MS versus Reselling: Which would you pick?

somdave2005

Level 2 Member
I've been debating in my head recently on whether to focus on MS or Reselling. I do both right now and find that with a full time job and a baby I don't really have time for BOTH. Given TIME is a premium, which one would you guys focus on? Here are my pros and cons of each? What are your thoughts?


Manufactured Spending: ie buying GCs, money orders , etc

Pros:
- more straightforward and money is available quicker ie buy MO and deposit MO
- credit card earnings are not taxed
- Don't have to deal with customer returns and reselling issues

Cons:

- out of pocket expense to earn points ie gift card fees.
- more credit card fraud alerts than reselling

Reselling:

Pros:

- earn money profits in addition to credit card rewards/miles, instead of paying fees to earn CC rewards like in MS.
- More stimulating and fun?

Cons:

- Time consuming ie search for deals
- Volume is limited due to most stores/retailers ahve quantity limits before they shut you down.
- Have to pay taxes on profits. (not talking about credit card rewards, the actual profits from your sales)
- customer issues ie returns, complaints.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Why do you have to pick one or the other?

Personally, having dipped my toes in both Reselling is harder to learn, but once you build the system, you are always able to check if something is a deal or not. A quick scan and done. MS could change, eg a certain flavor of card is now cash only, or another doesn't work with Kate, or whatnot, but if you put limited effort into building that knowledge base, all you have to do is buy small, no more than $1000 at a time (assuming float in excess of that) and if you buy a dud you spend it down the old fashioned way.

That Reselling though..much more lucrative than MS when done right.
 

somdave2005

Level 2 Member
I can no longer do BOTH because I now have a baby and thus not that much time anymore.

Matt, you need to teach me some reselling skills that improve efficiency. :)
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
I can no longer do BOTH because I now have a baby and thus not that much time anymore.

Matt, you need to teach me some reselling skills that improve efficiency. :)
I've a baby too, and 3 businesses, and have a final exam next week. Get to work! :)
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
So.. let's work through it - why do you not have time for both? Ignore the baby issue for now as it is a distraction when looking at how to improve (its the 'excuse').

Don't get me wrong, it's a very valid point, but we have to shelve it in order to do more.

Let's say you pick one - just one - and it is reselling.

What is stopping you buying a GC and a MO?
 

somdave2005

Level 2 Member
So.. let's work through it - why do you not have time for both? Ignore the baby issue for now as it is a distraction when looking at how to improve (its the 'excuse').

Don't get me wrong, it's a very valid point, but we have to shelve it in order to do more.

Let's say you pick one - just one - and it is reselling.

What is stopping you buying a GC and a MO?
I'm a full time physician with a busy schedule, and there's only so much time in the day. Say I focus my time on reselling, then I'm not going to have much time to also go around buying gift cards and money orders. I guess I can just buy gift cards and money orders when I am out already and if its on the way while I'm doing something. Suggestions?
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Sorry to hear that, but such is life.

Maybe you need to redefine exact needs and then see what fits. If you have little time then OA and prep centers. If you can RA then you should be able to slip in some MS.
 

LOR82950

New Member
You should pick the one that most comfortably fits to your lifestyle, time constants, and skill set. I think reselling is more of a skill that relies on catering to individual consumers and MS is more of a skill where a consumer caters to the rules of established entities (banks, CC's, stores, etc.) to manipulate results in their favor.
 

somdave2005

Level 2 Member
Thanks for the advice, LOR82960 and Matt. I think I'm going to focuse more on MS since it is simpler and involves less headaches such as customer returns/complaints. For MS, if there is a problem it is most likely my own fault and I can live with that. Of course if I see a good slickdeal for resell, I'm going to jump on it.
 
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MickiSue

Level 2 Member
Supporter
At your time of life, with your profession, I agree that MS is probably better. Both in terms of immediate payback, and in terms of need to spend a lot of brainpower on it. Babies can be exhausting, as you have learned, and you don't need more drains on your already tired brain.

