Thursday, December 30, 2010

How Local Attorneys Can Help You Make Money on eBay

Sounds weird, right? How can an attorney help you with your eBay business? This isn't about paying them to set up an S Corp for you. This is about tapping into THEIR customers and making money from THEIR clients.

Attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy or estate settlement will have clients who either need money or have items to sell. By partnering with attorneys in your area, these attorneys can refer business to you. If you sell on consignment, you can make a nice commission selling items for people who are in the process of filing for bankrupcty, or who have estates (used and vintage items, possibly antiques) to sell.

The only way to have a successful eBay consignment business is to treat it as a business - to have a steady stream of repeat customers who depend on you for helping them turn their items into cash. Selling on consignment for your family and friends doesn't really work. There are too many emotions involved and usually not enough merchandise to make it worth your time. eBay selling may seem easy to you, but most people won't take the time and effort to learn how to do it.

There are other types of businesses you can partner with such as charity thrift shops and small mom and pop type operations just to name a few. It costs these businesses nothing for you to try to sell their items online. The key is that you (the consignment seller) will only spend your time trying to sell items that you KNOW will sell. Sometimes, you will have to say "no" because the item is not profitable and you are not going to spend your time trying to sell it.

I can speak from experience here. I have a consignment contract with a local Humane Society to sell items from their thrift store. I have been educating the staff on the types of items to pull out and set aside for eBay and Amazon sales. I can get 5 - 10 times more for an item than the thrift store can get because if their limited foot traffic. I drop by the store about twice a week, pick up the items, take a look around, and list the items on eBay for them. The staff loves to see me come by because I usually bring them a check! And I love working with them because most of the items I choose will sell for between $50 and $200. So I can make $20-$30 an hour selling items for somebody else who has a plentiful supply - I don't have to go out and cherry pick these items myself from all over town.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Irish Fisherman (Aran) Knit Sweaters on eBay

The fisherman sweater came about via the clans of the Aran Islands as a way to stay warm and dry when earning a living as a fisherman or merchant in the fishing industry. The sweaters are very thick and tightly woven providing protection from the wind and water. The patterns are unique to each clan and has symbolism. The designs of the Aran sweaters were also a way to identify bodies of fisherman who lost their lives at sea and later washed up along the shores.

Fisherman sweaters are a huge "score" if you can find them at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, or consignment. Here are a few examples of used fisherman sweaters that have recently sold on eBay. Check out these prices!

Men's Fisherman Sweater - Gray Cardigan sold for $140.27

Oatmeal Fisherman Sweater - sold for $135

Vintage Aran Sweater - Sold for $108

The highest profit items on eBay are used and vintage items. They are relatively easy to find and quite abundant. For more information on selling used items on eBay, check this resource.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Local Sourcing for eBay Using Salvage Stores

There are many benefits to sourcing locally as opposed to online or with wholesalers located some distance from you. Benefits include:

1. No shipping cost
2. No minimum purchase
3. Opportunity to inspect merchandise in person before buying
4. Buy what you want, when you want
5. Safer than online buying – face to face relationship with supplier
6. Networking opportunities
7. More personalized service – local suppliers can learn your business and contact you when new shipments arrive

You may be able to source eBay inventory using local salvage stores. Some salvage stores (not talking about auto salvage here) get their inventory from insurance claims. Let's say a business has a fire or a flood in their store or warehouse. Some of the merchandise will be completely ruined. Some of it won't. There are people out there who buy the "salvage" merchandise in large quantities and sell it. You don't want to be that person - because you may have to buy in large quantities and store the merchandise. You want to be the next person down the food chain that comes along.

Salvage stores or companies may be all around you, but you may not realize it. I have one near me and didn't even know what it was for about 5 years. These two guys buy merchandise from insurance claims. I have found all kinds of light bulk items there including baby items, health and beauty items, clothing, pet items, yard and garden, household, etc. Here is how to find salvage stores in your area.

