Here you will find my online buying and selling information.
I'll step through some of the various aspects of buying and selling
Last updated on Jan 27, 2013
payments - PayPal
possible I both buy and sell online using PayPal. Welcome to the
internet age - it makes the transactions instantaneous!
Most everyone has heard about PayPal by now. But I
do meet some people who haven't.
the short of it - PayPal is an online bank of sorts. You sign up with
them, get an account, link that account to your existing bank and
optionally to your credit card account so you can transfer funds
between the various accounts, and you basically have
another bank account. However, this bank account has extra
benefits as follows:
The only downside to PayPal as a
seller is that PayPal eats 2.9% + $0.30 of the money people send you.
But even then there's ways around that. Have the seller cover the fee
- The ability to both send and receive
credit card payments to other individuals or small businesses that
don't have the ability to handle credit card payments directly.
- With PayPal you get to both send and receive payments
INSTANTLY as opposed to waiting for checks and money order via snail
and selling via PayPal provides some amount of buyer and seller
protection from getting ripped off. I'm not intimately familiar with
this but I believe it's PayPal arbitration, and once you go through the
ropes they'll garnish the offenders PayPal account until you finally
get your money back. Though there's no guarantee that'll ever happen.
But it's better than nothing!
- New for 2012 you can get a free credit card reader
that plugs into your smart phone and lets you take point-of-sale
payments directly to your PayPal account. Way easier than a standard
credit card merchant account.
I've simplified my PayPal description significantly. But you can read
more of the nitty gritty details right on their website.
you really don't want to use PayPal you can still get USPS Money Orders
via mail. They're as good as cash and are government issued. I've
stopped doing money orders, it's too much hassle to go to the post
office to get them, pay for postage, and then wait to see if it gets
there successfully. It adds days of waiting to the process for everyone.
OK, so you're buying and selling things via PayPal
or regular checks
and money orders. Half the battle is the shipping of products. Most
people still go to their local Ship On Site or UPS Store, hand them
some goods, and pay out the nose to have them box and ship the item(s).
It's seriously expensive! Typically they'll want $25 to box-and-ship
some small item you can ship yourself for $8 or less. Instead, you can
handle all of the shipping
from the comfort of your own home and never have to leave the
So now you have the ability to fully pack and
accurate weigh your items. You still have to be able to physically pay
for and print shipping labels. But it's EASY!
- Collect boxes.
- Save boxes from products shipped to you. You
can easily break them down flat and store them somewhere.
- Get totally FREE boxes from USPS (US Post Office).
They will even deliver them to your door. FOR FREE! You pay nothing at
all! That goes for all Priority and Flate Rate boxes, stickers, labels,
everything but packing tape.
- Collect packing buffer. I save bubble wrap, and
keep a garbage bag full of packing peanuts and bubble wrap, then reuse
- Get packing tape. This you'll have to purchase.
But it's inexpensive if purchased at Walmart, BJs, Target, etc.
a scale. I purchased this
$20 scale that can weigh up to 75lb items. If you're going to sell
a lot of items I strongly recommend the scale, it's not a big expense.
Previously I would borrow my wife's 5lb cooking scale to weigh my
smaller boxes. Larger boxes I would take to my local Ship On Site and
they happily weigh them for me for free.
Note that when
processing your shipping online you can request a carrier pickup. Then
the postman or FedEx carrier (for a small fee) will simply come to your
pickup the package. Or you can still drop them off at any location that
accepts or ships for the carrier you've chosen. There's US Postal and
FedEx drop boxes everywhere. Or simply drop them at Ship On Site or The
UPS Store. They've always been happy to accept my pre-paid shipping and
hand it off to the carrier during their normal pickups.
pay for and print your shipping labels online.
You don't have to leave
the house, you get easy access to tracking information directly in your
online account, and best of all
it's the cheapest possible way to pay for shipping. For excample, USPS
saves you at
least a couple of dollars thanks to discounted prices and free delivery
confirmation, which normally costs $0.80 at the counter. No matter
what, shipping from home is always seriously cheaper than going to
Ship On Site or the UPS Store.
- If you are shipping small or light items (guitar effects
pedals) ship them USPS Priority.
It's typically the least expensive method to ship these types of items,
usually $6-$8 depending on the weight and how far it has to go and
whether you opt to pay for insurance.
- If you are shipping small but heavy items look into USPS Flat
You have to use one of their boxes, but as long as it's 70lbs or less
you pay the flat rate which I believe is $13 maximum. However, I've yet
to find anything that's heavy that'll actually fit into their boxes.
They never seem to be the size I need. And then often it's cheaper to
ship using a different carrier.
- If you are shipping
items that are large and/or heavy (rack effects, amps, guitars) or are
travelling more than a few hundreds miles it's almost always cheapest
to use FedEx Ground. I shipped a 35lb amp head 1/2 way across
the US for a mere $17. Guitars are usually around $30 or less depending
far they have to travel. Another benefit is FedEx provides $100 worth
of shipping insurance free, at no cost.
you ship USPS Priority or Flate Rate you can handle the shipping labels
directly in PayPal. Just go to your account, and click the "Print
shipping label" option for the transaction. PayPal will fill in the
addresses, you just plug in the box type and weight, click a couple
buttons, the fees are taken from your PayPal account, and it prints the
paid shipping label on your printer. You just tape it to the box and
you're done! Leave small boxes in the maibox, drop them off at any USPS
location, or even drop them off at Ship On Site or UPS Store, they
happily accept prepaid items.
