Deflated Balloon Wikipedia eBay

January 2015 Profits – Need More Listings

Dollar Flipper Profits 26 Comments

Happy Groundhog Day! In line with David Seah’s Groundhog Day review, I’m going to look at how I’m doing and where I need to go if I want to hit my 10k in profits for 2015. I’ll break away from his methods and report profits the first of every month, but I figure it’s as good a day to start as any.

On a side note, am I the only one hoping for a huge snowstorm still? I’m sure any New England readers would slap me for saying that. We haven’t gotten anything significant down here, and it’s been pretty disappointing.

Huge Slim Profits

I was hoping to come out in January, guns blazing, and hitting goals left and right. Let’s just get this out of the way and pull off the band-aid.

I barely turned a profit!

Deflated Balloon Wikipedia eBay

This represents the sound of my ego deflating. You might not be able to hear it over the sound of Seattle Seahawks fans whining though…

Now, there’s some silver lining here so let’s start out with that. I’ve increased my eBay store size from 176 items on 1/5/2015 to 261 items as of 2/1/2015. That’s 118 items listed in the month of January! (I also sold 33 items). That’s a lot of listing! Prepping over the weekend and listing 5+ items every morning has really been working out. I could be over 500 listings in just a few months at this pace.

I’m also hitting my listing goal for Beeminder:

The auto-integration has really helped me keep on track listing at least 15 items per week. I’ll probably ratchet that up a little in the future. I’ve built up a great buffer just in case I slip up, but I do no plan on doing that!

I will be using GoDaddy Bookkeeping to keep track of these numbers so I don’t have to do any of the calculations. On top of that, it will force me to keep up on the data entry.

Jan-15Total
Income Total
1,000.341,000.34
Sales975.61975.61
Shipping Income24.7324.73
Expense Total
952.21952.21
eBay Fees106.97106.97
PayPal Fees38.9038.90
Shipping Costs150.29150.29
Cost of Goods Sold (New Inventory)*170.50170.50
Mileage19.219.2
Utilities25.3525.35
Amazon Fees8.418.41
Office Supplies20.6520.65
Office Expense**374.94374.94
Advertising***37.0037.00
Profit / Loss48.1348.13

So yeah, that’s not too great. I mean, it’s still in the positive. So there’s that.

Where did all the profits go?

They all went to those pesky little asterisks. Let’s get through with my whining explanations as to what these were.

*First note is that I only count my new inventory as an expense when I buy it. I do not remove it from my sales as an average cost of goods sold. I’ll clarify how I’m tracking my COGS in a future tax update.

But onto how I actually spent the money… I swore up and down I was going to refrain from buying this January. But then there was an estate sale right in our development, and my wife wanted to go! So basically this is all her fault (not really).

I went, spent $20 on ~6 items, and we also bought a couch! It was a pull-out love seat in fantastic shape for only $50. But no, I couldn’t include it in my cost of goods.

So when I returned with my car to pick up the couch, I mentioned to the lady that I would love to take all of the clothing and shoes from her at the end of the day. She told me to return after 1.

There were 33 pairs of shoes (women’s size 5. Some generic brands and some nicer ones), a pair of cowboy boots, and a ton of leftover clothing. I got it for about $110, but the deal required that I take all of it. I was able to group a good amount together plus donate a bunch of it. As such, I’m going to sell a big chunk of these in lots, and probably, *gasp* at auctions no less! I just want to move these piles. They’re next on my list as it was 3+ garbage bags full of listable items!

** Sigh. I bought a tablet with a keyboard. It’s a Microsoft Surface 2 (RT), and it has let me gather listing information a lot easier. I’m using it to add all of my measurements, and it’s streamlining my listing process. The tablet came pre-loaded with the Microsoft Office suite too!

It’s not an entertainment tablet like all of the iPads and the Android tablets. Still, this is a lot of money to drop on a tool when I’m trying to hit a ridiculous goal. That hindsight isn’t making me feel great about the purchase, but when I’m using it, I’m really appreciating it.

