Selling on eBay from Chicago to Miami

Recently I wrote on how I first started on eBay, buying from the Nike outlet with my credit card and reselling the items on eBay.  While I was making money I moved and so did my source for inventory, which caused me to stop selling on eBay.  Later on I moved to Miami and did what everyone recommends when starting on eBay and get rid of debt, I sold some of my own.  It’s a great way to get familiar with the website, selling features, and what you need to do to start selling.

I listed and sold my Kelty Red Cloud 5600 Internal Frame Backpack, then moved on to a couple hats that were almost brand new in my Philadelphia Eagles Hat NFL Reebok Flexfit Football and Chicago Cubs MLB Baseball Hat Wrigley Field New Era which made a few dollars. I  took the pictures, put a fun and honest description and title(actual titles and keywords), waited for the item to sell, and then did my best to figure out the shipping.  I really feel like if you can take a picture, follow directions online, and put something in a box, then you can sell on eBay.

Ultimately I didn’t really have that many things I thought I could sell of my own.  I needed to find some items to sell, because if you don’t have merchandise eBay is not going to work.  When I moved to Miami I came across a store that I never had seen in Chicago.  This store sold a little bit of everything:  clothes, shoes, household goods, toys, and everything in between, the store is Ross Dress for Less.  If you are unfamiliar with Ross, they are very similar to Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx in which they are buying last year’s styles and irregular items for less and selling them at a discount from the regular price.  Here’s an article that goes into a little more detail on the ins and outs of these type of stores.  I found some of the same Nike and Jordan items(stick with what you know) at great prices, I knew from my experience selling I could sell these items for more than I was buying them from Ross and worst case scenario I could return the item if they did not sell(retailers frown upon this).  I even had some help from the current Mrs. Even Steven, she grabbed a pair of Nike Pro Combat Dri Fit Padded Shorts Football Men’s L and found the retail price was $70, Ross was selling them for $9.99, it was worth the risk.  My final auction sales price came to $57, I was back!!!  

I bought more items Jordan backpacks, Nike polo shirts, and anything with a college or pro sports team.  It was all working, I started to have more and more items to choose from and even more than one store in the area. The extra money was great, but at that point I was only side hustling doing my best to make ends meet.  I knew something had to change and for me that meant going back to Chicago and the old days of caddying for MJ, while I look for the full-time 9-5 job everyone is trying to get out of including myself, but that I desperately needed.  The good news was I was able to get the 9-5 gig, but my eBay was shut down again.  I sold my car so driving up to the Nike outlet was out of the picture and my new found gold mine in Ross was not in the Chicago area so I was shut down again.

In my first eBay experience, I learned:

  • eBay really is not that hard to operate, if you can run your smart phone you can figure out eBay
  • Know what you are selling.  I am very familiar with Nike and that helped in the beginning, but you need to know what sells and what people want
  • Starting a business on a credit card is not the smartest decision.  I ran into problems with paying off the card and facing possible interest charges, it was also really hard to keep track of what I was buying and selling and returning.
  • Inventory is key.  Unless you have something to sell eBay won’t work simple as that

In my second eBay experience I learned a little more:

  • There are other places to get inventory, get creative. As long as you can sell the item for more than you paid(including fees, taxes, etc) it’s possible to make money on eBay
  • The more items you sell the better you understand selling on eBay.  You get more feedback from customers which leads to more trust from potential buyers, you understand what sells, you get faster at listing and shipping each item.
  • Part-time, Any time.  I was side hustling at the time and realized that I could buy and sell on eBay whenever I wanted.  I didn’t have to have a set schedule to show up at work on Sunday at 3:00 pm.  I can list while watching a football game or listening to my favorite eBay podcast, Scavenger Life.

For me eBay has been a growing experience as I found out more and more about selling items online, more about myself as an entrepreneur, and more about my drive to stick with something.  I have grown from my first sale on eBay and continue to sell today.  I will be sharing more on my experience, let’s just say I’m not driving to Nike or Ross to make some extra cash living in the city of Chicago.

Have you had a business shutdown or fail?  What has your experience been selling online?



15 Responses to “Selling on eBay from Chicago to Miami

  • Interesting share, Steven. Are you selling on eBay now? If not, why not? Seems like you have things figured out.
    debs @ debt debs recently posted…Frugal FinCon Fiesta – Ask me AnythingMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      I am selling on eBay Debs, great question. I am doing some background and lessons I have learned along the way during eBay.

  • I really wanted to start selling online but I think I will just use social media like FB and IG. I’m still planning what to sell because I observed that clothes and accessories has a high competition.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted…Side hustle ideas, part 5My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      I think FB, Craigslist, etc are good options this also avoids the fees charged with eBay. You can certainly look at it as high competition, what I have done over time is make sure whatever I’m selling is the best, whether it’s the clothing, template I use, price, or customer service. Whatever you are going to sell these items still should be implemented in your sales. Good luck!

  • Buying stuff at Ross and reselling is an awesome idea! And you’re right, you could always return it if the item didn’t sell.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Are You Financially Fat?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      The biggest item to concerned about is the profit and/or Ross price vs Retail price vs eBay price, that’s what it really comes down to. Can you buy an item at Ross for $20, that retails for $50, and sell it on eBay for $40 or whatever your expected/hopeful profit margin is?

  • I’ve only sold some books and other stuff that I have on Amazon. I was able to sell some brand new test prep books I found in the trash room (brand new) which sold for $200 profit. Also sold a Yankees chess set which my wife bought on clearance. I just need to find a place that sells in-demand products and learn that niche…I live in NYC so there are plenty of places I can get inventory, but not sure what I should sell. Been thinking about baby stuff and toys since we have a little one and my wife finds good deals for them.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Are You a Sports Fanatic?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      I would say to take a small sample of what you want to sell and do some test runs with it. I don’t usually buy 100 of one item, rather I will buy 3-5 and see how things test out.

  • I have sold items on ebay in the past but have found that being in Canada the shipping costs are insanely high. Unless its something small like a gift card its usually not worth it. That being said, it is useful for getting rid of smaller items that are just taking up space and are in demand. You did touch on an important point – you need to know whats selling, so your specialized knowledge of Nike probably comes in handy for that
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet recently posted…Finding Quality Dividend StocksMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      It certainly helps to know and be familiar with Nike, I think even some of it is just knowing what is fashionable or what people want. An advanced search on eBay will put you about 90% ahead of everyone out there.

  • I sold a lot of stuff on eBay back in high school. What I didn’t do at first which I should have was calculate how much time it took to package and ship an item.

    Some bigger items I sold like car bumpers would take a lot of time to pack and ship. If I made $200 I was giddy but that wasn’t factoring in my time.

    Still a great little business, though!
    Will recently posted…My Experience Flying on a Private JetMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      You bring up a great point Will. As I talk more and more about eBay, I will get into the time and cost of doing business. There is certainly a learning curve, I still remember looking for boxes and taping and cramming a shirt in a little priority mail box, I have learned a lot. I shipped 3 items this morning and the entire time to locate the items, package, print the labels, and put in the mail took me 3 minutes total, little faster than I used to be.

      Side note shipping a car bumper, I don’t even want to imagine. I sold and shipped a guitar for a family member and it was difficult enough.

  • Steven, it was great meeting you at Pequods last week. I enjoyed this article because I love unloading every extra bit of clutter in my home via Craigslist, but I had never considered the techniques you mentioned for earning extra money! Hopefully we can meetup again sometime.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Back at you Mike it was fun. I’ve got another eBay article in the mix as it will pertain to more of what I currently do with my eBay side hustle, still learning and getting better.

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