- If you ship UPS you can still process that
directly in PayPal as well.
you ship FedEx you'll have to process that directly on the FedEx
website as there's no PayPal integration at this time. But you can
still enter the tracking info into PayPal. They have a handy link in
the transaction details to help you do that.
tip regarding shipping is to consider self insuring inexpensive items.
Items are rarely lost or damaged. Think about all of the money you're
basically throwing away on paying for shipping insurance you never use.
When shipping inexpensive items I simply don't buy the insurance unless
the seller is specifically paying for it. I do opt to insure expensive
items like amps, guitars, or anything worth more than $100 usually. At
that point spending a couple dollars on shipping insurance has the
potential to save you a lot of money. And larger and heavey items are
more likely to be damaged during transit.
is the most annoying part of selling things online. But if you're
prepared with the packing material and the knowledge you can print
shipping labels directly from home you'll find that its a lot less
stressful, less hassle, and most important LESS EXPENSIVE than you
is generally easy thanks to sites like eBay. Buying locally is easy
thanks to Craigslist. But what do you do beyond those two resources?
Here's some helpful hints:
advantage is you get to negotiate a deal directly the a person. No eBay
bidding and waiting. I hate that! You can also search the forums
for all of the users previous posts, often finding discussions they've
had about the gear they are now selling. For example, I saw someone
selling a DIY de-fretted bass. Searched their past posts and saw where
they were discussing what a terrible job the previous owner did
de-fretting the instrument and horribly chipping the fretboard. I
didn't buy that one! Other times you can see where they bought the
instrument recently from someone else and are now flipping it. It's
possible they simply don't like it, I know that's me quite often, but
maybe there's some issue with the instrument they're not advertising.
- Search ALL OF CRAIGSLIST for the product you're
interested in. Just us Google your product and add site:craigslist.org
to your search terms. It will force Google to only search Craigslist
for you. It's a great way to find individuals selling what you want to
buy. However, not everyone will want to ship the items, others won't
know how to do PayPal (send them to this page for help!) and many will
simply never respond to your soliciation thinking it's a scam, or who
knows what. That's why I always compose my emails as follows:
in selling <product name>
for <your price> shipped
to <your location>?
a serious buyer, cash in hand, and an adult with a long term
PayPal account with hundreds of transactions and can pay immediately.
This seems to be the most important part. It shows you're really
a human with a US phone number and are serious about the transaction. I
have at least 1/2 of the people that bite on my offers phone me.
However, these are usually the same people that don't know about
PayPal. Send them to this page for help!
- Search PART OF CRAIGSLIST for the product you're
interested in with the site http://www.searchtempest.com
This lets you target specific areas and limit your search to specific
categories, which the general Google search won't do. If you have a
smart phone look for one of the many Craigslist tools there. For iOS
I've found CraigsPro+
to be excellent and actually better/easier than using a web-based tool
on a desktop.
- Join forums
related to the general subject your desired product belongs to. For
example, I currently play bass guitar. Here's some online forums I've
joined and their respective classifieds section. Some have feedback
rating systems like eBay to help you choose good sellers, otherwise
you're left to judge sellers yourself.
potential downside to just randomly buying items from seemingly random
people on Craigslist and online forums is you have no eBay feedback
system or eBay protections behind you. But you really do if you pay via
PayPal. When sending money you are provided the number of transactions
the person has handled via PayPal. Generally speaking the more
transactions on record the more confident you can be they won't screw
you over. Additionally, if you pay via PayPal "Purchases" instead of
"Personal" you get the PayPal buyer/seller protections.
If you do like eBay auctions my suggestion is to use Gixen
a free eBay sniping service. It's very functional, lets you do
targetted bids, and really works! For example, if you want to buy a 42"
TV. You can setup bids against 10 different auctions, and group them as
a single item. As soon as one TV is won, it won't bid on the others.
Best of all it keeps you from watching the auctions which usually makes
you keep jacking up your bid price which is why so many auctions on
eBay end with extremely over inflated purchase prices. Bid sniping is
the way to eBay success all around.
I've yet to be personally
screwed on any of my buying or selling transactions. I have had some
issues with items not being as described, or items so poorly packed
they've been damaged. But the seller has always made good, probably
thanks to a potential PayPal arbitration and/or negative eBay review at
stake. And I've done
hundreds of transactions since 1999 when I first joined PayPal. You
just have to be smart about which deals you participate in and wich
sellers you do business with. That's no different than buying something
in person with cash.
personally LOVE buying and selling online. You get to do everything
from the comfort of your own home. You don't have to leave the house.
And overall it's a huge time and money saver. I can't tell you how many
times I've done local Craigslist deals where you've waited around an
entire Friday night and the buyer never shows. Or you have to drive 45
minutes each way to pickup a product locally just to save a few
dollars. Which you probably just negated by blowing 1.5 hours of your
day and all that gas.
Hopefully this page was helpful. If so, share it with your friends and
Feel free to drop me a note using the form below.