DSR D-Day – eBay’s Detailed Seller Ratings

Well, the new Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR from here on out) are here. We can pile it on the reasons that we already love to hate the platform that we make money on, or we can embrace it be wary but not aggressive towards this new system. I mean, I’ve had 2 sales today! So it couldn’t have impacted me negatively… I know, i know. That’s only n=2! But seriously, I think that in the long run, we’ll all feel a little silly about all of this.

Hey, can’t we all be a little optimistic?

Chicken Little eBay DSR
That sky didn’t fall after all!

What’s DSR anyways?

eBay’s been touting its new DSR system for seller feedback for a while. Months it seems to me. All in all, eBay explains the system here on their own site. I’m going to give a brief overview of each rating, my issues with the system, and I’ll top it all off with why I think we’ll all be fine (even if the implementation is a little clunky). Here are the 4 categories and my interpretations.

1. How accurate was the item description?

This is an important one. Did you describe the item correctly. Condition, issues, correct pictures (we all know the colors can be misconstrued on different monitors), etc. This is the exact reason I type out the color of an item and give its actual measurements. “Large” can mean a whole host of different things for a shirt depending on the material, the brand (NFL brand large is HUGE), and the year it was made.

99% of the time, this is on the seller. There’s always a fluke or two (like a buyer who thought a 20-year-old Walkman was an up to date one, but hey, it’s still sort of my fault since it didn’t work regardless of it being sealed in its original plastic).

I think the reason this one is getting hit on so heavy by eBay is due to their large amounts of data. I’m going out on a limb, but I’m betting that they can prove a direct correlation between buyers having to talk to a seller about item not as describe and less future purchases from that buyer.

Still, this is the detail that you can control the most. It’s in your court. Be honest, and you’ll be fine overall.

2. How satisfied were you with the seller’s communication?

If you didn’t have to talk with the buyer at all before hand, then you should receive a 5 star rating. I’d say this is true for about 90+% of my sales. Otherwise, you are supposed to talk to the buyer quickly. Doing this lets the buyer know you’re serious and care about them. It’s hard when you’re someone like me, doing eBay on the side though. If this is you, then you probably don’t need to worry about the loss of a discount due to a loss of Top Rated Status.

3. How quickly did the seller ship the item?

This one’s a tough one. eBay does give you an automatic 5 star rating if the tracking information is entered quickly (if you purchase postage through eBay this won’t be an issue) and that it’s scanned at the post office as received within the required time. After that, you really can’t do anything.

eBay does instruct buyers “Don’t hold sellers responsible for delays in mail services, international custom delays, or for the time it takes for your payment to clear. ” I’ve also seen instances where sellers receive dings because of a delay at the post office and eBay says “you could have chosen a different courier service.” Putting this in one of the myriad of eBay FAQs and actually explaining to the buyers the impact of giving low feedback are two completely different things.

I think this falls into the “control what you can” mantra that I’ll keep harping on.

4. How reasonable were the shipping and handling charges?

I’m in the “Free Shipping” camp. First, it adds that little banner on items which theoretically draws more attention. Second, it lets me build the price of shipping into my items price. I generally only ship first class, priority, and media mail, depending on the weight and type of the item. I’ve seen parcel post take a long time, so even though it’s cheaper, it isn’t for me. I’ve also used FedEx about 3 times. If I know it’s a huge/heavy item, then again, I’ll add the shipping cost into my sale price.

If you add free shipping, then eBay automatically gives you 5 stars. Seems like a no brainer to me. Otherwise, just don’t try to hose the buyer on shipping costs.

I do not know how this impacts the Global Shipping Program though since we only have visibility to the US shipping costs for it. Time will tell if the GSP buyers can give feedback on shipping prices when you have no control over most of the cost!

Issues I have with the new DSR system

Buyers sometimes don’t know the best way to contact a seller. Now, if they contact you with the reason being “item not as described” even if that’s the wrong reason, you’ll get a hit to your DSR. We’ve heard rumblings that you can get these defects removed, but I’ve also heard that wait times are up (see below) and that the process is harder to go through.

3 stars = bad. Or does it?

When a buyer says that the seller gave a them 3-star service experience, it should mean that it was average service. The issue is that eBay will now look at 3 star ratings as negative (same as neutral feedback being a negative). This is going to be a gray area for a while.

The thing is though, if you are getting average ratings for a while, should you be in the TRS bracket? I don’t really think so. And remember, I’m not going to be in the TRS bracket due to my DRS being a little too low (2.42% as of now)

Where’d the reports go?

How do you even find your reports? Last week, I was able to view my “dings” for the past 12 months. eBay’s seller dashboard would spit out a clunky .csv spreadsheet that had your item ID (no titles??) and the categories that had issues. At this point, I was going to show everyone this awesome tool which translated the stupid .csv into a site that showed you what item it was.

EDIT: My report is now working. Must have been a weird little glitch!

Since I couldn’t find this information, I decided to call eBay. I had an estimated wait time of 33 minutes due to “unforeseen higher than average call volumes.” No shit!

