TIM’s EBay Adventure – Part 4 (A Mid Week Musings special)

… continued from part 3.

—000—

Background

Several months ago I decided I would, after much deliberation, try to sell some models on Ebay.  This is the continuation of my journey!

A Lesson Learnt

Things on Ebay were going well, slowly but more than good enough to make me happy.  I should have realised a bump in the road was inevitable.

At the end of November I received an offer for two of my figures from a potential buyer.  The offer for each figure was £17.00, they were up for sale at £20.00.  As it was a new buyer I chose to accept his offer in the hope of obtaining further business in the future.  I then received the following message back from him.

Order details

 

Now the written word is never the best way to communicate in the sense that it can be open to emotional interpretation.  Now it might just be me but his note really pissed me off.  When it comes to swearing I like a good “fuck” every now and then (who doesn’t?) but it’s very, very rare for me to use the “C” word.  I thought the last piece about sending in separate packages was both sarcastic and unnecessary.  Unnecessary because the guy had an eBay score of over 1300 which to my mind says he knew enough to ask about combined postage without the need to be rude.

Now I’m not the kind of guy who can simply ignore such things so I wrote him what I thought was a polite reply.  Tempting as it was to tell him to fuck off I wanted to protect my 100% feedback score.

 

New message to:

Hi Ian,

Thank you for the prompt payment. I am unable to get to the post office today but will do so tomorrow and confirm to you that the figures have been sent together with tracking details.

Selling figures on eBay is a relatively new experience so I appreciate your feedback regarding combined postage.

So far my approach has been to provide buyers with the opportunity to make an offer, such as you have done today “or” combine postage when asked to do so. Based on my selling experiences to date this is the first query I have had as all my customers have been happy to pay the postage where I have accepted their offer.

Unfortunately offering both is not financially viable as far as I am concerned given purchase costs, painting time and postage and packing expenses. That said I’ve no desire to see you disappointed so I will combine postage for your purchase and enclose a cheque for £3.95 along with the figures which I trust will be acceptable to you.

I hope you are happy with the figures when they arrive and if you are interested in buying more in the future please do contact me to discuss pricing and postage.

Kind regards and best wishes,

David

I never heard back from him and he has never left feedback, neither have I for that matter either.  Although I did not like this guys style and I would be very reluctant to ever deal with him again the fact is he got me thinking.  Should I in my description make mention to combined postage and should I offer it?  In all honesty I never thought anyone would buy more than one figure at a time.

After some deliberation I decided morally I ought to combine postage whenever I can just as long as I cover my costs.  I amended the wording on my listings to cover UK and Overseas postage and then got in touch with the guy from Manchester who bought seven of my figures.  As he had paid the postage on each figure and hadn’t made me an offer either I was now feeling a little guilty.  Some might argue business is business but as we were only talking about a few pounds I thought it would make for a good will gesture.

I sent him an email in December saying I had forgotten to reduce postage and asked if he wanted me to send him a cheque or make a deduction from any other purchase if there was something I had listed which was of interest to him.  The last bit was a little tongue in cheek but to my complete surprise he came back to thank me and promptly bought another seven figures!

I made several other sales in December in the lead up to Christmas, the best of which was eight figures sold to a Doctor in Germany.

Generally things were going well and my gross income at the middle of December stood at just over £1000.00, the vast majority of which had been earned following my second eBay foray which began in September.  I was pleased with how things were going but couldn’t help but think how best to try to improve things.  It was time to sit down and reflect once again on the way forward.

Being realistic I hadn’t had many customers.  Although I had sold a reasonable number of figures the majority had been purchased by three people.  Unlike other sellers I had never had more than one bid on an item to help push the price up and although I was pleased with the sales there were weeks in between when nothing happened at all.  I was also focused solely on Artizan figures, mainly wild west which in itself was not a problem but the range is limited and if these guys had already bought them then why would they buy more of the same figure?

The Next Step Forward

Anticipating that the middle to end of December would be quiet I decided this would be a great time to search for some new figures, take advantage of Christmas savings such as free postage and get some figures painted to replace those I’d sold.  January was also likely to be slow too so this felt like the best use of my time.

It was quite a while ago that I first discovered the wild west figures produced by Knuckleduster.  The figures looked great but as far as I could see there was no UK distributor.  Whilst it was possible to buy them from the States it was expensive to do so.  Buying them on Ebay was an option but the ones I found were retailing at about £8.00 a figure including postage.  nevertheless I thought I would email Knuckleduster on the off chance to see if they had a UK distributor.  A swift reply followed to say that they did.

I checked out the site and was delighted to learn that they carried the whole range of figures.  Each figure retailed at £3.50 but if you spent £20.00 or more postage was free.  I placed an order for three individual figures but bought two of each one making six in total.  I decided that I would very much like to collect these figures for myself as well as trying to sell them.  With well over a hundred figures in the range Ì had plenty to keep me going and to sell if there was a market for them.  By purchasing two of the same figure each time I could keep the better one for myself and sell the other!  Also, painting them both at the same time would be quicker.  It was worth a go that’s for sure.

Another decision I made was to paint a few Hasslefree figures and chose fantasy humans as the genre.  Once again I bought two of each figure as I was keen to have these as well for my own collection.

All I had to do now was wait for things to be delivered and then to start painting!

Things were going well and I was happy with the progress I was now making right up to the point when a friend said “are you keeping records for your tax return?”.  “Tax, you’ve got to be kidding me?”.   “No I’m not, there’s a new law, you ought to check it out”.

FUCK!

