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What's the "proper" etiquette for selling parts online? Does the buyer or the seller usually pay for shipping? How does payment work? Where should I ship from? Just looking for some tips as I list more parts online and really get started with my life in the classic car industry. Thanks!

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There is no set of rules for buying and selling. Most of what I look at i figure it to be the asking price plus shipping.  But some items are offered at a price that includes shipping. That looks like an incentive to me.  Ship from where ever is the most convenient to you.  And advertise that nothing is shipped till you have full payment in hand. That,to me, means you have cashed the check and several days have elapsed where the payment did not bounce. 

Good luck

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Buyers pay shipping.  You can either add it separate or make the price higher to cover it.  I almost always use USPS.  99.9% of the time they do a great job.  
 

For me, buyers can pay however they want.  I’m not shipping until I get paid anyway (though I have before for repeat buyers that I trust).  PayPal is fast, but if they want to mail me a check, that’s fine too.
 

The best part of selling old car parts is that you are normally dealing with good folks with similar interests.  It’s not some 20 year old buying a used iPhone who is going to complain if it takes an extra day to get there, and if the battery isn’t as great as they think it should be.  You are dealing with mostly mature and responsible people working on a side project.  I’ve never once had a bad experience selling anything in the old car part world.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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One thing you will find is 99.9% of the people you deal with,  if you describe stuff accurately and take good pictures will be happy to get the part and know what they are looking for, but seems that .1% will make you forget about that huge other percentage and make you want to throw it all in a recycle bin,  so live for the 99.9% and just suck up that .1% and move on.   Also look around and see what is really selling.  I see so many parts listed on ebay,  especially with crazy buy it nows that never sell.  Even some of the nice NOS tail lights in the GM boxes from the early 80's I have, have been listed on ebay for almost 10 years now at 9.99-19.99 buy it now and have never sold. In fact much of my Buy it now inventory of parts I have let expire except those few lenses because it would finally sell 10 years later and it would take me 1/2- a full hour to find the darn thing,  because I sold both my shop and house since I listed the parts and they have moved with me, but most I haven't touched since I moved. 

 

I used ebay with cheap opening bids and no reserve which seemed to give me the biggest market and greatest exposure, which translates to the best sell through rate. Yeah you pay for it,  but they pretty much have the only game in town especially if you sell stuff from several different makes and eras.  Too hard to be in that many clubs and keep track.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been using Ebay for 20 years in spurts. Sometimes I just need to walk away for a while. I list all my items with free shipping. I just figure the shipping for Los Angles and roll it into the price. Best to pack and calculate first or ship similar sized packages. If the location is closer you get a little extra. That usually washes out with the occasional post office surprise.

The key is volume. Just keep pumping the stuff out there. If Ebay gives you 200 free listing and you put up 199 you could have done better. PM me if you would like a simple Ebay cost accounting spreadsheet, anyone.

 

And, above all, don't list anything you haven't touched or seen within 2 hours. And after you list it don't move it!

 

Don't over focus on the item, keep the herd moving the way the cowboys do.

 

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Here's the new kicker, if someone is selling parts on Ebay and using Paypal as the way to pay, of which I'm not sure there are many options except for big ticket items.

 

I had a bunch of stuff to sell this last year, not major dollars, but was successful in moving numerous things on Ebay.

 

Then, what I'd call out of the blue, I received, from Paypal, a 1099-K, as income reported to the IRS.

 

One source says that under $20,000 on this form, just ignore it....but these, what I've always called "casual sales", are now being reported to the Gub-mint....not as interesting as I'd hope..

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Yep...according to them in a message yesterday, today was the deadline to confirm my account to link it to a bank account.  They are taking PayPal out of the equation and doing all banking transactions in-house.  So your sales are reported as 1099.

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19 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

And, above all, don't list anything you haven't touched or seen within 2 hours. And after you list it don't move it!

 

Don't over focus on the item, keep the herd moving the way the cowboys do.

Better words never spoken.  Probably some of the best advice you will get.  Exactly my sales motto, thus the reason I list 30 items a night. 

