Making money - new guy to the forum
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2004 9:48 pm 
 

Hello all, long time lurker here but finally registered.  My subject is - is anyone making money out of this? - Not through any hope of doing it myself but purely out of interests sake (though a couple of UK guys will recognise my ebay name). To fill you in I've been out of the hobby for many years, and still do not play(to many other commitments). I do however have a real interest in the hobby, particularly the classic stuff of the past - If I think about the stuff I GAVE AWAY in 1991 I could be sick!!
My interest currently is FR and I am slowly building up my collection but it is tough as I am a skint cheapass!.
So, how do you make money - is it simply a matter of finding a huge box of stuff for £2 at a car boot sale (my dream) or is it more complicated than that? I see recurring names but  cannot imagine where they are aquiring their stuff from - whats the deal.
As an aside, and I would appreciate the advise, in the UK the name Cougarrinard comes up at auction a lot - huge  amounts of auctions , but I have seen such positive comments  in this forum about him - I am loath to bid as I feel his start prices are high and the post/packing might be an issue - your advice appreciated.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2004 11:20 pm 
 

There are resellers: guys who buy lots (large grouped items) and then split it up to make a profit. No guarantee, though

Hobby/Book Store Owners: have access to OOP stuff; buy it from customers, etc. Then use ebay to resell.

Collectors: People who are on the lookout for certain items. Buy a "lot" to get at a specific item then resell the leftovers. Also, upgrading items then selling the duplicates. (I'm in this group). Since I don't play but maybe once a year and/or at Gen Con, this keeps me "in" the hobby. Don't really make money (or a little). Be sure to figure in all the overhead: time, misc. postage, mailing materials, paypal charges, ebay listing charges, even the local phone useage for internet, gas to drive to post office, etc.


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2004 11:55 pm 
 

(Reselling is a bit of a taboo topic on these boards, many people don't like to think about it.  But it takes two to tango - there wouldn't be sellers if buyers weren't so eager to bid!  Personally, I always advocate reselling as a valid and very useful way to control the cost of a growing collection.  Onward ...)

Money can be made, but not nearly as much as a few years ago.  The release of legal .pdfs (svgames.com etc.) murdered the reselling market.  Which is fine; as a seller it has forced me to diversify and become more efficient.  (It also minimizes the potential for exploiters and monopolists, since they're interested in markets with bigger returns.)  But I make a lot more money off of CDs and videogame finds than I do off of D&D.

Also, the market has been crunched from many other sides - eBay and postage fees have gone up astronomically, while the dollar is down, and bidder are paying less per item unless the item is truly rare.

If I were to focus solely on D&D (yikes!), I could count on a profit margin of about 10%, as long as I'm smart and don't take chances.  (That is, for every $100 I spend on items, supplies, fees, etc., I walk away with $110 after the auctions are done.)  That compares to about 20% in 2003, 50% in 2002, 80% in 2001, and 150%+ in 1999-2000.
8O

Fortunately it's a hobby, not a business; it's easy to have multiple hobbies.
:)

  

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 12:48 am 
 

Though I have always loved RPG's, comics & wargames - I am currently an exclusive reseller.  Current circumstances require that I spend nothing on myself and earn as much as possible (our first child is due May 12th!) I started "dabbling" in November of 2003 and devote as much time as I can to it now.  

Besides searching every book store, comic store and gaming store in my area I buy large lots on eBay.  I keep excrutiatingly accurate records in Microsoft Excel that calculate all my fees, shipping/handling, etc.    I make over 100% net profit on at least half of the lots I purchase.   i.e.  If I purchase a lot for $50.00 I take in $110  ($60.00 net.)  I am making this almost exclusively through RPG's & Minatures Wargames (Battletech) with the occasional War Game I might find in the local area.  

This is not easy - I devote incredible time and effort and believe I have found several selling tactics that enable me to sell at higher profit margins.  I ship 6 days a week and it takes me upward of 10 minutes to half an hour to package each item to my standards.  

Darkseraphim mentioned that reselling is somewhat taboo - that may be the case and though I frequent the Acaeum forums I do feel a bit of an outsider.  In any case, I have always been a collector at heart and feel that there can be a certain honor in reselling - it is most important to make the customer happy & profits will come as a result. If you let greed get in the way everything will fall to shit. . . could you imagine deceiving someone in your group about a book's condition so you could make an extra $3.00?  Neither could I. . .

