What a great leap John took a few years ago.
What makes someone see the forest through the trees?
What allows what John would call a “regular guy” to be able to create a real marketplace in what most would see as a crowded marketplace? Great discussion from a humble guy, the Cincinatti Picker.
Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)
Stephen: [00:00:00] Wanted to take a second and recognize my sponsors this week, you know, Gaye Lisbey’s million dollar arbitrage as edge and list group. That’s a mouthful. It is. But guess what? It’s a great opportunity. You can build a big Amazon business. You don’t need a lot of capital when you start. I mean we all started, you know, um, most of it started selling books and then you move into retail arbitrage that is the place that you can turn your money the fastest and online arbitrage. And so by having that skill set, by learning those skill sets, you can get the best bang for your buck. And so gaze group will help you learn online arbitrage. It’s, it’s more than just a list service. They’re going to give you a whole bunch of actionable inventory every single day. Write Monday through Friday. However, there’s also a mentorship that goes on and that mentorship is so important because sometimes it’s great to know what to buy, but it’s more important to understand why to buy it.
Stephen: [00:01:02] But yeah, that’s that. You know, learning the fish are just getting fit. You really want to learn because ultimately you want to strike it on your own and this is a great way to do it. So how about seven days free trial. About a free trial, right? Very, very cool. So it’s amazing. Freedom Dot com. Forward slash is the mouthful. The word momentum. You’ve got to use a hyphen and you put in the word arbitrage. So it’s amazing. Freedom Dot [inaudible], forward slash momentum dash arbitrage, and you’re going to get a free trial in gaze group. You got to tell her I sent you, right? I also have the link in the episode, but it’s such a great opportunity. So she has amazing, amazing. I’m in that group so you’ll see me there and amazing, amazing person who’s there to answer your questions, who’s there to help lead you and help guide you.
Stephen: [00:01:50] And that’s what gay does. She does it every single day. The testimonials are real. Go take a look. You will be blown away and again, it’s a free trial. I have the link on this episode to reach in your seller labs, Jeff Cohen and the team. They have blown me away with this scope project. We use this all the time for our business. We do a lot of private label. We also do a lot of wholesale and wholesale bundles or multi-packs, that kind of thing, which a lot of people do, but we use a scope to help us figure out what are the key words and so it’s really simple. You basically figure out where you’re going to sell, what you’re going to sell, what category, find that lake product, find the top couple sellers and find their keywords. Boom magic. There you go. You copy the best because it’s working.
Stephen: [00:02:39] And guess what? That’s a proof of concept and scope allows you to do that. So it’s seller labs.com, forward slash scope, seller labs.com, forward slash scope. Use the code word momentum and you’re going to get a couple of days free trial and you’re going to save a little bit of money and you’re going to get some free keywords. It’s worth every penny. I’m in that group. Come and check me out. So our labs.com, forward slash scope. Again, use the word momentum solutions for e-commerce. Karen Lunker, great, great, great group. I’ve been using them for a long time and I guess it’s over two years and I’m in there and I pay just like everybody else. Yeah, she’s a sponsor my show, but she makes me pay and I got the same $50 discount that you can get. Oh, by the way, you’re going to get that through my link and my link only.
Stephen: [00:03:25] Oh, and you’re also going to get the free inventory health analysis. Great Way to start 2018, get your inventory in line and Karen will help you do that. We use them for everything basically, uh, you know, long-term storage fees coming up. Guess what, show evaluate. She’ll make some recommendations and I’ll say, yeah, check, check, check, check these out, this return, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And magically it’s done. I love it, love it, love it. I love the fact that they take and get rid of stranded inventory for me. I see it in there. And then next time I go in and it’s gone. Love it. Love it, love it. Got An ip infringement, she’s going to help you work your way through that. This is the kind of service that you get from Karen Locker, that’s solutions for the number for e-commerce solutions for e-commerce dot com forward slash momentum, right, so you’ve got a forward slash momentum and you’re going to save $50 a month, 600 bucks a year by just clicking that link. She pays me. I don’t want to hide that. I never do. I’m always upfront about that, but it doesn’t cost you anything additional and you’re going to get that inventory health report. The only way you get that is through mind link the solutions, the number for e-commerce dot com, forward slash momentum.
Cool voice guy: [00:04:39] Welcome to the e-commerce momentum podcast will focus on the people, the products, and the process of e-commerce. Today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.
Stephen: [00:04:53] Welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. This is episode 200 and Eighty John Yarberry, Aka Cincinnati picker. Yes, I think that’s a two in the last couple of weeks, but what fascinates me is while John is a picker, he does like to go out and buy things and loves the source and our conversation is still his favorite thing to do is to source, um, but John is a pretty smart individual. He has figured out that there is another model, there was another way that he can move inventory and he’s, and he’s clear to say, Hey, I didn’t think of this idea, but I took what I saw was OK and I enhanced it in his words to what he thinks is a good business model. And I’ll be honest with you, I’ve looked through it. It’s a fascinating business model. Very strong, very well thought out. Um, but he’s put a lot of energy and effort to get in there and it just shows the kind of person he is very, very smart, very articulate, very clear on what’s working.
Stephen: [00:05:56] And to me, he understands that that’s the sub relationship business. He’s not selling anything other than himself and his reputation and getting sellers and buyers is very tough. Fascinating to hear that sellers are harder to find than buyers, which is really cool when that’d be a problem that you need more merchandise to sell. You don’t need more people to buy it. Love that model. Let’s get into the podcast. All right. Welcome back to the e-commerce movement and podcast. Very excited about today’s guest because it’s fresh. I love in a pre interview we’re talking about this. I love somebody who has figured it out, who was pushed aside all the challenges that you and I all have and have figured it out and are willing to take the effort because I’m sure it’s a significant effort. We’re going to hear about it, but he’s figured it out and not let anyone else control was future. And I just think it’s fascinating. John Yarberry, the Cincinnati picker. Welcome John. Hey, thank you for coming on. I’m sitting there watching something and I saw you pop in and I saw that and I started doing a little research and I’m blown away. I mean, I literally was blown away because you figured it out. Now figured out those relative, and I’m sure you’re not, you know, uh, Ebay level auction site, however you’re John Yarberry level auction site, which sounds pretty cool to me.
John: [00:07:20] I guess my own little niche, I can’t say that I invented this kind of local online auction thing, but I just put my own twist on it.
Stephen: [00:07:27] I don’t think anybody. I don’t think there’s anything left to get invented. It’s so infrequent, right. It’s usually somebody polishing something and figuring out some other way with it. And then all of a sudden, you know, a knife is a knife until it’s a Ginsu knife or a until it’s double sided. Right. Or something like that.
