Forum Replies Created
11/04/2019 at 6:56 am in reply to: Scavenger Life Episode 435: List and Forget, Still Works For Us #69998
My observation of the eBay world is:
Demand is inelastic: people came to eBay to buy a specialty item. They either buy or they don’t. They’re not price matching a vintage embroidered shawl to amazons options for example.
Price is inelastic: people don’t care if the shawl is $10 or $15 they came looking for this specific shawl.
Sellers have a large market share: There might be one other shawl max 5 that are comparable such that each seller commands a 20-50% market share.
Sellers are price makers
From the get-go you should be pricing your items competitively (with our margins that’s the whole point we can undercut), and if you’re closer to the top of the spectrum expect to wait longer for a sale and vice versa. I suppose what people are trying to do is work their way down to the equilibrium point from the top–which is fine if that’s your style (why does this even make sense with best offer? *scratches head*). That’s pretty involved though if you’re trying to recalculate every idk week or “x” amount of days. Not to mention the market is changing as well, with 8K items not realistic.
You’re bound to have LOSERS however if there is demand for your item then eventually it will sell as the market reaches equilibrium. If you’re having to readjust every week you might be leaving money on the table or you might have just picked a bad item to sell. I think it’s easier to say “eBay is throttling me!” “This is a LOSER” etc than to say “I picked a bad item” “I’m pricing it too high”.
For those who do lower the price after a week or two. You’re not even using the correct metric to in my opinion. If I’m seeing idk 200 views on an item and I do a search for similar solds and the market hasn’t shifted drastically then I think you could say it’s price too high. Time is irrelevant if there’s no carrying costs. This is all IMO.
My model is list it and forget it undercutting competitors from the get-go OR pricing high with best offer. With a smaller store I definitely could be more involved but, I’m not in a hurry for sales I’m just moseying along.05/23/2019 at 11:54 pm in reply to: Seeking advice on college admissions / application process #62389
I wanted to chime in here to give the student perspective.
Currently, I’m at my local CC.
One thing that I’m absolutely going to advocate for is doing AP/IB tests. I think I transferred with between 20-30 credits because of my tests. Although each school has its own way of interpreting and apply these test scores. A 4 might be 6 credit hours for one school yet 0 for another. College board has a site to search how schools judge AP/IB tests.
There’s definitely value in sending your kid out into the world to get out of their bubble. From my own experience, most of my siblings still live in our hometown and I live across the country and have traveled quite a bit. I definitely see the close-mindedness and lack of worldly experience. Also, it caused me to take ownership of my life. My sister 6 years my senior had to ask me for retirement account advice. So this aspect is huge.
There are so many benefits going the CC route I cannot list them all but a few are: Cheaper, baby-step into academics, flexibility, no commitment (not the same as flexibility), can explore topics of interest at low cost, GAA, better planning for bachelors, masters, etc.
GAA’s are great you basically go to a CC and earn a certain GPA and have guaranteed admission to a four year come transfer time. Usually, they also have some sort of dual enrollment program to get a jump on the bachelor’s course work. These little hacks vary widely from community college to community college.
Community college tuition isn’t just cheaper, parking is cheaper, housing is cheaper, books are cheaper, the areas are cheaper. Everything is cheaper.
I don’t really know what you want to know but the benefits to the CC-> 4-year school are huge. Yes, you won’t get the best professors at a CC but there are always one or two teachers who truly teach because they love it. They make all the bad teachers worth it. So if that’s a concern most of the courses are introductory courses anyways and aren’t really dense.
I don’t know where to start but I’m a huge fan of the CC to 4-year route I’m biased though. You can ask me if specific aspects if you’d like about the CC experience.
Also….the student gets to experiment with different subjects. CC is a great time to find out your life long dream of nursing isn’t exactly for you. Rather than at an expensive school.
Team no repair here as well. The time and resources invested in refurbing something research, labor, parts, on top of the normal eBay overhead leaves slim margins. Of course, I do basic things like wipe down, clean smudges, etc. I don’t have time to sit down and watch a 15-minute video about how to fix this speaker and then try and try and try for the whole afternoon. Unless it was a hobby type of situation.
