Part of flipping on eBay for fun and profit is finding products to sell. But the deal isn’t complete until things are sold …
Garage sales can be good places to get products for reselling on eBay.
Of course, finding the product is only part of this. The other part is selling it for a profit, after taking into account any fees and shipping.
Flipping on eBay: Thomas the Tank Engine overload
I’ve dabbled in buying things at yard sales and trying to resell them for profit. At one point I was selling magazine back issues — I even had an eBay store at one point — but got out of it because the shipping was killing me.
A few weeks ago, I ran to a yard sale while my daughter registered for summer swim league. The family had three plastic bags full of children’s DVDs, mostly Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder DVDs.
The DVDs didn’t have cases, but the price was pretty good: $9 for dozens of them. So I took a risk and bought them.
Did I flush $9 down the drain?
After getting them home, I counted 72 DVDs, so I had picked them up for about $0.13 each.
I looked up what some similar lots went for on eBay by checking the sold listings. Most of the listings for DVD lots had the original boxes, but a few had just the DVDs. Those sold for about $1/DVD shipped, so I had a chance at least.
Preparing the listing
I intended to sweeten the deal by throwing in an extra 108-DVD soft case that I had lying around. This had cost me about $10 or so but I had plenty of other ways to store my CDs/DVDs so it wasn’t a big deal to part ways with this one.
Then I went through each DVD and spot-checked to see that each played. (All of them had visible wear on them.) All but four of them played on my computer, which was good news. As I checked each one, I typed out the title so that I could put the entire list of DVDs into the eBay listing.
I then calculated the shipping on the item. I planned to offer free shipping because buyers like to have everything for one price. Also, there was no real benefit as far as I could tell to splitting out the shipping. The shipping was about $10 anywhere in the US.
I took six pictures of the DVDs. I didn’t take pictures of all of them because I had the entire catalog of DVDs in the listing.
Negotiating the sale
Maybe buyers see through this but I watched my own listing. That way it piqued some extra bit of interest.
I had set the price at $79. EBay allows up to 50 listings per month with no insertion fees (with some restrictions).
A few days into the listing I got an offer for $35, which was too low; I had $29 in costs, plus $3.50 final value fee, plus PayPal fees. Almost no profit, if any.
I counteroffered $60. She went up to $40.
I came down $19, and she went up only $5. OK, I’ll stop this nonsense, I thought. I countered with $59.50.
She got the hint and came up to $55, which I accepted. That put my profit at about $20.
What I would have done differently
This little adventure left me in the black, so I closed out the sale successfully. Here’s what I would have done differently, though:
- I might have refused the lowball offer. Thirty-five dollars was less than half of what I was asking. It was the first offer, though, and I probably was a bit concerned that the listing wouldn’t get any more action. I could have waited for someone willing to start a bit higher.
- I came down too much in the first round. I didn’t need to come down $19. Dropping the price to $75 would have been better, though I think dropping it to $78.50 the first time would have been obnoxious.
- I didn’t really need to sell them. We have friends that would have really liked to have those DVDs, so we could have just gifted them if they didn’t sell for a reasonable price. But the flip side of this is that I could have waited longer to get someone to pay what I was asking, which I didn’t.
What successes have you had with reselling on eBay?
Let me know in the comments! (Or tell me how I could have done better!)