You already have a job that requires that you THINK. Reselling requires the same thing, MS, not so much, once the basics are learned. As a physician, I assume that you have learned at least the rudiments of interpersonal communication, and that's the biggest skill required in MS, IMO.

My only suggestion, to make it quicker, easier for you, is to find a PO that you know has decent human beings working there, and use it exclusively for your MO purchases. Fill out the paperwork (it's actually online), and once it's done once, they just have to look up your SSN and your DL to have it all available.

The postal inspectors are familiar with MS. If you are upfront about the number of MOs you are buying, and deposit them all (or most) at the same bank, you will find that you save a lot of time, and feel better about it.

The teller at my bank that I see most frequently is interested in pursuing MS, as she has family on a different continent.
 

haserfauld

Level 2 Member
I've gone mostly to reselling, just as a way to print UR points generally. Pretty minimal.

I've got an excel sheet tracking my reselling. My reselling "profit" is actually a loss (current sitting at -$7 out of pocket), unless you count rewards and cashback. For tax purposes, I have nothing that needs reporting, correct? Also, my totals are very low by most standards (~$4000 in purchases/sales YTD, mostly GCs).
 

MickiSue

Level 2 Member
Supporter
If you get a W4 from any of the sites where you resell, then yes, you need to report taxes. If you make any profit for the year, with or without a W4, then yes, you need to report taxes.

Given that that is true, be sure to keep contemporaneous records of your mileage. For mine, I don't count store trips, because the reselling is just incidental to whatever else I'm doing. But I write mileage from home to UPS on the receipt they give me.

Now that I have smart pickup, though, I'm gladly giving up the mileage costs.
 

haserfauld

Level 2 Member
If you get a W4 from any of the sites where you resell, then yes, you need to report taxes. If you make any profit for the year, with or without a W4, then yes, you need to report taxes.

Given that that is true, be sure to keep contemporaneous records of your mileage. For mine, I don't count store trips, because the reselling is just incidental to whatever else I'm doing. But I write mileage from home to UPS on the receipt they give me.

Now that I have smart pickup, though, I'm gladly giving up the mileage costs.
Thanks. I appreciate the help.
 

RWC75

Level 2 Member
I've got an excel sheet tracking my reselling. My reselling "profit" is actually a loss (current sitting at -$7 out of pocket), unless you count rewards and cashback. For tax purposes, I have nothing that needs reporting, correct? Also, my totals are very low by most standards (~$4000 in purchases/sales YTD, mostly GCs).
If you do reselling, even to just MS UR points, treat it like an actual business. Even if your "profit" is a loss, you still need to report that activity for tax purposes and do the normal sales tax reporting. You should also ensure that you are factoring rewards etc. into your cost of goods sold, as that will impact your actual profit.

But... the flip side is that you can make a lot more if you focus on trying to make at least a minimal cash basis profit. Zero cost UR is awesome, and a lot better than paying 0.6cpp, but getting paid to earn UR is even better.
 

Laura

Level 2 Member
I live in Cali so the last few months have been more focused on reselling than on MS... but when I travel, I try to MS when I can. I rarely have any returns or issues and more profitable than MS.
 

shenvatele

Level 2 Member
I like to diversify and do a little bit of both... I do find that there is more risk and work involved with reselling but can also make a little extra money with it!
 

russ

Level 2 Member
I do both. When there are no deals and I can't make a profit reselling, I go to MS. Wait for some deals and go back to reselling.
 

Panache

Level 2 Member
I much rather MS than envision my living room turning into a warehouse and having to keep track of inventory and taxes and all. Plus there is dealing with returns, roving the web for deals, getting shutdown for not being authorized reseller, or being stuck with a closet full of iPads that need to be sold at a (big?) loss. With MS there is always a way to liquidate, even if it means a 1 or 2% loss.