John: [00:07:43] What I mean. OK. So you are a,
Stephen: [00:07:47] a seller, you’ve been selling for quite a long time, actually real long time and you sell on Amazon and Ebay and all the regular sources. Um, how did that come about? Where you entrepreneurial as a youth? Were your parents
John: [00:08:01] preneurial sales? When I was in high school, I was working on a sporting good store and saw some cheap sports stuff at a garage sale. Flip this to my work and make some good money and I did and like I got the bug right then and there and just started doing more and more and hitting up garage sales every summer.
Stephen: [00:08:25] It was a type of business that’s out there that’s kind of a. is it a consignment level kind of business or do you sell it to them? Um, are almost like a, like a, a buy, sell trade kind of thing.
John: [00:08:36] Exactly, yeah. So I played against sports so, so, um,
Stephen: [00:08:40] I’ve never been in one, but from what I understand is if I can bring a bat that I’ve used and I’m now ready for the next level, bad. If it’s still current and it’s in good condition, I would get a value. You
John: [00:08:51] either a store credit or actual cash. Is it one of the other. Yeah, they do like say that depends on where you go, but they usually offer you more store credit than cash.
Stephen: [00:09:01] Right? Right. And, and so it’s similar to like gamestop for video games. Right. And so, uh, the more current it is, the more in demand, the more it’s probably worth. What’s the, what’s the statistical percentage would you say that most people get 40 percent? That’s pretty significant. That’s a lot more than I thought it would be. OK. And so there’s a business model where you can go out there and find this stuff and bring it into playing against sports or gamestop or whatever and get paid. Right? None of the hassle of listing photographs, dealing with customer service and none of that hassle bring it in, get approximate market value so they can make a business, you know, a prophet, that’s a pretty reasonable way to do it.
John: [00:09:48] I’m still selling to them to this day, I still feel cool because I love multiple revenue streams. So I’m, I’m still finding stuff for them.
Stephen: [00:09:55] I was um, I just had someone on who who said that they wanted to learn e-commerce and Ebay and so they went to work for somebody and it gave them the education of a lifetime on someone else’s expense. And you know, he’s fair to say, Hey, I give a hundred percent. I don’t, you know, pull back and work on my own thing on their time. I literally, when I’m there, I’m giving them a hundred percent. Matter of fact, the things I learned outside of there, I bring it in and enhance them. Was that your experience with played against sports, would you say?
John: [00:10:23] Absolutely. Yeah. I learned so much about sporting goods. It’s, it’s invaluable how much knowledge I’ve got just because I’m constantly fighting this stuff, so right away I know what to look for. I know what brands are good, what brands are junk and I’ve just made so much money off that.
Stephen: [00:10:39] And is it, I mean, do you generally almost always take this stuff that you buy because you know what the value is to take it to a pled against sports or do you sometimes sell it yourself?
John: [00:10:51] Nine Times out of 10 I just take it to them. Unless it’s something really rare, like a Scotty Cameron putter or something that I know I can easily get a lot of money for on Ebay. I’ll just stick it straight to them.
Stephen: [00:10:59] It’s brilliant though because you’re there anyway looking for what you’re now you, what you’re interested in, yet you have this skill set that probably, you know, like you say, every garage has this stuff. And uh, that’s very cool. That’s a very cool story. I love that, but that’s not the coolest story. So anyway. All right, so you’re working there so you get the bug and then what happens?
John: [00:11:20] It just grows more and more. Every year I start getting more sporting goods and I started dabbling a little bit with Ebay, you know, really young, like 18, 19 years old, you know, finding little things here and there, electronics, video games. Um, and it just kept growing and growing.
Stephen: [00:11:39] And so were you starting to invade the house? Be honest, creeping into every room. It
John: [00:11:44] was, yeah. It’s funny. The year before I started my Oxford website, I just bought and sold full time for a year with no other side jobs, anything. And it took up our whole basement pretty much in my wife was like, you’ve got to get a warehouse, this, you’ve got to get this stuff out of here.
Stephen: [00:12:01] A full basement isn’t marriage killer is popular, there’s nothing ever popular. It’s called junk one cc a full basement. There is no value in her eyes. It’s junk. And so, so you get that. And then with the one year, I mean, were you earning enough of a living after one year to say, wow, this could be a real future.
John: [00:12:23] I made a very good living. Um, the money was great and I love doing it cause you know, I could be flexible with my schedule and kind of work on my time.
Stephen: [00:12:34] Was that Ebay only or were you starting to dabble in Amazon too?
John: [00:12:38] No, um, didn’t do Amazon. I was just to an Ebay and craigslist and local apps and you know, still selling to the sporting goods store
Stephen: [00:12:46] and you know, when you compare selling to the sporting good stores versus local apps because, you know, I watched Stephen stuff have um, a resale killers and they really have a lot of success with local apps. I mean, it’s incredible what they do. And now I think some of it’s market dependent and their choice of goods. I think that’s so smart. For what they’re selling because that market, um, do you have as much success with local apps as you do with the plate? Again, I guess is an easy, no pun intended because you know it, right? I mean that’s generally right. How about local hops for you?
John: [00:13:21] I’m kind of picky with what I do. High end tools or just something weird. I’ll put it on there. Honestly, most of the stuff now it just goes straight to my website and then, you know, the sporting goods, it’s such a specific thing, but somebody might need that isn’t a good fit for my website that I think it’s played against sports.
Stephen: [00:13:41] OK. And so you did it for a year. What went into the thought process? Did the possibility of having your own website come up?
John: [00:13:51] A handful of people doing it in Cincinnati, but just we’re not doing a good job of it, in my opinion, the websites more user friendly and they were still just getting amazing money for this stuff that really wasn’t a good fit for Ebay or local apps or anything like household goods and just a lot of just random things.
Stephen: [00:14:12] I’ll give an example, something that I, I just want to make sure I get it in my head what you’re thinking.
John: [00:14:17] Our furniture is a good example.
Stephen: [00:14:19] Sofa, Sofa. Most people would put it on craigslist and then get creeped out by the people from other countries telling them to take their, you know, hey, I’m going to give you this a money order for more money, John. I’m giving you more money than you need. It’s going to be amazing. And then I’m going to send a guy to pick it up. Yeah, you got those notes right. I’m not a good experience or you know, it gets really creepy, weird and icky. So then the local apps come along and you know, they’re supposed to help because you have to have a real facebook account. Correct. Um, however, that’s very limiting to, right? I mean it is very limiting. And so you’re thinking, Hey, I’m going to do. I just, I’m not familiar with A. I can’t think of one local auction site in my world.
