Back in the day you used to be able to search Facebook Marketplace for something, save search queries and then get notifications when new items were listed. I.E a saved search. This functionality seems to have been removed some time ago for unknown reasons (it was at the time of this writing anyway). Please let me know in the comments if this has changed again.
To get around this lack of functionality I thought it a useful time saver to be able to automate several FB Marketplace search queries to one simple double click to run all of them instantly using a super simple Auto Hot Key script. This concept could also be easily applied to any other platform, for example eBay or Gumtree with some tweaking.
So I double click the Auto Hot Key script icon on my desktop:
And the browser opens all windows at once each with its respective search query:
You need Auto Hot Key running on your computer to make this work. Applies to Windows running PCs. Available at: https://www.autohotkey.com/
Here is the code, it is super easy. First search FB Marketplace for what you are looking for. Then copy and paste the whole URL, into the script between “URL” as per the code below in bold italics. Then just copy this URL and modify the search terms to whatever you are looking for each time. Need a new search? Just add a new line. Save the script and your ready to go.
#NoEnv ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases. ; #Warn ; Enable warnings to assist with detecting common errors. SendMode Input ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability. SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir% ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.
Over the course of my relatively short reselling career (spanning 5 years on an ad hoc basis for most and really ramping up since September last year) I have had roughly 5 negative feedback from buyers.
All have been my own fault, something that I had missed or overlooked when listing resulted in an unhappy customer and then that dreaded fall from grace of 100% positive feedback. Sometimes the buyer would contact me after leaving this negative feedback, sometimes not.
In all previous cases I have provided a satisfactory remedy back to the buyer through either partial refunds, full refunds, or full refund plus keep the item. All of these had been on items for less than $50 so I simply learned the required lesson and chalked this up as a cost of doing business (education). After a happy resolution the next step was to send a remove negative feedback link to the buyer through eBay (Called a Feedback revision request) and after they accepted this the negative feedback was gone.
Last month, however, I noticed on my seller hub a negative feedback. My stomach became sick instantly. I had received no contact about this so it took me by surprise. It related to an item that I had sold approximately 2 weeks after the initial sale date that was priced in the hundreds of dollars. The stakes were a lot different compared to the previous occasions.
Needless to say I was annoyed.
The feedback stated that my item was very dirty, overpriced and could that they (the buyer) could have brought the same item in a thrift shop for almost 10 times less than what it sold for.
Ah the irony of that…
Anyway, I had an instinct or gut feeling that this particular buyer did actually in fact want to keep this item but wanted it at a discount, and subsequently chose to use negative feedback as a pathway to achieve this.
This is of course is pure speculation, but here are my background thoughts on this:
This item was unique (or very limited production) and rare being old vintage, an excellent combination. Other than having a couple of marks on it (which were fully disclosed in the listing both written and with photos) was in great condition. It’s the type of item you might not see advertised for sale again for a long long time.
Comparable sales of other similar but newer items of same brand, category told me that I was spot on with my initial pricing and to complete this sale I had actually taken an offer of approximately 40% discount to my original asking price due to the marks on it. At the time I did this I was even hesitant in accepting this offer as I likely could have achieved a better price but chose a fast turnover instead.
I had 30 day returns on this listing, returning was always an option for this buyer.
The feedback left had 2 separate references to price, being overpriced (funny because they made the offer in the first place) and able to buy in a thrift shop for $X which I knew to be untrue as I had already paid 4x the figure stated in the feedback (and even I thought I had gotten a bargain at that price at that time).
Therefore as above, I concluded that the real motivation for the negative feedback was price paid vs perceived value.
This is the true nature of a sale, that is, value must outweigh the price.
Perhaps my own view of perceived value for this item is skewed or biased as I have been doing this a while now, I considered this argument then discarded it after using a peer test, that is, would another customer having this same item in the same condition generate the same result (a negative feedback)? The answer, I thought, was no. There would be many people that would be super stoked to own this item in its current condition with some minor marks.
Still, was there anything else I could have done to move the value to this customer upwards? Yes, I believe there was, perhaps the packaging could have been improved and was not to their liking (**There was not a lot of physical room to improve it**) or a simple thank you card could have made the difference (**Something a recent continuous improvement iteration has implemented using thank you labels on all new sales**)
So with the above reasoning I chose to do nothing but wait and see if a return or case eventuated. This of course meant having to sit with this feedback blemish on my account for another 2 weeks until after the return window closed whereby I could contact eBay directly for an appeal and request removal of this feedback.
The Appeal Request To Remove Negative Feedback
The following is a summary of the chat transcript with my thoughts in italics. I currently have a feedback score of more than 500 and have been a longtime eBay member (10 years now), this may or may not be a contributing factor to the outcome.
Initial Chat Request: Noticed I have Received A Negative Feedback, Would like it to be removed.
