Utilizing Online Tools for Those eBay Fees

We all hate them. They add up so quickly. And it seems to be like so much. They eat right into your profits, too!

I’m talking about seller fees. Both Amazon and eBay charge a certain amount for each item when it sells. It’s different between the two online giants, but there still pretty similar. At least for some items. While these can be hard for some to figure out, this blog is to help you better understand them!

eBay fees

eBay has a lot of hidden fees. So it’s quite important that you know all of them if you want to be making profit.

eBay charges an insertion fee and a final value fee. On top of that, if you are using Paypal, your going to pay a basic .30 cent fee for having money transferred to your account and a 2.9% of how much was sent to you. For example, I recently sold a 3D face coffee mug for $12.59. Paypal took the 30 cents, bringing my net profit down to 12.29. After the 2.9% of the $12.59, they took another .37 cents. So technically, before fees for eBay, I’ve received $11.59 for the mug. I offered free shipping for the item, which cost $5.80. Bring my net profit to $5.79. My final value fee was at $1.26, and I bought the mug for 50 cents, so I made a net of $4.03. That’s not bad for a mere 5 minutes of listing the item, and packing it all up. Hopefully I didn’t make it too complicated.

In order to keep my costs down for coffee mugs, I always ship using USPS Priority mail Not only are the boxes free, printing labels off of eBay are discounted.

To put it simply: Paypal will charge you about 6% for a $10 sale. And eBay is at about 10% for final value, using my coffee mug. eBay also charges a certain percentage if you charge for shipping. That’s usually why I don’t charge for shipping.

amazon fees

Amazon uses a different way to charge you. Instead of having an upfront listing fee like eBay, they take out a their fees after an item sells. I’ve heard that Amazon takes out about a 3rd of the price you are selling an item for. Amazon is by far more upfront with their fees. The lowest Amazon will charge is 8% and that’s if your selling consumer electronics. And the highest is 15%, and that covers a lot of categories, books being one of them. On top of that, if you are not registered as a professional seller for $40 a month, you are going to be charge a $1 referral fee for anything you sell.

If you choose to do FBA, you’re going to have to pay a little bit more. You are going to pay a picking fee. And a storage fee. For standard size items, it will be .51 cents a cubic foot for the first 3 quarters of the year. The last quarter will be .68 cents. Oversize items are different. Those are .40 cents a cubic foot, and then .53 cents a cubic foot for 4th quarter.

Regardless of who you choose, you should utilize both eBays fee calculator and Amazons Revenue calculator. You should be really using these for every item until you get the basics of how much both Amazon and eBay will be taking out.

Other than that, happy thrifting!

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Your Guide To Retail Arbitrage

I was like a kid in a candy store the other day. Just a week ago, this Goodwill opened and had a lot of promotions to kickstart the store. They also mentioned in an email to all club Goodwill Rewards that they will be adding new inventory throughout the day. Personally, I did not go to it just because there was most likely going to a lot of people there. And due to the fact most people aren’t entirely nice while shopping at Goodwill, I can’t imagine how they would be at a grand opening. One thing I have realized, after a week after all the grand opening sales, is that there was a lot of stuff still unused, new still in box items. Most of them from Target. While I was grabbing most of them, and scanning them, I came across a personal best for me. Oddly enough, it’s a back shaver for men. Maybe I’ll just keep it for myself… Just kidding, I’m too young for back hair. But I got it for $13, with a sellers rank of 432! Lowest FBA price is $57.99. I was jumping for joy in my mind.

With a low sellers rank of 432 and low price of $13, this is my best find so far!

With a low sellers rank of 432 and low price of $13, this is my best find so far!

But instead of getting a lot of books that aren’t going to be making me a lot of money and will probably take a long time to move, I decided to really focus on other new items that will sell quicker. Since this Goodwill is still new, I am not surprised I have found all the new items in package that I have. I was on a pretty strict budget, only about $40-$50. And I only spent about $25, only buying 8 items. Not a lot of stuff, but I should make a decent profit! Other than the back shaver I got a few board games, a few books, and like 2 or 3 coffee mugs.

