to sellers that are part of eBay Plus, then that keeps us in front of as many buyers as possible.
It would be worth it for us to experiment with it.
06/13/2018 at 8:13 am #42364
–Yep, I assume sellers would just add $x to their prices to cover the Free Shipping just like they do on Amazon.
–Are you seeing more sales now that you have Free Returns? That’s the real question for all of us. Are we making more sales by offering all these perks.
06/13/2018 at 9:42 am #42377
Hard to say if Free Returns is generating more sales. Here is what I have for data:
Our STR for the past 8 weeks (when we started Free Returns) – 16%
Our STR for the 8 weeks before that for comparison – 16%
That would say that there was no impact. But…
In 2017, our STR for these same 8 weeks was 20%
In 2017, our STR for the 8 weeks prior to that was 23%
So in 2017, we saw a drop in STR from 23% to 20% during the past 16 weeks, but this year we didn’t have a drop.
In 2016, our STR for these same 8 weeks was 15%
In 2016, our STR for the 8 weeks prior to that was 17%
So for the past two years, this was the time of year where our STR would drop, but in 2018, there is no drop.
Veronica and I are discussing this now. I think there is a component of a Free Shipping boost in there. She believes it is more due to what we are selling (changing our model to add items now that we didn’t sell in the past). I think she brings up a great point here. I just can’t quantify what Product Mix is bringing to the table.
This is why I starting breaking the store down into more sections (Clothes, Shoes, Hard Goods), so that I can get history on the pieces of the business and what they bring to the table. But I don’t have that data for last year.
I think Free Returns is helping, but I can’t truly quantify…
06/13/2018 at 8:21 am #42370
T Salt, I agree, IF something like this comes to the USA, I’d review it and experiment with it.
At this point, given that ANY buyer already has access to Guaranteed Delivery, fast and free shipping , and, soon, more free return shipping from more sellers….where is the buyer’s incentive to PAY for “ebay Plus USA”?
I think eBay would probably need to sweeten the pot, with various exclusive deals for Plus members….
06/13/2018 at 9:19 am #42372
MyCottage: Very good point. I think they would have to look at how many sellers would comply with what an eBay Plus program would require first. Not everyone does (or will do) the main points we see now:
Same Day Handling
I think maybe 20% or less of all sellers on eBay would do those four things. I could be wrong, just spitballing, but I know about 30% do Free Shipping in Clothing, about 40%-50% do Free Returns. This is based on some research I did on the site. Not NEARLY enough data, but just what I can see when I play around to get a feeling.
I will definitely talk with some folks at eBay about this next month.
06/12/2018 at 9:44 pm #42343
Store: 400 items
Number of Items Sold: 8
Total Sales: $255.79
Cost of Goods Sold: $36
Highest Sale: Madewell Wide Leg Jeans $59 (very on trend)
Stray Observation: I had to do an ebay return as a buyer this week. Item came to me with stains on it. I stupidly clicked reason “arrived damaged.” It then said seller had 7 days to respond to my return. Well, crap, that is annoying. So I call eBay. I say “change my reason.” They said “we can’t. You need to wait 7 days.” Seller finally accepted the return. It made me annoyed – this is why we can’t have nice things! Sellers who wait 5 days to respond to a return are patterns that create these “free returns, buyers are mad!” culture. Rant over. 🙂
06/13/2018 at 12:15 am #42344
06/13/2018 at 12:44 am #42345
Jay, ebay Plus is one of those things, I think it’s good to know about in a general sort of way, so as sellers we’re not completely blindsided if it comes here.
But it’s also one of those things I see no point in studying closely because 1. It may never come here (at least as a buyer subscription service), and 2. even if it does, there’s no reason to think it will be identical with either the German plan or the Australian plan.
I’m content to wait. IF it ever comes here, THEN I’ll spend time figuring out the details.
06/13/2018 at 9:57 am #42379
Not a bad week, still quiet days.
Total Items in Store: 370 (small fry!)
Items Sold: 8
Cost of Items Sold: $33
Total Sales: $139.3
Highest Price Sold: $60.00 vintage cooler – 70% Best Offer
Average Price Sold: $17.44 (not far off the usual)
Returns: 0 (don’t take em!)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: ~ $12
Number of items listed this week: ~ 5
Turned down a small handful of lowball offers, quiet in general.
