Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How To Sell/Ship For (Almost) Free on eBay



I've been on eBay almost 10 years now and over the years I've learned a lot of ways to get discounts on the various things I use for my sales on eBay.

Here are a couple of things I do to get discounts:

1) This will all seem complicated but once you understand the system and become a regular customer at Office Stores ... things will move very smoothly.

2) I am a part of all of the major Office Store Rewards Clubs: OfficeMax: MaxPerks / Office Depot: Work Life Rewards / Staples: Reward Card ... these programs regularly send out discounts for using their shipping services. OfficeMax regularly runs discounts 20% to ship one ship one free in the Sunday paper for DHL

3) Office Depot regularly has $3.00 - $5.00 off UPS shipping

4) Each office store offers $3 per printer ink or laser toner cartridge you turn in. The discount varies by store ... but most offer these discounts in addition to any % off you may be able to get. I get at LEAST $15 off every time I go to OfficeMax.

5) I pay with my Paypal card that earns 1.5% back. I keep a low balance in Paypal - make the transaction as a credit card purchase - this gives me 1.5% back from Paypal and debits my checking account at Wachovia that has Visa Extras tied into it. Visa Extras rewards for debit transactions (approximately 1.5%) ... at the same time I earn 1.5% back from the various REWARD programs.

6) * Fact: Shipping is not taxed



7) Each time I am in said office stores I visit the CLEARANCE section. The clearance section usually has tape/labels/boxes/supplies on 50% off or more.

8) DHL offered at OfficeMax is already 30% lower than USPS First Class/Priority (and this is BEFORE the discounts applied above) + you get free tracking and free insurance. Most of my DHL packages get to their destinations in 2 days (even though I ALWAYS ship ground)

9) OfficeMax currently offers $50 gift cards with free 256MB thumb drives. I pay for the gift card with my PayPal card, getting 3% back (as described above), getting $15 off , with 5 printer cartridges. I get the free thumb drive which I sell for $9. I get MaxPerks points on the gift card. I take the gift card over to the DHL shipping center, I pay with the gift card. I use 5 more printer cartridges. I get an additional $15 off. I use MaxPerks AGAIN. Sometimes I have used an additional coupon.

EXAMPLE: 3 days ago I shipped (2) 20"x20"x20" 15 pound each boxes for $1.12 --- yes less than $2 --- and this doesn't include the 4.5% back that I will get from the various cash back and rewards programs.

10) If you know any philatelics (stamp collectors) in your area ... they might have some stamps to sell. Often you can buy stamps for below face value. For instance ... I buy 37 cent stamps for 25 cents each. Stamps are ALWAYS good ... you just have to have the proper amount on the package or letter. Some philatelics sell on eBay for similar discounts, but make sure you are still buying for less after shipping / handling costs.

11) Find a local Health Items Store ( the kind that sells Vitamins ) - these stores receive their merchandise in unmarked boxes with lots of packing materials like bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts - offer to remove these boxes and packing materials on a weekly basis for free instead of employees having to break them down or throw them away. These stores get the largest variety of sizes for boxes that I know of - both large and small.

12) Surprisingly ... selling packing supplies is a business on eBay in and of itself. If you have enough contacts (such as mentioned above) - you can sell boxes of boxes/peanuts/bubble wrap/static bags on eBay. Keep what you need. Sell what you don't need.

13) Another great packing tip ... buy a 12 sheet cross cut paper shredder. Shred your unwanted mail, the newspaper, trash paper and use it for packing material. Placing the paper in plastic grocery bags makes for less mess inside the package!

You can buy ink cartridges on eBay for less than $1 each in bulk. So $1 = $3 at office stores. I also get all of my local customers and all of my friends to donate their printer cartridges to me.

If you know an employee of Fed Ex they get a 75% discount on their shipping. Perhaps you could work out a deal with one of them! It is especially a great idea if you ship overseas!

Same with UPS employees. I know a UPS employee as well and learned how to get free boxes through her (some times) ... but the DHL deal that I described is still better than any UPS or Fedex deal.

And don't forget that Priority Mail supplies are free from the Post Office. Some of these boxes can be used with other services and some can be wrapped in craft paper to conceal the Priority Mail markings. Note that Priority Mail Boxes are for US Postal mail ONLY - but this is a great way to use recycled or discontinued boxes from the US Postal Service.


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1 comment:

'omie said...

That paper shredder tip is genius! I go so far as buying stuff like deodorant and razor blades on eBay.

Also, there are some credit cards that provide 3% cash back rates on office supplies. (i.e., Chase Business Card with Premier Cash Rebate)