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I'm in need of lots of cash to fund my medical study. I have no access to public funds and bank loans won't help much- so I'm thinking of buying and reselling watches on eBay as a supplement to my full-time job.

Do you guys think the eBay watch business is worth trying?
you will make a profit for EBay. I haven't sold anything on EBay in close to a decade. I sell things on Craigslist. I have never had anything that did not sell on Craig's list so no reason for enays fees or to pay for shipping. Of course I haven't sold watches but I am sure if you have a desirable brand you can sell them on there as well.
 

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I do a bit of flipping on eBay. It's a grind. It's not impossible, but it's a grind. And if you don't have a way to source your watches, forget about it. Not going to happen.

Here's the key to remember if you ever think you might earn a consistent living on ebay:
- If you sell a $2000 watch, you owe eBay $200 and PayPal $58
- CONUS insured shipping will run you at least $30.
- You need to make a profit
- You will have a 20% return rate (which doubles your shipping price)

So, before you have ANY return losses factored an, ANY possible unscrupulous buyer nonsense factored in, and any lost packages factored in:

You have to source that watch $258 cheaper than the market rate before you profit $1. And as someone mentioned before, eBay is a highly efficient market. You're going to get what you're going to get. People don't luck out and sell something for 20% more than they otherwise would have - on a consistent basis. No, they get the market rate.

And it's a serious cash flow business. So you need at least 10-20k in play to make any decent money.

And he will also have to register as a sole trader.
 

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It isn't too difficult to make a profit but when you want to make a worthwhile profit, that is when things become increasingly difficult. Saying that, I do find it much easier to sell on eBay due to the larger user base than on specialist forums.
 

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Imo you'd probably need to buy and sell in quantity in order to make a reasonable profit (i.e. batches of 5 or 10 units in a single transaction). This might be especially true if you're new to sales (skilled salespeople make it all look easy when, in reality, it's anything but). And you'd, of course, need to buy low, sell high (which isn't likely to happen on eB*y). Otherwise, the fees paid and time invested per single unit sale would eat you alive. This is not to mention the non-paying deadbeats and the time killing "window shopper" questions you might have to deal with. As others have mentioned; you'd probably have a better chance of doing OK if you bought on eB*y and sold elsewhere (i.e. a Cr*ig's List or even a flea market kind of setting.
 

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its been said here before: making a profit on arbitrage (buying on Ebay, then reselling same item on Ebay at a higher price) does not make sense. You are giving Ebay and Paypal 24% profit on every sale (half on the purchase, half on the sale) and Ebay is a very, very efficient market. Unless you are adding some sort of value to the watch before reselling both your buying pool and your customer base will be misinformed amateurs if you are expecting to make any sort of profit. Not a good way to go about things.
That is not true. When you are the buyer/payer, there are no fees from either eBay or PayPal. You are charged only when you are the seller. eBay basically charges 10% and PayPal 2.9%. You are only having to cover 13%, and not 24%.
 
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That is not true. When you are the buyer/payer, there are no fees from either eBay or PayPal. You are charged only when you are the seller. eBay basically charges 10% and PayPal 2.9%. You are only having to cover 13%, and not 24%.
He obviously meant to say the initial seller/supplier of the watch will not "eat" the fees but add it to the purchase price.

There was another fellow recently opened a similar thread, he was thinking it would be a great idea to buy cheap priced watches mostly from forum sales and put them on eBay...or back on the forum sales. Which of course, is a silly idea.

If you are so desperate to go to school, either getna better job or a 2nd job if you could afford the time. Eventually you could also save for few years and THEN only go to school. All those are easier alternatives to the headache and potential grief of trying to sell on eBay, especially watches.

DO....NOT....DO....IT !!!
 

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That is not true. When you are the buyer/payer, there are no fees from either eBay or PayPal. You are charged only when you are the seller. eBay basically charges 10% and PayPal 2.9%. You are only having to cover 13%, and not 24%.
Editing reply to this, since it has already been answered.

Generally speaking, buying and then selling same item unchanged in the same venue is a poor way of doing business as it basically relies on chance (unless you want to hold on to the thing for long periods of time to make use of long-term price changes).

What you need to do is to add value. How does that happen? If you want to sell watches, the easiest way to go about it is to buy broken watches to fix and resell at a profit. The watch that leaves your hand is actually more valuable than the one you bought because of the application of effort and you can sell it at a higher price without feeling dirty.

