Maximizing Profits on eBay: Four Hot Products to Sell Now!

May 7th, 2021 Comments off

Even though I am an eBay seller and educator with 16 years’ experience and 20,000 + feedback, I am constantly trying to think of ways to work smarter, not harder.  Last January, right before COVID hit, I decided to downsize and streamline my eBay business.  Instead of running it out of a warehouse, I moved it back to my house.  When social distancing became the norm, I started doing all of the listing myself instead of paying someone to list.  Because of all of these changes, I became laser focused on low-cost products that are easy to source, easy to store, and easy to ship.  As a result, I sell less but make more! 

The following four items are among the type of products I now sell on a regular basis.  If you don’t have much space, and you want to maximize profits in 2021, don’t miss out on these easy-to-source products:  

#1 Women’s bras and lightweight tops:  Both of these products meet the aforementioned criteria.  Heavily padded bras in all sizes from brands such as Victoria’s Secret are always hot sellers.  Be sure to mention style names in the titles of the listings you create.  Lightweight tops (especially camisole-type tank tops) from companies such as White House Black Market are also popular.  Bras and tops are easy to find at yard sales where they often hide in large piles of clothing and can be purchased for next to nothing.  In general, try to focus on those items that are light enough to be sent via First Class Package Service (under 1 lb.).

#2 Swimsuits:  Name brand swimsuits for men and women are also fun to sell.  Swimsuits are easy to store, and they don’t weigh much.  Focus on new or almost new name brand suits that are photogenic. As far as sizes go, the bigger the better.  A few years ago, I purchased 90 name brand swimsuits at an end-of-the-summer sale at a local thrift shop.  During COVID, there were no yard sales, and shopping at thrift shops was not an option.  That’s when I pulled out the bags full of swimsuits I had purchased!      

#3 Lego Minifigures: Legos can be sold by the pound, but did you know that Lego minifigures can be sold individually for a nice profit?  Minifigures (or minifigs) are small, lightweight figurines produced by the Lego company.  Both children and adults collect minifigs, and they are sold individually or as parts of sets.  Some are produced to fit a certain theme while others are specific characters from film, television, or game franchises.  We often purchase large lots of Legos and sift through them looking for minifigs.

#4 Vintage ashtrays and plates: I love listing vintage ashtrays and plates from bars, restaurants, and hotels, especially if the establishments no longer exist.  I recently sold a set of four small vintage dessert plates from a hotel for $60.  These treasures are relatively easy to find at estate sales and can be listed in just a few minutes from just about anywhere. 

eBay Seller Tip!  Remember, you make your money when you buy!  So when you’re out and about sourcing for your online business, don’t miss out on these small, lightweight, easy-to-source items that will help you maximize profits in 2021!

About the Author
Miriam Otto is an e-commerce blogger and credentialed teacher with 16 years’ experience selling on eBay.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.

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Finding Profits At Estate Sales Part III: The Office

November 8th, 2019 Comments off

Parts one and two of this multi-part series focused on the kitchen and garage.  Next stop?  The office!  You can pretend you’re a pirate looking for buried treasure as you enter the office of almost any estate sale.

Chairs

The first item you should look for is chairs.  Chairs made by companies like Herman Miller and Stressless are incredibly popular.  Herman Miller makes highly adjustable office chairs that are pricey when purchased new.  Stressless makes recliners that sell for thousands at retail.  (Look for the Stressless logo on the round adjuster knob.)  You can purchase these comfort chairs for $50-$100 at estate sales and sell them for $500-$600 online. 

Note: Since chairs are large and heavy, list them as local pickup only.  People who are interested in these brands will often drive long distances to pick them up.   

Pens

Next, be on the lookout for expensive ballpoint and fountain pens.  Brands such as Cross, Parker, and Montblanc are always in demand.

Vintage Stereo Equipment

Many Americans love listening to music as they work.  Vintage stereo equipment is a common sight in the office area of the typical estate sale.  Recently, a friend purchased a Sansui 9090DB AM/FM receiver for $30.  Since it was valuable, he had it refurbished at the local stereo shop.  He sold it for $950 to a dealer who drove 400 miles to pick it up!  (Ironically, the dealer didn’t care if it was refurbished because he has his employees inspect and improve the items he finds before selling them to his customers in Asia.)

