2e Arms & Equipment Guide
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 3:06 am 

darkseraphim wrote:Paradoxically, the more money you spend, the more you'll make.  There are two major ways to make money at selling.  Both involve having a fairly large and interesting inventory, because buyers want to consolidate shipping costs to save money, they want the convenience of using/trusting a single seller when possible, and the more people you have bidding on your items, the more chance you have of getting higher end prices as they compete.  You can improve your odds by starting your auctions extremely low ($0.01, no reserve), which attracts even more bidders; but that's a gamble if your inventory is small.

Anyway ...

I don't know what you're selling, but if they're all commons and your eBay reputation is small, you're not going to get much.  If you buy a couple cheap lots and piece them out with your current inventory, you'll have better results.

The two processes I've had luck with are:

[1]  Hunting.  This involves digging up poorly-worded auctions, auctions without pictures, items from questionable/unknown sellers, and items in the wrong category.  Snipes at the last minute keep these finds "secret."  Profit tends to run around 50%-100%, depending on what you find, but your overall volume is low and you need to spend a lot of time performing deep searches.  I do this when I'm broke.

[2]  Power buying.  This involves creating a list of search words and saving the searches, and performing them every week or so.  Your focus is on lots and collections.  Place a fair but cheap bid on every decent lot you find, via snipe.  I usually bid on about 100-150 auctions at a time and win 10-30, but those wins give me hundreds of modules and books at a low price each.  Then, twice a month or so, sort everything you've acquired, and sell one item (A1, A2, etc.) of each type that you have.  Don't sell duplicates simultaneously or you'll compete with yourself and minimize your profit potential.  Profit tends to run around 10%-100%, and is very hard to predict, but volume is high and your time-profit ratio is fairly efficient.  I do this when I have deep pockets.

If you don't want to resell, you can dump a dozen items or so, but you'll lose out on most of the factors that cause high bids (steady inventory and good services causing repeat customers, acquisition of rares, wide variety of items increasing bids, ability to offer low starting bids due to high volume increasing end auction prices).

Probably more information than you wanted, but there it is.

Good luck!

    Interesting post, good advice. I wonder if I'm different from most other Ebay sellers, as I get probably 90% of my sellable items from sources other than Ebay.  For me, Ebay is just far too much trouble (as in time consuming) and the product far too questionable in most cases. I've gotten good deals, but I've often bought entire lots without maps, entire lots of  boxed sets without various components (after being told everything was in the boxes), and stuff I can't even resell due to very questionable deescriptions/grading.  I far prefer buying items I can handle myself and examine to see if all maps, counters, etc are present, along with a stray water stain or highlighting that might ruin the item in my eyes.  
    My solution is to have developed a large network of gaming/book/comic stores that sell used or discounted material, and haunt these regularly in search of resellable items.  Also, I have over the years nurtured a network of gameshop owners that will direct people my way that are interested in selling large RPG collections (many bookstores don't like to deal in very large buys due to the outlay of funds and simply point the business my way, particularly for items such as magazine which they don't have extra space to display and sell).  I may end up spending more per item than the usual large ebay buy (which seems to average out to $5 or so an item when I do buy on ebay), but everything I purchase is complete and in nice condition, without writing, highlighting, missing maps or counters, etc.  
  Now these methods won't work for everyone, as I am lucky enough to live outside of a large metropolition area with perhaps 20+ stores that sell used items...not to mention nearby cities within a few hours drive that also have many used bookstores and such.  But it's worked for me pretty well the last 10 years or so.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 10:59 am 


In a perfect world I'd pursue that direction as well, however everyone knows about eBay now, so getting good deals is almost impossible (this has been bemoaned at length here).  So stumbling upon a good find at a used bookstore is becoming a rarer event as time marches on, and I've been to some obscure, rural hole in the wall book stores recently...

The local bookstores don't want to carry used stuff, but they have such an investment in old stuff (e.g. one store is still trying to sell old Birthright stuff at face value, and it's been sitting on their shelves going on 7 years now...but they won't sell it to me for 40% of list even though that's HIGHER than the going price on eBay) that they can't emotionally take the loss.

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