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Bargain Bandit Tuesday 1/15/2013

Today is Tuesday and that means it’s time for my Bargain Bandit episode. Every week, I share information about some of my recent sales, show off some favorite picks, and shout out to fellow you-

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Bargain Bandit Tuesday 1/15/2013

Games You Should Pick # 7: Pirates of th

Hi everyone! I thought since board games are my specialty, I would do a Game of the Week feature where I talk about a different board game and why you should be picking it up. We’ll call this fe

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Games You Should Pick # 7: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Pirates Dice Game

YouTube Round-up 1-5-13 to 1-11-13

In this weekly feature, we’ll post links to various videos on YouTube that were posted in the past week. These videos may be helpful to pickers just starting out or to seasoned veterans. Or they

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YouTube Round-up 1-5-13 to 1-11-13

Highlighted eBay Post: Clue (1963)

In this weekly feature, which will be posted every Thursday, I will talk about a current listing of mine. I’ll explain why it’s a good pick-up and why it might still be for sale on eBay in

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Highlighted eBay Post: Clue (1963)

How-To Wednesdays: Checking Board Games

Every Wednesday, we’ll do a short how-to where we’ll tackle a topic in the reselling space and try to give clarity on it. eBay and other selling platforms, as well as picking itself, can b

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How-To Wednesdays: Checking Board Games for Completeness

How-To Wednesdays: Checking Board Games for Completeness

13
by on January 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Every Wednesday, we’ll do a short how-to where we’ll tackle a topic in the reselling space and try to give clarity on it. eBay and other selling platforms, as well as picking itself, can be daunting. If you have a topic you would like to see in the How-To Wednesday topic, please leave comments and we will try to add it to the schedule. Thanks for reading!

A very common question I get all the time is “How do I know if a game is complete?” There are a variety of ways to figure this out.

2013-01-09 17.22.31First, and most commonly, the instructions inside the board game will usually have a detailed list of everything that is supposed to be in the game, including how many cards there are supposed to be (if it’s a game with cards.) If the instructions are missing, fear not, because on newer board games, the back of the box will often have that same listing of contents.

2013-01-09 17.23.15If it’s an older game without instructions or the instructions don’t detail what’s supposed to be in the box, which is a fairly common issue with games that are pre 1970, knowing what is supposed to be in the game can be difficult. One of the easiest ways to check for completeness is to check other eBay listings to see what people are saying there is supposed to be. If you find three or four listings with the same contents list, it’s pretty likely that’s what a complete game looks like.

If you can’t find other listings that detail what they have in the game and the other methods are failing you, another great place to check is boardgamegeek.com. This website is full of information about board games, and the older games will usually have a contents listing or someone will have posted on the forum what the game is supposed to have. If not, it can’t hurt to post yourself and ask what’s supposed to be in the game, and maybe someone who knows they have a complete copy will give you a list.

Finally, Google is your friend and a Google search for the game, if all other methods have failed, will usually result in a million listings that have nothing to do with what you need to know, but one somewhere in that haystack that will give you the info.

When all else fails, simply list the game on eBay and detail out what the contents you have in the game. Do not say it is complete, let other people come to their own assumptions about the game. If you do not claim it is complete, because you aren’t sure, and you list everything that is included, then the person buying the game knows what they are getting.

Hope this helps!

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How-To Wednesdays: eBay Shipping

10
by on January 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Every Wednesday, we’ll do a short how-to where we’ll tackle a topic in the reselling space and try to give clarity on it. eBay and other selling platforms, as well as picking itself, can be daunting. If you have a topic you would like to see in the How-To Wednesday topic, please leave comments and we will try to add it to the schedule. Thanks for reading!

usps-logoShipping through eBay is easy! I’ll say it again, shipping through eBay is easy! You only need a printer and half-sheet labels. If you don’t have half-sheet labels or would prefer to use plain paper, you can do that too! I do like the convenience of self-adhesing half-sheet labels. To make it easy, here’s a link to a listing on eBay that I buy labels from. You can get labels from this same vendor in differing amounts. The listing I linked is for 400 labels (200 sheets). You can start out with 100 sheets, or if you expect to do a lot of volume, you can buy them in even greater quantities. It’s free shipping, too!

