MS versus Reselling: Which would you pick?

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
I can do Nike, Lego, Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, and a bunch of high end bra brands.

I can sell some Barbie and some Hot Wheels stuff, for what it's worth.

But the 800 pound gorillas in Toys and Games are Hasbro and Mattel. Not being able to sell them cost me at least $2000 in profits last Q4.

Clearanced bras and Kohls go together like spaghetti and sauce. And the meat of the sauce will be Playtex.

And feminine hygiene is a staple of reselling. After you check out with 4 shopping carts full of tampons and pads a few times, you will be immune to artificial social conventions.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Looks like I can list Hasbro and Mattel, never looked at bras, but Playtex appeared gated on a quick search.
 

Mauddib6

Level 2 Member
I've dabbled somewhat extensively in both- MS a little more. Both are work. If you brute force MS, it just takes time and patience and that fear of shutdowns. To do decent at MS, you really have to research and experiment a lot on your own to find good ways. Good, unpublished methods are easy once you figure them out. It took me hundreds and hundreds of hours - probably a thousand to find my MS system. It's still work, but now it's just a machine rolling out the points.

Resell has the fear of lots of leftover product and potentially lots of float money. But it can have a good ROI. Again, it takes work.

I try the best of both worlds. I only resell incredible deals that I stumble across. I only run MS on my regular ways that are a little easier, or when incredible deals come along. And I try to only do it on credit card sign up bonuses or big spend bonuses. I don't make quite enough to make it full time, but it supplements everything nicely.
 

Seeme

Level 2 Member
I've been researching Reselling for a little while. Finding quality wholesalers seems to be fairly difficult, and all of the dropshipping programs seem to be fairly scammy. It definitely looks like MS is much easier to get into, where as reselling requires a lot of commitment.
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
Resell has the fear of lots of leftover product and potentially lots of float money. But it can have a good ROI. Again, it takes work.
In reality, extensive reselling has the absolute certainty of leftover product.

3 ways to minimize the impact:
  • Insist on a decent minimum profit margin: in most cases 20% won't nearly cut it. Also insist on a decent absolute return per item, I'd say in most cases $3 is my absolute minimum.
  • go heavy on items that people consume regularly: grocery staples, hygiene products, etc.
  • If you've never heard of a brand, chances are your customers haven't either: avoid, avoid, avoid unless you want to play in the PPC universe.
 

MickiSue

Level 2 Member
Supporter
Wholesale isn't the doorway to reselling, it's a destination along the way. MOST resellers start by doing retail arbitrage at whatever level they feel comfortable. For me, it was: if none of this stuff sells before the credit card is due, can I pay it off, and not worry about it?

That has the advantage of allowing inventory to build over time, because, in reality, some things will sell quickly, others slowly, and a few, not at all. It's very important to keep inventory coming in. But if you follow El Ingeniero's rules for profit, you'll also be able to slowly increase the volume of purchases on a monthly basis.
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
Wholesale isn't the doorway to reselling, it's a destination along the way. MOST resellers start by doing retail arbitrage at whatever level they feel comfortable. For me, it was: if none of this stuff sells before the credit card is due, can I pay it off, and not worry about it?

That has the advantage of allowing inventory to build over time, because, in reality, some things will sell quickly, others slowly, and a few, not at all. It's very important to keep inventory coming in. But if you follow El Ingeniero's rules for profit, you'll also be able to slowly increase the volume of purchases on a monthly basis.
The problem with allowing inventory to build over time, is that 2X a year Amazon charges a Long Term Storage Fee, based on the volume taken up by the items. On larger items, that'll eat profits faster than piranhas stripping a cow to bones (poor cow). There's also the issue of tying up working capital for long periods, especially when your stake is a few thousand dollars.

You make your money when you buy, not when you sell. As a small time reseller, I aim for a minimum 50% ROI on every purchase, and I want that price to be below the buy box price over the last six months. It means I pass on a lot of stuff. It also means I prep a lot less stuff than most people.