Thoughts:Just a simple to the point request, all the details will be sent through in a while.
eBay Rep: Welcome to eBay Plus Premium Service! This is:
Thoughts:This may or may not have any influence with this appeal but being a member of eBay Plus which costs $49 per year provides actually some great benefits for sellers such as almost instant customer service (you being the customer).Being a member of a Premium Service may just bring you that – Premium Service. This has been mentioned a few times on some of the podcasts I listen to regarding stores based in the US, whereby Anchor Store holders (the highest tier) have a different team of eBay specialists who provide support for these accounts. Perhaps a similar thing applies with eBay Plus?
Me: The request is in reference to item 16XXXXXXXXXXX
Thoughts:You want provide the item number straight away. Make it easy for the consultant to complete their interaction with you. I’m not sure what metrics they work to but I imagine time would be one of them, therefore anything you can do upfront to save the consultant time will be appreciated. I have been thanked every time I have done this.Help them help you.
eBay Rep and Me: Greetings back and forward
Thoughts:I always ask the eBay Rep how they are and on this occasion I added that I had just had several quick sales which I thought was great. This may seem trivial but treating people with respect goes a long way, make anyone you talk to feel like you actually give a shit, because you actually do right – you do want people to have a good day. The reference to the sales was both truth and a extremely subtle reminder that sellers are a big part of the business.
Me: Provided a list of points why I believed the feedback should be removed.
Firstly I accepted an offer of $X from a list price of $X, a large substantial discount to the original asking price.
I took great care to ensure this item was clean when listing.
I was also very clear in my condition details that the item had a couple of marks on it and referenced this fact against the listing photos.
The buyer chose not contact me.
The buyer chose not to utilise the 30 day returns which are available.
And finally the buyer has chosen to make the offer at the price accepted so it cannot be over priced.
Lastly speculation on buying something at a thrift shop is just that speculation and not based on facts.
Thoughts: Again, I prepared the above before engaging in the chat to save time. This also has the benefit of being able to organise thoughts coherently. I did submit each line on the list as its own entry during the chat. I stuck with facts only and made it clear that the buyer did have remedies available to them but made a choice not to use them.
eBay Rep: The eBay Rep then took a couple of minutes to review the listing and removed feedback with the reason that I had listed the item condition clearly within the item condition section within the listing.
Me: Thank you to the eBay Rep.
And there you have it.
Plan ahead with the item number and your points of argument to save time during the chat.
Deal in facts, your ego is irrelevant. Put your best lawyer brain on to argue for your claim.
Be courteous to the eBay Rep always (no matter the outcome). Remember you are operating within eBay’s system. If you did something stupid or forgot to do something altogether then own it, learn from it and move on.
Review this experience to improve your business. Could you have done anything different to prevent this from occurring in the first place or occurring again in the future?
If you are here for the first time reading this, I have a small investment property. The proceeds from my reselling endeavors are being used to hasten the repayments on this property. Initially this property was interest only with the loan for the fist 2 years which have passed and has now switched over to principal and interest repayments.
The ultimate goal is to pay this off somewhere between 5-10 years realistically.
After this event occurs I will have the rent coming in from this property to offset my mortgage repayment on my house that I live in. This offset should be enough whereby I could transition into reselling as a full time lifestyle gig or wind back normal work to perhaps 2 days a week (enough to cover the mortgage and some) and have reselling provide the expenditure for the household.
It’s been a while since I last wrote a post about the house specifically though. Mainly due to the ongoing issues I was having with a tenant who decided to break lease early and it has been messy. Currently I’m owed almost $1000 from the previous tenant which is frustrating. The matter has been to court and found in my favour so now it’s the difficult matter of retrieving that money. It might go the way of debt collectors, we shall see.
I am happy to report that the the current status is now: 6.35% of the loan paid off.
This figure should be much higher but over the last couple of months I have had to replace a small oven, a washing machine and cop all the fees associated from getting the property relisted.
There are some positive outlines from this though, new appliances will give my depreciation schedule a boost and coupled with my reduced rent this financial year combined with unusual one off type fees I am hoping there might be a sizable tax refund which I might be able to use to speed up this process also.
As you can see below using an extra repayment calculator that by adding an extra $800 per month from reselling I can get the term of this loan down to 8 years and 6 months. This is hugely encouraging as in May the total figure generated from reselling was a touch over $1600 or more than twice this. Granted perhaps this was a spike but I hope not and if I can continue to grow the store this goal should be easily achievable and potentially even towards the 5 year end.
So May was very good as a whole, the velocity of sales really cranked up and I had my best month yet and reported a net profit of $1277 from eBay and Xx from Facebook Marketplace. After subtracting money spent on inventory of $558.30 I was left with cash flow of $750.30 + $59.50. So far same as what is in the summary post which can be found here.