That said, my MS is rather modest at just $2-3 K/month. That's all SO and I need and we have currently enough points for the 2 years of biz class travel. Just booked trip to Australia a couple of weeks ago that would cost $7 K cash for $200 in fees and 115 K MR points!
 

dockers

Level 2 Member
MS, to me, is much less time invasive. I've the good fortune of multiple banks and supermarkets within a five-ten minute walk, and can knock out a 500 GC, liquidated to MO, and deposit it within 15 min. However, it took lots of reading and testing to get to this point.

Reselling.... I've done it before. Buying bulk from China (and actually going the Western Union route for payment, as CCs had a 2.9% fee). It's labor intensive, there are boxes everywhere, inventory tracking is a pain until you get a system down. Taxes are $250 a year for an accountant to deal with, keeping updated financials to ensure you were selling things at a net profit in a constantly evolving market, customers return things and want help, you have to physically ship things (or pay someone else to ship them)... It's a process. The product wasn't allowed on Amazon, so FBA wasn't an option.

At this point in my life, I'm 100% in the MS camp.
 

Keeton

Level 2 Member
In my limited experience of about a year, I have focused entirely on MS. I've done it through some crowdfunding platforms and various forms of drop shipping done through a few of these platforms. I've had the option to resell on a few of these platforms but never has established my store. I want to establish my store within the next few weeks so I can resell the products I've purchased through some of these crowdfunding sites. Also, I could use more ideas as to how to increase my MS.
 

CoreyH

Level 2 Member
I tried the reselling route. Studied it. Tried to get ungated in many categories. Now with Amazon restricting even more brands and their new $1500 non refundable fee. I have all but given up on Amazon. MS, gift card arbitrage are my main avenues.
 

Coldmode

New Member
I'm partial to MS because it's what I know, but reselling is intriguing. I'm going to start with whatever Apple releases this week and then go from there. I plan on focusing only on larger value items and only going for really excellent sales. We'll see if that's even worth the time when I've started trying, or if it's such a low volume that it isn't even worth pursuing.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
I'm partial to MS because it's what I know, but reselling is intriguing. I'm going to start with whatever Apple releases this week and then go from there. I plan on focusing only on larger value items and only going for really excellent sales. We'll see if that's even worth the time when I've started trying, or if it's such a low volume that it isn't even worth pursuing.
Reselling Apple isn't easy. Most items are restricted on Amazon.

Reselling is very lucrative though.
 

Coldmode

New Member
Reselling Apple isn't easy. Most items are restricted on Amazon.

Reselling is very lucrative though.
My first angle will probably be to take advantage of iPhone / Apple Watch supply constraints after launch and selling those on eBay. I used to work for an electronics reseller/recycler (selling stuff on eBay!) and have followed the prices of iPhones after launch for a long time, so I'm confident in that working in my favor, provided I can get a few orders in that get delivered on the first day.
 

churnman

Level 2 Member
I only resell on ebay or locally. I ignore Amazon as far as selling. I've been with ebay a long time. It is no where as good as it used to be. The world economy has not recovered back to where it used to be.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
I only resell on ebay or locally. I ignore Amazon as far as selling. I've been with ebay a long time. It is no where as good as it used to be. The world economy has not recovered back to where it used to be.
Dare I ask.. in what way hasn't the world economy recovered to where it used to be? And what does selling things locally have to do with that?
 

churnman

Level 2 Member
Dare I ask.. in what way hasn't the world economy recovered to where it used to be? And what does selling things locally have to do with that?
I'm talking about people having disposable money to buy items that are resold. People who sell collectibles are a good example. They don't get the profit margin they used to and it's not just because of seller fees. There are a number of factors, but the economy is one of them as well as currency exchange. I've done a lot of business with other countries and have clients in those countries who are also seeing that the recovery hasn't reached back to where it was. But, there are those who don't feel that, things have been comfortable for them. This is just from my view as well as other resellers I know from the U.S. and internationally. Maybe it's just an old reseller's point of view (those who've expressed the same sentiments to me are also resellers that have been in the game for at least 15 years). Those who've only been reselling internationally for the last decade may have a different view. My comment about selling locally was just saying how I resell some items.
 