I also tried some estate sales. The first one I went too I found a whole lot of nothing. Everything was overpriced. For example, a box CRT tv these people were asking $60. Yes, those big CRT tv’s that you find sitting on the side of the road. I laughed to myself. I posted a picture of the price to a Facebook sellers group, and according to some people, they actually sell. Not around me! Goodwill is not even accepting them around me. They used too and used to sell them for .99 cents. But they were coming in much faster than what they were going at. But I’ve realized that estate sales are just like garage or yard sales, but throughout a house.

Retail Arbitrage

For those of you who have not heard about retail arbitrage, all’s it is buying stuff at Target or Walmart that are on clearance, and then just flipping them online. A lot of people that do it make an insane amount of money doing it. But it takes a bigger budget than sourcing from Goodwill or another thrift store. But I really suggest that you try going to a few different Goodwills and checking to see if they have anything good from Target, before actually going to Target!

While you can consider my recent trip to Goodwill, focusing on new in package items retail arbitrage, it was a first for me. And hopefully I will have good luck with it as I did this first time! This will be a learning curve for me, and I will keep on posting as I learn!

Until next time!

My Amazon and eBay Stores

If you are interested to see what I am selling on Amazon and on eBay or if you feel like giving me feedback or tips on how to improve my listings, this is the spot!

Click here to see what I have for sale on eBay.

Click here to see what I have for sale on Amazon.

If you see an item you are interested in, feel free to buy it! I’m working really hard to get sales!

Why Listing Your Items on eBay Should Be 1 of The Deadly Sins

If your one of the millions of people that have sold something on eBay, listing that product might of been easy and pleasant. Odds are it took you a few minutes to take the picture and write a description. But imagine doing that for twenty, thirty or heck maybe even a hundred in one sitting. That would probably drive me nuts. It took me half a day to post a mere 15 coffee mugs on eBay. And I have about 20 to go. Doing the first few drove me nuts. While doing that today, I have found some things to save time on posting the items.

That’s when I decided to make a post on how to save you a little time while listing your items for eBay.

Although there are a few extra coffee mugs in my basement and my room, these are the most of my coffee mugs. There are about 25 mugs in the basket and on the side.

Although there are a few extra coffee mugs in my basement and my room, these are the most of my coffee mugs. There are about 25 mugs in the basket and on the side.

Tip #1

If you’re listing a lot of similar items, for example, coffee mugs, I have realized making a basic description in Google Docs and pasting it in every listing and changing a few words really nice. It helped save me boat loads of time writing out a description that I have been almost rewriting for a lot of posts.

tip #2

If your item has a UPC or ISBN code, try starting with that. It mainly works for books. The nice thing about using these is that eBay already has a pre-filled out description for books and DVDs. So alls you have to do is simply type in the code, choose if you want to charge for shipping and hit publish.

tip #3

Use turbo lister.

I haven’t really used it yet, but I’ve heard it’s a really nice tool for listing a lot of items. Here are the system requirements needed to download:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7
  • Pentium II and above
  • At least 250 MB free disk space, more than 500 MB recommended
  • RAM: 128 MB, more than 256 MB recommended
  • Internet Explorer v5.5 or later installed

Just click here to go to eBay and download if you wish.

tip #4

Use keywords to your advantage.

This doesn’t mean using a lot of pointless words at the end of your listing. Bidders or potential customers really don’t like keyword spamming. It’s like me using a lot of pointless keywords to draw attention to this post. The words old, vintage and sexy are great ways to bring visitors to your item. If there relevant, use them!

tip #4

Write an About Me page. People love a great story. Especially about other people. So maybe share to the world about how you got started on eBay. For me, it was simply selling stuff I did not need at home. Mainly clothes. And to be honest, if I knew what I know now about selling, I would have made a whole lot more. But, mistakes are here for a reason, and that is to learn from them! Regardless if I didn’t make a lot

tip #5

Be seasonal

You might hate the holidays, but some people go crazy about them. And them going crazy, means $$$ for you. Try and get creative here. Maybe do a sale on certain colored items, like red and green ones. You should include your sales in your newsletter to really promote your products! It helps a lot!

tip #6

Know the power of the newsletter.

