We received an email a few days ago from Jacob who has a questions relating to starting his own business on eBay and Amazon. Take it away Jacob:
Hi there, I’m a fairly young guy (24) and I have a full time job at a local hospital where I process, assemble and sterilize surgical equipment. I am certified and have two years experience, but I still only make $10.50 because I have no college degree, and I work in a city in Alabama that has been rated the fourth poorest city in the entire nation. Regardless, I am thankful to have a job; but, as you can imagine, I really wish there was a way for me to get a bit of extra income so that I could have more opportunities to make proactive steps in my life — like going back to college.
I have been thinking about reselling liquidated items for a while now. I am pretty computer-savvy, and recently I decided to start looking at how the prices of various items (mainly electronics) are trending on Amazon and Ebay, and then comparing it to potential revenue from selling the liquidated items individually from various websites.
For instance, there is a website auctioning a lot of 500 new Sony brand Car chargers for the Playstation Vita, and the auction price was about $200 with a day to go, though it will probably rise closer to the end of the auction. Anyways, these sell for around 7 dollars on amazon and eBay, including shipping, but I could sell them for 50 cents to a dollar less and still make a decent profit. But, my question to you is, “Am I being a bit naive?” I think I might be because I’m not accounting for the cost to have all 500 of them shipped to me to begin with, as well as the listing and seller fees for so many items.
I have only sold things at one to three at a time, so I am treading unfamiliar territory here. I welcome any suggestions, advice, and/or insight that you may be willing to share, and I appreciate you taking the time to read all of this. Regards, Jacob V.
Hello Jacob, thanks for emailing! I never get tired of hearing questions such as yours. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last ten years talking with people just like you, people eager to create supplemental income. Supplement might not be the best word, in fact, I would say most dream about starting and growing a very large business using eBay or Amazon as a springboard.
Your email came just a day of two after I read a very inspirational story in our local newspaper, the Chico Enterprise Record. The story was about a local business that started selling electronic cords and cables on eBay. Long story short, this company now employs a staff of ten selling well over a million dollars per year from eBay, Amazon, and their own eCommerce website, yourcablestore.com.
Yourcablestore.com had $1.4 million in sales in 2013 and is expecting $1.8 million this year. If that’s not impressive enough, they have also launched their own brand, called Sendt after a marriage of the owners’ names — Searson and Arendt. How that for motivating?
So Jacob, let me get back to your email. I want to address the question you ask, “Am I being a bit naive?” – No, not at all, in my opinion. I would say yes if you did not take into consideration eBay fees, freight costs, and other various costs associated with running a business. You brought these issues up in your email, and I’m confident you will further investigate associated costs before making a purchase.
In terms of the type of liquidation merchandise you are interested in selling, I think you are onto something with lower price per unit items. A lot of people I talk with who are interested in liquidation electronics often want to start selling customer returned items; I think this is a mistake and I routinely discourage most from touching returned TV’s, Stereos, and other high dollar equipment. Not that there’s not money to be made, but rather, most do not have the tech skills to deal with damage laden loads. Stick with electronic accessories, such as the Sony chargers you brought up in your email. Also, look for closeouts instead of customer returned items.
Our 2020 Liquidators Guide chronicles 12 years of wholesale product sourcing experience and includes my personal black book of direct source contacts! As an industry expert, I'll share the success I've enjoyed along with the mistakes I've made buying and reselling liquidation merchandise.
If you are thinking about buying pallets of liquidation merchandise from a liquidator, broker, or direct from department stores, you need to check out The Liquidators Guide