Failed Test 2015 Grade

2015 Year in Review and 2016 Goal

Dollar Flipper Profits 17 Comments

Well, 2015 is done with! We had a fun holiday with lots of family time. I have one more day off (Monday) before I head back to work. Hopefully, I can clear through some more of my “to list” items!

Read on to see how my 2015 numbers looked and what’s on the horizon for 2016!

For any new readers, I (mostly) post my numbers every month. It’s an attempt at keeping myself grounded. If you’re interested in my older monthly update posts, check them out here.

2015 Grades Are In!

 Nov-15 Dec-15Total YTD
Blog Referral110.200.00233.26
Shipping Income15.547.98413.79
Sales Tax Collected0.000.005.10
eBay Fees141.58136.941,451.51
PayPal Fees52.6746.11486.29
Shipping Costs119.53166.051,760.67
Cost of Goods Sold51.0070.001,552.59
Travel Expenses0.000.001.00
Amazon Fees5.909.03137.69
Office Supplies0.000.00133.33
Office Expense630.450.001,005.39
Other Expenses0.000.0050.75
Profit / Loss410.27801.486,700.02

Well, how’d I do? $6,700.02 towards my goal of $10,000. 67% of the way there (2/3’s). That’s OK. I think that even though I didn’t hit my goal, I’m not that upset about it!

Failed Test 2015 Grade

Getting a 67% on a test never felt so good.

So, let’s start off with a positive vibe. This quote seems to get me in the right mood.

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” – Morihei Ueshiba

Before I chock 2015 up to “mistakes”, let’s just note that here are my profits each of the past 3 years:
  • 2013 – $1,577.96
  • 2014 – $4,886.99
  • 2015 – $6,700.02

So this may be a slow process, but I’ve increased my sales each year! On top of that, I’m still refining my eBay process (more on that to come in 2016). Things will get smoother. Additionally, I’m tracking my expenses better and better. These reduce my overall profit, but they also help in the tax department.

So, let’s look some of the overall numbers above and find mistakes that we can avoid in 2016!

2015 Sales

I just didn’t sell enough in 2015 to hit my goal of $10,000. $13,000+ is a lot of money coming into this side hustle, but with about a 50% margin, I’d have to sell another $6,500 before I made my profit goal. I think I might be aiming for a higher sales number in 2015 since the margin is pretty solid. This means I have to list more (go figure).

December Returns

In December, I sold a Gloverall duffle coat for $200. It was a bargain, but I’d already had it returned once (November 2014) so I was glad to get it out of my house (again). Well, ends up this buyer wasn’t happy that the coat didn’t have a zipper – even current models of this coat only has the little toggles. In the end, he returned it quickly but became upset when I didn’t return the $40 restocking fee (I have 20% on all of my items). The buyer opened up a PayPal case and sent me some choice words through eBay messages. I’m sure that PayPal will side with me, but even so, any returns are a PITA.

On the whole, having 4% returns on overall sales is pretty reasonable. The coat is back up and hopefully I sell it once it gets colder at a higher price.

eBay/PayPal/Amazon Fees

There’s not much I can do here. I’m at the premium level for eBay and still only sell a few items on Amazon a month. I’ll stick with my current setup unless I decide to do an FBA experiment, but who the hell has time for that?

Shipping Costs

I do take a bit of a hit here. Part of this is Free Shipping, but I build that into my listing prices and take into account buyer location when I take a Best Offer.

The other part is that I don’t skimp. I abhor Parcel Post. It’s cheap, sure, but you don’t have the insurance, you don’t get the speediness, and you have to pay for anything that doesn’t get delivered. It’s just not worth it unless you’re shipping super heavy/large items cross-country.

I try to stay away from these types of items to save on boxes and better estimate my shipping costs!

Office Expense

This number will be smaller in 2016. OR ELSE!!!! I won’t be spending as much money on upkeep on the blog since I bought it for another 3 years.

On top of getting a new phone, I purchased a Microsoft Surface 2 RT (I love it but wish I didn’t get it. Maybe I’ll change my mind in a few years? Either way, no big expenses in 2016!

2016 Goal

After looking through all of my ‘mistakes’ in 2015, I realize that there were only two things that could have pushed me over the edge. First is not spending as much on big-ticket office items, and the second is list more.

I sold 274 items on eBay in 2015. I can find my Amazon sales, but they weren’t that much in total. This means that I’m profiting ~$20+ per item which is PERFECT. I’m not selling enough because I’m not listing enough. In the end, it all comes down to me listing more.

As noted above, I ‘failed’ to hit my 2015 goal. I’ve completely accepted that. I made $6,700 in profits and have a much more warm and fuzzy feeling regarding our ancient appliances.

As to 2016, I’m going to be completely unoriginal here and stick with $10,000 in profits. Or should I try to gr0ss $20,000 in sales? I can’t decide.

I don’t like just having the same goal as 2015, so I’m leaning towards both $10,000 in profits AND $20,000 in sales. That way, I’m hitting the same goal from two different directions (plus I’m hedging my bets – if I hit one or the other I’d be thrilled).