Exhaust your personal network. Do you know someone in the insurance industry? Do you have a personal connection that can help you acquire these items? Do you know a truck driver who may deliver to one of these locations? Do you know anyone at the corporate level in retail?

Look in the phone book and Yellow Pages under salvage, surplus, wholesale, liquidations, and closeouts. You will be surprised to find these sellers right under your nose. You just haven’t looked for them before.

Pay attention to TV ads, newspaper ads, billboards, radio ads, etc. You may come across advertisements.

Search Google using combinations of these buzz words along with the name of your city, town, county or surrounding areas:

Salvage store
Salvage dealer
Wholesale / wholesaler
Military Surplus
Army Surplus
Navy Surplus
Surplus Center
Government surplus

Seek and ye shall find!

For more ideas like this about where to find inventory to sell, check out the eBay business system.

The Complete eBay Marketing System

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cool Paypal Hack for Printing Postage

Shipping, shipping, shipping. I've been doing a lot of shipping this week! Not just for online sales, but personal items, too. Here is a cool trick for using Paypal to ship a package that was NOT sold on eBay. The "print postage" feature on Paypal appears to only work if you can pull up a transaction on eBay. Here is a way around that.

1. Enter this link into a new window on your your browser:

2. You will have to login to Paypal.

3. You will get this screen where you can choose UPS or USPS:

4. Then you will get this screen where you enter the recipient's info and the package info:

5. Postage amount is deducted from your Paypal account, and just print the label as normal.

Very handy this time of year! For more cool tricks, download my FREE eBay Coach Reference guide.

Download my FREE guide with all kinds of eBay how-tos

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An Ugly Christmas Miracle!

Lisa sent in her success story:

I just wanted to thank you for sharing about "Ugly Christmas Sweaters!" I've been blessed to sell a number of them over the past month. I happened to come across this dress for $1 at our local thrift store and decided to try listing it...needless to say I was pretty pleased by the result! Thanks again!

You can view the complete listing here.

Have you sold anything unusually weird or ugly this holiday season? Let me know and I will share the joy on my blog. Send to

For more ideas on weird things that sell on eBay, download your free BOLO (be on the lookout list) here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vintage Mink Coat - Is it Real or Fake?

A consignment client brought me the "fur" coat pictured above to sell on eBay. I know nothing of furs, so I had Auction Wally appraise it for me. He has a very affordable service where you can get a virtual appraisal on an item for $16.95 and have the results within 3 days. Here is what Wally told me about the coat:

"I have some good news and some bad news. Bad news first. I can't do enough of an appraisal on this from here to justify taking a fee from you for two reasons.

First, I cannot tell you if the fur is real or fake from here.

Second, I just don't know furs well enough to determine if it is mink or another animal, if in fact it is real.

The good news is, I think I can help you a quite a bit with getting it sold. Here's how to determine if it's real or not: Take a tiny tuft from an unseen area of the coat and snip or pull it free. Set a flame or cigarette to it, if it ashes away, it's real fur. If it clumps up or melts in any way at the ends it's artificial, in which case you'll get a rubbery, plastic smell, an organic fur should smell like burnt hair. Don't fret any damage, you really only need a small amount for this test.

Another way is to slit a few inches at the seam of the lining and peek inside, real furs should be stitched together in strips and have a grainy texture on this side. A synthetic will not have these features.

As for it being mink vs other animals, the mink is the softest fur that I know of, it should feel almost like down when you touch it. If what you have is much coarser than that, it's not likely mink.

Good Luck, I'll be sending your refund via PayPal after I send this to you."

I did the burn test, it was a fake. Now that I look at it, it kinda reminds me of a possum. Thanks, Wally, for the fast service and for being so fair with the appraisal fee. Check out Auction Wally's appraisal service here.

I guess this coat will be going on Craigslist as "faux fur!"

Selling on consignment can be another income stream if you are already selling on eBay - and I love it because the products come to me and I can pick and choose what I want to work with. The key to a successful consignment business is just that - doing it deliberately as a business, not just selling your friends' and family's junk.

