Ever wonder what it’s like to be a full-time Ebay seller? Think it’s an easy life? Allow me to introduce you to Jay & Ryanne from the ScavengerLife.com. They are two full time Ebay sellers living in rural America and making a living off things people throw away. We got a chance to ask them a few questions about their jobs as Ebay sellers and to take a peak inside the inner workings of what it takes to make this lifestyle work.
Where do you source items to sell?
We call ourselves Scavengers because we find our inventory anywhere and everywhere. Yard sales, thrift stores, auctions, flea markets. The United States is exploding in abundance and waste. We can’t go outside our home and not find valuable items to sell. It’s a matter of training our eyes to look for it.
What was your most exciting sale to date?
Difficult question. The highest price we’ve ever sold an item for is about $1000 (a vintage camera). But the most exciting sales are items that people are about to throw away and go into the landfill…until we pick it up, see the value, and sell it to someone who will gives it a new life. That happens every day.
Which 5 items are always on your watch list?
Anything made of wool, wood, leather, or metal. We love the vintage, weird items that often were produced at a much higher quality than we see these days. These items often don’t have tags or branding, but you can tell its value by the quality of the materials.
How long have you been selling?
We started selling on eBay in 2008 when the economy crashed. We were just looking for a way to make some extra money. Had no idea it would turn into a way of life.
We do a weekly podcast about our adventures at http://scavengerlife.com.
How has eBay changed?
We hear from people who were selling on eBay in 1999 and they complain about eBay changing. But change is necessary. The online selling world is so much different in 2016 than it was in 1999. eBay has much more competition and buyers are much more sophisticated. If eBay remained the same, it wouldn’t exist today. Change or die. More and more people are buying online so things are just getting better in our opinion.
Is this your full time job?
Yep. We work for ourselves and make the majority of our income selling old shoes on the internet. But we also used our eBay profits to buy rental property which is a fun new business for us. We talk about that each week at http://shampooandbooze.com
What did you do before?
We both worked in the trenches of television production.
How did you make the transition from employee to full time eBayer?
Some people love their jobs. They love the security of a paycheck. We respect that, but we hated working for other people. Instead of being paid to solve problems for other people, we now solve our own problems. Instead of getting paid for our time, we take all the risks and keep all the money. We no longer feel trapped.
What traits do you need to make it as a full time eBayer?
I think anyone that has a job that’s demands being organized can thrive selling online. We wake up and no one tells us what to do, so we must be self-motivated. Selling on eBay is about keeping track of a thousand different details simultaneously. Some people thrive in this environment because it’s like a fun puzzle. Other people get overwhelmed.
How did you learn to sell on eBay?
We just started listing. It’s very simple to list and sell an item on eBay. Just search on Youtube for the million tutorials on every step of the process. eBay sellers are very generous with their knowledge. The challenge is listing 500+ items on eBay, shipping multiple items each day, finding a constant stream of valuable inventory. It’s like juggling five balls at once.
What do you wish you knew now that you didn’t know when you started?
We were really worried that there was a limited amount of stuff to find and sell. But the Baby Boomer generation is sitting on top of the largest wealth transfer the world has ever seen since they grew up in the most prosperous time in human history. As the Boomers downsize, this accumulation of this stuff is pouring onto the market. There’s storage lockers, barns, and five bedroom homes bursting with more stuff than any one person would know what to do with. A lot of this stuff is ending up in landfills because there’s just too much stuff.
What is your one piece of advice for newbies?
We see that the lack of good customer service is thing that ends the careers of many eBayers. They get a grumpy buyer, can’t deal with the drama, and then go to war with the buyer. This usually ruins their business because they see selling online as a daily battle. Every buyer is a thief and wanting to scam them. That can’t be fun.
The reality is that grumpy buyers exist but are few and far between. These people are never worth losing sleep over. Maybe their drunk or crazy or just had a bad day. We just give refunds and move on. It’s the cost of doing business. We lose one sale and focus on the 1000 other successful sales. We sleep like babies each and every night.