12/17/2018 at 7:31 am #53472
We have extended handling time because we are in NYC for the holidays. Still selling some stuff, so we’re happy. Even got our helper to ship an item
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 390: Building a Business to Build a Life]0
12/17/2018 at 8:04 am #53475
12/9 – 12/15
Items In Store: 2,588
Items Sold: 27
Cost of Items Sold: $100
Total Sales: $1103.75
HIghest Price Sold: $220(Vintage Hardy Boys Books)
Average price $40.88
Money spent on new inventory: $142
Items listed: 5
Gut Sales Report
Well,finally felt like the busy season!
Challenge of the week Finish entering all of the Custom Labels by the end of the year so that every item has a custom label at POS next year. Then iT is just a simple Lookup into my COGS table for the COG.
Scavenge of the week vintage Fisher Price toys stil in the original boxes from the early 1970’s! – the Action garage and 6 Millon dollar man Bionic Transport and Repair station!2+
12/17/2018 at 11:23 am #53518
I’m jealous over your toy finds!
Best of luck, great timing as the grown up kids will be revisiting their Christmas Past over the next couple of months. Purchases sure to follow! Nice finds!!0
12/17/2018 at 2:11 pm #53535
Yea, great finds but not Cheap. The estate sale had all kinds of toys like this, but ecpensive. I had to figure out which had money to be Made and these won out. I had to Pass on the Six million dollar man in original box for $100 because not much money left to be Made on that.
12/17/2018 at 8:17 am #53476
Regarding hourly rate as a way of looking at your eBay business, which is something I believe fairly strongly in. Jay, you’re right that a big part of that is having a busy life. Every hour I spend on eBay is STOLEN! Mainly from two places: my family, and sleep. I really have to make those hours count, hence my obsession with hourly rate. Do I enjoy eBay? Yes, absolutely – particularly scavenging. But I feel a strong need to justify that time spend (to my wife if no one else!).
You guys have often talked about not making a sweatshop for yourself. That’s hourly rate logic right there. I’m just trying to optimize as far away from sweatshop as I can get, systematically. Hourly rate is a way to think about that consistently, every single week instead of getting exhausted and then changing course.
You guys also emphasize freedom from employers, which I think is very compelling. Most folks who work 9-to-5 are very beholden to their employers, who (a) can crater their future careers if they so choose, and (b) provide benefits such as health & dental & insurance that they come to depend on. You can’t put a price on being able to feed yourself with or without an employer’s help, and that makes the direct comparison of hourly wage with a day job apples-to-oranges. It’s freedom! Who can compare $20/hr as a debt serf with $20 as a churl?
Anyway. Fantastic week! Even discounting my biggest sale, a good week.
Sales: CAD$3995, 15 items ($266/item avg)
COGS: $751 –> Item profit: $2657
Expenditures: $973 –> After-tax cashflow: $1744
Hours: 12, $146/hr
Listed: $1904, 16 items
Notable sales: sold some shunt diode barriers (25) for $2000. This pays off (with $1400 profit) the remaining COGS on a big auction lot from a few months ago. I never even knew I was getting these things with my lot, which is the best. Whole bunch of other random $50-300 sales. I shipped a lot of stuff this week.
Scavenging: went a little nuts last week. I bought a big lot of around 700 athletic compression shirts for $400. These are fairly standard-issue, and normal sizes this time, hopefully I don’t regret this bulk clothing buy. Very on the fence at the moment. Also, bought a weird surgical aid thingy for $425. It basically tracks the position of a physician’s scalpel during ACL surgery. This is either something that no one wants, or maybe I can turn it around for thousands. It’s an expensive, heavy, lottery ticket I guess.3+
12/17/2018 at 8:23 am #53477
i can’t remember if we mentioned it this week, but having helpers take photos and title listings has made ebay feel 100% less of a grind, and i’m very sure that contributes to us not feeling like we need to calculate our $/hour rate any more. i’m sure we were thinking about that a couple years ago for sure. but now we feel like we are managers who oversee the business rather than the hourly workers.
we still source everything, pack everything, answer all questions and deal with returns of course. but it certainly feels less of a grind now.5+
12/17/2018 at 8:31 am #53479
I bet! Man, once you guys get a legible inventory system and teach your helpers to ship, you’ll really have it made in the shade. :)))0
12/17/2018 at 8:36 am #53480
I think the one thing that always helps me when I think about “work” is that ALL of us have to do some type of work to live. If we were living 5,000 years ago, all day every day would be hunting, gathering, improving shelter, making clothes, etc. Just like other species, every day involves putting in some type of effort to continue survival and establishing a safe and thriving environment.
Working for a company is the same thing. You put in that time and effort, earn money, then spend that money on the same stuff we did 5,000 years ago, only now with WiFi…
When I have the perspective that whatever I do now for “work”, it is a hell of a lot easier than 5,000 years ago.
In the end, everyone HAS to do something to ensure they survive and thrive. What we do, how we do it, and how good we are at it…all on a spectrum…2+
12/17/2018 at 8:42 am #53482
You just made me realize why ebay is so satisfying. It’s paleo baby! It’s hunting and gathering! Our brains were honed by millions of years in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) to be thrilled at the sight of a juicy
woolly mammothtoner cartridge.7+
12/17/2018 at 8:54 am #53488
Love that! This is why we all can get the deathpiles…we love the hunt more than the listing!1+
12/17/2018 at 8:59 am #53490
In the end, everyone HAS to do something to ensure they survive and thrive. What we do, how we do it, and how good we are at it…all on a spectrum…
Some people sell on ebay, but here in WV some people wonder into abandoned mines for scrap copper. If only they knew ebay was much more profitable…Oh well. More for me!1+
12/17/2018 at 9:01 am #53493
Yeah…me no like deep underground…
That is the ONE profession I don’t think I could do…mining…
12/17/2018 at 9:02 am #53494
Copper theft is just depressing to me. People wandering into substations and electrocuting themselves for what, $6/kg?0
12/17/2018 at 3:13 pm #53549
Oh man…this state is sooo bad off….more than I really ever understood. Copper theft is just one small part of much larger issues.
I’m currently serving on a Federal Grand Jury. I’m learning waaaaayyyyyy more about the issues of our state than I ever wanted to know.
This statistic really starts to paint the picture of how dire the situation is:
12/19/2018 at 9:45 am #53682
Yikes, this is hard tough reality.
I have worked closely with a gentleman from WV who brings back tales of woe every time he goes back there. Normal looking families under bridges holding up PLEASE FEED US signs under bridges, more. He takes care of extended family in WV and none of us working here are rich!0
12/17/2018 at 12:26 pm #53523
- Location: Atlanta
Ryanne, do you still review drafts the helpers create? We do, and I find a lot that I have to edit. Also we know certain keywords that are pertinent to certain things that the helpers jsut don’t know.
And pricing. I usually do that. So, helpers take our “quick entry drafts” from the “Warehouse Folder” and finish out the listing, Item Specifics, description area, weight, box size, and attach the photos from our external drive and then save in their personal WonderLister folder I created for each of them. From There I review edit and revise as needed then publish.
Much faster for sure, but they miss some things that are what I feel are great keywords. Certain material terms, mold made glass as opposed to pipe-mouth blown, thus us artisan handmade key word, or has a pontil mark on the bottom, use of moriage, leaded stained glass with beveled edge, things that collectors do search for.
I have noticed over the last few years you and Jay’s gravitation away from a SL mantra from years back, and that was “Photograph like there is no description and Describe like you don’t have any photographs”. That mantra was to keep the INADs at bay and help boost sales for those who only look at photos and buy or those who read descriptions and dont see where to go to item specifics, or use Item specifics and dont look at the description area a lot of cell phone users].
But now, I see only a couple of words in your descriptions, something, “A heavy coat” and that’s it. or “Women’s High Heel Shoes” and a size, which is OK but the title covers most of the basics, the condition area handles the flaws that are noted and the Item specifics covers most else including the size.
So now that I look through a lot of your listings, is there any real reason to put anything thing in the description area and just a few basics in the IS area and let it post.
I guess I could get a whole lot more listed with that approach. Just rely on the title, price and photos to do the majority of the selling and just deal with what returns and feedback is generated as or if you come to that bridge. In one listing, you only have your short sku number and that’s it and 3 item specifics that is comprised of 5 words total and only 5 photos, and the title.
If that is now the way to go and possibily the new SL mantra, I think we could double or more our daily listings.
Is it now the sheare volume of listings, the title and photos that will produce larger amounts of sales vs. always using all 12 photos [when feasible], describing verbally the types of flaws, phrases in the description that contain multiple key words, and measurements in the IS areas that cover a multitude of measurements, colors, materials.
Just wondering what you guys and everyone else thinks about a full, rounded out IS, Condition, Description area vs. just 6 or 8 words a title and a few photos and letting the chips fall where they may?
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art in Atlanta1+
12/17/2018 at 2:11 pm #53534
Mike: I know that eBay is pushing for shorter descriptions. In fact, there is now a “limit” that they will use when converting your listing for mobile and for SEO to a certain number of characters (not sure, something like 850 is in my head). I see that Poshmark and Mercari are in the 1000 character range.
