One of my overriding principles of becoming wealthy through your business is by keeping your costs extremely low. There are many firms servicing the business community that charge small fortunes for things that should cost sometimes literally 100 times less. You have to get the mindset, that without appearing cheap or actually being cheap, that you are going to pay the least possible amount of money for things you need in your business.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 040
Copywriting901 – https://copywriting901.com/
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[02:00] Tom's introduction to Craigslist and Other Buying apps [04:44] How to save money on equipment and physical stuff [07:29] Turning your junk into cash [08:50] Bargains Tom has gotten [12:42] Safety [14:03] Sponsor message [15:08] Pricing and negotiations [20:36] Low ball offers [24:14] Just about everything is advertised [25:14] Miscellaneous tips
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
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Episode 040 This is my Monday training session on Craigslist and other buying apps. Would you buy a 140-pound dummy for 85% off? Well, I did and you’ll hear about how to save tens of thousands of dollars when buying things for your business. I didn’t say “Hire” a 140 pound dummy I covered hiring in episode 037 hahaha
Episode 039 Warren Carlyle, this guy is darn brilliant on telling you how to build communities which can lead to sales you never could have dreamed of. Besides helping all kinds of businesses he’s got one wacky community of his own with 250,000 members.
Our sponsor Copywriting 901 The Fast Track to Writing Words that Sell. This is an extremely comprehensive online course pretty much guaranteed to increase your income in more ways than one. I’ve identified Copywriting as the number one business skill I’ve acquired in over 40 years of business. It’s the skill that can bring in the money the fastest. Check it out at www.Copywriting901.com and in the show notes.
SAVING MONEY with BUYING APPS
One of my overriding principles of becoming wealthy through your business is by keeping your costs extremely low. There are many firms servicing the business community that charge small fortunes for things that should cost sometimes literally 100 times less.
You have to get the mindset, that without appearing cheap or actually being cheap, that you are going to pay the least possible amount of money for things you need in your business. Buying the fanciest and most prestigious might make sense if you are competing in the New York fashion business, but it simply doesn’t make sense for regular business people.
Why doesn’t it make sense? Because every dollar you save means several dollars you don’t have to earn to break even or become profitable. If you overpay for everything, you are making it way more difficult than it needs to be to become profitable and stay in business.
Everything from legal structures, accounting, web design, social media, graphics and the myriad of other things you need for your business can be had at discount rates without sacrificing quality. Most of the things I just mentioned are based on knowledge. The more you know; the cheaper things are. For instance, your business website. You can get a WordPress ecourse from me for $97.00 that includes consultation with my tech people which will allow you to make a world class website for about $100 bucks. You could make a membership site for about $300.00
Go to a professional firm and pay $5000.00 to $10,000.00 That means you would spend $4900.00 to about $9700.00 dollars more than you should. Plus, you wouldn’t know how to operate it and would have to pay high maintenance fees. I had one recent company come to me where they spent over $40,000.00 on their website and $1500.00/ month maintenance. I asked them loudly……FOR WHAT?
This is a simple WordPress site with no advanced functionality, that a 5th grader could maintain.
Anyway, get my darn WordPress course and don’t get sucked into these big money deals.
https://www.GreatInternetMarketing.com/wordpressecourse In the show notes.
Alright, I’m not here to talk about accounting and website stuff today. I’m here to talk about equipment and physical stuff and how you can save a fortune. The minute I realize I have a need for something, the first place I go is the buying apps. They have saved me tens of thousands of dollars just in the last couple years.
Craigslist is somewhat of the granddaddy of all the local buying sites. But in recent years there have been an onslaught of others: Here are the ones I use for local purchases:
Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, Let Go, and Craigslist
To check prices or to find things I can’t find locally, I’ll use eBay, Amazon, and Walmart online
I used to use the “Trader Type” Magazines that I got at 7/11, but they are getting harder to find.
There are way more than the ones I use. All you have to do is type into Google “Best Buying Apps” and you’ll find plenty to pick from and usually an overview or review of the app by somebody.
On these apps you can set how far away you are willing to travel. For instance, you can set it to only show you items within 5 miles. If there aren’t any listings for what you are searching for within that 5 miles, most of the apps will show listings anyway and put a header on that section something like “More listings out of your service area” so you can see other listings on the same search.