There’s definitely a market for parts/broken goods. I’ll let the speaker refurbisher buy it and fix and sell it. After all, everybody is making money. When you start chasing those marginal returns the value diminishes exponentially. Ex. As the repair occupies time energy you could have been doing other things. The more time it takes the less return you’ll get. This is especially true for items which are hard to refurb such as specialty antique/vintage items. Sometimes it even diminishes the value/authenticity.
There’s a simple analysis you can do. Rework v. Sell as is. Ignore sunk costs. Quantify time to refurb in dollars and cost to refurb. Minus cost from revenue. Multiply by units. = revenue.
Ex. I have six shoes which are broken I can sell them as is for 20 dollars. 20*6=120. Or I can rework them at a price of 3 dollars a shoe for a resale of 30 dollars. $3*6 units=18 $30*6 units=180 $180-$18= $162.
The clear winner is to refurb. That’s just a simple example. Now factor in time to do research tools parts etc too many variables. If it was a repeatable process over the long term across hundreds of units I can see the draw.
Sorry, I forgot to add one more important aspect. Do you trust your work? are you going to offer a warranty? so on and so forth.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by GoodsbyGarcia.
@retrotreasuresWV agreed on the cheap people! I’m glad you found the line between frugal and cheap. My hang-up is most people don’t get that. I subscribe to the value tribe.
@VintageTreasures personal finance is personal. As long as you know what your cash flow looks like and you assign money where it creates the most value for you, you should never be ashamed. This is exactly the situation I was talking about in our other thread. Why wait 60, 70, years to enjoy life when you can die tomorrow. Not to say frugal people don’t enjoy life but I’m also a realist and know luxuries by definition provide some improvement in the quality of life at a cost. Whether that luxury is $150 dollar work boots or $40k electric car.
Sorry about that every one the formatting got messed up then I got locked out of the post. Appreciate the repost Jay.
Edit: to add to post don’t want to spam
My wife is amazing and I make an effort to put that disclaimer out because she does so much for our family. She’ still in the military and comes home and kills it as a mom so I’m just the pinch hitter (kidding, we’re both parents here). So kudos to her.
Some tech accessories, fleet vehicle equipment. So far I’m not finding the views and follow through. I’m theorizing that entrepreneurs/business owners/reseller aren’t sourcing from eBay. Or maybe my prices are too high for a margin for them. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, I’m looking for more vintage vacuums.
Coming from a government background. I know sometimes government employees are quick to discount stuff as broken. When really all it needs is to be cleaned or maintained. I can recount a printer where I used to work was “broken” and we were ready to send it to the graveyard but the plug was just loose and needed to be held in place for it to work. So, I’m hoping to cash in on that. Also sometimes things NEED to be replaced after their useful life even if they’re not broken or used. There’s a lot of waster in the government even more so because it’s not the person’s personal money at stake when they make that determine whether something is useful or not.
T-satt, I always love reading your posts. I couldn’t agree more. In the military I always found myself running into bumps in the road or rubbing people except for a small circle of friends the wrong way. I would come home stressed to my wife and ask what was wrong with me. What I was doing wrong. Why I couldn’t get my job done the way I saw fit.
Then I heard a podcast one day. It mentioned that we’re not all wired to be employees. We’re not all cogs we can’t all mindlessly go through this predetermined path. That’s why sometimes we tend to buck at it or go through it roughly. We tend to do things in our own way so naturally some tensions arises there when we deviate from that predetermined path. I think children of entrepreneurs like myself, like ryanne feel that pull to work for ourselves. Seeing our parents do it only reassured us it’s possible. You can’t fit a round peg into a square hole. You can’t make an entrepreneur an employee.
I like the water and all but 350K on a depreciating asset with limited return and useful life. Yikes.
Not at all. No worries. I just like the conversation. Stay at home dad so I haven’t spoken to a human all day.
However, whenever you ask someone who missed the work lotto pool because they didn’t go to work that day. They’ll most likely say no I’m good just the way I am. Or if you ask Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe as did some news article I remember reading for school he said something to the effect of who wants to be famous. I feel like there could be some confirmation bias. I too love the modest life I live but I’d be naive to think I wouldn’t enjoy the status, luxuries, and comfort money can buy. More so the comfort in the form of time.
