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Old 09-22-2016
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Cool What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

I'm starting to feel bad that I have been asking so many questions lately and I have been trying to give back to the forum more. I am not sure whether this is the best section to post this but I am curious to see how other people manage the physical aspects of selling on eBay and I would like to begin to share what my setup looks like. I am trying to make videos of the improvements that I make to my operation as much as possible and I am going to start posting them here for all to see

Here are my 3 most recent improvement videos:
(P.S. I am obsessed with Lean Six Sigma/Kaizen/TPS so if you hear some unknown terms that don't relate to eBay or stealth this is probably what I am referring to)




Let me know what you think!

Last edited by Emporium; 09-22-2016 at 10:39 PM.
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The complete step-by-step guide to get back to selling today!

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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

That's pretty cool. I can't imagine having so many different items stacked in a warehouse. I hate making listings, lol.

My setup is a laptop on a desk, hooked up to a Zebra printer and an HP laserjet. I also have a radio so I can listen to music.
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

yo, that looks messy my man.

Had a look at 1st video and it was like a dump.
Had a look at a 3rd video and it was like a dump, after some bright tape and turned ON lights.

I'm not going to share my own setup because it would take too much time to go into detail and I'm not going to share what I sell. If you sell random crap then its not that big of a deal to show a warehouse full of of because it doesn't make any sense anyway and you are not really giving away any sensitive information.


Seems like you could use a better cataloging setup, because at the moment you are just taping off random mess and its not practical to have a bin in the middle of the floor.

By the looks of it, its only matter of time before you'll have rats eating where your workstations are- I'm not saying that because I think you'll bring the rats in, I'm saying that because rats are ****ing mother****ers who always turn up for a good plastics and dust party!
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

This is my setup



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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

I wish I was that high tech @spindoctor
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

I offer lessons....







For a price of course


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I wish I was that high tech @spindoctor
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haidukken View Post
yo, that looks messy my man.

Had a look at 1st video and it was like a dump.
Had a look at a 3rd video and it was like a dump, after some bright tape and turned ON lights.

I'm not going to share my own setup because it would take too much time to go into detail and I'm not going to share what I sell. If you sell random crap then its not that big of a deal to show a warehouse full of of because it doesn't make any sense anyway and you are not really giving away any sensitive information.


Seems like you could use a better cataloging setup, because at the moment you are just taping off random mess and its not practical to have a bin in the middle of the floor.

By the looks of it, its only matter of time before you'll have rats eating where your workstations are- I'm not saying that because I think you'll bring the rats in, I'm saying that because rats are ****ing mother****ers who always turn up for a good plastics and dust party!
Haha that's about it, bright tape works wonders! We really only have 4 categories being books, clothing, furniture, and everything else. There is no need to sort incoming inventory beyond that. The problem is definitely having too much junk but that's only because we aren't processing it fast enough (it is just myself and one other flakey person right now). We are interviewing 10 candidates next Thursday and will hopefully be able to hire at least one to work full-time (40 hours per week). Surprisingly we have not had any issues with bugs/rats. I think that organizing junk can be somewhat of putting makeup on a pig but I am going to make that pig as beautiful as possible. Nobody wants to do what I do because it's one of the least glamorous things in the world (picking through people's trash basically) but that is why I love it. I can show the world what I do without anyone trying to copy me simply because they don't want to. Even though each full-time employee generates an average of $400 per day in revenue with 90% gross margins nobody business minded wants to get their hands dirty.

Also... it is EXTREMELY practical to have a bin in the middle of the floor if you know anything about LEAN

Last edited by Emporium; 09-23-2016 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

i recently started building simple warehouse type shelves for $32 a piece using wood from Home Depot. They are really easy to make and have helped a lot! Now the totes I bought can all have a place. Each shelf can fit 12 large totes... Which are each filled with inventory sorted by product type.

Once I get my huge backlog of inventory listed... The plan is to bring all new inventory in in totes. Photograph and list each item.. Then place it in its respective bin on the new shelves. I need to get to the point where everything on the shelves is active listed merchandise. Then maybe build another warehouse shelf for new inventory not yet listed.