As of today, I use the same method, and I get a fancy blurb:

Congratulations! As of August 21, 2014, none of your transactions over the most recent evaluation period have defects.

That sounds like great news, right? Well, sure, but the most recent evaluation period isn’t the only thing you’re graded on. eBay looks at the last 12 months. How can I view those? I haven’t found a solution yet.

As I’m on the phone line listening to eBay’s below-average, annoying wait music, I’ve been pondering the lack of DSR information. The only thing I can think of is that I haven’t had 10 DSRs in the new format. The nice voice recording said something about needing 10 DSR feedback before you can get a report, but that isn’t really fair since we’re being held accountable for the last 12 months anyways, regardless of the format of feedback.

Here’s what the eBay representative basically said at first:

Hmm, that’s strange. You should be able to view it. The information is generally compiled on Thursdays, so that may be the cause.

After a brief hold, he then followed up with

You shouldn’t be having this issue, and it might be a potential site bug. We will escalate it, but I recommend you to keep trying to view your report and call back in a day or two if you still can’t find any information.

So since I can’t even look up my report to, as eBay so eloquently put it, “try to improve my performance and learn how to receive Top Rated Status,” I’m going to stop worry about it for now.

At least I’ve notified them, and on top of that, the customer rep was very friendly! I’ve done what was in my control!

Does any of this matter?

Probably not.  We’ll all keep selling. We’ll all keep making money. We’ll all keep finding new types of items to sell.

Think about it, if you can’t keep yourself in the top rated area, what do you lose? 20% off of your final value fees? Well, the eBay takes 10%, so really, you’re only saving 2% of your total off of your gross sale. I feel like giving a good, honest description, communicating openly with your buyers, and finishing that off with shipping like you say you’re going to will all end up with you selling more than enough to compensate for a 2% loss.

The types of business who thrive on volume instead of quality of items might have a lot more to worry about this, but then again, they can always sell more. With smaller sellers like me, we’re much more limited.

The hardest part for me throughout this whole situation is that Etsy, Amazon, and Bonanza do not give you anywhere near eBay’s traffic for the types of items I sell. Even if eBay’s traffic has been diminished since the whole Google fiasco, it’s still better than the alternatives.

So for now, I’m going to keep selling on eBay, keep flipping items for profits, and next week, we’ll hopefully put all of this behind us and talk about cool items to look out for when you’re thrifting, garage saling, or flea marketing (those are all real words; I swear)!

Keep-calm-and-carry-on ebay DSR
Remember, we said no whining last week.

Sorry for any ranting above, but I’ve seen the sky fall a bunch of times on eBay whenever they put a new change out there.  And I think that in this case, their hearts in the right place but the implementation is a little lacking. Hopefully it’ll be improved in the future!

PLEASE let me know if I’ve misconstrued any of the information that I’ve gotten from eBay about the new DSR. There’s a lot out there, and I’m bound to screw up my interpretation somehow. I’d hate to add to the myth’s that are out there, so if I’m wrong, just add a comment and I’ll update accordingly!

-Dollar Flipper

P.S. If the content is a little convoluted, it’s probably because my wife wasn’t able to edit this post. She tends to translate my rambling into coherent words. You guys are stuck with the real thing this week!

Photo Credit: dbgg1979, Carolyn Coles

Surf Rock Record – The Cre-Shells – Dracula

I mentioned this sale in my previous post where I described how to embed a YouTube video into your eBay listing.

The item I sold was a vintage surf rock 45 Record – The Cre-Shells – Dracula.

 

Be forewarned, I am going to whine learn a good lesson. I left a lot of money on the table, and I hope that you’ll avoid my mistake!  Still, the sale was my highest profit yet on eBay.

Surf Rock Creshells Dracula Whining
Please put away the cheese. No whining allowed.

Try to buy in volume

As I’m wont to do while I’m out garage saling or thrifting,  I put together a bunch of smaller items (~60 records and some cool bar ware) and asked if they could cut me a deal. Sometimes it works (like when I bought my Fashion Bug Plus Jeans), and sometimes it doesn’t. It never hurts to try – you don’t have anything to lose!

This lady was a shrewd negotiator, but after some haggling, I got the lot for $25. I figured I could sell the bar stuff for ~$50 so this was a great deal. A few of the records did catch my eye, so I was keen on getting them too.

Don’t miss the diamond in the rough

Once I got home, I went straight to researching. Conveniently, the baby went down for a nap at the same time. Ahhh, timing is everything :)

Record by record, it was looking more and more like a flop. The most I saw any of my records going for were ~$20… and these were few and far between. Then, there was this one record that I couldn’t even find on eBay. Let’s just put that to the side for now until I’m done.

Well, I finished and still nothing great. Just a handful of (5-10) records for mostly $15 including free shipping. Yuck.  Not what I was hoping for, but this was my first time dealing with records like this.