Now that you have a printer and your paper or labels, what’s next?

When you set up a listing, you can choose from a variety of shipping methods. I prefer using calculated shipping, but it doesn’t really matter which method you use. Once the item has sold, you will have an option to ‘print shipping label’. When you click that, you will be taken to the shipping label screen. Here, you will have many options to choose from.

The first thing you will need to decide is if you want to use USPS or Fedex to ship. Recently, Fedex has become an option and in some cases, Fedex will be cheaper than even parcel post, and quicker too! If you choose Fedex, you will only need to put in the weight of the item and it will default to home delivery. The price is generally not cheaper unless you are shipping more than 4 lbs. At 4 lbs and above, depending on where the item is shipping to, Fedex may be a better option. The only downside is that you have to take it in to a Fedex drop facility, whereas with USPS, you can schedule a pickup if you know a day ahead of time you need them to come by.

If you decide to ship USPS, which will likely be the way you ship with most of your packages, you will need to know the weight of your item. If you are shipping internationally, first class, be sure to get the exact weight as first class international charges are based on a per ounce rate up to 4 pounds. For first class domestic, it’s only up to 13 ounces, but again on a per ounce weight. Shipping parcel post or Priority Mail via USPS is done per pound, so a package that is 2 pounds 1 ounce will be the same cost as a package that is 2 pounds 15 ounces. Keep that in mind when choosing your packing materials and box.

FedEx_Home_Delivery-logo-8753240591-seeklogo.comOnce you have put in the weight of your item and selected your shipping method, all you have to do is click either create label (Fedex) or Purchase Postage (USPS.) With USPS, if you are a new seller and are still in your holding period, where Paypal holds your money for a certain time, you will be given an option of paying later. This is great, since the money for the shipping won’t be taken out until the money you were paid actually clears. Otherwise, the payment for the shipping will be immediately removed from Paypal funds.

On the next screen, you will be given an option to print the label. Clicking that will bring up a window where you can adjust your margins, which is great if you are shipping smaller boxes. Otherwise, you just click print and voila, you have a label all ready to be affixed to your package.

In a future how-to, I will go over the different options for USPS shipping. I hope you found this helpful. Please comment and leave any questions you might have. Thanks for reading!

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How-To Wednesdays: Taking Pictures of Board Games

9
by on December 27, 2012 at 1:59 am

Every Wednesday, we’ll do a short how-to where we’ll tackle a topic in the reselling space and try to give clarity on it. eBay and other selling platforms, as well as picking itself, can be daunting. If you have a topic you would like to see in the How-To Wednesday topic, please leave comments and we will try to add it to the schedule. Thanks for reading!

Sequence (1)

As with anything where condition is everything in the price of an object, taking plentiful quality pictures of board games is critical. The more collectible, vintage, or expensive the board game, the truer this gets. It’s important that when a buyer looks at the pictures, they know exactly what the game they are going to buy looks like. The description is equally as important, especially when describing defects that don’t photograph as well, like creases or faint stains, but the proof is in the pudding and in this case, the pudding is the pictures.

First, it’s important to take a good picture of the front of the box. This is the ‘drawing in’ picture and should actually present the game in its best light. This is first picture people will see when looking at the listings. If the first picture is not attractive or shows the game, even a game with significant defects, as a quality product, most people won’t even click on it. Be sure to get the box in full in one picture.

Risk Newer Version (4)It is also important that you get detailed pictures of the contents. If there are small collectible figurines, like in Monopoly, you  may want a shot of just those tokens. If there are condition issues on the contents, be sure you get an up-close shot of the worst of those condition issues. In the picture of the green Risk piece, you can see that I am demonstrating that some of the pieces have come apart. I disclosed how many of those pieces came apart in the description, but having at least one picture of that damage in the listing prevents a buyer from trying to claim that I didn’t describe an item properly. Also note, I still sold that Risk game for a lot of money, so damage to unimportant pieces (and these are relatively unimportant pieces since no one ever uses them all during one play of the game) will not actually affect whether someone buys it or not. But not disclosing that info will affect whether they complain when they receive it.