Lesson learned on the cooler, despite having plenty of “free time” and supplies on hand it took quite a while to pack – and the amount of packing material probably ate into my meager profit. Amazingly, it went parcel post and delivered all the way across the country in one business day (Dropped at PO Saturday, delivered Monday). THE PO IS GREAT!
Feel a general slackening, decided to pull down at least 100 items this week for a refresh – mostly glass, lower price items, and anything that had no action for a year. Since there’s time now, will revise or restart as needed – though some of this stuff is dead.
oh, Happy birthday to Jay!
06/13/2018 at 10:38 am #42380
Items in Store 861
Items Sold 15
Total Sales $411.50
Total Profit $359.40
Average profit $23.96
Average sales price $27.43
No sales, no listing. 6 items sold for BIN full price. I often think of strategies to increase my STR aside from listing more. What if I run sales? What if I lower all my prices and turn off BIN? In the end I’m not sure what to do, because each week is a different cross section of buyers wanting different things. I have bought into the idea that ebay does operate a form of a rolling blackout on listing visibility. Unfortunately ebay doesn’t give us much data to support this.
When looking at my impressions (appearances in search results), My sales have improved over the last week. Coincidentally, my impressions are also up 10%. I have changed nothing about the listings, and I will actually have less listings each week because I am not listing. So… why are my impressions higher, and why are my sales higher as a result? Either ebay “cracked open the faucet” a little more, a new cross section of sellers happened to be more interested in my items AND my higher prices, or a mixture of both.
T-satt touch on his approach to STR (sell through rate) by the fact that he uses a 5X return versus a 10X return when pricing. I know based on my orginal model that if I competitively price my items to comparable listings that I will raise my STR.
I just back and crunched my numbers from July of 2015 which is when I looked at my monthly sales and said “holy crap I could do this for a living”. I had three weeks in July where I sold 19, 24, and 21 items respectively. At that time I only kept an active listing count of somewhere between 80 and 100. I was running around a 25% weekly STR! I only bought items that had a lot of sales and I priced near the bottom end of current listing sales prices so I was competitive.
Anyways, back to my point. I’m not sure what to do because each week things change even if I do nothing. So for now I let things ride until I can consistently list again. When that time comes later this month I will continue my policy of pricing high with best offer. I’ll save the churn & burn for if the day comes I’m full time.
06/13/2018 at 11:46 am #42385
Retro: Regarding boosting sales…always a bit of a mystery. We had a 2 day span recently where one day was $107 and the next day was $772. No idea why.
I do think Promoted Listings give us a boost. Since we started, we usually have at least one sale on Promoted Listings each day. But I think momentum is what it gives you. Since we are 30 day listings, once a Promoted Listing ends, when it is relisted, it is no longer promoted unless you rerun the campaign and add it back in. I usually do this once a week.
I got busy recently and our Promoted Listings fell off, and we had a few days recently without a Promoted Listing sale…and our numbers have held. Hmmm…
I have seen this with sales. We will sometimes run a 10% off sale when things slow down. The sale will only be for a few days. We seem to get a boost when the sale is going, then after it ends, we still seem to keep momentum.
I have talked before about momentum seems to be a thing to go for. When one suit sells, suddenly others start to sell. When one brand starts to sell, then that same brand sells more.
Interesting that you check out traffic as well. I keep the daily data in a spreadsheet. I was just talking with Veronica that although our Impressions are up significantly year over year, our page views are down. So we have more of what is getting searched, but are getting less clicks on our items. So…pricing too high? Photos not capturing buyers?
That is a mystery to me right now…
06/13/2018 at 10:47 am #42382
My ebay room clean out is progressing along this week. Sometimes it is so hard to start when you have a room that has been completely ransacked and just piled into over a crappy winter. I picked a corner and went until that corner was clean even if I wrecked other areas more in the process.
Then I picked another area and neatly placed things into the already cleaned area if needed. I’ve made quite an improvement but I have a long way to go before I have all of my stations set up.