I also use a repricer. In general I set it with a minimum price that represents 10% ROI, and a maximum price representing the max buy box price for the last six months. My repricing strategy gets more and more aggressive as time goes on.
 

MickiSue

Level 2 Member
Supporter
The problem with allowing inventory to build over time, is that 2X a year Amazon charges a Long Term Storage Fee, based on the volume taken up by the items. On larger items, that'll eat profits faster than piranhas stripping a cow to bones (poor cow). There's also the issue of tying up working capital for long periods, especially when your stake is a few thousand dollars.

You make your money when you buy, not when you sell. As a small time reseller, I aim for a minimum 50% ROI on every purchase, and I want that price to be below the buy box price over the last six months. It means I pass on a lot of stuff. It also means I prep a lot less stuff than most people.

I also use a repricer. In general I set it with a minimum price that represents 10% ROI, and a maximum price representing the max buy box price for the last six months. My repricing strategy gets more and more aggressive as time goes on.
I understand that. I also plan my purchases so that the vast bulk of my inventory will sell quickly. There is, of course, a big difference between the long term storage cost on a DVD player and a size 2T pair of jeans, but even then, 6 months isn't common. I don't go below the buy box; I match it. I'm fine with sharing it. Unless I'm competing with Amazon, in which case, shame on me for not figuring it out before I bought my stock.

If the goal is to both build stock AND turn over inventory, then the primary goal is the purchase of things with a higher ROI. Price drops, long term storage, as you note, cut into that ROI for SOME of the things you sell. But keeping the ROI higher means that even with those issues, overall there will be decent ROI, and one can both increase purchases and do some profit taking, until the monthly income goals are relatively stable.
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
I've been researching Reselling for a little while. Finding quality wholesalers seems to be fairly difficult, and all of the dropshipping programs seem to be fairly scammy. It definitely looks like MS is much easier to get into, where as reselling requires a lot of commitment.
If you are doing Amazon, stay far, far, far away from drop shipping. You must have 100% control over your shipping process.
 

TyroneSchulase

New Member
For me, MS is king. The margin is probably much less, but it's guaranteed, and there's not much to keep track of. I'm pretty sure I can't keep track of $20k/mo of resell items. That sounds like a full-time job. But I know exactly where my 100k MO's went. Routes mesh with commuting, and it's all very comfortable. Unless there's a kink in the schedule, turn-around is one week, from GC purchase to CL available again. And never having a balance show on a credit report is nice.
 
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El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
For me, MS is king. The margin is probably much less, but it's guaranteed, and there's not much to keep track of. I'm pretty sure I can't keep track of $20k/mo of resell items. That sounds like a full-time job. But I know exactly where my 100k MO's went. Routes mesh with commuting, and it's all very comfortable. Unless there's a kink in the schedule, turn-around is one week, from GC purchase to CC available again. And never having a balance show on a credit report is nice.
$20K/month of reselling purchases without outsourcing is indeed a full time job. You should be able to generate a near six figure income as well, as you should when you are putting that many hours in.

On the other hand, most MS that isn't cashback amounts to buying points for money to achieve a discount over paying cash. Then you need to look at the time you put in. And you need to look at what you would realistically spend out of pocket for what the redemption covers.

Case in point: between signup bonuses and MS, I spent about 20 hours (7 grocery store trips, 20+ WMT trips) building up enough points for 5 nights at the Conrad HK and 5 nights for my sisters family at a Hampton Inn over Christmas 2015. Total redemption value was something like $2,800. Except: I would not have spent $400+ a night at the Conrad out of pocket, so the Conrad was worth maybe $160/night (HK is expensive, maybe I wouldn't have gone there at all at that price). So maybe the value to me was more like $1,300. And I paid something like $600 in activation fees after all was said and done. So to my mind I spent 20 hours to earn $700, which is roughly what I make at my day job.

I hit several other gigs hard that year, and I think in total I spent 200 hours MSing in 2015.

Worth it? Hard to say. Looking back, I was able to give my wife a really nice vacation. And I became somewhat wiser in the ways of capitalism. And MS was my entrée into reselling in 2016. But all that time spent on MS in 2015 and reselling in 2016 has had non-financial costs to me in that I spent less time on other things that matter to me, and I am not sure in the end it was all worth it.

