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Old 12-04-2011, 04:02 PM
 
Location: the Great Lakes states
798 posts, read 2,214,366 times
Reputation: 544

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Instead of getting a second (part-time) job, I thought I would try selling on eBay this winter.

My thought so far is, to make it worth it, I have to pick items that will give me at least a $10 profit margin on every item.

I'm also trying to think through this, and, each item (the entire lifecycle of the item from when I purchase it until it ships out the door) will cost me about 1 hour of time. This includes purchasing, receiving and unpacking, photographing, listing, responding to emails, receiving payment, packing, taking it to the post office, and responding to any after-purchase emails.

Maybe I'll get more efficient at the process and it will eventually take me less time. But, I think I have to assume it will take a good hour.

So -- 1 hour of work per item = $10 per hour.

eBay fees though are going to add some cost, so, I am hoping I'll also get more skilled at selecting items that can be sold at a $15-$20 margin or better.

Just want to get any thoughts, ideas, feedback on my plans and if I'm being reasonable with these assumptions. Thank you!!
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:38 PM
 
Location: The Southern Sac's, NM
1,872 posts, read 2,996,881 times
Reputation: 2888
I'm a current seller on eBay. You're welcome to pick my brain

It sounds like you have a good general idea about the process, although I question the "purchasing, receiving, unpacking" part of it - were you planning on buying wholesale?

If so, sourcing product is going to eat a big chunk out of your time.

eBay/PayPal fees are going to eat up about 15% so consider that when you work up your pricing plan.

You can save shipping cost by buying postage online and printing it from your computer. Either at eBay, or PayPal or at the USPS site. Priority Mail boxes are free from the USPS site. And, depending on where you live, the USPS will pick up your outgoing packages right from your home, no charge. You can schedule a pickup at the USPS site.

The best piece of advice I can give at this point is: Sell what you like, sell what you know.

Here are some blogs that I read regularly, they are full of good advice.
Sell on eBay - eBay Tools and Tips, Selling Online, Wholesale Products
Lisa Suttora

Do you have an idea about what you would like to sell?
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:32 PM
 
Location: the Great Lakes states
798 posts, read 2,214,366 times
Reputation: 544
Quote:
Originally Posted by RanchoNan View Post
I'm a current seller on eBay. You're welcome to pick my brain
RanchoNan,

Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by RanchoNan View Post
It sounds like you have a good general idea about the process, although I question the "purchasing, receiving, unpacking" part of it - were you planning on buying wholesale?

If so, sourcing product is going to eat a big chunk out of your time.

Do you have an idea about what you would like to sell?

The best piece of advice I can give at this point is: Sell what you like, sell what you know.

I've thought about this a while. I am going to start off with a niche brand (or several brands) of clothes... I have a target market picked out, and in addition to the wearers of this brand, I am also thinking about setting up my store in a way that would appeal to those outside this bracket who would buy gifts for them.

There's about 5-6 stores that are in the mall and online that capture this market. They ALWAYS have clearance sales going on.

I've always liked these brands and understand this audience of potential buyers pretty well. I worked for a fashion retailer for one summer and I was very observant about how they operate, as well as how they market and advertise. These stores don't have coverage nationwide or in Canada. I think my market is going to include the people who enjoy these brands, but don't have a store that is convenient for them.

If I buy on clearance, then post the products 1-2 weeks later, chances are I will be one of very few sellers offering that particular style during that week. I think I'll be able to get my desired markup, because since the economy went downhill, the clearance discounts have been very aggressive.

The brands pride themselves on having some unique styles that are offered for a limited time (1-2 seasons) and they change their planograms two to three times a season in order to keep the stores fresh and to keep you coming in as a customer. But if its a color/style that appeals to you as a person, if you see it online you're likely to buy it even if it is slightly out of season. The brand names have strong recognition and magnetic appeal, and $30 to $60 is the average price point for the items I'm thinking of for new, non-clearanced product. They also offer a handful of items in the $100-$150 range and these too are deeply discounted if you can get them at the right time.

