Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On Batteries and postage costs

There is an overlooked fringe benefit to working in the garage sale industry. You may never have thought about this, but when you buy toys and electronics, a hidden bonus is inside just for you...batteries! Free batteries come with the territory and save you money over the long run. Of course, sometimes you'll buy a toy and the batteries are dead or corroded with acid. That's never a good thing. However, more often then not when I buy a toy the batteries are usually still good. The reason for this? Probably little Johnny hardly played with the toy, so the batteries stayed fresh. Prior to selling it, I always pop out and check toy batteries with a tester. If the batteries are good, I don't put them back in the toy, I store them away for future use in my TV remotes, garage door opener and other stuff.

Check out this picture of a Leapfrog Educational toy I recently bought for one dollar. When I opened up the battery compartment, I found not one...not two...not three....but four fresh AA batteries! While it may not seem like a big deal, let's do some math. I paid one dollar for a toy which contained four AA batteries. Think about what a four pack of AA batteries costs you at your local big box store. I'd say around $3.00 dollars right? So in reality, the dollar I spent for the toy comes right back to me because I am saving on the cost of batteries. Or look at it another way; I paid one dollar for a pack of (4) AA batteries and got a free toy with the deal! A little round-about logic but still true!

Another important issue with batteries is this....always take the the things out of a toy prior to shipping. While you may think you're providing a nice extra for the buyer, I say the following...... HORSE FEATHERS! Never, ever send batteries as part of the purchase! Does Mattel, Hasbro or any other toy company include batteries in their toys at time of purchase? Heck no and you shouldn't either! Why? Because they are dead weight! Without a doubt, the extra weight of the batteries in the toy will push your postage costs higher. You want to do everything you can to keep the weight of that package down. Who wants to pay more for postage? You could try to charge more to cover postage costs, but that's a big turn-off for buyers. And Ebay grabs a parentage of your shipping fee, while at the same time nagging sellers to keep postage fees down. You're in a "no-win" situation! So don't make the mistake of including batteries in a toy you sold. It will only make it harder on you financially. (Incidentally, I've found most buyers don't expect batteries to come with their toy)

So just consider free batteries a fringe benefit to the job. Have you found some other garage sale fringe benefits like free batteries? If so, give me a shout and I'll pass it along!
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  1. sort of like when you buy a lamp and the light bulb comes with it Score :-)

  2. Love this idea! I have been to a few yard sales that have take the batteries out of all the toys and give them to you just to test. This drives me crazy! I can understand though. Batteries can get expensive!


  3. Hi Dude! I've been visiting your blog regularly but became an official follower tonight to say thank you for this info. I was going to pose this very question on including batteries to Yard Sale Mommy now I don't have to. She may of course have a different opinion, but you make excellent points. Great blog BTW - I really enjoy your posts!!

    - jill

  4. Hi Jill- That's pretty timely right? I am glad you could use the information. Batteries are a definite no-go. YardSaleMommy (who's great buy the way) may have a different opinion, but we're usually on the same page on stuff. If you have any good eBay flips you want to tell us about let me know and I'll post it on the site. Thanks for checking in!

  5. What's this about ebay taking some of our shipping money? I guess I don't always read the updates (there are so many..and all of the time!!)

  6. This week I tested out the consignment sale market. You have to put batteries in toys for the items you sell there. So, I take the batteries out of the items I sell on Ebay and saved them for the toys I sold there.


  7. Hey GSA- Yep, Ebay takes a percentage of the shipping fee you charge to your buyer. They do it to discourage sellers from charging too much on shipping.

    Kim-Nice idea using them at the consignment shop. Great site too!

  8. Hey Dude.. do you know what that percentage is? I mean I charge just the amount for shipping the item and for the supplies I use. Let me know the details or a link that explains it. Also, it's Saturday morning (8:30 am)..been up since 4:30 am. Sat at my computer debating whether I should go "hunting" this morning. You know why (hint: garage situation).. There was one hot one I really wanted to go to, but it was like 10 miles away and if I was going to go to that one, I was going to go to all. I cannot help myself. Bargains are my addiction. So, I struggled.. tried to go back to sleep.. nah that didn't work. So, I surfed the web a bit and decided to do some selling this morning instead of buying. Boy does it itch though. Oh well, I hope you had some good ones. Oh yeah, one more thing. When you buy something, and you know it's more than you want to pay to make a profit, but still you will make a profit.. what is your percentage of what you want to make in order for you to buy it? Get what I am saying? Like there is this stroller for sale and they want $50 for it, I know I can flip it for at least $100.. maybe $125. Would you do it for that much? Knowing it's a big thing, gonna take up more room and you might have to spruce it up. What's you take on that? TTYL

  9. Hey GSA-Hope you get a good nights sleep tonight. If you're not going anywhere Sunday morning you should sleep in!LOL

    To answer your question about the stroller. If you can sell it for $100, that's well worth it, your doubling your money. And if they are asking $50, that really means they'll take $40 in my book.

    I did well this AM, speaking of strollers, I picked up a "Jeep" jogging stroller for only $20, I am pretty confident I can ask at least a hundred for it, ch-ching! If you went out this morning I hope you found some good stuff! ...Dude