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Best Month on eBay EVER + How To Avoid Common Mistakes When Reselling for Points & Cash

What a crazy July! I’ve never sold such a variety of products, like I tell everyone, I am agnostic when it comes to what I sell. The fact that I cleared over $3,000 in profit by selling 76 items should tell you this can be a real opportunity when you hone your skill. (efficiency comes with experience)

 

The Why

Every month I try to post my detailed recap of how I did on eBay, how I can improve, and how you can get involved. In short, reselling is one of the top ways for earning points towards free travel. When purchasing expensive~ish merchandise to then sell at a markup, you can easily complete sign up bonuses spending requirements and even earn extra points through airline shopping portals.

For instance, my total cost of resell goods for July was $11,475. If I only averaged 1.5x back on my merchandise cost, that is still over 17,000 points/miles in just one month from purchasing goods to resell for a profit. If you mix in a new credit card sign up bonus, which often requires a large minimum spend, you can easily earn upwards of 80,000+ points/miles in a single month. (collectively)

 

The How

My biggest hurdle when trying to convince someone to consider selling goods on eBay is how to source the goods. Most people don’t believe you can purchase things online and resell them on eBay for a profit after all the fees.

One item I sold this month was from a Dick’s Sporting Goods flash sale. They were selling Garmin Vivosmart 3 activity watches for only $70. I was able to snag seven of them, so after tax my total cost of goods was $521. I sold all seven of them in less than a week for around $119 a piece ($833 gross). After you deduct shipping and eBay/PayPal fees, I made about $29.50 net profit per watch. That is $206 in ‘eBay’ profit off those seven watches. I like super small and light items, easy and cheap to ship ($2.77 first class mail).

At the time of purchase, eBates was paying 3% back on Dick’s SG purchases earning me an additional $14.70 (no cashback is paid on taxes). I have been using my Capital One Spark card which earns 2% on all purchases, so that is an additional $10.40. Adding everything up, that is $231 or $33 per watch.

 

The Oh Crap

I made a boo-boo. I was selling a laptop and I copied the “specs” from QVC’s website (don’t ask). Well as it turns out, QVC had the wrong specs listed stating that this particular laptop had a gigabit LAN port when in fact it did not. Of course as it would turn out with my luck, the buyer was using the laptop to test bandwidth at a school, he needed a gigabit LAN adapter, which we both found out was not installed on this laptop.

I ended up having to accept a return on the item, which means I lose out on shipping costs. eBay and PayPal refund the selling fees so at least there is no loss in that department. It also turned out to be a waste of time for both parties, certainly for the buyer who did not receive an item as advertised.

What I learned is this, minimal is money. By trying to “glam up” my product and flash all the specs, I ended up costing myself the two-way shipping costs of a 10 lb box, like $32. In the future, I am going to stick to simply posting the pictures, model number, and UPC code. I’d prefer to have the buyers do their own research on the details and not accidentally post wrong information. (when in doubt, leave it out – of the item listing..)

For example, if you incorrectly posted that a laptop had a DVD+RW drive but as it turns out it only has a DVD-R drive, that could be a make-or-break for your buyer. That one letter changes the capabilities of the optical drive (not re-writable) therefore the buyer would have grounds for a return. In the future, I would just say there is a DVD drive and let the buyer do their own research. (plus it saves time when listing product by not having to double-check the specs).

The What

As noted earlier, this was my best month as it relates to pure profit. On the points/miles side, I didn’t do too bad either. About 25% of my online portal clicks go through British Airways shopping portal. In the past 45~ days, I’ve earned 7,300 British Airways Avios just from 5 online purchases. (which was for product to resell on eBay).

With 7,500 Avios you can book a one-way NON-STOP flight on American Airlines or Alaska if the actual flight distance is under 1,150 miles. That means I am 95% of the way to a free one-way from Phoenix to Spokane, which is about $135 if paying cash. In the rest of the world, like Europe, one-way off-peak flights start at just 4,000 Avios! (such as London to Edinburgh)

 

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Earning Avios on each purchase just by clicking their link


Actual Earnings:

In July I made a net profit of $3,098. That was earned by selling 76 total items, though 6 purchases contained more than one item, so I only shipped 67 total boxes. If you break down the per item average you’d get just over $40. When removing items in which I made over $100 in profit, 5 items, my new average is $33 per item. Still not a bad number when removing the “big winners”.