I acquired a heavy duty double rod clothing rack from my in-laws yesterday. My plan is for one side to be incoming (needs inspection and steaming/ironing) and the other side to be “ready to photograph”. I’ll also have three large bins for shoes labeled this way: “Detailed Cleaning”, “light cleaning”, “ready to photograph”. My wife has requested that if I have a form of visual system such as this then she can come in throughout the day and take photos. The less thinking she has to do, the more productive she can be. My 11 year old daughter can also work with this system and I can pay her per item to prep items for photos.
I’d love to just take a week off of work and focus on getting this all set up perfectly. I don’t think my family would appreciate me burning our vacation week on ebay though. Ebay is supposed to fund our vacation – not steal our vacation! Lol!
06/13/2018 at 1:12 pm #42389
Ryanne: In one of your podcasts you were upset that Walmart only sold small containers of baking soda. I see they now sell a 12 lb bag of baking soda.
06/13/2018 at 1:56 pm #42394
- Location: Surprise, AZ
Total Items in Store: 53
Items Sold: 3
Cost of Items Sold: $15.32
Total Sales: $110
Highest Price Sold: $50 sealed Lego set (bought 3 at $15 ea)
Average Price Sold: $37
Been a weekly listener for years and long time lurker. I was planning to wait till I had around 500 items in my store before posting weekly numbers, as our numbers are paltry compared to most here. But I thought it may be good to start posting them now, and let everyone witness our growth. And also it will serve as some accountability for us to get listing.
I have a full time job as an engineer and have been hobby selling on eBay since 1996. My wife and I eBay in our spare time and have talked about building the business to something more substantial for years, but never execute on it. Our activity ebbs and flows, and we have been Top Rated until this past year when we kind of put eBaying on the back burner. Our goal is to start listing daily, and build up to 500 items by the end of summer for the Christmas season.
Despite our low volume, I feel like over the last 22 years I’ve figured out how to do this very well. Just need the motivation to turn plans into action, and build the habit of listing daily. Our goal isn’t to turn this into a full time business, but just to make an extra few hundred bucks a week to put towards debts, increase savings, and fun money. My wife left her career 7 years ago when our son was born, and hasn’t returned to work. So this is a perfect business to run from home, if we could ever get off our butts and do it. So I just wanted to introduce ourselves (I did a while back in the Introduce Yourself forum), and start posting our numbers so we could track our growth with the family here.
06/13/2018 at 2:59 pm #42408
Welcome to the single income Engineer household club at Scavengerlife. There’s a bunch of Engineers and nurses here, as Jay has joked about on the podcast. Lol! Next you’ll probably tell me you and your wife homeschool your son. Plenty homeschoolers here as well.
06/13/2018 at 3:27 pm #42412
Rob: “And also it will serve as some accountability for us to get listing.” — Absolutely!!!
“Just need the motivation to turn plans into action, and build the habit of listing daily.” — That is the best thing you can do. Execution is the key!
Welcome to the party!
06/13/2018 at 3:44 pm #42416
@rob – your life story sounds similar to mine – working in Engineering, and with the ebbs and flows of life, so goes up and down the number of listings we have on eBay.
Last year we went from about 200 listings up to 1200 in a few months (about the timeframe of July-October) to gear up for the holiday season. We had an excellent Christmas! We are back down to just over 100 listings and haven’t listed much lately as I’ve been tasked with a job that has me working up to 80 hours a week. I actually dread it when I hear the cha-ching noise when working on this project! But the overtime $ is great and once things slow down again, I’ll be listing on eBay.
I think it would be hard for me to replace my job income with eBay full time, but it is my plan when I retire and have my pension to back me up. When I’ve been completely out of work, eBay has saved us and kept all the bills paid until the next job came around.
Good luck, and look forward to hearing more about your journey!
06/13/2018 at 4:29 pm #42422
- Location: Surprise, AZ
Inglewood, we do sound very similar. I do imagine myself eBaying during retirement years. I liked what Jay said a while back, that the notion of retiring and just golfing all day is probably more our parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Our generation will probably just find something else to do to bring in income, to supplement our social security/pension/retirement. That made me feel better, because at 43, I’m nowhere near where I need to be for retirement savings. That’s the plan once we get eBay up and running, to be able to kick up 401k contributions a few more %.
