02/16/2020 at 6:41 am #74006RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
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[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 450: Chatting with Troy about Other Jobs, Cross Posting, Numbers, Hard Goods!]
02/16/2020 at 10:02 am #74008The Thrift RaiderParticipant
Very good interview Troy and Jay! I did miss a few things on Troy’s end due to the audio though. I liked that you encouraged Ryanne and Jay to put more things on Etsy, I’ve always thought their stuff would do so well there. It is slower for sure, but people have no problem paying more money for stuff than ebay, and this is completely subjective, but I’ve always thought Etsy’s customers were so much nicer.
Troy, it sounds like your kids are going to be setup nicely thanks to you and your wife. What a kind gift.
I’ve been notoriously bad about my own bookkeeping and tending to keep my head in the sand, but when you have the numbers in front of you, you can also know what to expect month to month.
02/16/2020 at 10:44 am #74010
02/16/2020 at 10:43 am #74009
Week of 2/9-2/15
Total Items in Store: 3,296 (Up 23% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 55
Number of Items Sold: 70 (Down 13% YOY)
Weekly STR: 9% (Down 38% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $2,108 (Down 19% YOY)
Sales Volume Variance to Prior Year: Down $324
Sales Price Variance to Prior Year: Down 162
Cost of Items Sold: $384
Funny that this talk is coming out this week. I did a deep dive again this morning into our numbers, and I can see two items that are driving our sales down vs last year.
Since June, our number of Impressions (the times our items show up in search) are down 30% compared to last year. If we aren’t in search, we can’t make a sale. So, either the market is down for what we are selling (probably) or our listings are too high priced/need item specifics, etc. So, we will control what we can, checking item specifics and pricing and making those corrections on what is listed.
And we are getting out of some of these markets where pricing is very low. Most shirts just don’t sell for enough for us to justify the work, so we are getting out of that market unless it is a higher end shirt, of which there are very few.
This week showed a bit of a rebound in sales, though Poshmark has really slowed down. But Etsy is up, so there is that…
02/17/2020 at 11:23 am #74041
Back during glitchapalooza at the beginning of 4Q last year I posted on here about how my impressions had dropped 30%. I didn’t get many responses then.
Eventually I recovered and my store is performing at an all time high.
You are still listing at a high rate and I have the impression that you “pre research” your purchases much like I do so you aren’t likely listing dead inventory.
So back to the impression drop – did it tail off over some time or just drop off like a cliff? That would be valuable data to inform if your business is just not doing as well or if something is wrong on ebay’s end. For me the drop was a definite cliff – in September they dropped like a rock on a specific day and stayed down for about 6 weeks.
02/16/2020 at 10:51 am #74011
Hey Guys and Troy you didn’t think I was going to let a pod-cast from you go by without having something to say. I can see Jay rolling his eyes and muttering, “Here we go, another wall of text from Mike”.
Same sales drop for us. We increased the inventory by about 50% from 2018 and by the end of 2019 we were down approx. 23% from 2018 in gross sales.
You and I talked about the Oct. drop when we last spoke. We saw the biggest drop about Oct. also. That was when Ebay did the “Item Specific” big changes in clothing. And Ebay is still making changes in other categories and has been an ongoing move.
Ebay has added a bunch of recommended and required item specifics, but what I am seeing is they are leaving out a bunch of what we think are pertinent data fields. So, I have just added some of our own custom fields. SixBit has helped with doing all of that in bulk.
When cross posting to Etsy don’t forget that Etsy has implemented the “forced” Free Shipping program. Anything over $36 is highly stressed to be Free Shipping so our Etsy prices are higher by estimated shipping to Zone 6 built into the prices.
We also dropped most clothing long ago and we have always been into hard goods and have half of our total inventory cross listed on Etsy and at half the number of items on Etsy, we gross at about half of our Ebay gross. So, we predict if we had all our inventory on Etsy we would do about the same Gross amount on Etsy. And, Etsy is less costly.
We also went to Free Shipping on Ebay last Oct. to try to overcome the drop we were seeing. Over the last 4 months, Sales volume stayed about the same but what we see is that all our close by state sales [zones1 to 3] have dropped off and Sales to Cal., Washington state, Oregon, etc. all Zone 8 increased a large amount. So, we think the phrase pushed by Ebay “build in the price to midway, then the lost money to far away zone 8 will be made up by the sales in zones 1 to 3. Well, the Sales in the closer zones “dropped off”. So, the closer sales are not supplementing the loss on the zone 8 sales because we only built in a zone 5 and 6 into the prices. And in hard goods that are in the 4 to 6 lb. range can be $10 to $15 more to ship onto that zone 7 and 8 that was NOT built in.
So, after I got those answers from Wabash River Valley relics and studying his store, and hearing Jay and Ryanne tried Free Shipping and changed back I am going to do the same. So, today I am bulk editing in SixBit and changing everything 100% back to calculated shipping and make an offer no matter what the selling price or size or weight. Our helper said she was so glad to get back to a much more simplified listing and cutting down on the number of templates.
We are like you troy, we dropped using wrappers in SixBit and just have templates set up for our most popular categories.
Lastly, we have been ready to go public with our Shopify store but have been holding up due to Sue’s illness, but she is a few weeks away from being through, so think I am going to go ahead and do a full export into the Shopify store. My thoughts are why not just build a store of our own.
We use the Duo version of SixBit so just like you say, we create the listing in the Ebay tab, then click the “populate from Ebay” option and the complete listing from Ebay is moved over to Etsy. Then we update the selling price and it’s good to go. And if we also add Shopify that will automatically be populated also.
We have also renamed all our photos going back 8 or 9 years and stored them in a 4-terra byte external drive and also have that drive backed up in the cloud. The same photos are used for Etsy and as I said they are auto added to Etsy and Shopify.
The trick is to always use the square camera, which we have on our camera.
One other trick is to use the double bracket codes [[color]], [[brand]], [[title]], etc., etc. in the SixBit description area and not use the wrappers or put description like copy in a wrapper. With use of the codes, SB pulls all of these IS into the description are along with the title and then this allows all the item specifics and description text to be pulled over into the Etsy listing when the Populate from option is used. So a complete Etsy listing is created except for a few minor quick clicks and tags that takes less than 30 seconds to complete. All of the shipping wieghts, photos, full description which thanks to the codes, contains all the Ebay Item Specifics now into Etsy.
