10/21/2018 at 9:42 pm #50481
As mentioned a few weeks back, in the next three or four months, I’m planning to transition from part-time reselling to full-time. This thread will serve as a sort of journal as we (my wife and I) make some big lifestyle changes, and work towards buying back our time.
A bit about us:
– We’re Canadians
– We sell on both ebay.ca & ebay.com (CAD, USD)
– Ages 37 & 42. Two cats, no kids.
– Started selling on ebay casually in November of 2015. Started ramping up around July 2016.
– We both have full-time, professional, long term (8 & 13 years) jobs.
Current stats: October 21, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1,397
Total Items in Store: 518
Total listings: 1,915
– Currently pushing to hit at least 1,950 listings before the end of October.
– Working on slowly expanding our offerings on amazon.ca & amazon.com. Consistently profitable, replenishable, RA products are the targets. Lean/mean.
– Targeting January 31st as date to give notice at day-job.
– Targeting end of May 2019 as date to move to a more rural location, in another part of the country.2+
10/21/2018 at 11:55 pm #50493
I love the idea of this diary to document the process.
–when you sell Do you own your current home and will you pull equity from it?
–Are retail arbitrage products on Amazon becoming successful for you? “Consistently profitable + replenishable” seems like a white elephant unless you really have a super unique sourcing for nw items.0
10/22/2018 at 8:12 am #50500
– We own a home in a major city, that is currently being rented to tenants that would like to stay long term. They’ve been in it since June, and we’ve owned it since 2015. It doesn’t currently cash flow at all, but we build about $1,000 in equity each month that it’s rented (all else remaining equal), and break even otherwise. We’ve currently got about $40k in equity in it. Still debating selling to pull the equity out, or keeping it for a while. We should have enough cash to make the move and make a substantial (25-50%) down payment on our next home without touching the rental house. Currently, we live about three hours from our rental property, and are renting a house.
– As far as replenishables on Amazon, I’ve found one or two brands with multiple product lines that I can easily find, and consistently sell a few per week each. They’re low (high) enough sales rank that they don’t seem to draw much attention from other sellers, but are popular enough that I’m able to average around 30% profit after fees/cogs/shipping/etc. Not my favourite business model, but a few hundred dollars of profit per month is hard to ignore. I’m six or seven months into consistent returns/income here. The stream may dry up, but for now, I’m milking it.0
10/22/2018 at 9:45 am #50511
Smart. Unless you need to, I’d never sell property since it’ll most likely always up in value if you hold long enough.
That’s an interesting strategy Ive never heard of on Amazon. Focus on items that aren’t super popular but “under the radar” steady sellers. Most those guys seem to always be fighting to get the top sellers and that’s where the car crashes happen. Hey, find ten items that make you $500/month and you have a good living. Are you doing FBA?0
10/22/2018 at 10:33 am #50527
Yes, FBA only. I send in two or three big boxes a month, and the money spits back out every two weeks. At this point, profit is $500-700+ per month. Not bad for 30 minutes of running to a local store, and an hour or so of labelling/packing per week. Just another income stream.0
10/22/2018 at 10:35 am #50528
Winchester – really interested in your story! As a Canadian, that is the same age group (a few years older) and situation as you (2 professionals, married, no kids as well, but we have 6 cats….) and looking to go full-time anytime now.
The number of listings you have is amazing for working full time still – my wife and I are at about 550 as of this weekend, but we seem to sell as much as we find some weeks (which is great!).
We’ve already bought out next home. Currently living in the Niagara Region and moving north a few hours to cottage country in Ontario (Lake Huron) once dying company eliminates me.
Looking forward to hear how things go for you!0
10/22/2018 at 11:41 pm #50581
Thanks Inglewood. We found a few lots of items that are/were easy/fast to “sell similar” with, and it let us set a good base of listings quickly. Of our 1,900+, probably 800-900 are hats, ephemera, and patches. The other 1,000 are comprised of a bit of everything; clothing, vintage/antique items, car parts, housewares, coffee mugs, you name it.
In the evenings after work/supper, if we have nothing pressing to do, I’m either listing, preparing drafts, or researching items. I’ve gotten pretty good at “Netflix & eBay”.0
10/31/2018 at 11:25 pm #51046
End of another month. We hit 1,950 listings yesterday, just making our goal for the month.
Three months until I’m planning to give notice. Aiming for at least 2,300 listings by then. Working backwards, I’m setting a goal of 2,075 unique eBay listings by the end of November.
In the meantime, I’ve been working on an Amazon deal that could have significant potential to my bottom line. I won’t get into too much detail until I know if it is coming to fruition or not.0
11/17/2018 at 9:39 pm #51883
We met with the bank on Thursday to make sure we could get approved for a second mortgage, based on the lower income we expect my wife to bring in, and what I realistically expect my eBay/Amazon income to be. Fortunately we’ve been banking cash, and have some substantial bonuses/dividends/etc coming in before we move/buy, so it sounds like we should be able to get approval, while keeping our rental property.
Currently at 2,010 listings total. On pace to hit 2,075 by the end of November as targeted.
Amazon keeps chugging along consistently, and I’m just waiting for Amazon to update the listings for the new product I’m getting ready to send in before I can see how sales pan out on it. Crossing fingers.
44 more days at the office before I can give my notice without jeopardizing my bonus/dividend. Not that anyone is counting…0
11/18/2018 at 9:16 am #51885
What is the second mortgage for? Operating money while you move and transition to eBay full-time?0
11/18/2018 at 1:00 pm #51887
Good question. I suppose I should have specified;
Maybe more appropriately, I should have called it an additional mortgage. We’re keeping the exisiting mortgage on our rental house, and will be getting an additional, new mortgage for the home we’ll personally move into. If we really scraped, and dipped into our retirement savings, we could pay cash, but I’m hoping to put 40% or less down on the new house. I want to preserve as much liquid cash as possible as a rainy day fund, and to invest in other income streams down the road.
Having the bank give us a soft yes, and acknowledging that we’re in good enough shape financially to make it happen is a relief (moreso for my wife than for me. I knew we could make it work one way or another).0
11/18/2018 at 2:23 pm #51888
Got it. A mortgage on your second home. That’s makes total sense since interest rates are still historically low.0
11/18/2018 at 4:30 pm #51891
In faith, I’m surprised you told the bank about your ebay plans. I probably would have touted the 9-to-5. But it sounds like you were convincing! 🙂0
11/18/2018 at 8:00 pm #51901
We went to them with very realistic numbers, and we’re fully transparent. My wife will be taking approximately a 50% pay cut, and I’ll be taking a 60-70% pay cut (in the beginning). We could/would have the ability to buy the second house cash if forced to do so, and I think that alone helps greatly.
Fortunately, I have been claiming my eBay/Amazon income on my taxes, so I’ve got hard numbers and tax returns to back up my projections. Had I been flying under the taxation radar, I think it would be a much tougher sell.0
11/18/2018 at 9:03 pm #51904
Fortunately, I have been claiming my eBay/Amazon income on my taxes, so I’ve got hard numbers and tax returns to back up my projections. Had I been flying under the taxation radar, I think it would be a much tougher sell.
This is a great point. Those sellers who try to hide all their income on their taxes make it difficult to access credit.0
11/19/2018 at 9:42 am #51917
Love this story and journey!
When you move to eBay/Amazon full time, do you expect that you will increase your weekly purchases of inventory by 50%? 100%? How are you funding that extra capital expense to keep the business flowing?
Also, what is your normal STR? Looking to see how soon you should start to see returns on your increased listing activity. Would you expect to see significant cash flow returns in 4 months? 6 months?0
11/19/2018 at 4:18 pm #51993
Hey Troy, answers/comments:
“When you move to eBay/Amazon full time, do you expect that you will increase your weekly purchases of inventory by 50%? 100%? How are you funding that extra capital expense to keep the business flowing?”
With amazon, I’ll purchase as much as I have time for, and as much as the market will bear. With the exception of the odd RA clearance item, or toys in Q4, 90% of my amazon stock is replenishable items. The kind of things people run out of, and pop online to order more of. Every time I send in boxes to FBA, I’ll try one or two more products to try and go wider. So far, it seems to be working, and is somewhat consistent.
