The songwriter got it wrong. Time is not on your side, not when it comes to building a full time eBay business while working full time. How often have you stumbled on a seller in a thrift store plowing through a stack of board games or collectible figurines and said, “I can’t be here because I have a full time day job?”
What Does it Take?
Anybody can sell on eBay. All it takes are a few tools:
- A product look-up tool
- A computer
- A vehicle
You need a vehicle to haul your inventory from the sources to your fixed base of operations and the shipping center, like USPS or UPS. A computer is the means to list the stuff at eBay. The look-up tool is vitally important.
The economic plight the country is in does not help. It makes the picture look bad. Every unemployed person is a potential online seller. By the time you are off work, the inventory is gone. Fortunately, the reality is different: Any time of day is a good time to look for inventory. You must get to know your sources and the products you want to sell.
Productivity – Do a supply and demand analysis of everything you consider selling. You must hone your skills so you pick out the right inventory, the stuff that will move at a decent price. Whether it’s antique car parts or comic books, knowledge of supply and demand is important, because if you sell a few items at a high price, then you spend less time growing your business.
Seeking Out Extra Help – A scout tool is to online sellers what a hammer is to a carpenter. Whether you’re scrounging through stacks looking for inventory or looking at wholesalers’ items, you must have knowledge to make an informed decision. A scout tool is a PDA that has a large database of prices accessed with a scanner that reads UPC codes or ISBN numbers on products.
Pricing Items – The pricing services are available on the web. The services charge a nominal amount every month, less than $10. The big expense is the look-up device. A PDA and scanner costs over $500 if you find it in a used market. Expect to pay eight hundred dollars for a new device. For most people it’s a worthwhile investment. To buy products without knowledge of the price is gambling. Sellers can scan hundreds or even thousands of items every day.
A cell phone can be used with as a scout tool as well, and it will do nicely in a pinch. You can punch in the UPC code or ISBN code on the handheld face and push a send button. In less than 30 seconds, you will get a price quote back.
Numbers Game – The numbers you get back can be a real puzzle. You can get the current price, the highest price the item sold for online, the lowest price the item sold for online, the number of items available from other sellers and more. It is an impressive list. Sellers set up criteria to determine supply and demand. For example, a seller will opt to use the item’s current price, put a ceiling on how many items are available on the Internet, what the sales rank of the item is and other variables to determine whether they want to risk investing in the item.
Once you have a look-up tool, you can calculate the supply and demand numbers. A scout tool is essential in growing an online store. It’s a tool you need when you are working full time and growing an eBay store.
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