So, yeah, keep it short and sweet. You have seen ours (unless they are old)…straight and to the point.0
12/17/2018 at 2:47 pm #53540
Yep, helpers take photos and fill-in the listing: title, measurements, item specifics.
We look it over and edit if needed. Then we add the price.
Just having them fill in 90% of the listing is super helpful. Since we sell a lot of the same items, they learn quickly.0
12/17/2018 at 6:56 pm #53560
a short response– no one reads descriptions anymore. ebay pretty much hides them on mobile and sometimes on desktop too. i have people asking for things that are right there in the description constantly. ebay is a changing beast. it’s all about titles, photos (some people don’t even look past photo #1 these days) and item specifics.0
12/17/2018 at 8:52 pm #53568
Ryanne: Amen on everything you said. I politely tell them that the measurements they are asking for are in the Item Description…and that the tag with the size is one of the photos…
12/17/2018 at 6:58 pm #53561
p.s. one of our helpers (she works 12 hours a week) is a bit artsy like us and wears vintage thrift store finds, is into photography and video. her titles are often as good as my own. i’ll sometimes have to fill in a specific keyword or material, but overall she’s pretty amazing, which is super lucky for us.1+
12/17/2018 at 11:28 am #53519
I still find listing to be incredibly relaxing and enjoyable. It means you aren’t out in the midst of the hunt for stock – you’re just sitting somewhere, relaxed, able to just deal with what is in front of you.
Would I rather be commuting back from sourcing (as I am now), or sitting in my house with a cup of tea and a stack of work to focus on? Uhhh, sitting at home. Commuting sucks, even just to and from thrifts.
I get the whole anti self sweatshop mentality, but it is necessary to list and list and list to continue having a successful business at this. Whether it is listing today or a month from now, at some point the work needs to get done for full-timers. Having help definitely helps, but in the end, someone (or multiple someones) will be stuck doing the bulk of the work.1+
12/17/2018 at 4:03 pm #53554
Yes, I am with you on this! I would much rather list than consign or hunt!1+
12/17/2018 at 8:29 am #53478
Week of 12/9-12/15
Total Items in Store: 2,713 (Up 62% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 0
Number of Items Sold: 77 (Down 23% YOY)
(Includes 5 Etsy, 0 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether, 2 Poshmark)
Weekly STR: 12% (Down 13% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $2,456 (Up 8% YOY)
Cost of Items Sold: $529
Cost of Labor: $210
Highest Item Sold: $150 – HUGO BOSS Einstein Sigma Suit
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Troy wins the week and Veronica leads for the year 29-21 (Still playing for pride!)
# Listed: 1,681
# Sold: 52
# Listed: 464
# Sold: 9
# Listed: 568
# Sold: 11
# Listed: 161
# Sold: 5
# Listed: 98
# Sold: 2
Amazing how busy this week was, considering we listed NOTHING NEW. Veronica’s surgery went very well, and she is recovering amazingly! Going to be another week or two until she is 100%, but she is doing great.
Business-wise, I started doing more crossposting to Mercari. It is an easy platform to cross-post on (like Poshmark), so the time goes quick. Been getting likes and some comments, but no sales yet. Then this Sunday, I spent the day moving out of one storage unit and over to another. Upgraded to climate controlled and lesser cost. Got my son and our photographer to help, and we knocked it out pretty quick, then hit Raising Cane’s for lunch. LOVE THAT PLACE! If you can, go there!
Regarding the podcast topic, as a numbers guy…I 100% agree with you. I know how numbers work, and I can speak a numbers language to see how a business can run and the life it can generate for someone. But we all have to generate the life we want to live. And if you can do that with a minimal amount of numbers, then so be it. If you are a numbers geek and want to optimize your business to the nth degree (that would be me), then do that. But in either case, you have to enjoy what you are doing, ESPECIALLY if you are wanting to do this full time. Numbers-wise, we took a big hit when I left my corporate world. But keeping my marriage strong, seeing my boys finish school, being able to spend time with them, moving to hiking more…Yeah Jay…those things don’t show up on an Income Statement or Balance Sheet.
I love that the Jay & Ryanne model and the Troy and Veronica model are on opposite ends of the spectrum…and both work and both groups are happy.
Hike Your Own Hike…and Build Your Own Business…3+
12/17/2018 at 2:50 pm #53542
Yeah you guys have built up a big enough inventory where I bet you could not list for a month and still make consistent money. This is where having a large inventory pays off.
As you said in an earlier thread, the hours you put in now pay off down the road. Its not necessarily a quick return.0
12/17/2018 at 8:44 am #53483
Items in Store 1052
Items Sold 35
Total Sales $968.00
Total Profit $785.00
Average profit $22.43
Average sales price $27.66
New Listings 14
Man, I got stopped at the 1 yard line again in regards to crossing $1k with bread n butter items. The last few weeks my pipelines have been really paying dividends. Two pipelines in particular – my smartwool socks bulk buy, and my big pile of Dollhouse furniture from a closing Kmart. I’ve sold a ton of both. The profit margins are only like 3x-6x, but they are multiple quantity listings that are easy to pack/ship. In the end profit per hour wise, they are incredibly profitable.
J&R, I think it speaks greatly of the life you have built for yourselves that you feel confident enough to take off 2 weeks at Christmas. Congratulations!!1+
12/17/2018 at 9:18 am #53497
2 weeks “off” which to us means (yes lots of downtime and visiting family and seeing some shows in nyc) BUT we are still running ebay while away, (i listed 50 things on the train up here), keeping our airbnbs running and guests happy, and buying/researching materials for the renovation of buildings (have 2 appointments today), and i’m trying to finish a couple videos for a client before xmas….but is it work?? ; )1+
12/17/2018 at 10:37 am #53511
I guess I more specifically meant taking 2 weeks off from shipping. To be able to confidently decide “we can afford to miss the last week of Christmas shipping” is a big step.
And I agree, listing while sitting idly on a train is not work – it’s fun!
When we go to Columbus for weekend sourcing getaways, my wife will drive home while I create listings. It’s just good use of idle time.
Really the best part of this business combined with the wonder of a smart phone is how much of the business can be managed in the spare idle minutes of the day.0
12/17/2018 at 7:01 pm #53562
i agree 100%, i love listing when i would otherwise just be sitting there on a train or in the truck home from a road trip. for sure!0
12/17/2018 at 11:29 am #53520
That sounds like an exhausting “vacation” lol. Hope you’re able to fit in some real time off somewhere in there!0
12/17/2018 at 8:47 am #53484
My Store Week Dec 9-15, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1092
Items Sold: 20
Gross Sales: $477.77 (1 International)
Cost of Items Sold: $58.18
Highest Price Sold: $62.36 (Pair of MBT Shoes on Bonanza)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $44.75
Number of items listed this week: 7
An OK week, nothing to brag about compared to last week… This week I had a low ASP with lots of very low offers and several unpaid items and some immediate cancellations after paying which is extremely annoying. How do you all handle people asking to cancel immediately after payment? With free returns, I think it makes sense to just accept their cancellation, be done with it, and move on.. BUT… every time I do this, I realize I am losing a “$.30” Paypal Transaction fee and letting them off of a UPI strike that they probably deserve. How do others handle your immediate cancellation requests? I am curious…
Hope everyone has a successful selling week!
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by ebaymom.
12/17/2018 at 8:57 am #53489
ebaymom: When we get the sold/paid/cancellation…I get ticked off for about 5 seconds, then we refund and relist. The longer I’m in this game, the more I realize that this is just part of the game, and getting ticked doesn’t help at all. I’m trying to be more mindful about how I respond to this stuff.
Cause guess what? It is going to happen again… just the nature of the business…2+
12/17/2018 at 10:42 am #53513
An immediate cancel request is a blessing. I happily cancel/refund them immediately.
I’d much rather an immediate cancellation request than someone has an offer accepted and then sits on it without any form or communication until the unpaid case closes. Those really irk me.
Last week I had one that still bothers me though. Someone used Buy it now on a $3000 item I had. Since it is listed for pickup, I can’t require immediate payment. They waited almost 48 hours to finally say they didn’t want it anymore.
I wasn’t going to wait on the non-payment case – I was just going to cancel after 48 hours.
The thing that REALLY bugs me though is that the sales bar graph and all my selling stats on the My Ebay home page are badly skewed because of it. Even though the sale is cancelled, that $3000 sale is still counted in all the stats.2+
12/17/2018 at 5:19 pm #53555
Retro, yes, that is the right way to look at it – a blessing in disguise! Sorry to hear about the $3k back-out – that would irritate me every time I looked at my sales graph also.0
12/17/2018 at 9:09 am #53496
Brian Treasures from GrandmasParticipant
- Location: Hoboken, NJ
Was away last weekend for a wedding, so numbers for the past 2 weeks. Had extended handling time last week – contacted each buyer, resulted in 2 cancellations (of 18 sales).
