Friday, August 30, 2013

Instep with baby jogging strollers

Jogging strollers are a beautiful thing. I've blogged about these unique strollers in the past and they continue to be a dependable money maker for me! People who sell them at garage sales have a complete disconnect when it comes to understanding their value and popularity. Many practically give them away at their garage sales! Maybe it's because they incorrectly assume only "joggers" will buy them? I am also surprised more garage sale pickers don't scoop them up for resale. While I often have to outhustle my fellow pickers to snag popular stuff like vintage trains, old radios or toys, I have almost no competition when it comes to buying strollers. Maybe it's because strollers have become part of the scenery at most garage sales and buyers overlook them? Whatever it is...I ain't complaining! I've always made great money on every jogging stroller I've flipped. This past Saturday was no exception.

The stroller I found this time was the "Expedition" model by Baby Trend. I came across it at a very busy, multi-house garage sale. Arriving at the sale at the late hour of 9:30 AM, the stroller was sitting out in the driveway for anyone to see! I made note of the stroller to myself, then looked around some more. Passing on the various toys and household items tossed around on blankets, I doubled back for a second look at the stroller. Leaning down to take a look, I immediately noticed the stroller was in near-new condition. Given it's pristine shape, I figured it was a well meaning gift to a mom or dad who didn't like to go jogging. This was further evidenced by some cobwebs scattered in the spokes of the wheels.

The seller was a young dad who was hustling around his driveway. He seemed to be somewhat distracted, moving junk from here to there with no apparent plan. As he consolidated some toys. I asked what he wanted for the stroller? Still distracted with other things, he managed to focus long enough to quote me a price $20 dollars. Right then and there, I could have easily peeled off a twenty dollar bill and scored a great deal. But what fun would that have been? Squeezing the tires, I pointed out to Young Dad that all three were flat. This got his attention. Walking over, he explained that the tires were flat because the stroller had been stored unused in his garage for a long time. Grabbing a bicycle pump from his garage, he offered to pump up the tires. While he pumped away, I ran across the street to check out a neighbor's yard sale. By the time I returned, Young Dad had all three tires inflated. Conducting my squeeze test, I agreed that the tires now seemed nice and firm. Inflated or not, I still had to toss out a lower offer. After a few more tire squeezes, I asked Young Dad if he'd take $15 dollars for the stroller? Although I thought my low ball offer might irritate him,Young Dad actually agreed to the price without batting an eye. He even folded the stroller up for me, making it a lot easier to stow in my truck.

While I love to sell jogging strollers, they can be a real pain to store. Because of this, I am always looking to flip my strollers fast! I pulled my latest score out of the truck and lugged it directly to the back yard for it's photo shoot. Starting with it folded up, I covered all the angles from high to low. Since it was practically brand new, the stroller looked awesome from any angle! After taking lots of shots, I rolled the stroller to the side of the house to await it's new owner. Thirty minutes latest acquisition was up for sale on Craigslist. Check it out.....

Baby Trend Expedition Jogging Stroller... Like New - $75 

Gorgeous Baby Trend Expedition Jogging Stroller packed full of handy features. This stroller is like-new. Saw almost zero use by previous owner and it shows! The upholstery is in nice, clean condition, no spots, stains, rips or tears.

# Lightweight steel frame - Lightweight for storage and easy to push
# 5-point safety harness - Extra security and comfort for baby
# Retractable canopy for extra sun protection. Features clear plastic peek-a-boo window to check on baby
# 16" Quick release wheels - For a smooth ride and compact storage
# Bicycle style hand brake - Easy and smooth braking
# Recline seat - Additional comfort for baby
#Jogger tether/safety strap to attach to your wrist.
#Fixed front wheel.
# High top canopy - Increases internal head room.
# Under-seat storage basket - Additional storage space.
# Parent console/dashboard...great for beverages and other items.

Hurry before it's gone!

It might look like I put a lot of work and time in creating this listing. But in reality, it took all of five minutes to whip up! Having been in the jogging stroller re-sale business for some time, I have plenty of deleted CL listings to draw from. Once I access my CL account, I just edit a previous listing. Normally this consists of  changing the name of the stroller model and swapping out new pictures. I also make a point to state whether the stroller has a fixed or pivot front wheel. I've found that some nit-picky buyers prefer a pivoting front wheel over the fixed wheel. A pivot wheel is a little easier to jog with, but with an easy tip of the handlebar, a fixed wheel strollers turn just as easy. But no matter what wheel was on the front, I knew this stroller was going to sell fast!