***This is a blog plugin that let’s me easily add Amazon affiliate items to my posts (including pictures and buy buttons). They’re over on my Tools of the Trade page. I’m trying it out and figured that $37 was worth a shot. Theoretically it will pay for itself and help keep this blog in at least the black (break even would be perfect for now). I’ve made a few dollars from ads, but I don’t think I can count this blog as a side hustle!

These numbers aren’t going to cut it if I want to hit my $10,000 in profits. I’m already starting in the hole now, and I’m a month behind.

Remember, I’ll need to have $833 in profit each month. If we ignored the tablet purchase, I’d still only be at $423.07 in profits, or about 50% below my target. So while the tablet purchase wasn’t ideal, it still wasn’t the only thing that was holding me back.

I did sell some brands from my clothing series including an L.L. Bean fleece, 3 Pendleton Flannels, 3 Polo Ralph Lauren shirts, a Woolrich sweater, and pearl snap! Plus I sold another pair of my Fashion Bug plus sized pants too! There’s definitely profits in clothing!

Next steps – Always Be Listing

The point of these monthly breakdowns is twofold. First, I’m updating my readers on how I’m progressing using real numbers and not just looking at potential (looking at you haul video people). We all know that the buying is fun, but it doesn’t make you anything but a hoarder if you’re not listing.

The more important reason is to give myself a smack upside the head when I’m not hitting my goals.

Let’s just say this is a sobering wake-up. Here’s my plan to have higher profits in February

  • Keep on listing. This is a no-brainer. Listing more yields to more sales.
  • Don’t buy any expensive electronics. I’ve done it, it’s helping, but I don’t need more (even though I do want a few).
  • Don’t buy anymore inventory. If I were trying to do this full time, I couldn’t afford the luxury of just buying whenever I wanted to. To simulate this, I’ll refrain from buying in the month of February. OR ELSE.

So, with Groundhog Day upon us, I’m going to course correct and get to where I want to go!  Don’t want to be living the same month over and over again for the rest of the year.

groundhog-day-bill-murray-day-ebay'

Sometimes I feel this crazy.

Image Credit: Coyau, Doddle

Comments 26

  1. The thrift haul video comment had me cracking up! I’ll admit they drew me in when I was first starting in the reselling world, but it didn’t take too long for my skeptical side to come out and wonder how many of their potential money-making finds turned into actual money.

    My husband wants a Surface… I’m glad to hear you like yours! If we ever end up getting one, maybe I’ll commandeer it during listing marathons. 🙂

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      Author

      LOL I know! “This is $10,000 of clothing that I just spent $100 on at the thrift store” But they don’t mention that they are talking about MSRP, not what they will actually get, which still might be $1000 AFTER they list it and let it sit for a while. 😀

      Yeah, we love the Surface so far. Just be sure to understand the difference between the Pro and the regular RT ones. RT is limited to Microsoft store apps. You can’t install normal programs. The pro versions are just like a dumbed down laptop where you can install any Windows programs.

      Windows 8 really seems better when you use it on a touchpad though! It’s like “Oh, this is what it’s supposed to feel like!”

  2. You will definitely do well with your determination. The good news about the computer is that it is tax deductable, as is your mileage and other business related expenses. But what’ with your $25 shipping income vs $150 shipping expenses? Looks like you took a huge hit there. Why offer “free shipping” when you are the one who pays for it if/when someone returns an item? And I will say it again–you have such limited time to list–why not buy and sell higher profit items?

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      Author

      Free Shipping – I build shipping price into the sale price of my item. So if completeds are $30+$5 S/H, I’ll sell it for $35. The benefit here is that if there’s a return, I get my entire Final Value Fee back. eBay doesn’t return the FVF on the S/H for sellers, so this is a nice bonus. Additionally, if it’s sold internationally (GSP doesn’t work well with clothing), I get the full value (including my shipping) PLUS the shipping price that the buyer pays. Another added bonus. And then there’s the “FREE SHIPPING” badge on each item. I’d like to think that eBay pushes this because the data shows that people prefer free shipping.

