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Finding Low-Cost Treasures to Sell

How to find small, everyday bargains that can translate to big profits on eBay.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've read the success stories, and now you're ready tomove from eBay buyer to eBay seller. The challenge is findingproducts to sell that people will buy, preferably at a premiumprice.

Start the search under your own roof, scanning your closets,rummaging around in your garage and opening those long-forgottenboxes in the attic.

Once you've exhausted these options, consider your ownskills and interests for ideas on finding product. Tim Stallard,35, and Todd McGohan, 40, made their golf addiction the link to asuccessful business, (eBay User ID:proshopwarehouse), which had about $10 million in sales last year.They began by selling their own used golf equipment. Satisfied withthe response, they turned next to their network of golf enthusiastsfor more supply. The first stop was a golf pro shop at a localcountry club, where a friend sold them $5,000 worth of liquidatedequipment. "From there, we started looking for more people weknew in the golf business," Stallard says. The effortstretched from the company's base in Franklin, Ohio, to otherareas of the state and beyond.

Product sources are only as limited as your imagination. Afriend eager to be rid of a dusty record collection could turn intoan eBay windfall. More traditional sources are garage sales, thriftshops, going-out-of-business sales, real estate and storage siteauctions, and even junkyards. "You can make an extra $500 to$1,000 a month going to garage sales and thrift shops," saysSkip McGrath, eBay PowerSeller and principal of Vision-One Press inAnacortes, Washington, which publishes McGrath's newsletter andbooks about eBay. "Virtually anything sells."

It helps to be a shopaholic with a knack for finding deals likeMargaret Demopoulos, 40, of Durham, New Hampshire (eBay User ID:goatbeard). She haunts local retailers and outlets looking fordeeply discounted items, reasoning that the greater discount, thegreater the potential profit. One past success was with LeapPads, achildren's educational toy, bought for $9 each and sold for $21each on eBay.

Sun W. Kim, 30, recognized an eBay opportunity in a bucket fullof computer cables at a Los Angeles flea market. He paid 50 cents acable and sold them on eBay for $10 each. Another flea market visitturned up older versions of the popular Crystal Reports businessreporting software in unopened packages for $2 each that Kim soldfor an average of $350 each. Kim (eBay User ID: tekgems) has sincestarted sourcing straight from manufacturers (check out"Bigger Deals" on page 52). His San Francisco company,TekGems, grossed $300,000 in 2004.

Marsha Collier, author of Starting an eBay Business for Dummies, andher daughter Susan used their knowledge of the fashion world totake advantage of $450 Fendi handbags selling for $200 at Costco.They sold for $350 each on eBay. Says Collier, "Most successstories on eBay are from people who sell what they know."

Find It Online
Where to go to source products online:

Source: Starting an eBay Business for Dummies, MarshaCollier

Julie Monahan is a writer in Seattle whose articles on smallbusiness and emerging technology have appeared in numerous consumerand trade magazines.

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