After looking at the handful of records that might sell on eBay and the box of ones that wouldn’t go for anything, I decided to go back to that mystery record. I did another eBay search and found nothing again. I *ALMOST* put it in the donate pile. Then I happened to turn it over and look at the back. There I noticed the title on that side of the record – “Dracula”.  That made me pause.

Cre-Shells Dracula Surf Record
Vintage Dracula is popular. The name should jump out at you!

Google is your friend

With a quick Google search of “Cre-Shells Dracula Murecord” (ignoring my awesome YouTube video), Popsike is the first result. This site gave me a TON of information!

First, the record has some value. It sold for almost $300 in 2005! Now, that’s before the economy took a crap, so maybe it’s not worth as much. I plugged in the record title into PopsIkes’ search bar and found more!

The nice part about the Popsike website is that it contains the description from the original eBay listings. People generally pay WorthPoint a lot of money to have this service, and I happened to find a website that does it for free in the niche I’m researching.  Score!

And uhoh, there’s two recent sales in the $70-80 range. Oh well, what can you do? That’s still a pretty decent profit.

But as I read through the details in these listings, I started to get excited again. The ones that sold in that $70-80 range were either severely warped or had some hissing due to scratching. My record was in near flawless condition. It played perfectly (this is the most important part of record grading, but there’s a lot that actually goes into it, as noted here).

Surf Rock is popular?

When I think of Surf Rock, I’m thinking of the Beach Boys. From my research on Popsike, I was able to glean that this record was special, and used a lot of the information from their website in my own listing (please ignore the misspelling of “instrumental”).

Ultra rare surf instrumenta; Made in Pennsylvania. Highlighted in John Blair’s Surf Guide as an important, outstanding release!

Who knew? Apparently this sweet little old lady had a gem buried in her record pile. I almost threw out this record, but instead, I did my due diligence. I actually looked through each record and dug deeper when I couldn’t find anything on it at first. The tedious work paid off!  I’d say a good rule of thumb is that if you can’t find it at all on eBay, it’s probably rare…. or just really worthless…. It’s at least worth a 2nd look with a Google search.

Flip details

  • Purchase price – $25 (for the lot)
  • End Selling Price – $208.07
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $28.92

Total Profit:  $154.15

WOW! Now I only need to do that once a week, and I’d be thrilled.

Now, since this was my biggest sale so far, I’ll get to teach you the biggest lesson I’ve learned…

eBay Auctions are just like gambling – you’re going to lose in the long run!

Imagine that you are the gambler sucked in at the casino and the eBay buyers are the house. Really now, hear me out.

A lot of buyers take advantage of auctions and their low prices. Here’s a podcast over at Scavenger Life with a guy who buys rare coins from eBay auctions and then re-sells them as Buy It Now – all on eBay!

eBay got started with auctions only, so people think they still need to use that as the mode of delivery. We all imagine that there’s going to be a bidding war, but these are actually few and far between.

Auctions on eBay are good for ONE thing. Moving inventory. That’s it. If you don’t want to sit on a lot of stuff in your storage area, auctions are for you.  But that’s about it.

EDIT: I say below that Auctions are only good for one thing. This isn’t exactly true. They’re also helpful for testing the waters on a new category of items or just to get started on eBay. Thanks to Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions for reminding me of this!

Bonhams Auction House Cre-Shells Surf Record
Start high and let the buyer get close to you!

For those of us who would like to make a little more profit (slow quarter vs. fast nickel), Buy It Now is the way to go. This lets your item get seen by many more buyers, and you can add in that “best offer” option to entice people. Auctions are only there for a week. On top of that, you are basically saying, “Well, here’s the lowest price I would go, but really, I want more.” You would never do that when haggling.  Nope, instead if you have to throw out a number, you start with your HIGHEST.

SO how much did i leave on the table with my surf rock record? Probably about $100. There were a few records between 2005 and now that all sold for $290. If I could do it all over again, I’d probably set the listing up as a Buy It Now at $350 with an auto accept of $299.99.

I hope you only use the auction option to sell quickly, as I will from now on. Oh, and keep an eye out for some vintage surf rock! Who knew?

-Dollar Flipper

Photo Credit: Daniel R. Blume, Bonham’s Auction

YouTube – How to Embed Video in Ebay

This post is going to teach you how to embed a YouTube video into one of your eBay listings.

Just as an FYI, It requires NO coding background whatsoever. Seriously, you’ll just need to be able to copy and paste!

Including a YouTube video in your listing is perfect for an item that has moving pieces or plays music (think snow globe, wind up music box, record player, etc.). Descriptions using words can only do so much.  Adding a video really showcases the quality of your item.

Step 1 – Record your video!

I just use my Republic Wireless Moto X, but you can use any old smart phone,  hand held camera, or HD camcorder you’d like.

Make sure to record the video in landscape! This means holding your phone sideways. I know it’s not as comfortable in your hand, but it really does help to utilize the whole camera’s capabilities. It also gets rid of those ugly black bars that show up on the sides of videos that you shoot. It took me way too long to figure this one out.