06/13/2018 at 7:01 pm #42427
In keeping with the prepped thread here are two novels with an end of the world as we know it theme:
One Second After by William Forstchen a fairly realistic portrayal of life after an emp bomb renders technology useless.
Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling more of a fantasy premise, but same scenario. Strange events change the laws of physics render technology and firearms unusable.
Isn’t it handy having a retired librarian as part of the forum?
06/13/2018 at 9:22 pm #42431
After Postal Workers, Librarians are our favorite people!
But I think it lacks imagination to think society would just crumble: all or nothing. Whats much more interesting is that capitalism will continue to (de)evolve to its logical extremes and the world is broken up into corporate sovereignties. Technology is supreme.
- This reply was modified 5 days, 16 hours ago by Jay.
06/13/2018 at 10:53 pm #42437
Jay: watch the original Rollerball… 🙂
06/13/2018 at 10:52 pm #42436
I have read One Second After and the sequel One Year After. Both great books.
06/13/2018 at 10:07 pm #42433
2 more books on the post-apocalyptic world that I really liked: The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Dog Stars by friend of a friend Peter Heller. Both beautifully written I thought.
06/13/2018 at 10:55 pm #42438
How does the book of The Road compare to the movie? I have seen the movie…
Will have to add the other to my reading list…
06/13/2018 at 11:01 pm #42440
The Road the movie scared the ever living shit out of me. i will never be the same after watching it.
06/14/2018 at 12:03 am #42442
Read “One Second After”.
No shit will be left…
06/14/2018 at 8:37 am #42456
Total Items in Store: 263
Items Sold: 9
Cost of Items Sold: $9
Total Sales: $180.48
Highest Price Sold: $78.50 vintage youth boxing gloves
Average Price Sold: $20.05
Returns: 1 – 50 year old GE Bubble Clock that broke in first use (likely buyer broke it)
Days until retirement: 15
My 40-hour week job is still ridiculously busy because I am trying to wrap up projects and hand over the reins to my younger, better, more enthusiastic replacement. Mrs. aperture is going to keep working her part-time job and I am looking forward to ceasing renting space in my brain to Megacorp.
Jay likes the numbers, and I don’t blame him. It is too easy to say “I am retiring” and that could mean almost anything. I am 56 and only just reached retirement eligibility at work. We have ~$1,400K in 401K and a pension that has a cash value today of $560K. We have ~$50K in cash, a paid off house and no other debts. My wife’s salary is $90K/year in a 24 hour per week job she loves. We have high-school age kids that we plan to support through college (including tuition and etc). Presently our household expenses are all covered by my wife’s income.
I do eBay because I really love it. It is treasure hunting, photography, and an income stream in one. On the spectrum of hobby <—-> professional, I think I walk about halfway in between. Sometimes, I will spend lots of time restoring an item, or researching/photographing/listing when I would be better compensated by churning on my death pile.
06/14/2018 at 8:42 am #42458
Huge congrats on the countdown to sleeping without an alarm clock! I’m sure you’ll still wake up early, but the beauty is that you dont need to.
Your savings etc sound like you are in a very good position. As long as you guys dont spend beyond your means, your set. Be interesting to see if you decide that eBay is fun enough to grow your store.
06/14/2018 at 10:00 am #42469
@aperture – congrats on ending “renting your brain space” to Megacorp! Can’t wait until my countdown clock is down to days instead of years! Can’t also wait to stop renting out my brain space (especially when I’m trying to sleep and I have work projects in my head!)
Look forward to hearing how your journey into retirement goes – you are about 13 years ahead of me, but you have achieved a similar plan to what we have laid out for our own future. We’re on the same track as you so I’m curious what my future may hold by reading your stories in the future!
06/14/2018 at 10:08 pm #42551
Welcome and congratulations @aperture. I’ve very jealous of your impending retirement. Almost exactly one year ago I put a countdown clock on my browser. Every day when I go into work it tells me how many days till my planned retirement. (I have 2 years to go). It makes my antsy because I just want to be done with the office world. After 30 years of being a dutiful corporate employee I long for my “never-ending weekend”. (A term I heard recently which I like more than “retirement” – especially when talking to non FI/RE people). Financially I’m pretty close except that I would probably have to move to a lower cost-of-living area so that I could take some of the equity in my house to add to my investments. I hope you find the experience of retiring as wonderful as I imagine it to be.