Although…I do think all scavengers are cut from a similar cloth so we all enjoy the hard-earned rewards EBay brings us. Even if we’re not pulling in billions a year we all feel like the CEO of our stores. Speaking as former military being an EBayer has given me the most job satisfaction.
Jay this is one point I want to explore with you. Seems like you don’t value those things cars, big house, etc. However, is it because you tie it to keeping up with the Joneses? Or is it because theres more cost than value. I like cars, I like nice houses however when I convert that 750k into time how many years is that really costing me? How will those years depreciate? Will I ever get this time back to spend with my newborn?
Seems like you come across as looking down on the folks who have fancy possessions. Is it because you enjoy a spartan life? Or do you assume they are irresponsibly spending their money?
Couldn’t agree more inglewood if you’re working 40 hours why not work for yourself. Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy time and quality of life. Two very important aspects of taking advantage of our limited years.
Mainly real estate I like the asset class more than stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. There’s an actual utility to the asset I can physically touch it and live in it. I can affect its price and understand its market on a very small scale. Versus say a stock.
Also other business ideas. I have a couple of ideas some more practical than others. Either way the starting point always comes back to real estate. It’s simply the easiest safest method for building wealth with leverage. (much easier to get a loan on an apartment complex than an idea).
I’ve saved my minimum to purchase a multi-family property and house hack with my family. However, I feel a correction coming on so I have a very high hurdle rate (floor for % based return(safety net built into the numbers to compensate for poor performance)). Due to this it just hasn’t worked for me yet because the market is still very pricey so cap rates are 3-5% if you’re lucky. I’m unwilling to accept risk which is too high. Something has to give. My risk tolerance or the market or my strategy.
As I see it I’m just building up more capital as a safety net. Time in the market beats timing the market and all that. Just too risk-averse to get in right now.
I know you just bought that building, so that’s interesting. I’d be interested to see how that does with the apartment upstairs and storefront downstairs, maybe a co-working space idk. You probably just started the gentrification for your main street.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by GoodsbyGarcia.
As is with the nature of our business I feel as though we disproportionately feel the sting of space. Most scavengers who are able to source in bulk or at a rapid rate are located near major metro areas. So naturally, space is expensive. I’ve also lived in very small quarters (studio) which required me to be extra organized and take storage to the next level. Mind you I only had about 200 items but 200 items in one bedroom which is also your living room and kitchen can be overwhelming. My rack was strategically organized with no space spared. Bigger things on bottom things hanging off it. Things stacked. Things placed on the shelf in accordance with which way the dimensions would allow for maximum utility.
I once got a glimpse into the inside of an Amazon tractor trailer it looked like Tetris on steroids. With boxes touching wall to wall and floor to ceiling. Almost as if algorithmically loaded.
One solution I’ve found to be viable is purchasing and modifying a trailer as an eBay workshop of sorts. Shelves, pull out racks on a rail system etc. DIY total would run about a couple thousand give or take depending on the size of the trailer.
Great tip Inglewood. As I always say any mistake I make is still cheaper than tuition for business school. Likewise, anything new I learn is also cheaper than tuition. Ex. bad shipping choice *mutters angrily* “cheaper than tuition”
- This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by GoodsbyGarcia.
Same here Winchester I’m a stay at home dad so I just leave the podcasts on all day as I go about my day. Gives me some adult conversation and entertainment.
Well to begin with I feel as though there are fewer flips available in my usual string of shops. I used to usually hit my route and come home with 10 items. These past 2 weeks I’ve got a measly 10 items, for a total of four trips I made. I feel as though people are more brazen and flipping is more mainstream. Just the other day I saw a thrift store owner scanning his own book inventory alongside a flipper and they were chatting about FBA. Maybe it’s anecdotal but flipping was more hush because people felt as though they were being cheated. Maybe cash is king now and as long as everyone is moving inventory we’re all happy. EBay seems much more complicated and seems like a maze. I can see how a newbie would get discouraged by the steep learning curve. I’m doing some AB testing with different things: promoted listings, titles, free shipping, pictures, etc. Take this all with a grain of salt its all perspective and my main take away is flipping is more out in the open, there are less unique items and more retail rejects, EBay has a steep(er?) learning curve. All in all, just means I got to hustle harder. Looking forward to it!