A change of pace with this DUFU edition. If you have no interest in eBay you might as well skip reading this. However, I have had a fascination with eBay for years all through the ups and downs and every bit of information I can get about selling on eBay is always appreciated by me even if it comes from DUmmies who now have a new eBay forum on their site. Basically the early years of eBay from its beginning through about 2001 were great times for sellers. I first put a crappy T-Shirt up on eBay in 1998 and it sold for 15 bucks. I was hooked. Fortunately a friend of mine, Dottie, had a warehouse full of Fire/EMT T-Shirts plus a lot of others and she recruited me to sell them for her online while she went up north. I couldn't believe the great prices they got. Even a crappy 50/50 Ren & Stempy T-shirt sold for $41. At first I couldn't figure out why all the great sale prices. Later I decided it must have been that eBay was still quite a novelty and folks just enjoyed purchasing on an online auction. Another great item I sold were refurb digital cameras back when (1999 to 2000) digital cameras were quite expensive. I found an outlet, via cold calling, across the continent, in Los Angeles where the electronics dealer dropped shipped digital cameras for myself and my friend, Ken. As an example, he would charge us $280 for Mavica cameras which we invariably sold for between $350 and $450 each. Once we received the payment, we simply transferred the amount the electronics guy wanted and he would then drop ship them for only a $5 UPS charge. Simple. I didn't even have to pack the cameras. However, all good things come to an end and by early the following year, that source dried up. In fact, the high prices on eBay are pretty much gone. Nowadays, you are lucky to get $6 for a top quality T-shirt so for many items it has switched from a seller's market to a buyer's market. To make money on eBay now you need to adjust with the times and be creative which brings me to this DUmmie THREAD in their new eBay forum titled, "Has the economy hurt your sales?" So let us now watch the anti-capitalist DUmmies fret over their eBay sales in Bolshevik Red while the commentary of your humble correspondent, about to re-enter the eBay world in a BIG way, is in the [brackets]:
Has the economy hurt your sales?
[Your eBay sales stink? Bush's fault!]
I sell antiques and collectibles in a group shop and have noticed a significant decline in earnings this summer. Foot traffic in the tourist-driven town seems to be way down. I also sell on ebay during the winter months, putting the best stuff on between September and Christmas. How has business been there? Thanks for the new group, Skinner!
[Maybe the tourists in your area are wising up to your shlocky overpriced trinkets.]
I am in two group shops..... one is in a tourist driven town and sales have been bad this summer. The other is in a town with a gambling casino and sales have been OK but not where they should be. It is getting harder to find good antiques at reasonable prices, in order to resell.
[Could it be that people holding their yard sales are now selling their VALUABLE stuff on eBay first? All you are left with are old rubber duckies and endless piles of Danielle Steele paperbacks.]
Hi Missy, I am not A collector but my wife has is. We have not sold any but she has so many now, was thinking about trying to put some out there but have no idea how to do it. We have bought some things on Ebay but not real knowledgeable about it.
[Even dopes were getting top dollar on eBay in the early years. Nowadays you better know what you are doing which means your cheap trinkets won't be selling for much.]
She has a lot of Xmas ornaments, Polonaise & another guy that hand makes them. Also Hallmark. She has a large bird collection, I know some are made by a Karl Ens. Anyway, my point is how would be the best way to go about selling things like this? I thought about leasing her a booth at some antique type store, trying to figure out how to put them on Ebay, see if I could find someone to do that for us. Thought you guys might be able to help or have some ideas. Thanks.
[You're better off just donating that crap to the Salvation Army and taking a tax writeoff.]
Sounds like your pieces would be under the.... collectibles category. Putting them on ebay is an idea and I think you could do it on your own. It really isn't that difficult, just the matter of taking some good photos. You could go on ebay and look over their format for selling and take a look at the fees they charge. Renting a booth at an antique type store can be costly each month but many stores have cases to rent for much less. A case is the way to go to prevent breakage and theft for small items. Selling can be very enjoyable and at times very frustating. You have to make sure the items you buy to resell are bought at the right price so you can sell them at a profit. Buying items at a too high price is the mistake we all make, sometimes many times over. Good luck!!
[Wait. Let me think about that concept a bit: Buy at the right price so you can sell them at a profit. How revolutionary! You need to write an eBay Selling Success book based on that concept. The best deal I ever made using this principle was the time I bought a book at the flea market for exactly one buck and sold it three days later for $202.50 on eBay. Beginners luck. It was the first book I sold on my own (I sold a few for Ken previously). It was early 2001 and the book was "Dune Encyclopedia." If the vendor had asked for even 2 bucks I wouldn't have bought it. Anyway, that evening I listed it on eBay figuring it might sell for about $15. Next morning I am idly surfing around the web and decided to check on the book. I almost choked on my coffee when I saw the bid price had risen to $90!!! By the time it sold on Wednesday, it had risen to $202.50. My friends (including the aforementioned Ken) wouldn't believe I got that price so I printed out the auction and showed it to them. Actually I earned $302.50 for that auction since I later sold a humorous short story about it for another hundred bucks. Okay, enough about MEEEEEEEE. Back to the DUmmies...]
Check out ended listings for an idea of the price you can expect. That's often very different, especially these days, from what a book or a professional appraiser will tell you. Do a search of completed listings for the items you have, to see if there's a market and what they're going for. (Go to the "Advanced Search" and check "show only completed listings.") If it's worth it to you to sell at the current rates, I'd definetely say go for it.
