Topic: Turn Your Household Items Into $Cash$ on eBay
Host: Lynn Dralle, The Queen of Auctions
Date: May 21, 2009
Time: 10AM PST
Location: eBay Workshop Board
Description: New to eBay? Learn how to sell on eBay by turning your household items into cash on eBay. Plus, Lynn will share her tips on how you can find items in your local area to sell on eBay and start generating an extra income. Please join Lynn Dralle, The Queen of Auctions and published author of the "100 Best Things I've Sold on eBay" book series, as she shares her tips, success and insight for new eBay sellers, part-time sellers and even experienced sellers seeking additional advice.
- The Queens Top Five Selling Tips for new eBay Sellers
1. Don’t be afraid. eBay is easy to use. Just jump in and list something. Once you do, you won’t want to stop.
2. Start with items around your house. This way you won’t be investing any REAL money and you can clean up and simplify your life at the same time.
3. Pick a good user ID. One that is easy to remember. I know that it is getting harder to get the exact one that you may want so make a list of several options before signing up. That way you won’t pick one in a hurry that turns out to be a mistake. User IDs with lots of crazy letters and numbers are not a good idea. Bad example (not a real user) G4LP6L
4. Have at least 10 feedback points next to your user ID before selling anything. Acquire these positive feedback points by buying reasonably priced items on eBay that you need.
5. Make sure you write a good title (use all 55 characters) and take a good clean photo.
- How to get started selling, learn/test the waters by selling a household item (how to decide which household item to sell)
Most Americans are pack rats, and the first place to look for merchandise is in YOUR OWN HOUSE, your parent's house and your friends' houses.
Get a big box and start a pile. Once you start doing your research, you will be amazed at what sells and what doesn't! The exception is the RULE. You just never know--I am still shocked every day. I was listing some incredible antique majolica jardinières the other evening and when doing my research I found that they only sell in the $20 range. I had a new creamer/sugar from Fitz & Floyd in the shape of a trailer and Nash automobile that was going for $44. Kitschy, unusual and strange often sells for more than authentic and antique.
In general, you should be looking for the following: 1. Items you don't use or need anymore 2. Things in good condition 3. Items that are still in the original box (MIB-mint in box) 4. Anything with a brand name or signature 5. New or like-new clothing-new with tags is great (NWT) 6. Unique or unusual things 7. Items that were very expensive originally 8. Shabby chic, vintage and antique items 9. Items made in the USA, Europe and sometimes Japan 10. Try to stay away from items made in Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan
Go through your home and look in your:
• Toys • Sports Equipment • Hunting & Fishing items • Golf (really hot right now) • Car Parts (a woman at my last Learning Annex class told me about a friend who got $8,000 for a rare car part!)
Attic: Look for antique clothing, ephemera (paper goods like Victorian scrap, letters and postcards)--you would not believe what old magazines can bring. My ex-husband's skateboard magazines from the 1970s sold for $20 to $100 each! Old toys, collections, anything that has been put away for a while may sell.
Kitchen: China, dinnerware, silverware, appliances, and refrigerator dishes are desirable now. I sold a Dualit Toaster for almost $200?!! Watch for anything that has a brand name or is signed, old tins, etc.
Bedrooms: Look in your closets for clothing with brand names that are in good to excellent condition, brand-name purses, scarves, signed costume jewelry, and bakelite. Look in your kids' closets for clothing that is gently worn, brand names like Baby Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree, Tommy Hilfiger all do well (I just sold a Tommy size 7 boy's denim shirt new with tags for $16.49. I paid $7.99 at TJMaxx!). NWT (new with tags) always does well.
Check in your kid's toy cabinet--Look for brand names and anything you can put back in an original box. Little Tykes, Barbie, Any Stuffed animal in good condition and Thomas the Tank Engine are all good. Think Trains, Cars, Dolls, Books, Airplanes etc. Playmobil is another great brand. Some of these vintage in-box sets can sell in the $100 range!