It lets you announce the current and future sales you will be having.

tip #7

Know how much it will cost you in fees

Stay away from even price items like $10. Price it for $9.95 instead. Not only will it save you money in fees, but it looks cheaper than $10. That’s why brick and mortar stores do it. If you are doing an auction, try and stay away from starting at .99 cents. A lot of people think an item is not of quality if you’re starting it at say,$4.99.

tip #8

Find your niche, and stick to it

Right now, I am focusing on coffee mugs Not only can you find them cheaply at a thrift shop, I feel as if there easy to learn which ones sell and which ones don’t. Also, stick to what you know. My dad owns his own shop, and I’ve worked for him while I was too young to apply anywhere else, and I have to say I have learned a lot more about engines, and how that stuff works. I wasn’t turning wrenches. But just being around that stuff really made me think about how that stuff worked.

Also, I have an interest in gardening and experience in working at a greenhouse and a truck farmer.

tip #9

Communication is key!

Get those invoices out right after your auction ends. If it’s at some odd hour of the day, schedule your next auction at a time that works the best for you. Make sure you’re message is both positive and friendly. Answer questions, thoroughly, and fast. If you have not been using the Click N’ Ship feature, use it! It’s through the USPS, and provides tracking numbers for all items shipped, aside from media mail (correct me if I’m wrong please!) Tracking is an additional 23 cents as of right now. Trust me, it’s worth that extra 23 cents. People love knowing when and where their package is. People can also sign up for both email and text alerts.

tip #10

Accepting Paypal

If you’re not on PayPal already, get on it. Paypal is the most popular way to transfer money on eBay. It’s actually owned by eBay, but I believe they are looking to sell it. PayPal isn’t the only service to transfer funds between you and the buyer, just the most popular one. There are a few others, but I do not know them off the top of my head.

tip #11

Check out your competition

The feeling of selling an expensive item online knowing you probably could have gotten a decent amount more is stomach churning. At least for me. The best way to check out how much your item is selling for is by checking the “Sold Items” box. Personally, I like to be right down the middle on my items, not the most expensive, but not the cheapest.

That’s all for now! I’ll make a part two post because I have a lot of more tips to give you, so be sure to follow my blog!

Quick Update 3/25/15

It’s been a bit since I’ve last posted, so I thought I’d give you all a little update!

I’ve been busy trying to build up my inventory for Amazon FBA, and listing all my coffee mugs on eBay! Most of today, I’ve spent shopping at Goodwill, and went to Salvation Army for the first time, ever. I’ll make a post about that in the near future! And I just got done applying for a full-time position for a fulfillment worker at Amazon. They have a warehouse right by me! Who knows, maybe I can just bring all my shipments to work and save on the shipping :). But other than that, I’ve just been crazy busy with listing all my stuff!

Just a heads up, I would LOVE to hear your feedback! Or you can just contact me if you have any questions! I’m more than willing to help you! Just go to the “Contact Me” page and fill it out!

That’s all for now!  Oh, and have a GREAT hump day!036e541eae1aaccd851729eb7afe0199188edaef01deaf3c2c707967f073baa5

The Best Way Around a Goodwill

Every Goodwill is different. The setup, the things you can find, the cleanliness, and a lot more. Now everyone has their own way around one, whether it’s going through each and every aisle or hitting different sections. It’s really completely different for each person.

Personally, I go straight to books. There closest to the door, so there the first thing you see if you’re coming in and grabbing a cart. I usually spend 20 minutes, tops. That’s pretty rare tho, but I’ve done it a few times. But on average, I spend maybe 10 minutes. I usually stay away from fiction and stick most with non-fiction. Non-fiction books sell best. Depending on how big or small my budget is, I could walk away with about 20 or so books. Since books move relatively slow, I only buy a lot every so often. Other than that, I might just grab a few of them and add them to an existing FBA plan.

After I’m done with books, I then move over to coffee mugs. This is the section I love the most. 50 cents a mug, and I typically find ones that are worth over $15. Just the other night I found a Starbucks mugs for 50 cents. Yes, a Starbucks mug. Starbucks mugs are the bomb Giggity. It’s weird, something about them, people just want.

After Coffee mugs, I then make my way, slowly, to board games. I say slowly because there’s a few aisles that I take my time kinda going through on my way. Some stuff I have no idea if its worth, but I like to work my way through it to see if anything that I know would sell has made its way there. A lot of people like to pick something up and set it down on the opposite end where it came from.