Once you’ve recorded the video, just pop it onto your computer in an easy to find spot (I have an eBay folder on my desktop that I like to use).

Step 2 – Upload your video to YouTube

So, for this you will need a YouTube/Gmail account. They’re free, so it’s not expensive to get one and it really isn’t  too much of a hassle.

First, log into YouTube. This is where we will upload the video. Just click the “Upload” button to get the process started.

Embed YouTube Video Ebay Listing 1
Convenient button to upload is right at the top of the page when you log in.

After clicking the upload button, you’ll want to select your video file from your computer. Just click on the handy button which will allow you to search through windows explorer to find the video.

Embed YouTube Video Ebay Listing 2
You can actually add multiple files at once. This might hit your internet connect hard though, so if you’re on a low speed dial up, DSL, or cable modem, I’d stick with one video at a time.

YouTube will begin to process your video right away. What is going on here is a mystery. I think it’s checking it for general content like music or movies which could be copyrighted and shouldn’t be uploaded. It can also be cleaning the video/audio up a little bit and converting from your video file to whatever YouTube uses for its own videos.  Regardless, it will do its thing.

While the processing is going on, you can add a title, description, and tag the video with meta data key words.

Embed YouTube Video Ebay Listing 3
I don’t try to make money on YouTube; I’m just trying to show off my awesome item. I’m sure key words are important for search #’s if you’re trying to get some affiliate link money from YouTube, so if that’s the case, do some extra homework!

I did hit a snag at this point when I was uploading my video. For whatever reason, it timed out. Video 1 wouldn’t update the processing %, and video 2 was already completed. At that point, I cancelled the first, and re-uploaded it without issues. Not really sure what happened, but it ultimately ended up working when I tried again.

Step 3 – Get your listing ready.

Just get your listing together like normal. Include your pictures and select all details as usual. Generally, I don’t add in any of the description until I’m done adding in the video.

The reason for this is that I don’t know HTML at all. When you’re adding the video into an already created description, you’ll have to find the exact spot in the code where you can put the video, and it won’t break the listing. If you add in that video before you add any other information, then it’s a lot easier since there’s no other code that you’d have to deal with.

SUPER IMPORTANT Step 4 – Embed the YouTube video into your eBay listing!

Here’s where the actual code comes in. Don’t worry though, it’s a simple copy/paste exercise.

On your video’s page on YouTube, you’ll want to go to the “share” tab, click “embed” and then check the box that says “Use old embed code.” If you don’t do this, the video won’t work.

eBay listings don’t support HTML5 videos, so you’ll have to just pop in the regular old flash version. The fact that our HTML code isn’t up to some popular standard doesn’t really matter to us though. For our purposes, any old code that allows the video to play will do just fine. So just check the box. Feel free to change the video size if you want a bigger or smaller video. I’ve found that the base settings work fine.

 

Embed YouTube Video Ebay Listing 4
It’s as easy as 1-2-3….. 4?

Finally, copy all of the code text (labeled 4 in the picture)! Now we’ll take this little bunch of HTML code over to our eBay listing.

Step 5 – Add the YouTube video to your eBay listing

As noted above, I go to my blank details section of the listing and click the HTML tab. Now you can paste the HTML code that we copied from YouTube right here.

Embed YouTube Video Ebay Listing 5JPG
I feel like a computer programmer now!

After you’ve pasted the video code into the HTML section, just click the “Standard” tab. This will bring up the regular description view which most people use to describe their item. If you’re lucky, you should see your video right there! You can now add the rest of your description to your listing.

You’ll also probably want to say something like “Video included” or “With Video” in your title if you have the spare room.

I try to keep the video towards the top of my listing. Remember, a lot of people buy on eBay using their mobile phone where screen space is at a premium.

Step 6 – Preview your listing before posting!

This is an important one. Without this step, you might have messed something up and might miss it. I generally don’t review my listings when I publish, but listings with videos are the exception. After publishing, I’ll even check the listing out on my phone to make sure it works there too.

That’s it!

Not too hard, right?

Hopefully I’ve helped you out a bit with the process of uploading a YouTube video to your listing. I know it’s a bit intimidating, especially if you don’t have any coding experience, but it’s a pretty simple addition that can really showcase your item.

Feel free to ask me any questions or let me know if you need me to clarify anything.

Next time, I’ll talk about the item that I included some YouTube videos for when I listed it. It was my highest grossing sale to date!

-Dollar Flipper

Back on Track – E-Mail Subscribers Benefit!

Our move is 95% FINISHED!!!!

Last major thing to do is set up my eBay area. I figured that the rest of the house might be a little more important…

In the mean time, I’ve been very lucky and have been able to store my live eBay and Amazon inventory at an “associate’s” warehouse during the move. They’ve helped out with shipping too. If it weren’t for them, I’d have had to turn my listings off and wouldn’t have had any of the profits that I got in July. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.  ;-)

I feel like I owe any readers who stuck around, so if you’re still there, thanks! That’s the best part about subscribing via e-mail.