If I can pad out my bottom line with a few hundred dollars a week in consistently selling items, it’s ideal. To this point, I’m maybe spending about $1,000-$1,200/mo on inventory, and am turning about 30% profit on that investment, on average. As I go wider, this may increase, but I don’t have plans to spend $10k on a new private label item, or a big wholesale purchase any time soon, so capital isn’t a huge concern.
“Also, what is your normal STR? Looking to see how soon you should start to see returns on your increased listing activity. Would you expect to see significant cash flow returns in 4 months? 6 months?”
Seems our normal sell through rate hovers around 1% each week. As we’ve been ramping up our listing, it seems to be slowly trending upwards (possibly due to the Q4 rise though). We get most of our items pretty cheap, and one of the great benefits that I guess I haven’t really mentioned yet, is that we buy our items in Canada, but sell the majority of them on eBay.com, in USD. So if I buy an item for say, $3cdn, and sell it for $25usd, instead of a profit before fees of $22, it works out to more like $27.50. The exchange gives me about a 25% bump in income right off the bat.
I don’t expect to see any sort of explosions in cash flow, but do anticipate over the next two or three months to see a slight/gradual rise. When I go full-time in February(ish), I’d hope to see it accelerate a bit more. For now, I’m ok if things don’t pick up substantially until January. Anything that sells between now and January 1st will be taxed at my current marginal rate, which is much higher than it will be next year, so I’m ok with getting our inventory numbers up, in anticipation of future sales, just as much as increasing our income now.0
11/20/2018 at 9:16 am #52036
Ok, so capital isn’t an issue. I know that many people when they go full time (ourselves included), we knew that we were going to have to increase our weekly purchasing, so we needed the capital to do that. I was wondering how you had that covered off, but sounds like you do.
And your STR was the other side of that equation from a cash flow perspective: how soon will your increase in purchasing start showing increases in sales? (and a recoup of your initial cost). For us, we are a 5X seller (we get 5X our purchase price in sales price) and we are in the 12%-16% STR. So for us, if we make a large investment in inventory, we can only expect to see 16% of that increase in sales in the first month. At 5X return, we should expect to get our initial investment back within the second month (sold 32% of the items at a 5X return which equates to 160% of the initial investment).
This is one area that I always want folks to think through before they go full time (and sounds like you have this covered). What is your cash requirements when you increase your purchasing, and how soon will you get that cash back (and start showing increases in profit).
If you are a 4% monthly STR, it takes much longer to see the increase in sales from any increase in purchasing. But if you are a 10X ROI, you get more cash on each sale.
I ran some quick numbers, and if two different sellers make an initial purchase of $1,000:
4% STR, 10X ROI – Recovers initial purchase cost in 3rd Month (12% sold, $1,200 profit)
12% STR, 5X ROI – Recovers initial purchase cost in 2nd Month (24% sold, $1,200 profit)
Pretty close, with a nod to the faster STR. What we want to avoid are low STR and low ROI:
4% STR, 5X ROI – Recovers initial purchase cost in 5th Month (20% sold, $1,000 profit)
Doable, and a lot of businesses can do it, but it requires more capital up front, and solid processes to avoid leakage costs…
What kind of ROI are you getting on your RA items? We never seemed to do very good with them. ROI was too low and fees killed us…0
11/19/2018 at 4:22 pm #51994
“This is a great point. Those sellers who try to hide all their income on their taxes make it difficult to access credit.”
We have been planning to make the jump for some time now, and as a result, I’ve been claiming my online income for just this reason. We hoped to not need much by way of credit once we made the leap, but I knew if we did, they would want to see income history/trends. I don’t mind paying taxes on my income, and the thought of the government finding out and asking for back-taxes down the road is/was terrifying to me. No surprises…0
11/19/2018 at 4:30 pm #51995
I don’t think I’ve fully explained our current shipping process(es) at any point, though they’re a HUGE deciding factor in where we will eventually purchase our new home.
As a Canadian, Canada Post is often very expensive, and tracking/insurance are costly. I looked for alternatives, and found our current process:
We ship 2-3 times per week, and have a mailbox address in the nearest state to us (about a three hour drive away). We print USPS shipping labels with the US address as our return address. Then, we pay a local CBS (Cross Border Shipper) to drive our packages across the border, allowing us access to USPS/etc in the states. Their fee is generally pretty nominal (around $1cdn for a package under 2lbs), and USPS rates/tracking are WAY more seller-friendly.
As sad as it may be, in many cases, if a Canadian purchases from us, we can pay to have it taken to USPS, and pay the shipping costs in USD, for LESS than the same package would cost in Canadian dollars though Canada Post.
As a result, when we purchase our next home, we’re hoping to be a maximum of 30 minutes from the US/Canada border, and to make the trip across around twice a week. There is some paperwork, and some hoops to jump through, but it’s do-able.0
11/23/2018 at 12:45 pm #52197
Hey T-Satt, on our RA items, we’re averaging in the 25-30% ROI range, factoring in everything but income taxes (COGS, shipping, fees, etc).
I am VERY selective with what I buy and send in. When I send my shipments, I restock my replenishables, and try to send in one or two new test items (also replenishables) to try and broaden my reach. I do scan clearance sections/etc, and buy/send in items with a decent ROI, but I never go very deep on them. ROI’s on that stuff ranges from 0-75% generally, but are often one-off, quick hit items.0
11/26/2018 at 10:51 am #52271
Very impressive. Getting a 30% ROI after shipping and Fees is very solid, and all the listing work was done up front when you are just sending in more of something you already listed.
12/03/2018 at 11:48 pm #52620
– We slightly surpassed our November listing goal of 2,075 total listings (we hit 2,080 on November 30th). Aiming for at least 2,150 by the end of December. We’re travelling for the last two weeks of the month, so we’re targeting less for the month than usual. 2,150 should put us within striking range of my original stretch goal of 2,300 by the end of January.
– Amazon continues to slowly expand for us. We keep rolling the profits back in, and expanding our offerings. Some RA, lots of replenishables, and recently, an exclusive deal bringing a new gourmet health/snack food to Amazon in both Canada/US.
– For November, we lived solely on my wife’s income, and the online income(s). We banked 100% of my day job income in a separate account, and were still able to hit our monthly budgets, even though it was a spendy month (new winter tires, a new laptop, more clothing racks, etc). Pretty eye opening to be able to get by without my 9-5 income without much struggle. We plan to keep doing the same going forward.
– Starting to watch real estate listings pretty closely in our target areas. Pricing is very reasonable for the most part. We’re looking for something with a bit of land, within an hour of the border, and an hour of where my wife’s family is, so rural areas primarily.
– We haven’t told my family that we’re moving closer to them yet. Right now, we get to see them 1-2 times a year, for a few days. Once we make the move, we’ll be a four or five hour drive away. Looking forward to telling them at Christmas time.0
12/04/2018 at 11:05 am #52638
Excellent progress! Anytime you can have the discipline (and the mindset) to live frugally, you have less stress and more freedom. Not that you want to have limiting beliefs on what you can do, but having the knowledge that you can do with less is very freeing.
Keep up the work! I’m inspired by your journey!0
12/11/2018 at 8:30 am #53095
Two (three) small selling milestones of note in the last few days:
– On Amazon, we’ve passed, and have consistently stayed above $2,000 in sales on a rolling 30 day window in both Canada Cdn$) and the US (USD$). Still at a 25-30% profit margin. Conservatively, converted fully to Cdn$, that’s around $4,500/mo in sales, and $1,125/mo in profit. Some of the boost may be the Q4 rush, but I’m pretty confident we can hold these numbers going forward.
– Our main eBay account popped above 1,500 listings for a day or so (then some stuff sold).1+
12/11/2018 at 9:58 am #53101
Great numbers again – are you getting a lot of gun-shy potential buyers scared to pull the trigger because of Canada Post? I seem to be getting one a day messaging me and my sales have been slightly lower then expected.
I think the media is doing a very bad job on what they are reporting on shipping times – the comment “parcels won’t be delivered until March” keeps coming up in articles I read, but it’s not in the proper context, yet nothing I’ve shipped or bought has been lagging not more then a day or so more then usually expectations with Canada Post. I blame the media more than Canada Post or the union….
