Just wanted to do a quick rundown of the sales I did on eBay for the month of January because I thought it may interest you… or maybe not BUT at least it sort of sums up my selling adventures and will give you a little insight on what the process has looked and felt like.
For reference, check out why first post here: eBay is LIFE right now!
Just a note, though I have partnered with eBay in the past for sponsored campaigns, this in NO WAY was sponsored at all. I have not been in touch with eBay or have been paid in any other way besides my actual sales of products listed and sold. That’s just a little disclaimer so you know how transparent I’m being about all this (though, for the record, I’m very transparent within my sponsored work as well, just thought it was important to let you know I haven’t been paid by the company to sell or write about my experiences)
At the beginning of the month, and after a few years of putting it off, I finally began listing my ex-husband’s belongings on ebay. I know it sounds weird, but for those who don’t know the back story, when he left, he also left everything behind… didn’t want anything, told me to get rid of it however I wanted to. I went through it numerous times, donated TONS of stuff to my local Boys and Girl’s club and saved what I thought had value to sell on eBay. My original goal was to not only get his stuff out of my house, but also to make enough to pay off the VET debt I’ve incurred in the last year due to the Bobes being the most high-maintence Bobes on the planet, but you gotta do what you gotta do, and unfortunately, I have some debt now because of it. So my main goal was to earn somewhere in the 20K range (my debt is not that high, but I wanted to cover a few bases and aim high). Then once I began selling, I thought WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT TO MAKE $100,000 AND USE THE SALE OF HIS OWN STUFF TO BUY HIM OUT OF MY HOUSE!??!!? – yeah, it would be great, amazing really, and totally humorously ironic, BUT, the reality is that isn’t going to happen (I wrote about it a little bit here to motivate me to continue anyway after my fantasy let down) and I’ll probably gross somewhere in the 10-20K range and if I’m lucky, maybe bring in a little extra.
Anyway, I began listing December 31st I think and according to ebay, have sold 35 items with a total sales of $3279.32 – which, is pretty amazing I think, considering I had zero cost… in a way that I didn’t buy items to sell, I already had them, so it’s straight profit.
HOWEVER, eBay fees are pretty high, even though I was able to list about 50 items for zero listing fees, their selling fees are HIGH and then PayPal takes a fee and then shipping is a whole other ball game. Sure, I include shipping costs to the sellers but 98% of the time, my shipping costs were MORE than what I charged. Now again, because I really had no expectation on what I was going to make on each item (except for the research I had done to find value) I wasn’t losing money, per se, on the shipping charges, but it definitely took away from the overall gross income I made.
So here’s the breakdown…
I spent 31 days selling on eBay and sold 35 items
- Gross total: $3279.32 (including shipping charges)
- eBay fees: $320.51 (about 10%)
- Paypal fees: $113.45
- Shipping costs: $284.32
- Packing costs: tape and tissue paper $50 (I had to restock mid month)
- TOTAL EARNED: $2511.04
And in the meantime, my office became a giant MESS!
YES, it has been a LOT of work.. a LO-O-O-OT of work, but for the most part, I haven’t minded it and my net sales seem worth the time and effort. It feels good to finally accomplish this thing I’ve been putting off for so long, and to emotionally and physically remove my ex-husband from my house feels pretty nice too. AND I’m also getting great satisfaction out of reusing all the boxes and packing supplies I’ve been storing in my garage for the last few years for exactly this purpose. The cardboard box mountain is now a little hill and I feel like all the inner packing has gotten another use instead of going directly into a landfill and that makes me feel good too. I have over three incentives working to my advantage which definitely helps me stay motivated.
I still have a LOT of work ahead of me… so much more stuff, though I’m not sure the value is the same but you never know, I could have something worth a small fortune and don’t even know it. Right now I’m currently sorting through the hundreds of comic books he has collected over the years, researching and trying to figure out how to separate them to sell them for the most value. None of them are truly vintage or antique, so I’m just hoping I get a good return on my investment as far as the work I put in based on the revenue I make. We’ll see. 🙂
As of now, since it’s the end of the month, I’ve basically re-listed all the items that didn’t sell at a lower price, and if they don’t sell, I’ll donate them as well, but overall I did pretty well I think… even though my office became a total mess in the process, my PO box service went out of business so I had to get a new PO address at a new location, and it was a lot of work in addition to all the work I’m already doing, again, worth it on so many levels.
