Sunday, June 7, 2015

Big time profits

In my last blog piece, I carried on about the greatness of selling smalls. Easy to store, ship and sell, smalls have a lot to like. But on the opposite end, selling big stuff has it's own rewards too. Don't get me wrong, I'll take a "small" sale over bigs any day of the week. But lately, I've been doing pretty good with flipping big stuff too. Since most big items are too large and heavy to ship, my biggies are sold through Craigslist. An added bonus includes no annoying eBay fees, or dealing with postage that can eat into your profits. Let me share a few of my recent biggies that turned into "big" bucks.

Retro Sixties Bike
One of my cooler "big" scores happened just a few weeks ago. Mrs. Dude and I were out for dinner on a Sunday night at our favorite local watering hole. You might think we would be "normal" while at the restaurant and just dine while enjoying the glorious wall-to-wall flat screens that are everywhere. But no, not us. With Apple iPhone in hand, we periodically check in on the local Facebook yard sale group just in case something good pops up. In this case, it did. Just about the time our waitress brought out our food, an awesome looking bike was posted up for sale on our yard sale group! The bike looked like it came straight out of the Sixties. It had a classic "banana" seat, high chopper handlebars and a cool front spring suspension. The seller, a frequent lister on FB, was asking $30 for the bike. Mrs. Dude showed me the listing and asked if I was interested? Taking a swig of my beer, I did some quick calculating in my head. I came to the conclusion that at thirty bucks, I knew I could at least make my money back and then some. At that, Mrs. Dude claimed the bike with a simple "interested" in the comment section. The bike was now ours! Just that fast, while sitting in the pub section of our favorite restaurant, we scored another potentially sweet deal. You gotta love technology!

After another half hour of burgers, beverages and Facebook, we headed out to pick up the bike. As luck would have it, the seller lived only a few minutes away from the restaurant. It was dusk when we arrived at the seller's home and he was waiting for me at his front door. The bike was positioned under his porch light, so I gave it a quick once over. It looked as nice as it did in the FB photos. I was definitely a buyer, but in order to do a proper write up for my Craigslist ad, I tried to get a little background information on the bike. This turned out to be Mission Impossible! I asked the seller how old the bike was? He played, dumb, claiming not to know. Striking out on my first question, I then asked where he got the bike? He cracked a lame joke, saying he found it on the street. I fake laughed, then tried to push him further, asking if the bike came from Walmart, Target or some other place? As the guy danced around the question, it was becoming obvious to me he bought the bike at a yard sale and had no information to give. Being that he was a kindred spirit, I dropped the inquisition, handed over thirty bucks and hoisted the bike into the back of Mrs. Dude's car.

A few days later, I posted my "old school" chopper bike on Facebook for $75. It didn't take long before a buyer e-mailed, asking if I would take $65 dollars? That was more then double what I paid for the bike, so I had no problem letting it go! The next day, the buyer was at my door with three crisp twenties and a five dollar bill. A nice $35 dollar profit on my big score!

Like the bike, another biggie flip also came courtesy of Facebook. A few months ago, I bought this very large, Little Tikes pedal car.
Little Tikes Pedal Car
The price was only ten dollars. These cars were made a good fifteen to twenty years ago, but were discontinued. It runs on pedal power and steers via the handles on the sides.  If I were a kid, I think this car would be a blast to drive! Doing some research, I noticed that Little Tikes pedal cars don't show up on eBay very often. When they do, some sellers ask over a hundred bucks for them. However, the main problem with trying to sell these pedal cars on eBay is the high shipping costs. To find out what it might cost me to ship, I took my pedal car to the local UPS store. After throwing it on the scale and measuring for length and width, the UPS clerk estimated shipping to be around two hundred dollars! With that high price, I decided to stick with  selling locally on Craigslist. It wasn't easy. The car sat for almost two months waiting for a buyer to come along. I finally unloaded the car for $35 bucks. Not gangbusters considering the time, storage space and effort I put into it, but I'll take a $25 dollar profit anytime.

Chevy Bel Air Pedal Car
Moving on to my last "biggie" flip, we have this awesome looking Chevy Bel Air pedal car. This is a reproduction piece made to look like the old pedal cars from back in the day. I bought it at my favorite little thrift shop. Dana, the manager of the store, knocked a few bucks off the car at my request, bringing the price down to eighty dollars. That's still a lot of dough in my book, but I just couldn't leave this cool car behind in the thrift store. I bit the bullet knowing that even at that high price, there was still money to be made on the car. When I got the pedal car back to MoneyintheGarage headquarters, I searched for similar models on the Internet. Turns out, these cars can sell for over two hundred dollars on some websites. Ideally, this car would have been the perfect item to sell during holidays to maximize the profit, but six months is way too long to keep it around. Instead, I posted the Chevy on Craigslist for $125 in order to make a quick sale and get it out of the garage. After a few weeks on Craigslist, a nice Grandma E-mailed me. She told me she wanted the car for her grandson and offered $110 dollars. Who can you say no to a nice grandmother, right? Not me, that's for sure. I gladly accepted her offer, making a $30 profit on the car. Another successful biggie flip!

So whether it's big or small, I am all about keeping the stuff moving through the MoneyintheGarage warehouse and counting my $$$.  How about you?  Sell any biggies lately? Share your story in the comment section below.....

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