Get consignment clients coming to by joining my eBay Seller's Consignment Directory.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sorry, Your Item Didn't Sell - Always Try Again!

Don't you love those emails you get when an item doesn't sell? I got the one below this morning:

Always, always, always try again - immediately! Here's why. Your item may have watchers who forgot to bid. When your item is relisted, watchers get an email that says, "An item you were watching has been reslisted." They may come back - QUICKLY - to buy it. Look at the time on the email I received about the boots not selling - the time is 5:53:45 PST. The original listing was an auction. I immediately relisted the boots on a good til cancelled listing.

Guess what? At 7:41:09 PST (less than 2 hours later) I got this email:

The boots sold right away, and my guess, is to someone who received the automated email about the item being relisted. Look at the completed listing on eBay below - the good til canceled listing only had 3 page views.

So when you get those emails that say, "Sorry your item didn't sell," don't despair. Relist it right away and you may get a quick sale!

For more eBay "how tos," check out my FREE eBay Coach Reference Guide

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Collectible Strawberry Shortcake Ornaments Sold on eBay for $370

Vintage Strawberry Shortcake collectibles are great sellers on eBay. Check out this recent sale for a set of 3 Strawberry Shortcake ornaments:

Keep your eye out for other Strawberry Shortcake items at thrift stores and garage sales. Here are a few recent sales to consider:

Strawberry Shortcake Doll House - sold for $239

Strawberry Shortcake Bank - sold for $531.68

For more information on Strawberry Shortcake items and their values, visit Strawberry Shortcake Lane.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keyword Spamming on eBay - What Not to Do!

I listed an authentic Fendi hat couple of weeks ago and was researching prices. I came across this listing and, well, there are so many things wrong here I don't even know where to start. The first issue is keyword spamming. Look at this title:

An obvious and blatant attempt to get hits on their listing. This is called keyword spamming - using irrelevant words to get traffic to your listing. eBay does not like it when sellers manipulate the search engine in this way. It is inconvenient for buyers and an unfair marketing tactic. Keyword spamming is a big eBay no-no and your listing can be removed for this violation, and your DSRs will suffer. Don't do it.

As we look more closely at the listing, we see the shipping is $9.99. For a 3 ounce baseball hat? And then when you look closer at the shipping section, we see that the seller is using Media Mail - which is a class of mail only for media products (books, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, etc.) So, the buyer will pay $9.99 for a 3 oz hat to be shipped for 9 -15 day delivery?

As a buyer, watch out for listings like this. If the seller is this unscrupulous with his listing, odds are that the item is not of top quality and you won't receive very good service either.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lalaloopsy Dolls - Hot Toy to Sell on eBay

Lalaloopsy dolls are doing well on eBay right now and you MAY be able to find these at retail stores such as WalMart, Target, and Toys R Us. These toys are in short supply, which indicates the prices are going to increase. As supply decreases, price and demand will increase. Remember Econ 101? Even the media is talking about these dolls:

Mittens Fluff N Stuff sells at Toys R Us for $24.99. As you can see, the item is out of stock online and for in store pickup:

This doll recently sold on eBay for $56. Prices are all over the board right now and have gone over $100 in the last week.

Sugar Cookie is another one out of stock on Toys R Us:

And one sold on Sunday (11/28) for $38.02 - BUT - look at the shipping charge - $22.35? They made a nice profit on the shipping mark-up!

Pay attention to these by searching the completed listings on eBay frequently.

Related posts:

Hot Toy - Squinkies

Holiday 2010- Start Preparing Now!

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to Use eBay for Amazon Inventory

Here is a cool trick for using eBay to obtain inventory to sell on Amazon, especially books. If you are looking to get into the book business selling used or new books on Amazon, you can do this at home, at your convenience, without a special book scanner.

If you aren't selling books already, you will need to poke around on Amazon and look for books that are selling for $20-$30. (Click here for the types of books and categories to look in.)