Lots of Ebay sellers have this modus operandi as well. Especially sellers outside the US. Sometimes you better watch out for them as well, some foreign sellers buy broken watches and fix them with aftermarket parts to save money and do not disclose the fact or hide it in the small print (looking at you Korean Ebay sellers)
 

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Talking from experience here. Ebay is a f****** nightmare.

I briefly gave this a go. The shafting you get in fees knocks the guts out of you and to add insult to injury you`re dealing with an unknown idiot element. I basically broke even right up until two days ago. Sold a gold watch as a `Repair/needing attention` watch. My advert couldn`t have more clear. The watch was bought by some filthy dog with scabby feedback that took it to a pawn shop to `make himself some cash` He then responded in broken English with " I take wach to gold shop an thay say is no all gold . onli case. I send bak!"


That`s the kinda **** you have to deal with plus the amount of scams/fakes/duff adverts to contend with. That or the "It`s losing 15 seconds a day" brigade. No one will convince you other than yourself but that`s my tuppence worth. There`s too many people in this game and unless you have the capital to buy big, ie; speculate to accumulate then it`s a hard road because contrary to what`said on here not a lot of people can afford top end Swiss watches. You`ll find that `non watch` people will funnily enough overspend on the likes of Tag or Rotary as they`re perceived to be `quality brands` and your market is limited for say a Vacheron Constantin. I`ve seen for example near new Longines Hydroconquests not selling and bust up quartz Tags go for hundreds more but that`s a status symbol to some and it`s hard to follow. In an ideal world we`d all buy cheap and sell high. Not usually the case.
 

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Talking from experience here. Ebay is a f****** nightmare.

I briefly gave this a go. The shafting you get in fees knocks the guts out of you and to add insult to injury you`re dealing with an unknown idiot element. I basically broke even right up until two days ago. Sold a gold watch as a `Repair/needing attention` watch. My advert couldn`t have more clear. The watch was bought by some filthy dog with scabby feedback that took it to a pawn shop to `make himself some cash` He then responded in broken English with " I take wach to gold shop an thay say is no all gold . onli case. I send bak!"


That`s the kinda **** you have to deal with plus the amount of scams/fakes/duff adverts to contend with. That or the "It`s losing 15 seconds a day" brigade. No one will convince you other than yourself but that`s my tuppence worth. There`s too many people in this game and unless you have the capital to buy big, ie; speculate to accumulate then it`s a hard road because contrary to what`said on here not a lot of people can afford top end Swiss watches. You`ll find that `non watch` people will funnily enough overspend on the likes of Tag or Rotary as they`re perceived to be `quality brands` and your market is limited for say a Vacheron Constantin. I`ve seen for example near new Longines Hydroconquests not selling and bust up quartz Tags go for hundreds more but that`s a status symbol to some and it`s hard to follow. In an ideal world we`d all buy cheap and sell high. Not usually the case.
Some really good points here. And your comment about VC reminded me of another issue - if you buy anything that's not Rolex, Omega, or Tag, to make a real profit you must be willing to sit on the product forever. Which is why it's such a cashflow business. It's REALLY easy to see all your money tied up in inventory - which basically kills you because you need that cash to grab the good deals you see, but can't because you've got it in a $2300 limited edition Ball Trainmaster that 9 people in the world are willing to pay market rate for (and 8 of them already have that watch).
 

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Some really good points here. And your comment about VC reminded me of another issue - if you buy anything that's not Rolex, Omega, or Tag, to make a real profit you must be willing to sit on the product forever. Which is why it's such a cashflow business. It's REALLY easy to see all your money tied up in inventory - which basically kills you because you need that cash to grab the good deals you see, but can't because you've got it in a $2300 limited edition Ball Trainmaster that 9 people in the world are willing to pay market rate for (and 8 of them already have that watch).
The usual joke about making money on watches is that in order to make a small fortune on watches, you need to invest a large fortune.
 

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I'm in need of lots of cash to fund my medical study. I have no access to public funds and bank loans won't help much- so I'm thinking of buying and reselling watches on eBay as a supplement to my full-time job.

Do you guys think the eBay watch business is worth trying?
You need money to make money. My nephew sells new clothing on Ebay but he buys directly from the manufacture and has tens of thousands of dollars tied up in inventory. He also used to managed a store in his fathers clothing store chain He makes a small profit.

