10/08/2018 at 9:00 am #49732
We ponder our total sales numbers from eBay for the last 10 years. What do they really mean in terms of having a scavenger life and not comparing it
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 380: What Do Lifetime Sales Really Mean?]
10/08/2018 at 9:06 am #49734
check out the tree being felled–
10/08/2018 at 9:42 am #49743
I like the video! I’ll listen to the pod anon to get some context. Happy thanksgiving all!
I had my first really solid week in a long time. September doldrums hopefully over.
Sales: CAD$1287, 6 items, COGS: $265 –> Item profit: $778
Notable sales: my last miter saw laser $15–>$215, first lot of 10 of those VOIP phones I scored a couple months ago sold for $210 (paid less than that for the entire lot of 140 phones), sold a piece of lab equipment to Taiwan $5–>$350, and LED strip light for $225, part of my big auction haul, which is now about 1/3 paid off.
Expenditures: $0 –> After-tax cashflow: $841
Listed: $2900, 72 items
I’ve been listing almost everything from my auction haul, even the low-dollar stuff. Hope I don’t regret the huge amount of space they take up/logistical nightmare of keeping track of them. I’ve made about 110 listings from that haul so far, almost done. Probably 20 more.
Hours: 13, $65/hr after tax
10/08/2018 at 9:54 am #49744
Items in Store 1100
Items Sold 23
Total Sales $600.25
Total Profit $540.25
Average profit $23.49
Average sales price $26.10
It was house project week this week. We rearranged our bedroom. Part of the rearranging was that we would end up with enough room to add a sofa sleeper to the bedroom. Our kids tend to end up in our room anyways, so now we can just pull out the couch and they can join us.
Speaking of the sofa sleeper, I ended up buying a like new queen size one on facebook for $200. It isn’t the American Leather Comfort Sleeper I wanted, but it does the job just fine. I unloaded it, brought it up the porch stairs, through the house, and up the stairs to the bedroom….by myself. Beast mode baby!
I could have made it all the way quite easily if the turn to the stairs wasn’t so tight with my stair climbing appliance dolly. I ended up removing the sleeper assembly and bringing the couch frame up separate so I could bring the main frame up the stairs by hand. It was just a couple screws and it popped right out. People VASTLY overstate the difficulty in moving a sleeper sofa.
Also of note was that I purchased an air purifier for our bedroom. It makes a huge difference! You don’t realize just how bad your indoor air quality is until you purify one room, spend time in there, and then walk out in to the rest of the house. Now I have two box fans with furnace air filters running occasionally in the rest of the house to get our air cleaned up. Hopefully this helps us stay healthy this winter.
10/08/2018 at 10:06 am #49751
My Store Week Sept 30-Oct 6, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1138
Items Sold: 15
Gross Sales: $381.45
Cost of Items Sold: $35.99
Highest Price Sold: $55.30 (Leather Jacket)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $44.42
Number of items listed this week: 5
Typical sales this week and cannot complain for doing very little work – Getting a lot of lower offers and trying to accept anything within reason, it seems as if an expectation of 50% off (or more) is becoming the “new normal” with best offers.
Hoping everyone has a successful week…
10/08/2018 at 10:18 am #49753Mark SParticipant
Items in Store 2451
Items Sold 19
Total Sales $678
Hightest Price: $76.50 (Vintage shoes)
Average sales price $35.68
It was a good week for sales and for buying.
My sump pump frooze up this week on Tuesday but I didnt realize it because there wereno sales that day and didnt have togodown to the basement. There was very little lost because I learned my lesson from the last time the sump pump stopped. I got nost everything off the floor and most everything is in a plastic container. 2 hanging coats touched the water so just had to wash them. This is whereplastic bags around my hanging clothes helps to protect.
Make sure you are prepared for this because it will happen if you have a sump pump.
10/08/2018 at 10:35 am #49754
Mark, sorry your sump pump froze up – but it sounds like you prevented any real damage to your inventory – that could have really been a disaster! My entire ebay storage is in my unfinished portion of the basement – I just purchased a battery backup / extra pump for my sump. Let’s hope it is never needed!
10/08/2018 at 11:16 am #49759
Sep 30 – Oct 6
Total Items in Store: 1784
Items Sold: 15
Total Sales : $362
* below yearly average of $810
* below 2017 total week sales of $610
Highest Price: $60 (5-Piece Kromex Aluminum Kitchen Canister Set)
Average Price: $24
Cost of Goods Sold: $51
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $166
Number of New Items Listed this Week: 27
It’s been a very soft week of sales. The dread started setting in towards the end and those negative thoughts began creeping up on me… what am I doing wrong? Why has eBay forsaken me? It’s only natural to feel that way I guess. My numbers aren’t that great, but I do have the data to show that this is historically my slow period. The tail end of 3rd and the tip of 4th quarters have always been pathetic in terms of sales. It it wasn’t for one huge sale this week last year, I would have made less then than I did now. I just need to breath and have faith in my business. It’s hard, though, especially when I’m on the verge of quitting my day job and making a go at it full-time. It’s weeks like this that give me cold feet. I might consider holding off on making the jump for another month just to see if my store picks up again.
But in more optimistic news, Steph found a boombox at an auction that is the same exact brand and model as the one used in that Lonely Island music video “Boombox.” I guess it’s sold in the past for almost $600. She only paid $35 for it. LOL.
10/08/2018 at 11:35 am #49765
Doubly: “My numbers aren’t that great, but I do have the data to show that this is historically my slow period. The tail end of 3rd and the tip of 4th quarters have always been pathetic in terms of sales. ”
Perfect reason to track your numbers and review your trends. Yes, it is slow, but it has been this way at this time of year before. Take heart. Keep building up your inventory of solid items that will sell, and things will work out.
Before you jump, a couple of pieces of advice.
1) Have 6 months of living expenses saved up. 6 months that you can live on with $0 sales
2) Make sure you have a projection of what your cash needs for BUSINESS purposes will be each week/month now that you are full time. Weekly inventory purchases, eBay fees, etc. Make sure you have this ALSO set aside so that you can continue to purchase inventory while full time. You will be buying and listing at a much higher rate, so the cash needs will be higher, but sales will show up based on your average Sell Thru Rate. So remember that just because you are listing much more, it will take a while for sales to catch up. The lower your STR is, the longer it will take for sales to catch up to purchases. I can help you do some forecasting if you would like.
3) Just know going in that there is only so much you can control. Bad days happen, even a few in a row. THIS is why you have steps 1 and 2 above to overcome that…
10/08/2018 at 12:45 pm #49770
Thanks, Troy! All very good points! Number 1 is easy, and I feel like I have a good handle on number 2. Number 3 is where I have trouble with. It’s just my personality and kind of the way I was raised. It’s been ingrained in my head to always play it safe and I’ve never really been taught how or when to take risks. So the feeling of not being in full control puts me in a bad way. I feel like a cliff diver getting ready to jump knowing that there’s a chance things could go terribly wrong. But I’m trying. I know that taking acceptable risks is a part of being successful sometimes.
10/09/2018 at 9:52 am #49845
Doubly: Completely understandable. Just keep exercising that risk muscle, and it will get stronger. I wasn’t as good at it either. That conservative accountant streak is strong in my family…
But I was lucky to have married well, and Veronica convinced me to make the leap. We all get better at it the more we do it. School always teaches us to always have the right answer. Life ain’t like that. You WILL make mistakes. Learn from them and move forward. I’m trying to teach my boys that now. You will make mistakes, just don’t make them FATAL mistakes.
10/09/2018 at 10:54 am #49855
Going full-time without a safety net is scary. Those weak weeks are what would keep me up at night.
So we learned to create our own safety net:
–live cheap. cut our bills down to necessities and be creative to create luxuries.
–no debt. obviously debt is a blessing to smartly grow the business, but no consumer debt
–be open to working contract jobs in your “career field”. To this day, we still do work for brief periods to make chunks of money
–Build our inventory as large as possible so daily listing isnt a necessity. People who have small stores must always be listing to keep money flowing. That’s a lot of pressure IMHO
10/09/2018 at 11:17 am #49858
Jay: Amen Brother!
10/09/2018 at 2:15 pm #49874InglewoodParticipant
@Doublythumbs – To minimize risk, and to put your mind at ease, have you thought about acting like you just have eBay income, even though you are still employed?