Then off to the office supplies I go. Why office supplies? Because on occasion, I’ll find some Avery branded printables. Whether its business cards for laser or inkjet printers, these will fetch a good profit. On a recent trip, one pack of them was ranked 500 and the buyer box was at $12.16. Not bad only paying $2 for them. Other than that, the other few I picked up were ranked between 1,000 and 6,000. Which is still good to me, due to the fact that some, if not most of my books are ranked at 800,000 if not higher. But that’s fine for me. I like having something that will take a while to sell. I really like to diversify my inventory with slow moving items, usually books, and faster-moving items. The faster-moving items usually go for a lower profit margin the longer moving items. Reason being for the smaller profit margin is simple, competition.

To me, fast moving items on Amazon are pretty much anything under
10,000 sales rank. Anything between 10,000 and 999,999 are considered slow moving.

goodwill-store

The best day to go

Personally, I have found that during the week – especially earlier in the week like Monday’s and Tuesday’s- have been the best for me. Not only is there the weekend crowd, but the Workers are shelving items that have been donated throughout the weekend. And depending on how busy they have been during the weekend, the workers may not have been able to put that one item on the shelf that could make you a killer amount of money.

I honestly try and shoot for 3-4 o’clock in the afternoon for time. When I worked at a local fast food joint, that was really are slow part of the day. Right after the lunch rush, until 4ish. But that’s fast food, and I have noticed the same kind of rush at Goodwill.

5 Things Other Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Goodwill Rewards

Goodwill is great. If you’re going to be shopping there for inventory or personal use, you should probably get the Goodwill Rewards Card. You get a point for like every dollar you spend there, and at a certain amount of points, you get a $5 coupon (correct me if I’m wrong!) Also, just for signing up, you get a free coupon. And around me, the goodwills have scratch off days every 15th of the month. I recently went to one, and it was just complete and udder madness. The line was long for checkout, and there were just people everywhere. I mean, everywhere. Maybe the 65 degrees in Wisconsin had a part… And it was a Sunday Afternoon. I bought maybe 3 books and 2 coffee mugs and decided I probably wouldn’t find anything more.

Not only do you get rewarded for purchasing, but you get the occasional coupon sent to your email. They also keep you up to date on stuff that’s happening, like new stores opening. I have a new store opening near me. There giving away a $5 gift card for the first 100 people into the store, with a free reusable bag. I’m considering going. According to a few reseller groups on Facebook, their nuts. I’ve been told not to be pushing around a cart. And just go in and get the heck out.

Thought I would share that!

Have a nice day, and happy hunting!

I took this on my iPhone 5c. It's only an 8 MP camera!

I took this on my iPhone 5c. It’s only an 8 MP camera!

Why Photography is Vital

Photography is vital for your item to sell on eBay. Nobody will buy your item if you have a crappy picture. Well, someone might, but it will take forever. One way to make your item photography better is by using a light box. And you can make one for under $10, and in under than an hours time.

Gathering The Materials

Here’s a list of the items you will need:

  • Cardboard box (size is up to you, bigger the better)
  • 2-4 sheets of white tissue paper
  • matte white posterboard
  • matte black posterboard
  • scotch tape
  • packing tape
  • ruler
  • pencil or pen
  • scissors
  • box cutter
  • lights
Steps