Congrats on the 1500 – I’m using you as my goalposts for 6+ months out…0
12/11/2018 at 10:17 am #53103
If I’m your goalpost, I’m going to have to push harder. Can’t make it too easy. Haha
We list primarily on .com in USD, and ship using a CBS via USPS, so I haven’t been getting any questions/concerns around Canada Post. I’d estimate that 80% of our sales go to the US, 10% to Canada, and 10% internationally. Last week was one of our best weeks in months.0
01/09/2019 at 5:13 pm #54840
Been a bit since the last update:
I am unofficially done with my day job. I won’t be officially done until late February, but I’m running out the clock with some time off. Working my butt off to get our stores ramped up, and to pad out my Amazon sales in anticipation for when the career pay stops coming in, and for when we make our move east at the end of May.
While we were back east over the holidays, we saw a few houses, talked to a few home builders, and looked at some land. Not sure if we’re going to build or buy yet, but exploring all of the options. Most excitingly, and ebay related, I’ve been starting to shop prices on building an office/warehouse/storage building. Looking at stick built, steel, etc. If we end up buying a property that requires us to build an ebay building, the plan is to have it fully self-contained (minus plumbing). Heated/insulated, with dedicated areas for storage, listing, photographing, and packing. In a perfect world, it would also have a roll up door so that I could pull my truck in for loading/unloading purposes, but that might be asking too much.
Fell slightly short of our listing goal of 2,150 listings by the end of December (entirely due to travel). We’re sitting at 2,152 (1,509, & 643, respectively) as of this moment. Still pushing to hit my original goal of 2,300 by the end of January.
Starting to work on finalizing our numbers for 2018, in preparation for a visit with our accountant in late March. Looks like we did roughly $30k on ebay, and around $24k on amazon (both gross). Hoping to get these into the range of $50k on ebay, $60k on amazon for 2019.
In personal news, we’ve booked two trips in the coming months:
My wife is travelling to Vancouver Island for work at the end of January, so I’m using some travel rewards and my new-found weekday freedom to join her. I’ll have a few days to explore new-to-me thrift stores, and possibly do some retail arbitrage while she’s working during the days. Planning on taking my postal scale, laptop, and Dymo in hopes of sending some FBA shipments in (assuming I find something worthy).
We’ve also booked a two week trip to El Salvador in mid-March. We’ll be spending most of the trip with some good friends of ours, and are looking forward to some much needed down time. Coincidentally, we’ll be there for my 39th birthday, so I’m dubbing the trip my “Freedom 39” trip.1+
01/10/2019 at 9:05 am #54863
The ability to travel anytime we want with minimal planning is definitely one of the biggest plusses to this lifestyle. Also nice to be on a trip and decide to stay longer if we feel like it.
Looking forward to more updates. Maybe when you guys buy your new place and get all set up, we could record a conversation about this journey.1+
01/10/2019 at 9:47 am #54866
I’m really enjoying @winchester38‘s story. Looking forward to the updates when you are done your job, and what type of place you find.
I’m excited for you – as mentioned before, you are several steps of my goals/ambitions and it is nice to follow someone on a similar journey. Good Luck!1+
01/10/2019 at 10:55 am #54875
Keep up the updates, and I’ll second an interview on a future Scavenger Life podcast. Would love to hear about the journey!1+
01/10/2019 at 7:19 pm #54905
Jay, its a date. Sometime in the summer maybe, once we’re landed, and figure out which way is up!
Tomorrow, we’re sending a family member to view a home that was just listed for us. Fingers crossed it goes well enough to warrant a weekend trip back across the country to view it in person!2+
01/11/2019 at 12:32 pm #54929
- Location: Washington State
Yeah Winchester – welcome to the other side, you’re doin it! Enjoy the ride man>>>Keep your eyes peeled for Bob Ross paintings on a gold pan there in the Vancouver island area!
01/14/2019 at 6:16 pm #55135
Thanks for the shout out on this week’s podcast!
Trying not to get our hopes up, but we just put in an offer on a home. Sent two separate sets of in-laws to view it for us, and had them FaceTime us through. Made the offer conditional on me flying out to view it in person once we’ve got an accepted offer in place.
Smallish place on 3.5 fully treed acres. Small, desireable, quiet community about 30 minutes from the nearest city, 30 minutes from the US border.
Fingers crossed we strike a deal, and I’m on a plane before the week is out.
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by Winchester38.
01/14/2019 at 6:51 pm #55143
How much is the offer?0
01/16/2019 at 1:38 am #55224
- Location: Richmond, Calif.
Winchester, congratulations on making an offer on a new place. There is a lot you will be able to do with “3.5 fully treed acres”. Does it have space for your online sales office and storage or will you have to build something.0
01/17/2019 at 6:23 pm #55332
Well, we’ve walked away from the deal, and are back to searching for a property.
Jay, we had offered $155k for this one. It was listed at $179k, but comparable properties pegged it’s value closer to $165k. After some back-and-forth dancing, the sellers wouldn’t sell for less than $175, and we just couldn’t justify overpaying.
Steve, to answer your question, we’re hoping to end up with at least two acres. If whatever property we end up buying doesn’t have an area that’s ideal for ebay/amazon/storage/packing/listing/etc, we’ll likely look to build an additional building to house the business.
Back to shopping…
In the meantime, and back to the topic of ebay, we’ve passed the 2,200 total listings mark (1,551 on one account, 654 on the other). Should be able to hit our original target of 2,300 before the end of this month.0
01/18/2019 at 9:45 am #55346
@winchester38 – just an FYI for you. About a month ago I was debating subscribing to a U.S. (.com) or Canadian (.ca) store on eBay. I have found out that if you subscribe to a Canadian Store, you also get a U.S. Store included.
For example, I have a basic .ca store, and I not only get 250 Canadian listings, I get 250 U.S. listings for $20 a month (with annual subscription).
I believe you mentioned you had a U.S. store – if so this may save you some extra $ every month.0
01/28/2019 at 9:34 am #55987
Thanks Inglewood. I’ve heard that before, and am going to give it a shot. Free is free, right?
Updates on our progress:
– My wife has secured a job with the government after we move. She just has to let them know what day she wants to start, and they’ve got a spot for her. This is nice for a few reasons. It gives us a definite income base to build on (she’ll take a significant pay cut, but along with it will be a significant stress-cut), plus benefits/etc after a few months. Also, having a job officially secured means that we can claim our moving expenses on our income taxes for the year. Should save us a few thousand dollars all said and done.
– On Saturday, we hit our goal of 2,300 total listings by the end of January. I’ve been listing pretty consistently (aiming for 20-25 listings, 5-6 days a week). Things are selling like mad (for us). We’ve had 21 sales over this Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and our sell-through rate has pushed up to over 2% per week. Going to aim for 2,550 listings by the end of February.
– Amazon is doing pretty well. We’re on pace to do $6,000+ in the US, and $2,500+ in Canada this month. Conservatively, that’s a net profit of about $2,125CDN (before income taxes).
– On eBay, we’ve passed the $6,000USD in sales/60 days mark on our main account, and $1,000CAD in sales/60days on our second account. Currently sitting at $6,464 & $1,222, respectively.
– Tomorrow we’re heading to Victoria, BC for a few days. I’ll be hitting the local thrift stores (looks like there are quite a few of them), and will be doing some Retail Arbitrage for Amazon. Crossing fingers!0
02/04/2019 at 1:38 pm #56390
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
> we can claim our moving expenses on our income taxes for the year.
Unfortunately, with last year’s tax reform, that deduction has been eliminated except for people in the military. https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/tax-reform/last-call-on-these-popular-tax-deductions-33675/1+
02/04/2019 at 1:40 pm #56392
He’s in Canada so they probably still have that deduction.1+
01/31/2019 at 10:22 am #56225
Currently sitting in our hotel room in Victoria, BC. I had high hopes that thrifting here would be fruitful. Many in the area are financially well off (town houses near our hotel start at $879k), and the demographics here have a high population of older people. As a result, I was pretty pumped to see what I could dig up.