John: [00:15:05] You might be surprised type in your zip code. You might be surprised what’s around you because they’re not always, you know, the graded advertising and getting the word out, but it’s spreading like wildfire. There’s a lot of these auction websites around the country.
Stephen: [00:15:23] That’s fascinating. I mean, I think there’s one and it’s almost always like baseball cards and it’s very specific in and he seems to be scaled at that, whatever that is. And it seems now in trouble, but I’m not personally have not seen that and I just, I’m fascinated by it. And so there were multiple, multiple, two, three more than that. Six or seven. No kidding. Cincinnati, that big of a market where, um, I mean, I don’t know how big the population, I know it’s a big city, but where [inaudible], I assume you have, you know, craigslist of course, but you have to offer up and varage and all the rest of those too.
John: [00:16:03] We do. Um, honestly it’s kind of [inaudible] or 50 consumers that bring me stuff every week. So it’s really good outlet for them to just drop it off and be done with it. And then on the other side, we’ve got 5,000 bitters that every week they just love seeing what is on the website, so they want to see what’s new, what’s different and just the whole experience. For you,
Stephen: [00:16:26] what percentage of that 5,000 is local for you?
John: [00:16:31] About 95 percent. We’re trying to do more and more. The national. Yeah.
Stephen: [00:16:35] OK. All right. I of forest to cure that was one, you remember him having something similar for where he is? I think he’s in Arizona and he has something similar and it was almost all local for him too. And so it started out local. Were you able to find a company to develop this, uh, that’s geared towards auctions or you had to go outside and find a different kind of developer?
John: [00:16:59] Yeah, I was lucky enough to find a local developer to, you know, meet up with them and be able to talk face to face about stuff. We did find like a plug in Sorta type thing. Um, that the, the framework of what we wanted. And then we added a whole bunch of extra stuff. You know, we did surveys and kind of talk to people and figuring out what their pain points were with the other auction websites and then we customize ours to be user friendly.
Stephen: [00:17:25] Is most of it web based or phone based now? A web-based web-based. Um, has the phone caught up or is it starting to catch up
John: [00:17:37] the phone? You mean
Stephen: [00:17:39] like having your own app or. I mean, are people, you know, I think of like, like a, um, a garage sale or one of those. The only way, the only way I see it getting used is I don’t even know if you can get on it on a lot on a desktop.
John: [00:17:56] My website specifically. Um, it’s still user friendly on the phone. We don’t have an APP or anything like that, but yeah, most of our bitters are on pcs.
Stephen: [00:18:04] OK. But you could pull it up on your phone and then use it like a PC. OK, that’s what you mean? Um, so when, uh, when you had this developed, had he developed other sites for other people before have similar auctions. OK. So he gave you best practices, what’s working, what’s not working. We tried that, but this didn’t work because. Right. Because you probably came with a whole bunch of fresh ideas and then he shot them all down saying, well, we’ve already done this and this is why that works. This is, that is that kind of relationship face to face
John: [00:18:31] a little bit. Yeah. He always listens to what I’ve got to say. He’s always trying to make my vision come to life, so to speak. Um, because I could, you know, I can draw on it with a piece of paper and I just am not good at web development. And he’s like, well, this might work, this might not work, you know, because as you know, websites are exactly like just drawing it the way you want it, you know, certain things. You’ve got to look certain ways.
Stephen: [00:18:54] Well, and they have to work on multiple. Uh, um, um, uh, what are those things called gs chrome and all the, uh, the, I forget what even I even call because I haven’t used more than chrome in like a zillion years.
John: [00:19:06] Yeah. Browsers,
Stephen: [00:19:07] browsers. There’s a word, OK, so they have to work on all those browsers, which I know they’re not standard.
John: [00:19:14] No, they’re not. And that’s a whole nother hurdle to overcome with different people using different things.
Stephen: [00:19:21] Now this was probably pretty expensive to do, wasn’t it?
John: [00:19:26] Yeah. And you know, the costs aren’t going to make improvements and updates and changes.
Stephen: [00:19:32] Same Guy, same developer. Well that’s a big deal. And so how long did it take for from concept to launch?
John: [00:19:42] Um, it took about two months. Wow. But honestly it took close to a year and so we really had it honed the way we wanted it to be.
Stephen: [00:19:52] How long has it been going now? For years. So, no kidding. When you look back at what you started with that first, after that two months to what it is today, how, how different is it
John: [00:20:03] way different? There was a lot more functionality to it. Um, the auctions or quadruple the size. It’s grown a lot
Stephen: [00:20:12] when you put an item up. I mean, I was blown away when I went and looked at some of the items and some of them sell cheap, but some of them sell for quite a bit and there’s a significant amount of bidding. I’m as shocked at some. I saw [inaudible] beds. I’m like, wow, that’s a material amount of bids because you go to an auction house, it’s very rare you’ll see 21 bids on a particular item and the other two guys or two people would, uh, get through it. But usually it’s six or seven times and then it’s about done, you know, best case, 21 significant,
John: [00:20:44] totally different approach from live auctions, lightbox I’ve ever been to. They started high. They’re looking for that high dollar. Am I understanding what they do at, um, we fought that. We started at a dollar because we know that we’ll get more people fighting for it because they’ll say, oh, well bet a dollar. And then it gets to like seven, eight. Yeah. I guess I’ll keep bidding. And then they start fighting and competing for it. And it’s a matter that they want to win and they want to beat the other person.
Stephen: [00:21:08] Now, wait, let’s distinguish that. So you have two different versions of auctions. One is local pickup only period. And then the other is a shipping included right? Or shipping a ship to anywhere. Almost anywhere. I don’t know if you do overseas.
John: [00:21:23] Yeah. We haven’t done overseas yet. It’s pretty much just the United States.
Stephen: [00:21:27] OK. So, but there’s two different models. And so let’s walk through each model if you don’t mind. And again, if I get too personal, you don’t want to give, don’t give away your secret sauce of course. Um, but I, I decide I’ve got 20 things when I bring all [inaudible] things. Do you say yes to all 20 things.
John: [00:21:45] So now that we just know things that aren’t going to settle, so it’s not really necessarily worth our time to put it on and have it sell for a dollar, just not get a bid. Um, so we do turn things away and we decide if it’s big, bulky, breakable, we’re not going to ship it. We just can’t trust the powers that be to not break things in transit and a lot of people just don’t want to pay the shipping costs, you know, if it’s going to California, if it’s, if it weighs more than six or seven pounds, it’s going to cost somebody 20, $25 a ship, the thing and they just, it’s not worth it to them.