Yes Jay, Troy is correct that you would do very well on Etsy, but to do it by hand without SixBit Duo version. You would have to create them by hand like Troy is doing for his fewer items. It will take you just as long to list your items by hand on Etsy as it has taken you on Ebay.
Troy, remember I told you about the hard goods categories last year. I told you so, LOL 🙂
And don’t forget, like I was mentioning back then, sell higher cost items, aim for selling items over $40 up to $100 and be willing to pay more for the items.
Buying Wholesale is something we do with the SmartParts we have mfg. And an advantage of being a Corp. business structure we have a Fed. ID number and a Georgia State tax Exempt number so we can buy wholesale with almost any body and have been thinking about this also. We have a good friend who is a retired International Lawyer and knows a lot about importing goods from other countries also.
Ok… got to get going here and get back to removing all the free shipping off 1,200 items and adding Make an Offer.
Good discussion guys… great to hear the comments targeted to where our heads have been for a while now.
BTW… Couldn’t think about scaling 3 platforms without SixBit and yes, I am 71 years old and Susan is 68 so, we must do this because we need the extra income streams plus, we like it also.
Mike at MDC Concepts, Inc.
MDC Galleries and Fine Art
SmartParts Small Equipment
02/16/2020 at 1:45 pm #74017
Hey Mike! Tell Susan we are still thinking about her and wishing and praying for her to have a quick recovery. We are thinking about you as well! We know it is tough to be in the spot you are in, but you will be through it soon!
02/16/2020 at 2:26 pm #74018
Thanks Troy. She has been bed ridden most of the time. But next Wed. is her last chemo and then a month off and then just 2 quick 15 min. radiation treatments on March 23rd and she is done and God willing all the treatments will have killed off all the cancer cells and she will be in remission, we are praying. Then evey six weeks doctor follow-ups for several years to keep an eye on everything.
Yep been getting up most mornings between 4am-6am and trying to do as much on the Ebay and Etsy stores, plus doing some web work and online marketing for the owner of the fellow who bought my old spray foam business. Then meals, our cat got sick, house chores and helping my daughter, I am a very tired puppy.
Glad to hear that you seem to be back in the swing of things and seems that Veronica is doing a great job keeping the item listings and flow going.
Thanks for the kudos and will make sure Susan sees your post.
Your brother by another mother… Mike
02/16/2020 at 5:25 pm #74022almastyParticipant
Yay, thank you for posting this interview on a Sunday! It motivated me to do my bookkeeping early while listening to it, as well as more work on my taxes. I should be done with all of my bookkeeping for taxes tomorrow, sweet!
Selling online is definitely trickier now than it used to be. It is true that the only constant is change. The way I sourced, listed, shipped, etc,. in 2004 is so completely different than the way I do so now makes me almost feel bad to say they are the same business. Yet, here we are. Still roaring along straight through the 2020s!
Due to constant adjustments that need to be made when it comes to reselling, I find it difficult to trend how exactly my business may be one year from the next. I do agree that you have to be cognizant of how to at least maintain a basic level of sales going from week to week or month to month – if you don’t have the basic knowledge of “I have 300 items listed here at this listed price and I need to add x to achieve this level of sales per month,” then it will be hard to maintain this as a f/t business for long. If you’re unable to maintain your required level of sales due to supply or sales issues, you need to make up for it somehow. Whether that is by sourcing more, placing items on sale, sourcing new types of items, working longer, spending more, spending less, whatever. Sometimes you just have to do what you need to do in order to pay the bills. If that requires more listing, more time sourcing, do it.
At the same time, people need to do more of what they enjoy doing. There is a point when this can become way more stressful than a 9-5 job, even when you have been doing this forever. If you’re listing stuff that you are for the most part not interested in, it can be a real drag. When I had jobs, I looked at the clock many times throughout the day. If I sold only items I wasn’t interested in, I would be doing the same thing. At least with a job you have a steady paycheck and hopefully good health insurance to make it worth it. With reselling, it’s sort of primal and you can find yourself in competition with strangers (both those sourcing & the ones you are listing against online) depending on what you sell. If on top of it you’re not really feeling it, it can be really stressful.
With the combination of the deflation of prices and the increase in competition (both sourcing & online), it is stressful. I have seen the competition increase & decrease (sourcing) throughout the years, but it is definitely peaking right now. How long will it last? I don’t know. I’m happy I was able to get a good Q4 out of 2019, but this year will probably be the year we actually do head into a recession. This will only result in more competition (sourcing) and the continued deflation of prices from both new resellers and people who straight up just list what they have straight to Ebay, ignoring whatever the established prices are. It’s going to get even more interesting out there.
02/17/2020 at 8:28 am #74034
this year will probably be the year we actually do head into a recession. This will only result in more competition (sourcing) and the continued deflation of prices from both new resellers and people who straight up just list what they have straight to Ebay, ignoring whatever the established prices are. It’s going to get even more interesting out there.
Oh boy. Im not looking forward to this.
02/16/2020 at 8:41 pm #74025
Oh, I forgot I had some pics to share. Here are some photos from the hoarders house I got the magazines from. These are from when I first walked into the house, I wasn’t able to get to many of the rooms until I cleared a way, so I didn’t get pics of every room. Towards the end of the pics are when I had most of the stuff in the storage unit I bought. The last two pics are how we store them in the banker boxes and sleeves. Also, sorry about the images being sideways. Imgur is just not being cooperative right now.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by WabashValleyRelics.
02/17/2020 at 8:32 am #74035
So awesome. Remind me. Did you pay for all that? Or did they just say “come get all this trash”.
02/17/2020 at 1:09 pm #74047
The person who bought the house gave them to me. They were going to throw everything away, I offered to clean out the house in exchange for keeping what I wanted. They agreed. They thought everything was trash.
02/16/2020 at 11:06 pm #74028
2/9/20 – 2/15/20
Total Items In Store: 3319
Items Sold: 21
Cost of Items Sold: $ 65
Total Sales: $ 673.12
Highest Price Sold: $ 210 (chairs)
Average Price Sold: $ 32.05
Money Spent on New Inventory: $ 28.65
Number of items listed: 16
Gut Sales Report for the week: This was an average week in terms of sales.