Last edited by stressed08; 09-23-2016 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

It's interesting how different your operation is from mine or what I imagine others are like. My niche is far more specialized and mostly standardized. I'd go insane with that kind of product diversity. My pallets come tidy, so there's no need for all of that. I have 2-3 storage units neatly stacked. Pics are snapped there, shipping boxes are in the garage, labels are printed from a laptop that can access all accounts via separate VPS nodes. No radio, though. Glad it's going well for you.
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stressed08 View Post
i recently started building simple warehouse type shelves for $32 a piece using wood from Home Depot. They are really easy to make and have helped a lot! Now the totes I bought can all have a place. Each shelf can fit 12 large totes... Which are each filled with inventory sorted by product type.

Once I get my huge backlog of inventory listed... The plan is to bring all new inventory in in totes. Photograph and list each item.. Then place it in its respective bin on the new shelves. I need to get to the point where everything on the shelves is active listed merchandise. Then maybe build another warehouse shelf for new inventory not yet listed.
I envy your ability to do this! I was looking into all different organized storage systems but the issue for me was that they all assumed that items would be around the same size/shape. I think that the system you are using is a probably the best way to do it if items being the generally the same shape/size applies to you. I ended up having to use "chaotic storage" which is what amazon uses as well because I sell some items as small as individual marbles or lego people, to items as big as desks and stools, to items as plain awkward to store together as clothing, golf clubs, stuffed animals, and china sets all on the same shelf. I show my storage system briefly in my first ever video from about 2 years ago. None of my videos were originally made to teach about any systems in particular but I may start posting a few specific ones on organization methods & listing creation now that I am posting them here. This is a great system for anyone who gets a lot of different sized items and is always selling a wide variety of different items.


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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Nice, great videos showing your setup. I like it.
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Looking at your pics I think you would benefit from the shelves no matter your variety of sizes. They are very large (64x20) and 3 shelves high... So you're tripling your floor space... Even if it's not "organized" per say. The plans I looked at were 4 shelves high but my ceiling was too low in basement. If you could go 4 high you're 4x'ing your floor space. Also, you can build each one custom.. Like one of mine leaves more room at the bottom for some larger boxes I have

That's really impressive I'm doing well but still working out of basement. I'd love a small warehouse like that. I see the two work stations..are there part time employees to list, and if so how are they paid? I really need help listing was thinking about hiring someone on a per item basis..

Edit nm I just got to that point in the video . My goal is 50 a week but I can't seem to hit it and still be out acquiring inventory! I was surprised to hear you're stuck at that number too despite having so many items coming in! There HAS to be a quicker way to list! I am going to try Auctiva software and hiring one employee a few hours a week I think

Last edited by stressed08; 09-23-2016 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewOldStockBoy View Post
It's interesting how different your operation is from mine or what I imagine others are like. My niche is far more specialized and mostly standardized. I'd go insane with that kind of product diversity. My pallets come tidy, so there's no need for all of that. I have 2-3 storage units neatly stacked. Pics are snapped there, shipping boxes are in the garage, labels are printed from a laptop that can access all accounts via separate VPS nodes. No radio, though. Glad it's going well for you.
You should really look into it. Totally worth the $10 just to hear something other than ripping tape all day.
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Myman, fly me out there and I'll set everything up for you- I can't stand this organised mess!

I'm lucky in a a sense that my first job was for a HP and Sun Microsystems and I had to come up with, build and operate rather big storage warehouse for them and we are talking something like a 36000 units in small shelves and everything had to be found within 7 minutes once they ordered something.

After that, I kind of know what works and whats practical.

Also, I like the videos and the fact that you do it- I give you props for having balls and putting yourself out there like that.

Give me a shoutout and I'll send you some bright, nice and FRESH British tape

Nothing but love, keep it going <3
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stressed08 View Post
Looking at your pics I think you would benefit from the shelves no matter your variety of sizes. They are very large (64x20) and 3 shelves high... So you're tripling your floor space... Even if it's not "organized" per say. The plans I looked at were 4 shelves high but my ceiling was too low in basement. If you could go 4 high you're 4x'ing your floor space. Also, you can build each one custom.. Like one of mine leaves more room at the bottom for some larger boxes I have

That's really impressive I'm doing well but still working out of basement. I'd love a small warehouse like that. I see the two work stations..are there part time employees to list, and if so how are they paid? I really need help listing was thinking about hiring someone on a per item basis..