This is the exercise my wife and I are currently doing – it is VERY hard work to do both a job and as much eBay and other part time work, but we are minimizing our risks.
We have a very good idea of what our eBay income could be (we are conservatively extrapolating our numbers if we had more time to focus on eBay), and how much we need to live off of. At this point, we need to make $23 a day just to pay the bills and eat. We’ve pushed ourselves to the limits for a few months, and at that rate we can get by.
At the moment we are putting together some nest eggs with our extra income – making sure we have a retirement fund when we hit 60 (trying to make it to 55), making sure we have a pot of money for house repairs, and also a pot for a new vehicle in the future.
However, if things change quickly with our jobs, we know what to do, what we can do, and re-adjust our long-term goals. We have our short-term costs and goals covered for several years.
If you are thinking of the full-time eBay + odd job lifestyle, I really thing putting the time into seeing what it really is like on top of your current job is a good indicator of what you can achieve. It is short term pain, but will give you peace of mind in whatever decision you make to test the waters fully.
As Jay mentioned as well, kill all debts – I don’t think this lifestyle can be achieved with money going out the door every month. We’ve also eliminated most monthly bills (cell phone is pay as you go, no cable TV, no landline) to make sure if we have a bad month, we just go without until the good times come back.
10/09/2018 at 3:55 pm #49884
Good advice, Inglewood! I like how you’ve figured out how much it would cost daily to get by. Right now, every penny of my net income from eBay (profit minus COGS/supplies/mileage/fees ect.) has been put in a savings account from day one. I only touched it recently for the down payment on my house. And I have a spreadsheet which shows exactly how much net profit I’ve made each month (sans income tax). So going by that data, last year would have been impossible to live off of my eBay profits. This year would have been do-able but tight. But my profit trend is going upwards. I’ve predicted that my eBay income will match my current income next year. Perhaps even surpass them.
After some thought, I’ve decided to treat this as more of a year long experiment rather than a major career change. I’ve got safety nets to fall back on if it doesn’t work (savings and two very giving families). If it doesn’t work out the way I expected, I’ll go back into the tech support industry begrudgingly. If it does, then I’ll be happy as a clam doing what I love to do!
10/08/2018 at 11:22 am #49760
Week of 9/30-10/6
Total Items in Store: 2,728 (Up 52% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 101
Number of Items Sold: 99 (Up 30% YOY)
(Includes 1 Etsy, 0 Bonanza, 1 TrueGether)
Weekly STR: 16% (Down 2% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $2,887 (Up 45% YOY)
Cost of Items Sold: $666
Highest Item Sold: $125 – Under Armour Brow Tine Hunting Boots
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Veronica wins the week and Veronica leads for the year 24-16
# Listed: 1,684
# Sold: 64
# Listed: 422
# Sold: 19
eBay Hard Goods
# Listed: 622
# Sold: 15
Etsy Hard Goods
# Listed: 162
# Sold: 1
# Listed: 32
# Sold: 0
Business Improvement for the Week – Start new purchasing streams. Got our first delivery on a new sourcing vendor. So far, so good. I still need to complete going through all the items. One item is too damaged to list, and one will need to be repaired. I’m going to list them this week, so that will let me know more about the value, but I’m seeing at least a 4X-5X from what I have seen.
Business Improvement for the Week – Start cross-posting to Poshmark. I started this week, and we are up to 32 items so far. I got a good process of copy and paste from SixBit now, so each cross-post only takes 1-2 minutes.
Heads up to others! Double check your % on your account on On Time Shipping. For some reason, we dropped to 95% due to a glitch. The report said that all our shipments for 9/28-9/30 were not scanned, but when you check each listing, ALL had the scans on time. They corrected the report, but our % is still incorrect. They have my notes on file with the error, so we are covered, but I wanted to let everyone know.
Jay, Amen about keeping your burn rate low when you go full time! Even better to keep your burn rate low ALL THE TIME…
10/08/2018 at 11:28 am #49761AtomicStarParticipant
About the subject of packing pretty if you’re a volume seller. I have 44 items I’m packing today. This is my normal wrapping. I get tons of positive feedback from people on my packaging and it doesn’t take me very long to make my items look nice. Also, I’m a mom of 4 and time is a premium. I still take the extra seconds to make my items look nicer. It gets me repeat customers.
10/08/2018 at 11:33 am #49764ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
I bought rolls of thank you stickers and clearance tissue after Christmas 90% off. It takes like 2 seconds to do this. If it’s not a soft item, I put the thank you sticker on the shipping label. Personally, after doing beach clean up I’m kind of bummed about using polymailers so I always recycle even though it doesn’t look that great to tape them up.
10/08/2018 at 12:57 pm #49771
Yes it looks nice, but I don’t see the point for my personal business. If I were selling new items and/or building a brand, I would absolutely do something special for packaging. I’m selling used shoes that still have dirt on them in many cases… adding fancy packaging is more akin to lipstick on a pig.
10/08/2018 at 1:09 pm #49774
That is a nice set up. So each person get a little thank you card as well?
10/09/2018 at 1:45 pm #49871Brian Treasures from GrandmasParticipant
- Location: Hoboken, NJ
Personally, I use the custom invoice feature on eBay as my thank you/what to do in case there’s damage. That requires no extra time and/or packaging cost and clearly lays out what I’ll need if there is damage to the product, etc. Found thus far it’s worked quite well.
10/08/2018 at 11:57 am #49768IdahoarderParticipant
Store Week 9/30/18 – 10/6/18
Total items in store: 1848
Items sold: 21
Cost of items sold: $46.08
Total sales: $953.89
Highest price sold: $200.00 (Pendleton blanket)
Average price sold: $45.42
Returns: 0 (2 started)
Money spent on new inventory this week: $46.03
Another great week for me, and yesterday was an amazing start to this week! I have a couple of kind of big returns coming, but they were for size, so oh well. I’ll just sell them again.
I sell a lot of hats, and I came across a sale this weekend with tons of them. I bought a bunch, and there are 3 that I know I can sell for $100+ (and I got them for 25 cents each). I listed them super high, so now I’m just waiting for the right offer. Love those profit margins!
Hey, I just made a $60 sale while writing this. Better get to work!
10/08/2018 at 12:07 pm #49769ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Total Items in Store: 360 Ebay, 58 Mercari
Items Sold: 12 Ebay, 2 Mercari
Gross Sales: $457 Ebay, $89 Mercari
Cost of Items Sold: $124 + Free shipping $39 + 3 items ours (b/e or loss)
Highest Price Sold: $119 Pillow sham set purchased summer clearance for $38)
Average Price Sold: $39
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: About $80 for 10 items
Number of items listed this week: 1
Ok, just call me Mrs. I’ll take your offer. This season I’m looking to move more things out. I used to be a perma-sale person but seem to be annoyingly blocked from adding items to a sale whenever I check. So a couple of weeks ago I added best offer to everything on Ebay over $10 and removed the auto-decline floors. I also decided to cancel all promotions running on select items (@5.1%) and put everything in my store at 1% hoping that many other sellers are refusing to use it and Cassini likes it. The offers lately have been pretty reasonable (at least half) and I suspect that accepting offers quickly might give you a boost. I had turned it off most items because I was getting lowballs on my phone while at work.
I’m getting a bit nervous as my new RA inventory gets down to about 20% of my peak but I’m proud that I’ve been pretty good about not shopping – really I’ve been too busy to shop BUT STILL lol. I got off early one day this week and went to two thrifts. I was selective but was a nice mood lifter after not shopping for weeks. I found this Franciscan Starburst Dish for $3 (not my listing) so that was a little thrill. I definitely see room opening up and have some inventory boxes to consolidate. So, the piles are going down! It’s going to be a long process digging out of the newbie overbuy and I have vintage items from my parents’.
I got the Ebay Payments invoice and I’m like “heck no”! I don’t have any confidence in a smooth roll out. I also feel like Ebay should focus on improving yet simplifying their app. Sites like Mercari make it so fast and easy to list and figure out shipping. I think this is a major weakness that Ebay should address asap. I don’t think most sellers have much allegiance to Ebay, but they will stay while the traffic is superior.
Have a great week!
10/08/2018 at 1:28 pm #49776Marshal_GParticipant
- Location: Bellingham, WA
FYI Ryanne I also got the opt-in email a couple of weeks ago and ignored it. I do NOT want to be a beta tester. Well a few days ago I got an actual physical card in an envelope (all fancy) asking us to opt in. The bullet points were weak and the “lower selling fees” was quoted as 2.7% which is a pathetic 0.3% drop from PayPal. Not enough to make up for the hassle of having to transfer money to PayPal to purchase labels. My question is this – if we aren’t giving PayPal transaction fees, would they then charge us a fee to purchase postage labels???