Stephen: [00:22:18] So when I bring my [inaudible] things, you say, OK Steve, well these, these five things are no good. So now I’m down to 15, but these 15, uh, these 10 are going to go local. These five can go national. Is it still your experience that things that sell national sell for more money than local? Generally.
John: [00:22:38] Interesting. Like I said, most of our vendors are local and they still bid on that. National auction of Nashville is kind of what we make available to people that weren’t shipped.
Stephen: [00:22:48] OK. All right. So I bring my 15 items. Do I need to pay you anything to have them listed for sale?
John: [00:22:56] Um, to make it easy, clean, you know, very much catering to the consigner so that they don’t have to worry about that.
Stephen: [00:23:03] Can we say the percentage or flattening flat? Thirty five percent, so 35 percent of whatever. It’s salesforce. So for if it’s a dollar, I’m getting thirty five cents. You are. So uh, is there tax, I mean, I don’t know how a Ohio’s tax laws are, but because these things are being resold, is there, does it create a tax issue for a person to consider?
John: [00:23:28] Uh, the buyer needs to pay the sales tax and then we pay that to the state and the county.
Stephen: [00:23:35] Every time you add that on, right at the end of it, the transaction says sales tax. OK, cool. Which is awesome for sellers, right? So they don’t have to hassle with that. Tax is such a crazy issue right now. So, uh, so I bring those items they sell. Um, how long do the auctions go for? One week no matter what. OK. So one week. And then how often, how often do you pay?
John: [00:24:01] We pay 15 days after the accidents from. And unfortunately there’s some that, you know, you only pay what you collect.
Stephen: [00:24:11] OK. And then what happens when that doesn’t happen? They get their merchant, it gets his merchandise back and then I could resubmit it again.
John: [00:24:21] It helps me, you know, like if when all your items into the auction, I’m going to pay you regardless if bitter. And then if the bidder doesn’t pay then I’ll just relisted myself and get the money that way. But [inaudible] doesn’t have to worry about, you know, getting this money two months down the road or anything.
Stephen: [00:24:37] Yeah. And you’re getting it at 65 percent of costs or a whatever it was going to sell, four of perceived market value. So as long as nobody’s running an auction, in theory, you’re kept whole, you know, for your time. OK, that makes perfect sense. And so how many, how many, um, [inaudible] do you have on an ongoing basis?
John: [00:24:54] We’re like 260 right now.
Stephen: [00:24:57] Could you handle more capacity? Are you getting close to capacity?
John: [00:25:02] We’re not at capacity yet going probably have to tweak our processes a little bit, but yeah, I’m sure we could we get three or four new ones every week.
Stephen: [00:25:13] And how big is your warehouse? Four thousand square feet. You can fit that much merchandise in 4,000 because it turns. I mean, obviously I understand that, but it doesn’t turn immediately, right? I mean, how many people pick up the merchandise at the ends? I mean, how quickly do they pick up?
John: [00:25:29] Um, so it ends on Sunday and they pick up Tuesday, Wednesday, so we get it out of there pretty quick.
Stephen: [00:25:35] So generally is it 90 percent of it just disappears by Wednesday and then that’s the pickup side. And right now we’re saying that 95 percent of that is pretty much the business at this point known by [inaudible] shipped. Now the five percent that gets shipped, there’s a different model for that. Correct?
John: [00:25:58] I mean, we do both of those auctions simultaneously. Um, but yeah, but the model this pretty much the same, but we just handpick what goes on that national one so that it’s not breakable.
Stephen: [00:26:10] OK. And you’re also thinking that you might get a more, um, a more worldwide, state-wide, country-wide buyer for a particular item. Right. So that’s an, that’s an experience issue. Right? And that’s just, I’ve seen this before and this is where the cells, this is where you’re going to get the most money. Is there something about some kind of picking fee or something like that, or a process or a handling fee? That was it.
John: [00:26:35] We do a $3 flat handling fee for all shipments. If you get one item or 10, 10 items, it’s all just the flat $3
Stephen: [00:26:41] now that gets charged to the buyer. Correct. And then they pay the shipping charge additionally. And what shipping service are you using?
John: [00:26:54] I’ll use USBS. Are we also use ups for, you know, have your bulk bulky items to be cost efficient too.
Stephen: [00:27:03] The buyer. And so how many, how many packages are you sending out a week?
John: [00:27:08] Just for our auction stuff. About a dozen.
Stephen: [00:27:12] OK. So it’s small. It’s still at this point. So that would be the big fear is all of a sudden, you know, you’re sending out that I just was watching something on and Philadelphia Seller that sells 25,000,000, it’s a consignment business and they’re sending out 2000 packages a day. I think it said, now they have a hundred and 10 employees, so, you know, put it in perspective, but [inaudible] in a day. And I’m like, oh my goodness. I mean that’s material amount of stuff getting process. So it doesn’t, you’d like that to grow obviously. Um, how complimentary is this to your existing Ebay and Amazon if you [inaudible] on Amazon business?
John: [00:27:55] Ebay only handpick like niche items for Ebay, but there was only a small percentage of people that want the thing to begin with because the auction model, I need at least two people to bid that up. It doesn’t help me if one person wants it because they can’t bid against themselves.
Stephen: [00:28:14] And so they could bid a dollar and then that’s, it sells for dollar regardless of what you paid for it. So you’ve got to keep a wary eye on it. Right. And I’m sure that there are things that you’ve lost money on,
John: [00:28:26] lots of things, especially when I started. I mean I lost money on everything, but that’s Kinda how I got my little biters that keep coming back because I
Stephen: [00:28:35] getting deals and they started telling people about it. How long is the learning curve would you say? So somebody Steve’s sitting here saying, hey, this would be awesome. I’m going to do this in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and I want to have such a thing. How long is the learning time when you think. I mean obviously I don’t have the website issues because I can buy my website through you. So that piece is, other than learning how it works, but there’s still that. I mean, how long did it take for you to stop losing money?
John: [00:29:04] It was about six months before we were in the black. Um, just cause it’s tough because when you first get out there, get the bitters, it’s real tough because, you know, they have to experience it first. We’ve got a bid and you know, see if they like it and how the process works. And there’s a lot that goes into it.
Stephen: [00:29:21] Is there a limit to the number of items I’m allowed to bring you in a week? No, no kidding. I mean, what’s your biggest one? Was how many items does he or she bring you in a week?
John: [00:29:32] Um, on average I’d say 50, but I just have to guide brain two truckloads of stuff. So it’s like a hundred and 50 items
Stephen: [00:29:39] now are you going to get through in a week or is it going to take a couple weeks?