Challenge of the week: I am the process of planning how to ramp up my store. I am working on a plan to ramp up the number of pictures taken and listed.
Scavenge of the week: Picked up several nice pairs of shoes on the cheap. Went to a vintage estate sale and got some cool items. Nothing worth a whole lot, but I had fun looking at everything from the 1960’s\1970’s.
Customer Service: I had two interesting stories of how I had to up my game in customer service. The first story is straight forward the other is a long one. I will share the short story here and post the longer story later. The first story is about a local guy who had an indoor game of soccer to play. The problem was that he bought a cheap pair of goalie gloves that didn’t give much protection to his hands. I met him up with him 30 minutes before his game to get him a nice pair of goalie gloves that would protect his hands in the game. I didn’t make a lot on the sale, but it felt really good to be able to get the gloves to him in a timely manner and help him out for his game.
02/16/2020 at 11:35 pm #74029
For the slow down of sales for clothes: I started noticing this early in 2019. I mentioned this on the blog in April of 2019. Jay suggested that I was too heavy on clothes. I took his advice and stopped buying clothes (not altogether, but now I only buy very select clothes). I got deeper into other categories that I was already in. That really helped me for the rest of 2019. Thanks Jay!
I think the point is well taken though. You have to be on top of your numbers. When something starts going wrong, find out what the issue is and try to change things up. Troy mentioned his issue above that he is working on. I think in these more difficult times on ebay, we can’t fall asleep at the wheel of our stores. We have to keep up with what is changing and adapt.
02/17/2020 at 12:17 am #74030DantheDinerParticipant
Thanks for bringing Troy back. I really hate paying too close attention to the numbers side of sourcing and listing. My mindset has always been that I should just buy cheap things that sell well, and that there isn’t much analytical work to be done. I think Troy definitively proved me wrong today, and I am wondering whether I should incorporate some of this analysis on my own business. I’m not sure what will make the most sense for me to start calculating, but I think I should start with sell-through rates.
Like Jay, I find it reassuring when I hear others talk about eBay difficulties from the past year. I have been doing fine since Christmas season, but my numbers were so low for so many months in 2019 that I was consistently worried about bills.
Total Items in Store: 7443
Number of Items Sold: 65
Weekly STR: .9%
Total Product Sales: $1,005
Average Sale Price: $15
Highest Price Sold: $100 (Grateful Dead Woodblock Print)
02/17/2020 at 8:42 am #74039DoublythumbsParticipant
- Location: Hopedale, OH
Feb 9 – 15
Total Items in Store: 3200
Items Sold: 41
Total Sales : $1,675
* Above yearly average of $892
Highest Price: $281 (1959-1960 Cadillac Black Rubber White Crown Logo Floor Mats)
Average Price: $41
Cost of Goods Sold: $88
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $0
Number of New Items Listed this Week: 77
As I sat down to figure my numbers for the week, I realized that this is the 1-year anniversary of quitting my job and going full time on eBay. It’s had its share of ups and downs over the last year. I’m doing well financially but not as well as I predicted. With the dip in sales that everyone seems to be seeing, all my hard work has sort of made me feel like I’m just breaking even from last year. But I’ve got a feeling that this year will be better for me. Just as long as I keep finding and listing all these cool items.
I’m seeing great numbers this week! My big sale of the week came from some old Cadillac floor mats that I found in the crawl space above our garage. With some research, I discovered that these particular ones were only made for a couple of years. But they were slightly dry rotted. Still, close to $300 is fantastic for something I got for free. I also hand delivered them to the buyer. He only lived 40 minutes away from me and I got to pocket the shipping cost.
Great interview with Troy this week! I agree with Jay, it comes as a weird relief knowing that other high-output stores are feeling the squeeze and that it’s not just me. Though I’d rather we could all be making huge profits across the board, at least now I know it’s not something I’m doing wrong. It’s just the nature of the beast.
02/17/2020 at 11:42 am #74044
“With the dip in sales that everyone seems to be seeing, all my hard work has sort of made me feel like I’m just breaking even from last year.”
I am with you on this. My average number of listings available per month in 2019 was about 25% more than that of 2018. Yet my sales for 2019 were just about the same as 2018.
Like you said, hope 2020 is better.
02/18/2020 at 11:49 am #74101
I find that “success and failure” all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you just trying to pay your monthly bills? Monthly bills + renovating your house? Monthly bills + save up $x? Monthly bills + a really nice vacation?
As a business owner, these kinds of goals are very important. I think its a set up for disappointment if the goal is just “make more and more money without limit” or “my goal is to get rich”.
02/17/2020 at 9:41 am #74040BlackcatParticipant
One thing I’ve noticed recently that may be part of the reason for slow sales is Ebay is sometimes choosing which category to show your buyers. At least on mobile seating. Even if your item contains every keyword the buyer types in, it sometimes hides your item by only showing one category. It happened to me on a jersey. No matter what I did I couldn’t get my jersey to pull up. So I looked to see what category the results were listed in and realized mine was not in that category. A buyer can choose after to show all categories but most of the time they just look at what ebay shows them. I don’t know if this is a temporary problem or a new method they are trying out or what. But it’s not good because sometimes ebay picks the wrong category to show you. I moved my jersey into the other category and it showed up the next search.
02/17/2020 at 11:33 am #74043
Items in Store 1495
Items Sold 33
Total Sales $1,042.00
Total Profit $935.00
Average profit $28.33
Average sales price $31.58
New Listings 0
I finished my taxes this weekend. It feels good to get that out of the way early. It also feels good to already have plenty of money in the bank, all bills/credit cards fully paid off, AND have vacation paid for in advance. It’s been quite a few years since I was in this position going into tax refund time! I also have the 5th child tax credit this year. Cha-ching!!!
Last year I reported earnings of 0 for my ebay business. The year before that I posted a slight loss. This year I went whole hog – I showed an income of approximately $2500. I’m sure I could have scrounged together $2500 more in deductions…but no need to get too greedy!
Troy’s point of having to get a real job to qualify for financing really highlights the double edged sword of business deductions. Troy I believe it is possible that the bank could even call your loan if you technically didn’t have the qualifying income to support said loan, even if you can technically afford it. That is scary!