Fast came the very next day. A young police officer e-mailed me to say he'd like to buy the stroller. I called him to back to give him my address. After our nice chat, I concluded he was a rookie who hadn't learned the art of negotiation yet. During our conversation, he volunteered he'd bring the exact dollar amount so that I wouldn't have to make any change. This told me he intended to pay full asking price for the stroller. Later that day, the young fella showed up on my doorstep. He gave me a few business like "Yes Sirs", then forked over $75 big ones for the stroller!

Before the weekend had ended, I flipped another jogging stroller. The $60 dollar profit I made proved once again that jogging strollers are an easy, big bucks sale!

Have you tried your luck with baby strollers? If so, tell us how you did in the comment section below....

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pottery Barn sells shuffleboards, right?

I am starting to get the knack for staging things. Last week, I staged a wood table in my backyard, flipping a twenty dollar investment into $75 dollars. Flush with confidence over my new found skills, I tried my luck again and staged another garage sale find. How'd it turn out you ask? I am proud to say I am now two for two!  

She said take it!
Days after my righteous $75 dollar farm table flip, I was at it again at the morning yard sales. I stopped at a women's garage sale that I've been to in years past. I can't quite figure the lady out. She sells exclusively "antiques" at her sales, so I think she may have had an actual store at one time. Since I am not an antique guy, I didn't plan to spend much time at her sale. After  a quick look, followed by paging through some old college year books she had for sale, I was ready to leave. I then noticed an old wood shuffleboard propped up against a tree. It stood about six feet tall and had an aged coat of red and gray paint which gave it a nice shabby chic look. Brass hooks had also been added to the board, which the antique lady used to hang some handbags on. On a lark, I asked what she wanted for the old shuffleboard? Being an old pro, she flipped the question back at me, asking what I would give her for it? Since old shuffleboards have never been on my "must-have" list, I really didn't care if the hunk of wood came home with me or not. I fearlessly threw out the crazy-low number of five bucks. To my surprise, she told me to take it and began hurriedly pulling the purses off the hooks! 

I was now the proud owner of a six foot plank of wood. At only five bucks though, I wasn't stressing about making my money back. In fact, I began immediately thinking about my farm table flip and hoped to do the same thing with the shuffleboard. Antique lady was not done wheeling and dealing with me however. As I slid the shuffleboard into the back of my truck she shouted across the street, asking how much would I give her for the old yearbooks? Going for broke, I silently held out my five outstretched fingers toward her. Her reaction told me I pushed my luck too far. Throwing her hands up in the air, she shouted back, "What? That's only a dollar a yearbook!" As she turned and stormed up her driveway, I sheepishly tried to explain that's all the yearbooks were worth to me. (The yearbooks were fifty years old. I really don't think any of the-now, 75 year old graduates are looking to buy them back.)

Once home from the garage sales, I sat down for lunch and began discussing my next flipping brainstorm with Mrs. Dude. Visualizing another "Pottery Barn" photo shoot featuring the shuffleboard, I asked Mrs. Dude if she had any "stringy" things I could drape on the board's hooks? I guess I wasn't explaining my concept very well because Mrs. Dude looked at me quizzically, "What do you mean stringy?"  I gulped down the last bite of my sandwich and tried to explain my artistic concept, "You know...old rope type stuff I can drape over the hooks... shabby chic...antique things...stuff like that." Mrs. Dude thought for a moment, then suggested I use the Christmas berry garland she uses every year to decorate the dining room chandelier. Mrs. Dude was on to something! The garland always looked great on the chandelier...hopefully the same great look would transfer to the shuffleboard. After retrieving the garland from the Christmas boxes, I went about "Pottery Barning" the shuffleboard for a Craigslist. Here's how it turned out......

Shabby Chic Shuffleboard Foyer Hall Piece Antique - $60 

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Take a look at this wonderful vintage shuffleboard that is now doubling as a foyer hall piece. This vintage piece stands just over five feet high. It seems like it started life as an old shuffleboard. It has some age to it and looks like it was painted with some red barn paint. Along the way someone added brass hooks, turning it into an adorable decorative piece. This old shuffleboard would look beautiful in your shabby chic, vintage room.