My goal is to sell these clearanced goods for close to the cost of original retail. I guess to be honest, I am taking advantage of a set of customers who might not "know" that what they are buying is anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks out of season. But, for this audience I don't think that's a big obstacle. The brands themselves have strong appeal and also, because stores bring in summer/winter clothing so far ahead of time, you might live in an area of the country where you need pants, but the only thing you can find in the stores right now is shorts.

I'm looking at trying to move 3 items per day as an initial goal, with a goal net profit of $10 per item. Once I reach those goals, I'll reset my expectations and keep moving forward.

These are easy buys, by the way... 20-30 minutes online weekly, or a single trip to the mall weekly will get me everything I need. Plus, I'll enjoy "shopping." There's no shortage of product.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RanchoNan View Post
eBay/PayPal fees are going to eat up about 15% so consider that when you work up your pricing plan.

You can save shipping cost by buying postage online and printing it from your computer. Either at eBay, or PayPal or at the USPS site. Priority Mail boxes are free from the USPS site. And, depending on where you live, the USPS will pick up your outgoing packages right from your home, no charge. You can schedule a pickup at the USPS site.

Here are some blogs that I read regularly, they are full of good advice.
Sell on eBay - eBay Tools and Tips, Selling Online, Wholesale Products
Lisa Suttora
Thanks for these ideas. I'll have to experiment between padded mailers and boxes to see which would be the best/least expensive way of mailing. When I've ordered these goods from the retailers, some use boxes and some use the polyethylene plastic mailers (which are like envelopes, only waterproof and slightly stretchable.) USPS Priority Mail would be great because tracking is possible. Hopefully the customers will allow me to keep it simple and stick to one carrier (USPS instead of UPS or FedEx.)

I'm thinking of shipping three days per week. I work full-time 7-4, and my post office is open till 6pm weekdays and Saturday mornings till Noon.

I'm thinking that I'll pack up orders on Sunday nights (cut off time for orders 9pm and take it to the post office at 5pm on Monday), Tuesday nights (cut off time 9pm and mail them out at 5pm on Wednesday) and Saturday mornings (cut off time 10am and mail them out by 11:30 on Saturday morning.)

I live in an apartment so leaving them for the USPS driver probably isn't the best idea unless I know I'll be home. Good idea though, would make life easier on Saturdays possibly.

I really appreciate your encouragement! I'll check out those blogs. Feel free to give any constructive criticism to my plans... better to flush out the problems before I get started... thanks!

What category of products do you sell?
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:57 PM
 
Location: The Southern Sac's, NM
1,872 posts, read 2,996,881 times
Reputation: 2888
It sounds like you have a really good handle on it already. You've identified a product that you can source easily and make a profit. Apparel can be very lucrative, especially - as you noted - where items may not be available in some parts of the country, or at certain times of the year. Take care when writing descriptions for clothing. Sizes vary - you'll want to give measurements.

Just a head's-up, If you will be selling brand name clothing, be sure and check the brand against ebay's VeRO list, some brands (Disney, Coach, etc) only allow their own authorized sellers to list their products. How eBay protects intellectual property (VeRO)

Quote:
I'll have to experiment between padded mailers and boxes to see which would be the best/least expensive way of mailing.
Also, check out the Priority Tyvec mailers. They are lightweight and strong. As long as the clothes will fit easily. If you have heavy (coats, suits) you will need a box.

Quote:
USPS Priority Mail would be great because tracking is possible.
Priority is my preferred choice as well, because it is the most efficient. Free boxes, fast transit time. But you can get tracking on all the parcel services. If you buy postage online, you can get the regional rates which may save you even more on boxes weighing over 4 lbs.

Quote:
Hopefully the customers will allow me to keep it simple and stick to one carrier (USPS instead of UPS or FedEx.)
You can chose your shipping option when you list. You don't have to offer the UPS or FedEx services. I only ship USPS unless the item is over 10 lbs, then I go to UPS.


