After a couple weeks of shopping around for that perfect thrift store item and then attempting to sell it for more online, Charlie, Laurie and Aaron reveal their final sales figures and add up their profits. Who will come out ahead?
Would a pair of washed out jeans save the day?Laurie
When I posted my item on Ebay, I chose, based on EBay's recommendation, a starting bid of 99 cents. This was a little scary, knowing that I could possibly lose $2.50 on the jeans, but based on what I'd seen other men's jeans go for, I figured I'd at least break even. I did a 5-day bidding time, figuring that this would give the jeans an ample amount of time on the market. Bids came in right away, pretty much, but the real action didn't happen until the last day. The final accepted bid was for $9.00 : a 260% profit!
However, that's not the end of the story. You see, based on the item, eBay partners with the U.S. Postal Service to determine a shipping rate, which is all fine and good, at least it would be if it were accurate. eBay determined that I could ship the jeans in a small Priority flat rate box for $5.60. When I got to the post office, I grabbed both a small flat rate box and a small flat rate envelope. Try as I may, there was NO way those jeans were going into a small flat rate shipping container. So, I went up to the cashier, and we decided that the cheapest way to go would be Priority Mail by weight. Total cost? $6.80. OUCH! Immediate $1.20 loss on the profit. So, with the $9.00 price for the item, plus the $5.60 the customer paid for shipping, we're at $14.60 total income. When we take away the $3.49 price tag on the jeans, and the $6.80 on the shipping, we technically sold the jeans for $7.80, or a 212% profit. I didn't include gas prices for running up to the post office in my calculations, because we had to run into town that day anyway. I made sure to have the auction end in a time period where we could combine with other errands and not spend extra money on gas. In the future when selling on eBay, I would probably do two things different: Number one, plan on shipping being at least a buck higher than the eBay estimate, and second, I would probably list multiple items to start and finish at once to maximize the money made for the time and gas spent running to the post office, etc.
Would a vintage putter put Aaron on top?Aaron
For the putter I purchased at Goodwill, I decided to list at eBay (at auction) with a starting price of $3.99 (I wanted to ensure I'd at least made a dollar profit!). I figured this would be my best option for selling the item in 3 days.
After 3 days the putter sold BUT at a price of only $4.25! I haven't used eBay in years – and so I was expecting some notifications it was being bid on and where the bidding was it. Plus, I wasn't really checking in on the putter to see where bids might be. Next thing I know – the item was sold. Shoot!
With shipping costs ($8.75) and the sale of the putter ($4.25), total sale was $13. But then came the tricky part: shipping the thing. Putters aren't heavy – but they are awkward and large to send through the mail. eBay was telling me that I could ship the package via USPS for about $7.25 – but I decided to head over to the nearby UPS store. I handed my shipping invoice to the store clerk and he took one look at it and said, “my packaging costs alone will not cover what you've sold this for.” Wow. I told him what I was up to – and he proceeded to tell me about his experience selling on eBay and thrifting. He said that he made about $3,000 last year buying/selling items from thrift stores – mostly from books! I was amazed. “Don't use eBay if you are going to sell books. Use Amazon. Get their price-checker app for your phone, scan the books at the thrift stores to see what they are going for at Amazon.”
I ended up leaving UPS having been schooled and made my way to a nearby golf store where I got a free golf club box I could ship my club in. And, since the guy was so helpful at UPS, I decided to head back over there and had 'em ship my box for a total of $11.60. Given that I bought the putter for $2.99 and shipping costs were $11.60, AND had sold it for $13, I had a total loss of $1.59 which included a few lessons on what not to do when selling on Ebay and what to do next time.
Would the workout outfit run away with it?Charlie
Our Goodwill/Thrift Store Gift Card Winner
Many of you commented over the past week and offered your two cents + voted for who you thought might come out ahead. Those who did were automatically entered into a drawing for a $50 Goodwill gift card (courtesy of Goodwill Easter Seals in Minnesota) OR a $50 gift card to a thrift store nearest your home (if you do not reside in MN).
Using Random.org – a winner has been drawn. Congrats to: Claire!
We will contact you via email. Thanks to everyone who participated and chimed in last week!