E-Mail – AOL Approved since 1993 – That’s right, AOL Mail can legally drink in the US…

youve-got-mail
I know that you’ve been up at night worrying about my eBay sales. Don’t worry, subscribe by e-mail, and I’ll bug you on my own time!

You can forget about me until I e-mail again with something new to look out for, some info about a neat sale, a new technique to add to listings, or musings on other on-line selling info.

On that note, here are my upcoming topics that I’ll be working on in the next few months:

  • Embedding a YouTube video – doing this helped aid in a >$200 sale! Best sale to date!
  • eBay’s new DSR (Detailed Seller Ratings) – I’ll try to go over the pro’s and the con’s (there are a bunch of con’s). Overall though, I’m still not worried and will definitely be continuing with eBay
  • Internet Service Provider flop – I had big plans on switching to a smaller provider. I choked on this one but I’d like to go over the process for those that aren’t afraid.
  • Tie Flip! This was my second foray into the men’s neck tie area. Let’s just say this was a complete success (especially considering that my 1st shot is still listed and hasn’t sold in 6 months)
  • I’m also going to include a few posts on some flops. I want to bust through the “glamour” of online selling and talk about some of the not-so-hot buys I’ve made.  Hey, live and learn. This hobby reminds me of a favorite saying of my great grandmother, “That’ll learn ya!”
  • Guest posts from my wife – I’ve only really talked about eBay so far – but that’s only one side of things. As a family, we try to live a frugal lifestyle. My wife is going to discuss some of the ways we save around the house and some ways she’s made some extra cash on the side through other real world (not online) avenues!

Profits!

I have updated the profits banner up on the right. Here’s the monthly totals so far:

Month Contribution
Jan-14 $           615.75
Feb-14 $           114.90
Mar-14 $           371.34
Apr-14 $             63.26
May-14 $           342.58
Jun-14 $                   -
Jul-14 $            787.50

Best month this year!! That’s $2,295.33 saved so far! Technically, I’m failing (should be at $3,210 if you look at the monthly average for my goal’s projection), but really, I’m still thrilled. That’s a large amount of money going towards our retirement with no debt incurred. Can’t beat that!

Look forward to helping everyone out once we’re all settled in here at our new home!

-Dollar Flipper

Super Soaker Mt. Tiki-Soki Sprinkler

Fair warning: This is a quickie post. My wife and I are in the midst of a move across states. My blog posts will be few and far between for the next month or so. I’d just ask that if you like my content, please stay subscribed. It might take a bit for me to get back into the swing of things, but I really enjoy writing here and sharing what I’ve learned!

In the mean time, I am still selling. Listing hasn’t been as good as I’d like it to be numbers-wise, but I just don’t have the time. Once I move, I’m going to have a specific eBay area in the back of the garage! Maybe I’ll even share the storage area!

Onto the recent sale:

Super Soaker Sprinkler – Mt. Tiki-Soki

Forgive the fact that I did this video in portrait. You live and learn.  I promise my next video will be in landscape and take full advantage of my phone’s camera capabilities!

Super Soaker water guns were originally made by a company called Larami. It’s a product of the early 90′s, near and dear to my heart.  It’s currently produced by Hasbro under the Nerf brand.

Now, old Super Soaker guns are really what you want to keep an eye out for. Check out some of these completed listings:

Super Soaker eBay Completed Listings
Cue the 20 and 30 somethings calling their parents to see if there’s still a Super Soaker in their garage…

The bigger, the better! Check out that badass one with the extra water container. I wish I could have gotten one of those!

Now, my Super Soaker item may not have been as cool as these big guns, but right about now (it’s going to be 90 tomorrow), it would be perfect.

Super Soaker Profits

  • Purchase price - $3
  • End Selling Price - $90.90
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling - $22.29

Total Profit : $65.61

Woah boy! I started this as an auction at $74.99, and it got up to $81.00. S/H was paid by the buyer at $9.90. Overall, this was a great sale experience. Fun learning while also hitting the nostalgia button!

Now, I PROMISE that my next post will be a How-To on embedding the YouTube video into an eBay listing. It’s super easy, and I plan on using videos to showcase any future items that have moving parts.

-Dollar Flipper

Fashion Bug Plus Sized Womens Jeans

First, I’m still here. Sorry if I got your hopes up by not posting for a while!

Second, boy oh boy did I have a haul! I grabbed a ton of plus sized Fashion Bug and Lane Bryant pants from a local thrift store. I also have a few tips at the bottom that I’ve learned from this situation and what measurements I include in my pants eBay listings.

Fashion Bug Womens Jeans 32WP
Not only are these Fashion Bug pants big, they’re petite too! Much harder to find!

Story time:

I happened to find an awesome Grateful Dead T-Shirt that just jumped out at me (check it out at the bottom of this post). In doing so, I happened to notice a pair of new jeans with a tag on it. Quick eBay look made them worth a shot.

