Category Archives: Tools

Yard Saling Tips – At The Sale

While you are driving around yard saling, make sure that you write down your initial and final mileage!

One of the most important things that i have learned is that a lot of opportunities present themselves at yard sales if you just talk to the people running it. Talking to them allows you to build rapport, and gather valuable information. If someone is moving soon, there is a lot more room for negotiations than if they have a yard sale every weekend as a means of making a little extra money. Great example, we got to a yard sale a little early one time. The woman was setting up, and as we talked to her she stated about 5 times that she didn’t want to go through the work of setting everything up. After the 5th time I (finally) got the hint, and made her an extrememly low offer for the whole garage. She accepted, locked the door, and we were off to the next yard sale. While you are talking to them, make some small statements that they can agree with. The gnats are really biting, the weather is great today, etc. Having them agree with you now makes it really easy for them to agree with you later!

People often ask us what we buy at yard sales. The easy answer is almost anything, if the price is right. What people really want to know is where we find our profit. The key for us is in bundling, and analyzing on site.

We normally skip dishes, Christmas decorations (except Hallmark ornaments), clothing (don’t know enough about it, yet), and loose toys. Our best deals have been on media, followed by kitchen items and electronics. Anything in a box with a barcode obviously gets a scan. While we are talking about scanning, another question that comes up often is what to do if people ask you what you are doing. Opinions differ, but I always tell them the truth. There are a few reasons I do this. One, I just like to be honest with people. I like what I do, I think it is interesting, and I find that a lot of other people like learning about the technology. They can use the same items to get better deals when shopping, so I am offering them valuable information. Second, when they know that I resale items, it gives me more room to bargain. They know that if I can’t make a profit on the item, then they are stuck putting it back in their garage! Knowing that you are reselling the items also gives you room to negotiate on missing boxes, roduct condition, etc. When they know you are willing to purchase a large number of items, they want you shopping with them.

If there are several books or DVD’s that we want, we will often make a lowball offer for the entire lot. What kind of offer? We like to get books for around .25 to .50 a piece, and DVD’s for under a dollar. One tip I learned from a very good presentation on real estate investing is that you should almost feel embarassed when you mention your first offer. Remember, the worst that happens is that they say no. Most likely, even if they say no, you can get the savings later on a different item because they feel guilty for “being ornery” earlier. Don’t be afraid to get extra inventory, we will talk later about how to maximize the profit on it. Say that there is a box of DVD’s, a few boardgames, and a few toys you want. Offer a bundle price for the DVD’s, then set them aside. Same for the boardgames (always price older boardgames, you will be surprised at the margins if you are willing to count pieces). Once all the different bundles are placed together, try rounding the total down again. If they can’t do that, mention that you are buying a lot of their items, and ask if they can throw in something else for free. If they say no to any of your offers, just leave your name and number with them. Make sure to browse a little more. You wuold be amazed how many times people say no, then call you back right as you start to walk away. They see the money walking away, and they know that they may end up stuck with the item. They are having garage sales to get rid of the items. Help them out.

One final tip on negotiating. Some people become overly attached to a certain item, and lose objectivity. You can tell when this has happened because they say something like, “Oh, I can’t do that, I got it at….” or “Well, I paid… so I really can’t take less than….” . The easiest way to still get the item that you want is to agree with them, offer to pay the price that they want. Then look for other things that you would like. They will often be even more willing to lower the price on other items. I know it doesn’t necessarily make sense, but it is true. Quick example, there was a pair of roller skates that we wanted. She was unwilling to come down 5$, and said she “MUST” get the asking price. On the way out of the sale, she threw a bicycle that she had priced at 10$ in the bed of the truck, without us even asking! Remember, all money is not even if people are attached to something. Find out the things they want to get rid of, and help them do so.

Stay out late. In our area, late is 1pm or later. When people are faced with the task of putting everything back in their garage, and they already have a pocket full of money, they are done with the whole idea. Often heavy items like books or furniture are given away on late afternoons, especially on Sundays. If you are willing to accept some less than excellent items, you can still get some really good ones.

While you are buying, track your inventory. The method that works best for us is itemizing items in a receipt book. we list “box of DVD’s – 5$”, not every single DVD. Experiment for yourself. The only important thing is that it is easy for you, and becomes part of your process.