I generally keep a large number of miles listed in my app because I want the maximum responses when I do a search for something. When I start looking at the listings I glance at the general area map they give you for each item to see if I’m willing to travel to that area for that item. If it’s something unique that doesn’t have a lot of listings, I might be willing to travel much further. If it’s something fairly common, I’ll wait till I see a good deal much closer. Also, prices seem to be way cheaper the further away from high population areas you get. Sellers know there aren’t as many buyers in their area and buyers from the city don’t want to drive too far, so the seller usually lists things cheaper to try to get people to bite.
Also, keep in mind you can sell or giveaway items you don’t need to turn your junk into cash. There are plenty of people making a living doing just that. I answered an ad one time for something and I was told to go to a storage facility nearby. When I got there a guy had 4 full bays of stuff and the only way he sold it was by listing on the free buying apps. He makes a hefty part time income and only works Saturdays and Sundays.
Some people even make a business of getting free stuff off craigslist and relisting it for money. You wouldn’t think that would work, but I’ve even given good stuff away, just because I needed the space for some other thing in my garage. Or one guy can easily fix old washers and dryers and he gets them free and fixes them for a few dollars’ worth of parts and makes good money on the resale. I think he even gives a 30-day warranty.
I’m not advocating that you start a salvage business. I want you sitting home or selling on the Internet, but I thought it was great this pretty old retired guy was having a ball with his little side business. And he was running the entire thing from his smart phone and a pickup truck.
I’m going to tell you now just a small fraction of the bargains I’ve gotten that saved my businesses lots of money.
Let’s start with my Internet school. This is roughly a 4000 square foot building with a bunch of offices a classroom and a library. I got all the cherry desks and file cabinets for the entire building for $1500.00. Each desk would have cost at least $1500.00 and I got 5 of them in the deal, a bunch of gorgeous cherry file cabinets and a conference table all for the $1500. There was hardly a scratch on any of it. The guy I got it off of was paying about $200.00 a month to store it all and he was ready to deal.
Maybe I should feel bad about the fact that he went out of business probably because he bought all of this stuff new and most likely everything in his business was new causing him enormous debt and cash flow problems that he couldn’t overcome. So, he quit and dumped all the stuff to try to salvage a little cash. Had he listened to this podcast, maybe he’d still be in business.
Another purchase I made for the school came from Craigslist. An insurance company moving office and I got $850 office chairs for $50 each. They had so many ergonomic controls we had to shoot a video to show people how to use them. They’re still at the school.
I got an absolutely gorgeous and perfect $2400 wall mounted cherry whiteboard for $100.00 and the guy couldn’t wait to get it out of his garage.
Also, for the school I got safes, lockers, tables, projector screens, book cases, rugs, garbage cans, and lots more I can’t even remember. All were at minimum 50% off retail with no sales tax and most were at least 75% off retail.
For my brutal self defense training (You can see that at https://www.BrutalSelfDefense.com ) I got a brand new 140 lb. grappling dummy that cost $220.00 new plus $100.00 shipping for only $50.00. That’s 85% off. I also got all my mats, punching bags, airsoft guns, head protectors, boxing gloves for similar prices and deals.
For myself I bought a super cheap laptop so I could learn Windows 10 without sacrificing the speed and power of my Windows 7 machine that I already know how to run.
I’ve gotten tons of brand new tools and other things that people got as gifts. I remember this one guy was selling a brand new, not even opened DeWalt Drill. I met him at the parking lot of a mall and asked him why he was selling it. He said, “My wife wants me to fix lots of stuff around the house so she gave this to me for Christmas.” He went on to say, “I can barely change a lightbulb and there’s no way I’m going to try to drill holes in things.’ Hahaha I guess he could have stolen it and just giving me a story, but he seemed pretty sincere. hahaha
Anyway, the list of things I’ve bought is in the hundreds of items which has saved me tens of thousands of dollars.
Before I get too much in to this, I must talk about safety. We’ve all heard horror stories about Craigslist deals either going bad or the cheap iPad was a set up in the first place to lure someone into getting mugged for their cash.
Always take someone with you. Shady characters don’t like witnesses.
Don’t make deals at night or in a bad area of town. As we say in my self defense class, “The bad area of town is called that for a reason.”
Meet in highly public places when at all possible.
