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Small-time selling on ebay. Is it worth it?

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Small-time selling on ebay. Is it worth it?

Old 03-09-22, 10:34 PM
  #1  
MinnMan
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Small-time selling on ebay. Is it worth it?

Over time, I've accumulated a bunch of cycling gear that I don't use. OEM items (wheels, saddles) that came with new bikes, which I immediately swapped out for components I preferred, half a dozen saddles that I rode just few times and then decided weren't right, some unused cassettes, tires, still in their original boxes, and so on.

All this stuff is either like-new or in excellent used condition and it seems stupid to let it all just sit there. So though I don't really need the money, I am thinking I should post it all on Ebay.

But is that going to be more hassle than it's worth? There aren't enough items for it to be a regular business or anything. The inquiries and purchases will likely trickle in, widely spaced in time, and I will have to make sure to pay attention. Also, in non-pandemic times, i travel a lot and won't necessarily be in a position to ship promptly.

Do any of you do this on a small time basis? What's your experience?
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Old 03-09-22, 11:04 PM
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It's a matter of opinion, but I've done it before. I now feel like I'm too busy with work and other obligations, so I accumulate them until I'm on vacation time and throw them all up at once to try and knock them out in a week.

If you're worried about having to check in and keep track constantly, keep in mind you can set up ebay to email you whenever someone asks a question, buys something, etc. If you still want it simpler than that, rub them auction style to end on the same day, then you just take everything that sold and pack/ship them the next day and be done with it. Anything that didn't get any bids goes back into your pile for the next round, or gets tossed/donated.
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Old 03-09-22, 11:39 PM
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I do it, mainly to get rid of components so I don't accumulate. I print the label at home, then put the package in my mailbox for the mailman to pickup.

Note that you will get a 1099 once you hit $600 in sales now. Make sure you track your sales and cost.
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Old 03-09-22, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
I do it, mainly to get rid of components so I don't accumulate. I print the label at home, then put the package in my mailbox for the mailman to pickup.

Note that you will get a 1099 once you hit $600 in sales now. Make sure you track your sales and cost.
That's interesting. What's my cost when I'm selling used items (or even unused items) at a loss compared to the purchase price? Is there some fair way to calculate the depreciation? Also, in some cases I have no idea how to evaluate the cost - i.e., OEM items that were never purchased individually.
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Old 03-09-22, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
That's interesting. What's my cost when I'm selling used items (or even unused items) at a loss compared to the purchase price? Is there some fair way to calculate the depreciation? Also, in some cases I have no idea how to evaluate the cost - i.e., OEM items that were never purchased individually.
i just have a spreadsheet for my sales with estimated cost, I have no receipts or anything. I only sell about $1-3k a year and the 1099 at $600 is new for this year so no experience dealing with it.
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Old 03-10-22, 12:55 AM
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Talk to a tax person for the financial/tax implications.

As for selling on eBay, if you're just gonna donate it otherwise, it's worth it to throw them on eBay and at least get some money for it. If you're trying to generate income, it's arguable because of the time it takes, how much eBay takes per sale, etc.
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Old 03-10-22, 02:46 AM
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I have kind of wonder about this myself. I used to be an auto mechanic. I probably have 1000+ tools. ( ok I did count them but it's a lot )

I don't mind selling stuff on fb/craigslist if it's 500+ that's worth my time to meet in public and deal with a few flakes. It's not worth my time asking $100, low ball to $50 and waiting around at some random coffee shop.

so you have to pay taxes on stuff you already paid taxes on? Since I am selling the stuff at a loss there's no profit? Shouldn't I be able to claim a loss? ha-ha
I am guessing I paid over 20k+ for the tools. If I am lucky I might get 3k for it.

I understand paying taxes if you make a profit. Buy a bike for 2k, flip it for 3k. You pay taxes on the 1k profit.
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Old 03-10-22, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Is there some fair way to calculate the depreciation?
Real easy.

If your price is too much, no one buys it, no matter how fair you believe your own price is.

