How do you manage your inventory expense?

One of my struggles as an online seller is that I don’t follow my own business plan. I created a plan to only purchase new inventory at end of month. I would do so after calculating what my profits are.

However, I find myself digressing from my plan and have been purchasing inventory to frequently.

My question is – Are you following your business plan? Do you buy inventory spontaneously?

Thanks for sharing!

Your Friend,

asked almost 12 years ago

19 Answers

Good thought to ponder Louie.

I always buy stock as it becomes available. You never know how long that special product at that special price will be available, and is usually first come first serve. Then there is always the auctions. If one attends them regularly, there is only one opportunity. I find I have trouble trying to stay grounded when I am bidding on merchandise for resale. Sometimes I have waited for the auctioneer to drop the opening bid before I raise my card, and I have walked away with some really good deals that way. Others, I paid way too much for…like when I bought my bust form.

But I shop all the time, list all the time, and sell all the time.

answered almost 12 years ago

The simple answer is: “play with the house’s money.” It is a gradual process but in time is very powerful. Three parts parts: First, reserve some profit for acquisition of new, replacement product. Part two: be patient. Wait for YOUR deal on new product, and when possible earn a discount or reduced shipping cost by purchasing LOTS of it. Over time, there is a racheting effect, so that your ability to buy increases; slowly at first, then by quite stunning leaps.

There is an interssting compounding effect here, because purchase of larger quantity usually means you can reduce your selling price, and thereby increase your volume.

Third: rather than obsess over a certain margin of product for each individual sale, pay attention to the margin on the entire lot of it. If a low profit or loss on a few items propels sale and larger profit on others, then don’t leave the money on the table.

That’s what works for me.

answered almost 12 years ago

Reputation: 197
See jsgeare's booth

I buy inventory when it is available as mine comes
from tag sales, estate sales and garage sales.

Can’t miss a chance to bring home items if I spot sellable collectibles on any given day.
I may not find anything of quality again for weeks, so I can not buy only at a certain time.

answered almost 12 years ago

My input would be that the thrill of selling “found treasures” on

…and the thrill of going out and actually finding treasures

are hard to manage

…when you discover the best thrill of all is when you go out searching, find something that is too great to pass up and are able to profitably sell to someone who is tickled pink and gets a great deal and gives you glowing feedback.

The business plan above is bound to produce chaos and run wild on you. My advice is to get a third party who can apply the brakes every once in a while at appropriate times.

A level-headed “Whoa there darlin’ you want to do what?” person is what you need

…someone who suggests you step back for a second, take a minute to think it through and offers their two cents on the transaction at hand.

answered almost 12 years ago

Reputation: 54
See dogwdres' booth

Morning Louie. I too must replenish my inventory at a variety of different times. Rather then restricting the times per month I replenish my inventory, I only use my business account funds to make any business related purchase (kept separate from any personal accounts) Once a month I do generate a profit/loss report. It really does not matter when I replenish my inventory, but rather the numbers at the end of each month

answered almost 12 years ago

Drop the buying schedule.
Set aside a percentage of income for tool/inventory purchases.
When you need something, or if you find a sweet deal buy it.
That’s my strategy.
My Nov. thru Jan. purchases for tools and materials was about zip.
Just last month I found a deal and dropped a grand on 400 bf of red oak and 200 bf of clear white pine. Normally I would only have gotten 300 bf of oak for that price.
So save for that rainy day.

answered almost 12 years ago

We travel frequently in our motor coach, sometimes spending 3 or 4 months in one location.

During those times we frequent local markets, auctions and sales. These are not only a lot of fun but great re-sale items are sometimes only available for very short periods of time and must be purchased then.

To be realistic, you still need to follow the advise of several others commenting here – unless you are doing this as a “hobby” – keep track of expense and your off-setting profit margin making sure you make a profit.

Being retired, my approach is somewhat different than those selling for a required income……………..

answered almost 12 years ago

Reputation: 62
See rod3955's booth

I agree ravenstalin. Buy low and give your sellers a better deal.
Thanks everyone. Good thread !

answered almost 12 years ago

Your raise an excellent question. NEvER buy what you cannot confirm a definite SALE because your unsold inventory will continue to grow. Anything “new” sitting unsold for more than 30 days = a risk, 45 days = a liability, 60 days = a lesson to be learn the hard way.

answered almost 12 years ago

Reputation: 8354
See MONTROSE's booth

I don’t have a set budget. Whatever I spend is from my pocket money. Making jewelry is part of my various hobbies. Because of my love to design, I’m able to help my church. Over the years I have had many business offers and proposals. Since I work fulltime, biz is on hold. Eventually I’ll think seriously about it and treat as biz. In the meantime I have learned to set the groundwork for future biz, by keeping track of my spending, sources and itemizing each product in excel.

answered almost 12 years ago

Reputation: 46
See Lolag's booth

As a born again picker…I have one rule for my inventory expense: But low and sell high! Not as e-z in today’s economic struggles…so, to revise: buy low and settle for a slight increase over actual cost. Plus mileage.
[and travel costs]….

answered almost 12 years ago

great information

answered almost 12 years ago

Reputation: 37
See mjzc59's booth

I can only buy my inventory when I have the extra funds to do so..when I run out of one of my best sellers I wish I was able to go replenish immediately…wish I could do it once a month or on some sort of schedule..I want to rotate my inventory also just am not able to so so all the time..

answered almost 12 years ago

I take advantage of sales, clearance racks, garage sales, and estate sales whenever I can. I try to keep at least $800.00 in my account. Once I get to $800.00 I stop until I sell more and deposit my earnings.

answered almost 12 years ago

This question brought a smile to my face, In the Antiques and older collectibles you have to buy then it is available and and at a right price. Or you competitor will. And by the way we are all addicted, It is a disease and we are all in therapy. We are selling to feed the habit.

answered almost 12 years ago

I buy inventory all the time – as I feel that the more you buy and post the more it attracts other buyers to buy your stuff and you have constant cash flow

answered almost 12 years ago

Reputation: 28
See limommy's booth

The short answer is that you buy what you can when you can. As for the financing, a good rule to follow is: one third for expenses, one third for inventory replacement and one third for your pocket. This has served me for over twenty years. Good luck.

answered over 11 years ago

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answered 9 months ago

Reputation: 50

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answered 6 months ago

Reputation: 12
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Asked: almost 12 years ago

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