And I made one other mistake: I have a crap load of AA/AS/UR lying fallow, and no plans to spend them ATM.
 

TyroneSchulase

New Member
$20K/month of reselling purchases without outsourcing is indeed a full time job. You should be able to generate a near six figure income as well, as you should when you are putting that many hours in.

On the other hand, most MS that isn't cashback amounts to buying points for money to achieve a discount over paying cash. Then you need to look at the time you put in. And you need to look at what you would realistically spend out of pocket for what the redemption covers.

Case in point: between signup bonuses and MS, I spent about 20 hours (7 grocery store trips, 20+ WMT trips) building up enough points for 5 nights at the Conrad HK and 5 nights for my sisters family at a Hampton Inn over Christmas 2015. Total redemption value was something like $2,800. Except: I would not have spent $400+ a night at the Conrad out of pocket, so the Conrad was worth maybe $160/night (HK is expensive, maybe I wouldn't have gone there at all at that price). So maybe the value to me was more like $1,300. And I paid something like $600 in activation fees after all was said and done. So to my mind I spent 20 hours to earn $700, which is roughly what I make at my day job.

I hit several other gigs hard that year, and I think in total I spent 200 hours MSing in 2015.

Worth it? Hard to say. Looking back, I was able to give my wife a really nice vacation. And I became somewhat wiser in the ways of capitalism. And MS was my entrée into reselling in 2016. But all that time spent on MS in 2015 and reselling in 2016 has had non-financial costs to me in that I spent less time on other things that matter to me, and I am not sure in the end it was all worth it.

And I made one other mistake: I have a crap load of AA/AS/UR lying fallow, and no plans to spend them ATM.
Agreed, SO and I had to reevaluate the true cost of all this, in terms of quality of life. MS is quantifiable in terms of % of our days doing this or that. We literally sell the limited days of our lives for what we want.

Totally agree with having a redemption goal. I admit to stockpiling hotel points, but they will be used. As for 6 figures, no way for me: I'm not even close, unless there're things I don't know. My all-time best month in this biz was about 4500 nontaxable cash. I don't count point redemptions, because they cost.
 

MickiSue

Level 2 Member
Supporter
The easiest way, albeit the slowest, to move from MS to reselling is to move up a bit at a time. Start with whatever amount of inventory you are comfortable with, and as you build profit, increase spend. The biggest advantage is that also allows you to decrease spend on MS.
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
The easiest way, albeit the slowest, to move from MS to reselling is to move up a bit at a time. Start with whatever amount of inventory you are comfortable with, and as you build profit, increase spend. The biggest advantage is that also allows you to decrease spend on MS.
Agreed. Take it as a given that you will make mistakes on inventory buys. For a while go an inch deep and mile wide on inventory; shoot for 100% ROI, but don't hesitate to take a loss on stuff that doesn't sell.
 

GRiZ

Level 2 Member
I've been seriously looking into adding reselling into my toolbox of ways to meet minspend and/or get the extra pts for vacation or whatever. I live in a tiny apartment though and we don't make much so I need to be very careful how I play this. I've been thinking about going the luxury -> craigslist route, buying things that are hard to get and then selling on CL for 10%+ profit but I'm really wary of getting ripped off or like mugged.
 

heavenlyjane

Level 2 Member
I've been seriously looking into adding reselling into my toolbox of ways to meet minspend and/or get the extra pts for vacation or whatever. I live in a tiny apartment though and we don't make much so I need to be very careful how I play this. I've been thinking about going the luxury -> craigslist route, buying things that are hard to get and then selling on CL for 10%+ profit but I'm really wary of getting ripped off or like mugged.
I am extremely wary of CL. I bought my furniture off it but would take all sorts of precautions. Paradoxically I feel safer as a buyer than a seller.

If I were you, I'd stay away from items that may come across as stolen (cameras, bicycles, computers, phones, etc). I'd meet the customer so where very safe - in some towns, the police encourage you to use their lobby.

