Hey everyone! So, the carpentry season is done for 2012, and now it’s time for some serious buying and selling on eBay for the winter. Kath and I got in on Friday, November 30th and had a little touch-and-go while they tried to figure out why our condo didn’t have internet.
We almost had to move, but fortunately the techs don’t give up easily. It turns out that it was a piece of broken equipment. We have since unpacked and stocked up on some food, and have gone out for some great lunches already (something we don’t get a lot of at home).
I’ve already been to one auction, where I picked up some great stuff that I’m making you guys a video about. Stay tuned! That’ll be within the next week or so… Some of it has already been sold.
We’ve gone yard-saleing once, this past Saturday, which was pretty good considering it’s just a couple of weeks before Christmas. But, no 18K gold cufflinks! Nonetheless, we got a few items. Again, Kath will be filming some videos shortly.
I have to say that it’s good to be back in the land of year-round yard sales. Up north, there’s a bit of withdrawal that comes with Columbus Day weekend. It’s like someone pulls the plug of a huge yard-sale inflatable lawn ornament.
It’s great to be back in South Carolina. Oh – some of you might be wondering why we’re not in Florida like last year. Well, we couldn’t get an affordable place within walking distance of the beach. And here, we could. We not only are across the street from the beach, we also have tennis on site. It’s great.
So I’ll have more for you soon!
I’d like to offer one of my tips for selling on eBay – especially since it’s still fresh in my mind. As mentioned in the last post, summer is really a difficult time for us to do eBay. Today, however, I want to talk about when it’s DEFINITELY worth your time to make the time to run some auctions.
I’m really fond of what I call “genre” auctions. That is, I may have a really nice tennis racquet that I bought at a yard sale – but I’ll probably wait to run it on eBay until I’ve got about 4 or 5 of them. Then I’ll make up a template for the “genre” and copy/paste it into Turbo Lister.
In the case of the softball bats, I play on a couple of leagues here in New Hampshire, and my team captain for the men’s league had a number of bats he asked me to sell. I did a little research on the bats, and it turned out that he had quite a few of them that were worth some bucks.
Now, here’s one of my “eBay tips” that I personally adhere to – and I adhere to it now only after trial and error (and a lot of error). As difficult as it is to say “NO” to someone who asks you to sell something for them on eBay, in a lot of cases it’s really in your best interest to back away from such requests. My personal rule of thumb is that if I can’t make any decent money on the transaction, it’s just not worth my time and effort.
Obviously, everyone is different. You may have a lower or higher profit threshold that you need in order to make it worth your while to list something for others. In my case, if I can make at ”x-amount of money” AFTER all eBay and PayPal fees, I’ll consider it. It also has to have a track record of selling in the recent past.
I give my consigner 50% of the hammer price – right off the top. So, if a bat sold for $100, he gets $50. I get what’s left after my fees.
So, he didn’t have just ONE bat – he had about 12 of them. Several were worth running on their own, and the others I just lotted up. I also happened to have a few bats of my own, so I just waited until I had a couple of rainy days, and then photographed them and listed them. Kath helps me a lot when I’m listing a lot of items at once because she can type really fast.
As you can see from the photos accompanying this post, we did pretty well!
The total take was about $700 in my buddy’s inventory (so, I sent him $350), and then I sold a couple of my own. My take – after fees (which were about $80 all told) was about $450. Not bad for a few hours of listing, and then a few hours afterwards answering questions, and then the tasks that have to be done afterwards (invoicing, follow-up, packaging, shipping).
Here is another screen shot from a few of the other results – and Kath is going to make another video with some more indepth info about this particular genre as soon as we grab a few minutes for her to film the intro. So, definitely consider working in “genres” – it can save some time if you are “grouping” items, because oftentimes you can make a template.
As an aside, we have decided to head south again this winter – this time back to North Myrtle Beach! More on that soon… In the meantime, THINK GENRE! Take care! Best, John
Because I’m not yet a millionaire (notice I say “yet” – because I’m still shooting for it!), I need to work my carpentry business when the weather is good.