Many police departments now allow you to meet in their lobby and/or parking lot so that’s a good option. You can call your local police department (Use the local number. Don’t call 911) and you can also check out http://www.safetradestations.com/
Sometimes because of the size of an item you may have to meet at someone’s home, office, or storage facility. That’s a great excuse to have one or two people with you to help load the item and give you an extra margin of safety.
Before I get into pricing and negotiation let me tell you one thing. The people you are buying from do not know how to write descriptions for their products and services to get the maximum price and easiest sale. That’s why you are going to get bargain basement prices on the things you buy from them. I’ve been teaching my students for years how to get the most people to buy at the highest reasonable price. I put everything in a comprehensive course called https://www.Copywriting901.com the fast track to writing words that sell. You don’t have to be a great writer to write copy that sells. You don’t even have to be able to spell that well. You’ll never get an “A” from your English teacher for your sales copy, but I guarantee that English teacher would trade bank accounts with you when you get good at this. PLUS, if you really like writing, you can write copy for others starting at around $1500.00 and going way up from there. Check it out at copywriting901.com and in the show notes.
Ok let’s get to pricing and negotiation
PRICING AND NEGOTIATION
On some things it’s obvious to me that something’s a good deal. I may know a lot about the item and I can make an instant decision if I want it or not.
On other things, I research what the item costs new and if it’s discontinued but still a good deal. If it’s something like a pressure washer I’ll also see if parts are still available.
The first thing I do is put the product in Amazon and see how much it’s selling for and if it’s “Prime” which means I get free shipping. If I can’t find it there, I’ll try eBay and Walmart online.
Here’s a special tip for checking things out on eBay. Somewhere near the search box, there will be a link titled “Advanced” or “Advanced Search”. When you click there, it takes you to a screen where you can search for auctions that have been completed in the last 90 days. I.e. these auctions are all finished. This is really great. It tells you whether the thing you’re considering sold or not and if so, how much it sold for. It will also show you if there are tons of these things being sold which means the prices will generally be lower because the item isn’t that unique.
The next thing I consider is the time and distance involved to look at the item really worth it? If it’s a common item that’s far away, the answer would be no. I’ll just wait to find one closer. Now, if I need one right away, I might travel further, but usually what I need isn’t urgent.
If I determine it’s a good deal, then I almost always put in a lower, but reasonable offer. If I want it and need it really bad I just respond “I’ll take it.” Most things I don’t want that bad and I’m willing to wait for a better and/or closer deal.
Price is Firm / No Lowball Offers
Sometimes you will see the “price as firm” or “Seller is only accepting full price offers”. If you want it bad enough and it’s a good price, take it but let me give you some other strategies.
Another option is to contact the person and be very polite. Say, I know you have a firm price so I won’t insult you with a lower offer. However, if you don’t have any luck selling at your price, please contact me. Maybe we can work something out.
Another option is to again be very polite and offer a lower price with a reason. For instance, I bought a walker for an older person. I contacted the seller and told her that I knew that the item was worth more, but the older person couldn’t afford more than x. I got an immediate response. …..Come get it. Because I gave that reason why. ….It was for an older person and they couldn’t afford that much.
Another time I was buying a portable generator. I said, “It’s really nice and I have to have one today, but I only have a budget of x”. Response. ……Come get it. There’s probably hundreds of portable generators on these apps and the seller knew it. He figured, “I got a hot buyer and I better take it.”
Sometimes people say no or sometimes they come back with a counter offer. You just have to decide how much you want it or, if there are plenty to pick from, if you just wait.
Sometimes people list stuff for more than it’s currently selling for at retail. Again, I’m polite and I find where the product is currently selling so I have proof of the current price. Instead of confronting them about the price, I say this, “I just saw on Amazon what looks like the same product for x dollars (which is cheaper than what they’re asking for a used one) Am I missing something? Does yours have features that I missed?”
I already know one of two things. They either are basing their price on what they paid for the item, or they are looking for a sucker to buy it used for the same price the person could buy it new and under warranty. The second person won’t deal with you. They will hold out for their sucker. The first person may deal with you. What I do is commiserate with them. I might say, “Yeah that sucks. Prices on these things have taken a nose dive. Let me know if you’ll take x for it. If not, I’ll probably just get a new one off Amazon.”
