Buying and Selling to Make Money, General

19 Years Selling on eBay!

I’ve been on eBay since January 1999 if you can believe that!

It’s hard for me to believe sometimes, but this month marks 19 years that I first sold my first item on eBay. It was a 2-book set about the Wright Brothers. No picture; no template – just a brief description of what I had, and that was the start of it!

Of course a lot of things have changed in 19 years – some good, some not-so-good.

First, some of the good stuff.

International Shipping on eBay is Great

I have to say that one of the things that eBay did for me (us) that I’m most grateful for is that they made international shipping a whole lot easier than it was before.

In the past, I had to do a lot of research about whether or not I could send certain items to certain countries. I had to fill out customs forms, work on figuring out the postage, etc.  It made selling to customers outside the US really difficult, and sometimes I wouldn’t do it, depending on the item.

Today, however, all I have to do is send my international purchases to an address in Kentucky, and eBay takes care of the rest. They seriously have made international selling a pleasure again!

Still, there are a few things I don’t like

Of course, eBay is not without its faults. I still don’t like the fact that a seller cannot leave an honest negative feedback to a buyer; however, buyers have free reign on feedback. Also, buyers don’t always seem to understand that an item that is purchased through an auction is historically non-refundable. eBay tends to side with the buyer if they have buyer’s remorse.

You can’t get away with that in a live auction – that is, at a physical auction house. You buy it, you own it. Period.

And yet, through it all, eBay is still my selling venue of choice. I also buy a lot of stuff on the platform for my own use – both for business and for the household. I’ve looked at a number of different venues to sell my stuff, and I always wind up deciding to remain with eBay.

What about selling on Amazon?

Today, we all hear about selling on Amazon, and my wife and I both know people who do so, and many who do so with great success. Selling on Amazon isn’t something I’m ready to do myself, however, because the items that I typically purchase for resale seem to fit more into the eBay model.

And, if I find that my item isn’t quite right for eBay, depending what it is (furniture or glass products, for example), I’m happy to offer it on Craigslist, or send it to live auction. We sell at small, local auctions, and we have also been venturing into selling at larger auction houses (e.g. Swann Auction Galleries, where we’ve sent a few items).



My busiest “eBay season” tends to be winter, because once my building and carpentry season ends up north, Kathy and I head south where I can yard-sale to my heart’s content, and find an almost never-ending supply of great things to resell in order to make my living while I’m away.

Where I live in the north country of New Hampshire during the summer, as much as it’s awesome to drive around in the mountains and head down to the “big city” (e.g. North Conway or Littleton or into Maine towards Portland), we can put over 100 miles on the car in a single day and make it to only 5-10 yard sales – sometimes a few more, but also sometimes hardly any.

In Florida, I can drive around on any given Friday or Saturday morning, and hit 20 yard sales and drive less than 40 miles. That doesn’t include the dozens of thrift stores that are within a reasonable drive, and where I also find stuff to sell! Of course, it’s not in how many sales you hit, or how many miles you drive, but the results that matter.

In order to show you results, I’ve got a YouTube channel where I do my best to document the stuff I find – whether it’s profitable or not! If you haven’t subscribed to my channel, I hope you’ll consider doing so! You can find me on YouTube at my “Johns Yard Sale Finds” channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/JohnsYardSaleFinds.

In the meantime, thank you for stopping by the website! I appreciate your visit. Here’s the video I just uploaded today to get the ball rolling! This vid shows the results of Friday’s yard sale haul!

 

Buying and Selling to Make Money, General

Thought We’d Share a “Typical” Yard Saleing Day and the Results!

This is the kind of stuff we find at yard sales that we can resell for money.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.Our results from a typical yard sale day

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 “Thought We’d Share a “Typical” Yard Saleing Day and the Results!”

General, Tips on Selling on eBay

Back Home Again – New Videos Coming SOON! – And a Selling Tip

Another load of stuff from yardsales! Hey, if you'd like to learn from Skip McGrath, click here!Hi everyone!

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


The Complete eBay Marketing System

Best Things To Sell on eBay, Buying and Selling to Make Money, General, Tips on Selling on eBay

A Unique Way To Use eBay For Self Promotion

Crystal Pumps by an eBayer named Crystal HeelsWe 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: The seller, MyCrystalHeels is offering her (or his) services to customer YOUR OWN shoes.

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.

PS: You might want to also have a look at this book, which can help you find the best things to sell on eBay:

Simply Click Here =>How and Where to Locate the Merchandise to Sell on eBay

Best Things To Sell on eBay, Buying and Selling to Make Money, General, Thrift Store Buying and Selling, Tips on Selling on eBay

Sell Vintage Stuff From Thrift Stores on Ebay

Some of the best things to sell on eBay come from thrift shops!

What are the Best Things to Sell on eBay?