Also when I first started eBay there was a checkbox on the create listing page that said “automatically relist up to 3 times if item doesn’t sell.” That went away and I was very mad because relisting is a pain. This past week it came back, but now says 8 times. Based on the fact that it was 3 months and the algorithm punishes stale listings after 3 months, does that mean they’ve adjusted the algorithm to consider 8 months stale???
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Marshal_G.
10/08/2018 at 1:32 pm #49777totommytoParticipant
- Location: Naples, Fl
Combined sales of $280 for me between Etsy & eBay! To be fair, I did turn down $250 of good offers. The offers were on rare toys. Holidays are closing in so I’m holding! Nature of the beast when you sell HTF toys and Oct happens, grab the nickel or wait for the dime? Still, right now bottom line yuck!
Good news is I purchased a CAR LOAD of priced way right 1980’s time capsule stuff, much of it new old store stock funky novelties and plenty of my favorites, old toys. Some serious toy rarities, God willing, I will be sharing the solds on the forum. I had to leave a lot behind, NO room left in car and heat exhaustion was seriously setting in! 95 degrees and on the black top no shade Florida market.
Great podcast, as usual! Thank you.
9/30 – 10/6/18
eBay store totommyto
Total store items: 632
Number of items sold: 7
eBay sales (not counting shipping/handling): $180
Cost of items sold: $7.50
Consignment payouts: $24
Highest price sold: $40 vintage Hess truck bank
Average price sold: $25
Money spent on new inventory: $65
Number of items listed this week: 19
STR for the week: 1.1
Etsy store oldfleatoymarket
Total store items: 618
Number of items sold: 5
Etsy sales (not counting s/h): $100
Cost of items sold: $4
Consignment payouts: 0
Highest price sold: $25 – vintage nail clipper, and $25 – Hawaii lava tiki key chain
Average price sold: $20
Money spent on new inventory: $60
Number of items listed this week: 7
STR for the week: .8
10/08/2018 at 3:43 pm #49789The Thrift RaiderParticipant
LOL at packaging Etsy items all cute. I package them just like an ebay package- wrap it up in bubble wrap and throw it in a poly/box. And even the packaging usually says Ebay on it. I typically try to add Thank You notes but I do that for Ebay as well, and I got free thank you notes from Ebay. Anyone else get those with your coupon? I’ve never had a single Etsy person complain about the fact that I didn’t fancy the package up.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by The Thrift Raider.
10/08/2018 at 4:11 pm #49791
I’m with you TTR: We use our Ebay supplies for Etsy also. We have developed a “cocoon” process of protecting our items since almost all are glass, ceramic or pottery and porcelain. Our Ebay feedback is loaded with compliments on the heavy duty packing. Only had 4 things broken since 2002.
I was packing the items we sold yesterday and as I was packing we kept getting the cha-chings. Wife Susan said we should post on the forum what these sales were about.
Quickly it is something Jay brought up several years ago and after we closed down 6 antique booths we divested ourselves of the cheaper items. Jay said he rather pay $20 for something if it could sell for over a $100 and then sell less items but for the same monthly dollar amount and have to ship less, than sell hundreds and hundreds of cheap items and Ryanne pack herself to death on all those items.
So, one of the few times, going to throw a few quick numbers out there. Only sold 7 items between yesterday and noon today but for a total of $606 [avg. $300 per day] and those cost us $110 to buy.
And over the last couple of years we have been finding items that we have listed for $100 up to 3 or 4 hundred. Just picking what we feel is higher end items and we don’t mint spending $25 on something if we can sell for $150 +/-.
Just thought I would mention it.
By the way, since this week is about all time numbers, back in 2013 when Susan and I were deciding about shutting the antique booths down we were trying to decide if full time online e-commerce was going to be for us we tracked all of Jay and Ryanne’s sales for that full year. Highest item they sold, how many they sold, what they paid for it, how many items were under $10, and every item they had in increments of $10 per tier.
I still have that spread sheet, Btw the way I did that for every member of Scanveglfie that reported numbers that years. i tracked thousands of solds, cost and selling prices. That makes a very interesting buy list by the way.
But back on point. Jay said in 2013 that is when he wnated to buy higher end items and sell them for higher dollar amounts and get out of the “sweat shop” mentality.
I wonder if I ran that anaysis now, how many items J&R have under $10, $15, under $20, 25, 40, 50, 75 etc., etc. and see how that compared to what he said his goal was back then.
But in our case what he said really stuck. Back then our avg. per item buy price was $22.00 per item. Now we have that cost down to an avg. of in the $7 range and the items selling in the 10 times that and up. And we haven’t even started on all the art prints in our formewr company portfolios.
Just thought I would throw some numbers out for a change. But I rely on general ledger and journal accounting and P&L sheets mostly.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art in Atlanta
10/08/2018 at 6:38 pm #49794
I dont have the numbers, but we still do list the $20+ items because we have helpers do all the work. It’s still not easy to find items that will sell for $100 in quantity.
So yoiu are now bying items for $7 and selling for $70? You dont really share numbers usually so wondering if I understood correctly. Is $70 your average gross sale?
10/09/2018 at 10:30 am #49852
Jay.. Oh I agree by all means. The $100 items are much harder to find and we don’t limit ourselevs just to those price points. Gracious no. But my point was same as yours, it is nicer to sell the same dollar amount and have to pull, pack and ship a whole lot less.
I was just commenting that it’s nice to have that few items to deal with to get $600 plus dollars in Sales.
FYI.. Our current inventory shows $6,000 in cost and we have it listed as $50,000 to sell at [which is approx. 8 times the buying cost]. Who knows after we either take some offers or have a Sale of some sort. But we haven’t used a Sale in about 2 months. Things seem to be selling OK without running a Sale.
Breakdown out of 1,124 items as of today in our store: The avg. buy it cost is approx. $5.50 per item and the Avg. selling price is $45.00
17% of our inventory is listed at under $20
83% is listed at over $20.00 per item
52% at 583 items at $20-$50 ea.
26% at 296 items at $50 and higher
5% at 55 items at $100 or more
So as you see the $100 plus items are certainly in the minority.
For Funsies and Giggles here are you and Ryannes numbers from Sept. 2014.. You had 3,553 items listed and they broke down this way. That you would just like to reminisce. 🙂 🙂
3553 Range 9/2/14
.01 > 5.00 10
5% 5.01 > 10.00 49
182 10.01 > 15.00 123
15.01 > 20.00 449
34% 20.01 > 25.00 335
1222 25.01 > 30.00 438
30.01 > 35.00 6
35.01 > 40.00 771
35% 40.01 > 45.00 28
1248 45.01 > 50.00 443
50.01 > 60.00 257
60.01 > 70.00 42
70.01 > 80.00 128
15% 80.01 > 90.00 57
516 90.01 > 100.00 32
100.01 > 200.00 225
200.01 > 300.00 75
300.01 > 400.00 26
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art in Atlanta
10/09/2018 at 10:56 am #49856
Yeah, we haven’t cracked the code on filling our store with items over $100. It would take much more scavenging than we currently do. I imagine we’d have to attend at least three auctions a week every week, to get the best stuff.
No easy money. It all takes time or money at some point in the process.
10/08/2018 at 5:24 pm #49792SilverFoxFindsParticipant
- Location: Virginia Beach
Nice, low COGs for the week, but still wanting the sales $ higher. Wasn’t tracking my #s last year, but I’m going to hope business is like Doubly’s right now, and will pick up shortly. 🙂 Have had some busy past few weeks, not giving me as much time in the office as I could have, and that’s not going to let up until November, so perhaps some nice synergy will line up there.
APS for the week super-low. Getting those low dollar items out!