If there was an easy profit available to do something without any work or having a lot of money tied up in capital do you think someone would tell you and add competition?
 

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As many have said, like any business, if you want to make money, you need to have a decent investment to begin with. If you're concerned about having enough to invest in your medical education, then you don't have enough to invest in this plan to make it worthwhile. I finished medical school a few years ago and there was no way I had enough time or resources to run a successful business on eBay. And then what are you going to do when you get sent away for faraway clinicals? Take all your merchandise with you? Or find a way to get home once a week to ship everything (and assume your buyers are satisfied with that)? Heck, even the close clinicals may keep you busy enough that you'd only get to the post office once a week, if that.

Most of the successful eBay sellers did not get there in a couple of years, and most of them either have that as their day job or their other job is already running a sales business. You would not have that amount of time.

And I've not even gotten to the margins that all the other people have mentioned. You're best taking loans and eating the interest. Unless you plan to work in Cuba, you'll be paid enough to pay it back, though it will take a while. That said, if you want to work in the states eventually (where most people do who need the money), I would not recommend going to an English school as a MB BS does not equate MD in the states. Unless your school is an "off-shore" school. If that's the case, the Caribbean ones, while still expensive, are usually cheaper than the European ones due to their shorter length and less emphasis on failing everyone at least one year.
 

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Some great business advice in this thread, really interesting to read.

Only thing i will add is that you said you bought and sold a couple of things and made a profit. I would advice to beware of understanding a market based on 1 or 2 experiences. Its like going to the casino. You may go and may leave with money a couple of times but when you think you got it you come back and lose all your earnings + more. The people who actually make money in the casino is because they spend a lot of time investing in understanding its rules, dangers and opportunities, regardless of the game you choose. So any venue of income that depends of you against a market requires a long investment both in capital, time and effort and a constant risk. So its better be something you really want to do because you will lose a lot until you learn how to do it properly.

I dont know your country and its job opportunities or possible safe ways to make some money, but i agree with the rest to stay out of such high risk involved project for now. Then when you finish your studies make a long term involved business out of it and you will be investing in what you like.
 
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I'm in need of lots of cash to fund my medical study. I have no access to public funds and bank loans won't help much- so I'm thinking of buying and reselling watches on eBay as a supplement to my full-time job.

Do you guys think the eBay watch business is worth trying?
It will take you a few years to get used to the market and understand how to identify watches that are both underpriced and attractive to other buyers. To make the kind of money you are talking about you will need lots of capital to buy higher-end watches. You won't fund a medical education selling $200 Seiko watches. And it will take time from all important studies.

My recommendation is to get with a school counselor to figure out how to finance an education that will cost a lot but has high earning potential. You may need to work outside school. Another possibility is to look at the military. They have programs that will help pay for a medical degree in exchange for working in the military for several years. I understand HHS also has a program that will subsidize a medical education in exchange for working in an under-served area for a while.

eidt: I just realized you are in England but apparently a non-resident. The government in your country may have the equivalent of those programs. Essentially they subsidize your medical education in exchange for your service as a doctor in selected civilian or military service.
 

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the point made above about "if people are making money at it why would they tell you here" is a VERY good one......... Everyone here is saying you can't do it because either A, they are not doing it because they think it's impossible or B, they ARE doing it and telling you not to do it for obvious reason. Let me put it this way, I have started more than a couple businesses and every single one people told me it couldn't work for x y and z... The difference between me and them is I actually crunch the real numbers and give it a try while they spend their whole life saying nothing is possible and working for someone else. These are the same people who you'll hear saying things like "if you could make money at it everyone would do it." So don't listen to other people, listening to other people is what employees do, making decisions for YOURSELF is what business owners do.

The only way you will know is if you do it yourself, don't listen to others who have not done it or HAVE done it and failed, listen to those who HAVE done it and succeeded. If you can't find someone who has done it and succeeded, you'll just have to figure it out by yourself. It's scary and risky to try something and put your neck and cash on the line, but such is the business of making money... I'll give you a hint to start. Do NOT listen to people on forums that tell you this or that model sells better and this or that model has horrible resale. Go look at the data and make those decisions for yourself based on how many are for sale vs how many actually sold and for how much. If you are competing with thousands of other people selling the same thing worldwide on one website, you are in for a rough, lengthy sale. You'll find out quickly that perceptions are dead wrong if not the exact opposite.