Quote:
What category of products do you sell?
I consistently sell in Books and Handmade Artisan Jewelry, those are my go-to categories. We bought a bunch of auto parts store shelf stock a few years ago, and turned it around on eBay Motors. That took about a year (and I learned more than I wanted to about auto parts!) and we made a good profit on that. I do some consignment sales here and there. I did glass for a while, but didn't like it because it's very costly to ship safely. So, basically, I will sell anything that is not nailed down
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Virginia Highland, GA
1,939 posts, read 4,043,995 times
Reputation: 1255
EBAY, is a fraud, they hold your money if you sell an item until it is delivered, or for 21 days which is bull. You call somewhere probably the Philippines and the customer serviced is abysmal. I would stay away from Ebay is is not worth it in any way unless you have hundreds or thousands of items to sell.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:48 PM
 
15,290 posts, read 20,227,493 times
Reputation: 21733
I'm sorry if you've had some bad times selling, brent. As a buyer, I love, love, love eBay. It's probably safe to say that almost everything in my house except the furniture and appliances has been bought on eBay.

I've been buying on eBay since 1998 -- more than 4,000 items -- and only 2-3 sellers have made it a bad experience for me. By that I mean they went south on me after I paid. That was in my newbie days, when I didnt pay enough attention to feedback.

Only a few times have sellers been r-e-a-l-l-y slow to ship -- by slow, I mean more than a month. As long as they stayed in touch with me, I gave them positive feedback. And a couple of times the sellers have supposedly broken the merchandise before shipping. As long as they gave me a full refund immediately, I gave them positive feedback.

Every other deal has gone very well. I've made many repeat purchases from some sellers and have enjoyed finding items that I'd probably never have found anywhere else. I hear sellers griping about going elsewhere but the truth is that eBay is where it's at -- and, from what I also hear, sellers who've tried other venues have found that out.
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:22 PM
 
Location: the Great Lakes states
798 posts, read 2,214,366 times
Reputation: 544
Thanks so much for all of these comments.

I looked over the VERO pages and I don't see any bans on selling any particular brands. What I do see is very careful scrutiny of items believed to be fradulent or counterfeit. Basically, it sounds like one is in big trouble if you try to sell counterfeits and you're caught, and the other main point from those pages is to avoid using company trademarks and logos except as absolutely necessary (such as, you can list the brand name and style details in your title, and cautiously in your description.)

RanchoNan, Last question maybe -- in your experience, how hard has it been to consistently source items that can give a $10 or higher profit margin? Easy, medium, or difficult?
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:22 PM
 
12,687 posts, read 17,033,385 times
Reputation: 24578
I've been a buying and selling member of eBay since its advent in the 1990s but haven't sold anything in a several years since eBay "revised" its shipping price policies midstream. It seemed to really affect book shipping costs and created a lot of confusion among my customers.

I still buy occasionally on eBay but I really pay attention to shipping costs. If it's not spelled out to the penny, I go somewhere else.
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:45 PM
 
Location: The Southern Sac's, NM
1,872 posts, read 2,996,881 times
Reputation: 2888
Quote:
Originally Posted by summer22 View Post
I looked over the VERO pages and I don't see any bans on selling any particular brands. What I do see is very careful scrutiny of items believed to be fradulent or counterfeit.
Good, I'm glad your item's won't be affected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by summer22 View Post
RanchoNan, Last question maybe -- in your experience, how hard has it been to consistently source items that can give a $10 or higher profit margin? Easy, medium, or difficult?
In my experience? Medium to difficult. But I have never sold in the CS&A categories. Your mileage may vary.

More helpful links I happened to think of:
eBay Pulse: trends, hot picks, cool stuff and popular searches on eBay.com for hot trends by category, and to see what your competition is doing.
Independent news and resources for online retailers industry news, very current.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:46 PM
 
Location: the Great Lakes states
798 posts, read 2,214,366 times
Reputation: 544
Thanks! I'm excited about getting started, sometime this month!
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