It really is necessary – because while eBay provides us with a good income, it’s never a “sure thing” as my working by the hour during the summer is. And, right now, due to our circumstances, I need to go where the sure money is for now.
But not to worry. Summer isn’t very long up here. Yard sale season lasts only from about Memorial Day through Columbus Day in October – so not a very long season at all.
Whereas down south, there are yard sales all winter long; hence, good buying all winter. Or at least good buying in theory.
One of the reasons we started heading down south for the winter was 3-fold: 1) my carpentry slows down to next to non-existent in the winter, 2) there is no yard-saleing in northern NH in the winter, and 3) my wife really benefits from more light in the winter than we get up here. Actually, I can’t say as I don’t mind that extra sunshine either. As an ice-climber, I’ve had many, many winters where my climbing partner and I would be gone long before sun-up, climb all day, and sometimes into the night – and then back long after dark.
But as much as I loved climbing – and actually still do – there is something to be said for longer, warmer, sunnier days in the winter.
Well, that has little or nothing to do with the topic here – but thought I’d throw it in.
Anyway, just because I’m busy doing carpentry during the summer does NOT mean I’m not out there actively buying.
In fact, I tend to do a LOT of buying in the summer, to more-or-less stockpile my inventory for the time when carpentry slows down and I can get back to buying and selling on eBay.
If you take a look at this photo, this is my front porch. Much to my wife’s dismay, it gets more and more cluttered every week. We’re getting ready – and I mean this very seriously – to rent a storage unit. The house has beome more of a storage unit than a residence, and I guess it’s time to take care of that.
Over in the lower left hand corner of the photo, you’ll see numerous boxes with some clothes piling out. We went to a yard sale in Maine and bought EVERYTHING they had – at least 1,000 pieces of BRAND NEW or NEARLY NEW baby girl’s clothes – not one single piece from a Wal-Mart. Every last bit of it was high-end. In that same lot, we got women’s maternity clothes – hardly used, a brand new crib bumper set from Pottery Barn (don’t know exactly what “Pottery Barn” is doing selling crib sets, but what the heck…), and also a bunch of Halloween costumes.
We’re constantly buying backpacks (although the one you see in the photo is one of our friend’s packs), camping gear, snowshoes, cleats, and just about anything useful that people would rather buy used than new.
So, even though I’m not listing right now, I’m buying!
I WILL actually be listing a few items in the next week or so, only because the items are more likely to be purchased during the summer than winter, and if I list them, it will clear at least a little bit of inventory out of the house!
Just wanted to pop in and give you the latest… stay tuned!
When I’m home in New Hampshire during the summer, it is a rare Saturday morning that I’m NOT going to yard sales. Buying at yard sales has been an integral part of my buying and selling business for so many years now, that I’m not sure what a sunny Saturday morning would be like without going yard saleing!
It has really just become a natural extension of my life.
When we began heading to the southern US for these last few winters, it was great! I could yard sale my way through the entire winter with scarcely missing a beat. Up north, yard sales pretty much cease to exist once Columbus Day hits. When we were here in the winter, the best I could do would be to visit the few thrift stores and occasional group shop that would be open and within driving distance.
Otherwise, I had to depend on the inventory I collected in the summer to sell during the winter.
In heading south for the winter, I had to be judicious in deciding what to bring with us to get rolling on eBay as soon as we arrived at our winter rental. I really can’t afford to be without income for more than a week or so. Before we left, I pre-loaded a bunch of items for sale into Turbo Lister (the listing software for eBay) – all stuff I could carry down south with us that wasn’t too bulky.
Then, all I had to do was “flip the switch” as it were, to start all the auctions running at once.
This last winter, we arrived in Florida on Tuesday, November 22nd – just a couple of days before Thanksgiving. We took a few days to unpack, get the lay of the land, get stocked up on our groceries, and then Friday morning, I was out at a local flea market I’d located, as well as some yard sales.
