Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dumpster Diving for eBay Inventory

Dumpster diving is a messy and sometimes smelly activity, but it can be a good way to find eBay inventory. There are some basic steps you should follow to stay safe and (relatively) clean. There are also some locations that are better than others and normally yield better items.

If you live close to a college, you can find some great items at the end of each semester when students are moving out. A lot of times the students are too lazy to pack up all of their stuff, so they just throw it out and figure they’ll buy another item next semester. Or they realize they have nowhere to store items over the summer, so they’re forced to leave them behind. Also look for text books.( I have a coaching client (shout out Nancy M. in New York!) whose husband is a professor at a university in New York. My client told me that she walks around the campus at the end of the semester during exam time and finds abandoned books lying in hallways, on steps, and in parking lots – all free for the taking! Not dumpster diving, even better!)

When you go out dumpster diving, make sure to bring a step stool with you. This will make it easier to climb into the dumpster (since actual diving isn’t the safest choice). You’ll also want to bring gloves and boxes for your finds.

Once you’ve arrived at the dumpster, put your gloves on and use the stool to climb up and open the dumpster. Look over the dumpster and note where anything sharp or potentially dangerous is. Decide where the best place to climb in is and look for anything valuable there – you don’t want to step on it and break it. Once you’ve scoped everything out, climb in – while ignoring any comments and stares from people passing by.

After you’re safely inside the dumpster start going through all of the trash. You can find a lot of different things in dumpsters – radios, televisions, used DVD’s, cameras, purses (they may have jewelry or even cash inside), computer equipment, etc. Basically you’re looking for anything that may be worth money. If you find old handbags, be sure to look through them for money.

Move from one side of the dumpster to the other. As you come across potentially valuable items, move them outside the dumpster to your boxes. Once you’ve sifted through everything, climb out of the dumpster carefully. Make sure you replace any trash that’s fallen out and close the lid – you want to leave everything looking just like you found it.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

5 Ways to Get Free Inventory to Sell on eBay

The tight economy makes it tough on eBay sellers who don't have the cash to put out for inventory. However, if you are just a little bit creative, you can collect free stuff and then sell it on eBay. Here are some ways to do that.

FreeCycle is a great way to get free inventory to sell on eBay. You can get all kinds of things from home accessories to toys to furniture. Subscribe to the mailing list and when someone has something they want to get rid of, you will be notified. You don't have to tell anyone you want it to sell on eBay. Just make arrangements to pick it up and they'll be happy to get rid of it. Craigslist is another good place to find free inventory to sell on eBay. People post ads when they are putting their items on the curb and whoever gets there first to haul it away gets it for free. 

(Side note about FreeCycle: It is an organization set up to help keep things out of the landfill. The FreeCycle organization has not issues with selling items obtained from the site. The FreeCycle website says, “Welcome! The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,936 groups with 8,376,006 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them's good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on 'Browse Groups' above the search box. Have fun!” However, moderators and members might impose their own opinions here and punish those they feel are taking items away from the financially needy, even though that is not what FreeCycle is about. It is best to stay under the radar and not broadcast that you are an eBay seller or you might be removed from the group.)

In fact, picking useful items up on the curb is a good way to find free stuff. It's best to drive through the more affluent neighborhoods, especially on trash pick up day or take it a step farther and go dumpster diving. You never know what you'll find.

Garage sales are a great place for freebies when you get there late. By the end of the day, the people hosting the yard sale are usually worn out and the last thing they want to do is drag what didn't sell to Goodwill, so you can offer to haul it away for free.

Start collecting free samples by joining coupon groups and forums. Some good sites are Money Saving Mom, Coupon Cravings, and The Krazy Koupon Lady. You'll be kept informed when manufacturers offer free samples so you can send for them. Before long you'll have quite a collection you can sell on eBay. . Or even tune into the new show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing.” This program profiles extreme couponers and how they obtain thousands of products for free.

Another way to get free samples is to "like" manufacturers on Facebook. Sometimes you are rewarded with a coupon for a freebie, plus they will occasionally send free offers to their fans on Facebook. Some examples are General Mills, Clairol, and Neutrogena.

Finding free inventory to sell on eBay can be an adventure in itself but is worth the effort since you'll be rewarded with pure profit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Niche Products to Sell on eBay

Below is a list of niche products that have been featured on the eBay Coach blog. Keep in mind that niche products are a moving target. What may have been hot 90 days ago may not be hot now. Products change, consumer preferences change, technology changes, and the economy changes. This list is meant to provide you with insight into the types of products that may be good sellers in the future and product categories to pay attention to. Also included in this list are links to helpful articles that contain information on how to research, recognize, and discover niche products to sell online.

Niche Products:


Friday, April 22, 2011

Tips for Estate Sale Shopping

People love to shop estate sales because it gives them a chance to see into other people’s lives – plus you can get some great deals! Estate sales offer just about everything – they’re normally a way for people to get of the contents of a whole house, so buyers can find everything from kitchen supplies to window treatments. Because there is such a wide range of items, estate sales are popular with eBay sellers, antique dealers, and individuals. Check out these tips to help you shop successfully.