In other business, I still have alot of home projects taking up time. I’ve been hitting it pretty hard in the ebay space prior to 2 weeks ago, so it isn’t a bad thing that I stepped back for a few weeks. Thankfully my store has kept on performing at a high level in spite of my lack of listing activity.
02/17/2020 at 6:56 pm #74067
Retro – I have heard of people getting their profit down so low for tax reporting and I am stumped at how that could be possible. With almost 1500 items and the super low overhead of running an eBay business…how it that possible? What secret expenses do you claim? Tell me more. If it’s legal, I’d like to know.
02/18/2020 at 8:01 am #74088
Vehicle expenses, Scavenging weekend trips, Home office deduction, etc.
When you are a sole proprieter with a home based business, pretty mnuch EVERYTHING I spend money on becomes deductible in some way.
I had just over $5k in mileage deductions this year.
The home office deduction lets me deduct a percentage of all of my home expenses. That adds up huge.
This year I added a door to an exterior wall in my ebay space – deductible.
The scavenging weekend trips are a joint business trip/family mini getaway. I come back with a car full of inventory and we also get to have a bunch of fun as a family.
It’s all 100% legit. Taxes is a game – the more you understand the rules, the better you are at playing.
If I made substantially more, I could even pay my kids a salary as employees. I have 5 kids so I could tax shelter up to $60k a year directly into their own college funds and/or IRA accounts. I say “could” because I would have a hard time ethically justifying that in my situation. I likely would not do it unless I was actually paying them by having them do real work.Having said that, LOTS of folks totally “pay” their kids up to the standard deduction so it is tax sheltered profit. That’s probably one of the most abused tax laws because the kids can “gift” the money right back to the parent, tax free!
02/18/2020 at 8:50 am #74089
100% Retro. We take the home office deduction, mileage deduction, our cell phone costs, etc. It all adds up, and 100% legal.
02/18/2020 at 9:15 am #74091
From what I understand, the home office deduction has to be completely used for the business and not for personal reasons. I use my office for both, so it doesn’t help me.
However, since I use a large part of my home for inventory storage, I can deduct a portion of my utilities. Gas keeps my inventory at room temperature during the winter, electric during the summer plus running my computer, washer & dryer for clothes I sell, dishwasher for the dishes I wash, and then there’s my cable costs for internet, and so on. I calculate the square footage that my inventory takes up and divide that by the full size of my home, and I use that to proportion out my utility bills.
02/18/2020 at 12:12 pm #74102
I am right here with Sharyn on this. This all was mentioned a year or two here on SL and the message was the same. Track everything you use for your business or business purposes. It adds up to a whole lot. It is these things that are the hidden [soft] costs to running a business, being at home using more resources for your business during office hours.
We have 3,923 of house, office, garage and full finished basement. We take the business SF as deduction. That is square footage of dedicated bonus room office over garage at 264 sf., 440 of garage for storage, and 640sf of finished basement for art studio and wood working / framing shop. So, 1344 sf of business only space. That’s about 33% deduction off mortgage, taxes, elec. bill, gas bill.
Then we take a portion of the internet as subscriptions for research, Worthpoint research as subscription, business cell phones, mileage [we use Mile IQ that tracks our every movement in the car and creates a report of all our sourcing and business trips] for travel mileage, then also all our cleaning supplies like metal polish, Windex, paper towels, toilet paper for cleaning and stuffing, solvents, art supplies like paint, canvas, painters tapes, shelving, brushes, framing materials, wire, screws, nails, new tools [depreciate these], all shipping supplies, boxes, shipping tape, misc. office supplies, computers, software, research books and magazines, office furniture, and actually even more.
Now of course these are all categorized in Quicken as broader categories and once classified and mapped to a specific category, then once a month we do our bank and credit card downloads, and everything is categorized into its proper accounting category.
The devil is in the details, and if you watch those details then you are good to go. This detailed process has cut our business profits down to Zero and taxes to zero for about 10 years now. But you must have an infrastructure set up to capture and classify everything that is business related.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art
02/18/2020 at 9:17 am #74092
I do take all the basic auto/home office/utilities/internet/phone deductions. In my case it doesn’t really add up to some fantastically high amount.
Curious how much “business” you do on those vacation/sourcing trips? And is it only 50% of your personal part of the expenses that qualify for the deduction? So in my case, if I were to take a trip with a family of 5…one half of the 1/5th that is my expense?
02/18/2020 at 11:29 am #74098
My travel deduction was the miles + $900 in hotel costs this year.
I source a couple hours each day in a metropolitan area on these trips.
The purpose of the trip is 100% business based – I get better inventory when I go to metro areas for a few days.
So basically mornings are spent working and evenings are spent with family.
Bringing the family and going to the zoo and staying at a fun hotel is just a perk.
What I do not deduct is a true vacation. Let’s say we go to the beach for a week. That is a personal vacation. If I make a trip to scavenge on the vacation I can claim the miles for that specific trip, but I cannot claim the whole vacation just because I did a bit of scavenging. My wife doesn’t understand this one at all – she tells me I should claim our
whole vacation no matter how many times I tell her I can’t.
Another example would be if I went to go make a business purchase that happened to be at the beach and decided to stay for a week since I’m already there. I could deduct the mileage and expense of the trip there and let’s say a single night of the lodging since that would be required before heading back. The rest of the lodging nights would not be deductible.
What it boils down to is what I said before – read the code and then read LOTS of CPA interpretations of the rules to get a good grasp. Then figure out how to properly apply what you learned to your own business. Then document thoroughly so you can justify your actions if you are audited. When in doubt, ask yourself this: “Can I reasonably explain this to the IRS if they ask?”
02/17/2020 at 11:45 am #74045
My current policy is not to sell clothes unless they are vintage or have higher value like outerwear. On the other hand, my parents’ downsizing friends like to give me the clothes they don’t want anymore. Who am I to turn away something for free? The problem is that I really don’t want to list them myself. I used to send in my more modern clothing to Swap.com, but they tightened up their inspection process, greatly reduced the percentage they give to the seller, and restricted incoming packages because they couldn’t keep up.