670px-ChooseBox-Step-1

  1. Choose Your Box
    • Choose an appropriate box that will fit your needs. You can pick up free ones from any store around you. You might want to ask appliance shops because they will have bigger boxes. If they do not have any, Wal-mart or another retailer sells big moving boxes for under $2 that will work just fine.
  2. Secure the Bottom of Your Box
    • Tape up the box as if your shipping something, then tape the inside flaps. This will keep them from getting in the way of the product when it is all finished. 670px-SecureBottomTape-Step-2
  3. Lay the Box On its Side
    • Make sure it’s facing you. You’re then going to want get your ruler and your pencil or pen. Then mark an inch around the whole length of the box, this is where you’re going to be cutting. 670px-MarkLines-Step-4 (1)
  4. Using The Box Cutter…
    • Cut out along the lines you just drew. Feel free to use the ruler as a guide, but this doesn’t have to be straight. Notice that the flaps on the front of the box have been left on for now to add stability and make it easier to cut. You may find that taping the front flaps shut makes it easier to cut.
  5. Cut the Flaps off
  6. Cut a section of white fabric (white muslin fabric) or White Nylon and white fleece, large enough to fit over each of the openings you cut
    1. Tape it using the cellophane tape to the outside of the box. Start with one layer of fabric. After taking a few shots, you might want to add a few more layers. After that you’re going to want to cut off any of the remaining fabric that is overlaying the outside of the box.
    2. 670px-DiffusingMaterial-Step-7
  7. Cut a piece of matte white poster board to fit the inside of your box.
    • The piece should be in the shape of a rectangle, with the width being the same as a side of the box, but the length being twice as long.670px-InsertMattePaper-Step-10
  8. Insert the poster board into the box, curving it up towards the top of the box. Curve it gently; don’t crease it. Trim it if necessary. This will create an infinite, edgeless look for the background of your shots.
  9. Cut matte black poster board in sections large enough to cover the tissue paper areas. This will allow you to block light from certain directions when taking photographs.
  10. Add your lighting. Photo lights, flashes, and even standard desk lamps can be placed on either side or above the box to produce the desired lighting effect. I use 60 watt light bulbs from Walmart. Get the Daylight one! You don’t really want the yellowish tint when you take a picture for your customers. I believe a 4-pack of them were under a dollar. I get the knock of brand, there just light bulbs.
  11. Take Some Test Shots
    • You don’t need a $400 camera to get started. I got a simple point and shoot from Goodwill that goes for like $20 on eBay for $3. I love it, it works great! You can also use your smartphone. My iPhone 5C took crazy good shots a while ago when I went Lake Surfing in September.
      I took this on my iPhone 5c. It's only an 8 MP camera!

      I took this on my iPhone 5c. It’s only an 8 MP camera!

      Tips

      • Make sure to use matte and not glossy poster board. Glossy poster board can reflect the light and cause glare.
      • Try other colors of poster board and even fabric to achieve the desired effect.
      • If you take shots straight down from above, cut the bottom of the box like the sides and top, and cover with tissue paper. Then set the box open side down and cut a lens sized hole in what is now the top of the box. That way you can lay out your subject on a piece of white matte cardboard, then drop the box over it, and shoot the photograph through the hole.
      • If your camera has one, learn how to use its “custom white balance” (WB) feature–this can make all the difference when shooting items in this fashion.
      • You may find that removing the bottom of the box makes it easier to just drop the light box over your subject.

      That’s all for now!

      http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Inexpensive-Photography-Lightbox

The Insiders Guide To Shipping Supplies

If you made up your mind on selling stuff online, regardless if its coffee mugs or books, your going to have to ship that item. And shipping can be a real pain in the behind.

Boxes

Usually, when I send FBA shipments in, I send no less than 30 books at a time. I believe that is the most economical way to do it with the discounted shipping rates. I ultimately try and get as many free boxes as I can but if I’m sending a heavy shipment of books, then I go with the size 14x14x14. I tend to fill those up pretty well. They sell them on Amazon for about $20 for a pack of 25 of them.

Other than that, you can get free boxes at your local post office or on their website. I typically ship through flat rate if an item is heavier than 13 ounces. Unless its a book or anything that can fall under the category of media mail.

I go into deeper detail on where and how to get free boxes on one of my other blog posts.

Don't know what media mail is? That ok, I'm here to help! Media Mail is a cost-effective way to send educational materials. This service has restrictions on the type of media that can be sent. From $2.69 at a Post Office. It's perfect for sending books and educational materials. But the maxium weight to use media mail is 70 lbs. Heres a PDF made by stamps that shows the pricing on items for media mail.

Filler paper

And if you plan on shipping books to FBA, you may find some empty space in your box. If you are subscribed to a newspaper, that will work just fine. I get the Wall Street Journal every day and I have been saving them, just for this exact reason.

Bubblewrap

If your selling stuff on eBay, like coffee mugs, bubble wrap is a must. Usually I just wrap it twice around the mug. And I got free boxes from usps.com. The size that work the best for coffee mugs are the 6″x6″x7″. I then usually fill up the empty space, with, of course, old newspaper. Feel free to use as much packaging as you feel comfortable. Since this will be shipped flat rate, it won’t matter if its 5 pounds or 6 pounds, it will be $5.05 with the eBay shipping discount. Generally, rolls of bubble wrap can be found at any local Wal-mart for $5-$10 a roll.

