Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – Listing allowances
- Cut those postage costs
- eBay spoof
- Ask Molly – Will model kits assemble my fortune?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
Black Friday weekend was pretty good with over 300 parcels packed and dispatched on Monday morning. Mid-week was slow but a slight upturn again going into the next weekend, so Molly is back on target.
Many thanks to all who helped out the Elf last week, I did still have to pay a little in wages but I think it is good that they learn to feed themselves, rice and beans can be delicious.
In this bulletin a few ideas to cut your postage bill and a rather clever spoof to watch out for.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – LISTING ALLOWANCES
eBay sent through an e-mail this week reminding me about the ‘free listing allowance’ which comes with a shop. This is a relatively new thing introduced in September and I thought it would be worth a quick mention. You can check how you are doing against your allowance on your ‘My eBay’ page, on the right side at the bottom. If you have a 200 listing allowance do all you can to take advantage.
2. CUT THOSE POSTAGE COSTS
Do you feel that your postage charges are ok, no problem and you get value for money? If so, you need to find another bulletin, this one is never happy and always seeks to reduce costs.
“My son and I are just reading your book as he is wanting to get into selling on eBay to supplement the low wage jobs he can get.
Before he starts I am a little confused as to how we can offer free postage 2nd class signed for on many items as this seems to take all the profit out of his selling. For example if he buys a simplicity memo board from his local wholesaler it equates to – Purchase cost £2.88 inc Sell £11 Postage Medium Parcel £6.30 Profit £1.82,
Others sellers seem to sell these offering this signed for postage so am I doing something wrong or is that the profit he can expect, as obviously he has not packed it or taken it to the Post Office yet.”
First of all what a great idea. I am a firm believer in having several income streams and eBay should work well alongside other jobs.
There are a couple of things that leap out from your note. The first one is that I would not record (signed for) anything under £30, it is an insurance policy and to spend £1.10 insuring something worth £11 seems too much. However, I do still state that I send using recorded delivery as I hope this will put off any scammers who are looking to claim that the item never arrived. If they see my postage terms they may well move on to another seller and of course if the item arrives ok then the recorded issue doesn’t matter and my buyers don’t pay anything for postage so they don’t feel cheated. You will lose some items, especially at this time of year. That is just something to accept. My lost items have crept up but as my average item sale price has fallen due to competition it is manageable.
Postage charges are a nightmare and £6.30 is too much for an £11 item. There are a few things to consider.
- If you can get a Royal Mail Business account then you can send all parcels for a flat rate of £2.20 or so each, use the code ‘CRL’. Royal Mail terms are 30 days so this is better for cash flow as well.
- Check out another courier, Hermes is still a good bet with prices starting at £3.90 for a 2 kilo parcel if you drop off at one of their parcelshops. There is a five-day delivery time but insurance (£50) is included and the item is tracked.
- My last thought for the day is to check eBay for postage stamps. These are always for sale and often a lot cheaper than retail prices. Search ‘newly listed’ and ‘buy it now’. I bought just this morning 30 large first class for £14.40, a saving of £12.60. Avoid the ones that need a glue stick as they may well have already been used!
If you have a secret plan to cut postage costs, please contact me at the usual address.
3. EBAY SPOOF
How are your ‘item not received’ cases building? Even M&S are carrying a banner informing of delays to delivery, so why do so many eBay buyers e-mail in after just 3 days? Perhaps it is the eBay estimated delivery notification being just a tad out.
Anyway if you are getting these problems you may well have e-mails flying around concerning resolution centre issues, so watch out for this spoof. It is not very well constructed but might just catch you out.
Subject: eBay Customer Support made a decision
eBay sent this message.
Your registered name is included to show this message originated from eBay. Learn more.
eBay Customer Support made a decision
Hi member, eBay Customer Support has reviewed the case and made a final decision.
We issued a full refund of GBP 131.00 on Nov 28, 2013 to the buyer. As described in the eBay Buyer Protection program, the refund includes the purchase price, plus original shipping. This amount will be deducted from your PayPal account or charged to your preferred reimbursement payment method. The hold on this PayPal transaction has been removed. This case is closed.