09/30/18 – 10/06/18
Total Items In Store: 941
Items Sold: 23
Total Sales: $594.38
Highest Price Sold: $112 – Antique Walnut? Wood Mirrored Wall Mount Medicine Cabinet
Average Price Sold: $25.84
Cost of Items Sold: $36.50 (sold some freebies, some items I owned, and 1 commission, in addition to purchased items)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $62.54
Number of Items listed this week: ~30
10/08/2018 at 7:15 pm #49795dlvintageParticipant
- Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
re: my last post about etsy packaging vs ebay packaging:
To clarify…I don’t think etsy has any type of “rules” about packaging fancy…but it is STRONGLY encouraged/pushed through all their media (emails, youtube, their podcast…and like Jay is saying every photo on the website shows insanely beautiful packaging..they’re like… hint hint!!). I feel like it’s a ‘which came first- the etsy fancy packaging culture or etsy the company encouraging that kind of packaging?’ situation. It’s like 50/50. There’s an etsy podcast from the actual company that I used to listen to and they would talk about building your brand with packaging and stickers and all this crap all the time. I mean it’s pretty and great but it’s just too much of an expense for me. Etsy also puts out youtube videos that push the fancy packaging and how curating your photos with little scenes and stuff helps to grow your business. At first I thought that was only for the handmade sellers…which made more sense..but then they had vintage sellers on as guests that talked about their photos and their packaging and how important it is for them to be fancy and whatever. I checked out their shops and it wasn’t like their average item was selling for $400. They had like $40 items….I just don’t understand how the time invested makes sense for things that really aren’t that expensive. I even started out using the cheapest tissue paper ever and simple ribbon that was one dollar and I quickly was just like….this is not necessary. Also! the thing that irks me is that Etsy definitely wants you to up your game in the packaging area…but they don’t send us etsy tissue paper or stickers or tape like I’ve seen ebay people have!! I actually really like that ebay sends you stuff like that. I would use it if etsy sent me etsy branded tissue paper and colorful tape!! haha.
Also, you can charge a fee for gift wrapping and that’s definitely popular during the holidays…but I just feel like the expectation from the customer AND the company is to always have things wrapped in a special way anyway. I’m like idk….it seems way more important that your item is double bubble wrapped so it gets to you safely….whatevs.
Anyway, hope that clarifies my previous post!!
PS I immediately texted my husband and was like omg honey! the ebay podcast that I listen to that you think is weird talked about my forum post on their episode!!! I was all excited and he actually thought it was pretty cool too. I’m slowly convincing him that selling old stuff is the life to live. He’s a “I don’t like clutter” person. Welp! Too late you already married me!!! hahaha.
Thanks for another great episode guys!
10/09/2018 at 8:59 am #49838
Thanks for the clarification. How people present items when they ship is a good topic.
Tell your husband that he’s the perfect person to help you sell on eBay. Im also a clutter-free person which means that Im determined we list and sell everything while keeping our house neat and clean. Hoarders are the worst eBay sellers.
10/08/2018 at 8:22 pm #49797
New Member! Started listening to the podcast (and got serious about ebay) about 6 months ago. We do the ebay thing when we arent working our regular jobs. Learned a lot and super excited I get to do this for my first post!
My Store Week Sept 30-Oct 6, 2018
Total Items in Store: 755
Items Sold: 18
Gross Sales: $500.26
Cost of Items Sold: Lots were bought in lots, but best estimate is under $80
Highest Price Sold: $54.05 (Vintage Brio Labrynth Game, bought less than a week ago at goodwill for $2.50)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 12
Am I doing this right?
Our store name is Bremerton Vintage Treasures. Any feedback is welcome!
10/09/2018 at 8:57 am #49836
Welcome. Looks like you’re definitely doing it right with $500 in one week. What are you guys doing with the extra money?
10/09/2018 at 12:36 pm #49866
Right now, we are paying down debt. Next stage is home repair and upgrades and travel. Those are the goals,anyhow.
10/09/2018 at 12:56 pm #49869
Cool. Having concrete goals of what we did with our eBay money keeps us motivated. Helped us see progress, which in turn helps us slog through the unglamorous part of selling online.
10/09/2018 at 9:58 am #49846
I couldn’t get to your STR%. How did you calculate it?
For the week, I have a 2.4% STR – 18/755
I always do our Weekly STR on a Monthly Rate. For you I would have 10.2% – (18/7*30)/755
10/09/2018 at 12:36 pm #49867
Yep, yours is right. Not sure either how I came to that number. Maybe moving to fast….
10/08/2018 at 8:27 pm #49798IdahoarderParticipant
I don’t know if anyone mentioned this while my kids were going crazy during the podcast, but now when I list using the app, the “make offer” listings I’m putting up are defaulting to auto-decline offers under a certain amount. I list on my computer and then take photos and post using my phone. I usually just scroll to the bottom and list it, so I didn’t notice this until I’d listed several items. If I have something listed for $200, for example, it will show something like “accept best offers of $100 or higher.” So I guess I have to go in and manually change this on every best offer listing I put up? It doesn’t take long, but I worry that I’ll forget to change it and I like to see every offer. Anyone know how to turn this off? And I did decline the easy pricing option, so that’s not the problem.
10/08/2018 at 9:00 pm #49802bcfol440Participant
Re: Wrapping stuff. For clothing & shoes, I have started adding tissue before I slip into the clear bag. It’s $5.99 for 400? sheets at Costco through holiday season or I source it at the thrift store when I see it. I bought this for Posh, but am now doing it for ebay as well. For my high end shoes, I stuff the toes with paper and then wrap em up. Posh gets a thank you card (I bought 400 thank you cards for 50 cents at the thrift) – super simple “enjoy the XYZ!”
Items sold: 30
Sales: $980 ebay, $67 Poshmark
I had a couple 0 sales days.
Highest Sale: Copper Pot (last of my massive score, so sad). $120
GOALS: My goal at present is listing $300-$500 5 days per week. $500 is ideal. This keeps the momentum up immensely for me, but it also has me sourcing a lot.
Love my new sourcing routes – lots more car time, but better stuff and different stuff. Ever feel like your local thrift stores get the same old stuff? Almost embarrassed it took me so long to expand my sourcing route.
I have been slowly picking up and listing 35mm slides. I don’t think I am made for slides.
Like many of you, I discovered Best Offer was turned onto MANY items I was like WTH?? However, ebay got the last word as I accepted/ countered on a few and made some sales.
10/08/2018 at 9:27 pm #49806
Finally had a better week. Not as good as I would like it to be, but headed in the right direction. A real mix of high and low end items. Still listing my old low end inventory as auctions. Most sell for cheap, but a couple have had some bidding action and gone for decent amounts. Gets ‘em out of my storage and brings in some revenue.
Ryanne I agree that the EBay app on my phone is awful. It’s marginally better on my iPad, but it’s amazing to me how backward it is considering everything these days is about the app. Today I got a counter offer on an item and it wouldn’t show me the offer history. It’s stupid stuff like that and invoices that make me have a love hate relationship with the EBay app.
Question-yesterday I had someone buy and pay for an item and then ask me not to ship it until October 27 because they are out of the country. How does that work without EBay dinging me for late shipping? Since my new mail carrier my numbers have been slowly improving regarding late deliveries so I really don’t want to take a hit.
eBay September 30-October 6
Total sales. $211.05
# sold. 24
Avg. sale. $8.79
# listed. 26
# in store. 1,085
Returns. 0, but 1 canceled sale
$ spent on new. $11.75
Highest sale- $24.99 Anne Klein black patent flats going to Chile
10/08/2018 at 11:27 pm #49812GeoffParticipant
Slow week for me as well / still have a small inventory. Listed some decent items and should be over 400 items again soon.
Total items in store (beginning of week): 389
Items sold: 3
30 day sell through (rate): 3.43%
Total Sales: (no shipping): 45.95
Average price: $15.32
Cost of items sold: $9.66
Average cost per item: $3.22
Gross profit: $36.29
10/09/2018 at 9:16 am #49839
great podcast as always!
I’m saving up for a flying car with my ebay money 🙂
Paypal is in a total panic, I got that email from paypal too. Not sure what becomes of paypal after ebay, I think it could be a boost for platforms like bonanza if paypal starts promoting them. Weird zone ahead, grab your hardhats.
10/09/2018 at 9:33 am #49842
Paypal will be fine. They have plenty of business outside of eBay and will still be an option for eBay buyers (just wont be the default).
The big key is if eBay can roll out their payment system effectively.
10/09/2018 at 3:21 pm #49879
Paypal is at $80/share and has a market cap of almost 95 billion dollars.
Ebay is at $33/share and has a market cap of only about 33 billion dollars.
Paypal has been busy diversifying over the last few years away from ebay, knowing that the ebay agreement was only for 5 years. They will be more than fine.
