Something I don’t understand at all on eBay is this “START YOUR AUCTION AT $.99 FOR MAXIMUM EXPOSURE” business. Sure, you cut down on insertion fees, and you may attract marginally more attention to the listing. But after looking at many Terapeak results while on the hunt, I see that auctions that start at .99 often end up closing at prices as low as 50% of fixed price listings. Try it yourself: next time you use Terapeak, check out the “listing format” widget and see the average prices. Almost uniformly, Fixed Price listings sell for more.
Another great advantage of searching at garage sales for things to resell is that you occasionally encounter things that are very useful to you at amazing prices. Besides buying things for personal consumption, you can also buy items that help out your reselling business. Here’s a list of some of the stuff I’ve purchased for myself at garage sales:
Remember my article on basic haggling theory? In it, I explained that a seller has a minimum price in mind below which they will not sell an item. The idea is to get an offer on the table that does not overshoot that minimum by too much. Since you don’t really have any idea what a seller’s minimum price is, if the seller asks you to make an offer and you make an offer that they like, they will accept it on the spot and that’s the end of the transaction… and you missed out on some extra cash you could have kept in your pocket.
But why isn’t making low offers just as easy as understanding the above logic? The constraint is social – e.g., the risk of insulting someone, of looking like a sleazebag, and more importantly jeopardizing your ability to make a purchase at a price you would have otherwise achieved had you not looked like a sleazebag. While you should obviously modify your offers to fit these social considerations, I believe that people vastly overvalue shame, especially in financial issues. If there were one point I wanted to communicate in this article, it would be something simple: start making low offers and to hell with the shame.
Items I’ve Resold #1: GreenPower Juice Extractor, DS Games, LOTR Chess, Onkyo 5.1 Surround System, HP All-in-one Printers…
[For all the theoretical advice I can give, sometimes it’s just better to show examples of what I buy at garage sales. You’d probably learn more about how to make money just by tailing me when I go to sales than by reading a long-winded article.
In this article series, I catalogue my big scores, my bread & butter item resales, and the items I regret buying.]
This week, we take a look at some of the first items I ever resold – the ones that motivated me to take this nifty income source seriously.
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.