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Ask the Reader – What Size is your eBay Store?

Dollar Flipper Ask the Reader, eBay Tips, Musings

Last week I asked “What the hell should I do with this sign?

Lorraine was interested about any legal ramifications, and Kate thought I was in the clear since I didn’t steal it myself. I think I’ll take the plunge and take the sign apart and sell it. Worst case, I’d have to lose my $4 investment if someone ended up reporting the sign. I can handle that!

Now to the question of the day.

How big is your eBay store?

OR

Is that an eBay store in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

If you’ve followed along on my blog for a while now, you’ll notice that I’ve grown very slowly. I’m at ~350+ items right now (there’s a widget on the right hand side bar that links to what’s on sale in my store right now).

For a reference point, I started re-selling for profits in April 2013. It was a vintage Hungry Hungry Hippos board. I sold it on a 7 day auction. Everything was an auction in the beginning.

But then there was the slow growth. All of a sudden I realized that I could buy 10 more items for $1 that I could sell for $10-20 profit. This never really stops as long as you keep feeding the beast.

But that’s the thing, I haven’t just been selling on eBay over this time. We’ve moved, I changed jobs, my wife graduated with her PhD, we’re expecting another baby. In other words, there’s been a whole lot of life in there. Life is its own beast that also needs to be fed!

So, whenever I think about expanding my store I have to think about it like I’m committing to a relationship.

 

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Remember when eBay and PayPal used to be this cute couple?

No Store

This is where we all start. It’s fun here. Auctions are flying around, you sell things quick but don’t make as much profits as you could. Your inventory system is really just a pile.

Your life involves printing out “labels” (they’re really just half of a sheet of paper) and buying boxes from Staples. Maybe you even print out your labels in the Staples (or at work) since you don’t own a home printer.

You may even have a tape roll in your glove compartment so you can pack up your item right there in the car.  At this point, I was even too cheap to have a tape holder!

You live for the offers of 2 million free listings in the next 24 hours from eBay. I would even list something for 30 days only and then either wait till the next month for a new promotion or wait until eBay offered me one. This is the “first few dates” stage. All glamour.

Basic Store

This is where things start to get a little serious. eBay requires monthly or yearly commitment (you still pay monthly but you get a discount by committing to the whole year).

You may even buy a printer just for labels (using the half sheets of paper is a PITA).

I upgraded to a Basic Store in April 2014. That means that I was in that No Store space for a whole year. Yep, it was wild. Looking back, I didn’t feel like the caveman that I was at the time.

Premium Store

This is the deep end. You’re committing to paying eBay a minimum of $600 per year just to have your store open.

I just upgraded to this level last month.*

I’d say me and eBay are at least engaged now. It’d be ugly if we tried to back out. We have a wedding we’re planning, have had several family holidays together.

Let’s just say that Grandma won’t be happy if I show up alone to the next Thanksgiving.

“Where’s that eBay girl? She was so nice!”

Anchor Store

I was going to say that this is the goal, but I’m not so sure about that. For me, I think I’ll be able to coast in the Premium Store arena for a long time. The Premium Store is the highest level where you can still call re-selling a hobby. Once you go Anchor, this is now a real business.

 

Now, is this relationship analogy good? Not really. There’s a lot of holes in my theory. I’m OK with that.

I think the important thing to note is that once you have a store, you need to use that yearly “should you renew” as a time to really look at where your store is and where you want it to go.

Getting sick of it? Maybe you shouldn’t upgrade. Having that extra “bill”** hanging over your head isn’t fun at all. It may not be worth it now even if it was last year.

Really though, you should try to take your emotions out of it and just use the eBay Fee Illustrator. This lets you look at your actual numbers and see your best option.

Question: What size store do you have? Have you upgraded recently? Do you regret it?

 

*I received a promotion from eBay to upgrade my store and save $25 off the first three months. I was borderline (the costs for premium and basic were about the same), so it pushed me over the edge!

**I don’t think of the “bills” from eBay as bills. I use YNAB, and at the time of shipping my items, I  budget the money from PayPal towards this future eBay bill. When eBay takes the money from my PayPal account, it doesn’t hurt since I’ve already set aside the money. If there’s any interest, I can go into a little more detail in the future!

 

Image Credit: Pexel