Over the last two days, I’ve probably been in 15-20 thrift stores, from chains, to independents, to churches, and have done pretty poorly by my standards. Seems there are less items here that the stores “miss” and price too low. Maybe they’re just better at it here, or maybe it’s luck of the draw. I’ve gotten a few bags of things, but not nearly as much as I would’ve hoped.
As a result, I’m pivoting. Today, I’m heading out doing retail arbitrage instead. I checked a bag (free first checked bag), and brought my scale, my Dymo printer, and my laptop. Hoping to find enough profitable stuff to put together a shipment of a few boxes for Amazon FBA.0
01/31/2019 at 10:31 am #56226
I remember the early days of Retail Arbitrage (2012) where young dudes would travel in packs, shop the local stores, and pack in cheap motel rooms.
Every area will have a different flavor of the best scavenging. Let us know how retail arbitrage is in Victoria.1+
02/05/2019 at 4:00 pm #56476
Winchester: I have definitely been there. When Veronica and I have looked at different areas to move to, one of the things we do is plan a couple of shopping days to get a sense of what the prices are and what we will find.
If I can’t find inventory there…no deal…0
01/31/2019 at 10:52 am #56228
- Location: South Mississippi
Winchester38, really interesting thread for sure, I am having flashbacks of me and my wife’s journey. I think your making a really smart move by your wife continuing to work for a while, that makes good sense. You seem to have a much better grasp on your numbers than we did the first go round. I wish you the best of luck with your business. Please keep us posted on how it’s going.1+
01/31/2019 at 2:17 pm #56242
Interesting feedback on the thrift store scene in Victoria – I would have thought the opposite with all short term Navy stays, dying retirees, but maybe the cruise ships and tourism may bring in too many tourist scavengers to the area. Or maybe the high mortgages force families to shop thrift stores…I would have picked it as one of the best areas to pick in Canada myself.
Good luck with the retail end! Lots of clearance going on this week and next. Waiting to see what Hudson’s Bay is going to offer this week as the next few weeks (actually, now through March) they dump almost everything and offer crazy discounts on top of the sale pricing.1+
02/01/2019 at 1:19 am #56262
@inglewood, I had all of the same thoughts, and had high hopes/expectations as a result. The thrifting was pretty disappointing.
I did relatively well with RA today. Ended up sending about 45 mixed units into FBA. Filled a large Home Depot box. Should net $300-400CAD after fees once it sells (likely over the next month or two). I don’t enjoy it as much as thrifting/antiquing, but it’s nice to have the diversified income streams, and the ability to switch gears when I’m in a situation that better suits one over the other.0
02/15/2019 at 10:55 pm #57051
Today was the day. After 8 1/2 years with my employer, I gave my two weeks notice.
As of end of day March 1st, I will be 100% self employed.
Incredibly surreal. Still have some paperwork to do, and some of my health benefits to finish spending, but the hard part is done.
Special thanks are due to Jay, Ryanne, and the rest of the SL crew. You’ve kept me company through long shitty days in the office, and tons of evenings/weekends listing. Without the influence of your positive outlook, your countless examples of what works for you (and what doesn’t), and the sharing of your numbers to give me the inspiration to know what’s possible, I would probably never have started on eBay, let alone have gotten to the point where it can sustain my lifestyle.
Thanks all! Stay tuned for more listing, a move across the country, and a future of us owning our own time!5+
02/16/2019 at 9:40 am #57062
–What did your boss or HR say? Was it pretty anti-climatic?
–How long have you worked for this outfit?0
02/16/2019 at 12:14 pm #57072
Pretty anticlimactic really. Very “wish you well in your future endeavours” like. At the end of the day, I was just a cog in the machine, and will be replaced.
I’d been with the company for eight plus years.0
02/16/2019 at 1:05 pm #57074
The last time I had a job, I left after 6 years. Put a lot of my life into that place. When I left, they were nice but reminded me that we’re all expendable. Much more fulfilling to build our own thing.0
02/17/2019 at 3:56 pm #57132
Congrats Winchester! Now to to blaze your own trail!
Looking forward to following your progress!0
02/24/2019 at 11:25 am #57545
Nothing momentous, but as some of you may know, my wife and I have been selling antiques part-time over the last few years.
Yesterday was our last antique sale in our current location. We set up Friday evening, and sold all day yesterday at a local community center. We made about $450 for the day. Now begins the liquidation of our remaining inventory through facebook marketplace, kijiji, etc.
In related news, we own a 6×12 enclosed trailer that we’ve been using to haul/store our antiques. I didn’t think we’d be able to keep it when we move across the country as we’re planning to rent a moving truck and tow our pickup on a flat deck behind it. A close friend is also moving east (he leaves in early March), and asked if he could use/borrow it for his move. He’ll use/tow it free of charge, and we won’t be forced to sell it. Win-win.1+
03/01/2019 at 12:24 am #57894
I barely hit my listing goal for the month. Target was 2,550 listings (between both of my stores). Hit 2,550 today for about 15 minutes, then something sold.
Listed a total of 431 items in February.
March is going to be a bit less hectic. Tomorrow is my last official day of employment. Signed all of the resignation papers/etc with HR this afternoon. Spending the weekend with friends, then leave on Wednesday for two weeks in El Salvador. Looking forward to spending my 38th birthday as an unemployed guy on a beach in the middle of nowhere.
Targeting 2,600 listings by the end of March. Dialing it back as a result of our trip, and then I’m going to start focusing more on selling some larger personal stuff locally in preparation for our move a few months out!1+
03/01/2019 at 9:06 am #57907
Enjoy your transition and the vacation. The nice thing about taking trips being self-employed? We dont have that stressful feeling knowing we’re going back to some place we hate.
Moving is a big deal. Try to contain the amount of struggle it adds to your life. It can suck up a lot of time.0
03/01/2019 at 9:55 am #57912
Congrats! You deserve a vacation (I would love to have a couple weeks away!).
I’m going to be curious how you divulge your personal large items – we’re looking at a few options – Kijiji, Garage Sales, or MaxSold. Kijiji is annoying sometimes, a Garage Sale is intriguing to my wife, but I’m leaning towards MaxSold since I’ve had good experiences as a buyer. For the junk, our local St. Vincent de Paul will pick-up, or we’ll put some of the items on the curb for pickers to get.
2550 listings is an awesome amount of work – that’s a solid year of working most of your free time when you had a full time job. Now it will start to pay off!
Have fun on your trip – and have fun explaining to customs if they ask what you do for a living!0
03/01/2019 at 6:02 pm #57961
03/01/2019 at 1:13 pm #57936
Inglewood, I’ve recently started clearing out some of our larger antique items via Kijiji and FB Marketplace. EVERYTHING that sold was sold via FB. Not one sale through Kijiji. That’s over about 15 items and the course of a week or so.
With that said, once we’re back, I’ll start putting everything up on both FB and Kijiji. As our move nears closer, we’ll likely take some of the smaller gewgahs to the local flea market before donating the leftovers.
As for customs, I’m sure it’ll be an adventure going forward…haha0
03/20/2019 at 10:19 pm #58978
We got back from two weeks in El Salvador after midnight on Monday night. Near the end of the trip, I was genuinely excited to get home and back to work. An absolutely wonderful feeling/realization.
Extended handling time served us well while we were gone. Sold 46 items for $1,523.73 USD on our main account, and 23 items for $339.70 CAD on our second store. That’s enough to pretty much pay for the entire trip (around $2,500cdn, including flights).
Had a marathon packing/shipping session yesterday. Took us about 6hrs working together to get it all done.
Today, I bought, prepped, and shipped 150-160 units or replenishable items to Amazon.com.
Tomorrow, back to listing on eBay.
I’m so incredibly happy/excited to be doing this full time now. Giddy even…4+
03/22/2019 at 3:44 pm #59086
Sounds like your having a great time! Paying for your vacation while you are on vacation is awesome. It will be great if you can do that several times a year to treat yourself.
Nice to see two weeks away doesn’t scare buyers as well.0
03/24/2019 at 9:01 pm #59172
This evening, my wife drafted her resignation letter. Tomorrow, she gives her eight weeks notice.