  


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Post Posted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 6:58 am 
 

I have no problem with reselling.
I only have a problem with a few things like :
- splitting up sets like the silver anniversary set to sell the parts
- dishonest descriptions (this includes "B2 RARE!!!!")

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:10 am 
 

... and I have a problem with reselling for 1.5x or 2x market price and fishing for uninformed new ebayers.

... and I also have a problem with resellers who need 4-6 weeks for a delivery.

... and I also have a problem with resellers listing illegal copies outside of eBay.

Now you can guess their names.


- "When the going gets weird, the Weird turn pro."

Hunter S. Thompson (July 18, 1937 - Feb 20, 2005)



  


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Post Posted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 11:08 am 
 

I sometimes resell out of necessity...  if I see a lot of 30 items with 5 "must haves" in them, I'm going to pick it up, then compare the doubles (keeping the ones in better condition), and then I'm selling the rest.  I don't actively buy big lots for re-sale, but I'd be lying if I said I occassionally didn't snag things that were WAY cheap that were being sold for a fraction of what they normally go for when I already have a copy.
I also go through what I call my "quarterly purge."  About every 3-4 months I throw about 2 or 3 dozen things up on eBay that I've gotten out of lots that I've won, trades, doubles I've found in my collection, etc.  But I take pride in the fact that my auction descriptions tend to be brutally honest.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 7:24 pm 
 

That is not reselling, Cernunnos. That is collecting.
Take a look at morgansurname on eBay. He buys EVERY merp item that he can, and overpays for a few. Then, he lists them at outrageous prices (he may be related to Cougarretard). His opinion is that if he is in control of every copy of Umbar, for example, then people will have to pay his prices. Classic example of an unwiped asshole. THAT is a reseller. Not someone who buys a lot, takes a few items for the collection, and sells the extras. We all do that.


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Post Posted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 11:41 pm 
 

Yeah, but I sometimes feel a bit guilty, esp. when I buy a lot for $300, keep half of it, then make $400 selling the half I DIDN'T keep.
Frankly, I feel full-time reselling isn't worth my time.  Consider just how long it takes to list stuff, ship it off, write correspondence, etc.  In the time it takes me to do all that, I can probably just work some overtime (when my office isn't out of money, that is), and end up making more with ALOT less headache (like after I sold 2 dozen items, only to have my cable connection go completely down).
Now, a passive shop, given enough inventory, might not be too bad in addition to the day job.  The sales come to you, but I imagine it takes just as much time (if not more).

  


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 7:52 am 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:That is not reselling, Cernunnos. That is collecting.
Someone who buys a lot, takes a few items for the collection, and sells the extras. We all do that.


I agree 100%, buying items you want and seliing other pieces or some from a "set" is smart buying, not reselling.  I feel that people evolve and as you evolve you may want a newer copy, older copy, etc...so selling the other copy is good business for someone like me who works hard for his money and only has XX to spend on fun stuff like this.  Hobby that can make me money---woo hoo I say!

I work in the RPG industry (second job) and one of the perks is the "cool" stuff you sometimes can find, it is not a huge money making industry.


Hal Greenberg

Todd Lockwood art for sale on ebay at:

http://stores.ebay.com/Todd-Lockwood-Art

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Post Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 1:47 pm 
 

I used to have alot of fun buying lots and selling the extras that did not fit into my collection.  Now I find that it is just to much hassle.  Now I just bid on what I need (want) and I am finishing off my collection that way.  Prices seem to be way down in the last 2 years so buying is much more fun.  There is not much to be made (Like Seriphim was saying) so why do it.


Games can get you through times of no money but money can not get you through times of no games!!

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:55 am 
 

Thanks for all the many and varied responses. I have to say that most dont come as any surprise. As it goes I (or would be) quite happy to resell stuff that I had recently brought - though I am, unfortunately, by nature an honest and nice person, so my chances of making any money like this are slim! I would certainly buy a whole bunch of modules just to get one or two I want - then if I make a little on the rest so much the better. This is not to say anyone would be ripped off - as I say I am honest and want to get good feedback, and a good reputation as time goes by - as I said when I started this - I am skint - third baby on the way so this is very much a hobby for me. (I also would generally read everything I buy before I resell it as well, so it is definitely MINE to sell!! - Thanks for all the input guys - I appreciate it and will start posting on other threads soon (I have lots to say!!). :P
(I am still checking charity shops and car boot sales for boxes full of stuff for £1.50 - I'll definitely be reselling that mother-lode!!!)