Stay tuned for Part 3, where we talk about how to get rid of the great (and not so great) items that we found while out treasure hunting!

How to create a successful Auction Listing on Ebay

Recently, we reviewed a bunch of completed auctions to look for some keys to success, to improve our listings. Special thanks to the fine folks at the Thrifting With The Boys Facebook group for posting up some of their great success stories. This is what we found, if it helps you then let us know!

There are a few areas where you can make your auction stand out. Take a little time and effort to separate yourself from the people that don’t care.

First and most importantly, PICTURES! I cannot stress enough how important it is to take well lit, sharp, clear pictures. Let the customer know exactly what they are getting, good and bad. Any trademarks, watermarks, tags, defects, special features, unique characteristics, EVERYTHING! You can upload the pictures to a photo sharing site like Picasa to save room.

Starting Price – If you are doing an auction style bidding, starting the price low will encourage competition. People dislike losing even more than they like winning, which is in your favor when it comes to bidders competing in an auction. A low starting price also lowers your fees, so it is a win-win!

Keywords – Use them often, use them a lot. Make sure you search for completed auctions for similar type items. What words did they use in their titles? Are their acronyms or misspellings that people look for often? The completed sold listings are the best place to look for information.

Shipping options – Offering Free Shipping is a huge draw. Customers will often not calculate the difference, and you can just raise the cost of the product to cover your shipping cost. Which sounds better, 9.99 with free shipping, or 4.00 with 5.99 shipping? Give your customers the easy choice. One other benefit is if you offer free shipping, you automatically are given 5 stars for the shipping and handling.

Another option is to provide a choice of three shipping options, and let the customer choose. I know that offering different options makes it more complicated, but some people like the option to pay a little less and get it later, or pay a little more to get it now. One more note on shipping. Always offer confirmation. Even on the free shipping. It is normally .85, but if you have an account with Stamps.com or an alternative, then the confirmation is free. Pass that along to your customers. It is all about them having piece of mind.

Auction times – If you start your auctions on a Thursday and run them for 10 days, you get two full bidding weekends in. Time the auction to end between 7pm and 10pm on Sunday. This is the time when the most people are relaxing at home and checking online. You can schedule your auction to start at a later time than when you type it up. This allows for you to choose when your listing is available for viewing, and also can give you time to edit the posting if required.

Guarantees – Always offer a money back guarantee. It comes down to making people feel safe and comfortable with the fact that if they are unhappy, they are not going to lost anything. Think about the reason so many companies offer money back guarantees and 30 day trials. Once your item is in a customers hand, it takes a significant effort for them to return it. They need to make calls or send emails, package it, and return it to someplace to shop it. Let your paranoid fantasies of all your products being returned lay to rest.

Another way to make your customers feel safe and cared for is to answer all questions that are asked. Even if the question is answered in the description, make sure that you answer them specifically. It shows that you care, and everyone wants to do business with people that care.

Advertising – Advertise your listings on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, or any other social media that you are a part of. Join the resale groups in your area, and put them there and offer free local pickup in your listing. It saves you time shipping, and can lower your outbound material costs.

Lastly, have fun with this! Your description doesn’t have to be a compiling of every small fact about the product. It doesn’t have to be professional hard selling material. There are people out there that want what you have. Use your own voice. Throw in a joke or two, a little humor. Talk to your customers as if you were talking to a good friend. Include little thank you notes with your items, and make sure that your customer knows they are appreciated. After all, without them, you wouldn’t make any money!

I hope that these tips help you out. Good luck with your listings, and you can contact us with any questions or recommendations.

If you could give someone one tip to get them on the road to being successful on Ebay, what would it be?

Combining FBA shipments that are in the Amazon Queue

We tend to buy a lot of our items at garage sales, thrift shops, Goodwills, and storage auctions. As we carry a lot of single items, when we make shipments, sometimes there are several warehouses to ship to. If there are only one or two items going to a warehouse, sometimes we will not ship those right away. Scanpower allows you to add to an existing shipment when you click ship. What do you do if you have already clicked ship?

Reviewing our outstanding shipments today, we realized there were 2-3 shipments going to the same warehouse. Unfortunately, Amazon does not allow you to combine shipments from the shipping queue. I would like to show you an easy way to combine those shipments, and save yourself some money on inbound shipping.