One bad experience could sour the whole concept for you.
 

GRiZ

Level 2 Member
I am extremely wary of CL. I bought my furniture off it but would take all sorts of precautions. Paradoxically I feel safer as a buyer than a seller.

If I were you, I'd stay away from items that may come across as stolen (cameras, bicycles, computers, phones, etc). I'd meet the customer so where very safe - in some towns, the police encourage you to use their lobby.

One bad experience could sour the whole concept for you.
Right, when it comes to phones I know people will usually meet in the carrier store that the buyer uses, that way they can easily check that everything will work. Some managers don't like it but it's really to their benefit, makes customers less cranky.
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
I've been seriously looking into adding reselling into my toolbox of ways to meet minspend and/or get the extra pts for vacation or whatever. I live in a tiny apartment though and we don't make much so I need to be very careful how I play this. I've been thinking about going the luxury -> craigslist route, buying things that are hard to get and then selling on CL for 10%+ profit but I'm really wary of getting ripped off or like mugged.
I am extremely wary of CL. I bought my furniture off it but would take all sorts of precautions. Paradoxically I feel safer as a buyer than a seller.

If I were you, I'd stay away from items that may come across as stolen (cameras, bicycles, computers, phones, etc). I'd meet the customer so where very safe - in some towns, the police encourage you to use their lobby.

One bad experience could sour the whole concept for you.
I live about 4 blocks from the local cop shop. For high value stuff like iPads and MacBook Pros, that is quite ideal.

I've set up shop on a Sunday morning in Starbucks within sight of the counter to sell several items in a row as well.

Either way, when we are talking high value items I vastly prefer electronic payment and a sales agreement signed by both parties. I could see selling an item and then getting mugged as I stepped out the door, and losing both the item and the money.
 

rastaman

Level 2 Member
I am extremely wary of CL. I bought my furniture off it but would take all sorts of precautions. Paradoxically I feel safer as a buyer than a seller.

If I were you, I'd stay away from items that may come across as stolen (cameras, bicycles, computers, phones, etc). I'd meet the customer so where very safe - in some towns, the police encourage you to use their lobby.

One bad experience could sour the whole concept for you.
To add to this, it really depends on what you are selling. High end electronics are what really attracts the spam, scammers, and potentially muggers. If you are willing to put up with tons of lowballers/ spam emails, it might be worth it for you. That said, meet in public places and if it a valuable item, a police station is a good place.

I've done hundreds of sales on CL and the worst I've ever experienced was a handful of no shows. I always meet in a parking lot of a place that I'm running an errand at anyway. With that said, I generally don't sell high end electronics.
 

GRiZ

Level 2 Member
To add to this, it really depends on what you are selling. High end electronics are what really attracts the spam, scammers, and potentially muggers. If you are willing to put up with tons of lowballers/ spam emails, it might be worth it for you. That said, meet in public places and if it a valuable item, a police station is a good place.

I've done hundreds of sales on CL and the worst I've ever experienced was a handful of no shows. I always meet in a parking lot of a place that I'm running an errand at anyway. With that said, I generally don't sell high end electronics.
What do you sell?
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
With that said, I generally don't sell high end electronics.
Let me tempt you: Staples is selling 2017 iPads for $300 today. If you had an Ink with office supply store 5X you could go through the chase portal to pick up in store, then easily sell them at cost or a little higher and get 9X UR. I thought about doing this myself (on Amazon though), but would rather spend the time being a papa.
 

El Ingeniero

Level 2 Member
Tools, random clearance items, paper. I doubt there are many people who plan to mug me at take 5,000 lbs of paper.
So this is you:
Code:
https://slickdeals.net/f/10631524-staples-weekly-ad-10-8-10-14-1-ar-ac-4-ream-cases-5-ar-5-ream-cases-10-ar-10-ream-cases
Cool. I'm guessing you buy 4, 5 and 10 ream cases of paper using coupons and easy rebates, possibly with a Chase Ink, and flip them on CL at a 100%+ profit. I see those deals come up on Staples all the time.