Seems like they have opened incoming packages again, so I am going to send one in and see how it goes. I’ll list the few items that I pulled out because I found that they are vintage. I am donating anything that has the least bit of wear or stains. I am holding onto the winter stuff to send in later depending on how this one works out. Let’s see how it goes.
My parents will be bring more stuff when they visit in May. Ugh.
Week of Feb 9 – 15
* Total Items in Store: 1454 eBay, 34 Etsy
* Items Sold: 15 eBay
* Cost of Items Sold: $44.88 + $36.87 Commission
* Total Sales: $525.39 eBay
* Highest Price Sold: $140 Hand carved wood chess set
* Average Price Sold: $35
* Returns: 1
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $5
* Number of items listed this week: 21
Decent week for me. The chess set was in inventory for over two years, so I was glad to see it sold. Perhaps I listed it too high at first because I had bought it for close to $40. I think it wasn’t the best of buys, but I did well enough. It was one of the few items I put on promotions.
02/17/2020 at 1:43 pm #74050
I was very excited to hear another interview with Troy and the episode definitely did not disappoint!
I wanted to come forward as maybe one of the people you were referring to that stopped by very excited about eBay but then dropped off the forum.
I’m not sure if there are other people like me but I didn’t drop off from here because eBay isn’t going well for me.
I guess I posted my numbers here because in real life there’s not a lot of congratulations surrounding ebay success because people don’t really understand how hard it is. So I guess looking back I posted my numbers on here to get that validation that I was doing well from all my hard work.
However I feel like when I posted my numbers it was kind of awkward and no one really did congratulate and if anything it may be caused some tension or something. I can totally be reading into it but if I got that vibe there might be other people who have too.
Anyway I love your guys’s podcast so much and it’s what I look forward to the most every Sunday. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without binging on years worth of your episodes when I was getting started.
Here are my numbers. I am the one that sells new beauty products and makes about one-third of the sale price in profit… but I am doing good spending all my profits back on inventory and continuing to grow.
02/17/2020 at 2:06 pm #74052
@Something Fantastic: You must have caught some of the members here out with the Flu on the same day and Jay and Ryanne out of the office and out on their job site. Who among us would not Congratulate $57k of Sales in a 90 day period.
A huge “Great Job” from me, Congratulations and Welcome Back.
One of the things that many members have been focused on more so than numbers over the past several years is going more into the weeds as jay calls it about how to handle increasing inventory, building systems and infrastructure, looking deeper into your numbers and knowing what they mean and scaling your businesses than maybe the Kudos about Sales numbers. But I see many, “Wow Great Sales, or Cool Find and Flip here, maybe just not as often as in the past. But your numbers are what many would love to have here on SL.
Great job, keep up the good work and Don’t be Shy. If you need any help ask, if not then try to help some others. You may be a good member to usher in what I think will be an upcoming topic “Buying WholeSale” and things like that.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art in Atlanta
P.S. One thing you might also consider. Scroll all the way down to the bottom on any forum page and look at the small print. It will give you the count of the members that are signed in at any one time here on SL. As of right now, there are only a few members logged in and SL has approx. 6,000 members but only a few are active at any one time. It also says that the largest number of logged in members was 18 back in March [I think] in 2018. And if they are multi tasking and listing and reading as i do at times, it may be nothing more of a “shortage of eyes” on the postings and that’s why maybe you got a low number of “Atta’ Boys or Kudos” at the time.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
02/17/2020 at 2:33 pm #74055
Thanks for the response Mike!
Yeah after I talked about my business and shared my numbers a couple months ago Jay had some questions which was really cool but I guess since I didn’t get a response like the one you just shared from anyone else I sort of assumed that I was bugging people which I definitely didn’t want to do. I really appreciate you welcoming me thank you <3
I don’t Source wholesale but I definitely have been trying to figure out how to do that so that I can get ungated in topicals on Amazon (and potentially grow bigger using Amazon FBA). It seems that if you’re honest with wholesalers about wanting to sell on Amazon they pretty much shut you down. When I found a wholesaler that I thought showed potential and supported Amazon it turned out that what they really wanted to do was charge me several hundred dollar for their ungating service (which I did not fall for).
I actually source using online arbitrage from mostly Ulta and Sephora… chasing sales, clearance items and stacking deals and free gift with purchases.
I live in a 875 square foot apartment with $60k worth of inventory so needless to say I have a long ways to go in optimizing my storage systems. I cannot wait until my lease is up this summer and I can move out into a bigger place.
I’m a single mom of a two year old and I have been on living on SSDI but now I am joining The ticket to work program to get off of it and support myself fully with this business.
Thanks again for your response.
02/17/2020 at 4:45 pm #74060
I remember your posts now because I showed it to my wife. Her two favorite places. Ulta and Sephora. All she wants for Christmas are Gift Cards from those two stores and of course cash cards.
She said when I showed her your posts, she said I wouldn’t sell a thing until I built my personal stash up. When we were first married back in 1969 and we went up to CT. for my grad school work, she worked for Pfizer Corp who owned Coty Cosmetics and she also repp’ed for Elizabeth Ardin. She used to get tons of the left over Gifts that went along with their Purchase specials. very nice stuff, like complete eye shadow kits, foundations, new line perfumes in kits. Not like the Oscar’s bags, but nice Gifts that came with special purchases.
She was a Cosmetics rep before going into the dental field. If we go to the Mall of GA for me to go into Staples Office supply for something, BOOM, she swings left and says I’ll be up in Ulta. I get through and always have to go get her, then I walk around behind her for another hour. How many shades of red go these companies make, and why do women seem to think they have to try every one on or every fragrence. UUggh!!
She also said you had to be very deligent to do what you are doing and she can see how it all works, but you have to keep your eye on every sale, every BOGO or the Buy One Get one at XX? Off. And best of all are to know the Good Free Gift with Purchase.
Well kiddo $19,000 a month on discounted cosmetics is amazing. Also a lot of SL members are more into vintage and used goods and seem to be mostly Ebay, Etsy, Mercari, Posh and the likes for the older, used stuff. All your products, I would assume are NEW and still shrink wrapped.
