HOW TO BUY AND SELL STUFF ON EBAY
Beginners Guide to Making Money Buying and Flipping Items on eBay
Here I have written a very advanced guide to how I buy and sell items on Ebay!
Buy locally from various sources to sell on eBay.
Craigslist is my main hub for purchases, I usually select a category on Craigslist and look for items with prices that catch my eye. I then tab over to eBay and check what the item is going for. See the Appraising Items section for more information.
Garage sales are another big way to buy items cheap. Most garage sales are not hosted to make money, its usually an angry wife that wants to get rid of all the useless shit that has piled up over the years. These wives just want to get rid of the items without “throwing them out.” You can walk up with a few items in your hand, offer $5 and walk away with some treasure.
I purchased a 3$ bread maker at a garage sale and sold it for 50$ thanks to eBay. Not every deal you find will be like that but you can find items where you will make $15-20 on easy, now imagine coming home with 20-30 items a weekend to list on eBay. I do not attend too many garage sales because the timing of these events does not work out with my social life, Its SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, there is no way I am up at the crack of dawn.
If you are familiar with local forums or forums that have local sections there is usually a classified sections. I am a huge car guru and belong to numerous car forums, I have all of the for sale sections bookmarked and check those frequently. Most forums have a trader rating similar to eBay’s feedback system so you know if the guy selling you that Xbox is legit or not.
Thrift stores often have donated items that are marked very low because they do not properly research the value of the item. I do not do much thrift store shopping but I have talked to some sellers who love digging through piles of old donated crap to find some item they can make 20$ on. If you can identify real silver, there is always silverware that is there, I do not possess this skill and probably will look into this some day.
Everywhere there is a deal! Keep your eyes open and always keep prices in your head, I was at a bar and this chick dropped her White iPhone 16gig 3GS and cracked the glass. I was standing right there and gave her my sympathy. She told me she didn't care because she was going to buy the iPhone4 the next day anyways. I told her I sell on eBay and would give her a 100$ bill right now for the phone. I showed her how to wipe everything and she gave me the phone right there. I found a guy on craigslist that could replace the glass (LCD still worked) for 35$. Total investment: 135$. Unlocked it myself for T-mobile used it for a few days for fun and sold it for 350$.
By now everyone has seen that silly show where a few dudes go around to storage unit auctions spend $500 on a unit and find $25,000 worth of gold coins or some other rare collectibles, give me a break. Yes, you could find grandma’s coin collection... I could also buy a lottery scratcher and win $25,000. Its a gamble and unless you know what you are doing its not worth it. I went to these before the show was aired and after. Before the show there was a smaller crowd of about 20-30 people bidding on units, I went recently and as I checked in on the list I noticed I was the 120Th person to check in! There were families there and everything, it was like a ****ing circus. I will not go back until that “treasure hunt” is over. Lucky for the commission based auctioneers, the prices on units were outrageous.
Local auctions are another platform that has provided me with some great results. Do a google search to find some local auctions, these are usually bankruptcy liquidators. If its an online only auction attend the on site preview for better viewing of the items. I went to a Wireless Phone store auction and they had a display case with 18 phones up for grabs. The auction listed the phones as dummy non working phones, I noticed these were incorrectly listed and were in fact all real high end phones. I won all 18 phones for $98 and sold them for over $700. If I would not have attended the preview, someone else would have made that money.
Protecting Yourself as a Buyer
Here I will explain a few ways to protect yourself when buying items on craigslist or other classified websites
ALWAYS MEET AT A PUBLIC PLACE... I always meet at QuikTrip which is a busy and well lit gas station. They always have cops coming to use their clean bathrooms, and the place has video surveillance. I refuse to meet at a home (unless you are buying a huge TV or furniature) and never meet at a Wal-Mart parking lot (too big). I have actually backed out of a few deals because the seller made excuses as to why he couldnt meet at a gas station. Be alert and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Researching the seller in my opinion is a smart move. I google their phone number, email address or any other info I have on them. What to watch out for: Other flippers/brokers, scams and people who look like they might do harm from you (yes a little profiling, but better be safe than sorry. If I am buying a 500$ phone and the email brings up a dude's Facebook that looks like he is freshly out of prison, I pass).
