This month was, I think, a turning point in this side hustle business. It feels like I have taken some large steps forward and that all the groundwork put in over the last few months is finally starting to show good results culminating in the highest monthly profit (after all fees, shipping and COGS) of $812.05.
This month I took advantage whenever I could to get to Op Shops / Thrift Shops, most of the time on the way home. For the majority of the month, I managed to fit in a stop each day. This turned out to be both a blessing and a curse as I had a few days where I found some bargains but this contrasted heavily against others where I struggled to find items at a reasonable price and so wasted a lot of time just trying to find something. That said however over the course of the month I still managed to spend an additional $637.20 on inventory which conservatively should expand once sold out to over $3000.
I went on a sourcing mission one Saturday morning and travelled a bit further afield than usual with great results. It was comparable to probably being the most effective sourcing day ever so far with a combination of being in the right place at the right time occurring several times that particular day. At the first stop 2 mins from my house, I picked up specialist Monopoly sets of Dragonball Z and Adventure time along with mint condition Playstation 3 games. On the way home I drove past a Garage Sale sign and picked up an entire box of Manga books for $5.50 followed by a Harry Potter First Edition Deathy Hollows in fantastic condition for 50c. I then headed way south and made my target Op Shop with 15 minutes to spare before close. I picked up 3 Pairs Of Levi’s For $9, and an entire Tony Robins Personal Power CD Collection with the box For $6. This shop had no change or eftpos and the lowest denomination I had was a $20. So I was forced to find a brand new with tags Ben Sherman Vest (RRP $79.95), a pair of Jet Pilot board shorts and a couple of nice shirts to round out the difference. I was definitely on a high that day, it seemed everywhere I went there were bargains to be had. That $20 by itself from that one shop could turn into $300 – $400 By itself. For the day I spent just over $100 total.
Another day I hit a small jackpot in the last half an hour by again being at the right place at the right time and picking up a vintage Hero Quest game. That crazy story can be found here.
The House Update
I’ve been lapse with the house updates over the last couple of months. Other than a new oven being required there hasn’t been much to report. At a point during this month, however, I noticed that I hadn’t been paid rent from the rental property management company. I checked three or four times just to be sure as there had been no notification and sure enough, when I pressed them they made me aware that there was a problem. I had a mental list of major disaster problems that ran through in my head however it turns out it was a relatively simple one (be it also critical) that the tenant was no longer paying rent, was two weeks in arrears (behind) and had every intention of vacating prior to the end of the tenancy (lucky for me the remaining tenancy only had 2 months left till expiry).
Now originally this side hustle began as a way to augment paying this house off as quickly as possible and then this house would provide free cash flow. To date, this side hustle has been very helpful and I’m currently eight months ahead with mortgage repayments. I’m definitely less concerned about this unpaid rent than I otherwise might be were the situation different. That said it’s interesting to see the process unfold, whether it ends up going to court, whether or not I get my money owed back, and ultimately just how long that takes as well. Realistically, this is the whole point of having a property management company to help you manage situations just like this. To be able to remain somewhat disconnected makes it far easier to deal with and make decisions with most emotional influences removed.
Anyway sidetracked a little bit, in previous months I have talked about making months “No Buy” or “No Sourcing” months as I still have literally hundreds of items of stock I need to list. In previous months, (that is every month in which I’ve previously said just this), I have failed miserably in my restraint, often heading out on extensive thrifting/sourcing missions. This coming month of April is different because I actually need to make $600 in profit to help pay the mortgage on this property, something I should be able to achieve so long as I don’t procure more stock!
So the primary goal of April will be a “No Buy” sourcing month, well at least until I find another tenant anyway.
Sales have been definitely trending up and I’ve been keeping an eye on the seller hub watching the arrows against the previous periods of 60 days pretty much always in the green.
This month has a record profit of $812.05 and would have been even higher had I not had two returns which I have removed from the figures above.
The total value of all items listed has now crept over $20,000 which I am pretty happy with considering I only added an extra 61 listings. this equates to an average listing price of $38.87 per listing. It is quite possible that this figure will be even better next month as I have some bigger ticket items to get up and sold.
The cash flow for the month is a paltry $4.85 with the difference between profit – inventory being one off purchases of storage tubs and a Dymo 4XL Label Printer.