Now I transferred $700 across to the investment property revenue stream and kept $100 to use on inventory procurement in June. I had a significant amount of money left in the PayPal account so I made a one time payment to eBay to bring my account balance for account fees to 0. Somehow I still had quite a bit of money left over. Something wasn’t making sense. It wasn’t until a coupe of days later when I was entering new Cost Of Goods Sold (Cogs) into my spreadsheet that it hit me, I have been accounting for the Cogs twice in most circumstances for the last few months.
I went back through May and removed the double charge and the overall profit figure jumped by $330 to $1607 (excluding Facebook Marketplace). That’s the equivalent of over $400 per week, not bad for part time!
So how did this happen?
This error was identified in 2 ways.
The first and most obvious was the excessive amount of funds in my PayPal account left over. Simple maths implied an error. But why had I not noticed this earlier? because I had recently changed the month before for all eBay fees to come straight out of PayPal where as prior had been direct ex Bank account. By consolidating everything to PayPal for fees and majority of shipping the picture was much clearer only relying against checking against one account.
The second factor was that originally I had no consistent systems of any kind. When I was recording things I had a mental note of what items cost so I could keep track that I was actually making money on items (I have a good memory). I call this era Pre-SKU. When I sold something I would record it on a spreadsheet along with its respective Cogs.
Later when I realised I needed a better system as the store was growing quickly I implemented the SKU system mainly so I could find things after I could not locate an item (Good memory??? hmmm)! At this same time I started to record everything into the spreadsheet including all my purchases as Cogs for the primary purpose of managing my monthly cash flow. You see, there were months in the early days where I would make a bunch of money from sales and then wonder at the end of the month where the money had gone to… it was simple I had spent it all on procuring inventory! A necessary requirement to grow the fledgling store to be sure but it was like wearing a blind fold.
Anyway so when I implemented this change I simply forgot that I was now recording all of the Cogs on the front end. So when things sold they no longer need to have the Cogs deducted from the profit determination calculation on the back end… The exception to this is anything Pre-SKU era which are easy to identify as well they don’t have an SKU! I had been so used to doing this mental calculation in my head when determining the expenses for each item sold I simply hadn’t thought about the fact that I was already doing it!
This serves as a useful reminder to be checking on those metrics to ensure your business is functioning as intended. Are you making the money you thought you would? Is your ROI worth your expended time, your most valuable resource? Where can you save money, or time, or both?
Business growth is synonymous with continuous improvement.
I had to upgrade the store level to get more listings.
I branched out into Facebook Marketplace and have already made some sales. I have added a separate section for Facebook Marketplace stats going forward in this summary.
I ticked over 500 feedback on eBay at 100% only to receive a negative feedback on May 31!
I had my first VERO For Beach Body P90X.
The plan for May, was simple. List. List. List. And that’s what I did. I am happy to report that I ended up getting to 600 listings as planned and then smash through that. I started 1st May with 509 active listings and needed to list 120+ to hit this target (to allow for sales to drop the number again).
I ended up making it to 700 total, crushing my goal. There’s always been conjecture whether listing itself will bring sales. I can say that I noticed a marked difference between the start and the end of the month. I have attached the screens below.
The majority of my listing occurred in the 2nd week and then look what happened, sales took off. It could be that I’ve just been picking up, listing and selling better items, which is true, or it could correlate with increased activity.
I shelled out a lot on inventory again this month. I found some great stuff and now have aloooooooooooooooooooooooooooot left to list for June.
I have been increasing my own knowledge skill set into other areas such as vintage T shirts. Shout out to a guy from Tasmania who I have been learning from. You know who you are if you are reading this and thank you. Anyway I found a vintage single stitch band T shirt not long after and to be honest its something I likely would have passed right over before but it just adds that element of depth. I’m yet to list or sell this but it could be worth $100 – $200. Later in the month I found another vintage single stitch singlet because I knew what I was looking for. Its so critical to keep learning to be able to grow (an even survive) reselling.
Another example from a garage sale today (2nd June when writing this), I turned up to a garage sale literally 2 streets over from my house. It was late morning already as I had given blood and been to the markets. Anyway there were some video games that were reasonably priced. In amongst those was a single DS Spongebob game which I picked up. The lady said “oh there was one after all, the guy who brought the DS this morning took everything else…”. Bugger, and yet sitting what must have been right in front of this section of games was a LeapPad Platinum in good working condition. What is this? Google it and you will learn something new. These are currently trending for $121ish plus shipping for the console (new). I picked it up for $10 and I guarantee far less than what the DS that I was too late for would have cost. Who’s margin would have been better I wonder? Keep learning and opportunities will start to appear everywhere.
Along these lines of sourcing growth I created a nifty little Auto Hot Key script that definitely speeds up Facebook Marketplace sourcing. Simply initially enter items you want to search for constantly, save it, run the script once and each query will run each search string in its own window instantly. Now all that’s required is to browse through though and find the bargains. This has already saved me a bunch of time. So much so that i’ll be making this the first video I release coming up sometime in June.
