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February 2015 Profits – Good not Great

Dollar Flipper Profits 24 Comments

2 months in the book, and February was an improvement over January! We’re headed in the right direction, but we’ve still got a ways to go.

February by the Numbers

Shipping Income24.7338.1262.85
eBay Fees105.9898.33204.31
PayPal Fees38.9030.1469.04
Shipping Costs150.29121.96272.25
Cost of Goods Sold170.514.12184.62
Amazon Fees8.4115.4323.84
Office Supplies20.650.0020.65
Office Expense374.940.00374.94
Other Expenses0.0023.7523.75
Profit / Loss49.12572.65621.77
OK-button_-_Macro_photography_of_a_remote_control eBay February

I can’t wait for the “KICK ASS!” button to make an appearance.

Seeing numbers below my goal ($833 profit per month) makes me worried that I won’t make it. I know that there’s not any real world consequence, especially since I kind of pulled the the $10,000 number out of my butt a hat. The issue is that I’ve put myself out there, and now I want to hit my milestone! Plus, that cash will cover some major HVAC upgrades.

Last year, I was short by a small amount. Talking about it doesn’t make me feel that excited. Hopefully tracking my profits monthly (and regularly) will let me push through the barriers here and really get some traction.

The more I look back though, I have improved over last year, and it’s all about that purchase money.

I spent $3,500 on new inventory last year! That’s a TON! And it was about $500 in January/February 2014 alone.

In 2015, I’ve been going through a lot of inventory that I bought last year while limiting my purchases. It’s really paying off. Almost all of my sales go right to profits.

I did have 1 small trip to Goodwill last week, but it wasn’t planned1. The items are prepped and will be photographed once I get through my next batch of items to be listed.

So, to recap:

Goal is $10,000 in profits for 2015. So far, I’m at $621.77 for two months.

If we assume that I make the same profits for the rest of 2015 as I did in February, that gives me a total of ~$6,000+. That’s a big deficit!

Insert U.S. national debt joke here.

So this monthly check helps me out in two ways.

First, I get a needed swift kick in the butt. It will be a lot easier for me to course correct now in February March than in the fall. So there’s that.

Second, I now have my priorities. I haven’t been focusing enough on the thing I promised to. The listing!

I feel like this is similar to weight loss where everyone focuses on the workout when the diet is 80% of the issue.

Now, I set myself up with a little bit of wiggle room when I included my tracking mechanism on Beeminder. So let’s check out the graph.

So does that mean that my goal (15 listings per week) isn’t aggressive enough?

I still feel like part of the issue is that I’m transitioning more and more to clothing. I love it because of the ease of shipping and my knowledge in it, but it’s definitely seasonal (who wants to buy shorts when they’re getting hit with snow???).

On top of that, they’re more of a long tail item. I think this is just inherent in the clothing category, and as such, I need to build up my inventory quickly.

15 items a week just doesn’t seem to be enough. If I’m still behind the 8 ball in March, then I’ll look at increasing my goal or maybe going through a maniac day. Something ridiculous like “list 50 items in a day!”

So, once again, I’m not on top of my goal. The important thing is that I’ve realized this, and I’m making some corrections. No more tablet purchases.

In the end, I’m still making money on a hobby and I’m having a lot of fun doing it, even if I have room for improvement. Right now I’ll focus on getting through my unlisted piles, and really pushing to clear out as much stuff before garage sale season starts up in about a month!

I get spring fever, but mostly it’s just garage sale fever! It’s not just the eBay dreams

Image Credit: Maximilian Schönherr,

  1. The only reason I was there was due to a car not/barely starting. The mechanic we go to was right around the corner from the Goodwill. I spent $14.12 which I think will sell for a minimum of $150. Right in the $20+ profit per item range.  I was lucky that I was able to start the car and didn’t have to get it towed! I didn’t think it was just the battery since I didn’t hear that terrible clicking sound. It seemed like more of a starter issue if I’d have guessed. Thankfully, we’ve been putting away money each month for auto related maintenance expenses (gotta love YNAB) so we were totally prepared. 

Comments 24

  1. Could be worse. It’s not bad at all. Ahead of last year! Anyways, car repairs are a thing. Had one of those ‘thing’s last month to the tune of $2k (power steering). As that has been the only issue the car has had in 90k miles, I’ll take it!

    I think so long as you’re not buying “business” items, you’ll make your goal ;).

    1. Post

      Yeah. I really do love my tablet, but I’m thinking I don’t get to see the real efficiency improvements because I’m not doing this full time. I probably shouldn’t have pulled the trigger on it but at least it’s covered through the biz.

      2k for power steering blows! We have two paid off cars that are both over the 100,000 mile mark. It’s a good feeling.

      I also didn’t mention it above but I had two of the slowest weeks ever. 5 items sold over 2 weeks. That’s abnormal. I’m thinking the huge amounts of snow was part of the reason!