We are in the process of purchasing a home, that means new credit card sign-up’s are on hold, briefly.. Most of my product purchases this month were on my Capital One Spark card which earns 2% back on everything. I put about $8,500 on my spark card netting me an additional $170 in cash back rewards just from that avenue. (That’s in addition to the $3,098 net profit)

Recap:

Do NOT forget about cashback portals. I spent over $1,100 on Verizon Wireless in July buying my items. Most cashback sites, like TopCashBack, pay you 15% on Verizon when purchasing accessories, like smart watches. (keep in mind Apple products are excluded from cashback, screw you Apple!)

When the cashback posts in roughly 6 weeks, I should earn an additional $165. On top of that, I used my Chase Ink 5x card which earns 5x points on cell phone carrier charges/purchases, like Verizon Wireless. That earned me 5,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards on top of the 15% cashback, making the points worth roughly $100 towards travel. (if transferred to Southwest or Hyatt, for example)

You can also transfer your Ultimate Rewards to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. If I transfered the 5,500 points to British Airways and added them to my recent 7,300 Avios from earlier, that would yield 12,800 Avios, enough for a one-way from the West Coast to Hawaii. Not bad!

Questions? I’m here

 

 

 

  • Bruce Wayne

    soooo what were the other 74 products/items that you resold? 😉 … new to your site, but if you wouldnt mind indulging your readers. or perhaps even give us a heads up to deals that some of us could resell too, that’d be great.

    • I can’t spill the beans on everything (it kills me) but I would recommend checking http://www.techbargains.com periodically to help spot some deals.

      One item I would be on the lookout for this month is the pre-order for Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Pre-orders will only be $80 and you should be able to “scalp” about $150~ in profit if they sell anything like the NES Classic Mini’s did. You must act extremely fast, order one to the house, one to work, and one to mom’s. (if possible)

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading – Caleb

  • Mark Ostermann

    Was there a sale on something at Verizon? Just went through the website and I can’t see anything profitable. Good write up – thanks!

    • Hey Mark,

      A few weeks ago Verizon had the Moto 360 watches in stock at $99. I was able to snag a handful while they were in stock for about 90 minutes.

      It is unlikely that they will ever come back in stock, but these were certainly “BIG winners”.

      Also, make sure to switch up your cashback portals on large purchases since some limit to $100 per transaction or per merchant.

      Best,
      Caleb

  • Eric

    You wrote several times about earning “points and miles” but mentioned using a 2% cash back card on all of the purchases. Which one is correct?

    • I spent a total of $11,475 on my product, about $8,500 was on a 2% cashback card. The rest of the spending was either with my Chase Ink 5x Ultimate Rewards card or various gift cards that were purchased from eBay earning 5x Ultimate Rewards through PayPal Digital Gifts.

      So there was a combination of cashback and Ultimate Rewards earned this month. If I can earn over 2x points from a merchant I will use a points card, otherwise I use a flat 2% cashback card like the Spark or Venture card.

      Also, you may be aware of American, Delta, and United offering bonuses when shopping through their portals, up to 3,000 miles on United, for example. I hit the bonus from all three shopping portals which means I will earn a total of 6,000 bonus miles on top of the base portal earnings and credit card rewards.

      If you only add up the $3,000~ spent via 5x on Chase Ink and the 6,000 in shopping portal bonuses, that would be over 20,000 miles/points.

      – Caleb

  • Caveman

    Are you busy on Amazon too? I heard it is much more pain to list on ebay as you have to take pictures, enter details and mail the item.

    Also how do you keep track of portals giving you cash back and documenting everything in general for tax purposes. There has to be a system to follow up. I don’t know about you but for me this is even harder than the actual selling part

  • The Big Easy Traveler

    Do you source refurbished itmes or do you stick with 100% NIB?