John: [00:29:43] We’ve already processed.
Stephen: [00:29:46] Can you talk about staffing and how that works?
John: [00:29:49] Yeah. So I’ve got a foreign police. I’ve got a photographer that takes pictures of all the items. Um, then I got a guy that writes all the descriptions of the items, measures on catalogs. Um, um, and my photographer also helps with like the pickups, invoices and everything like that. And then I’ve got another guy that handles all the drop offs so people bring stuff in and he says, you know, this is good, this isn’t good. And um, he kind of processes, you know, to be photographs and everything.
Stephen: [00:30:21] The software that you use for that, was that part of the inventory management because there has to be some way to manage all this. Was that all part of the website?
John: [00:30:29] No, but we’ve added a lot of that.
Stephen: [00:30:31] OK, OK. So you had something separate. Now you’re trying to, to merge the two in some way when they pay. Since it’s all electronic, you don’t have to worry about theft of cash. Correct.
John: [00:30:47] A lot of people prefer cash option. Yeah. Um, we’ve, I mean we’ve got it all locked up and we’ve got cameras everywhere. So knock on wood, we haven’t had any kind of theft of cash or anything like that.
Stephen: [00:30:59] What’s your role now in the business versus what it, when you started
John: [00:31:03] completely different. Um, for the first year I didn’t have any employees. I did everything myself. Um, so now I do a lot of bigger picture things and I handle all the customer service end, uh, you know, as far as far as email, phone calls, stuff like that. And I’m constantly trying to figure out, you know, what the next step for the businesses instead of all the day to day stuff.
Stephen: [00:31:26] So you’re working on your business when you mentioned customer service, the paddock runs through because I think a walmart. What is, what are the customer service issues that you see?
John: [00:31:36] Um, a lot of it’s just, you know, general questions about items if we combined the shipping, just, just kind of stuff like that for the most part. Um, uh, I also get a lot of people that are wanting to bring in items and they’re, you know, they’re asking me what kinds of items, like if this is going to work, how the process works, things like that.
Stephen: [00:31:57] And do you just accept anyone?
John: [00:32:02] No, I’m. It depends. It depends on what they have, you know, obviously I’d help anybody so as much as I can, but if they’ve got stuff that we can’t sell then so we don’t do it.
Stephen: [00:32:13] How do you prevent fraud? I mean, one of the, one of the things I had somebody who was trying to sell me some kind of game system that’s supposedly they brought a woman. I’m thinking that’s definitely stolen. You know, you could just tell right common sense. But how do you prevent that? Because it, it’s gotta be a real issue. Um, you know, I mean people bring in new things that are just too good to be true and you’re lying.
John: [00:32:37] We honestly, we just try to go on instinct like if it doesn’t feel right and they’re consistently bring in things that we think are sold and then we’ll just end the relationship.
Stephen: [00:32:45] Have you run into any issues at all with any of these things?
John: [00:32:50] Knock on wood, we have not
Stephen: [00:32:52] cool cause it’s one of those concerns, but that might be a concern that you’re, you know, you don’t build it for that. You build it for the majority of that work. Um, where else are the pain points in the business?
John: [00:33:04] Um, I would say growing the quality items because we get a lot of, you know, kind of run of the mill stuff coming in and we do have, you know, a pretty good number of high end quality items that we’re trying to grow that number. We want more and more quality items. So, you know, trying to build that reputation, um, to show the consumers that they can bring their high end stuff and it’s going to sell for good money.
Stephen: [00:33:31] Has there been people that have come back that have just figured it out and have like, oh my God, I used to sell on Ebay and now this is what I want. I didn’t want to. This is almost like play it again for you where they don’t have to deal with this nonsense of, uh, of uh, online selling for example.
John: [00:33:49] Yeah. We get a lot of that actually and a handful of my suppliers, you should do more and more on Ebay and bringing it to me because they can turn it around faster if they know they’re still going to get, you know, 50, 60 percent of what they would get on Ebay because then, you know, he was going to take their fees and they have to ship it and you have to handle with the turns and all that. So they just bring it to me.
Stephen: [00:34:09] That’s a good question. Returns. I mean that was something I was going to go to. Um, when you think about how many people have buyer’s remorse,
John: [00:34:16] of course.
Stephen: [00:34:20] Is it because stuff sells? I mean, here’s a 32 inch Panasonic Vieira TV works with remote right now. The bits at two bucks, what will that sell for? Realistically, what will sell for,
John: [00:34:31] I think at least 60 to 70 on Sunday night. When the bids, they just watch it right now and then they get on because that’s the rush to them. They love that last minute bit and fighting for it and going back and forth.
Stephen: [00:34:46] So I’m looking at, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s fascinating to me the stuff that’s for sale. So here’s five golf putters for a dollar, here’s a westbend hundred cup, earn coffee urn for a dollar. Now obviously it’s going to get higher than that. Um, let me see if I can find a sense today. OK, so there’s lots of time left on these. How many items are generally put up in a week? About four to 500 to 500. And with your existing staff, could that expand volumize
John: [00:35:17] overnight or anything? But yeah, that’s the idea is to grow it.
Stephen: [00:35:20] Where is the pain point for that? Where, where does that happen? Is that the photography a limit or is it the listing limit?
John: [00:35:27] Um, I think it’s the processing we’ve got to bring it in and kind of get to figure out what it is kind of tested. Plug it in. Yeah. Yeah. That, that’s probably the biggest pain point.
Stephen: [00:35:41] Who else could run this business? When you think about, you know, what it takes, knowing who you are, what type of people is this business for, what, what kinds of people would would make a successful auction manager. I mean because that’s really an operations manager. I mean it’s pretty complicated.
John: [00:35:57] I think anybody with recently knowledge and a lot of drive or do really good with it. Um, because you can scale this, you know what I mean? And when we first started, my first auction was like a hundred items a so you can make it small, you can do it with whatever items you want. Like you said your local guys just doing baseball cards. So that’s your expertise. And then just start with that and you know, see where it goes.
Stephen: [00:36:21] Know you have a warehouse, is it retail space to just start commercial? Just a commercial. And so they, you have a design where they come in and I mean do they have to assign the time that they’re coming to pick it up?
John: [00:36:36] Yeah. So we do preview pickup days and drop off all in one Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And we’ve gotten, you know, set time blocks where people come in.
Stephen: [00:36:45] So preview, OK, so you have this stuff that’s going to come up and the next week auction setting out where somebody can go through and look at it,
John: [00:36:52] is that because people get a better look at it and then just having the picture, you know.