10/09/2018 at 9:46 am #49843
Oh yeah i forgot to mention, for Mark The Shark, when you are listing on the mobile app your now getting a question at the end where ebay ask if you want them to auto lower your price on the item if it doesn’t sell after a set amount of time. If your not careful you can click yes on that if your not paying close attention.
10/09/2018 at 2:59 pm #49878NancyParticipant
I don’t feel any pressure to pack things differently for etsy. I do them the same as I do for ebay. tissue or brown newsprint. bubble wrap. poly mailers or recycled boxes. I think the handmade sellers on etsy are more into the packaging.
Poshmark pushes to wrap pretty and even include free gifts. I just do my own thing and package my poshmark stuff same as ebay. no complaints so far.
10/09/2018 at 3:24 pm #49880
So show note…has anyone else really started looking forward to hearing from Tony Katz every week? His enthusiasm brings a smile to my face every time!
10/09/2018 at 10:42 pm #49906
10/09/2018 at 3:36 pm #49882
I forgot to mention in my post above, is anyone else getting the ‘Want to sell this faster?’ emails and notifications? They are starting to really annoy me. Is there a way to opt out of the darn things?
10/09/2018 at 3:41 pm #49883
10/09/2018 at 6:09 pm #49893Tara JacobsenParticipant
- Location: Tampa, FL
I sell on Etsy, more than a hobby, less than full time. I get pink mailers, have business cards that are pink with contact info and pink stickers. AND PINK TISSUE PAPER.
It takes like 3 seconds to wrap it up and it makes it like a present. I have ALL 4-5 star reviews (mostly 5 star) and great reviews which are way harder to get on Etsy than on Ebay where it is part of the culture. – except one old dear who didn’t understand the internet
I think I spent like $18 on hundreds of pieces of tissue paper. My setup is here… https://marketingartfully.com/2017/09/28/reuse-shipping-etsy-ebay-store/
No handwritten cards… I scrawl Thanks Tara on the packing slip and go.
During the season I ship 12-20 a day generally so semi-big orders but not 74 all at once!!!
10/09/2018 at 8:50 pm #49903LavenderclotheslineParticipant
- Location: Pennsylvania
9/30 – 10/6
Total sales $2013.40
Total items: Im not sure how to find that number lol( about 2800)
Highest item sold: Bed Stu Cross body Messenger Backpack: $149.23
Average cost of per item: $5.85
Inventory purchased: $143.35
Average price sold: $34.11
Cost of helper $100.00
(I have just recently hired my daughter for 5hrs a week to take photos and measure clothing)
Most of my sourcing is at yard sales and thrift stores but I will be attending auctions soon!
10/11/2018 at 8:36 am #49997
lavender: Very nice sales week! Are you mostly clothes?
10/09/2018 at 10:03 pm #49904
Week of Sept 30 – Oct 6
* Total Items in Store: 1150 eBay, 13 Mercari
* Items Sold: 13
* Cost of Items Sold: $47.24 + $6 Commission
* Total Sales: $255.16
* Highest Price Sold: $110 Vintage Mother & Child Oil Painting
* Average Price Sold: $19.63
* Returns: 0 (1 NPB)
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
* Number of items listed this week: 3
The back of the building looks very nice with the creek. Normally commercial buildings don’t really utilize the back, so I’m wondering what you are planning to do there.
The non-paying buyer has a day or so before eBay closes it out. I don’t add unpaid items into my sales number, so it won’t change anything.
10/10/2018 at 11:53 am #49935
we plan on doing 3 decks, one for each floor. $$$$ but it will transform the building.
10/09/2018 at 10:35 pm #49905
Re lifetime earnings. In my view the picture is incomplete without hours. Do you have a record or estimated idea of how many hours went into that $700k?
There is an even further consideration of how much fun an hour of ebaying is vs an hour on ye old cube farme but we can table that.
I really recommend folks track their hours at least approximately. It gives you a different perspective. Helps you think about whether this business is worth your time, and also whether certain items are worth your time.
10/10/2018 at 7:48 am #49912
Good point. No idea how many hours, but I will say that I wouldn’t have traded the last ten years being able to spend all day with Ryanne for anything.
10/10/2018 at 11:11 am #49931
That statement hits the nail right on the head. I want to spend 100% of my time at home with my wife and kids. Even if I’m working for 8-10 hours a day, I would be able to split up my time as needed, stop work to go do whatever we want/need to do, etc.
I’m so conflicted on going full time. Work just made it harder too – I just got another week of vacation and my boss is putting in paperwork to give me a title promotion with a raise. I only put in 40 hours a week at this job and it really isn’t hard. I have a good thing going and it would be silly to walk away from it.
It would be INCREDIBLY hard for me to match my salary/benefits with full time ebay sales after this raise. This whole process started as a safety net for when/if I was laid off. The business has grown and grown, my backlog of unlisted inventory is reaching max capacity, and my free time is shrinking as the kids do more and more activities.
Official announcement to go with this subject: We are expecting another child in April! This will take us to 5. So even less time is on the horizon!
The time has come that I really need to hire and train an employee because I don’t see me going full time anytime soon. My wife is simply too busy to consistently help me with photographs. Abandoning the business is not an option. I want to continue growing!
Oh yeah, I went off on a tangent there…
I spend 3-5 hours a week packing/shipping. Lately I spend 4 or less hours a week listing – usually 0. I only scavenge on Sunday for an hour or so. Occasionally I’ll hit the local goodwill for 30-60 minutes, but it has been every other week since I only do shoes and hard goods there now.
So for the last few months my ebay time has been at most 10-15 hours a week. The best part is that in my mind NONE of those hours are “work”. This is my hobby, my passion, my fun time, my relaxing time, etc. For the first time in my life I have found that elusive career dream of making your passion be your work – and to get paid pretty well for it too.
10/10/2018 at 12:39 pm #49938
Good news is that you dont have to decide now. With multiple kids, I know the equation is different for you than it was for us. If work is good, reap the benefits.
But its smart to continue to eBay as a backup plan. Pay off debts, keep costs low and save up money. I know its been 10 years since the last economic crash, but we know theres no guarantee another one isnt coming.
10/10/2018 at 7:45 pm #49973TerriParticipant
Congratulations on #5!
10/15/2018 at 3:01 pm #50193
Retro, Just saw this and wanted to say Congrats on #5 on-the-way.. I have 5 and it is awesome!!! They are all my little “helpers” – the little ones run my packages into the post office and my oldest (12) helps me photograph – I pay her $1.00 a listing for setting up drafts and photographing. She also sells our happy meal toys whenever we go to McDonalds – The kids complain, but she figured out we can pay $2.99 for a happy meal and then sell the toy for $9.95 free shipping and profit a few dollars (We sell right after the toys are no longer available and people are looking to collect them). It’s free food for the kids, scavenger style, Haha! I hope your wife is feeling good and no morning sickness!
10/11/2018 at 8:56 am #49999
I love the conversation on hours, especially for anyone that has considered going full time, or even as a part time job. Time is the one resource we cannot get more of, only spend, so make sure you are making the most of it.
Now, let us all not forget the future income stream coming from our past work. Let’s take Jay and Ryanne for example. I believe that Jay said that they currently have $475,000 worth of inventory listed (retail price). To be conservative, let’s say that they reasonably expect to sell that inventory at 60% of their asking price, so $285,000 is listed. Let’s further say that 20% of their inventory is unsalable (will have to donate).
That leaves them with $228,000 of inventory over 6,400 items. If you take out fees (15%) and shipping supplies (1%), they have a future net profit of $191,520 coming…
If Ryanne can ship (on average) an item in 15 minutes, that is 1,600 hours of shipping to do (that is 40 work weeks of 40 hours/week!). And they will be making $119.70/hour in the future, just shipping the inventory that they have listed. Even if Ryanne takes 30 minutes per item to ship on average, they they have a future income stream that will pay them $59.85/hour.
10/11/2018 at 9:06 am #50003
TSatt, exactly. Jay & Ryanne have basically created an annuity for themselves with their gigantic long-tail inventory. It’s worth the present value of all the future payments, less the work of shipping – maybe something like $200k as you say.
10/11/2018 at 8:57 am #50000
Jay: Excellent point…and smart man!
10/11/2018 at 9:29 am #50008
I also didn’t mention the flexibility! I have to be at the office from 7-4 every day. Even if you also worked 40 hrs/week, which I don’t think you do, you can put in those 40 for the most part whenever you want. No rearranging stuff to go to the doctor’s etc.