There weren’t a ton of yard sales that particular weekend, which is understandable since it was Thanksgiving weekend. But there were enough to get me out the door and driving around to learn the neighborhoods, roads, and where the “perpetual” yard sales tended to be. By “perpetual” yard sales, I mean the types where the homeowners are out there every single weekend, typically trying to sell the same tired old inventory that’s getting dustier and grimier with every weekend that they take the tarps off the peeling and bowing and delaminating plywood tables.
I pretty much avoid them for the most part. Continue Reading About Our “Typical” Day of Yard Saleing HERE…
Ok guys and gals… I just uploaded a new video over at YouTube (my username or channel or whatever you call it at YouTube is “JohnsYardSaleFinds” for lack of any better ideas).
This video shows how we loaded up for a live country auction (as opposed to the virtual eBay auctions) up here in northern New England.
We happened upon Blakely Jenkins who, along with his partner in the auction business Kirby Parker run a weekly auction in St. Johnsbury, VT (Jenkins Auction Service).
In the video, we show EXACTLY how we lot things out – and you’ll see Blake’s reaction to our layout.
We then show you the results of some of the items that we mentioned by name, along with the entire take at the end of the night.
If you are going to be taking things over to a live auction, I can’t tell you how incredibly important it is to really take the time to lot out your items so that they are easy to display and easy to handle.
Think of how it is if you go to a flea market, yard sale or auction – isn’t it easier and more efficient for you to look at an item if it’s clean and laid out as though the seller really cares about it?
Well, it goes a long way in auctions.
Attend any country type of auction – especially if it’s the type of auction that caters to a number of consigners. Notice how a large majority of people just jam the stuff into boxes – dusty, dirty, and overall just ugly looking lots – and it almost says, “This is nothing but junk” to me. I want potential buyers to see my stuff – whether it’s “junk” or not – and say, “Hey, this guy cares about this stuff… must be worth something.”
You’ll see more what I mean in the video. Have a look here…
One other thing – there are so many ways to sell stuff. As you can see from this video, eBay is definitely not the only way. Neither is Craigslist. Don’t forget about Amazon! You can learn a LOT about this from Skip McGrath, who has been at this at least as long as I have.
I just wanted to take a moment to let you all know that Kath and I are back home again after what seemed like a VERY fast 5 months in Florida… We’ve done some videos that Kath will be getting ready to post really soon (she promises!).
We’ve got a video in the works of hauling stuff off to a “country auction” that you might find interesting, as well as some real results of a typical yard sale day, and our subsequent efforts and results in reselling them.
Quick eBay and CraigsList Selling Tip
Over the winter, I sold a few items on eBay and Craigslist for some friends as well – and that’s a thought I wanted to share with you. If you know someone who would like to sell on eBay but they don’t really know how, you can certainly offer YOUR expertise and put the item up for sale on their behalf. It DOES need to be worthwhile for you though…
My general rule of thumb is that I won’t sell something for someone online if I don’t believe it can bring at least $50. I charge 50% off the hammer price (that is, the final price that the item sells for, and then I deduct my listing and final value fees from THAT). The person who is selling the item gets the whole 50%.
That’s just the way I do it personally. I’m sure other sellers have their own thoughts on that – but because I typically only sell items for family members or good friends, that’s how I do it.
But, it might be worth it to you to offer your services to others once in a while!
Skip McGrath, who has been selling on eBay as long as I have (since 1999), and is considered one of THE experts when it comes to selling on eBay, has a really good course out that receives rave reviews if you’re interested in learning a lot more about how and what to sell on eBay. I wish I had thought of making a course on selling on eBay – I actually HAVE taught some classes in a nearby town in the past – but I never put it together the way Skip has. Well, there’s certainly no point in my even attempting to reinvent the wheel here, so I’ll just give you the link to head on over and check Skip out yourself here => eBay Business System – Learn How to Sell on eBay
I just bought a book by Jim Cockrum called “Silent Sales Machine.”
Now, I’m not a guy who gets too cranked about anything – but I have to say that for $5 – yeah, that’s right – 5 Bucks – you’re going to get a TON of value. Briefly: Silent Sales Machine is a downloadable ebook, so you’ll have it on your computer screen within a minute or two of buying it.