Random EBay Theory
Late April around Anazc day I brought a book about 2x VC Winner Charlie Upham from eBay. A day later I received a message from the seller that the book was on its way. I did not respond as I don’t really care so long as it arrives. However what I did notice was that this seller had over 3000 feedback. I made a mental note of this and finally came back to look at his store almost two weeks later. Interestingly it consisted of hundreds and hundreds of books. By itself this is not unusual however it was the type of books the intrigued me. They were mostly all older style books relating to war or western types. I realised that the physical size of these books was the key here. Most were listed at 11.99 (I am not sure of this significance if indeed there is any) with free shipping. Here’s the kicker, due to the size, almost every single book I scrolled through in this store could be shipped as a letter with a cost of $3. Assuming a cost per book of somewhere between free – $1 every book sold would return a nice profit of around $8.50 after fees.
This month was really about getting some of those higher value items photographed so they can actually be listed. Like I have said in a previous post I have an organised death pile and the more I do this the better things I find and the more that I can literally see money sitting around…. However although it’s organised it is also stupid, I found three pairs of Levi’s which have been sitting in their respective containers for quite some time, two pairs of RM Williams jeans, a pair of Kuhl jeans. I have made a mental resolution with myself to really try and get on top of this, excluding the games and a couple other bits and bobs I ended up taking photographs of 34 items of clothing over the course of one day. I wasn’t sure if I should be happy with this or not, I suppose I didn’t really start till after photographing a bunch of games, going to the post office to ship sold items and then a very quick detour to the local thrift shop which is a two minute walk (very handy).
So from around 10:30am to 5:30 pm I spent taking photographs for the clothes listings. That total time is pretty close to a full days work at 7 hours. At $10 profit per item we get a rough $340 profit for the day. I suppose this isn’t too bad really but I was curious to see what my potential profit should or could be, here were my workings:
Games, approx $180 potential.
Board Game $40.
Tony Robbins Cd Box Set $100.
I spent probably total actual time photographing of 6 hours, allowing for some coffee and lunch. Allocate 10 mins an item sourcing = 6 hours. 3 hours left to list. 3 hours total to pack. Total time in. 18 Hours. ****I’m probably being perhaps a bit hard on the sourcing aspect as multiple items can be found at once in the same store for example. I just allocated 10 mins to average things out with those days where not much is found****
$1349/18 =$74.94 an hour in real dollars. The pre-tax equivalent using 30% tax rate is $97.42 per hour.
I was quite surprised by this to be honest. Granted, this small sample size is using some of my better items as I intentionally structured my scheduled day off like this to derive maximum value. Still even with more mundane bread and butter $10 items that hourly rate is still likely to be better than the day job rate.
I will be experimenting further in June to understand how much time vs reward is occurring. Only by tracking this can improvements be made.
Whats my point then? Well you obviously want to be spending as much time as you can on the activity which generates you the best results. Hell it’s a great motivating factor when you get home after work and need to list a few items. Even more so when you sell a couple of things whilst doing so.
I also believe that this per hour number is actually likely to go up over time as skills are increased / honed like I mentioned earlier.
It’s a simple numbers game then to be able to grow to a point where the actual day job income could possibly be replaced, just have to put in the work upfront.
This is delayed income. Again, the work has to be done upfront. Every month my main metric I’m actually trying to grow is my cash flow followed by total store value, this is achieved by finding better items each month and getting those listings done.
The Stats eBay
It was quite a month for eBay stats during May. This was easily the single best total profit month experienced thus far Topping out at $1277.10 in actual profit (after fees, COGs, chipping). This translates to an actual positive cash flow for the month of $750.30, due to heavy expenditure on inventory procurement this month.
The number of listings increased substantially to top out at just over 700 and then come back down to 700 after a few sales. Half of these 191 listings were actually completed in 2 days and represent roughly $1000 of the $2808 total increase to the current overall store value.
The Stats Facebook Marketplace
This month I made a solid effort to begin to expand reach onto Facebook Marketplace and even ended up selling a couple of things this month which was a nice bonus.
I am starting to like it a bit more. Some of the items I am picking up I am able to sell a bit cheaper as I don’t have to factor in shipping on the price, this is particularly relevant on bulky items such as board games or puzzles. This is increasing the velocity of some of the sales it seems. A good example would be boots, I have picked a couple of pairs up this month and they just don’t make economic sense to sell on eBay as after fees and postage there is not a lot left. There’s a few pairs I have I know I can get between $25 – $85 fairly quickly on Facebook Marketplace.
To make things a bit easier to get this process happening I have rewritten some of my Auto Hot Key script to include Facebook Marketplace in the GUI. It didn’t take long to get this working and now its super quick to get a new listing up 80% automated.
No returns this month. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees. However I did receive a negative feedback which I am currently managing by …. doing nothing. There’s 2 weeks left before my 30 day return window expires. Should this buyer not open a return case within this time I will simply request eBay to remove the feedback 😉
Plans For June
Again get listing, my goal initially is to get to 1000 listings.