With enough volume,  unless you are selling really crappy stuff no one wants,   the good surprises will outweigh the bad.  Cheap opening bids are the key.  Just like a swap meet,  the guy that prices everything to sell,  leaves with a pile of cash and an empty truck,  but the guy that has market plus pricing spends all afternoon packing up all the stuff that didn't sell.  A 99.5 % or better sell through rate means It must be working and yes I do occasionally sell something for less than I paid for it but it happens. 

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I liked how pay pal had a nice summary sheet at the end of the year that listed total sales, fees chargebacks etc. 

Does ebay do anything like this,  now that they forced us all into managed payments?  

I know this year's taxes are going to be a mess, since I started with pay pal, then got forced into managed payments, along the way, being forced out fo ebay shipping,  into pay pal shipping then finally to Pirate ship, which will atleast be the easy part to figure out, but I have been depositing money into pay pal as well to pay for items since money doesn't come into there from payments any more, so I need to figure if they are considering those deposits income as it was money added to the account.  

 

I wonder how much revenue pay pal lost by being cut out of the equation?  Seems like it would have been worth them working with ebay to keep what had to have been a huge segment of their payment processing operation. 

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11 minutes ago, auburnseeker said:

since money doesn't come into there from payments any more,

 

Since my Paypal account is zero the playing field of the internet and local businesses has been leveled for me. Any incentive I had to continue in the loop of receiving money from Ebay into Paypal and spending that money on Ebay is gone. I have already noticed a change in my buying habits.

 

There was a point where sales and purchases were pretty much a closed loop between Ebay and Paypal.

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I would probably close my pay pal account out if it wasn't for the ability to pay for lots remotely instantly and a few straggler customers that have a tough time paying their ebay bill on time so they have to pay me through pay pal directly as ebay just dumps all the new purchases, not yet boxed into the mix with full shipping on each when they go to pay.  Of course I could refund the shipping, which is hard to figure out as ebay now just lumps it in the purchase price for each item, but ebay still keeps all the fees collected on shipping even though I refund it.  It's all planned,  why fix a cash cow when not enough people complain about it.  Totally unethical,  but then again we know about ebay being ethical. 

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Back to the original question about starting their life in the collector car industry. The business needs to be approached with a set of expectations. And the structure is important. From my personal experience anyone with the ability to buy and sell or who has any marketable skill should look seriously at forming an S corporation for that business. There are initial and ongoing costs associated and about $2500 per year will maintain the minimum fees, insurance, and added tax related costs. To start find a local accountant who is willing to provide you with a monthly one hour meeting, not just for current ledger items but as a consultant for your operational thoughts in general. Mine charges $80 per meeting, a real bargain. There are a lot of benefits that are not commonly known. I read about the S corp concept in a book on running an Ebay business but actually applied it to a consulting type business I started 15 years ago and I have been thoroughly pleased with the way it has worked out.

I have had a few businesses and never got wrapped around the axle of a traditional business plan. Those are mostly fantasy and speculation, only good for going into debt with a bank. I is sometimes better to say "This is how much money I have. This is what I plan to do. This is what I can do. If I get close to spending all my investment and not seeing a profit I will stop and go get a job". Not the norm but worked for me.

 

We are 20 years into a major worldwide communication revolution. Ride it and adapt.

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On 2/14/2021 at 6:28 PM, trimacar said:

I received, from Paypal, a 1099-K, as income reported to the IRS.

 

One source says that under $20,000 on this form, just ignore it..

 

Questionable advice.  As I recall, a 1099K has an adjustment for cost of goods sold, or cost basis.  Probably not the actual wording but it is the amount the item cost you and it is subtracted from the income reported.  Who knows, it might even lead to a loss that would be a positive to your tax balance due.  But ignoring something reported to the IRS is a recipe for an audit and depending on how they choose to view it, a case of fraud.  That's a place no one wants to be.   

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Thanks for all the advice everyone! I successfully shipped my first parts this week. I don't think I'll be making enough money off of what few parts I have to justify starting a business or corporation but I'll have to keep that in mind for the future. We'll see what happens. Right now the goal is to put as much of a dent in my future college debt as possible.

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