I hope everyone had a great holiday time and is rejuvenated for 2016! I’ve already had a good amount of sales and need to remember – listing is key!

What’s your 2016 goal? Any non-eBay related goals you care to share?

Image Credit: amboo who?


Comments 17

  1. Do you let ebay automatically relist for you? How do you handle requests to cancel an order? I’ve gotten several of those lately. Tia

    1. Post

      Yep, I list everything as Good ‘Til Cancelled.

      For the cancels, I give them out. I’d rather that than have a buyer who’s going to be annoying after the fact. I don’t have this problem as much since I moved away from auctions though. People get caught up in bidding and then have remorse once they see the final amount.

  2. Awesome report and goals! Success should always start with a plan and you’ve got that. Looks like you are already a step ahead for 2016. Keep pounding. Nicole

    1. Post
  3. Thanks for sharing your tips and income. I think you did pretty darn good and your income is growing each year. Do you sell on Amazon FBA too?

    1. Post

      Thank you! I haven’t done FBA yet. My dad does it and loves it but right now, I’m going to work through my current inventory. If I ever find myself with a small amount of unlisted inventory, I might make an experiment out of it.

      The hardest part for me (other than learning a new process) is to deal with the upfront cash. Right now, I’m taking money out of the business to save up for huge appliance replacements. And there’s a long list of improvements to the house – new deck, new shrubs, bathroom (x4) upgrades, kitchen upgrade, etc. that are really appealing to me. I feel like FBA is a great machine if you don’t need to take money out of the business, but since it’s so cash heavy, then you need to let it grow to really see gains.

  4. I use eBay on and off, but definitely not as much as you! I never realized eBay was taking about 10% and PayPal about 4% before. That’s kind of a big chunk.

    1. Post

      I know it looks like it at first, but you have to realize it’s a cost of doing business. There’s no other platform for me to sell what I do at the prices I do. If I wanted to sell these at a Plato’s Closet or one of the stores where you ship in the clothes, I’d be getting basically what I paid for the clothes. It wouldn’t make sense. eBay takes fees but they provide a venue with millions and millions of buyers, so really, when you look at how much I spent on inventory and how much I get for it, it’s totally worth it!

  5. I struggled with the same decision as far as setting a side income goal this year, but ultimately decided on profit instead of sales. My goal is $7,500 of side profit for 2016. My rationale was if I sell something for $100, but it originally cost me $90, this is not a good value add of my time.

    I encourage you guys to try FBA by Amazon, or at least download the app. You can scan barcodes when you are in a thrift store and Amazon will show you info on products on the fly! I’ve already grabbed a few good items in just a few trips to thrift stores and I really feel like this is broadening my knowledge on products, which is ultimately what is most important.

    So far I’ve had some decent success with CDs, video games, DVDs. I usually focus on these types of items that are sealed so I can sell on Amazon as “new”. But obviously don’t limit yourself to new items. Other nice values that are pretty common seem to be some Guitar Hero guitars.

    1. Post

      I’ll bite the FBA bullet at some point. I don’t feel like my eBay is in enough control for me to do that though. I’ve had the app from Amazon before and I used to use Profit Bandit before they started charging (which is crazy since they make money on affiliate links all the time). I do list on Amazon Merchant Fulfillment though. I love how quick and easy it is. One of my go to’s is video games, even old NES ones. Some of the crappy ones still sell for $7 which isn’t much including the shipping, which isn’t much but when it takes less than a minute to list the item and then another few minutes to ship, it’s totally worth it. Glad to see others do it well though!

  6. Happy New Year!!!

    Interesting. I was going to ask you about your Office Expenses. Was that big expense really something you needed for this business? You do use it for the business, but it wasn’t necessary..but you can take a write off on it. LOL Was curious about how you expense your utilities too. I’ve never written off any utilities for this business as I don’t have a dedicated space. All my inventory is in the basement, but I use my dining room for all my photography stuff. LOL.

    1. Post

      I do have a dedicated space downstairs (it’s a portion of our basement with the computer setup). I do not do anything based on square feet or anything like that. The only two utilities I used refer to are internet and cell phone. I did a study one month of time used and both were about 25% business and 75% recreational, so that’s what I stick with.

  7. $6,000 is nothing to sneeze at, that’s a awesome amount of side income. Your goal for 2016 seems totally achievable. Good luck getting to $10,000!

    1. Post

      Thanks! I hope I hit the number this year. I’m already thinking of all of the improvements we can make around the house!

  8. Great job selling $13,000 worth of merchandise! I’m just now looking at getting into selling on Amazon and eBay (about 10 years late – but at least starting). Hopefully I can come across some more great tips from your site and, who knows, I may need to ask for your advice if I get stumped. Keep up the great work and I hope 2016 is legendary!

    1. Post

      Great! I have a lot of info about eBay selling scattered throughout my site. If you’re looking for FBA Advice, check out the E-Commerce Momentum podcast. The interviews are with big sized sellers but the information is invaluable.

  9. Pingback: March 2016 Profits - Minimalist Lister - Flipping A Dollar

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