      Buying higher/selling higher – LOL I’m trying! I’m not going to pull anything that’s already listed, but I’m slowly raising the bar on what I will list. I just went through a huge (disappointing) pile of stuff yesterday that I had bought months ago, and a lot of it is just getting re-donated. I’m not going to waste my time with it even though I can make $5-10 profit on a lot of the items.

      1. Thanks for explaining the benefits of offering free shipping. That does make sense, but what about that random buyer from Hawaii and the item costs $20 to mail instead of $5? Just wondering…

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          Author

          I think the first point is that I ship mostly clothes (80%). This leads to me having a limit on the size. Almost everything is going to fit in a padded flat rate mailer – $5.90 anywhere in the U.S.

          Second, I try to utilize that flat rate boxes. Again, this would limit costs to somewhere in the $10-15 range.

          And finally, cost to Hawaii is similar to cost to California. At that point, I’m not even going to list a big, bulky, expensive to ship item UNLESS it’s worth my time. I’m not into selling $30 glassware for exactly this reason. Too much hassle for not enough profit.

  3. Chris,

    I just upgraded to a better digital camera to photograph eBay items so I definitely understand the desire to purchase tools/gadgets that will make selling easier. In my defense, I *did* sell enough on eBay last month to justify the expense — and my photos look so much better — even in the poorest of lighting. 🙂

    As for how you calculate your costs of goods, I’d love to read a future post on that. I think I may already understand your reasoning (since I stopped including COGs in my previous income reports due to the way I accounted for it), but I’ve love to see/read how you account for it.

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      Author

      Yep! I plan on doing one as it gets closer to tax time. I still haven’t tried using my wife’s fancy DSLR camera. I’m just using a regular Canon point and shoot, and it’s worked out well. I may switch at some time, but I just love how quickly it works.

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      Author

      Hmm, you might be able to get a bluetooth keyboard to use with it. Mine doesn’t have a pen. :-/

        1. Post
          Author

          Hah! This picture sums me up right now.

          Woosh Over Head Joke

  4. How did you get to the point you’re listing ~250 things at a time? Did you purchase a storefront on eBay for that?

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      Author

      I didn’t have a store for a while. I used eBay’s free listings and promotions. I slowly grew my inventory over time. I only list the items as Good Til Cancelled (they get renewed every 30 days). In the beginning though, I’d re-list everything manually (only once we had another promotion or another month to start with the regular free listings)! We all have to start somewhere on the eBay spectrum, so this is totally normal for most people starting out.

      1. I need eBay to up my limit for the month (i.e. more than 10). 50 would be a good target for right now. Is it an easy process or?

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          Author

          I’m not sure what you mean. Sellers get their first 50 listings (auction or BIN) for free every month. You can do another 50 auction style listings on top of that for free in certain categories too, but additional BIN listings will cost you. And if you do Good Til Cancelled, it will count it twice in some months (since it’s 30 days vs. 31).

          So I think 50 is a good number to start with and aim for. I built up a buffer then to say “OK, I can pay for the next 3 months in fees if I keep at this number of listings” for when I started going over 50 (used to be 150 items). I used eBay’s fee illustrator calculator to figure out when it made sense to upgrade to a store.

          1. I mean eBay limits my account to 10/month. Is that an easy thing to raise?

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            Author

            Yep, eBay lets you increase your limits pretty easily. Best bet is to go into the message that tells you about your limits. Here’s their discussion about it from their site.

          3. Thanks! I went ahead and did it. They raised me to 20/$2k. In a month I can double it to 40/$4k which is more where I’m thinking will be good for now. 🙂 Good luck on your $10k for the year!

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            Author
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      Author

      Ain’t that the truth! I’ve been good so far for February, but its taken a lot of restraint. And it’s only the 7th!

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