When I brought my pile to the register, the nice lady told me that all the Fashion Bug jeans and Lane Bryant pants were only $1 a piece, and that there was a big box of them in the corner… all at the same price. Now I had to go check them out.

eBay research was not too much help. I found a few used pair going for ~$10 so I figured what the hell and took a shot. I ended up buying 13 pair that day. 5 of them were the same type which really makes the listing go a lot quicker!

After listing them, they sold like hot cakes! I sold 4 of the original 13 in a week! One customer was even nice enough to buy 2 pair and save me about $5 on shipping since she lived so close. :)

Once I saw the potential here, I ended up going back to the store. The big box of pants were still there! I asked the workers about them, and they let me know that they picked them up in a storage auction. I’m guessing that a former Fashion Bug owner had just piled everything into a big box in a storage unit that they rented. She also dropped “Some guy bought a handful a few weeks ago. I’d really like to get rid of them.” I guess I have a forgettable face…

I asked them if they could cut me a deal for all of them. The guy inspects the pile intensely, and really makes me sweat it out. He comes out with a very sturdy “$20.” SOLD! Here’s the end result:

Fashion Bug Lane Bryant Pants Lot
This is what we got on the 2nd go around. The wonderful wife sorted and counted them. There were 44 pairs of pants, capris, and shorts!

Now, the negative about this whole deal is those white ones. Most of them were stained somewhere so they’re going in the trash. A few of the jeans had holes (not included in the count). All in all, I’d say that we have 50 in total in good working order (including both hauls). Hopefully the sale details will blow your mind!

  • Purchase price (total for all the pants) – $33
  • End Selling Price (total of what’s sold so far) – $159.54
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $49.64

Total Profit so far: $76.90

Now, before you say, that’s a nice return, let me point out the fact that this includes only 6 pair of the whole batch! For some nice round numbers, I’m selling everything for between $19.99 and $29.99 and free shipping. Minimally, I’ll make $10 a pair. For you math whiz’s out there that’s about $500 in PROFIT when they all sell! Now I just need to get back to listing instead of blogging… ;)

Here’s the tips from this whole experience that can hopefully help you out:

BIG SELLS on eBAY

The bigger the better, especially when it comes to new clothes. This stuff is hard to find in a regular store. When you can grab it new with tags, you’re going to do well with it!

Test the waters

I’m not a women’s jeans expert, but I had a hunch that these would sell well. Once I got a few sales, I knew the rest were worth the risk!

Ask for a Deal

If you’re going to buy the whole lot – ask them if they can help you out since you’re clearing a big amount of floor space for them! This probably won’t work in a large, chain thrift store (Salvation Army, Goodwill, Savers, etc.). The one I got these at was more of a mom and pop one.

Fashion Bug is no longer open!

Look out for any stores which have closed. Someone who had a favorite pair of jeans is going to have to look for older jeans models on eBay, and your inventory can fill their needs!

Measurements for Pants on eBay

Here’s what I include in the listing, including the measurements I took:

New Fashion Bug Plus 32WP Womens Petite Dark Denim Boot Cut Red Triangle Jeans

Made of 81% cotton, 18% polyester, and 1% spandex. Classic 5 pocket with zipper fly and signature metal button closure. This garment is from the Right Fit series. Moderately curvy – slightly curved from waist to hips. The jeans are brand new with tags in perfect condition with no flaws or defects.

Waist 47″ around
Hips 61″ around
Length from top of pants 43.5″
Inseam 29.5″
Rise 17″
Cuff 24″ around

Free shipping to US!
Global shipping program outside of the US.

This is a generic cut and paste that I use from a .txt file I keep on my desktop. I just fill in the info that’s needed and voila! Quick and easy listing.

Make sure to look at the whole store

The funny thing about this whole batch is that I wouldn’t have found them if I hadn’t seen this sweet Grateful Dead tie-dyed T-Shirt was jumping out at me!

1992 Grateful Dead Liquid Blue T-Shirt
Bought this T-shirt for $5 and sold it for $20.50. Total profit = $9.45; not my best but it was a quick sale!

So not only did the Grateful Dead T-Shirt turn me a profit, but it led me straight to a huge stack of $$$ in the form of some plus sized Fashion Bug pants! Win-Win!

Till next time,

-Dollar Flipper

Getting started on eBay – Guest Post @ Stapler Confessions

Just wanted to let everyone know that I answered a bunch of questions that Rebecca had about getting started on eBay over at her blog Stapler Confessions.

Stapler Confessions
I hope she didn’t steal that red stapler from Milton!

Rebecca has some great posts ranging from frugal living tips, paying down debt, and weekly deals at Staples (some of which are free when you game their rebates system!).  I haven’t tried to source from Staples yet, but I’m keeping them in my peripheral vision for potential flips. Some of the best items with re-sale potential are the free software deals; McAfee Total Protection Anti-Virus software 2014 and Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 were recent examples.

