Scavenger Life Episode 522: Backside of the Pandemic Wave

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Our Store Week July 11-17, 2021
Total Items in Store: 7397Items Sold: 16Gross Sales: $720.96 (including eBay fees, shipping, and taxes)Net Sales: $493.53 (minus eBay fees, shipping, and taxes)Cost of Items Sold: $28Cost of helpers: $0Highest Price Sold: $80 (vintage plate)Average Price Sold: $30.84Returns: 1Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0Number of items listed this week: 0————(Your numbers can be found here: https://www.ebay.com/sh/performance/sales)

Scavenger Life Episode 520: When Scavenging Goes Dangerous (after which Good)

Yes, I hate it when auctions go against me and I end up with not enough inventory to be worth it. It does make for a difficult equation. Much also depends on the order of the lots. Best that the more significant items be at the start of the auction; then, one could bid on them, and if won, try to pick up additional lots. The opposite is very tedious and almost requires you to commit to overpaying for some things so as to make the trip worth it.
I had a very slow week on ebay. So be it – last week was good enough for two.
Sales: CAD$1699, 11 sales, COGS: $198, Fees: ~$221, Postage: $265 – > Gross profit: $1015
Expenses: $0, New inventory: $515 – > Cashflow: $698
Got some decent stuff at auction, although I missed out on the big ticket items this time. (There were a couple of fancy brand new projectors worth $22k – I went up to $6500.)
Still more good auctions this week… hoping to get an influx of new inventory to make up for my slow scavenging lately.

Scavenger Life Episode 520: When Scavenging Goes Unhealthy (after which Good)

Yes, I hate it when auctions go against me and I end up with not enough inventory to be worth it. It does make for a difficult equation. Much also depends on the order of the lots. Best that the more significant items be at the start of the auction; then, one could bid on them, and if won, try to pick up additional lots. The opposite is very tedious and almost requires you to commit to overpaying for some things so as to make the trip worth it.
I had a very slow week on ebay. So be it – last week was good enough for two.
Sales: CAD$1699, 11 sales, COGS: $198, Fees: ~$221, Postage: $265 – > Gross profit: $1015
Expenses: $0, New inventory: $515 – > Cashflow: $698
Got some decent stuff at auction, although I missed out on the big ticket items this time. (There were a couple of fancy brand new projectors worth $22k – I went up to $6500.)
Still more good auctions this week… hoping to get an influx of new inventory to make up for my slow scavenging lately.

Scavenger Life Episode 519: When Do Scavengers Splurge?

Total Items in Store: 171
Items Sold: 8
Total Sales: $155.00
Highest Price Sold: $50 Breyer Special Run Balking Mule
I am working on cleaning out my listings, editing and relisting older stuff, and getting to list some of my recent purchases. Sold 2 ball caps already, paying for what I spent, and more 78 to go! I did notice an increase in sales once I started changing things almost daily on eBay. My only annoyance for the week was one non-paying bidder, of course for a high-dollar item.
Went out Friday intending to be good and only buy if it was a sure thing, but got to an estate sale for someone who collected very nice antiques and had filled the house, garage, outbuildings and rented storage lockers. The sellers were motivated, and although the real good stuff in the house was priced high, items outside were pretty much at bulk pricing. I couldn’t resist, bought more ball caps, records, DVDs, books and piles of random stuff. Passed up a few bargains, so I will have to watch for part 2 of the sale when they get to the off site storage. I do need to up my game, there were police scanners, old radios, TVs and clocks and lots of tools that looked good but I didn’t know enough about to pull the trigger. Had to rearrange the store room again to find somewhere for the haul. I need to get on Facebook and Craigslist more to list bigger items, bulk stuff and all the fun stuff I am pulling from eBay. Add it to the list!