Don't count on other ebay ads to provide fair market pricing either. A lot cobweb ads just stick around never selling, ebay is also happy with that as they make monies off relistings.
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Old 03-10-22, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy View Post
so you have to pay taxes on stuff you already paid taxes on? Since I am selling the stuff at a loss there's no profit? Shouldn't I be able to claim a loss?
Absolutely you can claim a loss, as long as you are an entity with a registered business, and you can use the refund taxes to offset otherwise payable taxes you owe.

That implies proper accounting and of course, proof of purchases of your accounts payables.
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Old 03-10-22, 07:43 AM
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If you're not home for extended periods, it'll be tough to manage auctions unless you schedule them to occur only while you're not away. Otherwise you'll be scrambling to get items shipped as soon as you return. Not a fun way to come back from a road trip.

And with ebay, you can pretty much count on some transactions being challenged, no matter what you do. This is part of what makes online selling there so crazy. It's the biggest market, but also the one with the most risks, and often they crop up just when you don't expect them.

You're in MPLS, which is a huge biking community. There's a big swap that used to be held in Blaine right about now, and a few others as spring nears. If you wanted to clear out a bunch of stuff at once, a local swap is one way. Don't get as much $, but you won't have to worry about stuff being rejected on the back end like ebay, and there's no $600 limit to what you can make in cash.
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Old 03-10-22, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
It's a matter of opinion, but I've done it before. I now feel like I'm too busy with work and other obligations, so I accumulate them until I'm on vacation time and throw them all up at once to try and knock them out in a week.

If you're worried about having to check in and keep track constantly, keep in mind you can set up ebay to email you whenever someone asks a question, buys something, etc. If you still want it simpler than that, rub them auction style to end on the same day, then you just take everything that sold and pack/ship them the next day and be done with it. Anything that didn't get any bids goes back into your pile for the next round, or gets tossed/donated.
I agree! Once or twice I noted in the listing that I'd be away until whatever date, and would ship immediately upon my return.

Best regards
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Old 03-10-22, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
I have no receipts or anything. I only sell about $1-3k a year and the 1099 at $600 is new for this year so no experience dealing with it.
I haven't needed any receipts either (yet). Knock on wood.

I made $2600 selling model trains in 2020 and was not pleased when I got a 1099 and wound up owing money to the IRS for the first time in my life. I totally stopped selling for 2021 but might dabble in it this year but if $600 is the new limit I will try to stay below that.
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Old 03-10-22, 08:14 AM
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My preference is to donate stuff to our co-op. But then my stuff is old and relatively low value for sale but viable to help them fix up bikes. YMMV.

Otto
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Old 03-10-22, 08:22 AM
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1099’s plus shipping fees, I’ve pretty much given up on eBay. At least there’s not a FBI - NICS check yet for bike parts.
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Old 03-10-22, 08:30 AM
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Shipping relatively low-priced items is a pain in the ass, both in terms of hassle and cost. What are some take-off aluminum bars worth - 20-30 bucks? Shipping is probably going to be $10, however that's worked in to the buyer's final price, and then there's the ebay fees - it's almost certainly a transaction that takes way more time than it's worth to list it, find a box, pack it and take it to a FexEd/UPS. For stuff like this, I'll list on craigslist at a fair-to-aggressive price - I've had no problems on stuff from take-offs, to wheels, to full bikes.

I know that the facebook marketplace is pretty robust in the Twin Cities, too, but I haven't gone that route, yet. I'm not looking to dump off shoddy goods or anything, but at the same time, as-is is as-is - I want to sell something and wash my hands of it, I don't want some disgruntled dude that took 12" drops, on a road wheelset that I sold him, complaining to me because they're out of true.
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Old 03-10-22, 08:46 AM
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As reflector guy (and possibly others) pointed out, if you use eBay and other methods where you sell via a wire service (Paypal and such) you will be 1099 for all transactions. It makes no note of whether you bought an item then sold it for less, it will see that sale as a profit in your pocket. IDK if there is some method of accounting that can be made to balance the sheet (as it were), but I have discontinued ALL methods of selling items that require me to be wired money to make a sale. My side hustle selling old office PC for instance just wasn't worth paying to do. I swapped over to CL and cash only deals, which although I make WAY less doing so, I also don't just have to turn around and give that money to the tax man.

