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Old July 19th, 2010, 05:16 PM   #1
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Suggestions for starting a DV ebay store

I've been thinking of starting a store on ebay to make a little side money while I'm going to school. I want to sell camera and audio equipment. At the moment I don't have much cash to get started though, so I was thinking of maybe starting by selling only one type of item (i.e. mics) and buying it in bulk, and then expanding from there as the money comes in.

My question for you guys is what do you think would be most profitable to start off with? What is there a large demand for?
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Old July 19th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #2
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I suspect you'll run into issues surrounding not being an authorized dealer and not being able to offer warranty to your buyers. As well, it would likely be VERY hard to compete with the "Big Boys" like B&H et al in terms of pricing and support.

But, I HAVE been wrong before. Perhaps someone else with a greater entrepreneurial spirit can help you more than I.
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Old July 19th, 2010, 07:51 PM   #3
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Well, you may or may not be right. I don't know, as I have only begun looking into this. But the ultimate goal (if possible) IS to become an authorized dealer. Obviously I would have to actually create a registered company, etc. But it isn't outside the realm of possibility. If it all works out, maybe I'll eventually open a physical store where people can come and shop. I live in Montreal, and though there are a few places to buy equipment and stuff, there aren't many, so I could imagine it being a profitable business considering Montreal is one of Canada's main centers for film/videomakers.

As for competing with the big guys such as B&H, I'm not so worried. I do most of my shopping on ebay because it tends to be CHEAPER than most stores like B&H. I've saved hundreds of dollars buying the exact same stuff they sell at B&H on ebay.

Thanks for the advice anyway :)
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Old July 19th, 2010, 09:06 PM   #4
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David (cool name BTW <wink>!), eBay is a tough venue, and you shouldn't make it your only venue, as they change the terms and rules so often that it's tough on sellers. That's one of the reasons you find bargains - sales are off, buyers are not buying, and I'd say looking a while lot less because of the economy.

I used to make a fairly decent little side income buying and selling on eBay, now, it's barely worth the trouble. I still pick up most of my "toys" at bargain prices, and sell the "excess" here and there, but I'm more and more trying to put the time into offline business development - where I've got better control - the arbitrary changes in eBay policies have made it a less than fun place to do business, and frankly, they may run themselves OUT of business, as they have done to many of the smaller sellers.

If you're smart, buy your equipment when you see a bargain, resell if you can make a bit here and there, but for the most part it's more hassle than it's worth lately. Unfortunately the "buyers" won't be comparing your prices to the GOOD retail online sellers, but rather to the NY scamera outfits...
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Old July 19th, 2010, 09:57 PM   #5
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Hmm...interesting. I always saw ebay as a sure way to make some profit... Thanks for the warning. I'll be seriously re-considering this one.
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Old July 20th, 2010, 12:07 AM   #6
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Think small

David,

Many years ago, I worked in a camera store. The store kept a lot of cameras in stock, and sold them at just a few bucks over cost. No significant profit was made on cameras, but they brought customers into the store. Once there, they would see all sorts of wonderful little photographic gadgets to do things they never would have thought of. The store made more money on an immitation leather gadget bag than it did on a name-brand SLR. Other things like filters and various adapters for flash units also produced profits. No one bothered to comparison-shop those things, since they weren't major purchases. They just saw something they thought would be really handy, and decided to buy it on the spot.

Maybe you could stock up on little items useful for movie-making... things most customers wouldn't even know exist, but could use. Maybe a wide assortment of adapters for lights, stands, and tripods. Or maybe an assortment of special filters. Initially, target beginning filmmakers. Start advertising your business as a place to find those handy little gadgets you don't even know exist, but gotta have once you see them.

My 2 cents worth,
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Old July 20th, 2010, 04:59 PM   #7
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Way to go Ken. When she was in college my daughter had a weekend job in a large chemist shop in the mall. One year just before Mothers Day, they set up a stall across the way in a high traffic area selling Mothers Day cards .. clearing 8 grand a day!! Not bad for a chemist.