I made the mistake of meeting a guy who was a phone flipper on craigslist and just by chance I noticed the Water damage sticker appeared to be replaced, he had fixed a water damaged phone and tried to sell it to me claiming it was Mint. Some of these guys are trying to make a quick buck and disappear.
On Sprint and Verizon phones the number called “ESN” can be reported as a bad ESN. This can be a number of reasons, mainly stolen and lost phones. An ESN can also become bad if the customer does not pay their bill. Always check the ESN via checkesnfree Phones with bad ESNs can be flashed to Crickett Wireless and still have a good market.
I use a Nikon S8100 Digital Camera with an Eye-Fi Card. This camera is a very good Point & Shoot camera. I went to Costco to purchase a new camera after my other one died, I tested each camera by taking close up (Flower/Macro Mode) shots of my cell phone trying to show the detailed scratches from where I have dropped it. The S8100 did a very good job and is my choice for eBay pictures. Protect this camera as this plays a major role in your business!
Buyers want to see that the picture is authentic, the best way to show this is to have a background with your eBay user name on it. I have many large and small pieces of white paper with my user name on it for various sizes of items. This not only makes all of your eBay listings uniformed, but it gives the buyer confidence when bidding. The buyer now knows you actually have the item and have taken your own pictures and not stolen them from another seller. Match this with Flower/Macro mode up close pictures and you will have buyers bidding your items up higher than you expected!
The Eye-Fi card is a great investment, as I am taking the pictures in the other room, my photos are being transferred via wi-fi to my computer and automatically uploaded to Photobucket. Any videos I take get automatically sent to YouTube. I then go to photobucket ans drag and drop my photos into the appropriate albums. Without the eye-fi card, I have to take all the pictures and plug my camera into the computer, transfer them to my computer and from there I upload them to Photobucket. This 4 Gigabyte card was $50 when I bought it and saves me about 20-30 minutes every time I take pictures (depending on how many items I am listing)
I use a service called Photobucket, its free for the basic plan and very easy to use. Because of the many views eBay brings in, you will run out of bandwidth quickly. Upgrading to a Pro account is the best way to go and is about 50$ per year or you can pay monthly.
I make an album for each item I sell, after taking the pictures I upload them into the album and then you can select all and click the button that says “Generate HTML and IMG codes.” This will bring up a box that has a few boxes within. You want to select the box with the code that says “HTML for websites & blogs Full Size.” This should automatically copy the code to embed all the pictures into your eBay listing. You will then paste the code into the eBay listing.
eBay offers image hosting, I find it to be slow to upload and the pictures are only put in one place, when you host pictures on your own, you are free to put the pictures wherever you like.
I have also made videos and uploaded them to YouTube to embed into eBay listings. These are a great idea for Auto listings or for items that have moving parts that you want to show exactly how they work. YouTube if very easy to upload and its all step by step.
I use either UPS or USPS (Post Office). I am lucky to work for my father’s business and have access to a large selection of shipping suppllies. You should invest in a tape gun and packing tape as you will need one of these for taping up boxes. A few different sizes of boxes and some packing peanuts should be purchases as well. I always save boxes, packing peanuts and those bags of air from any shipment I receive at my office.
When I am listing an item on ebay I find out what size box it fits in and calculate the shipping price before I list the item. Buyers can rate you based on your shipping price and if you charge $10 for something that costs $4.90 to ship, you will most likely get some complaints. USPS has flat rate boxes which are awesome for ebay sellers. I have one of each size always set up so I can set the item in each box to see which box would work best. The best part about flat rate shipping is the boxes are provided by USPS, a great way to save money!
Go to USPS and order postage supplies (they are free for priority mail, get a bunch of flat rate envelopes, small/med/large boxes).