Weeks December 2-15, 2018 (2 weeks)
Total Items in Store: 942
Items Sold: 46 (1 Amazon, 1 Bonanza)
Cost of Items Sold: $326.50 (19.9% of sales)
Total Sales: $1,638.75
Highest Price Sold: $129.99 (WWII Fabric Map of Tokyo & Osaka https://www.ebay.com/itm/202521901492)
Average Price Sold: $35.63
Returns: 0 (2 cancellations from extended handling though)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $360
Number of items listed this week: 24
Promoted listings test: 25 sales, $835.86 (51% of total sales), $34.42 fees (4.1% of sales)
Nice couple of weeks. While away last weekend, my phone was chachinging off the hook – no complaints! After each sale, I contacted the buyers to remind them I had extended handling time (even though it was on the listings) and only 2 buyers asked that cancel. All good.
Didn’t take long to sell the first of those two WWII fabric maps – less than a week and for full asking price. Also average sold price was on the nice side as approximately 30% of my sales were over $40. No complaints all around.
No real picking this week, but I did get a chance to list a handful of items on Saturday, two of which sold yesterday so we’re keep cranking along.1+
12/17/2018 at 9:34 am #53498
Items In Store: Ebay 371, Mercari 50
Items Sold: 12 Ebay, 2 Mercari, 1 Facebook
Cost of Items Sold: $59 + $45 Shipping included (including $12 mistake) + a few items ours
Total Sales: $308 Ebay, $41 Mercari, $40 Facebook
HIghest Price Sold: $40 (tie – Folkmanis puppet and antique tile, both Ebay)
Average price $26 Ebay, $20 Mercari
Money spent on new inventory: $10 one jadite item
Items listed: 30 Ebay, 8 Mercari
Not a fantastic week, with some low dollar offers and sales. It felt even slower during the work week. This coming week before Christmas I remember being very slow as the mail cutoffs start to scare people away. I’m in guaranteed delivery so maybe that will help a smidge.
Enjoyed the podcast. I love spending time raising my kids and the income potential sacrificed by working part-time is well worth it to me. I also love having Ebay to fill in the holes in my schedule with some earning capacity. Certainly the hourly rate would be much lower than my contract work, but it works out great right now in my life and makes me feel more productive and mentally stimulated. However, for me it doesn’t make sense to just let things ride on Ebay. In the past 3 years since I’ve been selling, Ebay has rolled out a lot of changes, competition is emerging, and I can totally understand why people are trying to maximize profits and their time. You only have some much time available, unless you hire people and that’s a whole can of worms. Why not try to get the most out of your time? I also suspect that it’s somewhat hard to reliably project earnings in the current dynamic environment.
Having a bit of frustration on Ebay listing-wise. I do desktop first, then pictures on the phone and would launch from the app. Now I can’t keep my choice or add promoted listing on the phone unless I agree to do trending rates so I have to got back to the desktop. Also, Ebay desktop is defaulting to free shipping and I got a $12 ding on a flat rate box this week. I loathe those sticky box checking issues. Mercari on the other hand is already quick and now they are adding clickable suggested item specifics too, making it even faster so you don’t have to cruise through a menu in that field. Mercari is not sophisticated with shipping options and expected delivery dates, so I’m wondering if at holiday time that might cause an issue.
Have a great week. Fingers crossed to clear out more Christmas items!1+
12/17/2018 at 9:53 am #53501
Hi Christine, I think we are in the same boat with p/t ebay fitting into current lifestyle with kids – it really fills in the gaps, I can do it at night and in between taking care of everyone during the day and I certainly appreciate the income. You mention starting listings on the PC, I do the exact opposite of you – I will start all my listings as “drafts” on my iPhone in the ap. In fact, if I do a quick look up of similar solds inside the thrift store, I will always click “sell similar” while I am deciding to buy it or not.. boom… then my “draft” is already started if I decide to buy the item and I can just ignore it if I don’t. I try to click “sell similar” for everything I’ve looked up right in the store. It saves so much time. For the rest of the stuff.. I will look up comps and “sell similar” for the rest while I am picking up kids, or cooking, or whatever… Next I will snap up pics during the day whenever I can right into these drafts. Later, when I have a stretch of quiet time, usually at night or when someone is sleeping, I will sit down on my PC and can tweak pictures, alter titles and descriptions, and make sure shipping and other options are correct, etc. I could not imagine doing it the other way around – I have tried listing only on the ap, but it just takes so long, and does not have the features I require and it always messes up my shipping policies. Anyway, it is always interesting to read about how other people work their system. You are motivating me to try out Mercari – maybe someday next year – the thought of all the sharing on posh makes me cringe.1+
12/17/2018 at 10:10 am #53504
@ebaymom thanks for sharing your process. I’m working through items I already own so I create the draft listing while researching on the desktop (and often doing sell similar). I much prefer to research on the desktop so that’s why I do it backwards.
I’m really thrilled with Mercari for items I am willing to accept less than top dollar on. At this point in my reselling and home life, there are a lot of those items. I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground on Youtube about what sells well on Mercari. There’s not a lot of information yet. I hope some of you find success with it as well. I’ve really changed my focus from getting high prices to moving more stuff out – which totally makes sense based on my backlog and plentiful sourcing opportunities locally.1+
12/17/2018 at 5:25 pm #53556
Christine, that makes perfect sense! (re: pc listing)
I also understand wanting to move out the clothing… I have plenty of these items (lots of kids clothes) – too low cost to list in my ebay store, and I generally don’t like selling kids clothing, but perfectly good clothing non-the-less… perhaps mercari can help move out this stuff, I have been donating bag-fulls to goodwill… do you think there is a market for children’s clothes on mercari?0
12/18/2018 at 10:28 am #53616
@ebaymom I’ve heard there seem to be a lot of young moms on Mercari and I have sold clothing. The better brand stuff is selling for me, like Patagonia and Ivivva. I put a few other items on like Gap, Nordstrom brand, Crewcuts, and they are sitting but have likers. I would encourage you to try it out. You can easily browse through solds and see what’s happening. One thing about Mercari though is you need to ask buyers to ask you for bundles beforehand, though maybe not if you are shipping first class Paypal on your own vs. using Mercari labels. You can’t link items without create a bundle for someone. There is not a shopping cart.0
12/18/2018 at 11:09 am #53618
Thanks Christine! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience… it is one of my 2019 goals to get up and working on a 2nd platform… so I really need to spend some time learning this system.0
12/18/2018 at 11:37 am #53623
I agree Christine! Thanks for the push…
Now, to just get the sales to start… 🙂
Granted, I’m starting with the highest priced items, so the sales will take longer, but still…1+
12/18/2018 at 11:55 am #53626
You’re welcome. I can’t emphasize enough how much I prefer listing there vs Ebay, except the prices I’m getting are discounted a bit. It’s a really efficient system and there isn’t much to learn. Just remember to list any condition issues as you are not specifically prompted to do that.
Troy, don’t forget to use the promotion tools. Usually I price a little above what I want to get and then promote.0
12/18/2018 at 1:51 pm #53635
What are the promotion tools on Mercari? I don’t see anything (unless you are talking about linking them with outside areas like Pinterest, Twitter, etc…)0
12/18/2018 at 6:09 pm #53657
If you go in the app to your person head and shoulders icon at the bottom, then click selling, you should see the on sale listings page with photos of your various items. There are buttons to promote or edit under each listing. If you click promote and you are using the most current version you will get a choice of making an “exclusive” offer to likers or just dropping the price for everyone. I think likers requires a slightly deeper discount. Start with $1 off and it will tell you the minimum Mercari will make you do. Mercari will make buyers push up their low ball offers too. They also limit how many items you can promote in one day (10) and how many days before you can drop the price again (3).
If the price gets too low and I have free shipping, I switch to buyer paying shipping and keep promoting. Some people end and relist at some point.0
12/17/2018 at 11:40 am #53521
I’ve noticed that when I list on the desktop, it automatically checks the option for international buyers to return items in 30 days – nooooooo. This option doesn’t come up at all in my 3rd party listing software.
Domestic returns in 30 days – yes, fine, of course. An international return could take 2+ months to actually receive back. Who would cover shipping? Sounds like an unbelievable amount of unnecessary work to put on the seller.0
12/17/2018 at 10:05 am #53503
Christine: Had an interesting experience on Mercari. Got two messages on the phone back to back on some higher end suits, saying that the person is interested and please text him. I ignored it as I know this scam already. When later when into Mercari on my computer, I see that the notification is still up on these messages, but THEY HAD BEEN DELETED BY THE ADMIN.