Stephen: [00:36:59] OK. And then you have another section that where everything that’s sold is ready to go. How does that process work? I bought six items. How do you know that?
John: [00:37:08] So our, uh, inventory system, our software generates the invoices
Stephen: [00:37:15] and this is part of the website software.
John: [00:37:17] We added it to it and we print out the invoices, we gathered the items and you know, put the customer’s Info on them and they pick them up and it’s ready to go
Stephen: [00:37:27] and they’re sitting in a bin somewhere or something like that. <Unk> I see you have unique, uh, s, s q numbers. I guess it would be the thing to call it, um, on each item are item numbers. And so you just, somebody pulls those. How long does it take for them to pull those items?
John: [00:37:43] One guy can certainly pull them in like five to six hours.
Stephen: [00:37:46] OK. So it’s a day of processing for him or her, um, to, to get them ready when, um, when they’re selling. Right? So you put your 450 items up there, up on, what’d you say? Monday nights. OK. Monday. So, and these are the things that were received when the previous week, previous Tuesday, Wednesday. So you can turn from Wednesday to a Monday and that’s on Thursday. Friday I take it. That’s when the guys come in and do the pictures and everything. And they can do 450. That’s impressive.
John: [00:38:23] I do my best not to micromanage. They do a great job of what they do and they’ve got their system in place and it works for him. So I really don’t mess with it.
Stephen: [00:38:31] So let’s talk about this. So, because one of my big concerns, you know, I get into the minutia of it, I’m immediately thinking, OK, what kind of cameras? What kind of that? All that stuff is part of your secret sauce. If someone was to buy, because you offer this, you have this custom site that you’ve had built for you, you spend a deep five figures on it and ongoing as you say, that’s really, I think the biggest part of it. You’ve taken the learning curve of two, almost three years out of it and fixed most of that stuff and added inventory. So there’s a fee. If somebody is interested in this site, you would clone it for them. Correct. I didn’t know hear that term before when you used it in our pre-call. I’m thinking. Oh, that makes perfect sense. It’s a clone. Then I would just customize it for my market.
John: [00:39:17] Put your own spin on it. Obviously it’s not going to say, look what I found.
Stephen: [00:39:21] How about training?
John: [00:39:24] Yeah. We offer, um, you know, I, the guy that I’ve, the first one that I did with, I’m still, you know, it’s been every year and I’m still helping them with training br. Um, we, we would definitely train somebody on how to use the software and kind of just in general how to start the thing and get it off the ground.
Stephen: [00:39:42] Um, you make a modification, do I get the benefit of that modification later on?
John: [00:39:49] Um, I see that’s where I’d talked to my web developer
Stephen: [00:39:54] because that makes it complicated. Right? When you’re doing custom stuff for you, is there a, an ongoing fee? So if I pay the price to buy the service, your, your site, is there an ongoing monthly fee then thereafter?
John: [00:40:07] Nope.
Stephen: [00:40:10] Are we allowed to say the dollar amount or is that when you want to talk to people directly?
John: [00:40:14] Um, I’d rather talk to people directly.
Stephen: [00:40:16] OK, well that’s cool. I mean, uh, you know, I, again, I applaud you because I’m sitting here thinking, um, you know, be as I’m thinking about the calls as I’m coming, I’m always interested, you know, I’m interested in the story, hence the reason I reached out to you, but then I think about what, what’s different and to me I’m sitting there thinking is that John’s not complaining about Ebay fees without doing something about it, right? They are what they are and and more than likely you understand them better than anyone else because you got the same cost structure they do that. That software wasn’t cheap. The ongoing fees aren’t cheap storage of all this junk is and cheap rents, not cheap insurance. Fear isn’t cheap so you probably can relate to them with fees better than any of us and plus you have retail experience so you’ve also seen what it takes to run a business and so you took your own way.
Stephen: [00:41:09] I mean, to me that’s what I applaud is that you’re not letting Ebay or Amazon or etsy or any of those mandate your future. You’re using them. I mean because they’re good services and they serve a purpose and you’re saying, hey, this item, this Igloo water-cooler might be better served on Ebay because it’s going to go to Japan or what have you. However you’re saying, hmm, I’m going to control my own future. When you think back to starting to selling, you know, back to your days of playing again, did you ever envision that you’ve got this monstrous machine? I mean, you really do
John: [00:41:47] played against sports store, you know, I knew that I wanted my own business. I just didn’t know exactly what it was yet.
Stephen: [00:41:54] When you think about where this is going, I mean, have you thought, I’m sure you’ve had the thought, oh, I could do one of these in each city or I could, you know, create franchise is I could create blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Where did that thought process end?
John: [00:42:08] We’re still, we’re still talking about it, you know, we’ve been in talks with a few people about putting these in different cities and we just haven’t finalized anything yet or you know, I’m not, I’m not sure if it is going to happen or not, but yeah, we are looking at that.
Stephen: [00:42:21] OK. So you thought that far out. What are the stories you told me that someone relatively local to you, you made a deal with and sold them this software, the Cologne software, and they operate this business relatively close to you and it has not effected Your Business One Iota?
John: [00:42:37] No, not at all. Most people that bid on these types of websites but on multiple, you know, that there are not just loyal to wonderful and there are more igloo coolers than you could possibly sell in your market. Right. So, so what’s the fear
Stephen: [00:42:53] if somebody’s having to do this when, when you say, Hey, you know, Steve, I, this is a. yeah, I know this sounds all glamorous and cool cause I’m cool that you’re talking, but there are some things that you really need to make a commitment you have to understand. Is this a 52 week your business for you?
John: [00:43:10] Oh yeah, absolutely. We. So for three years now and we’ve only missed I think two weeks of auctions.
Stephen: [00:43:19] And was it because of just computer problems or was it because of holidays and stuff?
John: [00:43:23] Both. I think in one week was computer problems and then another was Christmas. Is that, do you now, will you have an auction that week of Christmas? We did this last year. We did, yeah.
Stephen: [00:43:34] OK. And so you would. And I guess what’s so cool is can you hold stuff? I mean, you could do whatever you want. It’s your business, but I mean like, and do a Christmas theme auction and me sitting here thinking, can you do a toy specific one and you’re going to be like, of course Steve, of course I can do that. Have you done that? Maybe I shouldn’t say it that way.
John: [00:43:49] Yeah. The first year I did do it and it did really well and I looked back at how much storage space I use in my warehouse to make that happen. And I’m like, man, I don’t know if I want to dedicate a fourth of my warehouse to a one week sale.
