Last Wednesday I was looking at books in a local book store when I noticed a woman looking at a stack of books with her cell phone in her hand. I sensed she was scanning the bar code with her phone and price checking them, which she was. I asked her if she was selling books online and then she said yes. I’ve often thought of doing this but I never wanted to compete with people selling books for a penny and then try to make a dollar through shipping. Also, I didn’t want to drive to the post office every day to deliver a book or several books.
Then it happened.
This lady gave me some 411 on Amazon FBA. Amazon FBA stands for Fulfillment By Amazon, which means Amazon ships your products directly to the customer. She told me she looks for books during the week and sends them all in one or two boxes to Amazon every week where they will store them, sell them, ship them and provide customer service. Wow! I was blown away.
Then she told me I could buy an app for my phone that will show me the current market price for the book, all costs involved with Amazon including shipping, how many books are currently for sale, how popular the book is and the profit margin. Again, wow! I was blown away.
I went home and spent the afternoon Googling everything I could to learn about FBA.
Here’s the basics:
–A professional seller account on Amazon is $40 per month with the first month free. If you don’t have one you could just pay and extra .99 per item to Amazon however you need a professional sellers account to work with the app that gives you profit margin, etc.
-There are a few apps for your phone. Some are $30/month and well worth it. Since I wanted to keep my start up costs low I bought the ProfitBandit app for $15. There is no monthly fee associated with this.
–You can scan the barcode of the book or product with your phone’s camera or you could buy a scanner. Scanners will make things much faster and easier however I wanted to keep start up costs down. I’ll get a scanner when I can pay for it out of my profits.
–Starting with books from garage sales and thrift stores is a low risk/ high profit margin way to begin. I spent around 16 bucks for the first shipment of books I sent in. They should retail for around $150. (I priced some of my books too high and will be lowering some of them).
–You have to learn by doing. There are some great youtube videos and groups that have helped but I’ve bought, priced, cleaned, packaged and shipped a bunch of books knowing that I am going to make a few mistakes.
–Ship the books. Don’t let them sit around in your home. It takes me a long time to prepare my shipments because I am new. I will get faster the more I do and learn and so will you. Just get started and work through any problems you have.
In A Nutshell
-start up costs
*$15 for ProfitBandit (first month of Amazon Sellers is free)
*your inventory, which is peanuts if you start at Thrift stores.
*you’ll need time, gas money and a couple of bucks for shipping (Amazon gives steep discounts if you use UPS).
*I’ll assume you have access to a printer (I use an old deskjet 940c) and a computer.
*If you don’t have a fancy phone that runs apps you can buy a used Ipod off Craigslist or Ebay to run the app.
That’s it. Low risk, high reward potential. (This is just a basic guide and I’ll trust you’ll be doing research and learning as you get going).
Here are some resources to help you get started:
Thriftingforprofit.com -These ladies have a ton of videos, blogs and podcasts. They have really opened my eyes to the potential of this business.
Let’s keep it simple, that’s all you need to get started. Remember, Google is your friend. Also, I’ll be happy to share with you what I know. (I will be in a conference April 24 – 27, 2014, so I may be a little slow getting back to you).