Starting to iron out the details of the move. Still trying to find a place to live on the other side of the country… Might end up renting until/unless the right home hits the market before we head east.0
03/25/2019 at 6:18 am #59180
We rented for 18 months before we bought a house where we live. Its valuable to get to know an area and look at a lot of houses. We knew we were looking for our forever home, not just a brief stop before moving on.1+
03/25/2019 at 10:31 am #59191
8 weeks is very generous. I’m likely jaded from my own work experience, but there is no way I could do 8 weeks notice. And not really because I want to screw my employer – more like I know that 8 weeks would feel like an eternity and it would drive me nuts.0
03/25/2019 at 12:29 pm #59212
Yeah. It’s more for her conscience than anything. She’s been with the company for almost 13 years, and has really towed the company line for many years. Giving this much notice even leaves her open to them cutting her annual bonus back before she leaves, but at the end of the day, she feels better about giving them ample notice, and helping them to transition someone else into the role.
I couldn’t do it either, but at the end of the day, we’re making these changes and moves to rest easier at night. If this helps her to do that, who am I to say no. Hopefully it doesn’t cost her/us a few thousand dollars, but the way we’ve talked about it, even if it does, that won’t be a significant enough amount to have swayed our decision, or to matter in a few years time.0
03/25/2019 at 8:47 am #59183
Yeah, we’re in the same spot. I’d rather take our time and wait for the right property than rush into something we’re not going to love long-term. We’re prepared to rent for as long as it takes to find the right forever home.1+
04/15/2019 at 6:29 pm #60225
– We’ve pushed beyond 2,600 ebay listings, and are likely going to gross around $15k on amazon (combined between Canada/US) this month.
– We’ve secured a home to rent near where we want to buy eventually. Managed to find a month-to-month rental, so if/when we find the right place to buy, we can move quickly. I may have to rent a storage space or small office for my eBay inventory once we get there, as it’s smaller than our existing home. Have to wait and see.
– All ties are officially severed with my employer. Received payment for my equity in the company shares last week. Felt nice to drop an extra five figure deposit into our savings account.
– The tenants in our rental have signed for another two years. We checked the house over a few weeks back, and they’ve done a great job looking after it. They wanted a longer lease, and a long term lease will probably look better for us if/when we need to apply for a mortgage on our new home.
– We bought a new enclosed trailer for the move. Somewhere around the last week of May, we’ll have our household stuff shipped with a moving company. We’ll pack our bed, and all of the eBay inventory into the trailer. The cats will get the back seat of the truck, and we’ll spend four days (40-46hrs) driving back across the country.
I really wish we were going to have a house/land of our own to go to, so we didn’t have to move everything twice, but we keep telling ourselves that once we’re through the next 6-24 months of waiting for the right property, we can coast until old age. So friggin excited to get to that point.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Winchester38.
04/15/2019 at 8:28 pm #60232
If you figure out how much money you can spend on a house and get it approved, it wont take long to find a house. Just take your time and learn the area. Once we decided we were going to buy a house, it took us less than a year to find our forever home.0
04/15/2019 at 10:40 pm #60249
Fortunately, we already have a pretty good knowledge of the area. My wife lived there in university, and we’ve been there a few times a year visiting family recently. Between that, and knowing that I intend to cross the border two or three times a week, we’ve pegged our desired location to about a 30 minute radius. It’s just rural, so only so many listings come up. Just a waiting game…haha0
04/15/2019 at 11:11 pm #60252
04/16/2019 at 12:49 pm #60308
Good luck with the cats – 4 days in a truck!
We have 4 cats – and are trying to figure out how to move them only 5 hours away – we’re thinking of renting an RV (seriously) for the day to keep them comfortable…can’t imagine 4 days though. Going to the vet for us (10 minute drive) is a struggle.0
04/16/2019 at 2:17 pm #60324
We did a five day drive years ago with one cat that wasn’t travel friendly, with relatively good success.
The two we’ve got now travel relatively well once they settle in. I suspect they’ll do alright. Selfishly, part of me wishes I was making the trip alone, because I know I could do it in less time. I did Nova Scotia to Alberta solo in three days (about 4,900km, or 48hrs of driving time) once years ago. I don’t mind settling in for 15-20 hours a day behind the wheel. The wife and the cats will likely limit me to 10-12.0
04/16/2019 at 2:44 pm #60327
Our cat is toilet trained.
…I wonder if we could get him to use a public toilet on a leash when traveling… 😀0
04/16/2019 at 7:30 pm #60354
Now THAT would be great. Haha0
04/22/2019 at 9:02 am #60623
We’re hoping to finalize movers for the big stuff this week.
I’ve been selling a bunch of stuff locally. Left overs from our antique business, tools, furniture that we’re not keeping/taking, etc. There’s still a BUNCH more to sell, but things are moving relatively well. Facebook seems to move this stuff WAY better than Kijiji does.
I’ve had a pipe dream of working for next to nothing in a small brewery, and “applied” to one near our new home last week. They called, and we chatted, and they pretty much offered me the job, but wanted a full-time person, so I turned it down. I don’t need/want a “job” so really only want to commit one or two days per week IF I take something, and it has to be somewhere that I enjoy going. They asked me to stop by for a pint once I’m there, and if they have a part-time need in the future, they may bring me on. If nothing else, it feels REALLY good to be offered a job, and to be able to honestly say that I don’t need it, and it doesn’t fit what I’m looking for, so “no thanks”. VERY empowering.0
04/22/2019 at 9:11 am #60625
When you live in that town and get to know people, you’d be surprised all the opportunities that will open up. Is it a small town?0
04/22/2019 at 9:48 am #60628
Relatively small, yes. I think the city is only about 60,000 people. We’ll eventually set up about 20-30 minutes outside of the city in a more rural setting.
I have no doubts that if/when I want a part-time “hobby” job, that I’ll be able to find one. I’m just not willing to commit to more hours than I want to, nor am I willing to work somewhere I don’t enjoy myself.0
04/22/2019 at 4:19 pm #60671
Interesting your experience with Facebook vs. Kijiji – we’ve begun downsizing and getting lots of sales on Kijiji, and nothing on Facebook – could be a regional thing. Going to try a yard sale in a few weeks as well to see how that goes…
The “fun” of working in a brewery will wear out quickly – trust me – I’ve been in the alcohol industry for most of my life and it’s driven me to become completely sober – I probably will never have a drink of alcohol in my life again! It loses it’s appeal very quickly and working with inebriated co-workers is the worst. Everyone I mention what industry I work(ed) in thinks it is the greatest…it’s the only place I’ve worked where the company offered free cab rides home to people for doing there job. You’ll be better off enjoying beer at home instead of swimming in it…0
04/24/2019 at 9:49 pm #60807
Interesting. I hadn’t really thought about that aspect of it. The nice thing will be my ability to take or leave any position that I find myself in. Thanks for the perspective!0
04/26/2019 at 2:42 pm #60855
For Winchester38 and others making the move.
We are seriously planning to move from So Cal to Arkansas where our son lives. The price of real estate cost about as much as a year of taxes, insurance and water bills where we are now. I have a couple of questions. Are you going to put your store on vacation for a few weeks while you make the move? We can’t really put extended handling time on as things might sell from our old address which would change the postage rates. We will need time to set up a storage system and find everything. We’ll need to change our address and possibly a new bank account etc. What other problems can you foresee?0
04/26/2019 at 3:16 pm #60859
Hi Linda – I’m in the process of a move 30 minutes away. I have a strict end date to my job and once I’m done I’m moving again to another house we bought about 4 hours away.
At the moment, we have all our inventory and supplies on 5 4′ shelves – we consolidated what we are selling and are selling large items online or in a yard sale to make the move of the inventory easier.
We plan to take a day to move the inventory from one location to another – everything we have is in bins at the moment, and the shelving is easy to take apart and re-assemble. We are just going to rent a cube van, throw everything in, and then move it as one stage of the move. As items sell, we can still pack and ship them at either location with only a minor delay (a day). We won’t have things setup perfectly, but will have our items easily available to pack and ship (and that may not be efficiently done, but possible).
We are in a unique situation in that we own a house we are in, are renting a place, then moving into another house we already own – the transitions will overlap where we don’t have to be in a rush – we can take several days to move.
For us, the address change won’t have much of a change on postage – we would cover the $1 or so that would occur if something sold with the old address but mailed from a new one. Our bank, email, and other information will remain the same – just an address change.