06/14/2018 at 10:12 pm #42552
I bet that house you own in the Bay Area (forgot which part you’re from) has at least $500k in equity.
If you’re willing to live in almost any other place, $200k will buy you a good home to store the other $300k in cash and be free.
06/15/2018 at 1:11 pm #42585
Yep. You’re right. We have about 800K in equity at the moment. (We live in Marin County which is just north of SF). We could take half of that and get a very nice house in most of the country. With my son in the local college and an elderly mother-in-law it’s not quite the right time to make the move but it’s part of my longer term plan.
06/15/2018 at 2:03 pm #42588
we lived in Tiburon for a second before we moved into the city. such a beautiful area. we also did some work at College of Marin (is that where he’s at?).
06/18/2018 at 12:04 pm #42744
You guys are familiar with my area. We live in Novato. My son goes to school at Santa Rosa Junior College which has campuses in Santa Rosa and Petaluma.
06/18/2018 at 12:23 pm #42746
You could even just rent that home for big money, and use that rental income to pay down another house quickly.
06/15/2018 at 5:03 pm #42601
Yeah, we know someone in Tiburon, San Rafael, and Petaluma (not quite in Marin). I bet your home might be worth almost $1-million by the time you want to sell with ever increasing costs in the Bay Area.
$400k will buy you a nice home in another top tier city (DC, Chicago, etc). But if you move to second or third tier city, $400k will buy you a really nice place (nashville, ashville, richmnd, etc).
If you were to spend $400k where we are, you’d buy a mansion and/or a farm estate. You’d be in the top 1% of the population.
When you do move, I assume you’d have less people to house. You could probably spend less than $400k and still have a great place.
06/14/2018 at 8:39 am #42457
06/14/2018 at 9:21 am #42463
Thanks Jay for the well wishes.
We are mostly in stock index funds and plan on a 4% withdrawal rate starting in about 4 years when mrs. aperture stops working. We live frugally and know how to tighten the belt when times get tough, so I think we are running low risk of running out of $s in our old age. Knowing how to make a living with eBay is also a great safety net and I am grateful to you Jay and Ryanne for sharing your knowledge.
Online, and in my personal life, everyone I interact with is frugal and working towards financial independence. Yet at work, the parking lot is full of brand new cars (and my 2002 Civic) while my peers all tell me how jealous they are. I think they must assume I have imherited wealth, but the truth is I lived hard poor in my 20s, was briefly homeless and graduated college with $70k in debt in 1997. I am glad for communities like this one where people understand that the $10 choices you make compound to a million dollars over 15 years.
Best wishes all, Daniel.
06/14/2018 at 9:24 am #42464
Exactly. Thank yourself for all the good choices you made in your 20’s, 30’s 40’s, to let you “retire” in your 50’s with plenty of runway. You did it!
06/14/2018 at 9:56 am #42468
4% withdrawal rate is perfect!
Live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else!
06/14/2018 at 10:11 am #42474
@aperture – Thanks again for sharing – your stories are exactly what my wife and I need to hear! We know our hard work and “sacrifices” (I put it in quotes as I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything myself – just other’s perceptions of what I should do with my money).
Funny about the Honda Civic – I was driving a ’98 Mazda Protégé up to a year ago, and upgraded to a ’15 Civic. My co-workers constantly mock my vehicles for some reason – they all drive Mercedes, BMW’s, large SUV’s etc. that if they sat down and looked at the finances, they are going to be working several years more just for their vehicle choices over the years. When I tell them I’m retiring at 55, they all look at me like I’m crazy. I’ll have the last laugh when I’m done at 55, and they are still working into their late 60’s or 70’s.
Money is important, but my philosophy is that you can never get back the time you spent working for others to pay for unnecessary luxuries. Free time is VERY precious.
06/14/2018 at 10:14 am #42475
High vehicle costs always puzzled me. Why spend a lot of money on something that goes DOWN in value?