You need to know a little bit about Jim. He’s not a whole lot different from many of us. He had that entrepreneurial spirit just about bursting from the seams. Since you’re on this blog, I’m guessing that you know that feeling!
For those of you who have been reading my blog or who know me from YouTube, you know that I’ve been a used and rare book dealer since – wow… I think the early 1980s. So that’s a long time. You also know I’ve been a seller on eBay since January 1999.
I’ve had great success on eBay, and I’ve had so-so experiences as well.
I’m always keeping my eyes open for new opportunities, and new ways to market my inventory. I was intrigued by Jim Cockrum and his book for a few reasons (and not just because it’s only $5!).
First, Silent Sales Maching is not a “how to make money on eBay” book, although you will find excellent information about eBay – including looking at it with “fresh eyes.”
If all you’ve known about buying and selling on eBay is 1) find an item to sell, 2) list an item, 3) sell the item, and 4) ship the item, then you might find yourself pleasantly surprised! I even got some ideas I hadn’t thought of before. Sometimes we humans can get so immersed in “the way it’s always been done” that we are blinded to new trends and ideas.
So, as my wife and I were going through Jim’s book, I have to tell you we had a few “ah ha” moments of our own. I suspect that we will be incorporating a few ideas we just learned from Jim Cockrum and his $5 “Silent Sales Machine” ourselves!
Give it a shot. If you can afford to buy a cup of designer coffee, you can probably afford $5 to get some new ideas. In fact, why not brew yourself a cup of coffee at home, and spend an hour or so reading Silent Sales Machine?
If you are feeling “stuck” about trying to figure out what to sell on eBay to make money – or what to sell online in any way, shape or form – this might help nudge you in the right direction and get you moving again!
It’s difficult to say whether this is one of my all-time favorite tips on selling on eBay, but it ranks right up there! Actually, adding video to the listings was my wife’s idea (thanks Hon!).
You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, if that’s true, then a video is worth even more.
The video idea is really most helpful (I think) when we need to show whether or not something is working. Continue Reading “Adding Video To Your eBay Listings”…
I’m writing this because I just searched for something, and realized why I wouldn’t buy a couple of the items I saw listed in the category for the particular thing I was looking for.
Ok, new people: If you go over to eBay any time, you obviously see millions of things for sale. Check any category, or type in search term.
For example if you type in the word “teapot” and search for it, chances are you’re going to see hundreds if not thousands of them for sale. Right? Continue Reading “What Are Some Ways You Can Improve Your eBay Sales?”
We were just addressing how to find the best things to sell on eBay, and while we were doing some research, we came across the wildest thing! And I thought, “Wow! What a great concept!” One of those, “Why didn’t I think of that!?”
Let me explain. I was working on an outline for someone, to show them the step by step ways a user can find out “what’s hot” on eBay. So, while going through the sequence of steps myself, I decided to take a look at what was trending on eBay today. The amazing pair of women’s designer shoes that you see here in the screen shot caught my eye.
I finished up my notes, and quickly came back to these shoes and this seller. The seller goes by the eBay name of MyCrystalHeels.
At the time of this writing, MyCrystalHeels was offering a pair of designer shoes that were customized with “Custom Strassed Swarovski Crystals.”
While I was writing this post, more than 1,700 people had looked at the auction, and the shoes were being offered at $4,995.00.
Now, they may or may not sell – time will tell – but one thing we noticed in the auction was that the seller had a line in the description that offered services for customizing one’s own shoes. All the interested party needs to do is get in touch with the seller for a quote.
So, in this case, let’s say for just a moment that the shoes don’t sell. BUT, what if that brought the seller so much off-eBay business that he or she doesn’t need to ever try selling another shoe on eBay? Take a look at THIS screen shot:
Notice that Crystal Heels is saying that if you want YOUR shoes customized, merely get in touch for a quote!
Now, I think that this is absolutely brilliant.
This shows a way to use eBay to reach out to a target market in a way that isn’t ordinarily done.
I’ve never done it. But you can bet it’s got me thinking!
And hopefully it has YOU thinking as well.