We also are having our mail forwarded – in case any unknown returns or undeliverable items come back to us.
We only have about 700 items at the moment – so the move isn’t horrible – it just needs some planning to keep up with any sales that occur while the move is in progress. Our biggest thing as been getting rid of big/bulky items locally before moving – saves a lot of space and eliminates items that are annoying to move.0
04/26/2019 at 3:29 pm #60860
Thanks for your info. Our drive will take a few days and multiply trips and the postage will be quite different as we move half way across the country. Still in the early stages as we need to get house ready for sale and get rid of bulky items. We do have a car collection and 2 shops with tools and car parts that add to the mess. I think the best thing for us would be to put it on vacation so that I don’t have to stress. i will check with ebay to see maximum time allowed. Any more suggestion for all of you will be welcome.0
04/26/2019 at 5:46 pm #60864
I just moved from Long Beach to the High desert. The real estate prices are way way cheaper here and you actually get land.
I changed my handling time to 15 business days and left it there for months. Yes, my sales slowed, but my store never closed and there was no stress regarding shipping.
It’s not just retrieving the items that’s an issue, you’ve also got to ship them. You need access to all your shipping supplies. as well as your printer etc. Most items shipped out in far less than 15 days, but again, I didn’t stress about shipping at all.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the difference in postage. When you consider your other expenses you’ll be having,, the difference in postage won’t even show up on the radar.
Yes, purge the bulky stuff and keep your eye on the big picture. The most important thing is that you make the move as successful as possible.
When I moved about 125 miles away, I rented a storage unit and basically moved everything I wanted to keep in it. I changed my handling time to 15 days and stopped listing and sourcing. I prepared my house for sale and eventually sold it. I them found a great deal on a newer house with land in the new area and started moving in. I had to outfit a storage building (trailer) and set up a shelving system and shipping station in the garage. After all that I finally moved my handling time from 15 days back to 3 days.
Sure, I lost a lot of sales, but the move went really well. My new home was about 1/3 the cost of the house I sold
If you do decide to move cross country, set up a new mailing address ahead of time and notify everyone. I waited too long and it ended up stressing me out. You’ll also need to set up forwarding of your mail with the post office. I also ended up going paperless with most of my bills.
Toward the end of the move-out, I was purging like mad. You cannot begin this soon enough. Sell it, trash it or donate it. I cannot imagine the hassle and cost of moving a car collection and all the associated tools etc.
Have you contacted a realtor yet. I would recommend doing it sooner than later. The house will need to be as empty and clean as possible to get the best price.
I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.
04/26/2019 at 6:02 pm #60865
We don’t have a firm date for our move yet, but we’ll likely get on the road on May 22 or 23. The drive will take us four-ish days. We’re pulling an enclosed trailer behind us with our bed, enough clothes/nescessities for a few weeks, and all of the eBay inventory and office supplies.
I’ll likely set my handling time to ten business days, and shorten it if/when possible, depending which day we leave. As for postage, I currently ship from Montana via a courier that takes my packages across the border from Canada. Just last week, I set up a postal box in Maine, just across the border from our new home. Any packages that ship before the move will ship from Montana, but I’ll swap my return address to the Maine address a week or two earlier. Once we’re in New Brunswick, I’ll start driving packages across the border to USPS as soon as possible.
Once we’re landed, mission one is set up our bed. Mission two is to get ebay turned back on, unpacked, and ready to go. I don’t want any more downtime than is absolutely necessary.0
04/26/2019 at 7:36 pm #60871
Thanks to all of you for your great suggestions. I am purging and listing as it will be some time yet before we make the move. We will most likely have a house before the move. Thanks to Zillow and our son being there, he will check out the places first for us. We will have our change of address and internet set up ahead of time so should be able to hit the ground running. I plan to have all ebay stuff in one place so that it will be easy to unpack. I am currently at about 900 but some of the listings are bulky car parts I will let you know my progress when it finally happens.
05/14/2019 at 10:51 pm #61925
Been (and will be) a bit fleeting around here recently. Wife almost has the whole house packed and ready for the movers. Her last day at work is Friday. Very exciting.
I’ve been selling and donating stuff locally, loading up amazons warehouses, doing some listing, and have been doing some draft listings so that I can put up one or two things each day while we’re moving and until I get up and running again.
Planning to send my last shipment on Monday, then change my handling time (likely 10 days), and pack our 2600 items into boxes and our trailer.0
05/15/2019 at 9:17 pm #61974
- Location: Merida, Mexico
Winchester, I just took the time to read through all of this, I have to say I AM IMPRESSED with your hustle man! Being out of the US has it’s challenges, same for me, but you really figured out all the logistics to make it work both ways, that in itself is a tough way to go. You set some big goals as far as income and listings and are pulling it off, amazing job man and good luck with the upcoming move!0
05/22/2019 at 12:36 am #62231
Trailer is packed.
Purged 15-20 old, low dollar, uninteresting items in the process of packing.
Movers come tomorrow morning. Hoping to get on the road in the afternoon. Drive will likely take 4-5 days.
Handling time is set to 10 business days on the main account. Keeping the standard 1 day handling on our smaller store. We can ship those items via letter mail from the road.1+
05/22/2019 at 8:39 am #62236
Exciting. Curious to hear how much you sell on this strip.0
05/22/2019 at 9:08 am #62241
- Location: South Mississippi
Good luck !0
05/22/2019 at 11:20 am #62256
Good luck on the move!!!0
06/01/2019 at 6:08 am #62768
Sorry for the lack of updates:
We got on the road a day later than expected. When we were leaving Calgary, I had concerns that our trailer was overloaded. A friend had recently pulled a similar trailer across the country, and broke the leaf springs due to overloading, so this may have been playing in my head. As a result, I went to UPS and shipped eight 30-40lb boxes of clothing to a family member near our new home. It cost around $500, but gave me a bit of peace of mind. In hindsight, not sure if it was needed or not, but it helped me rest a bit easier.
We made the trip in 4 1/2 days. Driving days were 8-12hrs. Mostly limited by the protests from one of our cats. He decided to yell at us for about three hours a day. Fortunately, once stopped and checked into hotels, both cats really settled into their usual routines and weren’t visibly shaken.
We’ve designated one room in the home we’re renting as the ebay room. I’ve set up a packing/ shipping table, and have unboxed all of the clothing items. Still searching for some shelving units to house the hardgoods. Crossing fingers for a community yard sale we’re hitting this morning.
We’ve made one or two thrift store stops since being here. Looks like books may be a viable option. It’s a university town, so that helps. Still have to feel everything out. Haven’t been overly focused on buying inventory as I’ve got a bit of a back log to work through first if need be.
My wife has a final, informal “interview” on the 11th which should finalize her employment.
Somewhere along the move, we’ve misplaced our passports. This is a biggie because I was planning to ship my items from across the border in Maine. We’re not sure if they’re in with the packed items coming with movers next week (hopefully), or if they somehow made it into our “shred” pile before moving.
Without my passport, I’ve had to use Canada Post for shipping which is incredibly expensive in comparison to USPS. Items that could go first class for $3-4usd, cost around $15-17cad to send.
As a result, I’m thinking I’m going to completely shut my main store off until the passport issue is sorted. No need selling inventory at break even or close to. I’ll run on my second store which ships via lettermail, and on amazon for the time being.
One of our cats is a tripod. He had one of his front legs amputated as a kitten. When he gets stressed out, he licks the “nub” obsessively. He licked it almost raw during the trip, and somehow (possibly a fall/jump) he broke through the skin. We had to take him to the vet to have him stitched back up. He’s currently wearing a cone for two weeks, and my wallet is $500 lighter. It’s a good thing the little jerk is cute…0
06/01/2019 at 8:34 am #62769
Congrats on successfully making the big move! It’s like a military operation, and there will always be unexpected costs. Important thing is you’re in your new place.
