Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Royal Sabre Typewriter

A long, LONG time ago, my mom asked me to sell her old manual typewriter from her college days. It sat around for a very, VERY long time. Finally, it got to where that was the ONLY thing I had left to list, and I had no money to buy anymore inventory. I gave it a half-hearted cleaning and listed it. Completed and current prices were all over the place, so I just slapped a stupid-high price on it with best offer, just to see what happened. I priced it at $199.99 or best offer (plus shipping).

There wasn't a whole lot of interest in it, but finally the other day I got a $75 offer on it. I asked my mom if she was happy with that and she said no, not really, so I countered with $150. Last night, the buyer countered with $100, which my mom was happy with - especially once I researched and saw that the highest price that this same typewriter got recently was only $35! I don't know what made this one fetch a higher price, other than the fact that I asked for more.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2013 Record Keeping

It's getting to be that time of year again. Have you started thinking about how you are going to be keeping records next year? I am a real proponent of the pencil and paper method. I have mentioned quite a few times here that I use the Dome Record Keeping book. Last year, I made the mistake of buying a weekly record keeping book at a thrift store because it was cheap. Well. I won't be doing THAT again. That means that instead of reconciling my books 12 times a year, I had to do it *52* times a year! What on earth was I thinking??  I'll definitely be going with the monthly book this year.

Read this post for my step-by-step tutorial for how to use this great book.

And as we are approaching the end of the year and tax time, you can refresh your memory by reading my tax series here. Please keep in mind, I am NOT an accountant or any other tax professional. These posts detail how *I* do things. If there is anything you are unsure of or uncomfortable with, please be sure to do your own research.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

iPhone Apps for Resellers

Sonya wrote:

"what apps to use when thrifting. I am hoping to get an iphone soon and have no clue what to do with it :)"

I have an iPhone too, and I wouldn't know how to behave without it! I really only use a couple apps when I'm thrifting.

#1. The most obvious one is the eBay app. With this one, you can check current listings, completely listed, and you can filter out just the sold items. That's a very nice feature. You don't have to sift through a bunch of unsold items to see how much your item COULD sell for. I use this one literally every time I go out shopping.

App Cost: FREE

#2. If I strike out researching on eBay, or if I'm trying to research a seasonal item, I turn to the Terapeak app. I can get data back a full year on it. You have to have a paid Terapeak subscription to get a year's worth of data though.

 App Cost: 99c

#3. My all-time favorite "app" to use while I'm out thrifting is the text message. Every online seller needs to get themselves at least one good seller-buddy. I will often send pictures to other seller friends to see if it's something I should pick up. I've made good money this way by buying things my friends have okay'ed. I've also saved good money this way by leaving behind the things my friends have nixed.

That's the only apps I use. There are others out there, but I don't know anything about them.

ScoutPal is good for amazon sellers. I don't use it because I don't sell on Amazon.

Amazon's app is good for toys and other items that are still in their boxes.

There are several different barcode scanner apps out there, but again ... I rarely sell items with barcodes, so I don't bother with that one either.

There are also apps for garage sales, Craigslist, auctions, and other venues like that. A quick Google search showed me Garage Sale Tracker, which looks interesting. It helps find and organize garage sales AND consignment/thrift store events. Might have to look into that one once I charge my phone.

There's also one other thrift store locator app that I have used in the past, but I can't for the life of me remember what it's called. I only used it once or twice because it was stupid and couldn't find the thrift store that I was sitting right outside of, so I deleted it from my phone. Probably no big loss that I can't remember what it's called.

Anyone else use any other apps that I haven't mentioned here?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Target Profit Margin

Anonymous said: 

"Love hearing about your sales! I'd like to know how you decide on pricing. What profit margin do you try and make off each item?"

Obviously, that's going to depend on the item. I don't have a hard and fast rule. I aim for 10x my investment on most things, but that's hard to do. Here's a sampling of some of my profit margins:

Shoes. I usually get them for $2.99 around here. Converse sell for $25-30, so that's pretty close to 10x. Occasionally I'll find a better brand and get even more than 10x. On the flipside of that, occasionally I'll pay $5 or more for shoes, so that's less than 10x.

Pants. I don't buy pants often, but when I do, they are usually $4.99. I'm lucky to get $20 out of them.

Shirts. They are usually $3.99, and I sell them (depending on brand, of course) for anywhere from $16.99 (basic Gap) to $35 (Ralph Lauren men's XXL)

Mugs. They are 50 cents at my Goodwill. I sell them for $10+. That's a good bit more than 10x.

Books. I try to stick to 25c-50c each for them and sell them in series lots for around $1 per book. Some series I can get more out of, like Babysitters' Club. I can get $1.50 per book out of them in a large lot, so sometimes I'm willing to pay up to $1 for those, if it's one I don't see often (super mystery or a really high book number).