Edit nm I just got to that point in the video . My goal is 50 a week but I can't seem to hit it and still be out acquiring inventory! I was surprised to hear you're stuck at that number too despite having so many items coming in! There HAS to be a quicker way to list! I am going to try Auctiva software and hiring one employee a few hours a week I think
Shelves help no matter what, yes. But when you search youtube to find ways to organize eBay items you find a bunch of people saying to put all of your bowls in one place and all of your shirts in one place, etc. I have found that if I am listing 2 bowls in a row it is best to put them in random shelves as far away from each other as possible as to avoid confusion when I go to pick the bowl from B1 and I go there and find 7 different ones. Most systems use shelves to multiply floor space (mine has 10 levels and stores 1,000-1,250 items in 40 square feet) but if you are high volume with different sized items chaotic is the best system.

As for employees, I have tried so many different payment systems, not so much a percentage of sales because that would be somewhat annoying to keep track of. What I did originally did was pay $4 per hour + $1 for each item listed then I tried no hourly pay and $2 per item. Both of these systems were okay but to keep things simpler (and to make sure we aren't dropping below minimum wage) I have started to prefer a flat $10 per hour (minimum wage is $9.60 per hour in Connecticut). Your 50 items per week goal is very low in my opinion and it pains me so much that we have rarely ever listed much more than 200 on a good week with 4 people. The issue is not that it takes too long to list items (although I would LOVE to be able to do it faster and I actively work toward that goal every day that I am there).

There are 2 main issues that bring down our listing speed. With the way that I run my business LPH (listings per hour) is our most important metric and it basically trumps everything else. I have timed myself many times and with hundreds of hours of data I find that I steadily list about 7 items per hour on average which generates $70 per hour in revenue (7 items with a ~$20 average per item and a 6 month sellthrough rate of 50%). This is awesome but guess what; I have NEVER been the fastest at doing anything in my life, in school, I would always take the longest to finish classwork or to finish quizzes and I would get good grades but not the best. So why is it that nobody can come close to matching my 7 listings per hour while matching my listing quality?!?!?!

Anyway, my employees have typically averaged about 3-5 listings per hour and messed up on the listings that they created (even after weeks of training) and caused all sorts of issues. That is reason #1 why we create so little listings. Now, reason #2 is an even bigger one: I have never had any employees who were able to work regularly. Everyone has been flakey and basically only worked when they felt like it. If this were not the case or I could "clone" myself so to speak to become a full-time eBay lister we would be listing 280 items per week per person working 8 hours a day for 5 days a week.

So, to finally fix this problem after 2 years of suffering through it I finally decided to give up my faith in the lower levels of humanity and actually be picky about who I hire (I am not very social so hiring and meeting new people has always been difficult for me and I have had too much faith in humanity so in the past I would basically hire the first person who applied and try to teach them to be good [didn't work]). I posted the job of listing my items on eBay on a job board last week and received over 200 applicants. From there I narrowed it down to 45 using an online questionnaire and from there to 10. These 10 are going to be interviewed on Thursday, 9/29 by not only me but also a temporary hiring manager so that I can find the best of the best to work with

(Hopefully I hired the right hiring manager. Should I hire another hiring manager to tell me if I did? I bet he would say to hire himself instead. But what if he's right? Should I get a third opinion? Maybe I should hire a panel of hiring managers to all vote on which hiring manager to hire. They probably shouldn't be able to vote for themselves. I might as well just hire all of the hiring managers to vote on which employee to hire at this point. I guess I'll just stick with my original hiring manager and call it a day).


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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Thats very, very low number of items per hour! I have timed myself for a about a year now and I manage to list around 25-30 items per hour.
I hardly ever sell one item twice, but I have managed to create templates that I can use and after a while I know whats the best way to describe something and what "key aspects" my customers are interested in.