Rebates like the ones offered by Staples, CVS, or Rite Aid definitely make them a viable option for sourcing new material. I’ve heard of extreme couponers who do just this. The best part about Stapler Confessions is that it’s all laid out in front of you (you won’t have to gather a bunch of circulars and root around for the matching coupons). Some stuff can even be re-sold at yard sales like pens and photo paper, and even if you aren’t planning on re-selling the items, a lot of the free ones are SUPER useful (i.e. reams of office paper or batteries).

Rebecca’s questions were from the prospective of someone just getting started out. It’s funny how much insight can be had by someone who isn’t used to the jargon/fees/system.

Hopefully Rebecca’s questions and my answers can get you over the hump of just getting started. Selling online is a little intimidating at first, but eBay has really helped by lowering the barrier to entry.

You can get in touch with Rebecca and get some great deals at Stapler Confessions, Twitter, or Facebook!

-Dollar Flipper

Relax and Recharge

We all get overwhelmed with life sometimes. When that happens, we need to find ways to take a step back, recalibrate, recharge, and most importantly, RELAX.

Work can take a toll. Extra curricular activities can become too burdensome. You can just stretch yourself too thin.

For me, this can happen when I have a huge pile of stuff that I need to list, knowing that it might be losing value as we speak. I know that I should be listing because it’s a better use of my time than playing video games or watching Sherlock on Netflix.

The thing is that I want this eBay “business” to really remain a fun little hobby instead of becoming a chore. When I get into a funk like this, I have a few steps to get me back on track.

1. Take a Break!

Even though I’m currently writing this post (a little too close to actual work for comfort), I really am practicing what I’m preaching.

Relaxing Pool View
I’ll definitely be down by the pool with a nice, cool beverage this afternoon!

2. Make a Plan

My simple plan is to break the work up into chunks. For me, it’s 1) sort, 2) take pictures/measurements, and 3) finally list.

3. Execute

When I’m doing the sorting, I’ll try to look for items which are quick and easy. This will allow me to build some momentum. Next, I’ll take a bunch of pictures and measure any clothing all at once, just writing down the important information on a loose piece of paper. Finally, I’ll take my list and do the last bit of research and list each item.

Breaking the process down into easy steps makes it more manageable. Sometimes just making the plan gives me enough energy to get over the hurdle of starting.

Hopefully when I get back from this vacation, I can kick some major eBay ass and list a ton!

-Dollar Flipper

Striptease Highball Glasses

This set of striptease glasses were the kind of item that jumps right out at you. As my wife will attest, I’m a typical dude…

And ladies? Don’t turn away! There’s something special a little later for you!

Just be careful though, sets of glasses are a PITA to ship. You really need to buy low to profit on an item like this!

Adults only from here on! Some of the photos are NSFW-ish. Don’t want anyone to get in trouble! :)

Vintage Striptease Highball Glasses

Playboy Striptease Glasses
Friends using these glasses – funny. Older guy who looks like a dad using these glasses with some younger people – kind of creepy…

The premise behind these glasses is that as the glass gets cold, the water condenses, and the white lingerie that the girls are wearing disappears! Instead of curing diseases, there were men in laboratories trying to figure out how to mimic a girl undressing. Can’t say I’m surprised.

This set that I had was from 1977, so the fact that the box is a little distressed isn’t that big of a worry. The key to collectible glasses with this white, disappearing material is that the white is still there.

Over time and use, the white lingerie/bikinis will begin to wear off. Then you’re just stuck with a set of glasses with naked ladies on them. Who would want those? Seriously though, collectors wouldn’t. They want the glasses to be in good shape.

My set wasn’t perfect. 1 of the girls in the set had some wear. Notice the glass on the right.

Playboy Striptease Glasses 2
These are only used in the classiest of situations…

The paper insert gives instructions on how to wash the glasses, but again, even if you follow them to a T, they’re going to start to wear. The ones that are in mint condition can go for almost double what I got.

I did have a hard time letting go of this set, and I may have used them a few times with friends… It makes it easier to rationalize a “less than ideal profit” when you get to use it for a while before you sell it for a profit!


And now for any female readers…

Don’t think I forgot about you. If you want a good bachelorette party item, then look no further!

Playboy Striptease Glasses Male
I’ve tried to crop off the “naughty” parts since the full pictures don’t leave much to the imagination.

Now, you may think you’re set, but sorry ladies, you’re going to have to pay more for these! The set that sold on eBay that I borrowed the picture from went for $50 more than mine! I guess the male glasses are just a little more difficult to find.

Now to the numbers:

  • Purchase price – $2
  • End Selling Price – $29.50
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $18.18

Total Profit: $9.32

Well that’s a bummer. Still made a profit but no one’s knocking down my door over < $10! Especially when the item sold for $30! Shipping costs killed me here.

eBay shipping costs when starting out

First, I didn’t have a box that I could put the glasses in so I had to buy one. This is a common problem when you are starting out in the online re-selling business. When you get a little bigger, you can buy boxes or mailers in bulk. In the beginning though, if you’re trying to limit your $ input, then you’re going to have to buy the boxes and mailers at Walmart or Staples. The box I bought for these glasses was about $3.