Scavenger Life Episode 518: Dangerous Temper Enterprise Accomplice

6/6/21 – 6/12/21
Total items in store: 2601
Items sold: 70
Gross sales: $2863.53 (up 55.4% from one year ago)
Net sales: $2029.87 (up 60.9% from one year ago)
Highest price sold (net): $295.07 — autograph rookie card of Donovan Mitchell, who is the star player on the Utah Jazz (one of the teams in the NBA playoffs which are happening right now)
Lowest price sold (net): $8.56 — college jersey card of excellent quarterback and not-so-excellent person Michael Vick
Loved the podcast this week. Already looking forward to hearing tales of your July travels! It sounds like your trip will be restorative for both of you. It’s so important to take that time away, after all, scavenging gives us the opportunity to do so when so many others (certainly my whole family) don’t get that same luxury.
My sales numbers over the last 31 days are up almost 20% from last month which is no surprise at all. I’m well aware how many packages are going out every day! I remember thinking last year that there was no way my sales were ever going to be higher than they were at that time. But I was obviously wrong.
Make no mistake, it’s not because sports cards are any ‘hotter’ than they were 3 or 6 or 12 months ago. If anything, the market is starting to cool down somewhat, especially among the flippers who may have gotten introduced to cards during the ‘bubble’ and are starting to recognize that selling them is not as easy as some other things. You need that knowledge base of what’s valuable and what’s not, and that takes trial and error. It certainly has for me.
I have been very disciplined over the last few weeks about spending a good chunk of time on listing almost every day. Some days it has been listing cards or autographed items that I paid $1 to $5 for and would take a $10 or $15 offer without a second thought. Other days it’s more expensive items and most days it’s a mix. That’s really all it has taken to increase my sales. I am fortunate to have listened to this podcast for so long, since that allowed me to recognize over the last year that I could keep buying and growing this inventory and it would pay off down the road. My guess is that payoff is happening somewhat for me now, though a summer slowdown wouldn’t surprise me at all.
I had 2300 listings in my store at the beginning of May and I’m at 2600 tonight even though I sell 40+ items a week. This is the most inventory growth I’ve had over a six week period. I’m not sure I can list at this same level over the next six weeks, but I’ve streamlined a lot of my listing processes and have all that unlisted inventory,  So who knows? If it’s a rainy summer or sales slow down a bit, maybe I can hit 2900 or even the big 3000 by the end of July.
A few tips, maybe: I took extra care in the last week to add eBay’s required item specifics to all of my new listings, as well as revising most of my old listings to include them. I’ve also run a few fairly sizable markdown sales (25% to 30%) on hundreds of older inventory items over the last few weeks. I suspect all of these factors helped my sales. This is all anecdotal evidence about one particular niche, so take from it what you will.
The main lesson, as always, is probably the most simple one from the scavenger manifesto: if your items are priced well and interested buyers can find them in search, they will sell. Some will take a day or less and others will take a year or more, so no point in getting hung up on any one sale or non-sale. Just keep listing!

Scavenger Life Episode 518: Unhealthy Temper Enterprise Associate

6/6/21 – 6/12/21
Total items in store: 2601
Items sold: 70
Gross sales: $2863.53 (up 55.4% from one year ago)
Net sales: $2029.87 (up 60.9% from one year ago)
Highest price sold (net): $295.07 — autograph rookie card of Donovan Mitchell, who is the star player on the Utah Jazz (one of the teams in the NBA playoffs which are happening right now)
Lowest price sold (net): $8.56 — college jersey card of excellent quarterback and not-so-excellent person Michael Vick
Loved the podcast this week. Already looking forward to hearing tales of your July travels! It sounds like your trip will be restorative for both of you. It’s so important to take that time away, after all, scavenging gives us the opportunity to do so when so many others (certainly my whole family) don’t get that same luxury.
My sales numbers over the last 31 days are up almost 20% from last month which is no surprise at all. I’m well aware how many packages are going out every day! I remember thinking last year that there was no way my sales were ever going to be higher than they were at that time. But I was obviously wrong.
Make no mistake, it’s not because sports cards are any ‘hotter’ than they were 3 or 6 or 12 months ago. If anything, the market is starting to cool down somewhat, especially among the flippers who may have gotten introduced to cards during the ‘bubble’ and are starting to recognize that selling them is not as easy as some other things. You need that knowledge base of what’s valuable and what’s not, and that takes trial and error. It certainly has for me.
I have been very disciplined over the last few weeks about spending a good chunk of time on listing almost every day. Some days it has been listing cards or autographed items that I paid $1 to $5 for and would take a $10 or $15 offer without a second thought. Other days it’s more expensive items and most days it’s a mix. That’s really all it has taken to increase my sales. I am fortunate to have listened to this podcast for so long, since that allowed me to recognize over the last year that I could keep buying and growing this inventory and it would pay off down the road. My guess is that payoff is happening somewhat for me now, though a summer slowdown wouldn’t surprise me at all.
I had 2300 listings in my store at the beginning of May and I’m at 2600 tonight even though I sell 40+ items a week. This is the most inventory growth I’ve had over a six week period. I’m not sure I can list at this same level over the next six weeks, but I’ve streamlined a lot of my listing processes and have all that unlisted inventory,  So who knows? If it’s a rainy summer or sales slow down a bit, maybe I can hit 2900 or even the big 3000 by the end of July.
A few tips, maybe: I took extra care in the last week to add eBay’s required item specifics to all of my new listings, as well as revising most of my old listings to include them. I’ve also run a few fairly sizable markdown sales (25% to 30%) on hundreds of older inventory items over the last few weeks. I suspect all of these factors helped my sales. This is all anecdotal evidence about one particular niche, so take from it what you will.
The main lesson, as always, is probably the most simple one from the scavenger manifesto: if your items are priced well and interested buyers can find them in search, they will sell. Some will take a day or less and others will take a year or more, so no point in getting hung up on any one sale or non-sale. Just keep listing!