This month I have crashed through 500 listings with the relative ease. I’m not sure why that number held any power of any kind but I did prove a psychological resistance for a little bit. Aprils secondary goal is to get up to 600 listings which are the maximum amount I can have on my current store subscription (without incurring additional charges). The plan then is to reassess at the end of April and then if I decide to go ahead and push through 600 and power on towards 1000. I probably will.
A couple of small problems this month. I had two returns, one where a buyer was trying to say I sold a fake book, which was total rubbish of course. Currently this return is still ongoing. Is there really such a thing as fake books? I find this hard to believe. This will be covered in greater depth in a future post. At this point it feels like I am currently being scammed.
Another I accepted a return where a camera wasn’t working, I did state on the listing it was not tested. I was happy to accept the return anyway but I will see where that ends up with eBay and their view on an item not as described (INAD) because it is described as not been tested. I still might have to request any defect allocation to be removed on this one. Sigh. I suppose I learned my lesson, things I’m not 100% sure on, need to be labelled as for parts / not working and described as such. Still once I get this back I will still be able to resell again for profit.
Being that I was on a roll early on with some decent sales I decided to finally take the plunge and buy a Dymo 4XL Label Printer that I have been thinking about for a while. A suitable one flashed up one day on an eBay saved search I had set up for specifically this. As luck would have it I also managed to snag this whilst eBay was running its 10% off discount sale so I ended up getting the Label Maker plus five additional rolls of labels from another seller combined for $170ish dollars. I had a small problem of this label maker going missing in the post. The seller used Sendle a courier carrier which to be honest was super painful with no tracking on the listing initially. The Label Printer was late, the labels had already arrived. When tracking was provided after I requested it from the seller the item appeared to have arrived in the city but was stuck in a loop being checked into the depot each day it said for over a week. I had actually experienced the same problem before at my day job where I wasted a substantial amount of time getting in touch (on hold or being run around) with the courier company to find out where the delivery was (I am talking over a hour at least cumulative). I had absolutely no intention of wasting my time following this up myself, particularly as the buyer had made the choice to use a cheaper option to save literally a couple of dollars. Eventually, after opening a case for item not received the seller chased it up with the courier company and it finally appeared 3 days later, yay. I was pleasantly surprised when I finally opened it. The unit was in much better condition than what the eBay pictures had shown, maybe it’s the surface of it as I had trouble getting a half decent picture myself. And then as an added bonus inside the Label Printer was still a half full roll of genuine Dymo labels, which was odd because the listing specifically said no labels were included. $10 bonus right there.
I already have a smaller Dymo 450 so will spend some time getting these set up side-by-side. I use the smaller labels for other purposes such as labelling tubs and some items of clothing. Getting the Dymo 4XL set up was a breeze already having the Dymo 450, it was basically ‘plug and play’. However, getting the right print set up on eBay proved to be more of a challenge with Google leading me in the wrong direction initially with trying to find printer preferences through eBay itself. It turns out that simply modifying the scale and selecting the correct setting label type setting was perfect.
It’s hard to describe just how much of a difference this makes as far as productivity goes. The old printer was in a totally different room on the Wi-Fi network and often did not print initially resulting in me going to the other room and see no paper had actually printed. Then I would have to return to the computer in the other room and run the printer troubleshooter to spool the printer queue to get the printer to work. This also had the annoying side effect of reprinting the previous label as well meaning I had to be careful not to mix up the labels accidentally resulting in an item sent to the wrong person. Frustrating? You betcha.
Simply fixing this printer issue by using using the label printer has resulted in much smoother packing experience.
The labels stick on nicely on the satchels and I can now use them for parcel packages as well.
Auto Hot Key
The eBay script got a work out this month. eBay had modified its listing template again resulting in me having to retweak the script (again). Overall though the script is working better than ever now with very minimal errors.
I added on to the front end, to open a new tab and search for
the item title (input from the GUI) on existing listings and then filter by Sold Listings (automatically of course) before running the rest of the script. This does help a little to some extent but results can vary a lot depending on how many keywords I use in the title. The more keywords the narrower the results. However, because the string has already been searched for in its own new window I can simply take a couple of words out of the title and search again for broader results. It’s definitely a quicker way to price research than how I was previously doing it, and I no longer have to copy and paste at all so I will take that as a win for now.
I still have been toying with the idea of automating the process of the item measurements through Sizely as well. I tend to use only a few types of templates (at this time anyway) so wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Its not such an issue currently anyway as I can usually create the measurement image (through sizely) just before the last photo has uploaded to eBay.