Pans. I don't buy pans too often anymore, but when I do, they are usually Revere Ware or Vision Ware for an average of $5 at Goodwill, $2-3 at yard sales. Depending on the size, I can sell them for $20-$35.

Board Games. Totally depends on the game. My Goodwill sells games for 50 cents. I can make a very nice profit margin on them if it's the right game.

Hot Rollers. I'll pay up to $5 for a complete set. Again, depending on the particular set, I've sold hot rollers for anywhere from $15 (Hot Sticks) to $50 (Clairol Kindness 3-Way Deluxe), and even $75 (Lady Schick).

Plush. 50 cents at my Goodwill. I sell Care Bears for anywhere from $10 to $35, depending on the size and who it is.

I know that was a lot of "depending on..." statements, but that's a really hard question to give a blanket answer to. To summarize, of course I'm going to aim for a higher profit margin. I love 10x, and really, that's probably pretty close to my average profit margin. Just remember ... you determine your profit margin when you BUY an item, not when you SELL it. YOU can control how much you spend on an item. The MARKET controls how much you'll get out of it. Purchase wisely, and you'll do just fine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

G.I. Joe

Well, I got the elite  "By Invitation Only" listing special email the other day. 3 days only. Up to 5,000 fixed price listings free! Yay! Except that I had literally NO inventory to list. None. I couldn't even fake it and scrounge stuff up from around the house, because I had already done that.

Then a friend called. "Would you be interested in listing my brother's G.I. Joe collection on eBay? I have 3 bins full of them, and they are all new in their original packages."  I told her sure, bring them over. She came over an hour or so later and sure enough - that's a whole lotta G.I. Joes!

The 3 Rubbermaids are G.I. Joes. The rest is odds and ends. I got one whole bin listed yesterday. Fortunately, they aren't requiring any research or identification, because they are in their original packages, which have the names right on them. All I do is a quick check for completed prices and get it listed.

So .... the listing special ends tonight. I have a lot of work to do! Ta-ta!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Still Working On Your Questions

Also, I have not forgotten about the questions you asked in this post. I'm having a hard time using my time wisely, but all those questions are saved in my inbox and swirling through my mind... I WILL get to every one of them :-)


I am having the worst eBay week ever. Rather than coming here to complain about it (something I try really hard to avoid), I am just off pouting in the corner.

I'm out of inventory, so I haven't been listing, which means I haven't been selling, which means I haven't had money to buy new inventory... on and on THAT cycle goes.

Good news! My last negative dropped off this morning! Oh wait. I blinked. Someone left me a negative this evening. Ugh. I had NO negatives for a whopping 8 hours. Sigh. I offered her a refund if she returned the item, but instead she chose to neg me. So I'm waiting to hear back from her to see if she will revise. Doubtful.

Had a Buyer Protection case opened against me this week. Long story short - I sent the shirt out in perfect condition. 16 days later, buyer contacted me complaining of significant holes under the arms. My return policy is 14 days, but I told her she could send it back anyway. Once I looked at it, it was very clear to me that she ripped it trying to put it on, so I only refunded her return shipping and sent her a not that it was ineligible for a full refund. She got mad and started harassing me, sending me message after message after message, demanding dated pictures and shipping timelines and blah blah blah. I didn't get to respond to any of those, when she wrote, "If you aren't going to refund me, then send the shirt back." I don't know about you, but if I truly received a torn shirt in the mail, I would NOT ask for it back. I would insist on a full refund. But she didn't, which was a red flag for me. I sent it back (because remember - she asked me to). Then she opened a case against me. I called eBay and they (clearly) sided with me. The rep escalated the case and put it on hold. He told me that as soon as I saw that it was re-delivered, to call them and they would close the case in my favor and release my funds. It was delivered today, so I called them this evening and they followed through. They closed the case (it won't count against me), they released my funds, AND they didn't refund her! Score 1 for eBay SELLER Protection!

Right smack in the middle of THAT incident, I discovered 2 fraudulent charges on my Paypal card, so I had to call and report those (got them credited back to my account immediately). They cancelled my card and have sent me a new one, but I have to wait 7-10 business days for it to get here. In the meantime, I am left with NO immediate access to my Paypal account, which means I have to plan days in advance to transfer money to my checking account in order to buy groceries or gas. Ugh. But at least the fraudulent charges have stopped, so I'll try not to complain about not being able to shop :)

I've also have 5 returns in the past couple weeks, which does not do good things to my Paypal balance.


Ok, so I came here and complained anyway. Just be glad you got the quick, abbreviated versions of all of those stories.

Let's end on a good note .... hmm ....

Check out these Converse! My favorite sale from the past couple weeks, hands down.

They sold to a buyer in Spain, who paid an additional $22 for shipping!

I priced these way high because I couldn't find this exact pair anywhere on eBay, currently or in completeds. I saw lots of black with black toes and red around the edges, but they all had black eyelets. Mine was the ONLY pair I could find with red eyelets, which apparently made them worth more to this particular buyer. Woot!