In the US, you can apply for a fast Passport replacement. It’s not cheap, but even $300 wouldn’t be too bad if you’re saving so much on shipping. Does Canada do this?0
06/01/2019 at 11:42 am #62772
I can get a new passport in 24-48hrs for $110cad. The downside is, that if it’s to replace a lost or stolen passport, you need proof of birth/etc in order to get one. Guess where my birth certificate is… Of course it’s with our packed stuff, so best case scenario, our stuff arrives next week and our passports are in there. Worst case, they’re not, I grab my birth certificate, have new photos taken, and should have a new passport within two days.
Not a wall, just a bump…haha0
06/01/2019 at 11:10 am #62771
That was a smart of you, to ship some of your boxes, instead of running overloaded. Beyond damaging the springs, running heavy puts extra stress on the brakes and tires, which can also be hazardous.
One option is to get the truck and trailer axle weighed at a local truck stop. to know exactly what the weight is.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen U-hauls involved in accidents, due to overloading and improper driving. When I was a trucker, I would avoid being around them especially on steep grades.
Congrats on the move.0
06/01/2019 at 11:45 am #62773
Yeah, when we pulled out of the driveway, it just felt super heavy behind the truck. I doubt it was over loaded by much if at all, but it was the first time I’d pulled a fully loaded trailer behind my new truck. Prior to this trip, it was only ever about half loaded, so this felt pretty soggy. I doubt I would have even noticed if I still had my old V8 Ford, but the V6 in my Tacoma just doesn’t have as much grunt.0
06/01/2019 at 1:33 pm #62779
Thanks for the heads up So Cal Joe. I never thought of how U-Hauls might overload. I’ll be avoiding them too now.
Winchester38 wow, you have been busy! Not sure I ever want to move again. I’m very much city and I like it fine where I live. It’s not perfect, but it’s home. Good luck in your journey.0
06/01/2019 at 6:52 pm #62796
- Location: Merida, Mexico
Glad to hear you made it and are setting up quickly, back in business as soon as you can sort out the passports…0
06/02/2019 at 7:00 am #62804
Wow! Just read through your saga. What an inspiration. Congratulations on completing the transition and good luck finding your dream home. Looking forward to following in your footsteps one day and getting away from the big city.0
06/03/2019 at 9:30 am #62864
Winchester, didn’t realize you were moving away from Calgary. I am in the general vicinity. Good luck in NB, that’s awesome!0
06/06/2019 at 5:07 am #63030
– Our stuff gets delivered today. My wife has been sick for the last few days, and having nowhere to laze around except bed hasn’t been much fun for her.
– I turned my main store off due to the shipping/passport issue mentioned above. If the passports are in the box we hope they are, I’ll turn it back on today, and will try to get back to the “new business as usual” in the coming days.
– I had concerns that I may not be able to find all of the products I’ve been selling through Amazon in our new city. I’ve managed to find all of them at comparable prices, and have found an additional 15-20 items that I’ve bought and sent in as tests. If even half of them work out, it’ll boost my numbers by a few hundred dollars a month. With the bulk of our ebay listings turned off, I’ve been pushing harder on amazon, and it’s going well.1+
06/11/2019 at 8:35 pm #63342
– Today my wife had her “interview”. Went well, and now she’s just waiting for an official offer letter. We had budgeted for her to make minimum wage, for safety, and it sounds like she’ll make $8-10/hr more than that to start, so we’re not complaining.
– Passports were in a box that came with the movers on Thursday.
– Today I made my first DIY cross border shipping run. No major issues. I crossed at a very small crossing, and for the most part it went smoothly. I spent all of fifteen minutes in Maine before crossing back over. I’ll likely look to start making the trip twice a week.
– Store is turned back on! Time to get back to listing!0
06/11/2019 at 8:57 pm #63343
I’m glad you found your passports… Moving is so much fun.
I just bought an item from a Canadian seller myself. He states right in the listing that he drives the items over the border himself and there are no duties owed, as long as the price is below a threshold.
First USPS tracking showed Niagara Falls. He has a long handling time in place, but I think he’s just being cautious. I’m in Southern California, so it’s a long way regardless. My guess is that it’s in a Flat Rate Priority Box.
I got a great deal.. so even if shipping is extended, it’s worth it to me.
It sounds like things are going well for you..
06/11/2019 at 10:02 pm #63347
Is there any issue if US Border Agents see your history of coming over the border twice a week? Is there any rule against bringing in packages to mail through USPS?0
06/12/2019 at 7:28 am #63353
I don’t anticipate any issues. I’m sure at some point someone will hold me up, if for nothing else, to show me that they can, but everything I’m doing is on the up-and-up.
It would be against the rules to bring packages across the border if I wasn’t declaring them, and wasn’t paying the fee to cross commercially, but I’m doing both. There are no rules (that I’ve been able to find) against the process.0
06/12/2019 at 8:38 am #63356
- Location: Virginia
how much are the fees to cross with merchandise?0
06/12/2019 at 10:29 am #63364
The one-time crossing fee is $13.30. Doesn’t matter if you cross with one package or a car load.
Alternatively, you can purchase an annual transponder for $405 that covers unlimited crossings for one vehicle for the calendar year. I ordered one online when I got home yesterday.0
06/11/2019 at 9:12 pm #63344
For quite some time, I’ve had my handling time set to three business days. That allowed me to ship every other day, plus have a buffer day in there for my cross border courier to get things across for me.
I think I’ll try working with the same handling and two trips per week to the border. If I can manage that while still selling a consistent amount, plus retain my TRS status, I’m good.0
06/12/2019 at 10:53 am #63365
What do you do about returns? I assume you have a US PO box?0
06/12/2019 at 11:05 am #63366
Correct. I’ve gotten a US PO box that I’m using as my ship from and return address.0
06/12/2019 at 11:06 am #63367
- Location: Virginia
so are you selling on ebay.com with US shipping prices only?0
06/12/2019 at 11:41 am #63369
My main store is on .com. All using calculated US shipping, yes. I have been doing it that way for the last two or three years, but was using a cross-border courier to get my packages to USPS. THis just means I get to cut out the middle man. It means more driving/time/gas spent on my end, but I don’t have to worry about the courier shutting down/etc. It’s all in my (and CBP’s) hands now. I’d much rather have the control.
My smaller second store is on .ca in CAD, but those items are all lettermail sized.0
06/12/2019 at 11:45 am #63371
Back in 2011, we drove up to Montreal to meet friends. On the drive up, we scavenged at every little place we found. When we hit the border, Canadian authorities pulled us over because our car was jammed full of junk. We had to completely unload our car and explain why we had all this stuff. After explaining that we sell on eBay, they cautiously let us go through. I guess they were worried we were coming to live.0
06/12/2019 at 2:34 pm #63375
As long as you are completely honest, you will never have any problems at the border. Just declare everything, have it documented, and pay any fees. For me, I only ship a few items a week to American buyers, even though I’m now only a 15 minute walk (yes, I can walk even though I’m in Canada) to the nearest US Post Office across the bridge in Niagara Falls, NY, I’ll just ship through Canada Post as the fees and any customs would eat up any savings on postage.
@winchester38 – do you have a Nexus card, or is the border crossing in your area quiet? Nexus is awesome if you get it – I never wait at the border, rarely get asked anything, and it has other benefits at Canadian and U.S. airports to bypass security and customs.
Glad your move is almost done – I’m still unpacking and getting organized at two locations…it sucked the life out of me and I only moved stuff 30 minutes and 4 hours away. Hope you are holding up!0
06/12/2019 at 9:12 pm #63380
Hey Inglewood. That’s how I’m planning to approach the border. Complete, blatant honesty, and everything by the book. No Nexus card here. I’ve said for years that I should apply and get one, but never got around to it. With that said, my regular border crossing is VERY small. I was the only vehicle that crossed in the ten minutes that I was there.
As for the move, we’re close to done. At this point, almost all of my hard goods are still in boxes. I sold/gave away all of my shelving in Calgary before we left. I was hoping/planning to pick up new ones here on the cheap at thrift stores and garage sales, but haven’t had much luck. I just ordered some that are scheduled to arrive next week. Then everything can finally be unboxed and shelved.0
06/15/2019 at 7:51 am #63492
Currently in a hotel room in Toronto. I flew up yesterday for an ecommerce conference. It’s mostly Amazon focused, but the wealth of knowledge that some of these people possess about all things online selling is immense. I’m certain I’ll get value out of it, but suspect that a lot of the private label/etc talk will go over my head. Mostly looking to network, and to discover new angles that I can slowly implement into my own business to make it better long-term.