Stephen: [00:44:03] And then. And then again, you, it’s a thinner market right up. I’m, if I’m not interested in Christmas stuff, I’m not coming back for that. Right? Um, but if I’m interested in, I would come back every week. So. Interesting. So again, warnings for people who are thinking about this, what are, what are the things that you say,
John: [00:44:21] I wouldn’t expect to get rich quick. It took a while before I could pay myself. I was lucky enough to have an amazing wife that, you know, was making good money than I, you know, when I wasn’t bringing it in, you know, she could support the family
Stephen: [00:44:35] and so don’t get rid. You’re not going to get rich quick and scaling. How long would it take to scale to the 500? Let me [inaudible] you’re talking to you guys, staff of five, including yourself. So that’s, that’s significant. Um, how long would it take for someone to scale that out level?
John: [00:44:52] I think at least the year. Um, even even if you have the employees and the wherewithal to do that right off the bat, the inventory is going to be hard to find 500 items a week because you really need a good consigner base to be bringing you those items. That doesn’t happen overnight because you, you have to build a reputation. You have to gain your consumers trust to where you’re going to get all that stuff every week.
Stephen: [00:45:16] Is there a zoning issues that you run into where they’re zoning issues? Um, is there something to consider?
John: [00:45:22] Uh, no, not in Ohio.
Stephen: [00:45:24] OK, OK. Again, I’m blown away. I just love the fact that you did this. I mean, did you realize how big of a job it was going to be or did you thought it was going to be easier?
John: [00:45:36] I didn’t realize. Um, luckily we’ve improved our processes a lot from the beginning to where things are streamlined much better. But yeah, at first it was. I mean I was working 70 plus hours a week, you know, just constantly.
Stephen: [00:45:50] How long does it take to train somebody? I mean, I know, you know, they’re taking six photos or whatever it is. I’ve every item, I guess, you know, that part gets easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s their good pictures.
John: [00:46:02] Luckily I’ve had the same photographer spend awesome and you know, it took her maybe a few days to get the hang of it
Stephen: [00:46:10] full time. Part time employees or part time. Um, um, let me think about what else I’m thinking about. Dude, I’m telling you when you go to this site and it’s called, look what I found bid. OK. Everybody’s going to be like, Steve wanted to tell this. I was waiting until the end because I just want people to get the capacity of what we’re talking about. Look what I found.bid. Um, you’ll go to this website and this is John’s personal website and you will sit there and say, wait a second, here’s a kiss record and right next to it as a pete rose plate and down further is a cash register. I mean, none of these things are related. Here’s another cash register. Um, there’s another cashier, there was probably one seller bringing in a bunch of cash registers, right? To, um, to people hold stuff and then come in once a year, clean out, that kind of thing.
John: [00:47:03] Seasonal things too. Like if somebody brings me stuff right now, I’d say, look, I’ll sell it for you. But if you wait until November, you’re getting way more money and you let them store it. Exactly.
Stephen: [00:47:14] OK, so here, here’s a question I have for you. Is so large, a lot of various eight tracks, including two cases am. Are you going to answer questions about this? Because it’s pretty generically. What he says is basically, hey, you know, this is a large, as eight track in two cases, lots of photos so I could see the titles if I wanted to hang out with the old good. Is the head has been changed or any or the pets or any of that chat. Do you get those kind of questions?
John: [00:47:38] Yeah, sometimes I do. Um, like for instance, a couple of weeks ago a guy happened to see one of the records in this big lot of records and he was curious about the upc code because he might have thought it was like a rare print. So I went and, you know, took a picture of it and shot it to them. I think it was [inaudible] ended up buying it. So yeah, I’m, I’m happy to oblige with things like that because obviously we can’t photograph every square inch of every item and if somebody is out of state they can’t come preview. So yeah, we’re always,
Stephen: [00:48:05] I get asked or come in house, right. I mean, what percentage of buyers come in?
John: [00:48:10] I’m trying to preview probably less than half. Um, and most of the time it’s the people that are picking up their stuff from the week before, so while they’re in there,
Stephen: [00:48:21] um, I don’t know whether we said this on the call, but you have 5,000 bitters on an ongoing basis, more than a once a month
John: [00:48:34] majority. No kidding.
Stephen: [00:48:37] And how do you get those customers? Because one of the big questions too is going to be, you know, how do you drive traffic to your site?
John: [00:48:43] Uh, me personally, I’m very much a, I’d love Internet marketing for this specific business because I think people have short attention spans. Um, anything more than just a click away. I don’t think they’re going to do it. If I had a big billboard of what, look what I found out bid, I don’t know how much it would work because I don’t know that I could trust people to go home and get on the website or do it on their phone if it happened to be on their phone while they’re driving. So I do facebook, I do the [inaudible] that we talked about. We do craigslist, I advertise all over the Internet. That’s just a quicker way to get them there.
Stephen: [00:49:18] Um, and you personally, that’s one of the things you manage. Yes. You really have done it when you started, you were doing, you know, the, the probably the photography and the listing and the previews and the pickups and the collecting the money and the facebook ads and the, and the, and the, and the. Right.
John: [00:49:37] Yeah. But that’s, as I’m sure you could, you know, you know, when you are in your business, when you first start your every department, you’re in the accounting department, the sales department, when did you hire your first person? That’s it. I think that’s a decent question. Just so the year after I started I was like, you know, talk hitting on. It took me a year. Yeah.
Stephen: [00:49:57] Wow. What did you do that again? That way? I mean, thinking about where you’re at now and obviously knowing that you’ll get this software at the level you’re getting it now as opposed to what you did because you had to still fine-tune tune it.
John: [00:50:08] I think I would still do it. I mean, I appreciate it that much more now, but I had to do on myself for so long.
Stephen: [00:50:21] I sit back and, and just imagine the undertaking. How many times did you think about throwing in the, in this hole
John: [00:50:29] early on? Uh, but you know, now more and more. Actually now we’re chugging right along.
Stephen: [00:50:37] Back to what I said. When you see all the negativity related to all the changes outside of your control that none of us can control going on in these other marketplaces. And I get it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to pay higher fees or I want better service from all these restrictions. Does that reinforce what you’ve done?
John: [00:50:57] Signers. You know, cause I’ve got a handful that are holding back a little bit. Like, Oh, I’ve got this rare item that I don’t think I’m going to get the money for it. I’m like, I’m telling you you will and you want to pay the fees and you don’t have to deal with refunds or anything like that. So that’s, that’s a huge selling point for us.
Stephen: [00:51:13] How about sellers remorse? How many people have said, John that sold for a dollar? I can’t let that guy lost. You know, I paid 60 bucks for it.