I turn 47 in August…still haven’t purchased a new vehicle. I have a goal to do so, but only when I have $1M in cash and investments…
06/14/2018 at 11:53 am #42499
- Location: Virginia Beach
@aperture – congrats! You’ve set yourself up well. Enjoy the fruits of the past labor, and moreso the ones upcoming. 🙂
What does your wife do for $90K/yr part-time? I want to get in on that… 🙂
I read McCarthy’s The Road, but didn’t see the movie. As brilliant and horrible and wrenching as the novel was (I get into stories, perhaps more so than the average person), I wasn’t sure I could recover from visions outside of my head! Though I heard it was very well done.
I stumbled across an interesting young adult novel in recent years that I found to be really interesting re end of the world scenarios; it’s called The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker. In it, the spin of the earth slows, days get longer and wonky, populations split into those that continue to live by day/night, and those that do 24 hour cycles. It’s affecting, but is nothing like the despair and gore of The Road.
06/14/2018 at 4:24 pm #42519
T-Satt, I haven’t seen the movie The Road. After I read the book I knew there were a couple of scenes that I wouldn’t be okay with watching. And after reading Ryanne’s comment on the movie I’m glad I decided not to see it! For some reason I’m much better at reading scary sh*t than seeing it. I hate being scared at movies! Anyway, I thought the book The Road was rough emotionally but so beautifully written and The Dog Stars is one of my favorite books ever. T-Satt the author of The Dog Stars, Peter Heller, is your neighbor – he lives in Denver.
06/14/2018 at 5:11 pm #42528
Very cool. I’m used to that. I read a lot of Fred Saberhagen when I lived outside of Albuquerque, and my parents read a lot of Tony Hillerman at the same time.
Books are on my list!
06/14/2018 at 5:18 pm #42529
Another post apocalyptic book I enjoyed was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
06/14/2018 at 6:35 pm #42536
Y’all are filling up my book list!
06/14/2018 at 7:49 pm #42538
06/14/2018 at 6:50 pm #42537
I forgot “Dog Stars”. I read and enjoyed it a few years ago. I liked how it was somewhat philosophical without being pretentious.
@SilverFoxFimds, my wife is a pharmacist. When we first met, one of our first conversations was about financial security. We each had lived through poverty, and were not interested in any more of it.
06/14/2018 at 9:09 pm #42545
Post apocalyptic books do cast a whole new light on scavenging!
06/15/2018 at 1:17 pm #42586
6/4/18 – 6/10/18
(3 ebay stores + 1 poshmark store)
# of items in stores: 909 + 530 + 293 + 474 = 2,206
# of items sold: 25 + 12 + 9 + 0 = 46
$ sold: $176 + $77 + $33 + $0 = $286
Returns: 10 (didn’t like it and/or didn’t fit)
Average Price: $6.22
High Price: RMC Mens Jeans $40
Worst Week Ever On Ebay for me. I usually sell about $1,000 a week, so my sales were way, way down. And 10 returns!!! I had free shipping and free returns turned on and I feel like the free returns policy had everything to do with the 10 returns. I have shut free returns off as a result.
Last week I posted that I’m going to switch over to Poshmark for my clothing sales, I’m sort of chewing on that idea. I have posted more to Poshmark, but the posting/listing process is a bit different so I’m trying to get my process part of that speedier like I have it on ebay. My daughter didn’t help much with photos but my husband did. But I did have a slow week of posting – only 30 items.
I’m posting these numbers a bit late so I can already see that the week starting on June 11 is better for me now that the free returns are turned off and my sales have picked up some.
This past Wednesday night when I went thrift shopping as I do every Wednesday night, I got way more selective with what I picked up for clothing. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do going forward but selling a high volume of clothing on eBay probably isn’t going to be what I do.
I’m at a bit of a crossroads. Or maybe I just had a bad week, we’ll see.
06/15/2018 at 1:53 pm #42587
I sent this to you at the end of the last episode, but I don’t think you saw it.
I am going to be down in the St. Pete FL area from June 29th – July 5th.
Remind me the name of the good pizza place.
Also, let me know if there is a good time to go picking.
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