I think Mercari is staying on top of this type of thing. I had similar messages when I started listing on Poshmark, but seeing how Mercari deleted them was interesting…0
12/17/2018 at 10:11 am #53505
Mercari is very heavy handed.0
12/17/2018 at 10:44 am #53514
Mine has been defaulting to flat free shipping and “new in box”. It is absolutely irritating! I wish I could fix that.1+
12/17/2018 at 10:29 am #53508
- Location: Florida
I’m so glad the question was asked about tipping your postal carrier. The “rules” were interesting to hear. We have our regular carrier and the sub (which comes once a week). Since I go into town for my full time job, I take my packages with me every day but Saturday. I have given my carrier fresh yard eggs and in the hot of summer, I will wrap a water or soda bottle in tin foil and put in the mailbox as small gifts. However, I will be going full time eBay this summer so I am planning on giving them cash “gifts”. This way, they will be more then happy to pick up from the porch when I put my laminated “packages on porch” sign in my mailbox. Being that what I plan to give the full time one is more then the $20 stated in their policy, it being cash will just be between she and I and the fence post…just saying 😉1+
12/17/2018 at 10:36 am #53510
Good Morning, Listening and posting dah numbers.
eBay store totommyto
Total store items: 644
Number of items sold: 17 (2 international)
Total eBay sales (not counting s/h): $570.00
Cost of items sold: $33.50
Consignment payouts $65
Highest price sold: $80 – 1/18 scale diecast model car
Average price sold: $33.52
Money spent on new inventory: $0
Number of items listed this week: 11
Sell through rate for the week: 2.6
Etsy store oldfleatoymarket
Total store items: 614
Number of items sold: 8 (1 international)
Total Etsy sales ( not counting s/h): $197
Cost of items sold: $12.50
Consignment payouts: $0
Highest price sold: $45 – vintage Weebles Wobble Wigwam toy play set
Average price sold: $24.62
Money spent on new inventory: 0
Number of items listed this week: 4
Sell through rate for the week: 1.3
Ok, going back to the beginning of the podcast, this is a meaty one! I want to listen clean through!
Decent week, happy with COGS and low consignment payouts.
A quick couple of thoughts first:
I would be poking around the fleas, thrifts, and yard sales regardless of buy and sell. Its what I want to do with my so called free time. So, I might as well get paid for it! Also, one of my favorite escapes is going into the garage at night to ship, tunes turned up, awesome! The best part of shipping is IT HAS TO GET DONE! Sure, a big & bulky item is work to pack, but after the box is constructed and the item properly packed, a great feeling of accomplishment sets in!
My biggest fear with going eBay/Etsy full time is the possibility of ruining a most amazing ‘hobby’. But the freedom…This is why I hang around here, fueling the imagined possibilities of actually quitting the day job and going full time. I keep getting a stronger and stronger feeling that there will be little if no regret, maybe some fear to deal with but I’m a big boy.
My wife and I have decided to put our beautiful yet expensive to live in Naples home up for sale next year, a big start in the process of cutting costs. Things have shifted in our minds and actions are following.
So, bottom line for me is to either live the life you are imagining or keep getting older and better fitted for the velvet coffin that’s closing in around you.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by totommyto. Reason: DUH, cut and pasted some of last weeks post
12/17/2018 at 2:55 pm #53544
Where are you going to move to?0
12/19/2018 at 11:21 am #53697
Hope you connect back to the thread.
We are looking at Bonita Springs, Estero, two places near Naples here in Fl but not so Naples. However, we are preparing our minds to really change it up and go elsewhere. Depends on a few factors, current jobs, expenses, debt, still have two adult children in Naples, can we leave this weather behind, that sort of thing. My wife just made a late career change from Event Planning to Property Management. She has a good paying job with plenty of benefits at a luxury high rise (Bonita Bay$$), and the Christmas bonuses are coming at her. So now it is going to be tough for her to leave her job. Maybe after selling the house (God Willing), we will stick around the area, rent cheap for a year, pay off all debt, and then decide.
We just know we need to get out of the expensive house as a first step. This process is in the toddler stage.
Thank you for asking,
12/17/2018 at 11:13 am #53515
- Location: Central NJ
Week of Dec 9 – 15
* Total Items in Store: 1282 eBay, 10 Mercari
* Items Sold: 16 eBay
* Cost of Items Sold: $57.69 + $0 Commission
* Total Sales: $474.10
* Highest Price Sold: $150 Silver-plate flatware set with box
* Average Price Sold: $29.63
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
* Number of items listed this week: 14
I had a reasonable week and was happy to sell the flatware. I had been planning to break up the set and redo all the photos, but then it sold.
I didn’t buy any new inventory last week, but, yesterday (which will be part of next week’s numbers), I did some bidding in an online auction. The lots started to end at 7:30PM, and we were going out to dinner, so I set my bids and expected to be outbid on a good number of them. As with most online auctions, all the action is at the end. This one was unusual because it ended on a Sunday, and pickup is today (Monday). So, during dinner, I checked my emails twice, and I only received two of those outbid messages. Later, I get my invoice, and I ended up with 13 lots at about $92! Whoops.
I bought a lot of good stuff, and, if I’m going to drive an hour each way today, I’m glad to pick up a good number of things. I do need to be back home to pick up my daughter from track practice, so I’ll have to be there right at the start time.2+
12/17/2018 at 1:30 pm #53525
Total Items in Store: 1949
Items Sold: 24
Total Sales : $850
* below yearly average of $892
* above 2017 total week sales of $663
Highest Price: $150 (SubZero Refrigerator Freezer Shelf)
Average Price: $35
Cost of Goods Sold: $55
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $387
Number of New Items Listed this Week: 16
Jay and Ryanne, I’m totally with you with the whole complicated numbers thing. I feel like I just lack the ability to wrap my head around all of the statistics and percentages and acronyms that get thrown around here on the forums. I can certainly appreciate many of Troy’s and Mike’s and other’s posts about numbers, and I do read them all by the way, but whoo boy sometimes I feel real dumb afterwards. LOL. But if I’ve learned anything from SL and the forums, it’s that there’s always a lot of successful ways to do anything. I only go as far as the information above and I let GoDaddy and my CPA handle the rest. And my business has never been more profitable.
It’s been a hectic week at my day job, so I couldn’t get much eBay stuff done. But we did go to an auction on Thursday that turned bittersweet. We bought so much stuff that we could barely fit it all in our car. But when we got home and organized it all, nearly half of it smelled like strong cigarette smoke. I was so disheartened because I know how hard it is to get that smell out. We just never thought to sniff what we were buying, and it was all outdoors anyways so the cold kinda muted the smell. I know the fabric and paper items are a lost cause, but I’m hoping the hard goods can be saved with some scrubbing.
My scavenge of the week came from an estate sale on Saturday. We don’t normally have these things in our area, but we’ve gone to three in the past two weeks. This was ran from an old run down church with no power. Basically it was used as a hoarder overflow. There was stuff everywhere. We went in with our flashlights and made little piles of goodies. I found a brand new, never opened vintage CB radio that sells used for over $100.0
12/17/2018 at 2:14 pm #53536
Doubly: Hey, you are still doing well for not being a numbers geek! 🙂
I think probably the best thing that should really be discussed about the numbers we use…is why? Why do I think STR and ASP are important? How does tracking those numbers help your business? Just because you have a number, what good does it do for you?
Maybe something to talk about deeply someday…1+
12/17/2018 at 3:07 pm #53547
Now that would be a great topic! Numbers for Dummies with special guest T-Satt.2+
12/17/2018 at 2:42 pm #53539
My answer to things with smoke or any other smell is an ozone generator. I just had a simular situation and iT worked well in about 1 hour. I had a very detailed post a While back on this. Let me know if you want more Info.
12/17/2018 at 3:10 pm #53548
Mark, I’ve been meaning to look into purchasing an ozone generator. I think I may finally bite the bullet. I wouldn’t mind spending a bit on one as it would be a nice investment. What would you recommend as a price point? Or which model do you use?0
12/17/2018 at 3:31 pm #53550
I had one that was a $50 model and worked but iT broke. I Will look up what the model was and let you know. The better ones just cover more Area, I just put the items in the bathroom so stea covered doesn’t matter.
12/17/2018 at 3:41 pm #53551
Good point. Then I’ll just stick with the $50-70 range. Thanks!0
12/17/2018 at 1:42 pm #53529
Marie in FloridaParticipant
Items In Store: 440
Items Sold: 10
Total Sales: $406
HIghest Price Sold: $129 Handsewn Fabric
Average price $40.60
Lowest price: $8.44 Not bad for a $.50 book that I bought because I wanted to read it
Interesting podcast. On slow weeks I think I make $3 an hour. However, when I thrift I look for stuff for my husband, kids, mom, myself, the house. If I have poor sourcing, but find a $100 sweater for my daughter and a $130 jacket for my son, I’m still making a low per hour rate, but it’s great. I double checked again this year. All my now adult kids are good with scavenged gifts. Sometimes they are a miss and of course there’s no returning. On the other hand my daughter said, “It’s great. I get interesting things and no one ever has the same thing.”
Weird thing about this week. I only sold 1 small item from Friday-Sunday. But happy with the week total2+
12/17/2018 at 2:39 pm #53538
The hourly rate number is important to me for a couple reasons:
-it allows me to compare what my effort is worth compared to my “career job”
-after working 40-50 hours a week, there is limited time to determine how much I could make on eBay full-time. The hourly number gives me something to extrapolate from.