The final, and perhaps most important, item to take good pictures of and disclose in the description is the condition of the box. This can range from disclosing minor shelf wear to significant damage to the box. Take as many close-up pictures of box damage as possible. Here are a few examples:

Othello (2) Battleship Vintage (4) Stock Market Game (3) Aggravation Original (2)

I hope this helps you take better pictures and sell games quickly.

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How-to Wednesdays: Keeping Track with Spreadsheets

10
by on December 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm

app.ht3Every Wednesday, we’ll do a short how-to where we’ll tackle a topic in the reselling space and try to give clarity on it. eBay and other selling platforms, as well as picking itself, can be daunting. If you have a topic you would like to see in the How-To Wednesday topic, please leave comments and we will try to add it to the schedule. Thanks for reading!

In The Gal Picker Show episode on 12/19/12, Tracey and I (Staci) talked about our respective spreadsheets that we use to keep track of our inventory and sales. Keeping track of inventory and sales is a very important part of picking for many reasons. First, it’s helpful to know how much money you are making. You don’t want to be in a position where you think you are making money, but in reality, are losing money. Keeping track of inventory and sales can help spot trends you might not otherwise see and also lets you know if some inventory items are better left on the tables and shelves, rather than being bought. Finally, but most importantly, keeping track of sales helps a great deal with tax and end-of-year income. The last thing anyone needs is the IRS coming after them for unreported income.

Recording my purchases and sales is part of my overall process. When I first get items in, I record my purchase price and purchase date in the spreadsheet. This is before any cleaning of the items takes place or pictures are taken. Recording all items, regardless of whether they end up being worth anything or not, is important, because even mistake purchases are part of the overhead in this business and you want to make sure every dime is tracked.

Once the item is recorded in the spreadsheet, I also periodically go through the for sale portion of the spreadsheet and mark whether the item is already listed on eBay and also move items that won’t be able to be sold, either because of condition issues, or because it’s simply not worth anything, to the not-to-be-sold sheet. This is part of housecleaning that needs to be done in order to make sure that the spreadsheets remain useful and up-to-date.

After an item is sold, the information about the sale needs to be recorded. This includes the sale price, the sale date, the shipping cost, eBay and PayPal fees (if any), and sales tax collected (if any.) This should all be recorded in a separate sheet that is refreshed each year.

In a separate sheet, it’s also a good idea to keep track of all overhead expenses, like the cost of boxes and shipping materials, promotional materials, and any other miscellaneous expenses. This will make doing taxes at the end of the year much easier, if you’ve already got the information handy! For your handy reference, here’s a blank version of the spreadsheet I use. It’s in Excel format:

DOWNLOAD MY SPREADSHEET

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How-To Wednesdays: Shipping Weight

15
by on December 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Every Wednesday, we’ll do a short how-to where we’ll tackle a topic in the reselling space and try to give clarity on it. eBay and other selling platforms, as well as picking itself, can be daunting. If you have a topic you would like to see in the How-To Wednesday topic, please leave comments and we will try to add it to the schedule. Thanks for reading!

usps-logoCalculating the shipping weight of an item is a very important part of maximizing profit and selling items responsibly on eBay. To do this, you will need a reliable scale. You can get them pretty cheap off of eBay. The scale I use is the Accuteck® All-In-One Series A-PT 50 Digital Postal Scale Silver. This scale weights items up to 50 lbs. It is accurate to .1 oz up to 25 lbs, and .2 oz from 25 to 50 lbs. I bought this scale from eBay seller ever*hotbuy, who I would highly recommend for scales. He has smaller and bigger weight scales too, so check him out, if you are in the market for a scale.

Now that you have a scale, what next?