Also what helps is grouping similar items together, same categories, perhaps brands and other similarities.
That means you don't have to jump from describing vintage Nikon camera lens, to Art-Deco style coffee table.

Where do you get your stock, house clearence?
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

How long have you been doing this? You're where I want to be next year... So cool to see the process you have going, and the process I'm working towards.

I was going to pay my people $5 an item... Perhaps that's a little high. I might try the hourly plus $1 an item. How do your employees know what everything is? I was thinking of getting clear plastic bags and bagging and tagging each item as it comes in, along with title I want, and item value. Written on a note card, or a pre-printed form with everything down to the number of characters in the title printed out, so I can make effective titles in the alloted space. The only problem is my handwriting is aweful haha so good luck to whoever lists it. I also considered using eBay Valet for 20% additional. My margins allow for it, I just don't know if they'll follow my suggestions. (With 100% sell through I really know my market... But they're the 'listing experts).

I'm making 6-8x return per item, with 90% sell thorough rate the first month, 100% sell through overall. I need to be out finding more sources of inventory, expanding my product lines, and improving the process.. Listing just takes so much time out of the day. Do you use any auction software? I'm excited for Auctiva.. Since I'll only have to make a listing once for every item, and save the template. As opposed to some items I'll have to create 5 entirely new listings for a year... If I sold them more than 60 days ago

I did 19 listings an hour the one day... I just can't sit here listing for 10 hours and still focus on building the business :/. You spend so much time listing, it's like a full time job! Without telling us what you sell... Does your inventory come to you? I can't imagine working 40 hours a week listing and still source new inventory.

Last edited by stressed08; 09-23-2016 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 09-23-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Quote:
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Thats very, very low number of items per hour! I have timed myself for a about a year now and I manage to list around 25-30 items per hour.
I hardly ever sell one item twice, but I have managed to create templates that I can use and after a while I know whats the best way to describe something and what "key aspects" my customers are interested in.

Also what helps is grouping similar items together, same categories, perhaps brands and other similarities.
That means you don't have to jump from describing vintage Nikon camera lens, to Art-Deco style coffee table.

Where do you get your stock, house clearence?
I have heard of sellers listing about 30 items per hour with templates but that tends to be, like you said, with items of the same category. More importantly, this is usually when they already know what they are going to list. We get our items mostly from cleaning out estates and from donations to our thrift store a few towns over among other sources. We look up basically everything so only maybe 10% of what we sort tho\\
]ugh actually ends up on eBay and the job becomes as much sorting as it is listing. To list an item you need to first find something worthy of being listed (a very similar one has sold on eBay in the past for $7 or more +shipping) then it is photographed, measured, and put on the shelf and it's location is recorded. I rarely get "collections" where I have 50 items of the same category that can all be listed for sure.


Quote:
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How long have you been doing this? You're where I want to be next year... So cool to see the process you have going, and the process I'm working towards.

I was going to pay my people $5 an item... Perhaps that's a little high. I might try the hourly plus $1 an item. How do your employees know what everything is? I was thinking of getting clear plastic bags and bagging and tagging each item as it comes in, along with title I want, and item value.

I'm making 6-8x return per item, with 90% sell thorough rate the first month, 100% sell through overall. I need to be out finding more sources of inventory, expanding my product lines, and improving the process.. Listing just takes so much time out of the day. Do you use any auction software? I'm excited for Auctiva.. Since I'll only have to make a listing once for every item, and save the template. As opposed to some items I'll have to create 5 entirely new listings for a year... If I sold them more than 60 days ago

I did 19 listings an hour the one day... I just can't sit here listing for 10 hours and still focus on building the business :/
I did this full time from about 2013 to 2014 and then opened the thrift store in early 2015 and it has been taking up most of my time but I am starting to get back into working at the warehouse a little again now. I think that you should be careful about who you hire and make sure you talk to multiple potential employees before you make a hire. As for payment I did $4 per hour + $1 per item for my first hire because it was a friend and I didn't want to force him to work for free if we got distracted from listing to work on something else but to at the same time encourage him to list items more than do other types of work. If you aren't hiring a friend and are hiring someone to work regularly then you should probably pay hourly. If it is something done occasionally then a set payment per item listed could work (make it work out to something close to $10 per hour). Another system I've tried which can be done with either hourly or with per item is goal related bonuses. For example, you get $2 per item but if you do 200 within a 7 day period you get a $50 bonus.