Re the hours, I mean, you can try to guesstimate. I think you said 16,000 items of lifetime sales. You guys scavenge lots of stuff at a time, so let’s say 5 minutes/item to scavenge. 5 minutes to process. 10 minutes to list. 10 minutes to pick & pack. 5 minutes buying label/dealing with post office. 1 minute customer issues (on average). That’s 36 minutes/item roughly = 0.6 hrs. 0.6hrs/item * 16000 items = 9600 hours.
Now the punchline: $700k/9600hrs = $72/hr gross, perhaps $58 net. I know these are rough numbers, but DAMN. Plus, as T-Satt says below, your profits are lagged and if you only shipped starting tomorrow you’d still be making a decent chunk of change for 1-2 years.
10/10/2018 at 2:39 pm #49956NancyParticipant
Jay and Ryanne is the entire building shown in the video your building?
The sound the tree made when it hit the ground!
10/10/2018 at 2:43 pm #49957
We own the building on the right. It’s three floors and about 4000 square feet.
10/10/2018 at 3:48 pm #49958
How many buildings are there? Like Nancy, I thought it was one big brick building with the front on the right and the back on the left. But if we’re looking at the backs of several buildings, it looks like it could be either 2 or 3 different buildings. Just curious. I love following projects like this.
10/10/2018 at 4:47 pm #49964
Its just one large brick building as you saw in our original photo. But there’s another larger brick building next to ours.
The building looks like any old building in small town America. Mostly unused for the past several decades after Walmart took all the business outside town by the highway.
10/10/2018 at 9:52 pm #49984
Yup, I remember how the bottom front of the building looks like from the first photo. I was just wondering which building is yours from the back – the view we see in the video. Is your building the piece in the middle with no windows to the back? Or do you own everything to the right of the tree that was taken down, which means it’s L-shaped in the back?
10/10/2018 at 10:03 pm #49985
Its a bad angle. Its the building up front on the right with the windows. This image only shows the back 1/2 of the building. The other building is behind ours and a much longer brick building that runs into the creek.
As we renovate we’ll share more photos.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Jay.
10/10/2018 at 10:20 pm #49987
Oh, I think I get it now. In the video we’re actually seeing the *side* wall of your building, as well as the land in the back of the building. Very cool. Looking forward to future photos! Thanks for all the work you guys put in to not just renovate, but also beautify the world, by renovating with quality materials and good design.
10/11/2018 at 9:10 am #50006
J&R, in older podcasts you guys often talked about wanting to do more higher-dollar items even if you have to pay (buy for $50-100, sell for $400-1000).
Do you think having helpers is driving you to buy lower-dollar stuff instead, in order to keep them busy?
10/11/2018 at 9:53 am #50018
I was just talking to Mike about this on another thread. You hit the nail on the head.
–Because we now have a steady helper who comes every week, we source more low dollar stuff to keep her busy. And because she’s essentially doing all the work, it makes sense to have her photo and list items between $20-$30.
–Finding high dollar items in quantity is not easy. Even if you have the stomach to spend $50 on an item that will sell for $400, where do you find this stuff? We would need to go to at least three auctions a week and buy the cream of the crop to load our store with high dollar items. It’s an investment of time that we dont have right now.
10/11/2018 at 10:12 am #50021
Gotcha, that makes perfect sense. I guess the helpers are a real gamechanger.
On the high dollar items. I think it’s hard to source them in in-person auctions due to the all-day time burn. (I literally CAN’T do that, due to day job/young family.) That’s why IMHO online auctions are where it’s at. There are 3 major online auctions in my area, 2 of which are weekly.
One is in town. I can usually get 1-2+ items per week that’re worth $300+, usually for like $40 each. I can drive to inspect before bidding, but usually don’t unless it’s a really big outlay, or heavily used item. You get a feel for what these places are willing to put out on the floor, so I trust them to be mostly good items (and most of my stuff is new/NOB anyway). So the time burn for those items is about 1 hr/week of surfing the auction catalogue and 30 minutes to pick up the items.
The other is out of town, but they ship to you for very reasonable rates. Same basic idea there, therefore.
10/11/2018 at 10:56 am #50028
I guess I wanted to do an experiment where we had a “store within a store” that only had items $300+. My goal would be to have it stocked with at least 500 items in that price range. The goal would be to sell 10 items a month for over $300.
And Almasty, I dont think its low dollar vs high dollar. We love the business of bread and butter items. I’m just curious if we can create a high dollar pipeline. Challenges keep us passionate.
I agree with Simplicio that going to in-person auctions all week is a time burn. That’s the issue. No easy money. Online auctions are a possibility but I’d be worried about not inspecting all high dollar items. Also, my experience has been that online auction prices are often much high than in-person auctions because of the convenience and the ease of research. The requirement to be at the in-person auction is the barrier to entry.
Simplicio says he sources 1-2 items each week over $300. We source this amount already in our current process. But to hit 500 items over $300, we’d need to be sourcing at least 20 items a week over $300.
Anyway, my solution is to just put the time in. Maybe after we finish this renovation, I’ll challenge myself to attend multiple auctions per week alone. Ryanne isnt as excited by auctions as I am.
10/11/2018 at 11:20 am #50029
Is the sell-through rate that high at the high end? I am seriously in the wrong business.
Sounds like a good goal. I’d be worried about competition driving prices very high to the point of spending $100 or more to make $300 per item. I would probably get a paypal loan out to invest in quickly building a high-income pipeline quickly (3-6 months), if that much inventory can be acquired that quickly. I’s estimate at least 12-20k investment for a few hundred items to start with in order to make 60k?
Yeah, I’m seriously in the wrong business!
10/11/2018 at 11:34 am #50032
Ha. Obviously this is just a hypothesis. Only one way to test it.
Do you go to in person auctions? At the ones we attend, there’s the first part of the auction where they sell off table lots. That’s where we get all our stuff.
The second half is where they sell the expensive individual items. Art, collectibles, antiques. We usually leave before that part begins. But in my experiment, I’d stay for that second part and see what I could buy for a reasonable amount.
Anyway, enough talking for me.
10/11/2018 at 11:34 am #50031
There’s definitely some truth to that – the online auctions are “easy”, therefore prices go high.
You can gain that edge back by willingness to buy obscure/long-tail stuff. Prices go high for quick flips but I can routinely find obscure parts and stuff that go for 10x+ amounts. This is not vintagey stuff mind you, this is my business/industrial wheelhouse.
Also gotta bear in mind the bidders are a finite number of mere mortals like us, who may or may not have the cashflow/interest in an item in any given week. (Witness the same issues we talk about with ebay auctions.) Sometimes you snag something incredible for pennies. It takes 2 seconds to bid so I just put in lowball bids on everything I’m interested in, mostly they come to naught but when they hit it’s great.
>My goal would be to have it stocked with at least 500 items in that price range. The goal would be to sell 10 items a month for over $300.
Why do you want such a large high-dollar *inventory*? 😉
I bet you guys can find 5-10 items worth $300 in a given month. That might cost you about $200-400/mo in COGS. Just keep doing that as much as you can afford until your high-dollar sales are where you want them to be. Ideally, when you reach equilibrium, the things sell as fast as you can list & ship them. You may never get to 500.
I was curious and looked; I have 106 listings (some are multiples) of individual lots for $300+. My prices are inflated so maybe 2/3 of those are actually $300+ items. That’s out of 620 listings.
10/11/2018 at 12:12 pm #50038
Online auctions aren’t bad. For us, there’s a lot of traveling involved to actually pick up the items. so if we bid on ten items and win only one, it’s a long drive for not much. Sounds like you’ve found a good process your industrial auctions close to you.
At this point, I’m just talking out loud. The only reason to buy that much inventory is to really see if the experiment would work. If it feels to be a losing idea as I tried it, I’d just dump out. But I’d like to know in a three month period if it would work.
As TSatt said, Im always looking for the game changers.
10/11/2018 at 12:18 pm #50039
This is pretty good advice. Continue sourcing like normal and finding the $300+ ones in the wild. I think also becoming an expert in a few different niches can help you find more hidden expensive items as well. They may not be necessarily $300+ items, but there may be more hidden $100-250 items already at the sales you already attend that you are passing up that could go for really cheap.
