You may have awakened after Christmas or Hanukkah with a nagging feeling:
that item Aunt Ethel gave you just isn't what you want. Or maybe a new
computer arrived, and now you have to dispose of the old one.
Instead of the junk heap or standing in line to return an item, what about
selling it online through eBay? It's not an original idea, I know, but
it's one millions and millions of people are indulging in regularly.
On the plus side, eBay will bring a world of buyers to you door: anyone
interested in, say, Grateful Dead paraphernalia will be able to find your
signed Jerry Garcia poster in a flash. On the negative side, a single
seller has to prepare things for online sale, including photographing and
preparing the auction write-up.
If that sort of work isn't your thing, a chain of franchise stores called
"ISold It!", may be your answer. The concept is simple: the store
receives your merchandise on consignment, does the photography, auction
write-up, listing on eBay and then ships the merchandise out. This is a
true boon when it comes to large or unwieldy items.
That's how I felt about my old Clarion Joyride car stereo/GPS/auto PC
combination. I replaced the 30-month-old Joyride with some new gear and
had the old equipment literally rattling around the back of my Hyundai
Santa Fe. I had no idea what it might be worth; had someone offered $50
cash, I might have taken that on the spot. One Sunday afternoon, I pulled
into an ISold It store in Gaithersburg, Maryland, filled out a short form
and left the merchandise there to be processed for auction.
What I very much like about the ISold It experience was the way my items
were photographed and presented. The store has a large photography stand
with separate lighting and good digital cameras, which meant the various,
and bulky, components of the Joyride could be spread out and photographed
attractively. The description was clear and sales oriented, written in a
way buyers were able to grasp, since there was some competition in the
Within a week, the old stereo was up on eBay. A week after that, it had
sold, for close to $400, and in about two weeks after that, my check
arrived for about $252 my amount less commissions and fees that were
about 34 percent of the sale price. All told, it was very painless and
more profitable than I might have expected otherwise.
Besides Gaithersburg, another Maryland store is open in Glen Burnie, with
others planned for opening soon, including several in Fairfax County,
Virginia and the District. A Falls Church, Virginia, store is currently
open, according to the firm's Web site, www.i-soldit.com.
Would I use ISold It again? It would depend on the item. If I felt I could
better handle the write-up and photography, as well as the packing and
shipping, I'd do it myself in many cases. But when it comes to bulky
items, or things for which I may not have as much enthusiasm, this is a
marvelous way to make quick cash from surplus items.
At the same time, many people are making a living or trying to by
selling on eBay full or part time. For those individuals, I would suggest
Michael Miller's excellent book, "Making a Living from Your eBay Business"
(Que, 2005), which tempers the hype you may have heard about eBay incomes
with a bracing dose of reality, especially when it comes to the
nuts-and-bolts of any business. The $25 list price of this book is a small
investment in terms of the headaches, and heartaches, you'll save.