You will need to have an idea of what the SHIPPING weight of an item is. This is the weight of the item plus the box, packing material, and any other items you may place in the box with it. With some items, you’ll get a feel for this. For example, coffee mugs are almost always going to be 2 lbs. Yahtzee Handheld games will be around 13 ounces, making them first class mail items. With other items, you may have to do some math. If you have a standard sized board game that weighs 2 lbs 4 ounces, this is probably going to be 4 pounds shipped. That is because a box that fits a board game is going to weigh at least 12 ounces and when you add in packing materials so the board game doesn’t get damaged during the shipping, you will be well over 3 lbs. My safe bet with board games is to always add a full pound to the weight of the item, then round up to figure out my shipping weight. If it’s a really oversized board game, the box itself will weigh over a pound. Understanding the weight if boxes is very important, so when you get a box you will use regularly, you should weigh it and make a note of it for your future use.

Once you know an item’s shipping weight, it can be very easy to handle the shipping methods on eBay. If you do fixed price shipping, you will be able to estimate the furthest distance you may have to ship, or perhaps choose an average distance, to account for people in varying distances. I do calculated shipping most of the time, and I find this is the fairest method, both to the buyers and to myself. People who live close by will not pay as much shipping, and as a result, I do sell a lot of items to people in the same state as me. People far away will pay a real shipping cost of what it will be to send to them, which is great for me, because then I’m not losing money because of the cost of shipping.

Free shipping can be thought of like fixed price. Take the average price (or the highest price) of shipping the item and add it to the cost of the item. Be very careful not to underestimate shipping when offering free shipping, because you don’t want to end up with less profit than you planned. Also, be very, very careful with free shipping on board games. If you are selling them at an auction, remember that most board games are going to cost around $10 to ship, so you should never start out an auction for less than $15 if you are including free shipping, or you will be losing money on this item if multiple people don’t bid on it. Most board games will not have a big demand, so auctions are always risky.

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How-To Wednesdays: Do You Need an eBay Store?

9
by on December 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Every Wednesday, we’ll do a short how-to where we’ll tackle a topic in the reselling space and try to give clarity on it. eBay and other selling platforms, as well as picking itself, can be daunting. If you have a topic you would like to see in the How-To Wednesday topic, please leave comments and we will try to add it to the schedule. Thanks for reading!

Deciding whether to open an eBay store, and which store to open, can be tricky. eBay has attempted to make it easier by providing a calculator, which is extremely helpful and you should definitely check it out.

The questions you need to answer for yourself are these:

How many items will I be posting each month? At a certain threshold, getting an eBay store just makes sense, although sometimes, it may only be a savings for a few dollars. Knowing how many items you want to post in general will make it easier to determine if you need a store.

Will most of my items be auctions or fixed price, or a mix of both? With auction only listings, getting a store won’t make sense until you start posting about 100 auctions a month. At fixed price, the basic store (which is $15.95 a month) will start to be a little cheaper around 60 listings each month. Around 250 fixed price listings, the premium store ($49.95 a month) becomes more cost efficient. If you are only ever doing auctions, and rarely do fixed price listings, you will probably never need anything more than the basic store.

How many of my items will actually sell each month? We can list all we want, but many times, items do not sell the first or even second time we list them. One thing you will need to figure out is how many items you will expect to sell every month. If you expect to sell around 50% of your items at auction, and are not listing that many (under 100), staying with the free store is probably the best. If you only sell things you are certain will sell, and post about between 50 to 100 auctions, a basic store might be better, because eBay does give a discount off of final value fees with auctions with the basic store.

Another thing to keep in mind, with all these questions, is that if you get a store, you lose out on the free promotions eBay does all the time. They rarely do a promotion for eBay store subscribers, and the ones they do have for stores are generally not useful to all eBay sellers. eBay does a lot of promotions allowing non-store subscribers to list as many items as they want for free, either at auction or fixed price. So even if you do list over 100 auctions and 50 fixed price items a month, but are selling items that may not sell well, an eBay store may still not be a good idea, since you won’t be getting enough sales to make the extra cost worth it.

There is another advantage to an eBay store, and that is the eBay storefront. This typically will only be useful, though, to people who have a lot of items they are selling, and to those who promote their store steadily, through their sales and outside venues. The storefront can be a great marketing tool for savvy sellers.

I hope this makes the decision about getting an eBay store a little clear. Feel free to ask questions or make comments. I love hearing from my readers!

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