Questions:
Are you using multiple staples.com accounts to maximize?
Are there double dip opportunities like shopping portals or something similar?
Buying more paper with Staples rewards?
Have a regular clientele built up?
Doing the deliveries to the customers, or do the customers pick up?

For sure paper does seem safer than high value electronics ...
 

rastaman

Level 2 Member
Let me tempt you: Staples is selling 2017 iPads for $300 today. If you had an Ink with office supply store 5X you could go through the chase portal to pick up in store, then easily sell them at cost or a little higher and get 9X UR. I thought about doing this myself (on Amazon though), but would rather spend the time being a papa.
I also have a tax free state I could pick them up in if need be to save some additional money. The biggest problem I see with this is Staples is big on cancelling orders for customers that order too many Apple items. I'm not sure if it is per Apple's demands or Staples but I know people who have only tried to purchase a handful and had some of theirs cancelled. I dont have an Amazon sellers account so not sure I want to deal with unloading it on CL. The one time I sold an ipad on CL it was annoying wadding through all the scammers lowballers.
 

rastaman

Level 2 Member
Cool. I'm guessing you buy 4, 5 and 10 ream cases of paper using coupons and easy rebates, possibly with a Chase Ink, and flip them on CL at a 100%+ profit. I see those deals come up on Staples all the time.

Questions:
1. Are you using multiple staples.com accounts to maximize?
2. Are there double dip opportunities like shopping portals or something similar?
3. Buying more paper with Staples rewards?
4. Have a regular clientele built up?
5. Doing the deliveries to the customers, or do the customers pick up?

For sure paper does seem safer than high value electronics ...
1. No, but others do. You run the risk of getting accounts merged/ blacklisted.
2. Sort of. Most deals are in-store only so for the most part, the answer is no. There are occasional offers like a 10% uber credit (now 1% of 5% depending on region).
3. Most people use rewards on free after rebate (FAR) paper. You can get $40 per month for recycling 20 ink cartridges (can be purchased on ebay for 5-10 cents per cart)
4. People prefer to have regulars since they tend to buy in bulk and are reliable.
5. Most people I know don't deliver unless its local and or at a premium price.


With all that said, it has become a chore at this point. There have been so many changes in Staples coupons/ registers in the past couple years that it has been very monotonous. Most of the heavy hitters have special discounts and coupons that most people do not have so it is not as lucrative to others. Paper takes up tons of space, its heavy, and you need to find specific kinds of buyers that need bulk. You also need to have a store that is willing to tolerate lots of coupons and multiple transactions. You should probably research your area for competition to see if it is even worth the hassle. PM me if you need more details.
 

Mcflyer

Level 2 Member
-insert Why not both? Picture here-
For the most part I prefer reselling as I earn a little bit through my efforts and what little time I put in, while also meeting spend goals. Personally as long as you break even I have no issues with both, but off you can make a little extra, you might as well.
 

DrAwesome81

Level 2 Member
I don't know; this just seems strange to me. MS makes sense because it's basically hacking the system to get all the benefits without spending crazy amounts of money.
Reselling, though. It's essentially starting a business, not to make money, but so that you have something to spend money on so that you can get your miles and points. Seems backwards. Like buying a car so that you can use your free gas coupon before it expires.

Maybe it's just not for me, but if I'm going to start a reselling business on the side, I'm going to do it to make a profit first and foremost. Not to break even or accept a minimal loss that I compensate for with miles or points.
 

GRiZ

Level 2 Member
I don't know; this just seems strange to me. MS makes sense because it's basically hacking the system to get all the benefits without spending crazy amounts of money.
Reselling, though. It's essentially starting a business, not to make money, but so that you have something to spend money on so that you can get your miles and points. Seems backwards. Like buying a car so that you can use your free gas coupon before it expires.