      1. It happens! Our eBay limit got raised to 40/$4k yesterday. I think that’s where we need to be for now. It’ll be enough to get through all of the stuff we have to sell and enough to list what we get through garage sales as well once spring actually happens :/.

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          Nice! The limits must be a more recent change by eBay to try to restrict the crazy people who list everything in their home all at once (but don’t know how to take a good picture or write a good description). I’m sure it’s a push/pull situation where there’s different middle ground for different people. Glad yours was raised though!

  2. You are doing better than last month! Perhaps you should bump it up to 50 listings on the weekends, or list everything in the garage before April. List it as soon as you get it. (I know, big talk from someone currently listing zero items per week…) Can your wife help? Take pictures or do the listings while you take the pics? Would it be worth it to hire a college student for a few hours to do this for you?
    Good luck. I love your site, and can’t wait to read about March’s dollars!

    1. Post

      Oh man, now you’re really pushing me. 🙂 I love the forced accountability!

      There’s a lot of things I can do. I’m not sure if I can get everything I have listed, but I think I’m going to take a day off from work and go crazy. No daughter running around will help a ton. I’ll show my wife this comment though! She’s currently finishing her dissertation so I’m thinking it won’t happen. :-/

  3. Can you add prior year comparisons? I think seeing that you improved 25% over last year would help with context. How many retailers can show that kind of gain?

    1. Post

      I’m probably similar to last year. Here’s my February post from 2014. The format of my numbers isn’t the same though, so it’s kind of apples to oranges. Still nice to see that my buying is down when I have inventory!

  4. I have only been selling for a bit over a year, but the one thing I keep hearing is to list, list, list. To that end, I think you should up your goal of listing 15 items per week in order to make your goals. My overall goal for the year is $5,000 profit and since I was at $1,500 last year, I have a lot of work to do! Good luck!

    1. Post

      Good luck to you too! Well, it’s not really luck. It’s hard work, dedication, and staying within your target zones. Don’t over reach! I’m probably going to increase my listing #’s or at least re-ratchet the target if I have a big week. So basically ignore 50 listings just to keep myself on the “15 items per week” rate. Thanks for stopping by though!

  5. I’m clearly all about the ease of selling clothing. There’s definitely a cycle of when certain types of clothing are popular. Right now my warm-weather clothing is far outperforming my cold-weather clothing. (They’re almost all going to California, too. Like I need another reason to resent people on the west coast when I’m bracing for another winter store in TN!) Any cold-weather clothing that doesn’t sell before the season ends just means that I’ll be ready in the late summer / early fall when buyers are stocking up on coats and sweaters.

    1. Post

      You know, that’s a great point. Men’s clothing doesn’t have a really good winter/summer difference. Sweaters sure, but for men it’s polo’s and t-shirts. Women have a lot more with all of their styles! I’m just gonna keep listing all that I have right now to bust through my piles and be in good shape for the nice weather. 🙂

  6. Hey, at least you’re steadily making a profit. I used to sell items to help offset the cost of my collection. Ideally, I’d still be doing it, but I have a full-time job now, plus a blog, plus my husband wants me to actually pay attention to him. Also, I truly hate the shipping factor, since I never knew what the items weighed, and a postage scale had its own challenges.

    It sounds like you have the capital to invest, which is the key issue. I imagine clothes are a tough market, with a lot of hit or miss items. Or at least ones that take awhile to sell. I hope your profits continue to climb!

    1. Post

      Those spouses are so needy. My daughter’s the same way. Always wanting attention! (This is a joke, I swear!)

      Clothes are not really a miss, but a long hit. Video games are a much different ball game.

      I got a free scale from stamps.com (ended up canceling before I was billed). I had to pay for the shipping. I was able to use a program that integrates right with the scale though and puts the weight on your computer monitor. Very neat!

      And thanks for the kind words.

  7. Do you have a plan? Is it written down? If not it doesn’t exist. Plan the work and work the plan.
    Remember just like you said, garage sale season is right around the corner and there will be great money making opportunities to come along with that season.

    1. Post

      Plan is no buying and continue listing through March. I’ll probably take a day off too to allow myself to go crazy listing for a day!

  8. It’s great that you are keeping track of all your expenses. I’m REALLY bad at that. I end up doing all of my bookkeeping at the end of the year. I’m doing that now for both of my businesses. It’s a real pain. I don’t know why I don’t do it monthly. Silly really!

    1. Post

      Yep. It makes things a lot easier. We actually track near real time using YNAB. It helps us a ton. The habit just stuck with my re-selling hobby/business. The best part is that it gives me a “receipt” for any cash transactions too!

    1. Post

      You can look at your invoice. Go to “My eBay” and click on “Account.” It has a list of invoices on the pull down menu on the right side.

      I pull these numbers directly from GoDaddy Bookkeeping which I use for tax purposes.

  9. Very excited to discover your blog! My husband and I have enjoyed reading it and he is really excited to start a new “hobby”. Pretty cool to have a hobby you can make money at instead of just spending!

    1. Post
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