Cross post the vintage T Shirts (and band shirts) on Etsy also. I have previously written the script for this to semi automate, perhaps it still works as it should. Anyway this will be the first month where I actively cross list items on different platforms using Auto Hot Key to assist. I will be timing the results.
eBay returns are a certain pain but usually not as strange as this remorse return story.
So I received an eBay message return request from a Buyer for a book saying it was a photocopied fake. This was a rather threatening message to saying the least, that he had had this before at school (many years ago I assumed), it wasn’t the same etc… and that I was lucky I was on the other side of the country “or else” he implied!
I laughed. However, the return would come to my house so this nutjob would also know where I lived.
Who makes fake books also? First time I had ever heard of that one.
I wasn’t totally surprised by this message. I had one of those gut feelings.
This buyer had contacted me straight after buying at full price saying he needed it asap and asked could I contact him via txt message. I did not and explained by the message reply it was against eBay policy but I would be happy to upgrade his shipping to express – at my cost.
I try to remain ego neutral for all eBay’s processes and manage anything like this in a logical manner. I went to accept the return as my policies have 30-day refunds but buyer pays return shipping. No problem, however in this instance, as the buyer has stated it was fake eBay was telling me shipping was on me.
I couldn’t help but think I was getting scammed. Little did he know that I had sold this exact same book (and its companion) on eBay a couple of months ago. This particular version was a later printing, perhaps the 16th or 17th from memory and no doubt were possibly a little different from the original, the original having thicker paper and even some colour I think. This was a much more recent printing with thinner pages. It was however 100% still genuine with ISBN and not “photocopied” as this buyer was trying to tell me.
So I called eBay for some direction and explained the situation. I also drew their attention to the threatening messages sent to me. They added some notes to the file as per my explanation and suggested I do nothing initially and wait for the buyer to request eBay to step in. That resolution did not sit very well with me either as I was sure gauging by the buyers frequent use of capitals that further messages would be forthcoming should I take this approach and frankly #1 that’s poor customer service no matter how you look at it and #2 I didn’t want my time wasted any more than it needed to be.
I sent a followup email to the buyer that I would be happy to accept the return but it would be at the buyer’s cost as per my policy and that I believed the book to be genuine having actually had the same book before. (bet he didn’t see that coming)
Later in the evening, I received a message back from the buyer stating that they still disagreed (polite summary) and that they would send the book tomorrow and just needed the address. I took this to mean acceptance of my condition that the buyer pays for return postage.
I immediately accepted the return but instead of printing the postage label and sending it to the buyer I chose the other option that the buyer and seller had agreed to an alternate method. (Namely, the buyer pays for the shipping).
I replied to the message that I had accepted the return and as soon as I had the book back in my possession I would make good on the refund as soon as practicable. I also asked the tracking number be provided as a backup for myself.
Now a waiting game.
I thought it prudent to plan ahead. I had heard previous stories of returns coming back with different items than the original so the buyer ends up with the original item and the seller ends up with something that’s usually worthless. To mitigate this possibility and to protect myself from even further loss I made the decision that when this book eventually arrives back to open it recording live video with a time reference.
Three days passed and nothing happened.
It was now the due date where the buyer could ask eBay to step in and help. By now I had blissfully forgotten about this problem.
Finally, the book showed up in a red package.
Now with the video camera on my phone, I record the opening. The buyer has paid $22 ($5 more than the original express I upgraded to) postage to return this book and has not even bothered to bubble wrap it within the padded bag. I open it up and thoroughly check that there were no angry words, comments or swear words or anything in there. Everything seems to be in order with the exception of small abrasive damage to one corner of the cover from the lack of protection.
I immediately open eBay on chrome browser, located contact details and requested a callback. eBay called me back within a couple of minutes (great). They were pretty good about it to be honest basically saying that they will close the case on my behalf, take care of issuing the refund to the buyer (which included the buyers shipping return cost), and that no defects would be recorded on my account. Great I thought. I also took the additional step of asking eBay to block the buyer for me (apparently they can do this over the phone too) so saved me a little bit more time.
The next day I noted that I had a defect on my account so this time I jumped on the chat and when I was connected I noticed that I was somehow in a premium eBay plus service chat.
I had no idea that when I signed up for eBay plus a couple of months ago that this was even a feature, I had heard of similar service in the states with specialist customer service for Anchor store holders but had no idea that an increased level of service applied to any Australian stores. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by this.
Anyway, I requested with eBay that the defect be removed and that was completed.
So the summary of losses:
2 Hours Approx.
Emotional Damage From Worry: Minimal.
I always try and remain calm, however when someone threatens to harm you physically, it still can mess with your head a bit and you will play out rediculous possibilities. This is your brains flight or fight response at work. I actually wasn’t worried about getting beat up per se as I have significant martial arts training, more so that this person was aggrieved and had my address.