-the hourly rate shows me how much time I will need to put in to reach an approximate financial goal, and to give me reasonable expectations when I go full-time.
Changing from a corporate career to self-employment can be very scary – however, I feel very safe the more numbers I put together, and when I gamble I like a very sure bet.
I also agree that everyone’s situation is different – if you have your home paid for, medical expenses covered, a good amount in savings, no children, and worst case have a career to fall back on, it’s very different in my situation then someone else who has another situation in their life.2+
12/17/2018 at 3:00 pm #53545
Agreed. I think we should each keep the records needed in order to feel safe/comfortable. We were more speaking to folks who might feel overwhelmed and inadequate about the numbers they feel they need to keep.
Raising kids, paying for college, living in an expensive location, taking care of an older parent, etc all changes the equation.
But ultimately if you know the amount of money you to need to make each month…and then have a system to make that money consistently…then that’s success.1+
12/17/2018 at 3:03 pm #53546
Hourly Rate Issue
I sometimes calculate an hourly rate from a very high level to see if things make sense. For example, if my aversie Sell price is $38 and iT takes about 30 min of time per item, then I am making $76 an hour gross or $53 net before taxes. That tells me, that yes, what you are doping is profitabele.
Also, what world my hourly rate be at a high level if I contract out Some of the work? Now my average per hour goesway up and I get excited about contractant someone.
I dont think I world track this in real time – to me that would be a waste of time. I just want to make dure in theory that my model works.
12/17/2018 at 3:53 pm #53552
Regarding the hourly rate, Inglewood and Mark S bring up great points. I think it is useful to know what type of return you are getting for the hours you put into your work, so you can reasonably forecast your future revenue stream as well as know what happens when you hire employees (you spend less time on each item, so higher throughput per hour, but you get less profit per item).
The key to me is getting reliable data on the time you spend (so track things for a month and get a reliable average) and reliable profit (same deal…what is your average net profit per item).
This is why I like to track things, to get good averages to use to forecast future return on our time.0
12/17/2018 at 7:58 pm #53564
Yes, I think some of the main reasons for tracking “The Numbers” and other data is so that you:
1. Know where you have been This is fairly easy with Wonder Lister or Six Bit.
2. Forecast where you are going. I use my forecasting spreadsheet.
3. What are the possibilities. I throw “What if Scenarios” at my forecasting spreadsheet.
I think anyone can do these simple tasks by just know your monthly ASP and STR and a few other numbers. If you don’t do these simple tasks, I am not sure how you would report taxes (where you have been) or know where you are going (forecast).
12/17/2018 at 8:57 pm #53569
The biggest thing about knowing ASP and STR is knowing context.
So…your STR is 15%. Is that good? Bad? Normal?
You can always (and I do) compare that number to three things: The past, my forecast, and the market.
The past and my forecast are easy. The market is a bit trickier, but that is one reason that I like seeing everyone’s numbers on the SL forum. You can see how you are doing with the rest of the market. If the market is averaging 8% STR and you are at 15%, that is good (or…your prices are too low, that is why sales are so fast). Same with ASP.
Context is key…0
12/17/2018 at 4:02 pm #53553
Listening to Podcast now! Love your take on this, I have definitely been able to have flexibility and that is why I love doing this! I always thought I would like to be able to seperate home and work, but maybe I should just integrate better.
Dec 9 -Dec 15, 2018
Total Items in Store: 3498
Items Sold: 97
Gross Sales: $1242.89
Consignor Commission (COGS): $282.71 (22%)
Highest Price Sold: $150 (local pick up antique lawyer’s office chair)
Average Price Sold: $12.8
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 144
A little disappointing this week for ebay numbers, but we did set up
a booth at our local antique mall, so that took up some time (and we ended those
listings). Similar to Ryanne and Jay, I need to hit 1K a week to live comfortably, so cool!
I have been saying that we want to increase our ASP, but . . . I got a ton of
costume jewelry from a good consignor (mixed high and low end). We do provide the service
of going through lots that consignors don’t want to deal with. I have been struggling to decide
what to list (price limit) and it seems to make sense to list the low dollar items when they
come in a lot with high end. We have to sort and classify anyway . . .they do become our
inventory if they don’t sell in 60 days. Thoughts?0
12/17/2018 at 6:44 pm #53559
- Location: Virginia Beach
@libby – Can you lot up the lower-dollar items? That would keep sales prices up and time spent down…
Had two sales last week that pushed me into what I had been expecting to earn more regularly during Q4, so yay for that. Haven’t been listing as much as I feel I should – ie, not regularly, not large amounts – but I have been enjoying that whole free time/freedom of schedule piece that eBay permits! 🙂 I work a fairly flexible part-time job as a personal organizer 1-3 days a week or so, and give 3-6 hours/wk to my mother in law, helping her pack (for cash) for her own re-seller business. Sometimes I feel I’m a very leisurely FT seller on eBay compared to most others, but it’s still my main source of income. I’m not a hard #s gal, like a few others of you, but I follow a few business principles to keep me on the right path, and strategize as I go and learn from my own shop. I thrive on variety and really appreciate being (mostly) my own boss. I like that I can control the throttle of turning my shop up or dialing it back, depending on needs and ability – not that that always translates into the needed sales….but generally it steps things up across the board.
Forgot to mention last week after hearing about R&J’s train experience, I had heard on the radio that Virgin Atlantic was buying/investing in rail service in the US, starting in Florida. It would be awesome if it could transform train travel in the US… An article on it: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/transportation/fl-ne-brightline-virgin-20181116-story.html
Finally, the #s:
12/09/18 – 12/15/18
Total Items In Store: 980
Items Sold: 30
Sales (Total Sales – Selling Costs): $1307.77
Highest Price Sold: $350 Kevlar motorcycle pants (commission sale), $300 Milton Glaser Tomato Records poster, framed
Average Price Sold: $43.59
Cost of Items Sold: $39.80 (sold several freebies, as well as former items of my own)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of Items listed this week: ~10-202+
12/18/2018 at 9:27 am #53602
Thanks for the feedback, I have never had luck lotting some of the low value items, have you? For example, I have found if I have a lot of china, silverware, or jewelry, the odds of it selling are considerably higher. Generally I also get a higher dollar amount. I have experimented with this over the years, maybe there are some tricks about lotting things up that I don’t know of!0
12/18/2018 at 10:15 am #53614
In our experience, if no one wants X, no one will want a whole lot of X.1+
12/17/2018 at 9:46 pm #53570
- Location: Sussex County, Delaware
Total Items in Store: 1540
Items Sold: 51
Cost of Items Sold: $232
Total Sales: $1499
Highest Price Sold: $140(set of 8 mikasa plates)
Average Price Sold: $29
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $96
Number of items listed this week: 37
I have not posted for a while but have been following along. Thanks Jay and Ryanne for the great podcasts and blog information – some really useful content. My 4th qtr sales have been very strong. I am averaging about $1100 a week since late Sept., and wondering how long the good times will continue.
Anyway just wanted to check in again and wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy holiday season.1+
12/17/2018 at 10:15 pm #53572
Save up that money if things do slow down. Its always up and down for us over the years, but so strangely pretty consistent.1+
12/17/2018 at 10:02 pm #53571
Total Items in Store: 1,501
Items Sold: 25
Gross Sales: $585.93
Cost of Items Sold: $48.20
Highest Price Sold: $39.99 (men’s sweater)
Average Price Sold: $23.43
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $26.00
Number of items listed this week: 30
Total Items in Store: 583
Items Sold: 10
Gross Sales: $125.52
Cost of Items Sold: $2.80
Highest Price Sold: $19.99 (vintage patch)
Average Price Sold: $12.55
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 5
Amazon.ca sales: $1,425.60 (Approx $356.40 net profit)
Amazon.com sale: $420.00 (Approx $105.00 net profit)
Overall, had a busy week personally, which limited our listing on both stores. What free time I/we did have was focused on Amazon. As much as I hate to admit it, Q4 is real, and sales have been really strong (considering the limited input/capital we’ve put into it).
Our main eBay account has been busy, though many of the items were lower dollar. The second store keeps pushing out profit, since our COGS is super low there.
Travelling for two weeks starting on Wednesday, so listing on the main account, and RA for Amazon will stop, but I’m planning on listing a bunch on our second store during downtime over the holidays.0
12/17/2018 at 10:39 pm #53575
Week of 12/11-17:
Ran a sale on both 12/11 and 12/16 (30% off most of store) and did VERY well with both sales.
Store: 1050 items
Items sold: 49
Highest sale: Lot of New in Package Curtains: $200
Bonus Sale on Mercari: FUNKO POP toy $60 (I am new to Mercari, this sold super fast).
Poshmark has been slow all week, Depop too. Ebay has been very busy.