On the eBay front, I’ve dropped my handling time back to 3 business days and the sales have started to roll back in. Planning on making my next border shipping run on Tuesday, as I don’t get home until late Monday night. I’m going to have to play with my handling time and shipping scheduling to make sure that I’m consistently hitting the TRS metrics while still selling enough items, and not having to make more trips across the border than needed. For now, I think 3 day handling should give me anough leeway to make the trip twice a week or so.0
07/10/2019 at 10:01 pm #64782
Been a bit since my last update, sorry!
We’ve been kind of milking the summer, and being close to family. We’ve been coasting for a bit. Just dialing things back up over the last few days.
The amazon conference was great. I was right in thinking that the private label stuff went way over my head. The retail arbitrage/etc stuff was great. There were some SUPER smart people there, and it was really refreshing to be able to spend a few days with like-minded people and talk ebay/amazon.
We’ve been listing VERY little on our ebay accounts over the last few weeks. Just a trickle of items here and there. We’ve been slow to get our rented house set up for photography, but are 90% set up now. Should be doing some listing again over the next few days. We’re currently sitting at 1,603 items on our main account, and 928 on our smaller account.
Sales have been relatively good, considering it’s summer, and we haven’t been listing. I shipped today, and had 17 items to go out since Saturday.
Border crossings have been going REALLY well. I’ve been crossing over to Maine every three business days to ship. It’s about an hour drive each way, but the border agents know me now (as “the ebay guy”), and I haven’t run into any problems. Just today, I got confirmation from them that I can also start taking my amazon shipments across which is huge. The shipping savings there could save me $200-400 per month at my current volumes. I’ll try it for the first time on my next crossing.
On the personal front, we’ve spent some time with both of our families, and have been house shopping. We’ve found a house that checks almost every one of our wants/needs in a property. Just doing some number crunching and meeting with the bank tomorrow to explore purchase options, and then we’ll likely make an offer on it.0
07/11/2019 at 8:04 am #64787
Glad you guys are settling in and enjoying the transition to the new life.
At that conference, do you have a sense that the retail arbitrage world is still lucrative and consistent? No issues with too many people in the market, or Amazon cracking down on smaller sellers?0
07/11/2019 at 2:11 pm #64800
Retail arbitrage is still very alive and well. The majority of people at the conference were either doing retail arbitrage, or online arbitrage it seemed. There were around 125 in attendance, and I’d estimate that 1/3 of them were full-time in the ecommerce space.0
07/11/2019 at 7:25 pm #64808
Interesting. Did it seem like these people had sustainable, long-term businesses just doing retail arbitrage?0
07/11/2019 at 8:05 am #64788
Oh, and why do you say that private label was too complicated? I agree, but wonder if anything specific made your eyes glaze over.0
07/11/2019 at 9:58 am #64793
Is there any information on the private label part of the conference online? I’m really interested in this angle – creating my own unique products/brands on Amazon. As my career has been spent at manufacturers who do their own brands and private label brands for other brand owners, I find this area fascinating to explore. I’ve spent a lot of time the last few years outsourcing products, so I feel comfortable with the process of getting something made.
The challenge I always thought of with private labels is getting your foot in the door with a retailer – with Amazon, you can get in – the challenge is getting the word out on your product, and how much inventory you would have to carry.
The other challenge is to find a category – I feel there are categories like “energy drinks”, soap, cooking sauces, etc. that everyone would try to go for, but other categories of common items, like toe nail clippers, you may be able to build a brand around as there is no known category leader/brand.
I also wondered about flooding a category – for example with toe nail clippers, create 10 different brands – then your 10 brands may be a huge portion of the items on Amazon. They may look like different products, but the packaging is only different – but gets you more listings/views in total.
It’s an interesting challenge – find a product/category that is not well known, ignored by the companies that sell those products, and take it over.0
07/11/2019 at 2:15 pm #64802
Nothing from the conference is online that I’ve seen to date, though there are a few Canadian Facebook groups for Amazon sellers with some knowledgeable people in the PL space. It’s not something I ever really entertained as an income stream, so I may not be the best person to ask though.0
07/11/2019 at 7:25 pm #64809
Isnt this just traditional product retail? Slap a label on a product, and spend your money on advertising?0
07/12/2019 at 9:46 am #64823
There are some differences between Amazon and traditional retail – mostly it is the barriers to enter a traditional retailer. Most major retailers it is impossible for a small guy to get into the door to even make a sales pitch. If successful with the sales pitch, then the big retailers bully you – for example, all major department stores and drug stores in the U.S. have very hard terms on new businesses to get listed in their stores. You have to pay for shelf space in every store you get in, you have to meet sales targets, you have to provide the product for free – and they pay you 60-90 days after it sells. It’s very difficult to get into traditional retail at an big scale without deep pockets. And if your product doesn’t sell, they return it to you all at your cost. I’ve seen invoices where major pharmacy chains charge $10 an item to pull it off the shelf, and then charge you shipping to get it back to you.
With Amazon, you just create a product, ship it to a warehouse, and pay small fees. You can flood a category with different variations, brands, etc.
I just think with Amazon there is a huge opportunity to find an everyday item that is ignored, and take over the space. You’ll never create a big company with it, but it could provide someone entrepreneurial with some good income. You may not even need to advertise – just find something that everyone has in there house and replaces occasionally – toe nail clippers, toilet plungers, cheese graters, etc – and people will buy whatever brand when they need to replace them, and don’t think too much about it. I don’t think you even need to market or advertise the product – just slap it up and people will buy it when they need one as they have no idea of any brands in the space.0
07/12/2019 at 3:29 pm #64827
Makes sense. I find it fascinating that people can make a living selling generic items on Amazon, but someone has to sell them 🙂
In my research, a guy will find an unserved niche so he makes a private label item. He invests $5k up front to buy enough to fulfill the manufacture minimum. He sends the items to Amazon and focuses on getting the buy box. The items starts selling and gets popular. Yeah.
But because the bar to entry is so low, other guys spend their day scraping Amazon’s high ranking items and copy those items to sell. As soon as they see an item get popular, they create their own items, borrow as much branding as legally possible, and compete on price. Now you have a race to the bottom.
So the first guy has a short window to start selling his product and make a lot of sales before everyone else rushes in. He has to make sure he can sell out and not get left holding too much inventory he cant sell profitably. The game is to always have several items in the pipeline
In your case, I wonder if you can sell generic items that arent top ranked. I assume make a very small profit margin that slow but steady. No competition really because its not a “hot” item?0
07/12/2019 at 3:33 pm #64828
It is even worse than that though, because Amazon is a direct competitor and they frequently undercut private label sellers.0
07/12/2019 at 4:38 pm #64830
True. Amazon Basics is all the generic everyday items people need.0
07/12/2019 at 4:28 pm #64829
Jay – I’ll put some numbers together next week to show what it really costs to get into a small item on Amazon – I’ve done a lot of research and will share it. $5000 investment will not get you far – you need at least $25,000 but I’ll break down the numbers…lots of “start-up” costs are hidden – getting UPCs/GTINs, graphics, printing for packaging, etc. all aren’t cheap – even from China.
I’ve gone deep in sourcing a few items – I’ll share the math on one item I have decided isn’t worthwhile.
I’ve spent time looking at items that will never be hot – slow and steady items only, with only a few competitors. Stuff that most people would pick up at a dollar store or 5 Below, but wouldn’t think twice about adding it to there Amazon cart if they needed one. I’m not interested in finding a hot item – just an existing item that is generally overlooked due to low sales, and it is a “boring” product. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, as it is a large gamble…0
07/12/2019 at 4:40 pm #64831
Cool. I’m not trying to shut down the idea. Just interested in the whole process. I’ve never seen the numbers work in a sustainable way.
$25k would be quite a big play for us.0
07/11/2019 at 2:13 pm #64801
With the private label stuff, there was talk of click funnels, targeted messaging, advertising campaigns, keyword ranking, etc. A lot of that stuff made me glaze over a bit, largely because it was completely foreign to me, and because it wasn’t pertinent.0
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.