Don’t miss your chance. Other shoppers won’t have a problem grabbing something that you’re looking at, so pick up items you’re interested in immediately. You’ll always have the option to put it back later. It’s also a good idea to bring a mesh bag with you to carry all your items.

Focus on lesser known items. Popular brands and collectibles will be priced higher. If you can learn about valuable items that aren’t as easy to spot (such as items that don’t have the brand name marked obviously), you can get better deals.

Start in the basement. Most companies that run estate sales will place all the “nicer” items near the checkout station so they can watch them. Most buyers look at those items first. By heading to the kitchen or basement first, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and have a better selection in those rooms.

Wait to shop until the last day. Not everything will be gone by then, and the best part is that sellers will become more willing to deal with you because they want to get rid of the items. You can score great deals by waiting until the last day – often up to 75% off.

Respect the family and their items. Even if you think everything you’ve seen is a piece of junk, there’s no need to say it. You never know who is listening – family members and close friends may have decided to come to the sale. Be nice and thank the sellers for giving you the chance to look, even if you don’t choose to purchase anything.

It’s also very important to be honest and polite. Many people push and shove and fight over items at estate sales. No item is worth causing a fight. Becoming known as a trouble maker can also cause you to be banned from future sales – estate sale companies share information on people like that so don’t get put on the naughty list!

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Learn More about Selling Estate Sale Finds on eBay

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hiring Help for your eBay Business

eBay businesses require a lot of work and time. Not only do sellers work many long days and work on many tedious tasks, but they also have to perform physical labor. Hiring a helper can relieve some of these tasks and free up time. A lot of eBay sellers turn to their family and friends when they’re looking for a helper because they don’t know where else to turn or how to go about choosing someone. Hiring family and friends can be a good thing, but eBay sellers should be cautious when considering it. Many relationships have been ruined because people that were friends tried to work together too. Having coffee or shopping with someone is far different from working with them on a daily or even weekly basis. Plus, many people have found that their friend or family member didn’t have the work ethic they were looking for. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering hiring a family member or friend.

When hiring a helper, it’s very important that the person believes in what you’re doing. You may never be able to find someone as passionate as you are, but it’s not too much to ask for them to support it. If the person you’re considering isn’t enthusiastic and interested, it can lead to conflict.
Make sure to be objective when considering your friend or family member’s qualifications. It is very difficult and messy to fire someone you are close to. If you feel that they are a good match, it can be a good idea to have the person work on a particular task for a certain amount of time to determine if they are truly a good fit.

If you’re considering working with a member of your family, take into account any impact that it will make on your family’s finances. Bringing your spouse on board can be great, but if it involves them quitting their job it’s important to consider all the implications, such as losing insurance benefits and tax deductions.

Pay is also an important consideration when hiring relatives or friends. Make sure you pay a fair and reasonable amount – not only is it the right thing to do, but it can also help prevent them from resenting you and the success you have achieved.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tips for Selling Used Shoes on eBay

If you have plans on selling used shoes on eBay, there are a few tricks and techniques you should first know. There is a lot of competition on eBay, so therefore you want to make sure you understand and have knowledge of the different shoe types.

Athletic shoes such as Chuck Taylors, Keds and Nikes are probably the most easiest to maintain. These shoes are usually made out of fabric or canvas. Depending on the shoe’s material, a quick toss in the washer machine can have them looking good as new. You also want to pay attention to the shoelaces, and whether or not you need to replace them. Shoelaces that are extremely dirty or otherwise damaged will need to be replaced with a new pair. A $3 investment on new shoelaces can help increase the sales price. You won’t want to place a photo in your listing containing shoes that missing the laces or the laces are damaged in any way. 

For other type shoes, look closely for any imperfections such as scrapes, scratches or blemishes. A good tip for those handling children’s black patent leather shoes is a black magic marker to fill in any discoloration. With leather shoes, you will probably want to add a coat of shoe polish. In fact, it is a good idea to invest in different colors in shoe polish, if you plan to become a successful shoe seller on eBay. Next look at the sole of the shoes. Don’t try to sell shoes with holes in the sole. The soles won’t look appealing and the shoes will require too much repair to be wearable. 

Cleaning is a big part of selling used shoes. Especially if these shoes are found in second-hand stores or yard sales. The cleaner the shoe, the better they will look in photos. I keep a small kit of different colors of shoe polish, a small brush, brown and black sharpies, and some sneaker white to spruce up old shoes. A few minutes of cleaning can help increase your sale price.

When scouting for used shoes, you will want to keep your eye out for expensive designer brands. Used designers shoes will still sell for a decent profit. Get wide widths and larger sizes, as these are the most popular on eBay. A good guide to go by: Men’s size 12 and up -- Women’s sizes 9 and up. Click here for my free BOLO (Be On Look Out) list for good brands that sell on eBay.

When you create the listing, add all the relevant information concerning the shoe. This includes the measurements, condition, color, gender, and shoe size. Include plenty of photos, so the shoe can be seen at different angles. Always include a photo showing the bottom of the sole, as it is one of the buyer’s main concerns.

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Congratulations to the Kindle winner, Vickie Lynn of Lexington, Kentucky! Vicki Lynn will receive a Kindle wireless reading device valued at $139! Thanks to all who participated and promoted the giveaway. Look for another one soon!