Have you thought about your own store on like WooCommerce or Shopify and run it along side your Amazon sales until you gain traffic and momentum for your own store? Brnd your store somehow as the cosmetic alternative to Ulta and Sephora. BUT also watch out for VERO’s. Many companies are getting touchy about selling ther new stuff and even used stuff now days, if you are not a licensed or authorized seller. Wonder how that works in the cosmetics industry since they are so brand and image conscious.
Take care… Mike at MDCGFA
02/17/2020 at 5:04 pm #74063
My husband works in packaging for a very large cosmetic company. He brings home samples, and he can go to his company store and get $80 of product every two months. He usually sends an email to the store manager that allows me to go and spend his free goods.
This was great for me until I stopped working in an office about five years ago. I stopped putting on makeup because I don’t see that many people during the day. We still use the hair products, suntan lotion, soap, and so forth.
I can’t sell the stuff on eBay because it is against their policy and ex-employees have lost their job because of it. I imagine that there is some guy or gal who checks my store every once in a while to make sure I’m not selling his stuff. I’m very careful about not buying cosmetic stuff for resale.
On Something Fantastic’s original post, I think people don’t always respond because they don’t want to clog up the forum with short comments like “thanks” “great job” and so forth. There’s been a few of my posts in the “what is this” section where no one ever responded. I think no one could answer my question and they didn’t want to say “sorry, can’t help you”.
02/17/2020 at 5:16 pm #74064
Good Point Sharyn. And also this forum has not ever been a kind of “social” platform. Some joke at times, me included, but not a whole bunch of Likes, thumbs up’s, and atta boy’s. We all seem to be more of an informational forum covering all the things sellers at different levels get faced with and trying to get answers to the best protocol of how to handle something, do something or deal with Ebay issues.
Lately Ebay and Etsy have thrown enough screw balls at us sellers and the SL sellers try to figure it out. We don’t complain much, other than an Ugghh here we go again Ebay comment, but mostly, now how do we deal with it approach. Maybe a few have quit SL and Ebay as a whole out of frustration but mostly here seems to be more problem solving or asking how in the world did you do that type of thing.
Of course Jay and Ryanne are good gate keepers also and only the Big Trash Elf Himself knows how many SL members get the boot. I do remember during the Blog / Forum switch, I was getting tired of all the anonymous posters getting very argumentative and Jay said how look we are here to help. If you don’t want to pitch in and help or are only going to be mean and stir up a pot of trouble and make personal attacks then leave.
Now we have to request from Ryanne to join [maybe she does background checks on all of us] LOL :-] but with all of us using some type of name or handle it seems to have been fairly peaceful and focused for several years now.
02/18/2020 at 11:42 am #74100
I remember when you introduced yourself and posted your numbers. It was very interesting since you sell such different stuff than many of us. Your business model is also different as well since you pay so much for inventory, but you have much higher turnover.
If you made $57000 in 90 days, and you make 33% profit, then you made $18k profit. or $6k each month. Thats great. But its a big cash outlay to buy inventory. Of the $6k profit you make each month, how much do you spend on just living expenses? Do you float inventory costs on credit cards?
If you read the forum, we’re less like a Facebook group where we say “good job!” (though we all wish each other well). We’re more a place to ask questions and bounce business ideas off each other. I like questions that are “am I thinking about in the right way?”
02/18/2020 at 8:28 pm #74128
I guess should have worded it more like maybe some people come looking for more of a social platform but then they leave again when it’s not as much chatting as they expected (but they aren’t necessarily leaving because they’re eBay businesses have stopped).
I guess it’s probably a really good thing that it’s not super social because with less clutter it saves a lot of time for people. I’m sure we are all crunched for time in this business.
As far as my living expenses they are very low right now because I get subsidized for my housing by a program because of having Social Security (due to a bipolar diagnosis that I have been able to manage for years now on the right medication).
I only have to pay $150 a month in rent and the rest is paid for by this program. I have been able to live completely on food stamps and the $800 I make a month on Social Security. So all the profits that I have been making with eBay I have not had to use for my living expenses I have been able to put them back into more inventory. So I am definitely in a very unique situation that has enabled me to grow the business quickly. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to grow if you had to siphon off money from your profits to pay for your living expenses (or if you had to try to grow it while working a full-time job).
I’m trying to grow as quickly as possible because I know that the time I will have support will end eventually and I will have to fully pay for all my bills with my eBay/Amazom income. Luckily when I move this summer they’re still going to pay about half my rent so we will probably each be pitching in about $900. I have been very open with them about my eBay business and they have been very supportive of still helping me make the transition.
Sorry if that was way too much detail but I know you like numbers. Thanks so much for the response.
02/20/2020 at 6:24 pm #74183
Cool. You’re using Social Services just as intended. Get you back on your feet and independent as you can be. You sound like you’re doing great.
On this forum we do like to give unsolicited advice so hope you dont mind 🙂
I would start putting money aside from your profits based on what you think you’re monthly expenses will be when you no longer have help. Save up a good six month of expenses as a cushion. Plus you see what it’ll take to live within your means.
02/23/2020 at 7:59 pm #74292
Such great advice and I definitely want to save at least 10k before I get off help… If not more
What is great is that for 5 years if something happens and you lose your income you can right back on SSDI, so it is nice to have that fall back.
02/24/2020 at 8:56 am #74314
What an awesome story! I’m happy to hear you are able to work towards being financially independent!
I fell victim to the recession back in 2009/2010 and lost my job. Bigger contractors moved into the territory my employer worked and started taking bids from us. I was low man on the totem pole. We had a small child and my wife was pregnant. Using the aid programs available to us (unemployment pay, WIC, health insurance for pregnant women/children, Food stamps,etc) I was able to maintain everything I had worked for until I got a new job 6 months later. I’m VERY thankful those programs exist. In the end I got a new job that paid DOUBLE what my old job paid.
02/17/2020 at 3:05 pm #74057
So I just noticed my numbers post for this week is gone from this thread and there was a long reply I made to MDC Galleries last week that disappeared as well. Very odd. I’m still new to this board, is there some sort of glitch or issue on the backend of things that would cause my posts to disappear?
02/17/2020 at 4:42 pm #74059
If you submit something & make an edit right away, your post may disappear. You have to wait about a minute before making an edit. It’s a known glitch.