Paperweights

In addition, keep your eyes peeled for signed paperweights.  It is not uncommon to find high-end paperweights in the office area of an estate sale.  Orient and Flume, for example, is a Northern California company that makes pieces that are highly collectible.

Office Supplies

The office is also a great place to stock up on supplies!  Running a business can get expensive, and estate sales are fantastic places to purchase paper, envelopes, labels, and tape for almost nothing.

Stamps

Finally, be on the lookout for stamp collections.  A few years ago, we bought a box full of random stamps for $5.  The stamps weren’t collectibles, but they were worth about $250 at the post office.  We didn’t have to buy stamps for a long time!

So the next time you’re out and about looking for buried treasure at an estate sale, check out the office, mate!  You won’t regret it! 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

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Finding Profits At Estate Sales Part II: The Garage

August 28th, 2019 Comments off

If you’re interested in selling high-profit items on eBay, you should definitely be frequenting estate sales.  Part one of this multi-part series focused on the kitchen.  Next stop?  The garage!

Garages are filled with goodies just waiting to be snapped up by savvy sellers.  The more disorganized the garage, the better.  There’s gold hiding in them thar piles!

Tools

First of all, focus on tools – especially vintage tools.  Both modern and vintage tools can be worth quite a bit on the resale market.  We recently bought a planer for $5 and sold it for over $400 on eBay.  Tools made by brands such as Snap-on, Mac, and DEWALT are always in demand.  Vintage “Made in America” hand tools such as crescent wrenches should be on your radar.  Vintage axe heads are another favorite of ours. 

Home Improvement Items

In addition, look for home improvement items.  Higher-end faucets and sinks bring in the big bucks if they are new or almost new. And cabinet pulls can be sold in lots.  At a recent yard sale, we purchased a $950 sink new in the box for $20 and sold it for $300.  The man who sold it to us had won it at a Christmas party.  (He worked for a home improvement company.)  We didn’t have to ship it because we had it listed as local pickup only. 

Fly Fishing Gear

Oh, where to start?  Americans love to fish, and fly fishing is all the rage!  Look for newer gear by brands such as Scott, Sage, Echo, Thomas & Thomas, and G. Loomis.  Old bamboo fly rods and vintage Fenwick poles are fan favorites (be sure to ship fishing rods in USPS mailing tubes).  In addition, don’t miss out on buying fly reels.  They are easy to photograph, easy to sell, and easy to ship.  Next, pay attention to vintage lures – the older the better.  And don’t miss the clothing produced by Simms and Filson.  Use your phone to look up current selling prices. 

New and Vintage Christmas Ornaments

While hunting for treasures, don’t miss out on Christmas ornaments.  Christmas ornaments sell year-round. Vintage ornaments in their original boxes are especially valuable.  Modern ornaments are also in demand.  Christopher Radko pieces, for example, are strong sellers.  And be on the lookout for pieces made by Swarovski.  Swarovski designs a new ornament for each and every year.  These crystal masterpieces are hot property and can sell for hundreds of dollars.  The most valuable Swarovskis are those in the original boxes with certificates of authenticity. 

Automobile and Bicycle Parts

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for automobile and bicycle parts.  Sourcing them can be a bit complicated, so be sure to research each piece before you buy it.

Yup.  Estate sales can be full of amazing items just waiting to be flipped on eBay. So get in line early, and when the doors open, head for the garage!

See part one: Finding Profits At Estate Sales: The Kitchen

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

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3 Money Saving Tips for eBay Sellers

July 25th, 2019 Comments off

We currently sell about $14,000 a month in preowned merchandise on eBay, but expenses are high, and we’re always looking for ways to save money. If you want to be a successful eBay seller, it’s extremely important to run your business lean and mean.  The following tips will help you keep as much money in your pocket as possible.

Tip #1 – Sign Up for the PayPal Business Debit Card

First of all, sign up for the PayPal Business Debit Mastercard.  The PayPal debit card allows you to spend the money in your PayPal account while you’re out and about.  Cardholders earn 1% back on all purchases when they use the card as credit. Stamps.com customers can even use their PayPal debit card to purchase postage – this is a great method to get cashback on one of that largest expenses for online sellers!  We basically live off our card, so we get about $50 back a month.