First, determine if you have outstanding shipments going to the same warehouse. The easiest way to do this is to filter the results on your “Shipping Queue” page.

See the attached pictures for screenshots of how this will look.

Select “Filter Results”, and under the “Status” drop down menu, select “WORKING / READY TO SHIP”. This will show you all of your outstanding shipments.

As you can see from the screenshots, we have several shipments going to the same warehouse.

Under the “Merchant SKU” column inside your shipment, copy the merchant SKU for each item that is in that shipment.

Now for the easy way to re-add them to a batch in Scanpower, so that when you ship out the batch you can combine the shipping.

(A “batch” is just a list of the inventory you are currently working on.)

In Scanpower, either load the batch you are working on, or start a new one.

Click the “Restore” button.

Type in the Merchant SKU (paste) and it will restore the listing, with your description and price to the current batch.

Repeat this process for every item in the batch you want to combine.

In your Amazon Queue, delete the shipment that you are no longer using.

When you are done with the batch in Scanpower, click “Ship”. It will ask you to pick a warehouse, and create a new shipment or add to an existing one.

Copy the “Shipment Name” and “Shipment ID” of the remaining shipment in your Amazon Queue that is going to the same warehouse, and select the checkbox in the top corner of the shipping screen that says “Add to Existing Shipment”.

All done!! Now all of the items that are going to the same warehouse can be shipped in the same shipment.

I hope this post was helpful. If you have any questions about this technique, please write us at amusingtreasures@gmail.com.

What items in your Amazon warehouse can’t sell right now?

When you send in a lot of inventory to Amazon, it is important to make sure that there are no barriers between your product and your buyers. Items that are sitting in a warehouse but unable to be seen by your customers just represent money that is tied up and not making you more money. This article will show you how to make sure that all of your items that you think are for sale are actually available. No one wants their money to just sit on a warehouse floor!

When you login, go to the Tabs in the Seller Dashboard.
Select Inventory-Manage FBA Inventory
On the first drop down menu on the left hand side of the screen, select “Error Status”.
Second drop-down menu select “Items with errors”.
Click the top of the column marked “Fulfillable”. This will sort the items and only show you the ones that Amazon currently has in its warehouse that currently have errors preventing them from being sold.
Open another Amazon tab in your web browser, this saves you from having to flip back and forth between the reports and the individual items.
Go to “Manage Inventory” on the new tab.
Look up the Merchant SKU, ISBN, EAC, or any other piece of information that it takes to find the item with errors in your inventory.
Determine the cause of the error.
If it says Inactive, try to relist it, paying attention to the condition you have it listed under. If the condition is Used or Collectible, there is a good chance that it should be listed as the other type (Used or Collectible). As a general rule, Toys and Games that are no longer in production are listed as Collectible, but it is not a hard and fast rule. Some exceptions apply.
Common errors:
If you use a third party listing program, sometimes your items are listed as Used when they should be Collectible, or Collectible when they should be Used.
There are two options:
You can “create a removal order”, you can do this by clicking the drop down box under the “Actions” column. This will cost you $ 0.50 (as of 15May2013). When you create your removal order, make sure that you type in the number of items you want returned in the “Fulfillable Qty” column above the number of items that Amazon has on the next screen.
You can list the product at Ebay, (Shopify, Etsy, or any other online site) and use Amazon’s Third Party Fulfillment service to have it shipped from the warehouse directly to your customer. The cost will vary based on the size and type of item. To use this service, click “Create a Fulfillment Order”, once you have sold it to someone else.

Once you have created removal orders for the items that had errors (or listed them on another site), just wait to ge tthem back in the mail. Once you receive them, list them through Amazon’s interface as new items in your inventory, marking them as Used or Collectible as required. Send them back in, and sit back and wait for the paycheck!

List of products to avoid

While it is important to focus on products to sell on Amazon, it is also important to pay attention to which products you should not sell. These products are ones which the manufacturers will give you a difficult time if you are trying to sell on Amazon.

Gillette
P90X
Dunkin Donuts Coffee
Dr Dre headphones
Rosetta Stone software
Warner Brothers movies

From the conditions guidelines, you also need to avoid the following items:

Promotional CD’s
Drafts and proofs for books
Any item that is or is suspected to be counterfeit or fake

I will add to this list as I receive additional information.