  

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Post Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2004 7:46 pm 
 

just a little note. In my opening here I mentioned Cougarinnard in (perhaps) a rather nasty way.
I have recently made a couple of purchases from him and I have to say that I could not be more impressed by the speed of service and communication in general! (post a little high but no surprises - he was very up front). My mum always told me to be decent so I think it only right that I post this as a kind of half arsed apology.
Best
Carl

  

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Post Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2004 9:21 pm 
 

Fuck apologies, he still sucks.


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2004 9:27 pm 
 

Whoops!
In a new attempt to be politically correct, I feel I must rescind my previous statement, to be replaced with one more in line with today's society in general. Hmm. Nah, screw that.
Apologizing to a reseller like CougarRetard is pointless. You had one good experience, and in the meantime he has driven up the prices of countless items for all of us, not to mention attempting to manipulate H1 in to ST1 status.


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Post Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2004 10:50 pm 
 

Cernunnos wrote:Yeah, but I sometimes feel a bit guilty, esp. when I buy a lot for $300, keep half of it, then make $400 selling the half I DIDN'T keep.
Frankly, I feel full-time reselling isn't worth my time.  Consider just how long it takes to list stuff, ship it off, write correspondence, etc.  In the time it takes me to do all that, I can probably just work some overtime (when my office isn't out of money, that is), and end up making more with ALOT less headache (like after I sold 2 dozen items, only to have my cable connection go completely down).
Now, a passive shop, given enough inventory, might not be too bad in addition to the day job.  The sales come to you, but I imagine it takes just as much time (if not more).


    You should never feel bad about making money in a legitimate enterprise, particularly if it's something you like doing or are good at, or when it involves a fun hobby like RPGs.
   My full time job is now selling on Ebay and the internet as of the last year.  I started selling extras in the early 90's because I never threw anything away or sold anything, and often bought nicer copies of modules when the older ones got too used.  I got hooked on it...It's a bit like modern treasure hunting.  Walking into a used bookstore and stumbling onto a Dragon #1 or RPGA1 is a rush like nothing else.  It slowly took up a larger and larger chunk of my free time as I would buy large collections to get the 2-3 items I wanted and sold off the rest.  I think that's how 99% of the guys selling this stuff online started out.
    A few years ago I noticed I was making a pretty good amount of "pocket change" and thought about doing it full time, but I had always worked a traditional 9-5 type job and was frankly worried I wouldn't be able to pay my share of the bills (my wife is quite successful but we split everything 50/50 when it comes to bills, house payments, etc) or worse yet just scrape by.
 The tradeoff for me was health related.  First, my "real" job was killing me...after 14 years as a service rep/sales exec I was overweight, had high blood pressure, migraine headaches, occassional chest pains, and was stressed out night and day.  It had really gotten bad in the last few years when my company was bought out by no-nothing ass wipes that fired half the sales force and kept the "lucky" ones around to work twice as hard at the same pay.  It has been the best decision I ever made (besides marrying my wife that is)...not only did my health improve 100%, but I get to spend all day every day surrounded by the items I enjoy and bring joy to many others by selling the items to them!  The best part is that I am home all day so I get to take care of the house, run all my errands, cook meals, etc; I don't have a boss and don't have to punch a clock (and guys, telling my old job and bosses I was giving them my 2-week notice and watching them run around pulling their hair out and begging me to stay for the entire two weeks was a true joy!), and I work the hours I want to and realize I get all the profits when I decide to work hard (because like any job you have to work hard to make your deadlines and profits).  The downside was losing a company car (after ten years I finally realized gas prices sucked) and losing a bit of money, but when it is your health then is extra cash really that important?  
  Like Darkseraphim, in recent years I've had to diversify due to the RPG business getting thin and now also sell paperbacks and CDs, which is good because you shouldn't have all your eggs in one basket, and it helps you find out how other collectible markets are going.  I also was forced to move into other game systems like Shadowrun, Star Wars, Star Trek, Call of Cthulhu, etc, which is cool because I was mostly a D&D junkie and never knew that much about other systems, now I feel like I'm well versed in quite a few RPGs and I've actually gamed in a couple that a few years ago I knew nothing about.
  I get most of my stock from used bookstores or local gamestores selling used books or games; rarely now do I buy a collection and piecemeal it out, it is just too much work with guys like Courgaretard bidding up everything on Ebay.  Like any job, it is work, which means that you really have to get out and hit the used bookstores and look for the bargains both in town and while out of town on vacation.  I have a regular schedule where I hit the used bookstores in town once a month and the ones nearby in the state every couple of months or so.  Luckily you can write off most travel expenses and the sort, plus it's actually pretty fun because I used to drive a lot at my work but now when I drive it's on my own schedule.
    I work within a 100% profit margin generally; that is, if I spend $100 buying a bunch of books and games I must make $200 selling it to justify the purchase.  Sometimes it doesn't work out like that but it's a lesson learned (like the time I bought all that Spelljammer stuff really, really cheap....but not cheap enough.)  I've found there's quite a bit of money to be made without price gouging as long as you aquire the stuff cheap enough...I pass up a lot of stuff because I would have to charge too high a minimum to get my money back.  
    One of the hardest aspects of the business is shipping, and I finally have a really nice system down.  I find that's the aspect of any online business that gives newbies (and sometimes pros) the most trouble, because it is very, very easy to get behind.   It can quickly overwhelm you, look at Gamesvomitorium and their shipping problems.  
    Another upside is that you sometimes really make someone's day.  I have a collection of really nice emails I've gotten through the years from buyers who finally got that module/book they had been looking for through the years and were very grateful.  I like to get that file out and read it on days when nothing is going right.....!