Let your creativity run wild and take this one-of-a kind piece home! : )

I think you'd agree the photos turned out pretty awesome. You may have also noticed when reading the description that it doesn't sound like your favorite Dude speaking. That's because when it comes to furniture, my audience is usually a women buyer. I have an unscientific, but accurate theory, that women prefer to buy from another women. (I think the same applies to men too...guys would rather deal with another guy when buying or selling.) Given this sexist theory, my Craigslist description was written to create the impression that a women was selling the shuffleboard. It's not difficult for me to write this way. I just listen to Mrs. Dude when she's talking to one of her girlfriends. She uses words like "wonderful" and "adorable" in her conversations. She also inserts smiley face emoticons at the end of her e-mails : )

Apparently my writing style worked. Two days after posting my CL listing, "Evelyn" e-mailed back saying she wanted to buy the shuffleboard. But now the problem became-do I break character, answering as "Dude", or do I continue my ruse?  In Evelyn's case, I continued my little act and typed Mrs. Dude's name at the end of my e-mails. (With smile face). Evelyn quickly wrote back, telling Mrs. Dude she'd be over to pick up the shuffleboard that evening.

You might think this Craigslist charade is all a little deceptive. Don't worry....I made it all better in the end. After a quick briefing as to who was coming over to pick up the shuffleboard, the real Mrs. Dude answered the door! Mrs. Dude proceeded to speak with Evelyn for a couple minutes on the front porch, while I popped out with the shuffleboard. (Such a helpful husband!) After Evelyn handed over sixty large to Mrs. Dude, I carried the old shuffleboard down to her car. Mrs. Dude had turned...whoops.... I mean, I just turned $5 bucks into Sixty dollars ! It was....Wonderful! : )

Just like the farm table flip, proper staging and some well placed items retrieved from the Christmas box made this another awesome flip! Share your flips and suggestions in the comment section below.....
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Discount Pottery Barn Furniture

Last week I was struck with the sudden urge to improve the shipping department at Money in the Garage studios. In a nutshell, I use the same table when photographing merchandise and wrapping packages to ship. This can be a real pain, particularly when I have to constantly clear the table of shipping tape and packing material in order to photograph items. Deciding it was time to get more efficient, I searched Craigslist for a table I could use exclusively for wrapping packages. Within minutes, I found a sturdy looking table that could fit the bill. But being a seasoned Craigslist seller myself, I had to chuckle at the listing's lame photograph. It looked like the seller had put zero effort in photographing the table. In fact, the photo had all the charm of a police mug shot. But despite the ugly photo, the table looked like it would suit my needs for a wrapping table. The seller wanted $35 for the table and four mismatched chairs. I e-mailed her, saying I was interested in the table only. After exchanging a few more e-mails, I headed to the seller's house to check it out.

Epic photo fail!
It was dark out when I arrived at the young couple's house. The husband met me at the front door and I followed him into their second floor condo. As I reached the top of the steps, I was greeted by a funny little kid who seemed to be very entertained by my sudden presence in his home. The little guy asked me who I was? For laughs, I shrugged my shoulders and apologized for not being Santa Claus. As the kid continued to grin at me, I assured him that the big guy would actually be at his house in five months! While the youngster continued to badger his mom about me, I began looking over the table.

The seller explained that her father had built the table by hand. Shaking the table, I could tell her father did a quality job. There was very little shaking and looseness you sometimes find with old tables. Although I appreciated her father's labor of love, I explained that I was only looking for a table to wrap packages on. This was my way of telling her I wasn't going to spend much money for something destined to be a work table. After a little more shaking and tapping of wood, I offered $20 for the table. Before the young mom could offer a reply her hubby jumped in saying, "We'll take it." A few minutes later the old table was in the back of my truck and heading home with me.

Stoked about my new wrapping table, I couldn't wait to get it downstairs to the basement. Sonny boy and I each grabbed an end and headed to the stairs. But despite my useful directions, ordering Sonny boy to lift here and push there, we quickly ran into a slight problem. The table was too big for the basement stairwell! Adding to the dilemma, the crafty father who built the table made the legs so sturdy that they couldn't be removed! With the legs unable to be detached, no amount of pushing and pulling was going to squeeze the big table down the stairs. Faced with this roadblock, we retreated to the living room and dropped the heavy table in the center of the floor. Knowing Mrs. Dude's was not looking for a new addition to her favorite room, I hastily came up with a new plan. I would re-sell the table!

Regrouping, I now focused on my new goal of selling the table I'd just bought! The day after our stairwell fiasco, sonny boy and I lugged the table into the backyard for some picture taking. In my view, the table had all the markings of a Pottery Barn table. I visualized how it would look in the Pottery Barn catalogue with flowers and a bowl of fruit or vegetables artfully placed in the center. Fortunately for me, Mrs. Dude just happen to have a vase of sunflowers on her kitchen counter. I grabbed the flowers, along with a bowl containing our (delicious) home grown summer tomatoes. As I headed back outside, Mrs. Dude warned me to be careful with the actually was from Pottery Barn! (Not sure how Mrs. Dude came across a Pottery Barn bowl....that's an investigation for a later time.)