Well, I received $55 for the book, I paid $5 cost, originally I had budgeted on a 3 kg satchel which would’ve been $12.85 but actually upgraded this to express as a courtesy resulting in $16.70. eBay ate the cost of the return shipping which was nice and saved me another $22 bill but they still kept the sold item fee… This means that I really lost $16.70 plus the $5.10 eBay fee as well totalling $21.80. In order to circumvent this again, I’m thinking I will list this on the Facebook marketplace instead as I am now invested in this book for $26.80. That way I don’t have to pay for shipping and can recoup some of the potential profit loss.
What else I learned:
So after being threatened and some of the messages it got me thinking that perhaps it might be time to invest in a PO Box just to have that level of separation from some of the crazies out there. I have added this to my to-do list.
I also need to make some standard templates for responses to do with returns just to make this process a little bit more efficient. I already endeavour to remain professional and believe in dealing solely with facts without my own emotion getting in the way. Templates are a great way to both do this and save time when these situations occur, which thankfully, is not often.
I am going to call this month “maintenance month”. Realistically I have listed basically nothing throughout the whole month nor made any real progress with advancing the eBay business in any form such as increased productivity. I had every intention of course but, life smashed me directly in the face and had other ideas for me. Sometimes things just happen and you must adjust. Add time sinks of management of repairs to two leaking showers and two 4 day weekends and well a lot of time was spent elsewhere on other projects and some quality family time.
And yet, as my comment above on the below Instagram post from Ralliroots I could have done more. #iamnotworkinghardenough. I know I could have done more but I found it so hard to focus at times, and I did have some large chunks of time, they just weren’t utilised well. I wasn’t motivated to list at all. I look at the results below from Ralliroots and know I could get close to this if I only just put in the work. I mean I can think of 4 items off the top of my head which would sell for around $500 total, cost me $20, but aren’t listed. I literally am hamstringing my own results.
The month overall (outside eBay) as a whole has been a massive life win and very successful.
I’ve finally managed to secure a new tenant for the rental which will immediately provide some much-needed cash flow to help pay this rentals mortgage.
This month was my third (I think) attempt at a “No Buy” month due to having no tenant in the rental. I needed to spend less as I was pretty sure I was going to have to pony up for the mortgage payment of April. I’ll be honest, I failed once again at not buying anything! It’s a resellers curse I tell you. If you are here reading this, you likely can relate. I did, however, make it through almost the entire month only spending $150 which is much lower than most of the previous months. I will add that in the last 2 days of the month I spent another $100 in celebration of finding a new tenant for the house. So the total spent on inventory for the month was $250.
I have really noticed a difference this month with my thought processes.
There is still a monster pile of things to list. I certainly do not need to go sourcing anytime soon. I can count 8x 50ltr tubs filled with items which need to be listed. Its an organised death pile, what can I say.
I missed the sourcing, its true, so when I ventured out to buy something, in particular, to actually use, (which I knew I could find in a thrift/op shop for cheap) I just couldn’t help myself by doing the rounds of the shop. I found blank VHS tapes for a great price. What was I to do? Just walk away and leave free money?? I don’t think so. This month I have been super extremely selective with what I have brought as I already felt guilty breaking my “no buy” rule. Making $10 profit from an item just was not worth going ahead with the number of items I still have to list ahead of me. Consequently, I feel like this month has actually forced me to improve item quality and only take those special deals or pick up only rare finds, which over time can only benefit the store and the income it generates. I passed on a lot of items this month and it actually felt really liberating.
I have definitely spent considerably less this month on items and have been much more selective with what I am picking up. I am leaving those items which could probably net $10 profit but could take months to sell. All though these are generally bread-and-butter items so to speak I already have probably 100 I need to list for a start.
An example of this from yesterday: I had to travel to the rental to move a fridge and inspect the overall condition. On the way, I made it my mission to stop off at a couple of thrift shops and see what I could find (have to frequently look!) I purchased only 3 items over 3 shops.
I ended up with a fitness DVD pack (which was free on store points), another WAFL ISC Jacket that was in great condition for $12 which I ended up getting for $10, should sell for $50+ and last but not least an old Holden workshop service manual that was sitting on a display holder on the counter of one of the shops. It caught my eye before I had even entered the shop, I knew what it was and that it was old. I walked straight up to it expecting it to be around $50 but the sticker showed $10. Other current listed ones of the same item were listed for $130 plus shipping in worse condition. Solds were much lower, but I think this will still get a decent return over some time. $20 into $150 – $200 with only 3 items.
Another example, a Sydney Bears jumper from the early 90s official NSW RL. I paid approximately $2 for this due to an error on the clerks part. I didn’t feel bad at all about this however as earlier in the month I had been overcharged at the same chain for some items that should’ve been discounted so I considered the balance of the relationship restored. Anyway, this is the type of item that is really unique and will appeal to a collector somewhere. Comparable anything from this era is getting super rare. A match worn Jersey’s from this team (the only one listed) was sitting at $800 currently with several watchers. This is just a jumper, of course, however, should return $50++. I will obviously start this much higher due to its rarity.