Mike B.

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Post Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:36 pm 
 

Mike

That was a really cool post.  Thanks.... Good to see you have realised that your health is more important than working 9 to 5 or in my case 5 to 9 :-)

Cheers

Michael

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Post Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 9:49 am 
 

Mike,

Glad to hear things are going well.

You truly are one of the more courteous and professional individuals I have dealt with on Ebay.  I respect your comments and appreciate them in full.  In fact, I can empathize with you in many regards.  Your scenario reflects many of the issues/dilemnas I have recently debated internally.  

Best of luck.


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 5:01 pm 
 

improvstone wrote:Mike

That was a really cool post.  Thanks.... Good to see you have realised that your health is more important than working 9 to 5 or in my case 5 to 9 :-)

Cheers

Michael


    Thanks for the kind words...I've learned once you hit 40 nothing is as important as your health, unless it's a family member's health.  BTW, since I quit my job two men in my department (older than me by about ten years) have had heart attacks, one is still in the hospital six months later. Another former co-worker died recently from liver and kidney complications, he was a heavy smoker and very overweight, and often told me he "stress ate" when the going got tough.  To top it off my old boss fell down a flight of stairs at work about a week after I quit (which everyone told me was due to exhaustion from working overtime), broke her hip, and is still in a wheelchair months later after completing absolutely no rehab (work has kept her "too busy" to do so she has said!).  I truly say thanks to the game of D&D everyday (!) for allowing me to amass such a load of crap that I can now sell it full time.....the alternative is too painful to contemplate!
    BTW, while on the subject, all you 300+ lb gamers out there (you know EXACTLY who you are) whose most exercise is rolling dice or using the eraser on a character sheet...uh, work in a salad or a long walk once in awhile.  When I go to gaming conventions or even the local gamestore I'm truly embarrassed sometimes.  Besides being girl repellant in human form, you guys are killing yourselves slowly.  Cmon, I'll need some company in the old folks home getting a group together...

Mike B.

    Mike B.

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Post Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 10:10 pm 
 

I've been waiting for someone to bring this topic up.

Yeah, the weight issue with gamers.

Now, I really could care less what people do with their own bodies. But for pete's sake, what is it with gamers and being fat (sorry, all you pc guys will have to take it, I'm not gonna write overweight, or mass-challenged throughout this post). We all have our demons.

Maybe its not as bad as was in years past. I have not been to a major convention is several years, but the fat - not fat ratio at conventions is staggering. Back in the 80s, my callous friends and I used to elect the world's fattest gamer at Gencon. There was one guy who got the nod for about seven years running (he was freaking huge) ...then he disappeared and the event became much more difficult...but there were lots of contestants.

I will say most of the fat gamers were, or are, amiable people. Its the skinny guys in button up shirts that seem to more inclined toward jerkism.

But a fascinating topic. Demographics are certainly askew in the gaming world -- as is the scale. 8O

Disclaimer: If you qualify for the "fat" gamer label, don't be offended. I could care less and I certainly do not judge you for it. But check out old President Bubba. Quadruple bipass. He better lay off those damn McD's fries and shakes. Shit, if I were married to Hillary, I'd hitting the happy sauce and be skin and bones!


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

Everything Pacesetter at http://pacesettergames.blog.com/

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