More eBay Product Sources

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The number of places you can obtain product for resale on eBay are nearly infinite. We'll cover a few of the easy ones here.

Your Home
Don't hold a garage sale! Start putting up all your unwanted stuff on eBay. I know you have a pile of dust-collecting items somewhere in your home (or in your storage unit?)

Start putting them up on eBay. If you're new to eBay, this is the perfect place to start. You'll be able to gain valuable experience without having to worry about losing money.

Flea Markets
Another great place to find product. Again, the "everything is negotiable" rule applies here, just as it does with garage and yard sales.

Estate Sales
You are less likely to get a good bargain at an estate sale because many times they are run by a professional company that was hired to take care of it.

Because of this, it becomes that much more vital that you understand the value of the products in your niche market.

Retail Discount Stores
I know this sounds like an unlikely source, but let me tell you a couple stories regarding this.

I use to shop at a discount store here where I live. I never bought anything for myself there. In fact, I used it as a product source for my eBay business.

They had a program you could sign up for in which they would email you whenever they had specials (this is a fairly common practice with retail stores these days).

One day I got an email from them letting me know that they were having a 50% off everything in the store sale. Well, I couldn't pass that up!

I went in and found me a digital camera that was marked at $16. I checked it out and discovered that the flash didn't always work. It also had a couple small scratches on it. The instruction manual was missing as well.

Aside from that, everything seemed to be working okay on it. So, with the 50% discount, I picked it up for a measly $8. I brought it home and listed it on eBay, opening bid of $0.01.

Five days later, it sold for $40 (about twice what I expected).

So I got lucky on that one. It's not too often a retail store has a 50% off sale.

Now it's time for another story about a close friend of mine. This friend was actually working for eBay at the time, and is the one who referred me to eBay where I ended up working later on.

His product source was CompUSA. Yes, you read right; CompUSA, the national chain.

All he did was watch for sales. Every week he'd get an ad in the weekend paper. He also signed up for their newsletter where he was privy to special deals before the public heard about them. When he saw a good deal, he'd go after it. Again, the key was knowing his product well enough to know that he'd be able to turn a profit on eBay.

It didn't always work. Computer equipment and accessories are a very volatile category. But he still managed to come out ahead overall.

Here's another personal story. I found out that baby formula on the East Coast was selling for quite a bit more than it was here in Utah. So, I started watching for sales on baby formulas.

When a good price presented itself, I purchased several cans from the local Wal-Mart and listed them on eBay. After a few days of bidding, I ended up selling the formula to a lady in New York at a (albeit small) profit!

I could probably tell a dozen more similar stories (I've bought leather jackets, leather pants, sandals, and even Twinkies (during a time that the U.K. was experiencing a Twinkie shortage, and I just so happened to live near a Hostess outlet) at retail stores that I've turned around and sold for big profits), but I think you get the idea.

Another method of getting great deals at retail stores is to get to know the store manager and know them well. And I mean well enough that you are on a first name basis. Find out when he or she plans to get rid of a lot of product through some special sale, and offer to make a bulk purchase at a discount.

I once knew the manager of a local auto parts store. After discovering they were discontinuing one of their brands of synthetic oil, I offered to purchase their entire inventory for $0.89 a quart. Synthetic oil is something that runs about $4 per quart, so I got quite a deal on it!

Additionally, getting to be good friends with a store manager can sometimes get you access to new items before they get put on the shelves. The friend of a colleague of mine was able to do just that locally where I live.

After talking with the general manager of a local department store, this friend of a colleague discovered that they were to receive a new shipment of miniature Star Wars figurines.

He talked the store manager into letting him have a first look at the new arrivals. When the first box arrived, he went into the store with the manager, and together they opened the box. The friend-of-a-colleague was able to put together and purchase several complete collections of these figurines, and was even able to get his hands on one rare figurine.

Just three months later, he discovered that the rare figurine was selling for up to $60 on eBay. That for something that originally retailed for just a few dollars a few months earlier!

And, since it was difficult to put together a complete collection, he was able to sell his collections for a hefty profit.

Finally, the same rule regarding negotiating price at yard sales and flea markets still applies here, even if you're not purchasing in bulk or know the manager personally.

I once purchased a $499 printer at Staples (yes, the national business supply chain) where I only paid $350 for it. The printer was brand new, factory sealed, and there wasn't a thing wrong with it. All I did was let the salesman know that if she could drop the price to $350, she'd have a sale.

It took a little more negotiating, but in the end I won out.

Friends & Family
This is easier than you might think. Once you've learned to sell things on eBay, simply inform your friends and family about what you do.

This is a perfect way to get into the consignment business and become an eBay Trading Assistant.

After making some of your friends and family happy, you'll start getting the referrals and get a nice boost to your fledgling consignment business.

Storage Units
Every once in a while, a person rents a storage unit to store all the things that won't fit in their home, and then that person either disappears, decides not to pay their storage fees for several months, or simply decides they don't want what's in storage and they leave it.

Most companies, when confronted with a client who won't, can't, or doesn't pay their storage fees, will hold a public auction to empty out the storage shed to make the space available for someone who will pay and recover some of the losses incurred as a result of the client not paying the storage fees.

Find out who the local storage companies in your town are, and call them up to find out when and if they hold public auctions. If they don't hold auctions, find out if they ever sell abandoned items to the public.

And, of course, know your product as well as you can! I'd hate to see you end up paying $500 for a pile of stuff you can only get $100 out of.

Next: Chapter 7 Summary & Takeaways

Subchapters:

The Basics
eBay Drop Shippers
Government Auctions
Garage and Yard Sales
Liquidation / Closeouts
How to Find Wholesale Suppliers
Finding Manufacturers in China and Other Asian Wholesale Suppliers
Selling eBooks and Other Digital Media
Other
Chapter 7 Summary & Takeaways

Jump to another chapter:

Chapter 1: Driving Traffic to Your Auction Listing
Chapter 2: Listing for Higher Profits
Chapter 3: Does Any of this Stuff Work?
Chapter 4: eBay Stores
Chapter 5: Auction Management
Chapter 6: What to Sell on eBay
Chapter 7: Finding Products to Sell on eBay
Chapter 8: Mining eBay's Traffic
Chapter 9: HTML Tutorial
Chapter 10: Acting Like a PowerSeller
Chapter 11: Final Words