My employees' main job is exactly what you said you would do so that your employees wouldn't have to; to determine what each item is, determine it's value, and create a title for it's listing. I would imagine that you are selling higher value goods if you have a 100% sell through rate. We do not sell any items for less than $9.99 on eBay unless we have an unusually large quantity of them but our average selling price is in the $20-$25 range. Auctiva is great if you are getting banned from eBay a lot but definitely also try to correct the source of your bans. I am personally torn between Auctiva and the normal simplified listing creator on eBay. I like that I can just click sell one like this instead of having to switch tabs but having a template to fill in your policies and generic descriptions that and the ability to automatically backup your pictures probably makes Auctiva a little better although you need to be 90 days into your eBay account before you can start using them.

Also, you really need to understand the value of one piece flow, just in time, and many other lean concepts in this business. Don't make the mistake of paying for excess inventory when you haven't listed what you have already. I actually used to buy from auctions and things like that but once I learned about lean I stopped buying. The reason why the warehouse is still so crowded is because I am to the point where I have people literally paying me hundreds of dollars to take away their thousands of dollars worth of stuff we have nobody processing the inventory consistently. You have to list everything that you own BEFORE you go out and buy anything more. Don't make the same mistakes that I did :/

Last edited by Emporium; 09-23-2016 at 09:22 PM.
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

I got flamed for 'non stealth' related posts but this is seriously the best post here in a long time. Stealth is great and all, but strategy is the difference beteeen a 25k hobby and a $250k business.

I love your idea about the bonus.. I think I will run some numbers and do that instead of the high $5 an item I planned on. It's a Facebook friend that does what I do on a smaller scale.. But I'm worried once he gets my product list and realizes its value (the 100% sell thru) he may go from friend to competition. At the same time, he's he only person that understands my industry.

I don't do high value items, but that's one of the areas I want to use my extra free time to work on. I typically buy for $2.50 sell for $25, buy for $5 sell for $50, or buy for $10 sell for 100 when possible. I would love to research often and find more $20 items worth $200, or $30 items worth $300.

Not sure how Auctiva would be at an advantage to a banned user, but I'm a legit store that had 3 cases closed without resolution... Forced to use an old (ironically better placement) account. Which has really improved my business, blessing in disguise. I was worried Auctiva might effect my placement...... I hope that's not the case.

Thank you for the tip about excess inventory.. But my selections are 100% guarantee to sell, and tend to increase in value rather than decrease. The more I buy, the more I WILL sell. I originally tried to make 10x my money on each item... To account for 50% not selling. To my surprise, I nail it consistently with 100% sell through. (Also... I am buying no more than 3 of each item... I'm not over-doing it... But creating a situation that once one sells I can click "list similar" and sell another almost immediately. My stock is my strength not my downfall... I believe you make money when you buy, not when you sell.

Last edited by stressed08; 09-23-2016 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 09-24-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

I think most people are for stealth reasons- Its not a forum on how to START an online business, its more geared towards how to boucne back after eBay has taken one from behind, without lube.

I'm SURE there are great business forums out there, online related or not.
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Old 09-25-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phaz0rz View Post
You should really look into it. Totally worth the $10 just to hear something other than ripping tape all day.
I have T.V's and Kodi. My niche is pretty uniform. When inventory comes in it's photoed, boxed, weighed and sorted. Unless it's inventory day, all I have to do in most cases is print, stick and mail from the comfort of my wherever. If I did what you do, I'd probably do the same thing. Keep doing what you do and good luck on the new hires.
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Old 09-26-2016
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Default Re: What Does Your Physical eBay Operation Look Like?

To be honest you need some shelving or racks. I use a humongous amount of these style wire cubes for storing products. I use to get some great ones from Room Essentials the Target Brand. Unfortunately they stopped making them and I am having trouble find some decent quality ones as I expand.


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