Fatwallet.com – free notifications when there is money to be made

How would you like it if someone told you when to pay attention to an item that could make you money? Thanks to a recent article from Chris Green, author of Arbitrage, I have found a way to get an alert when there is an opportunity to make some money. Simply sign up at FatWallet.com, and set up keyword alerts for the categories that you are most comfortable selling in. Then, when there is a new item that fits that description, you can receive an alert letting you know that there is a new deal for you to evaluate.

To evaluate the deal, Chris recommended using Webscout, one of the products in his ScanPower bundle. He also recommended using the Amazon Browser Bar, which is a free add-on that allows you to look up products from Amazon without leaving the page. With a notification of a deal, combined with the ability to instantly evaluate the deal for profitability, it is as if someone is sending you an alarm that says “Hey! Wake up and make some money now!”.

Anytime that you buy things online, you should always stop at retailmenot.com before you click checkout. It is a site that collects all of the online codes and discounts that are available.

A similar site to FatWallet is Slickdeals. The basics are the same, look at the deals to see if there is a difference in price that you can use to your advantage. Remember that altogether, you normally want products that have at least a 3x markup in price. For example, if the item that you are looking for is available for 25$, you want to be able to sell it for at least 75$. You may take a smaller margin on items that sell quickly, but remember to take into account that if the item is available cheaply, the price may be on the decline. Happy Hunting!

To learn more about Webscout, or any of the other FBAPower products that Chris Green offers, check out his site.

Magic does Exist!

You would be amazed at the amount of magic this one little genie sponge has! Not sure what’s exactly in it, but it works like a charm!

This is one product I personally stand behind. It has helped me take dirt, crayon, permanent marker, ink, and even coffee stains off of my inventory products. Not only will it clean up plastic, boxes…etc but I have noticed it does so much more. It will even clean the toughest stains off your counter top surfaces. I used to use bleach and a little elbow grease to clean up tough marks, not anymore. The eraser does it with ease. Even hair dye comes off the sink top. Its is gentle enough to use on your stove top and lap top.

They work so well, they sometimes take the finish or writing off your books or games so be careful. Always test spot a spot first by rubbing very gently. You don’t even have to dampen the eraser in most cases. We recommend when cleaning book and other non coated surfaces not to dampen it.

I buy them by the box full. They last me a while.

 

Peeling Price Tags

For those of you that have nails and for those of you who don’t…here’s a quick easy tool for peeling tags without wetting or ripping your product.

They are called Label Peeler tools.

Yes, your investing in buying a tool that looks a little like a mini shovel…but the cost is a very small price to pay for the quick convience of getting a sticker or label off without damageing your product. It has saved me a lot of time and effort. It was worth it in the long run.

There are several brands of these. They come is several colors. They also come in plastic or metal. I personally use the Scotty Brand but you can look up which ever are cheaper for you.

They can be bought cheaply on the net, Ebay or even Amazon. Sometimes, you can even find them at yardsales or even in Walmart.

The plastic label peelers work really well and are the ones I most commonly use. The metal one is for those super tuff ones but you must be careful not to scratch/cut your product when useing the metal. I made that mistake the first time I used it. I wasn’t under the tag properly and sliced right through the thin plastic on a CD, making the CD’s “new” value decrease.

Useing water and damping your product is time consumeing and can damage the cardboard or paper covering of an item. Even your nail can split the plastic or even in cases rip the tag in serveral places making it tougher for you to remove it in one or two easy pulls.

Try it…if you have other helpful tips on how to pull and remove tags from items, please feel free to post in the comments below. I would love to hear your ideas.

Instructions are helpful

Today as I was browsing the competitions pricing on some of my higher value items, I realized that they were offering a service that was quick, easy, and added value to the customer. Naturally, those are all things that I would like to offer as well! I found a site, called safemanuals.com where you can download manuals for a wide variety of items. For example, I downloaded a very nice pdf file of the instructions for our Kota the Dinosaur. Since I only learned that you can press down on his butt to make stomping sounds yesterday after watching a video on him, I figured that the instructions would be very helpful for someone else. I added the printed and emailed version to our listing. Any time that you can add extra value for the customer, for little or no time or cost, it becomes a win-win situation. Thank you guys at safemanuals.com. You can also use the free tech manuals that they provide in order to troubleshoot a product, or learn more about it.  Information is power, and they are offering it for free.