Sometimes you’ll see listings and the person has hundreds of other listings. They’re doing this as a business. You may see several things they have that you could use and you can usually negotiate a cheaper price if you buy multiple items.
Lowball Offers and Reviews
Lowball offers are offers way below the asking price of the item. Even when you see a price “OBO” which means “Or Best Offer” you still might see the ad say “No Lowballs” or “No Lowball Offers. I’m not desperate to sell.”
I don’t really believe in the term “Lowball Offer” but nowadays you kinda have to pay attention to it because people will review you poorly and then others will be less reluctant to deal with you. I believe what you are willing to pay depends on how badly you want or need the item and how soon you need it. What the person is willing to accept has to do with how bad they want or need to sell the item to get the cash.
You should not pay more than the item is worth to you no matter how the seller wants to shame you or mock you as a lowballer. However, like I said, I don’t want bad reviews. That’s why I’m so polite and have a reason I can only pay so much. The seller usually either ignores, me, says “no”, comes back with a counter offer or says “yes”. Rarely do I get a lecture and a bad review.
What I can tell you, is that there have been many times when I could not believe the person immediately accepted the offer and I got a massive bargain, like the 140 lb. grappling dummy. Who knows why? Maybe like the drill guy he got it as a present and just wants rid of fit. Maybe the person is desperate to pay their rent or buy groceries. It’s not your job to figure out or worry about any of that. It’s your job to make the best deal to conserve your own cash. Period.
Be careful of scams. Like someone has an iPad in an unopened sealed box as if it’s brand new. It could be an older iPad or no iPad at all where they have rewrapped the box to look like it’s never been opened. On electronics always demand to see the actual items and make sure it works before you hand over the money.
Hidden damage. I was just looking at used garden tillers. Many of them say, “Just needs a carburetor. The carb is only 15 bucks on eBay. ….No thanks. If it was that easy to throw on a carburetor, why didn’t you do it and get way more money for the tiller? Certainly, what they say could be true, but it could be just as true they bent the engine shaft and it would cost more than a brand-new tiller to replace it. You can’t check that out because the tiller conveniently won’t start because of the carburetor. Maybe if you were a small engine expert, this would make sense, but for most of us don’t buy something if you can’t see it working.
Here’s a scam if you’re selling something. People sending you checks for way more than what you asked for whatever you’re selling and when you alert them of the “mistake”, they ask you just to send them back the difference with your check. So, you mail them the item with your good check for the overage they sent you. Their check bounces and not only have they stolen the item, you sent them your good check which they immediately cash.
Another thing I want to remind you of. Just about everything under the sun is advertised on these buying apps (Other than firearms, booze, and dangerous things) I got stuff for my hunting trailer, I got a super great kitchen slicer for only $5.00 at an estate sale I found on the buying apps. I got a life vest for my dog and dog toys and crates. Curtains, lamps, artwork, costumes and pretty much anything you can think of. I got a park bench for free that I’m refinishing just as a hobby. All kinds of used lumber, ….for free I got all the bricks for a raised bed for my front yard. I think I’ll include a picture of it in the show notes. So, unless it needs to be brand new, check your apps first.
Here’s some miscellaneous tips.
Having a pickup truck helps tremendously. If you don’t have one, you can rent one from Home Depot. I’m not sure if they require you to purchase something from them or not. Other rental places do have vans and pickups for rent. They’re just a little harder to find. You always have U-Haul and Ryder kinds of truck rentals. I think for all the chairs we got for the school we rented a Ryder truck and still saved thousands of dollars overall.
Be a good communicator. I respond quickly and I hate it when the other person sends a message, I respond immediately and the next day or two days later they respond.
Move fast when you really want something. Whenever possible I usually tell the seller, I can leave in 5 minutes. Too many things can go wrong if you wait. When the deal falls through or they sell it to someone else, then I have to waste time looking for another deal.
OK. There you have it. You can save many thousands of dollars buying used things locally.
This has been Episode 040. Check out everything including the picture of my raised bed in the show notes and remember to check out https://www.Copywriting901.com if you want to skyrocket the sales of your products and services.
Watch for Episode 041 where a 75-year-old guy who saved my life has enough gold medals that if you melted them down, would finance a small country. Don’t miss that episode 041
I will catch ya next time.
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