I wish Poshmark would let us run “sales” as opposed to offer to likers.0
12/17/2018 at 11:50 pm #53577
Week of 12/9-12/15
Items in Store: 3658 listings for 5533 Items total
Items Sold: 103
Gross Sales: $5330
Highest Item Sold: $205.99 Trench Coat
New Items Listed: 1234+
12/18/2018 at 7:53 am #53587
Very solid numbers!
–Do you sell mostly new items?
–What type of items do you sell?1+
12/18/2018 at 8:20 am #53595
12/18/2018 at 9:42 am #53603
Incredible ASP! Is this typical for your store?1+
12/18/2018 at 10:09 am #53611
Since your new to the forum (though we know you from Youtube), I bet everyone would love to hear more about how you run your store. Making $5k on 100 items is a super success.
–Where do you scavenge?
–How much do you pay per item?
–Do you work alone?
–What’s your “system” to photograph and list?
–If you focus on men’s clothes, have you felt any competition from the new platforms like Poshmark, Mercari, etc?1+
12/18/2018 at 12:43 am #53578
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks for the podcast R&J. Hope you enjoy your time in NY. You weren’t specific but I presume this time your trip is for fun, rather than work.
Here are my numbers for the week:
Total Items in Store: 2595
Items Sold: 60
Total Sales: $1156
Cost of Items Sold: $101
Average Price Sold: $19.26
Average Cost of Item: $1.69
Highest Price Item Sold: $63.71 Vintage Radio Shack TRS-80 pocket computer PC-2
Number of items listed this week: 25
YTD Sales: $45477
YTD sales compared to this time last year: +19%
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 352
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 327
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 203
Sell-through rate (for the week): 2.31%
I had a pretty busy week. On par with this time last year. No high value sales. Just lots and lots of bread-and-butter items. (40 hats sold this week). The average age of my sales (from listing to selling) was about 11 months. I actually sold a couple of hats that has been listed for 3 years.
I found Jay’s comments around that hourly wage thing interesting especially the comment that if it doesn’t feel like work (eg: going to an auction), it’s not work. Does “work” really have to mean doing something unpleasant? eBay is work but I actually enjoy most of what I have to do around my eBay business so it feels more like a hobby. I don’t have any interest in calculating my hour wage for my ebay business because if I wasn’t doing eBay I’d be spending time on something that didn’t make any money at all (like watching tv or taking a hike) so any money is better than none no matter how low the hourly wage works out. The hourly wage discussion only really matters if i) you’re trying to decide between doing another hourly-job or ebay or ii) you’re trying to set yourself some kind of goal to increase productivity.
Hope everyone makes a few dollars this week and gets some down time over the holidays.1+
12/18/2018 at 10:14 am #53613
Work doesn’t have to be brutal and boring. But when folks want to put an hourly wage onto an activity, I assume it’s because it’s something they’d rather not be doing, so need to know its worth their time.
I’m sure people who garden or woodwork don’t think of it in terms of an hourly wage. It’s an enjoyable pursuit.
I know I know…we’re all comes at this from different angles. We’re certainly farther along than the person working a job and wanting to go full-time. But Ryanne and I would not have lasted as long as we have selling on eBay if we were counting the hours and “clocking in” when we did eBay.0
12/18/2018 at 11:36 am #53622
For me, I guess it is all in how you look at the metric. I routinely “clock in” and “clock out” when I’m doing tasks, but it is only so that I can get good data on how long it is taking to perform the task. Then I see if I’m happy with how efficient I am at the task, and if I can improve it.
Plus, by knowing how long it takes me to do a task, I can get an idea of how long it will take someone else to do it (employee). Then I can judge what the cost will be if/when I hire out that task.2+
12/18/2018 at 11:25 am #53619
Interesting podcast as usual. After listening to the caller on unpaid item assistant, I was inspired to go look into it. But when I click the radio button that I want Unpaid Item Assistant to open and close cases on my behalf, right underneath it says ” Open a case if payment hasn’t been received after 32 days.”
I don’t want the assistant to wait 32 days. And there isn’t a place to change this timing on the unpaid assistant page. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for any help0
12/18/2018 at 12:03 pm #53627
- Location: Central NJ
In my account settings for unpaid item assistant, I have a pulldown menu where I can chose about five different options from 4 to 32 days.0
12/18/2018 at 4:26 pm #53655
Am I the only one who has a 2 day option?0
12/18/2018 at 5:27 pm #53656
I didn’t have a drop down at all with any options, but I figured out why. For some reason I had a setting that allowed payment for combined shipping to be sent up to 30 days. When I lowered this to 3 days, then the drop down for unpaid item showed up. But the least amount of days was 4 days.0
12/18/2018 at 2:04 pm #53636
Since your new to the forum (though we know you from Youtube), I bet everyone would love to hear more about how you run your store. Making $5k on 100 items is a super success.
–Where do you scavenge? I source my items mostly at thrift stores, through e-thrifting, some through direct closet buyouts, trades, some through liquidation services, and I also have 5 or 6 consignors in various cities around the US.
–How much do you pay per item? I typically average between $4- $5 per item.
–Do you work alone? My wife has been helping me for 1-2 hours a week since May. She mainly puts stuff into inventory after I have it listed.
–What’s your “system” to photograph and list? After items are sourced, unbagged, de-tagged, hung and steamed if needed, I compile them into groups of similar items for photos. For years I dressed a mannequin and did hand-held photos with a DLSR, but in the last two years I have been having some arthritic trouble in my midback due to a pesky old bone tumor. So, now I shoot using two DSLRs tethered to two Macbooks. One shoots hanging photos, and the other shoots overhead/flat lay photos from an articulating arm mount. The camera settings are done on the laptop and the shutter is activated with the spacebar. It takes me a bit longer, but I can shoot for much longer before fatigue sets in. (I really just need to hire a photographer, but I’ve been too busy to take the time to find someone.)
During photos is when I find and remove items that are too flawed/damaged or that need some cleanup, since this is where I have the best light.
The photos are then imported from each macbook into mac photos, where they sync automatically with the photos from the other macbook.
Next I make listing drafts by category from my pre-made custom templates using Garage Sale for Mac.(iwascoding)
I drag the appropriate photos in to their matching listing.
The items are then measured. The measurements and other description details are put directly into custom listing templates as I measure them.
Set the pricing. Item Specifics, Title etc.
Assign each item an individual inventory # using the custom SKU. My inventory # consists of the date listed YYMMDD and the number of the item listed. For example: yesterday’s items listed are numbered as such. 181217-001, 181217-002, 181217-003, etc. (This method allows me to keep items in numerical order, as well as see how long they have been listed at a glance, even if an item has been ended and re-listed at some point. On seller hub, sorting by custom SKU, allows me to see all items in the order they were listed.)
Release the listings to eBay in GTC BINOBO format.
Print out Custom SKU sticker labels.
My Wife then puts the SKUs stickers on hang tags or on pre-packaged smaller items and stores them chronologically so they are a breeze to find.
–If you focus on men’s clothes, have you felt any competition from the new platforms like Poshmark, Mercari, etc? No, my biggest competition is myself, I just focus on me.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by The_SEAM_Store.
12/18/2018 at 2:41 pm #53640
You have an awesome process. Obviously you’ve been doing this for a while. Do you ever get bored of buying and selling men’s clothes> assume its mainly dress shirts and suits?2+
12/18/2018 at 3:00 pm #53642
You have an awesome process.
Obviously you’ve been doing this for a while.
A little over 13 years now. I started with antiques, collectibles and vintage toys, moved into primarily menswear about 8 years ago.
Do you ever get bored of buying and selling men’s clothes> assume its mainly dress shirts and suits?
Yeah, lots of suits and shirts, as well as pants, shoes, outerwear, ties and other accessories. I will throw in a few high end women’s items when I find them, a little artwork and small antiques from time to time, but I’m very selective on the stuff outside my niche. I prefer the ease of shipping non-breakables. Yes, I do get bored from time to time. When boredom strikes I go out and tend my garden, play frisbee with our dog or just grab a kayak and head to the lake. That’s the great part about this, if I was at a desk job I would have to just sit there and be miserable through all the sunny days.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by The_SEAM_Store.
12/18/2018 at 3:03 pm #53644
Amen on all that!
How many listings do you usually list each week? 100+?1+
12/18/2018 at 3:09 pm #53645
Amen on all that!
How many listings do you usually list each week? 100+?
Yes, usually over 100, some weeks less. In November I created 1024 new listings, but for December I’ve only managed to create 376 so far.0
12/18/2018 at 3:40 pm #53646
Very nice. You are at the level we are looking to move to. 100+ listings but with higher ASP. So not creating a sweatshop, but generating a higher net profit per transaction.
How do you store so many of your items (you have double the inventory we do)? Hanging on racks? Just loose in bins? Already stored for shipment? And is it all stored at your house or do you have an outside storage location?1+
12/18/2018 at 4:00 pm #53649
How do you store so many of your items (you have double the inventory we do)? Hanging on racks? Just loose in bins? Already stored for shipment? And is it all stored at your house or do you have an outside storage location?