I just looked at my niche ebay store, and I have 10 out of 9,700 items listed for $300+. The most I paid for any of them was $5.
I have never attended an in-person auction. Just the online ones. I would like to attend an in-person one, but I currently don’t have any by me that I can get to without a car. The results of the online auctions sometimes leave my scratching my head.
10/11/2018 at 12:21 pm #50041
Jay: We are similar with our photographer. We sometimes pick up some lower end items as we know we can crank them out and that keeps him busy. We still make money and we can try to focus on more high dollar sales when possible.
10/11/2018 at 10:34 am #50026
After experimenting the past few months with only buying higher value books ($20+ up), and seeing slowing sales due to this, I am back to buying books that sell on the cheaper end. I am not buying as many cheaper books as I once did, but I have seen that they are necessary to keep a flow of steady sales and make your store appear “active.” The cheaper books also tend to be the ones that are more popular and common, so more people will buy them because they already have an interest in them right now.
Cheaper items tend to be more useful and desirable for a wider range of people than just focusing on the expensive items. I would think the same could be said for higher dollar items that are antiques or collectibles, or even just practical items that can range from $15-40 that people just need in their daily lives. You may get less sales for a higher value, but you’ll be losing a significant amount of business on the lower end that you need in order to maintain a steady cash flow in order to buy more items, or to at least pay your bills with. You’ll also see an overall decrease in sales because just focusing on the higher-end will not make up for the lack of lower-end sales, unless you are constantly sourcing the higher-end.
I realize that some sellers can get by on just selling expensive items, but they may just be doing this p/t, have a significant amount of money already saved up, or are already retired. In order to run a successful online business and support yourself and your family, you probably need to dip into both ends of the selling equation in order to maintain a steady paycheck for yourself.
10/11/2018 at 12:20 pm #50040
Love this whole discussion. I think this is where most of us see why businesses try to have different levels of products in their store, low profit quick movers that keep the cash coming in and keep buyers coming back, and higher end home runs that make great profit when they sell.
10/11/2018 at 1:45 pm #50046
I find if I aim for high-dollar stuff, I still get plenty of low-dollar stuff as a side effect, either because it wasn’t as good as I thought it’d be, or because it came as part of a big box/table/sea can lot and I compulsively can’t not list it. But yeah, that stuff helps even out the bumps.
Another factor is lotting. You can create high-dollar listings out of thin air by lotting up multiples. Generally I try to lot stuff to about a $100-200 value as long as it makes sense that someone would want multiples.
10/11/2018 at 2:07 pm #50047
Very true. Currently all the high dollar items we scavenger and sell come in the table lots we buy. As you said, these are the little gems that get hidden in the junk.
We dont buy the kind of stuff (collectible, antique, and art) that can be sold in lots. I know you focus on industrial supplies which would make sense selling in lots.
In the collectible, antique, and art market, I see that someone is making money selling high end items. There’s certainly a group of buyers willing to pay high dollar. Question is if its possible to find those items at a reasonable price.
10/11/2018 at 2:44 pm #50057InglewoodParticipant
Creating lots is a great strategy. I do this for several things on purpose. For example, every thrift store has a couple VHS tapes or blank cassette tapes – I usually pick these up for 10 or 25 cents, save them in boxes until I have 50 or 100 (even mixed brands/types) and sell them for about $2/tape in the end in a lot. Some of these tapes have huge value to sell alone, so it is worth the gamble and research (I sold a blank cassette tape for $200 once!).
Another lot strategy I have is I save broken items. For example, I buy/sell a lot of Walkmans – some are not repairable and I will save 5-10 and sell them all together as a broken/parts lot. At minimum, I get my money back for a risky buy that didn’t work out.
10/11/2018 at 1:03 pm #50044
My two cents on online auctions. I think a lot of them aren’t worth the time or trouble. The only way to figure out if a particular company works for you is to try it a time or two. I always check pick up times before I bid on anything. If it doesn’t fit in my schedule, I don’t bid. You also have to watch the premium they charge over the auction price. I’m really lucky to have found one that works really well for me. The auctions end on a Sunday evening. Pick up is usually on a Friday. I do have to drive an hour to get the items, but more often than not it’s been well worth the drive. I rarely spend more than $10-20 dollars and often fill the back end of my car. I have had a few jackpot items and some that go straight to Goodwill, but I imagine that’s true of table lots at regular auctions too. Lots of good solid $10 to 30 dollar items. This online auction is rapidly becoming my main source of items.
10/12/2018 at 9:59 am #50073TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
You really do need niche expertise to pay more for expensive items. It’s pretty easy to buy a table or box lots at an auction for pennies an item where a quick look over tells me that some of it will be thrown out or donated, some of it will be bread and butter $20-$30 items, and some of it might be higher dollar once I’m able to do the research and be pleasantly surprised, but the minimum of bread and butter items makes it worth the purchase. To pay $50 for a single item you need to know that you can sell it for at least say $150, but if the price is already $50 at an auction or elsewhere it’s because the auctioneer or seller know enough about it to think it’s worth at least in that ballpark. Your depth of knowledge has to be better. You want to be the only one in the room who knows it’s a $150 item. But that won’t happen every day and it takes time because you’re spending more time sourcing to make those occasional scores. It’s hard to scale up volume with that model.
10/12/2018 at 2:13 pm #50076
JUST FYI.. Shipped today an item we paid $75 for on Sept. 18th and it sold yestrday for $350. We knew what the value was. A couple of weeks ago we purchased 4 items for $50 to $75 that we have listed at the $250 + range. But we also picked up 62 items that are listed in the $40 to $65 range.
So it is always a mixture, like Jay mentioned, and you do both the low end and the higher end at the same time.
We also now have gotten to know who the estate sale managers are and what kind of clientele they cater too. We know if we see a sales by estate seller A then expect to see items in the hundreds of dollars all over the place. Also in Atlanta we see where they are located geographically and we immediately know it will all be fairly high end because that area is all one to four million dollar homes. On the flip side we know areas that the highest median home prices are $150k and they are going to be full of Tupperware LOL 🙂 [you get the point].
If you use the paid databases, which we do for research and or as you said, have some knowledge in certain areas it is not as big of a gamble.
Plus our best high end items are almost always at the estate sales in the high end areas vs. auctions. And as we have discussed before, at estate sales, you know you have the item if it is in your hands. At auctions you wait hours for something to just present itself, then it is a coin toss if you end up getting it.
Just tossing in a couple of cents worth. 🙂
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta.
10/13/2018 at 8:09 am #50094
Totally and completely agree. Jumping into the high end scavenging is an unknown for us.
It’s fun to find hidden treasures in table lots. If we buy a truckload of stuff, there might be 4-5 items that can sell for over $200.
At our auction, I see the group of scavengers who wait for the second half of the auction with the more expensive items. Its the same group each week so they arent collectors. I’d like to learn what they’re buying and how much they sell the items for. Maybe it’s buy for $300 and sell for $1500. Just a different challenge.
10/12/2018 at 12:07 pm #50075
I’m a fan of local online auctions- If you had a small auction house in your town you would love it-
There are 3 within 5 miles of me, all have previews and as noted above you get a feel for quality as you get to know the owners. Most items come from storage lockers and pawn shops.
The biggest zonk I had was a west point academy class ring I bought. It cost me 20.00 I tracked down the owner and found out it had been stolen by the moving company while he was deployed. he was heartbroken- He sent me funds to cover the cost and ship it fed ex to him at his new post-
But for the most part this is where you can find big tickets-
The auction house owner is the real winner- 30% premium to sell your stuff and they take another 10-20 % buyers fee…
In the Seattle area there are alot of estate companies moving to online auctions- They are trickier to pin down for previews and the pickup windows are very precise- but you can score big there also-
Like a 1909 Theo Kochs Barber Chair, mint with provenance- for 160.00 – moving it was an adventure. But when my wife opens her dream barber shop, she will have the best chair in town….
10/13/2018 at 8:06 am #50092
Sounds like a great auction house. The closest online auction is 45 minutes away. Too far to preview easily. Plus they basically break up table lots and sell a lot of junk. I feel older people use online auctions now as entertainment because I dont know who’s paying $29 for an old broken lamp.
Plus, the good stuff almost always goes for high because everyone can research the item over the week. Value is known.
10/13/2018 at 11:33 am #50099
Jay I was just talking to my gaybor and auction partner about the crazy pants bidders. Like all sourcing its work.but fun work.