If you’ve been reading my blog or watching any of my YouTube videos for any time now, you’ll notice that I definitely find my share of vintage stuff to sell. I can tell you that even though I find a lot of my inventory from yard sales, which is really a lot of fun, I also buy from individuals selling on Craigslist.

Also, I find some really good stuff at Thrift Stores. And, if you saw my post the other day, you’ll note that we had just arrived in Florida for the winter. The next day we drove around the area to get a feel for the lay of the land, and happened upon a Church Thrift Store.

Even though we weren’t out to go buying since we were really still unpacking and stocking up on some groceries, we couldn’t resist going into the store.

I’m glad we did. Kathy, who has a thing for cufflinks (ahem… if you read one of our first posts, you’ll see why! Here’s the original post about Kath’s experience with cufflinks => Click Here for the “Cufflink Post.”), saw that there was a small case of men’s jewelry behind the counter.

While I went through the clothes (and found a cool vintage Red Cross Wool Coat that I’ll write about later) and books, Kath made a beeline to the men’s jewelry.

A pair of blue and green enameled cufflinks caught her eye, and she put them in the pile of stuff we decided to buy. It turns out that these are Christian Dior sterling cufflinks, and we brought them home and processed them to sell on eBay. Kath found these Christian Dior Cufflinks at a Thrift Store

Now the fun part… We cannot yet tell you what they sell for – if they sell at all!

Next week or so, I’ll put together a post showing all the stuff we bought at that Thrift Store – our first stop since arriving here in Florida – and will share our results with you!

In the meantime, please believe me when I tell you that there is definitely a method for shopping for the best things to sell on eBay. We don’t just walk into a place and grab every vintage piece of jewelry and clothing that we find. If you do that, I can assure you that you’ll be ending up with a TON of smelly stuff that you’ll wind up donating to another Thrift Store.

It takes patience and perseverance! If you would like a little help with this, may I recommend you grab a copy of one or more of the different guides available. There are a bunch on Amazon – just see the small number of guides I found below! (Click the image, and you’ll go to the search results I saw on Amazon.)

 

Buying and Selling to Make Money, General

Thanksgiving Day: Ready for Buying and Selling IN FLORIDA!

Hi everyone! This is just a quick note to let you know that on this very day, Thanksgiving Day, 2011, Kath and I have just arrived in Port Orange, Florida for the winter!

I know that we won’t be doing any yard-saleing before tomorrow or Saturday – or even mayby even NEXT week. But, I just wanted to let you know that we have arrived, and we are psyched to get going on our winter buying and selling!

We have some great videos and articles coming up – but wanted to every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving. We, personally, have a great deal to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my wife, Kathy, who encourages and helps me in my business. Oh, she also loves me! I am thankful for my parents, who taught me integrity and value. I am thankful that my beautiful daughter Sara has a healthy and happy little son (my grandson Tristan).

In one of Kathy’s blog posts today, she mentioned things that she is grateful for. I agree that it’s really easy to be thankful for the “easy things” like “food” or “shelter” etc.

Anyway, it’s getting late, and it’s about time for bed. But I did not want this day to go by without saying that I’m thankful for YOU, my readers and fellow entrepreneurs, for sharing the passion of buying and selling – the good times and the slow times – thank you.  To my customers, I thank you for purchasing from me and Kath.

I appreciate every one of you!

THANK YOU! 🙂

Buying and Selling to Make Money, General, Tips on Selling on eBay

Tools You Need for Selling – Part 1: Counterfeit Bill Tester

A Counterfeit Testing Pen is a MUST if you are selling at yardsales or on Craigslist!
Buy a Counterfeit Testing Pen – Click the image to see a similar one on Amazon

Tools. Yes, there are definitely tools that are required for successful buying and selling. And not just for eBay. Even if you are buying to sell at live auction houses or on CraigsList or your own yardsale – or even in your neighborhood newspaper, there are a few things that I personally feel you should have.

In my experience, you don’t need a ton of things, but there are a few things I feel you will find very handy to have!

For example, if you are selling on eBay, you need certain tools in order to process payments (for example, PayPal). Actually, sellers are now required to take PayPal, so if you are considering selling on eBay at all, just go ahead and get yourself set up with an account.

But, there are other, physical tools that are handy. I’ll talk about some of these in other posts in detail, but let’s look at a yard sale or CraigsList transaction.

Suppose you’re selling your piano (which, incidentally, we are doing right now). Now, a piano can be a fairly good sized transaction – anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple thousand.

So… for example:

If you put your ad on CraigsList, you will be saying something like, “Spinet piano – good shape… First $600 in cash takes it!” So, let’s say someone comes over with $600 in cash (by the way, you should ALWAYS insist on cash – NEVER agree to a “Western Union” or “3rd party pick up” situation… It will likely be a scam. More on this in another post).Photo of our Piano for our CraigsList Ad

So, you have someone at your door with 6 100-dollar bills. Nice! Before you shake hands on the transaction, you will take out your trusty Counterfeit Testing Pen and mark each bill to ensure that you aren’t getting a counterfeit bill.