Scavenger Life Episode 517: Dumpster Diving, Again Once more

Items in Store 1489Items Sold 20Total Sales $582.00COGS $39.00Total Profit $543.00Average profit $27.15Average sales price $29.10New Listings 30Items scavenged 85
Had a fun “all-in” purchase at a yard sale this weekend. Came upon a sale that had a TON of new in box star wars toys. Some really cool stuff I had never seen before.  Typically when I come across things like this at yard sales the seller wants ebay prices or higher, so I didn’t have high expectations. There were no prices, so I asked what things cost. Seller said “you mean like for all of it?” Well I didn’t actually, but I responded “yeah I’d be interested in all of it”. Seller came over, talked about how her husband and kid were big into star wars once upon a time. They took a bit eyeballing everything and said “how about $100 for everything?” Man I think I set a record for the time it took me to whip out my wallet and peel off 5 $20’s!
There were 20 loose figures and 43 new in box. I’ve already created all the listings and done photos for half of them. Total list price is $1430 and I’ve already sold 3 items within hours of listing.
The big disappointment that caused my original scavenger high was that there was some things there that were wrapped up at the sale with just a label on the front. The seller told me they were the mail in figures. I was freaking out thinking they might be the 70’s mail in toys! Once I got home and inspected everything…I found that they were the mid 90’s mail in toys.  I had forgotten that they redid the mail away toy thing in the 90’s. Boooo!!!! Everything at the sale were the mid 90’s toys with a few from early 2000’s.

Still, $1400 on a $100 investment is definitely nothing to sneeze at! After offers and fees I’ll net close to $1k profit.

Scavenger Life Episode 517: Dumpster Diving, Again Once more

Items in Store 1489Items Sold 20Total Sales $582.00COGS $39.00Total Profit $543.00Average profit $27.15Average sales price $29.10New Listings 30Items scavenged 85
Had a fun “all-in” purchase at a yard sale this weekend. Came upon a sale that had a TON of new in box star wars toys. Some really cool stuff I had never seen before.  Typically when I come across things like this at yard sales the seller wants ebay prices or higher, so I didn’t have high expectations. There were no prices, so I asked what things cost. Seller said “you mean like for all of it?” Well I didn’t actually, but I responded “yeah I’d be interested in all of it”. Seller came over, talked about how her husband and kid were big into star wars once upon a time. They took a bit eyeballing everything and said “how about $100 for everything?” Man I think I set a record for the time it took me to whip out my wallet and peel off 5 $20’s!
There were 20 loose figures and 43 new in box. I’ve already created all the listings and done photos for half of them. Total list price is $1430 and I’ve already sold 3 items within hours of listing.
The big disappointment that caused my original scavenger high was that there was some things there that were wrapped up at the sale with just a label on the front. The seller told me they were the mail in figures. I was freaking out thinking they might be the 70’s mail in toys! Once I got home and inspected everything…I found that they were the mid 90’s mail in toys.  I had forgotten that they redid the mail away toy thing in the 90’s. Boooo!!!! Everything at the sale were the mid 90’s toys with a few from early 2000’s.

Still, $1400 on a $100 investment is definitely nothing to sneeze at! After offers and fees I’ll net close to $1k profit.

