As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve finally taken the plunge and started selling stuff on eBay. It took me a long time to get comfortable with the idea but I can say that so far, so good, and I’m glad I’ve done it. For anybody thinking about making some extra cash, read on…
Obviously I’m not an expert seller by any stretch. However, I would put myself on that side of the ledger when it comes to buying–at least in the many niche hobbies I pursue. So, as a 13 year buyer on eBay, I know what makes a great seller and what makes a crappy one (PeePee17 I’m looking at you). Therefore, when I decided to enter the world of eBay, I had these goals/standards in mind for myself:
1. Sell my stuff at fair prices.
2. Cultivate return customers.
3. Provide “bulletproof” packing.
4. Ship orders as quickly as possible.
5. Communicate with my customers.
Allow me to expound…
Sell my stuff at fair prices
If you’ve been buying on eBay for any length of time, you’ve run across what I call “Crack Smoking Prices.” As in, “This guy must be smoking Crack if he thinks I’m paying $X for that!” Not to say sellers can’t put whatever prices they want on their stuff…of course they can. But for me, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So, I want my stuff to move. But then again…I’m not trying to, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers once suggested, “Give it away, give it away, give it away now…”
One thing I’ve learned in my first 10 days on eBay is that pricing stuff is an art. For now, I’ve been focusing on listing books. In doing so, I’ve been checking closed sales on eBay and going prices on Amazon before I list my item. I jot down the lows and highs and try to come in somewhere in the low-to-middle end of the spectrum with my pricing. That being said, I have been tempted to price a couple particularly nice books towards the higher end. There’s certainly a learning curve and I’m confident that experience will help me get the hang of this part of the business.
Cultivate return customers
I want people to save me as a favorite seller. I want them to do it because I offer cool stuff and excellent service. I have about 15 sellers on my own favorites list but only routinely check three or four of them. One guy in particular…I check his newly listed items twice a day. And I’ve probably bought from him 25 times in the last two years. I’ll never be able to compete with his inventory since he apparently lives in a Santa’s Toy Shop for Nerds with his never ending supply of games, model kits, toys, comics, etc. But my hope and goal is that I’ll be able to keep a constantly revolving stock of nerd bait that keeps folks coming back.
Provide “bulletproof” packing
If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know I despise lazy sellers who pack their items like couldn’t care less if it arrives in one piece or twenty. Just a couple of weeks ago, I got some D&D minis from the 80’s shipped to me in a freaking Cheez It box. A CHEEZ IT BOX MAN!!! C’MON!!! What’s the point of shipping somebody something that they just paid you for with their hard-earned money in a cracker box?
I’m going to be that guy who over-packs everything. I’ve gotten boxes that looked like they were thrown off a building. So I’m going to pack every box like it’s getting thrown off a building…and who knows, they might. I’m enclosing every book in a nice ziplock bag (these), not a Wal-Mart bag with 14 holes in it. That way, if the USPS leaves the box on my customer’s porch and it rains…no problemo.
I’m bubble wrapping every book with at least two layers and shipping them in cardboard mailers (or boxes) versus envelopes or poly mailers that can get banged around and jammed in a mailbox. Of the packages I’ve shipped so far, you’d have to work pretty hard to jack them up. I recently saw a YouTube video of a postal carrier chunking a box down a driveway into a garage door. If that’s my book, you can Frisbee that sucker into a brick wall and we’re still good to go. At least I hope so…knock on wood.
Ship orders as quickly as possible for my lifestyle
I’ve marked my listings as two-day processing–meaning I ship within two days of a buyer paying. To date, I’ve shipped all packages the next day. Or, I should say, my wife has shipped them as she’s volunteered to be the eBay mule of the family–she has a Post Office near her office. I said two-day so I wouldn’t set myself up if I couldn’t make next day shipping for some reason–like a late night sale while I’ve got my Mac Daddy vibe working. You know what I’m talking about…
Communicate with my customers
Currently, I’m offering free shipping on all my books (we’ll get into that minefield of an issue at a later date), so I don’t need to respond to invoice requests for combined shipping while I’m at work. I’ve mentioned in all my listings that I do work for The Man, so questions about item specifics will have to wait for lunchtime (if I know the answer) or after 5PM (if I don’t). But people won’t have to wait two days for me to respond unless I’m in a diabetic coma or something like that.
So, one week into my new side business, I’m liking it. I can certainly see that this is the kind of endeavor in which you get out what you put in. I can devote as much or as little (as long as I support my customers) time as I want. And the $50 I’ve made certainly feels pretty good. Hopefully it will be the first of many dollars that flow INTO my bank account instead of OUT.
Stay tuned as I plan on posting some other non-eBay related stuff this week that will hopefully be of interest to all seven of my readers. Until then…Stay nerdy my friends.
Copyright 2014 It Came From The Nerd Cave