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RWC75

Level 2 Member
My first angle will probably be to take advantage of iPhone / Apple Watch supply constraints after launch and selling those on eBay. I used to work for an electronics reseller/recycler (selling stuff on eBay!) and have followed the prices of iPhones after launch for a long time, so I'm confident in that working in my favor, provided I can get a few orders in that get delivered on the first day.
Protip - be very careful with Apple Watches. If the customer returns it, they often fail to remove it from their iTunes / iCloud profile, and often won't respond to your messages to do so. That leaves you with a watch you can't resell since it's locked to their account. I've had at least $2500 in such returns this year - which has been a helluva hit to my bottom line, as those are losses I simply can't recoup.
 

churnman

Level 2 Member
Protip - be very careful with Apple Watches. If the customer returns it, they often fail to remove it from their iTunes / iCloud profile, and often won't respond to your messages to do so. That leaves you with a watch you can't resell since it's locked to their account. I've had at least $2500 in such returns this year - which has been a helluva hit to my bottom line, as those are losses I simply can't recoup.
Do you sell on Amazon or Ebay? On ebay, I have a no return policy unless the item is damaged/missing in shipment and then I use the ship insurance. So far, I continue to be able to sell even though I'm sure some are turned off by my policy. It hasn't prevented sales. Did you find that most of the buyers sending them back are from the U.S. or international? $2500 loss is horrible. Can you report those buyers because they didn't send the item back in proper condition?
 

Coldmode

New Member
Protip - be very careful with Apple Watches. If the customer returns it, they often fail to remove it from their iTunes / iCloud profile, and often won't respond to your messages to do so. That leaves you with a watch you can't resell since it's locked to their account. I've had at least $2500 in such returns this year - which has been a helluva hit to my bottom line, as those are losses I simply can't recoup.
Yeah, it sounds like anything that could wind up with an iCloud lock on it needs to be sold through eBay with no returns to prevent this from happening. That sounds like a total nightmare.
 

linda nguyen

Level 2 Member
I prefer MS. Back in 1999-2002 I did eBay for a living during college. I would buy and sell everything. Towards the end I would buy things off of other Ebay sellers in the USA and sell it on Ebay in the UK and Germany. The only goal here was to take advantage of the currency. At that time I could buy a a product here for $100 and sell it for 100 euros or pounds. The exchange rate was good enough to make me 50-75%. The problem was that it still took a lot of time and effort. It's time and effort that I can't do with a full time job and a family now. Honestly, I spent so much time on eBay, the post office, packing up packages, and using an extra room in my parents house that I'm not pretty much turned off by any type of reselling. People who haven't tried reselling might give it a try but be careful of burnout.
 

MickiSue

Level 2 Member
Supporter
There is a difference between selling on eBay and selling through FBA. Some parts less good, but mostly, it's easier to fill big boxes with twenty items, let UPS pick them up, and FBA package them individually, than to send them out yourself, piece by piece.

If you really hate packing and sending out boxes, you can, if your numbers justify it, have all your goods sent to a packaging service, and not deal with that part of it, at all. If you dislike sourcing, you can, if your numbers justify it, pay other people to do your sourcing and sending the products to FBA.

For many people, reselling isn't a way to make enough money to have an extra big nest egg. It's a way to quit that full time job and be able to spend more time with their families. Combined with the benefits of tens of thousands of points/miles and portal bonuses, it's also a way to feed one's travel habits, and actually have the time to go on wonderful trips with one's family.

I'm not there yet. But I'm much closer than a year ago, and have, with the help of those who ARE there, a better idea of how to arrive there. Is it work? Yes. Does it require constant learning? Yes. But, in the end, for me, knowing that I can provide miles to my kids is priceless.
 
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