Bathrooms: Old perfume bottles, medical bottles and vintage (1970s) cosmetics. We sold a Faberge dusting powder set from the 1970s in the original box for $25. Wild!
Bookshelves: Old books do sell well. Look for unusual titles, author-signed and first editions. Also, look for magazines.
China Cabinets: Look for antiques, glassware, china, porcelain and pottery that is signed. Stemware like Waterford does great. Lladró, Precious Moments, Royal Doulton and Boyds are some popular collectibles now.
CD/Cassette/Record Cabinet: Yes, as we have found out even old LP's and CD's sell well on eBay. I sold a James Bond Casino Royale Album for $31!
DVD/Video Case: Same with videos and DVDs. It all just depends on the demand. A girl in one of my classes was making $1000 a month selling her old videos and CDs on eBay.
Once you have your big box or pile of items, it is time to do your research. This is the fun part!
- Tips on where to find additional items to sell on eBay
My top 2 places to find more merchandise are garage/estate sales and thrift stores.
These days, garage sale season in the United States is almost a year-round event. I spotted about ten garage sales on my way home from taking my kids to school this past Friday, and boy did I want to stop! You can be successful at this also.
Garage Sale Buying is a Quick Way to Get Merchandise: My mom and I still go out every Saturday morning and I take about $200. I can fill her van full in about two to three hours. It will usually hold about 100-200 items. Garage sale shopping is fast. We often start at 6:30 to 7:00 am and by 10:00 am we are done. Time goes by very slowly when you are dashing from one sale to another. We often look at one another and say "Can you believe it is only 8:00 am?"
That van full usually turns into between $1,000 to $2,000 during the next week on eBay. I just want to note here that I am selling about 40% at auction and 60% from my eBay store. So those items that don't sell that week at auction will be put into my eBay store and most will eventually sell at a fixed price from my eBay store.
There are about twenty-five thrift stores in my area. Twenty of them consistently overprice. There are five where I find great bargains all the time. Take some time in your city and figure out which thrift stores are the best. Make a list and a schedule to make sure you hit your best thrift stores on a consistent basis.
I try to hit the ten overpriced stores in my area once every month. However, in one of those overpriced thrift stores, my assistant Maureen (Mo) found a Mary Engelbreight dinner plate that sold for over $150! Just one silly dinner plate--so you never know. I try to visit the stores where I find the best merchandise every other day, if not every day. You can never guess what is going to get put on the shelf when you walk in. You may just get lucky like Mo did!
- How to determine if an item will sell well on eBay
I think that one of the most important things you can do to get top dollar on eBay is to be a great researcher. You need to know exactly what your item is and how to describe it or it will never sell or it will sell for far too cheap. Even if you're selling new items that you have a lot of information about, doing research on your competition can pay off. Being able to outdo your competitors with your service, extra features, or even just positioning your auction better can bring you top dollar.
I also want to note that if your item has a maker's name, research is not so important anymore, especially if you didn't pay very much for it. I want to reiterate that I typically only research (in detail) about four items each week (out of the 100 I list).
The first place that I go to do my research is, hands down, eBay. Why not? We want to sell our item on eBay and there is no better site to test the waters. When you research for identification purposes, you will most always use the "Completed auction" research tool. Click on the "Advanced search" hyperlink found on most eBay pages in the upper right-hand corner. On the next page, type in your search words and make sure you click the box for "Completed listings only." Everything that has been sold or listed in the past two weeks on eBay with those keywords in the title will come up for you to see.
Never use current auction searches to do your research. So many times people make this mistake and just type their search terms into the search boxes on every page. Do NOT do this. Current auctions give us no indication of what things will really sell for and only give a snapshot in time. You want completed auction research because it provides two weeks' worth of history and you get to see what items ACTUALLY sold for. Most people do not bid until the very last seconds and a current auction search is not a true indication of prices. You will only use "current auction" research when you want to check out your competition and what they are doing.
The workshop is open! Take advantage of this great opportunity to ask The Queen of Auctions, Lynn Dralle, questions about how to get started selling on eBay and what items in your household may be worth more than you know.
