Arbitrage Update….

Hi all,

After the last post I said that I would be attempting a little eBay arbitrage.

So, putting aside a £50 budget, I visited a local car boot sale being held on a Sunday. For someone to consider this I think it is important to take into account all costs, not just monetary, but time as well.

Obviously time cost is going to be dependent on 2 main things:

  1. How close a the car boot/sellers are to you
  2. How long it takes you to buy something that you think has profit in it

One potential advantage a car boot sale has over Facebook, GumTree or Craigslist sellers is that there are several of them in one place. Not only is this an advantage in terms of time, but also travel costs – having to travel several miles from seller to seller would undoubtedly cost more, eating into potential profits.

Before I arrived I wasn’t sure on what I was going to buy. I only really had 3 ‘rules’ as such:

  1. Do NOT go over budget
  2. Take into account the size of the item(s) because they would obviously need to fit into my car
  3. Buy something that I had at least a vague interest in

Getting to the location took about 30 minutes and so therefore an hours round trip. I spent no more than 1 hour at the car boot sale. Fuel cost for the journey equated to roughly £5, and there was an entry cost of £1.

I then proceeded to spend £27 on buying items, which breaks down to:-

£5 Black boxing gloves

£10 Gold boxing gloves

£2 MG plaque

£5 Shell plaque

£5 Ferrari plaque

Plaque Pic
MG, Shell and Ferrari Plaques

Whilst not an avid boxer, I thought sporting equipment would be a good buy, with constant demand. The car brand related items are closer to my interests and I genuinely thought they were interesting and had profit in them. It was also helpful to be able use eBay to try and determine if similar items had sold before and the going price.

Once back home with my haul the items I put the items up onto eBay, which took about 10 minutes to photograph them and about 30 mins to create the posts. As well as posting the items purchased from the car boot sale, I also posted items I already owned, which mainly consisted of clothing.

So all in that is a total cost of £33 and 2.5 – 3 hours spent. The most common way people evaluate the value of their time is £X per hour. So whatever is eventually made needs be subject to the equation:

(£X – £33) / 3 hours = £X per hour

So how did I do? Well……badly. Despite being listed twice none of the items from the car boot sale have sold! Some of the previously owned items have sold for a grand total of £15.20. I do not consider these to have any cost associated with them, so that is £15.20 in profit, but the main aim of the game is to be able to flip items, which makes this whole thing a bit of bust so far.

That said, it won’t stop me re-listing my items until I get a sale. It also won’t stop me doing the same, going back out and attempting the process again. This time I might do some more research before I buy, and aim to identify types of products I want before I even leave my house. I don’t think I was too impulsive or directionless when i was there, but having more of a plan next time couldn’t hurt.

Also, I think I will try a different location as the car boot sale I attended was not particularly big and, particularly with a firmer plan, more choice may lead to more opportunity.

I’m a fan of more options/choices as a general rule anyway.

Even though my first foray hasn’t been particularly successful I would still recommend this to someone with limited budget trying to generate some form of ‘alternative’ income. It is definitely do-able, money can be made, and the barriers to entry are low.

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips or advice, or if you think I have made any particular mistakes.

Thanks for reading, and as always, keep struggling.

The Struggling Wantrepreneur

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