[While my preferred product sources are local (e.g. yard and estate sales) because of advantageous pricing, high item value, and plain-old adventure & excitement, a good long-term eBay business should seriously consider importing solid bread & butter products from China and other low-cost manufacturing countries. Today’s post is a guest post from Philip Rudy of learntoimportfromchina.com, giving you a rundown of how one might go about reselling manufactured products from China en masse.]
Generally, if you’re a professional reseller, the worst possible place from which you can source your products is from, you guessed it, another professional reseller. It’s nothing personal, but the reality is that flea market vendors typically price their items stiffly, and often have a large accumulation of low-quality products.
The danger, of course, is not that you will accidentally buy some low-end flea market stuff. The risk is that you may suspect that some items might have resale value and waste your time looking into them. You need to save your time by quickly identifying a sale that is unfriendly to your business and moving on to more productive sales.
Due to the inherent luck factor in garage sale hunting, you may sometimes find that you do not find enough worthwhile items to fully occupy your time available to list items on eBay. You may come up empty-handed after several sales, or even feel obligated to bring home lower-margin items out of a sense of desperation. While to a large degree luck is luck and you can’t force a bad sale to be profitable for you, there are ways of alleviating your poor luck by improving your ability to fully extract value out of each sale.
Our natural instinct when assessing a potential resale item is to simply compare the price we get it for at the garage sale to the sale price we expect to get on eBay, based on doing a search of eBay completed listings or using Terapeak. Generally, using this rough schematic won’t get you into too much trouble, but it could lead to you being less efficient than you could be. So, you often find yourself asking, “should I buy this?”
Especially when you need money, the reselling business can be taxing, inevitably dragging down your well-being with it. As there are several other professional resellers out there who host their own sales, I see it quite often (mostly by accident) in my garage sale explorations: insanely cluttered, junk-filled garages or even entire rooms of homes. The items there are frequently of low value, dirty, and very disorganized. When I do manage to find something of interest, I am quoted a price far too high, and the seller refuses to budge. Given the size of their inventory and the mess it presents, it would be in their best interest to get rid of the item with the opportunity they have now instead of holding out for an extra few bucks, ensuring a steady outflow of inventory and helping create a more customer-friendly environment and converting more sales leads. But there is an irrational element at play, some sort of emotional baggage – pride, fear of failure…? – something which I will avoid speculating on for the time being. It interferes with their ability to successfully operate their business.
Consider another case of monetary pursuit in which persons’ emotional baggage severely clouds their judgment: gambling. Garage sale hunting is a lot like gambling. There is an element of uncertainty from week to week – sometimes you hit big, sometimes you hit a bad run of sales and come up with very little. The stress in both comes from feeling like your actions can somehow change the outcome you get and that you’re simply not doing enough (or not doing it right). While you should always be innovating and finding new ways to improve your profits each week, there is an important line between innovation and effort that makes a contribution and the creeping invasion of an addiction. If you’re familiar with problem gambling, you’ll certainly see the parallels between it and the potential pitfalls of garage sale hunting. These tips will help you keep your life clear of these dangers.