This case has been decided in the buyer’s favor.
To keep eBay safe, we may limit the number of cases a member can open or the dollar value of those cases. You don’t need to do anything else. This won’t be counted when we evaluate seller performance. Note: It may take up to 24 hours to update in your Seller Dashboard.
You can also view the details of this case here.
It has all the classic errors such as not actually including your name and they always seem to ‘over egg’ the pudding by including such a high value, but still one to be aware of.
4. ASK MOLLY – WILL MODEL KITS ASSEMBLE MY FORTUNE?
I know Model Kits sell very well on eBay and it is a product line I would be interested in.
I have found a wholesaler where I can order kits in singles with a minimum order of £300 and make a margin of 40%, excluding VAT etc.
I have looked at the Kit Market and most sellers appear to be selling at the correct mark up.
My question is the supplier also lists on eBay. I am new so my listing if people search by kit would not be top one. But in reality when you break it down to specific kits not so many sellers.
Is it worth trying to break into this market or would I be better of going to Auctions, Charity Shops, and Car Boots and find lots of individual secondhand items?”
I would certainly advise trading something that you know about and it sounds as though you have done the research into model kits. A 40% margin should be ok but you must drive down costs at every turn, particularly eBay fees and watch those postage costs as I would expect the kits would all be parcels.
It is tough breaking into a new market; my latest venture was into the electrical fuse business. It is not the most exciting thing to sell but with people installing solar panels, electric showers, etc., they need an additional fuse in their board. Sourcing a matching fuse can save the cost of a new fuseboard and so buyers, particularly mean landlords, are happy to pay for a used MCB (miniature circuit breaker). I started this business around 18 months ago, it now turns over around £30k and I am starting to get electricians returning for more. As there are many manufacturers of MCBs I have a multi-variation listing for each and then load in the fuses as I get them, this costs 10p per month instead of perhaps £4 if listed individually. I currently stock 22 brands so a saving of £80 or so per month on listing fees.
Perhaps a listing like this for say Airfix, Revell, Tamiya, Italeri, etc., would save a few pounds. Cross link all your main listings using some simple HTML.
I still visit car boot sales, auctions and of course buy from eBay. My latest eBay bargain was two boxes of Playmobil [Ed - it's a toy folks] (item numbers 261337651759 and 261337432392) pick-up only with a winning bid of £1.04 each. Two pots of coffee later and the toys have been sorted and listed in the toy shop with sales so far of £55 – handy. Yes, visit these other sources of stock, as the more strings to your bow the better.
I am not so sure that charity shops yield great bargains any more as they also sell on eBay and have experts on hand to value items. If you are wandering around town during your lunchbreak then it might be worth a look, I am not sure the hit rate would warrant a specific visit. If you know otherwise please let me know.
You are at the beginning of a great journey and it is exciting, well I still think so, but be cautious. There are thousands of sellers out there and competition is fierce. Get rich slowly.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to me at the usual address. I will reply personally to every email I receive and, remember, there are FREE copies of my book available for the best questions, tips or stories.
– END NOTE –
That’s all for this week. Check out Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
Here are a couple of quick e-mails just to fill up the bulletin’s allotted space:
Item: Estee Lauder 15ml Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing Line / Wrinkle Cream spf15
Question: “What size is this cream? Thanks Debbie”
Answer: “Hi Debbie, It is a 15ml tub. Molly”
Item: Elizabeth Arden 50ml Visible Difference Skin Balancing Toner Combination Skin
Question: hi can you possibly post to me as fast as you can im going to have brain surgery and am in urgent need of thease thanks ever so much
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook – available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
– NEWSLETTER ADMIN –
The eBay UK Bulletin is an independent newsletter and is not approved or endorsed by eBay UK.
This weekly bulletin covers any topic associated with eBay. If there is anything you would like to see here, just email me.
You can find out more about me and read previous editions of this newsletter on the Harriman House Intelligence web