Hi Claycat, I do as much research as I can to ascertain value. If I can't find the exact item, I will pay for an appraisal. There are quite a few good online appraisal companies and then I figure out what I want to get for it. Lets say I decide it is worth $499.00, I will start it at $99.00 with a hidden $499 reserve. Thanks for the question! Lynn
Hi Cathy, We put them in padded manila envelopes and ship them media by printing the labels through paypal. That way we can leave them right at the front door for the post man. We have had zero complaints on our books. Thanks for being a fan and asking a question! Lynn
Hi Lynn, I have learned a lot from your books and from reading your newsletters. Right now in addition to selling unique items, I've also been listing a lot of books. Most sell in the $4-6 range. I notice that you list most of your books starting at $9.99. How can I tell when I'm at a thrift store or yard sale that a book is valuable? Thanks, Karen
Lynn, I see two auctions for the same thing (e.g.golf club)...one has a long description with lots of detail and photos, and the other has two lines of info and one photo. How does one decide how much information and/or photos are enough...and is it possible to have too much detail? Thanks! Michael
Hi xstyles, We have a pretty standard set of rules. We ship all books/media for $4.00 (the max), we ship all flatware for $8.95 s/h/i UPS, dinner ware when broken out into individual pieces will ship for $9.95 to $11.95 s/h/i by UPS for each auction. Then we just look at the other odd items and they will go from $8.95 ups s/h/i up to $49.95 s/h/i ups for the larger items. Thanks for the question! Lynn
Cathy, Great point. The PO says they will only pick up if you have one priority package, but we ship so much they have never said anything on days when it is all media! Give it a shot, all they can do is not take it. Thanks! Lynn
Michael, Great question! I like the title to use all 55 characters--always and I write as little as I can in the description. This way I can list more and make more money! On more expensive items, I will take some time and give a little more information, but not much. eBay is a numbers game and the more you list the more you sell. Thanks! Lynn
Love the ideas, my biggest concern is purchasing items at thrift stores and/or garage sales and then the items donot sell on ebay? Then I am stuck with items I do not need? Does this happen to you? How do you avoid this from happening when you just get started and are not seasoned on what sells?
Elizabfinds, Fun question! If it is cheap and looks like it is worth $9.99, buy it. I look at every item I see and ask myself, "will that bring $9.99 on eBay", If the answer is yes and it is less than $1, into my pile it goes. Also, look for anything made in USA, Europe. And look for anything that is signed. Start turning everything over. I have turned over at least six coffee cups full of coffee that have belonged to the people running the garage sale--so be careful! Thanks for the question. Lynn
adjmon, What a cool piece you have. A railroad workers stamp! I would check priceminer, it is a site that costs money, but it awesome. Or you could just list it say starting at $99.00 and see what happens. I do that sometimes, I will list something super high, like even $499.00 and say help in the title. eBayers will tell you soon enough if you are out of your mind and then you can revise your price down. Or I do know that there are some antiques boards on eBay you could post it and ask for help. Thanks! Lynn
John, Great question. $1,000 is a really easy number to hit! I won't list anything less than $9.99, it just isn't worth it in fees or work. I would say you could list 100-200 items per month to make $1,000. It may take a few months to ramp up to $1,000, because you are going to be working at the same time to move items (that don't sell at auction) into your eBay store. I do 50% of my business (at least from the 5,000 plus items) in my eBay store. I hope that helps. Lynn
c4, I have an awesome storage system. Thanks for asking! I have a 600 square foot rec room that now has about 30 Costco metal baker's racks. Each shelf (there are 104 individual shelves) are numbered (or lettered) from a to zzzz. Each week I list 100 items and on my I sell sheet is written the shelf number. That way when it sells we can (hopefully) find it. Thanks! Lynn
Iamavessel, Shipping is a tough one and most of our learning has come from trial and error. I do have a shipping dvd that teaches a lot of our tricks. We try and add on at least $2-$3 handling on most packages. That makes up for our mistakes and does help cover our supplies. Thanks and good luck to you! Lynn
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