Keep an eye out for the travelling online estate sales nearby- It is becoming a thing out west – i believe its a franchise Here you go a link to the map etc-http://www.caringtransitions.com/Locations
10/13/2018 at 11:45 am #50101
10/13/2018 at 12:48 pm #50102
Everything But The House has nice stuff, but the shipping will kill you.
10/13/2018 at 12:50 pm #50103
Yep, doesn’t make sense to ship. And only makes sense if you live near where the estates are being sold off.
10/13/2018 at 1:18 pm #50105
Cool site-i tried a search for pick up only- nothing within 25 miles of me….:(
10/13/2018 at 2:25 pm #50109
EBTH seems like it has cut back on the cities they operate out of in the last few months.
10/13/2018 at 2:43 pm #50112
EBTH really expanded with venture capital money. They ran a estate auction in our town a couple years ago. Very disorganized with a team of people. I had no idea how they made money with the costs they likely incurred.
10/13/2018 at 2:29 pm #50110
This is the one I use. It’s a bunch of individual auction houses that run their auctions through this website. They operate in most states from what I see. The company I prefer in my area is Innovative Auctions.
10/13/2018 at 8:49 pm #50118
In reading through this discussion of online auctions, I realized that the type of auction affects your experience. I’ve looked at or even placed bids on the type of auctions where the prices seem to go to ridiculous amounts. I like a company called MaxSold, which appears to be a bit different.
Their idea is to sell everything, from the cleaning supplies under the sink to antiques to cars and everything in between. Many times, they will list “contents of the linen closet” or “everything on these two shelves”. More valuable items are listed one at a time just like the other auctions, but I don’t think their photography is as professional.
What I try to do is look carefully at the lots and find items people aren’t interested in locally, but might be to a larger eBay type audience, or lots that aren’t properly described by the MaxSold employees. Also, if I decide to bid on something interesting in an auction, I might take a chance on something no one wants because it might have something hidden in there of interest.
Here is an example:
In the fifth photo, a portable CD player (which didn’t work properly) is sitting on top of a cassette holder. That cassette holder ended up being the brand that was often modified and used as a engineer’s kit in Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Next Generation. I sold it for $90 to someone in England. This lot also had a significant number of Bruce Springsteen CDs, DVDs, etc. that were not shown in the photos, and I sold as a group to a fancy thrift store in MA for around $40. I still have stuff from this purchase listed. I won the lot at the minimum bid of $1. I’ve bought many lots for $1 that ended up as nothing sellable, but all I lost was $1 (actually $1.10 with the premium).
Here is another example of a box of junk, but there is a vintage Trapper Keeper notebook right on top. I sold that for around $45 to someone in Guam. I think there might have been one or two other items in there that I was able to list. The rest were donated or trashed. Again, I paid the minimum bid.
Here’s one more that wasn’t accurately described, but I did pay $45. The listing mentions that there are Pantone color guides, but doesn’t mention how old they are or how many are included. There were around seven, and they were from the 80’s (and one from the late 60s). I sold each one for between $25 to $45. There were many other items in this purchase that I was able to list.
I guess that the point I’m trying to make is that the regular auction sites that only list the good stuff are leaving out the weird and quirky stuff that many of us look for. I can’t imagine that there aren’t other auction companies besides MaxSold that does this, but MaxSold is in many locations within the US and Canada.
I’m actually on the other side now helping a friend set up an auction so that she can downsize and sell her house next year. I’m making sure that everything is photographed and described properly. From all of my experience with this company, I know that some bidders will get caught up in the process, and some items will go pretty high. Some will go for the minimum bid of $1 or not get sold. In the end, it will average out and she will get a good price for all her stuff.
Anyway, I just wanted to put in my two cents about my online auction experiences. I also have had very good experiences with live auctions as well. Weekends usually revolve around family, so I have limited time for garage and estate sales (although, my online auction pickups are usually on a Saturday or Sunday).
With this big wall of text, I think I’m supposed to offer a 50 cent cup of coffee at this point, or something like that :).
10/13/2018 at 11:13 pm #50119
Sharyn you are too funny. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experience with maxsold. They do auctions within an hour of my house from time to time, but I keep missing them b/c i forget to check. Probably should try to get on their mailing list or something.
10/15/2018 at 11:23 am #50159Djett83Participant
- Location: Northern VA (Warrenton)
I love MaxSold auctions too. The nice thing is they don’t really sort through most of the groupings so you can find some hidden treasures.
How far are you willing to drive to pick up the auction stuff in your area? We’re in northern VA and I’ve gone over to Maryland a couple of times but I don’t like driving that far.
The problem I’ve run in to is that I’ll be bidding on a few lots and then get outbid on the things that I really wanted but win the things I’ve bid on but wasn’t sure I really wanted. I’m cheap so I usually drop out if it goes higher than $20. But this is the only on-line auction site I’ve ever bid on. Plus sometimes the pickup time is during the week and since I don’t work a normal job I can usually go pick up stuff that other people may not be able to pick up.
10/15/2018 at 12:10 pm #50169
In a perfect world, picking up from an online auction would be just ten minutes away. For some people in cities, this seems to be the case.
For us, every place is at least 45 minutes one way.
10/15/2018 at 5:58 pm #50206
I prefer to keep my drive to about 40 min or less, but, occasionally, I will do up to an hour drive. Anything more than that, and I pass. I am also more willing to drive south and west (south NJ or Philadelphia) than north (north NJ or NY). Actually, I’ve never driven to NY for an auction pickup. Apart from the traffic, I would have to pay a toll to go over a bridge.
I totally agree on the hidden treasures. MaxSold is more interested in getting the stuff out in a short period of time rather than photographing and documenting all the details. And, yes, I’ve had the experience of being outbid on the things I wanted and having to pick up a few ordinary items. Sometimes I will look at the order of the auction and decide not to bid on some ordinary items earlier on, and I’ll wait and see if I win the interesting stuff first.
I’ve bid on two other online auctions, and both ended up in no purchases. The first was with govdeals.com, and the seller decided to pull out of the sale. The second was through auctionzip.com and would have been a pickup in Manhattan. I really didn’t want to do the drive, but the items were so good and no one was bidding ahead of time. I’m used to MaxSold that does see some action in the days or hours leading up to auction time. In this one, the bidding took off just a few minutes before each item’s end time, and, after losing several lots, I just let myself be outbid on all of it.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Sharyn.
10/15/2018 at 6:32 pm #50209
The online auction I use is about 45 minutes away. I just use it as an excuse to make a whole day of scavenging. My small town only has 1-2 estate sales a month. The city the Auction house is at, Beavercreek, and the surrounding cities always has an estate sale going. Not to mention all the thrift stores in the area. First thing I do before I bid on any online auction is to check the pickup times and location. If it doesn’t fit in the schedule I don’t bid. I have bought enough stuff from Innovative Auctions that they know me and will open hold my items if I can’t make a pickup on the regular date although I know they don’t do this for everyone).
11/16/2018 at 3:05 pm #51815
Resurrecting this thread to clarify something. I just double checked by listening to the first bit of the podcast and your supposed lifetime total of $700k was arrived at via “Seller dashboard” –> “Your seller level” –> “Your totals to date”.
Bring it up because I happened to stumble upon mine there as well. The number sounded low so I checked it against my spreadsheet. It was not even close to correct. (Said my “total to date” was USD$32k=CAD$42k; my real lifetime gross sales are about CAD$79k).
I can’t come up with an interpretation for this number that makes any sense. Even if I subtract fees, it’s not even in the ballpark. And my numbers are already not including shipping income, of course.
I don’t know how much you guys have made in your ebay career but I am now convinced this is a garbage number. If it’s anything like the one in my seller hub page, probably way low.
11/17/2018 at 8:56 am #51847
If true, I wish eBay would provide reliable numbers. Unless we each keep our own spreadsheets, we’re flying blind.
11/17/2018 at 9:02 am #51850
That is why 3rd party software [i.e. EAT-Easy Auction Tracker, SixBit, WonderLister, and hopefully InkFrog for J&R] have extra valuable features over and above their other functions. Even GoDaddy and Quicken should have most of these numbers IF U HAVE BEEN using them long enough. If not, then Ebay numbers will have to do.
mike at MDCGFA
11/17/2018 at 12:21 pm #51862
Are you seriously suggesting that ebay ought to be able to add numbers? Come on, let’s stay out of the realm of science fiction here.
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