Another possibility is when your login session expires before you submit something. Your post won’t go through, and your information is lost. Not sure if it is called a “login session”, but you have to re-login every day or two.
I’ve run into both issues.
02/17/2020 at 5:58 pm #74066
Thanks so much for letting me know. That must be it. I always find a screwed up some grammar somewhere and I did edit both posts right away. Figured it had to be a glitch.
02/17/2020 at 4:55 pm #74062
@WVR: I remember the thread. My long list of questions and your reply. But as Sharyn just mentioned, I did edits. I waited on the first edit, but did a quick second one and my reply to you disappeared. I emailed Ryanne and she found it and re-posted it, but it is showing under here member name.
Try searching under her name or some keyword contained and you may find it. I saw it after she re-posted it.
But yes, quick edits glitch the forum up. On my longer posts [“walls of text” as Jay like’s to call them]I Finally just started typing replies in MSWord, editing there and then copying and pasting. But that still won’t help if you do a quick edit on the forum.
Hint: If on a PC hold down the CTRL KEY and hit “F” for find and you will get the MS Quick search bar across the bottom of the Forum and you can search for a key word there or use the Forum’s search box. But I like the MS Find because you have 1 or 2 options, one is to highlight the search term so it’s easy to spot.
mc @ MDCGFA
02/18/2020 at 11:34 am #74099
Yeah, thats the one flaw of our forum software. It seems if you make an edit too quickly, it can remove your forum post. Or if a post has too many links, it removes it because it thinks its spam. Wish we could solve the issue but its free software and mostly works.
We encourage you to copy anything before you pst just in case. If we see a pst disappear, we repost.
We do almost no moderating since everyone is so cool here.
02/17/2020 at 7:19 pm #74068
Thanks for the Podcast. I have had similar results in 2019…25% more listings yet slightly down from 2018. It was my first year of non-growth on eBay…going on 10 years. I was surprised at a couple of topics omitted from the discussion. No talk of Promoted Listings, specifically the “change” in PL’s only giving you one slot in search results (vs the previous “organic” listing AND the “promoted” listing). I feel the “pay to play” is quite a big factor in downturned sales whether you use them or not. I opt out because I feel strongly that it is Pandora’s Box. But for those who opt in to PL’s you are all jockeying for a prime slot and being rotated in and out. Sounds like eBay is overselling and under delivering to me.
Second, going back to the October Item Specifics fiasco, I have not heard it discussed much of sellers going back and correcting/updating their listings. Luckily for me I have hundreds, not thousands of listings and most are not clothing. However I had to spend some hours and manually correct them. Specifically, eBay has added a very important “Department” field (ei Mens, Womens, Baby, Kids). For some incomprehensible reason they decided to make Dept “recommended” and not “required”. Ebay has given NO message of importance to it’s sellers that filling out that Dept field is pretty vital.
Following the logical search flow of most buyers, Dept will get selected first…you can’t really properly filter by size unless you first choose Department. So if you are not filling it out your items are quickly being omitted from buyer searches if they are using the item specifics filters. I am wondering if the clothing sellers who are really suffering are not realizing how important that field is, and that it is not info that was backfilled by eBay on existing listings…if it’s in there it’s because you manually entered it. New listings have the Dept auto populated based on Category (duh) so it’s only an issue for the listings that were active before the new field was introduced. I know it affected my 4th quarter boot sales in a big way. I manually corrected the listings and entered Dept field info, and I ended up with my highest month of sales ever in December. Something to consider if you haven’t made the time to correct older listings and your sales are continuing to disappoint.
02/17/2020 at 7:21 pm #74069
I also have high hopes and lofty-er listing goals for 2020.
02/18/2020 at 8:57 am #74090
@Beth: Yeah, we are still going through old listings and correcting the issues with item specifics. We are selecting a few per day, ending the listing, making the corrections, and resending as new listings.
I’m sure this is hurting us as well, and it is on us to make the corrections. With me working full time, this is stretching this process out…
Promoted listings are definitely a rabbit hole to go down as well. I notice that if we don’t keep up with them (we do a small percentage), we seem to have a drop in sales. So there is no doubt that it is working, just how much do you want to pay for placement…
02/18/2020 at 12:29 pm #74103
Troy.. this is killing me and our helper Lisa also. We still have listings left over from the WonderLister over to SixBit transition about a year and half ago.
I think we still have several hundred to go. Tedious, oh man yes, because not only are we dealing with the New IS fields, but also we still have to delete some old WL wrappers and also apply the new SixBit templates to all of those and re-list as new.
Very time consuming and then to get everything croos posted into Etsy if it qualifies.
02/18/2020 at 11:28 am #74097
Thats a good point. I wonder how much the new requirement for categories and details affect sales. I know we sell many fewer pieces of clothing these days.
02/18/2020 at 10:20 am #74095simplicioParticipant
Fun podcast, always enjoy hearing from Troy.
I had a very spendy week. Sales were OK. Seems like I’m getting rid of low dollar stuff lately.
Sales: CAD$1,520, 15 sales, COGS: $117, Fees: ~$213, Postage: $304 –> Gross profit: $885
Expenditures: $3,988 –> Cashflow: -$2682
Mostly spent on new inventory on ebay. Some new flame sensors for $2000, hopefully worth $12k.
As I approach my termination date I’ll have to be cooling it on the spending, though.
02/18/2020 at 11:25 am #74096
I love your story as you buy. You’re really going for it. If your plan works out, you should be seeing some big weeks in the coming year. You’re living my dream. Big money up front, but even bigger money on sales.
02/18/2020 at 4:59 pm #74123Kentucky PickerParticipant
- Location: Newport, Kentucky
Nice podcast. I appreciate T-Satt’s expertise on numbers but most of it is way over my head. Interesting to hear both T-Satt and Jay notice the softness in eBay clothing sales in the past 8 months. I’m mainly hard goods so I don’t have any comparison.
Week of Feb 9 – 15
Total Items In Store: 455
Items Sold: 13 eBay
Total Gross Sales (includes S/H): $416
Highest Price Sold: $53 Volvo Truck Handle
Average Price Sold: $32
Returns: 1 (carpet clean tank, customer ordered wrong part)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $170
Number of new listings: 39
Gut Sales Report for the week: Pretty ho-hum. Just a bunch of low-dollar items. The only nice thing is it’s all stuff I paid virtually nothing for.