Scavenger Life Episode 516: Being Punk Weirdos Made Us Good At Enterprise

Great show.  Love the idea of be punk wierdos.  One of the fun things about going to Estate Sales is seeing all the other scavengers.  You can tell most of us are a bit out of the mainstream, though I’m not sure I’ve made the wardrobe transition transition yet.  I’m still not long enough and far enough away from corporate America and hanging on to old habits. 😉  I bet there would be some great stories about how their lives transitioned to get to being scavengers.
You mentioned house sales and it made me think of an article in the Washington Post I read over the weekend.  One house in Chevy Chase, MD, sold for $1,000,000 over the asking price: $4.4M instead of the $3.4M asking price.  Pretty rarified air in that neighborhood.  Washington Fine Properties: 23 PRIMROSE ST, CHEVY CHASE, MD 20815 (wfp.com)
Another house a few blocks away from this one sold for upwards of $10M last year, and the new owners immediately began extensive renovations.  I believe that may be the most expensive zip code in the US.
Didn’t have a much better week last week but at least back above worst week level.    Spent a lot of time posting items I purchased the previous week and researching auction lots to bid on. Won several lots at a Maxsold auction and am pretty pleased with the haul.  Felt like old times, pre-pandemic.  This particular auction was overlooked by other buyers and I ended up with several lots for cheap.   Very eclectic mix of stuff from Tumi luggage, to old cameras, to antique beer steins.  Seller must have had a store at some point because a lot of the items were brand new in box.  Thankfully, the person who took the pictures did a crappy job, and there was much more in the lots than anticipated, so it felt like a major score.  Will keep me busy for a few weeks.
Sales Report for: 5/29/21Total Items in Store: 1144Items Sold: 14Gross Sales (Not including shipping and tax): $348.76Net Sales (After fees): $289.45Cost of Items Sold: $30.60COGS Percent 10.57%Net Profit Margin: 74.22%Highest Price Sold: $49.95 Sewing MachineAverage Price Sold: $24.91Returns: 0Money Spent on New Inventory: $324.62Sold via promoted listings: 7Promoted Percentage: 50.00%Average Days Listed: 323Longest Listed: 1166New items listed: 36

Scavenger Life Episode 516: Being Punk Weirdos Made Us Good At Enterprise

Great show.  Love the idea of be punk wierdos.  One of the fun things about going to Estate Sales is seeing all the other scavengers.  You can tell most of us are a bit out of the mainstream, though I’m not sure I’ve made the wardrobe transition transition yet.  I’m still not long enough and far enough away from corporate America and hanging on to old habits. 😉  I bet there would be some great stories about how their lives transitioned to get to being scavengers.
You mentioned house sales and it made me think of an article in the Washington Post I read over the weekend.  One house in Chevy Chase, MD, sold for $1,000,000 over the asking price: $4.4M instead of the $3.4M asking price.  Pretty rarified air in that neighborhood.  Washington Fine Properties: 23 PRIMROSE ST, CHEVY CHASE, MD 20815 (wfp.com)
Another house a few blocks away from this one sold for upwards of $10M last year, and the new owners immediately began extensive renovations.  I believe that may be the most expensive zip code in the US.
Didn’t have a much better week last week but at least back above worst week level.    Spent a lot of time posting items I purchased the previous week and researching auction lots to bid on. Won several lots at a Maxsold auction and am pretty pleased with the haul.  Felt like old times, pre-pandemic.  This particular auction was overlooked by other buyers and I ended up with several lots for cheap.   Very eclectic mix of stuff from Tumi luggage, to old cameras, to antique beer steins.  Seller must have had a store at some point because a lot of the items were brand new in box.  Thankfully, the person who took the pictures did a crappy job, and there was much more in the lots than anticipated, so it felt like a major score.  Will keep me busy for a few weeks.
Sales Report for: 5/29/21Total Items in Store: 1144Items Sold: 14Gross Sales (Not including shipping and tax): $348.76Net Sales (After fees): $289.45Cost of Items Sold: $30.60COGS Percent 10.57%Net Profit Margin: 74.22%Highest Price Sold: $49.95 Sewing MachineAverage Price Sold: $24.91Returns: 0Money Spent on New Inventory: $324.62Sold via promoted listings: 7Promoted Percentage: 50.00%Average Days Listed: 323Longest Listed: 1166New items listed: 36