Next, there’s the shipping itself. You can’t really do anything there.  The set was ~ 1-2 pounds. I’m not sure where it went, but it cost over $10 to ship. Ugh!

When you’re buying, you want to not only make sure that it’s going to sell high enough for a profit, but you also want to make sure that you can ship it easily too. Here’s my 3-step tried and true method:

1. Weigh the item. Add on a bit for a box/packing material (if necessary).

2. For the East Coast, use the USPS/FedEx/UPS site and put in your zip code. For the destination, use the most popular zip code you can think of in California.

eBay Calirornia Shipping Beverly Hills, 90210 Cast
90′s rejoice! We won’t talk about that recent (2008) rehash.

Beverley Hills, 90210!

For any of you west coasters, just use an easy NY zip code – 10001. These two zip codes will give you a really good estimate of your shipping costs. If you live in the middle of the country, pick one and don’t complain. You save a ton of money on shipping!

3. That’s it.

As I sell more and more on eBay, I’ve definitely stayed away from large items unless I know that I can sell it for a HUGE profit. If I’m only making $10 on an item, I want it to be quick and easy to ship, like a video game. I don’t want to have to go to a store, buy a box, spend a lot of time wrapping the item, and then pay a lot for shipping! On top of all that, the heavier items mostly go UPS or FedEx, so that means I’ll have to stop by a different store.

We’ll finish up with a deep quote from Beverly Hills 90210:

”It’s no trip around the world, but I think we could take quite a journey together.” – Brandon to Kelly Taylor

Personally, I like to say this to my wife early Saturday morning before hitting up some yard sales. So much for my romantic side…

-Dollar Flipper

Photo Credit:  Inf-Lite Teacher

Ugly Christmas or Aztec Clothing on eBay

Ugly – It’s a Matter of Opinion

We all have different tastes. One thing I’ve noticed is the more garish or eye-grabbing some piece of clothing is, the better it will sell on eBay!

Maybe the person is planning on attending a fun, themed party. Maybe they really have bad tastes. Maybe they never got out of that neon 90s phase. Maybe their in that awkward teenage stage where every decision they make is cringe-worthy (been there done that).

The important thing to me isn’t the why though; if it’s selling, I’ll buy it at a thrift store or a garage sale!

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Ugly Christmas sweater parties are apparently a popular thing now-a-days.  I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been to one – or even invited! Plus, let’s be honest, even if I got an ugly Christmas sweater, I’d probably just sell it on eBay… like I already did.

When I found this sweater at the local thrift store, I honestly thought that I might use it.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Snowflakes
On the “ugly” spectrum, this sweater is pretty tame.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Vest
This guy has no shame. I’d need a few beers before wearing the one on the left…

I’m not a shy guy, but my sweater seemed to be a perfect fit for someone who wants to attend an ugly Christmas sweater party but didn’t want to stand out too much. On top of the relaxed design, the sweater was WARM. It was Shetland Wool, and I made sure to include that in the title since these are important keywords.

Here’s the details of this sale:

  • Purchase price – $4
  • End Selling Price – $34.99
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $10.25

Total Profit: $20.74

This ugly sweater sold within a week. I could have even saved another $0.09 by using a Priority Mail Padded Flatrate Envelope. USPS ships these to your house FOR FREE, and they save you a ton of money when you’re shipping across the country.

Just as an FYI, you may have to re-list clothing that’s holiday specific a few times until it gets a little closer. For an ugly Christmas sweater, it will probably sell in the October – November time frame since the season is right around the corner and most parties are right after Thanksgiving.

Ugly Western or Aztec Shirts

Western and Aztec clothing is popular now according to some of the eBay experts like The Bonafide Hustler. I’ll take him at his word since I’ve done pretty well in this category even though I think the patterns are pretty… pretty ugly. I’m going to skip over pearl snap shirts because that’s worthy of a post on its own.

Aztec is a keyword which gets thrown around a lot, but I use it when there’s the jagged pattern or a dessert theme.

Azted Pattern Dress
The Aztec pattern is not the first thing to jump out and grab my attention from this dress… The chunk at the bottom is the specific pattern I was talking about

And here’s the Aztec themed Territory Ahead shirt that I recently sold:

Ugly Azted Shirt
Ugly to me, awesome to some other guy.

Let’s just assume he also wore a cowboy hat, snake skin boots, and a bolo tie to complete the outfit. Or maybe he’s just a hipster. Either way, I made some good money on this shirt.

  • Purchase price – $4
  • End Selling Price – $29.99
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $7.64

Total Profit: $18.35

Ugly Clothing – It grabs your attention!

The best part about ugly clothing like this is that it jumps out at you when you’re looking through the clothes racks at the thrift store. It does the work for you! And that’s the point. Clothing like this isn’t made to be worn in board rooms. It’s got personality.  It’s made for fun, and I’m betting the people who purchased these shirts from me had a blast.

-Dollar Flipper

Photo Credit: The Ugly Sweater Shop, Angela Dissected