Thursday, June 24, 2010

Use your powers to do good!

There are times in this business when you can use your sharply honed skills to do some good for others. Sort of like when the Grinch's heart grew three times as big and he saved Christmas! That happened to me right on the street where I live.

About a year ago my neighbor was in a car accident. Fortunately he was ok, but his Toyota Sienna Mini Van was totalled. This seat survived unscathed and my neighbor put it out to the curb for trash one summer night. Seeing this perfectly good car seat down the street, my trash picking instincts kicked in! I walked down to his house and like a good neighbor, informed him that he may be throwing away money. He agreed with me, but being a young and busy family guy, he claimed not to have the time to sell it. I owed him a favor, so what better way to pay him back then to sell it for him? I told him not to worry...I would take care of the sale. I dragged the heavy sucker back down to my house and took some quick digital photos. By the end of the evening the Toyota seat was up on Craigslist.

As days past into several weeks, I wondered if I had seriously overestimated the huge pent-up demand for mini-van rear seats! I ended up living with that stupid seat in my garage for over a month. But I was determined to sell the thing, I had boldly placed my "wheeler-dealer" reputation on the line! A few more weeks past and after starting at $75, it finally sold for $36. (They sell for $175 at Toyota). The buyer told me he was going to retro-fit it into the bed of his pick-up truck. Hey whatever floats your boat, right?

Thinking ahead, I knew my buddy would not accept the cash from me, so I cleverly converted the profits into a case of his favorite imported beer. I knew he would not refuse this! When he answered his front door he found me with beer in hand grinning from ear to ear! He couldn't believe I sold the dumb thing and laughed as he accepted his profits from the sale. I even had a little money leftover and treated myself to a six-pack. This was my sales commission! I sipped that brew with a sense of pride, I helped out my neighbor by converting his trash into beer: a win-win for both of us!

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Take my stroller.....please!

Do you want a "sure thing" to buy at yard sales and sell on Ebay or Craigslist? It's an item that you can find at just about every other yard sale. We are talking baby strollers! You could literary go into the used baby stroller business (if you have the room) and do quite nicely. If you think about it, how many strollers do you see? Lots right? Strollers are everywhere, especially in communities with young growing families. But if you are like me, you probably have walked right past them at a yard sale. I did until I realized they can bring in big bucks.

Here is the deal with strollers: sellers just want them out of their house! Once a child is out of his or her stroller, these things become a major obstacle in a house or garage. So parents are highly motivated and practically give them away. More then once a Mom or Dad has pleaded to me, "Make me an offer, I don't want to push it back into the house!" Another reason people sell them cheap is they didn't pay for the stroller in the first place. It may have been a shower gift or the grandparents purchased it for them. So the financial hang-up isn't there. They got it for free, who cares what it sells for? But when negotiating price, always try to get the seller to quote you a number first. If they won't...low ball them. Throw out ten bucks at the most. I have had people sell me awesome strollers for as little as five bucks. Like I said, they just want them gone!

One cautionary note, before you buy look over the stroller carefully for damage such rips, bad stains, flat tires or worse. Some kids can be really hard on a stroller! Since there are plenty for sale, you can afford to be a little picky. I go for specialty strollers like jogging models, double strollers or the tandem/pull behind bike style strollers. Once you buy a stroller, the only major downside is storing it until it sells. I usually keep them in my garage or in the back of my truck bed. I have been using Craigslist as my main selling source. Who wants the hassle of shipping those bulky things? Plus you keep all the cash for yourself, no nasty Ebay or Pay Pal commission!

The one you see here was bought from a typical befuddled Dad who wanted it gone! The brand is called "Zooper" and they are basically the Humvees of strollers; big, tough and heavy. They easily sell new for for two to three hundred. Guess what his price was? He gave it to me for only five bucks! I then flipped my five dollar investment into 75 big ones! The new owners loved it, they were city dwellers and this was the perfect heavy duty stroller for big city living.

Baby strollers are your "sure thing" pick at the yard sales. Don't pass them by! If you have a yard sale sure thing, send me an e-mail and I'll pass it along!
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