This was the story of this month. I made it a point to try and spend as little as possible for maximum profit picking up very niche items with potentially much higher returns. More of these finds, please. Less time to list, pack and ship and fantastic ROI.
In summary, my “no buy” turned into spending $250, which, in turn, could transform into $1500 – $2000. I will be more than happy if I can roll like that each month and I can forgive myself for overspending now and then.
The House Update
So this month a tenant was finally found, hooray! Only took two weeks after the previous tenant signed a break lease form which was great.
Total confirmed damage/loss: Approx. $750. This amount remains owing as a combination of unpaid rent and costs incurred from the break lease and relisting process. These are payable by the previous tenant under contract.
So now the process is:
#1: Get back to normality! I can finally start applying the reselling profits back onto the rental mortgage once again.
#2: Chase up the outstanding money. This will be a slow process and have to go through the court and then likely followed by a debt collector. Could take a while but done by the property manager so only a minor inconvenience. On the positive side of this, the house is in good condition with no damage, the loss can also be incurred in this financial year and provide some tax relief whilst I wait for this money owing to be returned. My insurance provider also may help with this process.
After I had confirmation the new tenant was all signed up and had paid his money I celebrated as any reseller would do! By going out and doing some sourcing!
Sales were par for the course this month. I didn’t actually list much at all (24 Items, most in the first 2 days of April) and this probably contributed a lot to flat growth here.
This month has a profit of $573.17 after all fees, shipping charges and Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS).
One anomaly noted was the total value of all items listed managed to rise even in the face of a reduction in listings. This is due to listing higher $ value items on the items I did end up actually listing.
The cash flow for the month is $323.17 which was sent to the rental mortgage account to assist for Aprils payment. Not quite the full amount I was hoping for but still better than nothing!
No returns this month. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees.
This coming month of May, the plan is simple.
Get to 600 listings and then bust through that. I checked today (1st May) that I have 509 active listings so I have 91 to go to get to 600, excluding the 30 odd I should sell for the month based on prior month, meaning I really need to list 120+ to hit this target.
It really should be as easy as saying I will do 5 a day, which equals 155 over may.
The other thing I need to work on doing is a whole store audit to check I don’t have any stupid listings up from last year which really have no chance of selling. Perhaps this might be a good month to unload a bunch of stale items at cost (or even a slight loss) to make way for my ever-growing cache of higher value items. Makes sense to me.
I’m writing this just to say, well, just to have a record that this thought actually crossed my mind.
It’s been almost impossible to escape the monster that is George RR Martins Game of Thrones series. I had the privilege of reading the first four books before the TV series was even conceived, I totally understand the mania.
My social media feed indeed shows that winter is now actually here with the arrival (today, at time of writing) of the first episode of the last season.
Lots of snow, cold, and fear ahead.
I posit the following:
Is it possible that once the Game of Thrones final season concludes that global stock market returns increase now that winter has come and then gone?
On the face of it, it seems like an absurd idea that these two concepts could relate or be linked in any way. Here me out though.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and recently on the way home my ears consumed a small segment of information which piqued my interest.
I think it was a Tony Robbins podcast episode that had to do with creating success (probably all of them fit this criterion but I am not sure on the episode number or name). Anyway, at the time I remember that the topic being discussed was an experiment whereby actors were given either hot or cold cups of beverages and then asked to take a survey soon after. The results were as you might deduce: Polar opposite’s.
The participants who had consumed a cold beverage had negative perceptions, 90% of the time.
Contrast this with participants who had consumed a hot beverage prior to having the opposite reaction with a positive perception, 90% of the time.
A similar experiment also focused around hot drinks can be found here.
To the idea then:
It got me thinking that being Game of Thrones is such a massive worldwide phenomenon and melded into the fabric of culture itself, could it be possible that the phrase itself “Winter Is Coming” (and the related coldness of winter, snow, etc…) has been silently sabotaging investment market returns in the background? Simply by influencing the unconsciousness of many involved through a perceived environment of coldness and fear related to Game Of Thrones?
Extrapolating this line of thinking then further to what happens after the final season, what comes after winter? Spring normally, but I suppose the season finale will really have the answer.
Assuming good prevails and everybody doesn’t experience death by Dragonfire or Blue Eyed White Walkers, then let’s go with Spring.
This concept of “Winter Is Coming” which has been prevalent for the last few years consumed by millions? is now gone.
“After Winter Must Come Spring” to quote Lauryn Hill (Everything Is Everything)
New shoots, new growth, green shoots, green grass, lots of subconscious indicators of growth to influence decisions.
Words are powerful, even more so when the same specific ones are everywhere.
