July 21, 2024

Earning a living on eBay

This archived article was written by: Carli Jensen

Having a job and being a full-time student can be a tough task. Donald McCarty, CEU student, is managing his finances with the help of the dot-com world. For over a year he has been earning a living by purchasing items from the local Deseret Industries store and yard sales and selling them on eBay. Items that he finds around his house are also for sale.
Finding the items, taking pictures of them and listing a good description for the itemsare the first steps McCarty takes to sell them. He usually lists the items for five to seven days on eBay. After listing the items for a predetermined allotted time, he decides to either wait for the auction to run out or simply provide a “buy it now” price to liquidate his merchandise fast. He receives payment for his sold items via Paypal, usually with seconds of the purchase. Sometimes he requests money and the buyer sends a cashier’s check or money order.
He then packages and ships the items, his smaller packages are sent through the postal service, large boxes through UPS, and if an item is guaranteed to be on time, McCarty uses Federal Express. He never ships an item before he receives payment for it. For the small items, he usually purchases bubble mailers from Wal-Mart, Office Etc., Kmart, UPS Store, Smith’s, Albertson’s or even the CEU Bookstore. The sales staff at the campus bookstore often saves boxes from book orders for McCarty so he can mail his eBay items.
McCarty made his best profits when he bought an Atari from Deseret Industries for $5 and sold it for $150. He said that his best reoccurring sales come from a bunch of VHS cassettes that a friend gave him when their video store went out of business. Some of the weird items he has sold include an Ohio Arts watering can that he paid 50 cents for and collected $15 for it on eBay. Another item was an antique 1930’s Royal typewriter used to type large genealogy charts. Weighing over 50 pounds, the typewriter was purcased by a buyer from Italy, who then did not want to pay the $150 shipping fee to Italy. McCarty re-listed it and a buyer from the U.S. bought it for $15.
“The buyer wanted me to cut the keys from the keyboard off so she could make jewelry from them,” McCarty said. “It was depressing to destroy that antique typewriter. But $15 is $15, and I did what the buyer wanted and shipped her the keys. I sadly threw the keyless typewriter in the dump.”
“I once bought a box full of miscellaneous Nintendo items for $20. I listed each piece on ebay. One of the items in the box was Final Fantasy in mint condition in the original box with instructions. I sold that alone for $50 using “buy it now.” Dragon Warrior III was also in the box and it was in mint condition in the original box. I got another $50 for it on eBay in the “buy it now” category. When I found Dragon Warrior IV, I listed it as an auction item for seven days. At the end of the auction, the highest bid was $82, more than the original price of the game. By the time I was done selling all the items in the box, I grossed over $300; not bad for a part-time job.”
McCarty makes the rounds of the Deseret Industry stores from St. George to Boise looking for deals. He likes to buy old computers, take them apart, sell them and fix them; whatever it takes to make money.
Last Friday, McCarty sent seven boxes off to California, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Canada, Indiana and Missouri. He is financing some of his college education through this tedious process.
His latest project has been participating in the CEU Super Users Computer Geek Club where he repairs and builds surplus computers from CEU to donate to students and families of students who cannot afford computers. “I’m doing this because I have been in the position of not being able to afford a computer and I know it’s a necessity to succeed in school. I know that every household needs a computer, and I have that ability to build a computer that might help another student get through college. It’s a feeling of completing a task and feeling good about it. I’m achievement oriented,” McCarty added.
Besides building computers, he serves a treasurer for the business club, staff writer for The Eagle and is on campus at 6 a.m. every day where he is the breakfast cook in the cafeteria.
McCarty was born in Boise, Idaho. He grew up in St Louis, Missouri, and moved to Price from Provo. He is currently a business major. When he graduates, he would like to make a career in the business field, perhaps even owning a business.
If you have stuff just lying around your house and are thinking about throwing it away just remember that, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” You never know what someone would be willing to pay for something you plan to throw out.