This is NOT being paranoid. This is being a smart business person.
If you present anything larger than a $20 bill at a supermarket, see if the cashier doesn’t test the bill with a pen first. That’s not a reflection on your character at all!

I did a short video about this, which you can watch below this post – below the Amazon examples.

So, this is a VERY simple tool. It’s inexpensive. Yes, you can step up a level and buy a bill scanner that is a little more high tech, but at very least, you want a counterfeit bill tester. There are a few on Amazon (below) that are extremely affordable – Just click the image, and you’ll go to a page where you can choose from any number of them. It’s one of the tools I feel is very important.

Buying and Selling to Make Money, General, Selling at Auction

Follow Up! Buying and Selling More through GOOD PRESENTATION

Buying and Selling to Make Money at Yard SalesIf you’re going to be buying and selling to make money on eBay or auction (or Craigslist), it is worth taking the time to make your stuff look good. A few weeks ago, we talked about the importance of having a nicely organized auction display. (If you missed that post, you can read it HERE – Importance of Good Presentation).

Yesterday, I received a check from the auction company for about $550. Not a bad chunk of change for hauling a bunch of stuff off to auction.How to Sell at Auction - Lot Your Stuff Correctly!

As we went through the list of what sold, and for what money, it occurred to me that the vintage kitchen utensils lot that we showed in the last post (see photo again here) sold for $20! Not bad for a couple of dollar items – or some free stuff – from a yard sale lot!

As we looked through the list of the box lots we sold, we were very pleased. Continue reading “Follow Up! Buying and Selling More through GOOD PRESENTATION”

General, Selling at Auction

Selling at Auction and the Importance of Presentation

How to Sell at Auction - Lot Your Stuff Correctly!As you probably already know, selling at auction (that is, LIVE, PHYSICAL auction houses) is a bit different from selling on eBay. It did not take me long in this business 30 years ago to notice that I bypassed a number of box lots or other types of lots simply because I couldn’t stand the idea of sorting through piles of what looked like garbage to me.

Even at yard sales, if there’s a huge pile of junk on a tarp on someone’s lawn, I don’t spend a lot of time sorting through it. I value my time, and I want to spend it going through or looking at items where I have a clearer view. I know that a lot of folks enjoy “the hunt” and finding that little gold nugget among the sand, rocks and mud – and I enjoy finding gems as well. I’m just not as inclined to get on my hands and knees to sift through mud if there is a nicer looking display that’s easier to look through.

So, having said that, I want to talk a little today about the importance of presentation when selling at auction. Presentation is equally important for selling on eBay, by the way, which we’ll discuss in an upcoming video.

Generally, it’s safe to say that the better something looks, the more someone is likely to pay the right kind of attention to it. Sure, we can look at something nasty looking while driving by, and it might catch our attention.

Kind of like, “Wow, look at that gross thing…”

But rarely will I say, “Wow, look at that gross thing, I absolutely have to buy it!”

Let’s face it. The more care you take to lot and sort your items for sale, the better it will be received overall.

So, let’s say you have 10 vintage weight-lifting magazines, 25 pieces of depression glass, 5 books about horses, and a lot of old cookie cutters and bakeware – and you want to haul the whole bunch of it off to auction.

In this case, take the time to separate the lot into the logical categories. Don’t lump the depression glass in with the weight-lifting magazines. Take the time to put each category into its own box or flat.

Here’s an entire article I just devoted to this very topic => Sorting and Lotting Items for Selling at Auction Houses 

 

Buying and Selling to Make Money, General, Tips on Selling on eBay

How to Sell on eBay Questions from a Reader

A Reader Writes with How to Sell on eBay QuestionsI really enjoy receiving letters from readers, and especially enjoy helping others learn how to sell on eBay. I recently received a very nice note from someone who is not only a reader of our “Buying and Selling to Make Money” blog, but also a viewer on my “John’s Yard Sale Finds” channel at YouTube.

This reader had some terrific questions about how to sell on eBay, and she explained to me that as a beginner, there were several things that were confusing to her, particularly around timing the end of auctions, determining postage costs, using PayPal – and just a few other things.

Posting her questions and my responses would take quite a bit of room here at the blog, so I devoted an entire article to the topic, which you can find here => How to Sell on eBay – A Reader’s Questions

It seems that a lot of people have wondered how much extra – if any – to charge on postage for sending items to their buyers. I have some pretty strong feelings about this topic, and I do address it in the article. Please head on over to it here => How to Sell on eBay – A Reader’s Questions 

Thanks for visiting!