Does It Makes Sense To Sell Inexpensive Items?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by Braitman, May 1, 2020.

  1. Braitman

    Braitman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm beginning to doubt whether it is worth the time and trouble to sell records and CDs (etc.) that are relatively low value. Here is a case in point: I sold a CD on Discogs for $15.00. That was just below the lowest price from other sellers (plus I was in the U.S., so cheaper on shipping cost to the customer). OK, the buyer paid the $15.00 plus $3.00 postage plus the $1.26 in taxes that Discogs added. Total paid: $19.26. Then Discogs takes from me $2.46 (their fee plus tax), leaving me with $16.80. Paypal takes another 86 cents for their fee, leaving me $15.94. My actual postage cost was $2.80, leaving me $13.14. The bubble-wrap mailer cost me $1.00, leaving me $12.14. (I know that cost can come down somewhat by buying more than one at a time.) So, that's my total cash profit on this transaction: $12.14. HOWEVER, this is not accounting for my travel and gas to the post office (about 1.5 miles each way from home) and -- my time. If this was my regular job, my hourly rate would make this the most expensive $15.00 CD this guy has ever bought, I'd bet. So, folks... what do you think? Am I just whining too much? Or what? Thanks! - Stephen
    Tjazz, black sheriff, Monty12 and 3 others like this.
  2. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    You're certainly not whining too much - but whether it's worth it depends on your goal. If you are looking to make real money by selling a relatively small number of CDs, so that you're buying shipping supplies one at a time and taking the CDs to your shipping center one at a time, then it is indeed a waste of time.

    However, if you're looking to help fund your music-buying hobby, keep your collection in check, and keep unwanted records and CDs out of the landfill, then small-scale selling can be worth it - and fun.

    I would say that it's usually possible to get shipping and packaging supplies mostly for free. Most of us have bubble mailers from music we order online, or from Amazon stuff we order - their white and blue bubble mailers are usually too large for a CD, but they are tough as nails and can easily be cut down and reused for CD shipping. Ditto for bubble wrap - most of us have some lying around the house from something. A small square of bubble wrap over the plastic tray hub + 1 layer of bubble wrap around the jewel case + a bubble mailer = a fairly bullet-proof package. All you have to pay for is packing tape once in a great while.

    Finally, I will add that those of us who live in large urban areas or walkable communities are somewhat at an advantage because we can walk to our local Post Office or mailbox store, eliminating gas and vehicle wear-and-tear from the equation.
    zen archer, Reese and chazz101s like this.
  3. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident

    New York City
    USPS will do pickups in my area if there is something non media mail also to send out.
  4. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Buy a roll of bubble wrap and a box of 6x9 manilla envelopes. Much cheaper than $1 bubble mailers and just as effective.
    Rodz42 likes this.
  5. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    Worth it at $15? You must think the people selling discs for $5 are completely out of their minds :laugh: (Actually, come to think of it, maybe they are :))
    Eric_Generic, somnar, Galley and 2 others like this.
  6. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    "Inexpensive items" are two-fold: sell 'em cheap to get rid of them, and sell 'em really cheap, to drive more impulse buying. Just depends on how much traffic you feel you need to generate for the Post Office - who never discounts anything...:sigh:
  7. whosnotwo

    whosnotwo Well-Known Member

    South FL
    Yes, sell low cost items. I recently lowered my floor to $5. $5 record + $5 shipping is $10. Discogs fee, paypal fee, shipping, label, mailer and padding come to $4.50. I make $5.50 - the cost of the record (usually less than $1).

    Yes, it can be tedious but you have to rely on volume. Only listing one cheap item is annoying. But listing a lot is good. I'm in the middle of a large collection of $5 pieces and doing really well.

    Charge a flat rate $5 regardless of how many items they purchase. 1 lb media mail is $2.80. You'll come out on top more times than not.

    Stop going to the PO. You can print your labels at home through paypal, and scheduled a pick up through

    Good luck.
    Rodz42 and zphage like this.
  8. JDM

    JDM Forum Resident

    I know a guy who knew a guy who worked as a contractor to automotive companies and sold all these little tiny pieces (bolts, nuts, screws, etc) and charged a flat shipping rate and made out like a bandit on shipping. He's a millionaire+ these days. He charged $15 or $20 for shipping when the actual postage was $1 or $2 (keep in mind this was 15 to 20 years ago).

    In high volume it can really add up. It depends on your morals too. I don't think I could do that but that's just me.

    That's what I think all these sellers like "1_cent_cd" on eBay do. They're volume-based sellers so even if they sell every CD for only $1-$5 and charge $5 or $6 (media mail) they're likely doing pretty good.

    You can buy a huge box of 500 CD mailers for not too crazy of a price. Those guys probably go through 20,000 mailers every year (at least).
  9. Scotian

    Scotian Amnesia Hazed

    Try living in Canada & try to compete with other sellers when your shipping is 3X higher to the US.
    Dave likes this.
  10. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident

    New York City
    Many ebay sellers did this trick to avoid the hefty ebay fees. Nothing really dishonest about it. However, ebay changed their fees to apply to total price including shipping.
    JDM likes this.
  11. joachim.ritter

    joachim.ritter Senior Member

    Some sellers did this. And they tried to trick buyers, too, which were only looking at the item price, not at the ridiculous shipping costs.

    Thanks to those sellers ALL sellers now have to pay eBay fees for shipping costs. Thank you!
    E.Baba and 12" 45rpm like this.
  12. Christian Hill

    Christian Hill It's all in the mind

    I only do auctions, everything starts at a penny, there's no Reserve and shipping is a flat $2.99 for 45 record.

    Over 20 years on eBay and it works for me. ( granted I deal mostly in Beatles records and they always seem to have an audience)
    JDM likes this.
  13. KazJY

    KazJY Well-Known Member

    Chicago Burbs
    I save packing material all the time (much to my wife's chagrin, but it's only a small stack of some boxes with bubblewrap, and do click-n-ship when I sell something (that's an additional discount and the post-man/woman picks up at my house - I think I am done running back and forth to the post office now that I am spoiled), but yes, I try to make it worth my while, so to speak.

    I sell collectibles on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace. I meet at the gas station a minute from my house and don't sell anything for less than $10. That's my threshold.
  14. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident

    New York City
    I just do porch-pickup if the item is less than $50 . I leave it outside and they leave the money under the mat. This way you don't waste time going back and forth coordinating schedules to meet up.

    Never had someone not pay. And if they did it would be worth it from a social experiment point of view.
  15. Reese

    Reese Why did you say 'Burma'?

  16. KazJY

    KazJY Well-Known Member

    Chicago Burbs
    Yeah, that's a good point. I was worried about people coming to the house, but on facebook at
    I hear ya - I've had some good porch pick-up experiences, and had them even pay with paypal or venmo, etc. But...on facebook I can see if the people are nuts or not. I DID have one guy who was nuts, and I had to back out of the sale. That's why I don't always do porch pick up

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