eBay Re-Selling Profits of $1500 as a Hobby!

Dollar Flipper Blog Update, Profits 10 Comments

Re-selling on eBay has been a hobby of mine now for the past 9 months.

I still work in an office setting full-time so I hear it a lot from co-workers about how it’s not worth their time to sell on eBay. I can’t think of a more inaccurate statement, especially coming from someone who doesn’t make a commission and has no way to get magic paychecks from PayPal!

This post is hopefully going to show you that it IS possible to make money on eBay and do it without any real investment!

What hobby have you ever had that has the following characteristics

  • Very little to no money required to start, and then it begins to pay for itself
  • Good exercise, especially in the summer months – walk around a huge fleamarket all day and tell me that you’re not tired!
  • Learn business skills – Cash flow, advertising, buying low/selling high
  • Learn the worth of valuables – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen something for $1 at a garage sale and thought “Oh man, I sold that for $20 last month!”
  • Learn about collectibles and historical items
  • The Rush! I haven’t done too many extreme sports, but when you’re out hunting for deals that you can flip, you get an adrenaline rush.  And I hold myself to 1 cup of coffee per day so I know it’s not just caffeine-induced.
  • Meet a lot of different/neat people

Here’s a general overview of my process for creating this side business:

  • I literally bought my first item for $1, an original Hungry Hungry Hippos board.  Buy 1 item for cheap.
  • Create extra capital by selling stuff on eBay around your house – great ideas are sealed DVDs/Blu-Rays or some box sets which can still be very popular (C’mon, we know you were into Anime back in the day), kitchen items (Fiesta mug sets that you don’t use, anyone?), VIDEO GAMES (I also helped de-clutter the TV area by getting 30+ rarely played video games out of the house), textbooks (if your comfortable using Amazon)
  • Go out and buy more stuff at the right prices

Can’t believe it’s only 3 steps!

People ask “what’s the point?”  Well, I’m going to include my general #’s for the 2013 year. This includes April when I started up until December.

Crunching the Numbers

Total Sales$4,580.84
Purchase Money$1,266.13
Shipping Fees$670.83
Ebay Fees$473.32
Blog$237.98
Office Supplies$233.86
Refunds$44.99
Advertising$37.90
Work Tools$37.87
TOTAL PROFIT$1,577.96

BAM!  That’s $1500+ profit for a hobby!  As noted above, that total profit includes a lot of different type of expenses, but here are the points I’d really like to drive home.

Notes about selling on eBay

  • I’ve created a large amount of inventory – over 100 items currently listed (including at least 50 items that I still need to list) without having to add my own capital. I think this actually helped me in the beginning because I had to be very selective. If I’d started with more capital, I’d probably have made more mistakes.
    ebay-thrift-store-rules

    Luckily I didn’t make a mistake like this!

  • The Shipping Fees and eBay Fees don’t have to be paid UNTIL you’ve received your money!  You get 50 free listings on eBay PER MONTH, so there’s no cost to you to start.
  • As I’ve grown, I’ve gone from purchasing individual boxes at Office Max or Staples to getting them in bulk.
  • The Blog has been completely paid for over the next few years. Who knows if this sucker will ever turn a profit.  Either way, I get to use it as a creative outlet.
  • Refunds – I don’t actually accept refunds, but there were a few items with issues and the like, so I did give some money back.
  • Advertising – I bought some business cards (probably way too many) towards the end of the garage sale season.  I’ll hopefully use more this coming year.

Now what?

You might be wondering, “Dollar Flipper, what are you going to do with all that extra cash??”  Don’t worry, I have plans for it.  The first $300 of it is set aside for future purchases, even though I’m refusing to buy for the rest of the year so I can get through my backlog of items I still need to list.

The remaining $1200 has been invested into my Roth IRA!  Woohoo!  This also lets me set the stage for a goal of fully funding my Roth in 2014 using only income from my eBay business.  The craziest thing for me is that my real limit here is time (and my wife would argue space, but I think the living room is a perfectly viable storage option).  I’ve never had trouble finding new inventory.

Hopefully, as I continue selling and blogging, I’ll be able to shed some light on what I’m doing and help others get closer to a financial goal or two through!

-Dollar Flipper

Update: I’ve detailed how I plan to hit my 2014 goal of completely funding my Roth IRA through eBay and Amazon re-selling.

Comments 10

  1. Wow, $1500+ in 9 months, with inventory and cash still in the pipeline. Do you think given the time/space constraints, that you can really fund a Roth for the year?

    1. Post
      Author

      I think I can. I’ll keep a tracker on the website, so make sure to follow my progress!

  2. Work it, son! And honestly you’ve made a TON more than just the $1,500 if you separate out the blog costs and business cards that don’t relate to eBay at all (ie you don’t need either to do the “eBay hustle”). Your true profit’s probably around $1900+ excluding that stuff – which is even better!

    Looking forward to reading more, my man… I’m one of those who still fall in that “not worth the effort” category, even though I admire those who do it! (And secretly watch them because it’s interesting as hell ;))

    1. Post
      Author

      That’s a really great point! I know you make a killing with your online presence and websites. For a lot of people though, it’s not an option (at least to start out). I think we really need to look at our strengths and try to take advantage of those. For me, it’s valuing items to re-sell. For you, it’s building awesome websites. One’s a little more profitable (nint – it’s your method) but it definitely takes some more know-how. Who knows though, maybe this blog will help me learn the web side and I can be a junior J. Money!

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  4. I have been telling myself for years that I need to find out more about how to sell on ebay, but for some reason I’m really intimidated (and I’m a lawyer! I’m usually trying to be the intimidating one!).

    I had my eye on a set of RockBand drums that were taking up too much garage space. I wanted to sell them on ebay and didn’t get around to it. Then my husband all of a sudden renewed his interest in playing and I’m glad I didn’t get rid of them! But there are still items I would love to get out of our garage.

    1. Post
      Author

      It is a little daunting to start! The RockBand drums would be a tough one for me for a few reasons. 1 – They’re big. That means that I have to keep it in my house (my wife would not appreciate this) and then they’d be a ton to ship. Here’s a completed listing for a set of drums for the Xbox 360 that went for 34.99 plus 25 shipping. But if you figure in that you have to buy a box, have packing material, pay ~$30 to ship it and another $8 in fees, and you’re probably not going to make much. And with my luck, I’d have to ship it to California (I live on the east coast and this causes shipping costs to skyrocket for big items).

      If you’re looking to start, the easiest items are regular video games, books, and anything that can fit in a USPS Padded Flat Rate Mailer . The video games can be shipped at first class rates (under $4), the books can go media mail (discounted rates), and the flat rate mailers are $5.35 coast to coast in the US (plus the post office will deliver a box of them to your house for free!).

      If I had to get that Rockband out of the garage, I’d try Craigslist. You won’t make as much, but honestly, in the end, it might be similar to what you could make online after fees and you don’t have to deal with the shipping hassle.

  5. Not bad for a little side hustle. I make $20-40 here and there selling crap on ebay and craigslist. Get paid to declutter? Yes, thank you, may I have another?

    1. Post
      Author

      🙂 My issue is that I decluttered some of our household items to start, but now I buy extra clutter which I plan on re-selling! It’s slightly addictive.

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