To be continued…

—000—

TIM

 

30 thoughts on “TIM’s EBay Adventure – Part 4 (A Mid Week Musings special)

  1. This is a brilliant series mate – I don’t know anyone that has written a start-to-finish account of doing this, and I’m glad you’ll be talking about the tax angle! I’ve been PAYE forever, and am woefully uneducated on the subject :-/

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow, that Ian guy sounds like a right bellend. If someone has a feedback score of about 95% I tend to treat that as the same as 100%, on the grounds that I worked in retail for years and I know that some customers are just arseholes who’ll never be satisfied with anything. Sounds like you handled him well though – I’m looking forward to the next chapter!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Hmm, I don’t think of them as the same. Yes, customers can be jerks, but the ratings should average out. Ebay is actually more lenient on ratings now than when I first started. If I’m buying from someone and they have a low rating, I immediately check their reviews to see why. If I see a lot of ‘deadbeat/no ship’ posts, I steer clear. Too many bad experiences with Ebay. In all my selling/buying on Ebay, I’ve only had 1 negative/neutral feedback. It was early on, and I think the two of us just butted heads in the wrong way. Lesson learned there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha, well I’m not rich and retired off my Ebay earnings….so I don’t know how much of a Guru I’d say I am! It was a nice venture, and I did manage to earn a good rep. But as a full-time business, not likely to happen. The thought did cross my mind for a bit though.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Here cometh the Taxman! It’s turning into a horror story! I liked your very diplomatic response about the postage though! Most people seem pretty good about postage. I once bought two items on eBay from one seller, thinking the postage would combine and reduce automatically – it didn’t, I thought “Oh well, never mind” but the seller combined them anyway and refunded me the difference without being asked!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The combined postage is a funny one and it’s good to see this from the sellers side. I never thought about it until I came across a few sellers who did. On bigger items I don’t mind, especially if they are painted and you are paying a pretty penny for them but if you are buying a few individual figures (I’m thinking unpainted, GW miniatures) and they are charging postage on each of sometimes up to a fiver, then to not combine it just seems a bit money grabbing, especially if they arrive in the same package.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I will add that I have paid the individual postage on several occasions. If I want something that much, I’m not going to quibble I’d be a d*ck about it like the chap you experienced 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m very much enjoying reading these. On the combined postage aspect, as a buyer, it really does piss me off when people refuse to combine postage, when I know they’re all going to arrive in the same envelope and cost the seller the same amount to send (another 10 cents worth of extra bubble wrap, maybe). At this point, I’m quite seasoned, though, so I just refuse to buy models from anyone who won’t combine (though I ask nicely, and ask before bidding or BINing).
    While I don’t buy painted figures, buying multiple models from whoever is the usual way (as a buyer) to make the postage hit worthwhile – at least when they’re combined! It’s cost a few sellers quite a bit of money from me. There’s one place who charges quite a bit per single, but only offers a small discount per combined item. Fuck that!
    Obviously a difference here is that you’re a small seller (that’s what she said?), and you’re obviously learning and adapting as you go.
    Looking forward to the next exciting episode!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you are enjoying the posts. Wasn’t sure it was worth doing but wanted my own audit trail and figured I might as well share. You are spot on when you say I’m learning as I go. I’ve learnt a lot and still trying hard just for the hell of it to fathome more things out. It’s fun though and keeping the brain active! As I mentioned in previous replies, I never expected to sell more than one to a person at any one time but you live and learn and now I think I have bottomed this one out. I always look for postage offers when buying, the lead up to Christmas is always a good time, so why screw other people as a seller? In the end the guy did me a favor, just didn’t like his fucking style!

      Like

  6. Yea, I’ll combine shipping costs as a favor to the buyer. I think it’s kind of the norm. A lot of sellers will sell the first item for X and additional items are a little less to ship. I sell books on Amazon, which doesn’t offer combined shipping, which is a little ridiculous. In that case, and pretty much on Ebay, I just go into the system and refund part of their money. Of course, sending a note so that the buyer knows why. You can do that through PayPal, if you’re using that on Ebay too.

    So far, it doesn’t sound like you’ve had to chase down any deadbeat bidders? I’ve had the ‘must have been drunk when I bid on this’ types. Seriously?! As a seller, you now know that one week can be hot and the next extremely cold. So if you miss that opportunity and have to relist, because of some jerk…it really sucks.

    Yea, taxes. I was just shy of the mark for my record Ebay year. Which was nice. But I still keep a spreadsheet of all my original costs plus sales, just in case the Tax Mate ever comes knocking on my door.

    Nice work on this series of posts. Glad you put this out there, as you’ll probably help quite a few people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops, forgot to mention that I’m curious if you have seen any difference in selling Fantasy vs Western themed minis? Seems to me like Fantasy minis would prove more popular, but who knows?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Most of what I have sold has been Western figures. They represent about 45 figures but sold to only 6 or so buyers. Not complaining but they aren’t going to buy the same figure again so have now decided to move into fantasy. Like you I think it will be the more popular and although I have only sold about six so far I’ve sold them for a lot more money. Early days but I think fantasy is the way to go. I just need to know more about the fantasy games that the figures best sit with so I can advertise them better.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Wasn’t to sure about it as a series and then thought what the heck. If nothing else it serves as an audit trail for myself but I’ve also had some good feedback as well which is always nice. As for postage I think covering your costs is the right thing to do. Just never thought I’d sell more than one at a time!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry for the late reply ,missed this one ! ,I’m impressed with the way you handled the Wanker ,no way could I have been so polite but then again the wife just says I’m an angry little man with some kind of syndrome .In regards to buying on EBay I had an interesting situation happen this week ,I purchased a set of figures from a guy in Canada ,great no worries price and postage cost were fine ,Then guess what ,he messages me and says he can throw in two more sets and it won’t effect the postage it will be the same ,but the thing is he offer them to me free of charge !! how’s that for an amazingly generous fellow ! .

    Liked by 1 person

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