Below is my office sitting area-turned-packing and shipping station…
My Selling Tips… if you’re thinking about doing it too…
- Research, research, research. If I were selling my own stuff, I’d already know all the details, but in this case, I really had NO IDEA what I was selling so I had to research (which took more time than anything really). For instance, I knew that I had a lot of vintage 80s Transformers, but I had no idea what weapons belonged to each or what their names were, so I used eBay, google and Pinterest even as tools to research and find out more. Having the correct name in the title of your auction makes a huge difference. I also had a nice buyer help me out a few times, letting me know names/details that I was wrong on, which was nice. But I definitely listed a weapon with the Thundercats that was really for the Transformers, lol, so you get the picture. It helps to do your research if you’re unsure. Get the titles right!
- Take good photos! I used my iPhone for all my photos because it was just way easier and my phone takes pretty great photos, but bright lighting and a clean, white background help too. I stage everything in front of a wall with artwork on it so buyers know that I’m a person not a store and that this is a private collection vs me being a buyer/seller, if that makes sense. I think it helped. If you don’t have studio lighting, take images during the day so you can utilize the sun, and make sure you shoot every angle you can.
- Give accurate descriptions that are honest. If something is dirty, include it. If it’s missing parts or has a snag, etc. Include it. Be as honest in your description and photos as possible so as to not trick anyone. I think this is very important… My hope is also to have the buyer open the box and think IT’S EVEN BETTER in person than in the photos, so they’re happy with their purchase and think it was a good investment. That’s just super important to me.
- Make sure you have plenty of boxes (I like reusing boxes and they’re free), tissue paper and packing supplies, box tape and a tape gun. I have also used zip lock bags for certain collections of small items, and pack my boxes neatly and tight so nothing moves around or gets broken.
- I print 2 copies of the order details; one to keep for myself and one I fold in half, write THANK YOU on and include in the box when I ship the order.
- Though they give you the option (and I’ve used it in the past) I DID NOT pay for or print packing slips via eBay or PayPal because I’m not exactly sure of the weight, size, etc. and I want to make sure the package arrives correctly.
- From the eBay order detail printer friendly page, I copy and paste the buyer’s address along with my address onto a word or photoshop doc and print that out (usually two to a page to save paper), cut them and tape them to the boxes.
- After I ship, I look at my receipt and go to each item sold on ebay and enter the tracking number of the package. This lets the buyer know their package has been shipped (and obviously gives them a tracking number) as well as labeling them SHIPPED in my ebay and PayPal pages so I know what’s already gone out.
- Once I enter all the tracking numbers, I leave positive feedback for the buyers and then gather all the invoices (order details pages I printed out earlier) and staple my shipping receipt from the post office to those particular items sent out. This keeps my records straight not only so I can calculate my profit and loss, but also for tax purposes and deductions, etc.
- I’ve noticed that evenings between 5-7 pm PST (I’m in CA) are the best times to list, and particularly Monday evenings seem to produce the highest sales (i.e. more people are browsing at that time in addition to the people who have already seen/watched/bid on a particular item) so it gives a higher chance of a sale.
- I prefer auction-style sales to buy it now because A. I’m not really sure how much my items are worth B. I obviously want to get the most for each item (without being greedy, of course) and C. More popular items attract more visitors to look at the other items you have for sale.
- I’ve had pretty good luck with buyers paying promptly (asap or within 3 days) though I have had a few just NOT pay with no communication and a few also pay like a week or more later. I really want to avoid giving anyone negative feedback, so I do the most I can by sending invoices and communicating with the buyer during the process.
- Unless you list all on the same day (I did not) and plan to go to the post office to ship once a week, expect to go to the post office at least three times a week. On three visits I shipped about 6-7 boxes (which not only takes a ridiculous amount of time thus making everyone waiting in line behind you mad – oh well, what can you do? lol), but most visits I shipped 2-4 packages, which was far easier and also took less time. So more visits sounds like more of a hassle, but shipping fewer at a time multiple times ended up being far easier.
SO these are just my little tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way and how I like to run it like a business. Hope they help you in your selling adventures!
For MORE SUPER VALUABLE tips and tricks, check out Gary Vaynerchuck’s How to Find Easy Products to Sell on eBay because he’s super inspiring and motivating and loves a good FLIP!
See what I’m selling now on eBay here!
Happy Friday! Happy Selling!
* Find all my eBay posts here