[Good advice. You have to check what the items actually SELL for. And shlocky trinkets don't go for much.]
I do records on Ebay. Found things have gone WAY down...still getting people from Overseas, but the new postage regulations are hurting those sales too...
[Avoid selling to Romania like the plague. Postal officials there consider it part of their salaries to steal your stuff out of the boxes. I sold a camera to a guy in Slovenia once and even though it is better than Romania he told me to ship it to his uncle just across the border in Austria.]
I used to put in a very low opening bid and let the price go up. Nowadays,I'm lucky to get a second bid, so I've let some stuff go for low opening bids, which stinks!!! So, I'm stepping back for a few months, and seeing how things go...(gives me a chance to get new stock anyways!!!).
[When you put your balls on the line, sometimes they get chopped off. I put my balls on the line all the time by listing the Sony Mavica digital cameras for $9.99 (no reserve) for cameras that would cost me $280 if sold. Fortunately, we never got less that $350 for one of those cameras.]
In short, nothing good comes easy. If you want top dollar for your items you have to do the research, make sure the item is clean and attractive looking and take nicely framed photographs for the potential buyers to view. In my opinion you can never show too many photos of your sale item. I almost always use picture-pack (depending on the cost of the item, of course) and seem to have pretty good luck that way.
[Good advice about the photos. You ALWAYS need pictures. Soon after I got into eBay I told a friend of mine, Tom, about it. He sold brand new golfing supplies. A few weeks later I ran into him and he complained that his stuff wasn't selling for much so he asked me to check out his auctions to see if there was something wrong. So I checked out Tom's auctions and RIGHT AWAY I could see what was wrong. No pics. I immediately called Tom about this and he said his customers already know what the golf supplies look like to which I replied it didn't matter. So Tom started listing his golf stuff with the photos and "miraculously" his bid prices went up.]
honestly, the best thing you can do is study eBay sales
[Yup! You can't spend too much time doing research on eBay.]
I just got back from the Madison Boukville antique show
....and although my sales were about the same as last year, it was tough going. Furniture was completely dead. The other thing that I noticed was how much I had to slash my prices to make a sale.
[I'll give you a buck for your crappy lawn chair.]
We set up at Quaker Acres right across from the food booth -- it's a very good spot with the traffic from the food and right on the road where people have to walk to get to their cars. The promoter said that all the dealers were complaining about their sales being WAY off.
[Is that in Quakertown, PA? If so I have actually been to that market. Oh, I still wouldn't have purchased your crappy furniture there, DUmmie.]
To be honest I don't have a clue what's hot and what their buying. I remember the trends -- chintz, jadeite, tole ware, McCoy. I wish someone would clue me in, because I just don't know what to buy anymore.
[Hint: Sawdust will be the big item in 2008.]
What I sell now is all over the place..... so I don't have a clue either about what to buy anymore. What I think will be a sure sell doesn't sell. I have sold antique architectural drawings, Sandwich glass, Mammy dolls, antique wire egg holder, antique Xmas ornament, folk art, those sort of things. I can't sell very early EAPG, Currier and Ives prints, Victorian furniture is a hard sell. Have had success with early country but it's getting hard to find at decent prices.
[Flea market buys are so cheap that if you had the Hope diamond up for sale at just $20, somebody will be sure to ask, "Would you take 15 bucks for it?"]
Anything that Martha Stewart features is likely to turn hot. Watch the decorating and lifestyle and home magazines on a big magazine rack. Look for trends in the feature articles.
[If my livelihood depended on reading Martha Stewart, I would find another line of work.]
When I first started on Ebay in the late 90's, I remember putting up a bunch of listings and already having bids on my first few items by the time I got to the end of my list. These were sci-fi collectibles for which there was, at the time, a hot market. An occasional rare piece will still sell for a nice price, but the more common stuff doesn't move anymore. And no one seems to want Star Trek anything these days.
[A vendor selling next to me at a big Kane County flea market in Illinois had a 1968 Star Trek lunch bucket for sale. He told me he wanted at least $500 for it. I thought he was in fantasyland until my jaw dropped when he got $750 for that item. That night I fantasized about taking a Star Trek type trip back in time to the year 1968 and buying up every Star Trek lunch bucket I could find at the Woolworth's.]
Today, the pen market is pretty dead. A few new people with deep pockets are still in it. A few poorer newbies still makes the occasional onsie-twosie pen purchase. But the market is pretty much moribund. High prices, little new stock, disinterested buyers.
[You can have my Bic for just 5 bucks. BTW, I once knew a dealer who specialized in nothing but Sinclair Oil dinosaur trinkets that chain of gas stations used to hand out.]
People are much slower to pay. I used to get people who paid instantly. Now it seems that they're taking several days.
[Cry me a storm. Before PayPal we had to wait WEEKS for the checks to arrive in the mail. Then we had to wait another week for the checks to clear. FUn Fact: Ol' PJ here was the one who called up PayPal in early 2000 and suggested they provide PayPal auction banners to place on eBay auctions. Their marketing director, Jack Selby, immediately took my advice and their PayPal subcribers began to soar from that point on. ...And now we close up this DUFU edition with a video of an eBay song performed by Weird Al Yankovic.]