Tip #2 – Scrutinize Your eBay Invoice

Another way to save money, is to go through your eBay invoice each and every month with a fine-tooth comb.  I am embarrassed to admit that I haven’t always done this.  In the past, if my eBay bill seemed about right, I didn’t bother to check it.  Not anymore.  A while back I was going through one of my invoices and realized that on a few of our listings, we were being charged for features that we didn’t want.  I’m not sure how that happened. For example, we were paying $1.50 per month for the item subtitle fee on a listing that had been sitting in our store for 10 months.  Uh oh.

Tip #3 – Perform a Physical Inventory Every Six Months

You can’t make money on merchandise that isn’t listed.  Once every six months eBay sellers should perform a physical inventory of the items they are selling.  I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve done inventory only to discover that, for some unknown reason, products we thought were listed were no longer on the site.  Many of the items we sell can get old over time, so it’s extremely important that we move product in and out as fast as possible.  If an item sits too long, we may have to throw it away.  What a waste of money!  It is extremely important to figure out what you have before going out and spending more money on inventory.

If you are a serious eBay seller, you need to run your business like a well-oiled listing machine. Following these tips will help you reach that goal!

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

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Finding Profits At Estate Sales – A Guide for eBay Sellers

June 21st, 2019 Comments off

 

Part 1 – The Kitchen

 

Estate sales can be overwhelming.  So much to look at, so little time.  In order to navigate the waters of this very special type of sourcing opportunity, it is important to stay focused and informed.  This is the first of a multi-part series that will help you narrow your search for profitable estate sale items to sell on eBay.

Cooking Up Profits

Always start your estate sale adventure by visiting the kitchen.  Every house has a kitchen, and many of them are filled with amazing finds that not everyone knows about.  The following items are relatively common and can be worth quite a bit of money.

Pots and Pans

First of all, look for high-end pots and pans.  High-end pots and pans are hot property on eBay, and they are often overlooked by pickers.  Brands such as All-Clad and SaladMaster bring in the big bucks, and copper pots made in France are always in demand.

Knives

Thereafter, check out the knife drawer.  Knives are high-profit, lightweight items that are easy to ship and can be purchased for next to nothing.

Look for brands such as Wüsthof, Henckels, and Cutco.  Note: When it comes to knives, the bigger the better.  For example, chef’s knives and cleavers usually sell for quite a bit more than steak knives.

In addition, be sure to pay attention to condition.  Unless you are skilled at restoring blades, only purchase knives with blades that are not bent or chipped.  Note: Knives that have been stored in drawers instead of knife blocks often have bent tips.   

Flatware Secrets

Flatware is another product found in the kitchen that can be quite valuable.  Flatware can, of course, be sold in sets, but many people buy individual place settings or pieces.  FYI:  When listing flatware on eBay, write the brand and style name in the title of each listing.

Sterling Silver

When looking for flatware, many sellers search for sterling.  Sterling silver flatware is difficult to find at a good price because most people realize that it is valuable.   Sometimes, however, sterling is not marked clearly or the markings are hard to see.  This is why it is important to use the magnifying glass feature on your cell phone or a loop to inspect flatware closely.

The Sterling Score

In addition to sterling silver flatware, look for sterling silver platters.   A few years back we purchased a silver platter for $8 at a professionally run estate sale.  The back of the platter was engraved with a series of symbols, but the word sterling was nowhere to be found.  After doing some research, we found a guide to these symbols online.  Eventually, we determined that the item we had purchased was, indeed, made of sterling silver.  A local silver buyer offered us $1000 for our $8 purchase.

 

Silverplate

In addition, we sell silverplate.  While it is true that certain brands of silver plated flatware sell for a fortune, we usually do not often find these brands.  That is why we focus on selling silverplate in lots.  Silverplate can often be purchased inexpensively at estate sales as many people do not believe it is worth much.  Crafters, however, love silverplate.  We store the silver plate we find in large flat rate boxes.  When a box is full, we list it on eBay.

Mixers and Blenders

Finally, look for high-end blenders and mixers.  Vitamix and Blendtec blenders, for example, can be worth a fortune.  Even broken blenders can be sold for parts.  KitchenAid and Bosch mixers are also quite popular.

So the next time you’re at an estate, head for the kitchen first.  It’s a goldmine if you know what to look for!

 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

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