YMMV
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Old 03-10-22, 08:59 AM
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I sell small components on ebay, yeah. Its easy. I find packaging stuff with old amazon boxes to be cathartic for some reason.
In December I sold a few RDs, a could FDs, some road shifters, MTB shifters, and a frameset. Oh, and a crankset. Definitely worth the time I put into packing and shipping. Ebay USPS pricing is cheaper and its right there for you to print off so it means no waiting in line to ship. Really quite an easy process.
Even if it nets you $200 to sell 5 or 6 things, its worth the time to me. At 9pm on a Monday, what else would I be doing that is a better use of my time than packing up a derailleur that I sold for $40?...I would be sitting there watching TV. I can still do that while packing up the item.

I largely dont get the whole 'its not worth my time' argument when it comes to small items that are easily packed. Now bars are another matter entirely due to size.
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Old 03-10-22, 09:17 AM
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Sell on Facebook marketplace and use PayPal as the only payment method. Do not use Facebook Pay.

Have people send you money as friends or family to avoid fees and 1099s.
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Old 03-10-22, 09:33 AM
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If you sell personal items on ebay for less than your cost you owe no taxes as there is no profit.

Plenty on the googles regarding this.
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Old 03-10-22, 10:42 AM
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I've found that smaller items don't net you very much on eBay, especially if you offer free shipping (which helps your sales a lot). I recently netted $13 for a $25 chainring, and $17 for a $30 bottom bracket. I was happy to be rid of the parts -- and it was an easy way to make 30 bucks -- but CL, FB, or NextDoor nets you 100% of your asking price. But with those, you've got to have the patience for arranging a meeting time and place, and you deal with a lot of time wasters and tire kickers. So you either pay with your money or your time, I guess.
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Old 03-10-22, 10:46 AM
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I just give to the local co-op. It can be written off as a donation since it is a registered non-profit.

Note this is for smaller things. All the bigger things I just sell locally, but I have used eBay for non-bike stuff with success. I got a 1099, but it was below cost sales so it is a non-issue. The main problem I have had is selling really common things like iPads etc. Lots of scummy buyers trying to scam out there. The more obscure the item is the less you have to worry about scum buyers.
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Old 03-10-22, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith View Post
I just give to the local co-op. It can be written off as a donation since it is a registered non-profit.

Note this is for smaller things. All the bigger things I just sell locally, but I have used eBay for non-bike stuff with success. I got a 1099, but it was below cost sales so it is a non-issue. The main problem I have had is selling really common things like iPads etc. Lots of scummy buyers trying to scam out there. The more obscure the item is the less you have to worry about scum buyers.
Unless you have LOTS of deductions, the 2018 tax law changes make charitable donations a no start for normal people.
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Old 03-10-22, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Sell on Facebook marketplace and use PayPal as the only payment method. Do not use Facebook Pay.

Have people send you money as friends or family to avoid fees and 1099s.
You realize your footprints are still all digitally written in ink and thus fully disclosable on an audit?
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Old 03-10-22, 12:50 PM
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I've gone through this same mental exercise and always just decided to donate stuff to my local co-op. Photographing, listing and shipping out relatively low price items always seems like more hassle than it's worth. I have a few old wheelsets in my basement that I could probably get a few hundred bucks each for, but shipping wheels seems even more annoying. I've listed one wheelset on Criagslist but never got any bites, so my price expectations are probably too high which means it's not worth selling. They will likely go to my local co-op at some point as well.
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Old 03-10-22, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post

You're in MPLS, which is a huge biking community. There's a big swap that used to be held in Blaine right about now, and a few others as spring nears. If you wanted to clear out a bunch of stuff at once, a local swap is one way. Don't get as much $, but you won't have to worry about stuff being rejected on the back end like ebay, and there's no $600 limit to what you can make in cash.
The Blaine swap meet has occurred to me also. It's in mid-May and I'd need to reserve a table earlier than that. Given some of the issues people have raised here, the swap meet might be a good way to go.
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