Scavenge of the week: A lot of 20 movie posters for $5 at an auction. I was the only bidder. They’re all foreign — France, Australia, Germany. Mainly Mel Gibson movies. Have sold two already for combined $45 to someone in the UK. Went to the 5-ring auction in Indy again, but didn’t see much this trip.
02/19/2020 at 12:03 pm #74131LukastreasureParticipant
- Location: Chevy Chase, MD
Good podcast and nice to hear T-Satt again. Another one of the episodes I’ll need to listen to again because it was so dense with information. So generous for you to share and it’s appreciated.
I had my best week since Christmas, mainly due to one large $974 sale on Saturday. Sold a forgery of George Washington’s signature from the 1860’s. My second highest sale to date, but highest in terms of profit, since this was found in the bottom of a box of ephemera I got for $34. You might recall me posting about the box last summer. Even without that sale the week was better than my recent trends, so things are looking up.
Also had a nice $149.95 sale of a broken vintage Technics cassette deck. This was a beast of a deck, weighing in at 24 pounds. I had hoped to repair it and sell it for more, but it had a really bizarre mechanism that I couldn’t figure out.
Week Ending 02/08/2020
Total Items in Store: 1173
Items Sold: 17
Gross Sales: $1,892.16
Gross wo Shipping $1,628.25
Cost of Items Sold: $61.44
COGS Percent 3.77%
Highest Price Sold: $974.95 (1860’s forgery of George Washington’s signature)
Average Price Sold: $95.78
Money Spent on New Inventory: $129.00
Sold via promoted listings: 10
Promoted Percentage: 58.82%
Average Days Listed: 188
Longest Listed: 750
New items listed: 28
02/20/2020 at 5:57 pm #74181
Good to hear you still sold the signature for almost $1k even if it was a forgery. Thats so weird that even a fake one is valuable.
I know you were excited it possibly being real. How did you get it authenticated? How much did it cost you? Did yo sell it with a certificate?
02/20/2020 at 7:58 pm #74189LukastreasureParticipant
- Location: Chevy Chase, MD
@Jay – I actually didn’t have to get it authenticated. I originally sent it to Mt. Vernon to see if they had record of it and one of the historians told me they believed it was a forgery. I then started looking for other Washington forgeries. I was able to track down enough information about the forger, a Robert Spring, and his methods to provide a high enough level of confidence for the right buyer. The purchaser is a pretty well known collector and an authority in his own right, so I guess he knew what he was getting. If you search on Robert Spring forger Washington, you’ll come up with quite a bit of info on his work. It did take me a bit of detective work to find it though.
02/20/2020 at 8:07 pm #74191
Cool. Thats always fun to find an item that takes you on an adventure. I bet you learned a lot about history, drama, intrigue, and the art of forging.
Plus you made $974 🙂
02/20/2020 at 9:22 am #74147chaoticgoodParticipant
- Location: Kansas City, MO
Very interesting podcast, once again. I don’t know that such analysis would be worthwhile for my business at this size, but I would like to look more at my numbers so I’m going by real historical information, not just a feeling.
Slow weeks for reselling, but the 9-to-5 has been brutal. And next week I have a conference out of town. So my goal has just been to plug along.
This week’s events have lit a fire under me to set up an inventory system. I had two sales on Monday/Tuesday, and for the life of me, I couldn’t find the items. I went through my inventory three times, on different days. I had one item in the last 90 days that I lost before shipping (not due to lack of inventory), and I was panicking that eBay would shut me down or at least dump me to the bottom of listings. So, yesterday, I started and made good headway on inventory. Both items were found.
I also found two boxes of ‘inventory’ from when I was reselling a few years ago. And am overwhelmed by all the items in my office that need to be listed. So, I just have to stay focused on the priorities of LISTING and ORGANIZING.
Weekly-ish Report 2-10 through 2-20
Items sold: 8 items at $172
Listings Added: 23
Biggest store: Ebay @ 196
COG sold: Under $2 and from my household
No sourcing. Gold star for me.
The items sold this period were really interesting to me:
John Wayne plate for $25 on Ebay (gave up hope on decorative plates)
Playmobil cowboy set for $39 on Ebay
A bundle of Anheuser Busch steins and Avon Christmas dishes for $60 on Poshmark.
Vintage suit pattern for $15 on Ebay
Embroidered vintage shirt from my closet, $25 on Etsy
And my favorite: Three sew-on Pendleton tags from the 1950s for $25. I purchased them for 25 cents at one of my honey holes. I was so excited to find something I didn’t even know would exist, and then make that kind of margin. Easy to photograph and ship too.
02/20/2020 at 6:24 pm #74182
While you’re eBay inventory is manageable, it’s good to get a system going. It only gets tougher the bigger it gets.
02/21/2020 at 5:16 pm #74222BrianBParticipant
I find it interesting, but not conclusive that when eBay started collecting taxes for the items we sell that J & R’s and T-Sat’s sales have appeared to have declined.
02/23/2020 at 9:14 am #74264apertureParticipant
- Location: ARVADA
NW Denver seller that exclusively sells hard goods through eBay hears that Troy and Veronica are moving into hard goods: “Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!”
Just kidding. I came to the same conclusion about clothing. Once I stopped looking at clothes, my sourcing became way more efficient.
02/23/2020 at 9:17 am #74265
Yeah, more competition 🙂 But hard goods is a whole other ballgame. Storage is the key. You cant run a big hard goods store with a rented storage unit IMHO.
02/23/2020 at 5:35 pm #74283kaninekleenupParticipant
What Brian said…
02/25/2020 at 9:45 am #74369AtomicStarParticipant
On the discussion of promoted listings….
My sales have been SO sluggish. October I was nailed with the item specifics debacle like everyone else. After I fixed 3,000 or so listings, my sales improved a bit. November and December were ok, but not spectacular. January 2020 was pretty good, but February? Awful. My inventory is good and I have BIN on everything. So in a last ditch effort to wake up my store I switched my PLs from 2% to 4% and finally things are selling again. I don’t think this is a coincidence. eBay is forcing pay to play and I am wondering what the magic percentage is to make them happy and my budget happy. It’s a mystery.
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