Positioning the table outside in natural light was the first step towards a great photograph. Adding the bowl full of tomatoes and sun flowers on the center of the table was the cherry on top. The flowers and fruit looked great against the table's dark wood grain. With those stylish flairs, I'd achieved the "Pottery Barn" look and instantly added value to the table!

After taking a bunch of photos, I posted my "Pottery Barn Style" table on Craigslist. As discussed in previous blogs, the Pottery Barn name is pure gold-both on eBay and Craigslist. Knowing this, I made ample use of  "Pottery Barn" in my title and description. The listing turned out pretty good! Check it out....

Beautiful Kitchen Farm Table Pottery Barn Style Solid! - $75 

Take a look at this beautiful all wood farm table. This solid table would look right at home in the Pottery Barn catalog. Measures 48" by 35"... Not too big-not too small. Very solid with substantial legs. A few dings here or there but that gives it character. The only reason it's for sale is because I can't fit it through my stairwell! My loss is your gain !

I am not sure what it was...the flowers, tomatoes or just the whole package-but the table sold fast. The very next day, a buyer paid me the asking price of $75 dollars! That was a profit of $55 bucks in the span of 48 hours. This was the very same table that languished on CL with no takers only days half the price I was asking!

This table flip proves that taking time to stage and add some creativity to a listing will pay you back every time! The original seller's photo and description were so bad, she ended up settling for $20 bucks just to get rid of it! I took the time to stage some nice shots and write a winning description and earned $55 bucks for the extra effort. Be creative and you'll be rewarded!

How have you done lately? Let us know in the comment section below....Dude!

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Free game system ....just for showing up!

Josh hooked me up with this freebie!
As demonstrated in last week's blog, when it comes to giving advise, I sometimes end up shooting myself in the foot. You might remember my story about Josh, a young guy running a yard sale. I made an off-handed suggestion that he use the words "old timer's garage sale" in his next Craigslist listing. This caused the garage sale sharks to to show up in droves at his house that fateful morning! Unfortunately for me, the early birds cleaned out Josh's garage before I could even step foot in his driveway! Once I did arrive, finding anything of value was similar to arriving late to Thanksgiving dinner-nothing but crumbs and cold leftovers! Josh's garage sale had been picked clean! But as I wandered around what was left of the sale, I eyed an old game system. It was an Atari Lynx system in the original carrying case. As I looked it over, Josh told me it was his old gaming system going back to when he was a teenager. He  further told me that the console wasn't working anymore. Talk about your crummy leftovers. I was left with nothing but a broken down game system-sheesh!

Probably feeling a little sorry for me for missing out on the early morning deals, Josh told me I could have the game system for free. He pointed out that there were a few game cartridges inside the case too. I opened up the Velcro pack and counted about a dozen small games tucked inside. Doing some quick calculations in my head, I guessed the system was from the late 1980's. Since some vintage game systems can go for big money, I figured maybe this freebie could salvage my busted trip to Josh's sale. I thanked Josh for giving me his old game system, adding that I'd "play around with it." In reality this is Dude speak for, "I am selling it on eBay!"

If you find  this game-congrats!
Josh was right about his game console-it didn't work. But I still had a bunch of games that could have sales potential. When researching games, I always type in each and every title on eBay hoping to find that one, super rare game that's worth thousands of dollars. This obsessiveness is rooted in a real life eBay success story. A few years ago, a woman innocently posted a Nintendo game system with a a bunch of duty old games. Thinking she would sell the whole lot for a hundred bucks or so, she was shocked to watch the bids rise into the thousands. The reason? One game in her auction lot was extremely rare. The game, Bandai's "Stadium Events" is known to have only 200 copies in circulation.  When collectors spotted Stadium Events in the auction lot, the bids went through the roof. The auction closed at an unbelievable $13,100 dollars! Now you know why I look up!

After doing my eBay look-ups, I found that while I didn't have a rare copy of Stadium Events, I did have a game called "Lemmings".
Sold to a chap in Great Britain!
I learned that Lemmings is a pretty big deal with buyers from England. Seeing it's popularity among U.K. collectors, I posted the game for a "Buy It Now" price of $50 dollars. Proving my research was spot-on, it sold just hours later to a chap in England! With my best game now sold, I posted the remaining games and the broken console in one big lot. Seven days later, the system and the games sold for $29 dollars!

So even though I arrived late for the party at Josh's garage sale, I still received a great consolation prize! Josh's freebie netted me a total of $79 dollars-not bad for a garage sale leftover!

Have you scored any freebies that made you some nice money? Share your story in the comment section.....

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