EDIT: I will however echo above advice that you WILL need 15-20k to give it a good go, the best way to make a business fail before it starts is to underfund it.
 

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making money on eBay is possible (and can be rewarding),
making money on eBay buying/selling watches is also very possible (I've seen/helped a few), but my main concern here is not so much the expertise or the money, but the time (being a medical student).

If you're only selling 1 or 2 watches a month (based on your experience, finding a good deal, flipping it on ebay for a profit) then it may be something you want to consider continuing ... provided you have the time
 

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the point made above about "if people are making money at it why would they tell you here" is a VERY good one......... Everyone here is saying you can't do it because either A, they are not doing it because they think it's impossible or B, they ARE doing it and telling you not to do it for obvious reason. Let me put it this way, I have started more than a couple businesses and every single one people told me it couldn't work for x y and z... The difference between me and them is I actually crunch the real numbers and give it a try while they spend their whole life saying nothing is possible and working for someone else. These are the same people who you'll hear saying things like "if you could make money at it everyone would do it." So don't listen to other people, listening to other people is what employees do, making decisions for YOURSELF is what business owners do.

The only way you will know is if you do it yourself, don't listen to others who have not done it or HAVE done it and failed, listen to those who HAVE done it and succeeded. If you can't find someone who has done it and succeeded, you'll just have to figure it out by yourself. It's scary and risky to try something and put your neck and cash on the line, but such is the business of making money... I'll give you a hint to start. Do NOT listen to people on forums that tell you this or that model sells better and this or that model has horrible resale. Go look at the data and make those decisions for yourself based on how many are for sale vs how many actually sold and for how much. If you are competing with thousands of other people selling the same thing worldwide on one website, you are in for a rough, lengthy sale. You'll find out quickly that perceptions are dead wrong if not the exact opposite.


EDIT: I will however echo above advice that you WILL need 15-20k to give it a good go, the best way to make a business fail before it starts is to underfund it.
Some of this is bordering on dangerous rah rah speak. I certainly understand the sentiment, but speaking as someone who does sell on ebay and does turn a profit and does have a competitive advantage - I can tell you all the points that have been outlined here that would be deemed 'negative' are actually all with serious merit.

A medical student who will already be short on time is seeking advice on entering a very time consuming and VERY expensive venture - I think we'd be doing him a disservice by not sharing our experience.

And I'd counter your skepticism with some realism - if there are people here who actually are making money (there are) flipping on eBay, they're not worried about one more competitor. What's one more when you already have thousands?
 

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It is possible, but not lucrative for a student or anyone not willing to spend the time.

First you need to buy, hence scour for good deals or you need to be connected and get good deals. Dont forget, most dealers on ebay are factoring 10% ebay fees + postage + 3.4% paypal fees (thats how much paypal fees are in the UK), so its hard to find undervalued watches.

Second, you need to list watches for sale - this is painstaking unless you sell the same watch every day. Photos, descriptions, and all the other detailed info - listing 20 watches can easily take a few hours. Taking good photos showing defects, instead of a blurry picture on the kitchen table is almost a lost art form. Not a lot of personal sellers have good photos - so thats one way to get bidders. Don't forget the research phase. You need to find out how much similar watches sold for and how much you want to start bidding on. Also do not forget, ebay charges for certain features of the listing (i.e. buy it now, or subtitles etc)

Third, the sale. If you buy for £200, you need to factor in postage (recorded or signed for services), so £10 there. Then you need to factor in paypals 3.4% fees and ebays 10% fees. So to break even you need to sell for at least £240

(240-(240*0.10)-(240*0.034) = £7.84 left over for postage)

Fourth, the postage. You need to arrange to wrap/parcel up the package (theres cost here), then you need to arrange for someone to pick up an item or to go to the post office, and then pay for postage. Dont forget if you send with tracking, putting in tracking code for 10 parcels into ebay is also a hassle, as you have to match each receipt up to the correct order and manually enter them.

Fifth, aftercare. You have to deal with lost packages, or "it is not running" queries, and then you have to deal with the fraudsters. This is a timesink and a major headache.

The payout is less than minimum wage unless you sell really expensive watches and pull in several hundreds in profit per week. For £50 profit a week its probably better to get a weekend job and work 2x 8 hour shifts. More money, less headache.
 
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