After several years of working out of strategically placed piles around the house, I designed an 1100sq ft office space above our garage. Suits, Jackets and Outerwear are hanging on custom double decker wall racks I made out of black iron pipe and reclaimed lumber. Most everything else is pre-packed in clear polybags with SKU and stored grouped bins by SKU Prefix (AKA date listed.) I also have another 1500-2000 items in my “lifepile” (I refuse to call it a death pile, because it’s what keeps my business alive when sourcing is slow), and still quite a bit of space left to work with, as well as separate designated areas for shipping and photos
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by The_SEAM_Store.
12/18/2018 at 4:06 pm #53651
Wow…very impressed and very jealous…
Ok, so inside baseball on the men’s clothing game (since we are pretty focused there too)…
Have you seen a price drop on men’s preowned shirts in the past 12-18 months? We have seen a decent drop on the prices that we used to get, enough that some brands and some items I’m passing on now as the profit margin isn’t there anymore. Wondering if you have seen that as well.0
12/18/2018 at 4:17 pm #53652
Have you seen a price drop on men’s preowned shirts in the past 12-18 months? We have seen a decent drop on the prices that we used to get, enough that some brands and some items I’m passing on now as the profit margin isn’t there anymore. Wondering if you have seen that as well.
I suppose so. Hard to say really. Pretty much like any clothing…if it’s trendy, it will do well for a while and then leave you high and dry. If it’s luxury it’ll do fine as long as the condition is there and you are willing to wait. If it’s a staple, it all really depends on who else is selling it too. My 90 day shirt average is $47.81 right now. It’s been worse.0
12/19/2018 at 7:21 am #53667
Wow…that is an amazing ASP for shirts! Are those mostly new or pre-owned?1+
12/19/2018 at 7:47 am #53670
Yeah that’s a crazy high average for mens dress shirts.
I’ve pretty much changed all my shirts to $24.99 with free shipping and they still don’t sell.
I have not sold a mens button down shirt since October!0
12/19/2018 at 8:14 am #53671
My last men’s dress shirt also sold in October (Oct 19th to be exact!) Although mens vintage T shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts and polos have been doing well this season for me my average price is more likely in the $25 range…0
12/19/2018 at 8:28 am #53672
Wow…that is an amazing ASP for shirts! Are those mostly new or pre-owned?
99 shirts sold in past 90 days. 6 new, 93 pre-owned. I had been thinking that was kinda slow shirt sales and low ASP, but I feel better about it after hearing what you guys are saying. Shirts are by far my least favorite thing to list.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by The_SEAM_Store.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by The_SEAM_Store.
12/18/2018 at 2:08 pm #53637
I apologize if that was a double or triple post. It seemed to keep disappearing on me when I would refresh the page.0
12/18/2018 at 10:55 pm #53664
- Location: Port Royal, SC
Ebay store items: 674
Items sold: 16
Avg price: $67
Highest selling items: $200 vintage Coke advertising banner; $250 vintage St. John knit skirt suit; $295 gold necklace (consignment); $50 80s prom dress; $49 for 80s Natori lingerie gown.
Items sold: 3
Avg price: $44
Highest selling: $92 for Ben Seibel MCM brass bookends; can sell for up to $300 but mine were badly dinged up. I used the Mercari “Make an offer” to likers and someone bought right away.
Items sold: 5
Avg price: $22
Highest selling: $42 Doncaster 80s wool skirt (brands similar to Pendleton).
TOTAL SALES: $1,297.00
Most fun: $24 for “Marshall Junior HS” letterman patch from the 1950s; sold overnight after listing to Japan. Also, I am surprised by how quickly vintage Pendleton will sell on Posh. I usually pass on the Pendleton skirts and suits when I see them, since they don’t sell for much on ebay, but Posh users seem to pay $30-60 for a Pendleton skirt or cute skirt. I noticed that when researching the Doncaster skirt that I paid $1 for. I typically don’t pay more than $1-3 for clothing. The St. John’s suit was $12 at a charity thrift shop, but I knew it would flip for a high price. The Coke banner I bought for $75 hoping to sell for $400-500 but it turned out to be a fairly common banner. It was from an antique mall.
The gold necklace was a consignment item, so I will pay 50% to the owner. The buyer received it this week and already messaged me saying she doesn’t think it is 22k gold (it is, but not marked). So we will see if she returns it. I don’t pay the 50% to the consignment clients until 30 days has passed anyway.
I do feel like a millionaire. I live across from a grade school and can drink coffee in bed while the “car drop off” line snakes around the block at 7:30 am. We make our “Plan of the Day” over breakfast and aren’t running out the door. I don’t like to think of my life choices being justified by an hourly wage. My current bills are paid, our future expenses are planned out and investments made, so we shall enjoy life without regrets.3+
12/19/2018 at 7:36 am #53669
I do feel like a millionaire. I live across from a grade school and can drink coffee in bed while the “car drop off” line snakes around the block at 7:30 am. We make our “Plan of the Day” over breakfast and aren’t running out the door. I don’t like to think of my life choices being justified by an hourly wage. My current bills are paid, our future expenses are planned out and investments made, so we shall enjoy life without regrets.
I loved reading that…1+
12/19/2018 at 9:12 am #53677
That’s the exact feeling we have. I assume rich people have that feeling of freedom because they have a lot of money. We simply cut out the need for a huge amount of money but are still left with the freedom.2+
12/19/2018 at 12:17 pm #53703
You are rich in proportion to the things you can let alone.
Somebody said it, I remembered it many moons ago, don’t exactly live it!0
12/19/2018 at 8:55 am #53675
“Life Pile” I love it! Made my day… just sayin..1+
12/19/2018 at 9:14 am #53678
I can get into the idea of “Life piles” IF there’s an active listing process and the piles are in line to be worked on.
“Death piles” relates to many of us who are hoarding and ignoring work that has to be done.1+
12/19/2018 at 9:35 am #53680
I can get into the idea of “Life piles” IF there’s an active listing process and the piles are in line to be worked on.
“Death piles” relates to many of us who are hoarding and ignoring work that has to be done.
For me, my backlog is mostly a combination of 2 things. Bread and butter items that can be sold year round, and off season items. You won’t find any outerwear, sweaters, or winter accessories in my Lifepile right now, but theres a bunch of linen, seersucker and other summerweights ready to go for late Q1. Oh, and plenty of suits, suits get a good push in the spring for Easter, Mother’s Day and wedding season……and then there’s the ties, don’t get me started on the ties.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by The_SEAM_Store.
12/19/2018 at 9:01 am #53676
- Location: Florida
I have always referred to my “piles” as “Opportunity Stacks”. There is a lot of opportunity to make some cash if and when I list them.2+
12/19/2018 at 10:16 am #53686
Yep, if you have a process to manage your unlisted inventory, it’s all just potential money. But if you love to scavenge and list very little, then those piles become a constant reminder that you love shopping more than you do listing. And if you have no storage system, these piles in your home become even more life draining as they take over your living space.0
12/20/2018 at 9:15 am #53747
I just call them my backlog. When I get large collections in, I always make sure to get enough items listed to at least “pay for the lot.” Then, it may take years, but I’ll eventually get the rest listed. As long as the lot itself has been paid for with profit on top of it, it’s good.
It becomes problematic if you neglect to list from certain buys you bring in period. Like, go to the goodwill outlet, have a huge haul on your floor and list nothing from it. Go back in a few days. Add more that you don’t plan to list.
As long as you’re always listing what you bring in, you’re fine. If it’s too much to process at one time, you’ll eventually get there. Just at the very least list!0
12/20/2018 at 10:18 am #53754
Exactly. I guess its also just how you feel. If you look at unlisted piles and it brings you joy and safety because you know it’s buying your freedom, then it’s a “life pile”.
If you look at unlisted piles accumulating around and it brings you guilt, shame and stress because you know you’ll never list the stuff, then it’s a “death pile”.
All in the eye of the beholder.0
12/20/2018 at 11:09 am #53757
I have an absurd “security pile”. I don’t regret it. It’s cheap insurance against an unepected job loss. You never know what you will find any given day when out sourcing. Sometimes there is nothing, and some days you find 2 carts full of items worth thousands of dollars.
I try to always list 1-2 things from every haul that will pay for the whole purchase.
If the day comes where I am let go from where I work (or the day comes when I am flat out just sick of it), I know I can come home and throw myself into listing and not spend a single dime on supplies, equipment, or inventory for at least 6 months.
That is what I call security, not death.
….but yeah it frustrates me sometimes because I’d rather it all be listed.1+
12/20/2018 at 12:30 pm #53770
Yep, exactly. As long as it has been paid for, it is fine. If you buy it and sit on it forever with absolutely no return from it whatsoever…uhhh…what was the point?
Hoarders are more like…I love shopping! Listing, boo…when listing is the main component of reselling. No one’s going to know what you have if you don’t list it. I feel like a lot of beginners get all psyched up about thrifting and finding items with higher prices, but then stop there. Some turn into straight hoarders. “It’s all valuable!” It’s not. If you thrift frequently and have not many items in your store but a ton of unlisted items waiting to be listed, you are a hoarder.