Maybe it's just not for me, but if I'm going to start a reselling business on the side, I'm going to do it to make a profit first and foremost. Not to break even or accept a minimal loss that I compensate for with miles or points.
Try looking at it from the other perspective: MS is a job as well that has opportunity costs and an hourly wage. Reselling is just another job that might have the slight upside of making you real money and opening more opportunities like business cards and accounts that don't require any sorta fudging because you got real data. To reach their own obv but I don't really see reselling as that different from MS.
 

BananaStash

Level 2 Member
@DrAwesome81 resellers know it is a business, they do it to make a profit, and the miles/points are a bonus. They get rather annoyed with MSers and hobbyists who find a deal and don't mind undercutting the price to take a 1-2% loss just to get their miles/points.

Try looking at it from the other perspective: MS is a job as well that has opportunity costs and an hourly wage. "..."
Agreed.
 

k0wned

New Member
I'm not sure where I fall between a reseller who uses credit card bonuses to make extra profit, or a MSer who resells to liquidate gift card deals. I skirt the line, and do what I'm enjoying more at the moment.

If you enjoy MS, then you probably would enjoy reselling for similar reasons. I'd recommend everyone keep an eye out for great deals, because reselling is not that hard.

You can put a lot of time into reselling if you want to, but if you only jump on amazing deals you'd probably only be reselling for a week every month or two.

Also if you have regular opportunities for good gift card deals, see if you can liquidate them yourself rather than selling them to one of the gift card sites. This is how I got started reselling.
 

NinjaFace

New Member
I started with reselling and then got into MSing. Msing is a great way to supplement Reselling. Bonuses on purchases you are going to make any way on inventory. With reselling on ebay there is a 20k 200 transactions threshold to hit and then paypal will send you a 1099k. use multiple paypal accounts to avoid hitting the threshold. ( spouse, parents, childrens, relatives, friends). More money in your own pocket. Its still good to keep accurate records. once you get a 1099-k start deducting expenses.
 

spottedcat1234

Level 2 Member
I've done both MS and dropship-reselling. MS is a grind, but is consistently and fairly predictable (with the caveat that major MS routes can open and close on a dime). The big investment is time, more so than anything else. For either, you have to be extremely detail-oriented and well-organized. Disorganization will likely cause you to lose $$ and negate any benefit.

I also did a few months of dropshipping via ebay from some major retailers. I did it not to earn monetary profit but simply to earn points (via a combination of using the right CC, cashback, bonus portals, buying GC's). Because I wasn't trying to make monetary profit, I was able to sell products for lower than others would usually sell them for. So I had a very high level of sales very fast. And while the action was good, I underestimated the various headaches that arise. Products sometimes get lost in transit, orders sometimes get cancelled, people sometimes want to return items, getting refunds can be a hassle, etc. Ended up being too much of a time commitment for me to tend to all the aftercare so I really scaled back the dropshipping.
 

StealthyMSer

Level 2 Member
I've done both MS and dropship-reselling. MS is a grind, but is consistently and fairly predictable (with the caveat that major MS routes can open and close on a dime). The big investment is time, more so than anything else. For either, you have to be extremely detail-oriented and well-organized. Disorganization will likely cause you to lose $$ and negate any benefit.

I also did a few months of dropshipping via ebay from some major retailers. I did it not to earn monetary profit but simply to earn points (via a combination of using the right CC, cashback, bonus portals, buying GC's). Because I wasn't trying to make monetary profit, I was able to sell products for lower than others would usually sell them for. So I had a very high level of sales very fast. And while the action was good, I underestimated the various headaches that arise. Products sometimes get lost in transit, orders sometimes get cancelled, people sometimes want to return items, getting refunds can be a hassle, etc. Ended up being too much of a time commitment for me to tend to all the aftercare so I really scaled back the dropshipping.
I've actually done plenty of ebay selling myself, but I sold computer parts I found at junkyards for profit. The junkyard was cash only but it was (and still is) a great way to generate tons of legitimate credit card spend when having to pay for ebay, paypal, and shipping fees.

When i'm in college, I MS exclusively. It just isn't practical to resell stuff with no access to a car or a large space to work with. Overall, reselling was far more profitable for me but it's something I can only do during the summer.
 
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