Next year they added Fathers Day and Christmas cards and sold all those too.
Impulse buying .. nothing like it.
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Old July 21st, 2010, 01:47 PM   #8
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While I agree about accessories being a great "profit center", and that the "little items" usually have bigger markups and sell faster because people don't have to think so much (I once heard that the reason you go through the queue at every Frys store is they make a large portion of their profits from the candy, snack and gadget impulse sales that line that "last aisle", while you're waiting to check out w/ your "bargain")...

I'll just play "devil's advocate" again where it pertains to eBay specifically. When you sell "accesssory" type items, you'll be competing with purveyors of cheap Chinese carp (CCC) selling from HK and China. A lot of the stuff comes from there already, and if it doesn't, they buy a sample, copy the tooling, source or make cheap components, forge any branding, and crank out copies in quantity (there's another thread here on DVi addressing this - iinteresting read...).

Unfortunately all the CCC (60-99.9% of the listings in some camera accessoriy categories I'm familiar with) drives prices down to where it's almost impossible to make anything by the time you pay for listing (small sellers pay, "big" ones have "special discounts" - meaning almost free listings of huge quantities, which eBay uses to point to how "listings are up"). If you're selling the same or similar item (and if you find something unique, salable and profitable, it'll be 3-6 months before the knockoffs hit the eBay marketplace...) and selling LEGITIMATE product, you're competing with a lot of "noise". Plus legit sellers like Adorama have been testing the waters too, and they get bigger discounts when buying merchandise, so can sell cheaper.

I don't want to be overly negative, as buying and selling USED gear on eBay can be both fun and profitable, plus give you access to "toys" you might not otherwise be able to afford or in some cases even find. Turning that into a viable "business" is another proposition altogether, and I'd again repeat if you make eBay your only or primary venue/exposure, you're taking a BIG gamble - it's their pool, so their rules, and they are changing those rules every few months (along with new higher "lowest fees ever").
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 12:14 AM   #9
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So what I'm understanding is that I'd be better off selling used items, but still won't see that much income.
Is that about right?

I'm not so sure I'd want to have an ebay store anymore lol. Anyone have suggestions as to what I could do?

I'd like to start making some money doing small videography gigs, but since I'm still a film student and relatively inexperienced, I could imagine it being a little rough to get started. It's already hard enough for me to get work in the industry when I offer to work for free.
What I really want is something I can make money off of, while only putting about as many hours a week into it as I would a part time job, that is somehow related to video.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 01:14 AM   #10
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You can always start "small" don't spend the monthly cost for a store, find a few things on or offline and see if you can make a profit... There are lots of ways to "do" eBay, and some actually can be profitable!

You have to remember that being a "film student" may teach you one aspect of being in business, but if you're the independent type, you'll find there are many other aspects to STAY in business. If one thing isn't working for you, it's time to explore options until you find the thing that clicks.
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 04:18 PM   #11
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David,


As a student of any kind you want to make some extra cash, that is expected. there is actually a pretty huge amount of work out there for someone with a reasonable camcorder, decent enough editing skills and a willingness to go after the work.

Here are some thoughts: sports video: Go to the hockey rinks post a bullitin about filming hockey games, practices, curling etc. Once you have done a few you will be surprised how much work is out there!!!
figure skating: I do a number of videos making a 15 minute video for those taking there coaching certifications. skating carnivals: offer to film them and sell the dvd's for 25 bucks a piece- you can make hundreds of dollars in an evening.

Weddings and events, pretty serious stuff and mistakes not allowed, but once you have done a few you will get references: go to the wedding shows and have a table. I recommend having various options available to various budgets.

there are plenty more. At my age (60) I actually do not want to go after business, but if you are willing and driven, there is a huge amount of business out there.

I had a lawyer want me to do depositions, I just did not want to drive the 90 miles one way for each job!!!
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 05:13 PM   #12
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Thanks for the ideas. I'll definitely be trying some of those out.

I never expected so many responses on this thread, considering it's barely relevant to anything that is normally talked about on this forum. But as it turns out, I learnt a few things :)
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 08:24 PM   #13
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Well, it's open discussion, and we all gotta eat and pay the bills, right?
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 04:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Well, it's open discussion, and we all gotta eat and pay the bills, right?
Good point lol
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