Speaking of thrifting, I’ve been doing a lot of it over the past few months in anticipation of the winter thrifting slow down. I love nothing more than the excuse of it being too cold outside to just sit in the house and list and list and list. As it stands now, I currently only have 2 stacks of books/1 pile of random stuff to get through from these thrift runs. Staying on top of this is the key. The backlog doesn’t stand a chance this winter. 😀0
12/20/2018 at 7:58 am #53743
Grrr.. ok Jay, back to “Death piles”1+
12/20/2018 at 4:05 pm #53799
12/9/18 – 12/15/18
Total items in store (beginning of week): 523
Items sold: 8
30 day sell through (rate): 6.74%
Gross Sales: $ $378.28
Cost Paid for Items sold: $ $20.25
Shipping Cost: $ $75.76
Ebay Fee’s: $30.93
Paypal Fees: $15.05
Total Costs: $141.99
Net Profit: $236.29
Profit % Rev: 62%
12/20/2018 at 7:18 pm #53807
I don’t have death piles because I buy so few items, but I can see how they arise. You buy a lot of stuff, then find some of the marginal things are not worth your time to list relative to other things you could be doing at that moment. If this is why they happen, fair enough – though one hopes that a time will come (yearly?) when it IS worth your time to list them because the oppo cost is lower (i.e., you aren’t finding as much stuff).
I’m not sure if I like the idea of death piles as a rainy day savings account though, at least as a primary motivation for them. Selling something earlier rather than later is never bad (just put the money into an actual savings account). Long tail inventory takes time to list, then LOTS of time to find the right buyer. It’s super extremely illiquid. Listing gets you off the critical path so that at least the buyers can bite whenever they happen to find your listing.0
12/20/2018 at 8:02 pm #53808
- Location: Atlanta
Amen to your 2nd paragraph. Selling quicker – earlier then put the money in the bank. Even a lowly savings account is now starting to pay some interest. Death piles dont draw any interest at all.
Tom Cruise as Jerry McGuire… “Show me the Money!”
mike at mdc galleries and fine art0
12/20/2018 at 11:40 pm #53812
- Location: Washington State
Is there a standard definition of a death pile? Is it measured by number of items? High, width, depth and or breadth ?
Or is it similar to the SCOTUS standard “you know it when you see it”?2+
12/21/2018 at 12:25 am #53814
12/21/2018 at 7:06 am #53815
- Location: Leicester
I started voluntary work a few weeks back in the back room of a thrift shop, sorting out and shelving their books. The price labels have a code showing the week that they’ve been priced and put out for sale. Due to the volume of books coming in (probably about half a ton a week) the shop shelves are regularly weeded of “slow sellers”. They’re put in yellow sacks to be sent on to other shops in the chain.
So… this week I’m winnowing and weeding, and I fill six sacks weighing about 25 pounds each. Manager says “Those get put upstairs”, and as everybody else in the shop is a four stone apology and I’m two separate gorillas I take ’em up. To an office. Where there is a pile of around forty yellow sacks in front of a fully-stocked bookcase twelve feet long by eight feet high.
You think you’ve got death piles!2+
12/21/2018 at 12:26 pm #53845
I really liked this weeks podcast — (like always) —
J&R – do you guys have your 2008 numbers readily accessible on an old forum or anything? No worries obviously if you did not post them back then but it would be really neat to see what your Ebay sales were like when ‘the sky was falling’.0
12/21/2018 at 6:28 pm #53858
We started sharing numbers in 2013:
The five yers before we ran out business by the seat our of pants. Make enough to pay the bills. Any extra money was used to renovate our house. Just making more money than we spent.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Jay.
12/26/2018 at 9:04 am #53998
I see, very cool story indeed. Amazing to see how your persistence and even keel approach to the business has paid off, and compounded!, over time. I think the lesson can apply broadly in life too.0
12/21/2018 at 1:50 pm #53850
Finally finished the podcast. Sounded like the last caller was making 2 points about the USPS rules/regs he read:
1) there is a maximum value on gifts that postal workers are allowed to receive – J/R addressed this point
2) they are not allowed to receive gifts in the form of cash or gift cards.
My response to #2 is: I’m going to tip with cash anyway. If they want me to stop doing that, they can tell me that themselves. The great thing about cash is it’s untraceable 🙂 Plus at my post office there is only one worker and rarely any other customers, so no boss or even other people there to watch what they get or don’t get. It’s a new person this year for me, so we’ll see what happens.1+
12/21/2018 at 2:30 pm #53853
Unfortunately, these restrictions are in place for a reason.
Postal worker bribery and corruption is a very real and very serious thing. Once you pay off a pipeline of postal workers with what starts as small gifts or amounts of cash, you can ship anything in the mail.0
12/22/2018 at 1:39 pm #53871
I have worked for the Post Office before. They have people called “Postal Inspectors”. I believe they use the cameras to observe what is going on and they are also out in the field.
Most postal workers know this and are watch themselves so that the dreaded Postal Inspector does not come down on them.
12/22/2018 at 2:24 pm #53875
Interesting. Something to keep in mind should I move back to an urban/suburban area. My post office doesn’t even have the ability to print receipts, so there’s definitely no camera there. But if there were, all it would show is my handing a Christmas card to the worker. Growing up, my parents just left a card with some cash in it in the mailbox. Never had an postal worker give back any of these tips.1+
12/22/2018 at 2:30 pm #53876
I’m sure no USPS employee would turn down a cash gift 🙂 Not a big deal. But there is a legal limit of $20 cash: https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2012/pb22349/html/cover_025.htm
I can see why they have a rule: you pay your carrier cash to take packages for cheap/free. Look the other way at abusing media mail. Etc.0
12/22/2018 at 2:48 pm #53877
Jay, the bulletin at the link you posted says that they are not allowed to accept ANY cash gifts or gift cards in any amount. This was the caller’s point, and he was wondering what people did in light of that.
“carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. “0
12/22/2018 at 7:18 pm #53878
You’re absolutely correct.No cash or cash equivalents allowed at all. Are you still going to sneak them some cash?0
12/22/2018 at 7:56 pm #53880
Yup! I have already given my postal worker a card with a small cash tip in it (I’m a low volume seller, so it’s not that much). I’m wondering what others are doing.0
12/22/2018 at 8:43 pm #53884
I wish I had the same postal worker to give them a present to get a relationship and maybe get consistent tracking scanning. There seems to always be a different new person. Sometimes there is the same person for a few weeks, but then it changes. The people that have been there for a few weeks were great about scanning, but the see them only once contract employees sometimes don’t scan. And this month, with the holidays, it seems to be a different person every day that I check (sometimes I’m home and I step out to beg for a tracking scan or we have Ring so sometimes I look at the video).0
12/23/2018 at 6:48 am #53897
Do you live in a dense urban area?0
12/23/2018 at 9:07 am #53900
Small city. We moved here about 6 months ago and are still trying to learn how our new postal office works. In general it is better than our old one (suburb outside a very big city). The actual post office here has very friendly postal workers and lines move quickly if you have to stand in line. And we found out that we can leave packages on the counter and they will get scanned without having to wait in line. But the post office is about 8 miles away so usually pickup would be much more convenient.
And now we are on the west coast so if a package isn’t scanned at pick up, then often the scan at the post office isn’t until after midnight so it counts as the next day. At our last location, which was in CST, the post office also scanned often after midnight but there was a 2 hour buffer since eBay uses PST.
I’ve talked to one contract postal worker who told me that he thought he just needed to scan the sheet that shows the pick up request and that that would automatically scan the packages, so maybe it is a training issue. From reading online, it seems that talking in person with the local postmaster may be a next step, but haven’t had time to go to that yet.0
12/23/2018 at 9:23 am #53901
I’ve talked to one contract postal worker who told me that he thought he just needed to scan the sheet that shows the pick up request and that that would automatically scan the packages, so maybe it is a training issue. From reading online, it seems that talking in person with the local postmaster may be a next step, but haven’t had time to go to that yet.
It has always amazed me how few postal workers know how to use the SCAN form. Especially since it has clear instructions printed right on it. It’s their product and has been in use for years now. I actually had to take mine in and teach the postmaster what it was so he could instruct the carriers. Don’t have much problem with it now….except on the days where ebay glitches and wont provide a SCAN form.0
12/23/2018 at 10:09 am #53903
Hopefully they are just going through temp carriers while they choose a permanent carrier. It’s best when you can create a relationship with a single carrier so everyone is on the same page.
If you are really having difficulties, I encourage you to speak to your local postmaster. Explain that you have a home business and depend on reliable shipping. Its their job to make sure the cogs work efficiently.0
12/22/2018 at 8:49 pm #53885
I tip my Postal Carrier in cash (enclosed in a Christmas card/envelope). I don’t do carrier pickup, so the only part of my Ebay biz she’s involved in is delivering the free Priority Mail boxes I order. She’s just a nice person who always has a smile on her face and never complains about her job. Priceless.2+
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