Packaging Tape

I use bandit packaging tape. It’s cheaper than duck, and works just as great. I get mine at walmart for $3.50.

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Links for shipping supplies on Amazon

Duck Brand Bubble Wrap Original Protective Packaging, 12 Inches Wide x 150 Feet Long, Single Roll (284054)

Packing Paper – Large Bundle – Free 2-Day Shipping Orders $30+ – by Cheap Cheap Moving Boxes

Here’s the link if you’re interested in buying 14x14x14 boxes.

Pratt PRA0078 Recycled Corrugated Cardboard Single Wall Standard Flat Box with C Flute, 14″ Length x 14″ Width x 6″ Height, (Pack of 25)

But that’s all for now!

How These Tips for Thrifting Can Help You Survive A Filibuster

Maybe you’re just starting out selling on eBay or Amazon or Etsy. Or maybe you’ve been doing this since 1999. Regardless, if you want to grow your inventory, you may want to read this post!

Regardless of where you’re going to be shopping, there are a few things I highly recommend you bringing with you:

  • A smartphone
    • Make sure you have the eBay app and the Amazon shopping app. You want these so you can look up items as your going through them. The nice thing about these apps is they have barcode scanners, so you can just scan the barcode. Make sure to check the completed listings first to see how much the item actually sold for. Active listings just tell you how much the seller is asking for that item. Think of it as buying a used or new car, the price you pay will probably be lower than the sticker price.
  • Comfortable clothes
    • If you’re going to spend all day hunting for stuff to sell, bring comfy clothes. The last thing you want while you’re out shopping are sore feet.
  • Bring cash!
    • Regardless if you know that your local thrift shop takes credit and/or credit cards, it’s always nice to bring cash, just in case! Make sure to bring ones, fives, tens and a few twenties!

Tips before you go

  1. Map out where you’re going before you go!
    • I use Google Maps to plan out what the most efficient route is, both for fuel mileage and time.
  2. Check trends online
    • Check mainstream stores websites like American Eagle, Hue 21, etc., to know what the current style and trends are at!
  3. Pack
    • Make sure you bring snacks and water. Your body needs water. Needs it.
  4. Set limits
    • It would kind of suck if you went through all your spending money in one store. Set a dollar limit for each store. Also, if you’re an impulse buyer, like me, you might want to go through everything before checking out. And ask yourself, will this really make me money.
Great apps for your smartphone

Like I said earlier, the eBay and Amazon Shopping app are a must for resellers. But there are a few other apps I highly suggest that will make your thrifting life that much better.

  • Waze
    • If you never heard of Waze before, now’s the time to download it. If you’re like me, you hate traffic jams and getting pulled over, this is the app for you. Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. People that have this app can share where cops are sitting, where traffic jams are, what the weather is like, and much much more. By sharing that, you can earn points and be thanked by other wazers. After a certain while, these points will add up and you’ll gain on the leaderboards! I don’t know how many times this app has helped me avoid speeding tickets and traffic jams. Did I mention that it will re-route you if there is a large enough traffic jam?
  • 15412760511_d483097f55_k

    Waze can be download for free on iTunes for Apple users and the Google Play store for droid users.

  • Map My Walk
    •  If you want to know how much walking you did, this app is for you. It is free for both iOS and Droid devices!
  • GasBuddy
    • Regardless if your shopping at a thrift store to save money or to make money, odds are you probably want to know where the cheapest gas is. I use Gas Buddy. It’s free for both Droid and iOS devices. And if this app can save you a few pennies a gallon at the pump, I’d take it. Those small things add up! download (1)
One Last tip....

One last tip is timing. It all depends on when you go. I highly suggest going on a Monday, or a Tuesday. Not only do you beat the weekend crowd, but it gives the workers time to put out items they have received during the weekend. I don’t think I can tell how important this last tip is. And I don’t know how many items I have gotten throughout the week that I would of never of gotten on a weekend.

Other than that, I think I am done here! Happy hunting friends!