Perhaps the end of the Game Of Thrones saga could subconsciously result in the release of a coiled market spring? Pun intended.
Of course, it will be impossible to quantify anything like the above theory, too many moving variables, but it is interesting to note that our environment can influence our decisions…
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.
Lately, I’ve been trying to make good use of my time in the afternoons after work stopping off at local Thrift/Op shops on the way home. Depending on the area that I’m in the shops visited will vary as my day job often requires a lot of driving.
Today however was Saturday, and to be honest a relaxed Saturday as far as business-related activities go normally for me. In the morning I was up early and listed several items that were already ready to go with photos and measurements, and then spent the rest of the day attending to other personal matters.
Late in the afternoon, a separate side mission arose to procure some paints and brushes for my wife’s own super productive side hustle painting endeavour. We left the house at about 15:50pm and headed south about 15 minutes to the closest craft shop. We did the rounds and collected the requisite paints and brushes required and then exited and headed over to the only thrift shop in the area that would have still been open on a Saturday afternoon.
I dropped the wife off at a home decoration store nearby. On the short drive, I mentally made a note that I needed to start getting item sourcing lists to the shops of things specific things I was looking for. Top of the items that sprung to mind were rare vintage board games such as Hero Quest and other great sellers such as Cashflow 101, Warhammer Games or Figurines, Dungeons and Dragons related etc… I’m still working on this list.
I walked in to the shop with 29 mins remaining until the 17:00 close.
My attention was immediately drawn to my right near the counter which had been cleaned and had changed completely since coming into the same shop only a week ago. I said hello to the shop attendant and then walked over to scan these shelves. I glazed over quickly, nothing took my interest, however, as I turned left to move towards the rear of the shop my eyes landed smack bang on, I couldn’t believe, a vintage Hero Quest board game sitting on the shop counter off to the side.
My heart momentarily stopped and I was greeted with a massive rush of adrenaline as I realised this potential treasure, somehow just sitting there already on the counter staring me in the face.
By this time, concurrently, I could see the shop attendant was all the way down in the back rummaging around. I couldn’t see any price tags on this game and wondered if someone else in the shop had already picked it up and were stashing it at the counter ready to pay for it like I sometimes would do. I stood there frozen waiting for what seemed like an eternity waiting for the shop attendant to notice me standing at the counter. She finally did and made her way back up to the counter. I briefly explained that had been only thinking about this game moments before entering the shop and here it was! This was the truth so my excitement in actually finding the game was genuine as I was totally spun out by the randomness of this chance possibility, the odds had to be astronomical of thinking and appearing. This contrasts with the excitement of the financial windfall potential which is much more calculated.
Was it for sale? The question hung in the air.
She replied that a man had brought it in only about an hour ago and had actually said to her that he didn’t want to put it in the donation bin as he thought all the pieces would fall out and it was too nice for that. So he had left it there on the counter and it was now waiting to be priced by the shop.
My heart quickened and I was now mentally celebrating.
She opened up the game and we had a quick look inside and I knew that even with pieces missing that this game should sell for well over $100 (without even having to look at this time having previously researched This game before). Complete games had sold listings over $300. I asked if she wouldn’t mind pricing it up so I could buy it and she said sure it will be $4 dollars.
Initially, I left it at the counter and continue looking around but I became paranoid so went back to the counter and paid for and safely transported to my security safe (the car). Total time in store so far was less than five minutes. Now, I actually did want to keep looking around in the store so I went back in and asked if she had seen any tiny cups which technically I was looking for, for the wife.
It’s always best to play with the truth, you can lie with words but your body language will give you away every time.
The nice attendant showed me some that they had, I thanked her and continued looking around. I came across a weird looking salad container in a box I had never seen before, being I had no pockets in my shorts I put my keys wallet and phone down temporarily to look, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a tablecloth that looked very similar to one I had sold previously for $65 featuring Maori designs from New Zealand.
Sure enough, this was a similar style tablecloth featuring the island of New Zealand (where I am from originally) and some really nice graphics with a lot more colour than the previous. The full tablecloth is laid out below. I mention this because it’s always useful to continually expand your knowledge in this game, I mean it’s a tablecloth? Would you normally look for a tablecloth, maybe not, but I didn’t look through the tablecloths or linen section either I only noticed the outside material on the outside rack in passing glance and then investigated further. This happening becomes far more common over time.
By this time get in the shop attendant wanted to go home and close up it was about 16:50pm so went up and paid for this as well and then left.
Total time in shop, approximately 20 minutes maybe a couple more.
Although it may seem counterintuitive to visit the same store within the same seven day period this 20+ minutes today on a whim will turn eight dollars to possibly well over $250, a lot depending on whether the game is complete. That table cloth will sell for over $50.
I acknowledge that this obviously will not usually happen but if you don’t look you just don’t know. Stocks change on a regular basis within thrift stores / Op shops. Some times it is just the right time at the right place, just have to get there and look.