If you are already selling books on Amazon, pay attention to your sales reports. When you sell a book for a high price on Amazon, go look for it on eBay and see if you can buy it at a low enough price to resell it on Amazon for a decent profit. For example, I recently sold the book, "Disney's Aladdin - The Making of an Animated Film." Here is a screen shot of the Amazon sale:

My profit on this item was $23.44 after my cost and Amazon fees. I consider that a high profit book sale. Next, I checked on eBay for this book, and found the following listing:

This book on eBay would cost me a total of $6.34. So, I can buy this book on eBay, receive it in the mail, and list it on Amazon for $32.97 (the same as my other sale). When it sells, I will make a profit of $20.34:

Cost to buy on eBay = $6.34
Amazon fees after sale = $6.29
Total investment = $12.63

Amazon sale price = $32.97 - $12.63 = $20.34

The moral of this story: Pay attention to your sales and scope out eBay for the product. Many sellers don't know how to price books and don't know their value. You can snag some high profit books very easily and resell them without ever leaving your house!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My eBay Flip - $10 Profit for 15 Minutes of Work

I love flipping listings. It is kind of like gambling. (No, I don't need a 12-step program...yet.) This is a great way to get inventory to sell, to try new things, and to leverage the power of eBay. Here is my latest flip and how you can do this, too! Thousands of new listings hit eBay every day, so the opportunity is ALWAYS there.

Here is my flip:

I found this item using a misspelling tool. I use - it is free. I searched for the words "cashmere sweater." The tool generates a list of possible misspellings, including typos, common misspellings, etc. I found this item:

Fatal errors on this listing:

1. Two words in the title are misspelled.

2. No return policy. (Read more on the importance of a return policy.)

3. The shipping is really too high for this item. It only weighs a few ounces.

4. No measurements on the listing. Always include measurements on clothing!

5. Keywords in title not optimized. Did not use the word NEW or NWOT in title.

The starting price was $3.99. I bid $5 using a sniper. You always want to snipe these items because bids on auctions encourage more bids. Stay under the radar and let a sniper win it for you in the last few seconds. I use - it is free.

I received the item in the mail, took my own photos, and relisted it. Here is my listing:

What I did differently (better!) than the original seller:

1. Use the word NEW as the first word in the title. This helps you place higher in searches.

2. Included free shipping. This also helps you place higher in searches.

3. Spelled all of the words correctly, added the color to the title, and used all of the space for the keywords in the title.

4. Included a 30 day return policy.

5. Included the measurements in the description.

6. Included international shipping.

So, did I make any money on this item:

Original cost: $16.99
Listing fee: .20
Final value fee: $3.95
Profit: $11.81

Not a huge profit but this is an example of what you can do on eBay without even leaving your house to find inventory. And you can do this many times a day, every single day. All you need is the internet, time, and your imagination. Some tips on flipping listings.

Focus on what you already know.
Brainstorm within a niche you are familiar with. Do you know about books, guitars, cameras, tools, leather goods, or anything collectible?

Browse websites that carry expensive products such as Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue, Bloomingdales, Macys.

Zone in on international sounding words as these are frequently misspelled. Good categories are apparel, shoes, fragrances, cosmetics, electronics, musical instruments, and tools.
Avoid handbags and watches as many of these on eBay are cheap imitations and if you resell a fake one, you may be suspended.

Avoid fragile items as they will have to be shipped to you, and then shipped out again to your customer and this opens up opportunities for damage.
Choose items that are easy to re-ship.

Create your own list of words to search for arbitrage.
The key to this process is knowing what to plug into the misspelling tool.

Do this process regularly. I spend about a hour a week looking for items like this, set up my snipes, and win (or lose) the items throughout the week. This process is not intended to be the base of your eBay business, but is a fun way to find things to resell.

Related articles:

Flipped listing - Dansko Clogs

Flipped Listing - Eileen Fisher Pants

Flipped Listing - True Religion Jeans

Learn to Flip eBay Listings in 5 Minutes