John: [00:51:21] Very few. Um, we always try to set expectations. Sometimes people will bring something and they’ll say, look, I want a thousand dollars for this and I’ll just say, you won’t get that from our website. You know, I’m not gonna lie to you, cause I don’t want them to have a bad taste in their mouth.
Stephen: [00:51:35] What happens when I’m not satisfied? What happens? Tough.
John: [00:51:39] Yeah, tough. Unfortunately there’s a contract in place, you know, want a bid is place. That’s a contract between me and the bitter. So when the conservators brings you automate and they sign the contract that it sells for what salesforce am, I always tell them to like, a lot of things are going to sell for more than you expect. But then some might sell for less than you expect. So it generally averages out pretty well.
Stephen: [00:51:58] Are you able to give them a rough estimate? So if I brought these 20 items in, you could say, you know, here’s what you can. Because I’m sure that’s what people want to know right there. Like what do you think I can get for John?
John: [00:52:07] Yeah. We’ve done a hundred and 50 options now, so we have a pretty good idea where things are going to sell for.
Stephen: [00:52:14] Is there any way for me as a seller to look up past items to see what they sold for?
John: [00:52:20] Yep. We items up for, I think it’s like a month old. Um, just cause you know, if we have too many, it slows down the server, however,
Stephen: [00:52:30] I can go back and look at that and kind of get my own estimate of what that’s been interesting. Are there things that you will not sell? Just absolute’s obviously, probably guns ammo or stuff like that because there’s probably legal issues there. We’ve got a list of things that we give the people that we can’t. So and so those are the kinds of things that the help I would get from you if I bought this service from you or the software. It’s really not a service. It’s a software and then you give it a little bit of a training with him. OK. All right, are we going to talk about costs of software or that’s again, we’re back to that individual. I think you already said we’re going to do that individually. Tried to get it out of you. Giving enough. I understand. Hey, you know what, it’s, it blows my mind when I sit back in, I think about what it took to get you to this place and the fact that you’re basically giving a business in a box.
Stephen: [00:53:21] I mean, it’s really what it is, right? I mean it’s, it’s literally in your market by your own domain and put it up, customize it somewhat. Pay attention to the training and spend a year building it and you have a business in a box. Very cool. Um, how do you stay motivated and all this? Because it’s gotta be, I mean, I guess you’re on the other side of it now. The heart man. I mean, I don’t know that it’s not hard anymore. I’m sure it’s hard every single day, right? Because every week there’s probably something new, but how do you stay motivated and interested?
John: [00:53:53] It’s way more easier now that I have employees helping out, uh, you know what I mean, because if you’re doing a job by yourself for so long you can easily was motivation, but you know, constantly having people at the warehouse helping out things and seeing that it’s just one big team effort is really rewarding to me.
Stephen: [00:54:10] If I bought your stuff, would I be able to come to your c, your warehouse and actually see an operation which I would absolutely suggest. Um, and even even volunteering if he would allow that much just because I think then you get to get a taste for it because it’s not for everyone, isn’t it?
John: [00:54:27] Definitely not for everyone.
Stephen: [00:54:29] Is it a, um, if I don’t like people, is this kind of business to be in?
John: [00:54:34] I don’t think so. It’s a lot of local. So you have to build those relationships that people aren’t just bidding on your website. They’re bidding on you, you know, like a lot of designers, we just have good relationships and they’re like, I know I can take myself to John and, you know, they just enjoy the whole thing of it.
Stephen: [00:54:52] Is it harder to find buyers or sellers?
John: [00:54:55] Sellers
Stephen: [00:54:57] really? Um, I would think of going to, I don’t know, I assume you have flea markets and things like that. I mean, uh, this time of year they’re not operating very well because it’s kind of cold at least where I’m at. And so I would think that at the end of the season they would want to, you know, purge their stuff and I would think that that would be, again, that seasonal thing. Um, but then again, they might want a premium for their stuff.
John: [00:55:21] Yes. I’ve actually gotten to a good number of flea markets and in our business cards and kind of talked about the website and Johnson signers that way. Well, what’s the best way that you’ve gotten cosigners word of mouth. It’s, you know, all you know, so, and so told me about this. So I thought I’d bring my stuff. Like that’s, it’s just so powerful. I mean, we’ve done so many different things to try to get consumers, but still word of mouth has been by far the best.
Stephen: [00:55:44] Very cool. This is a, just blows my mind again, I appreciate that you have taken the initiative and cause this, this is an easy, most people would’ve given up probably the first challenge, which was probably first four hours of talking about this, especially when you’re dealing with it guys and you speak your language and he speaks his language and then somebody has to try to figure out what you’re saying, right? Um, how do you, uh, how do you stay tied to your relationships, your health and you’re kind of future thinking. How do you, how do you manage all that?
John: [00:56:20] It’s difficult, you know, but the tricky part about owning your own business is to make it successful. You’ve got to be all in. And sometimes that takes away from personal relationships. So you’ve got to reel it back a little bit and say, OK, when I get home, you know, I have to like quote unquote clock out mentally and I’ve got to just, you know, spend time with my wife and do family things. Um, but you know, the phone never stops ringing a business still has to be done. So I do my best when I get home. I try to not do business stuff at all.
Stephen: [00:56:53] D, do you have to work a lot of weekends anymore now? I mean, do people try to bring you their stuff on Saturdays?
John: [00:56:58] At first I did do a lot of weekends, um, just because I was trying to get off the ground. But now it’s, everybody’s cool. With Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Wednesday we did a little bit on other days, but not much.
Stephen: [00:57:08] OK. All right. And that’s case by case and you could have that 250 people come through or 260 people on a Tuesday and a Wednesday and handle the volume of people picking up their stuff. That blows my mind and let others come in to look at stuff. A lot of moving pieces there.
John: [00:57:26] Tuesdays and Wednesdays were always pretty crazy and luckily not all come at once. You know, I’d say on a Tuesday we might have 25,000 signers and on a Wednesday maybe like 30 or something,
Stephen: [00:57:38] I am, I’m blown away. Um, the website is called liquid. I’ve found.bid. Um, if you’re interested in this model and Steve does not benefit in one way other than getting to watch you have success, which is the coolest thing in my world because I get to meet a guy like John Yarberry because to me I just applaud you and I just, it’s very inspiring to me to see somebody again, figure it out. And, and quite frankly, really it’s a, an effort issue for you, right? If you want to be more successful, you’ve got to put some more effort in. You don’t see a limit to you. You don’t see a boundary. You don’t see somebody restricting what you’re doing. You could put in more time or hire more people and you could get bigger and they ask this because this might be some somebody who’s asking of the 4,000 square feet you have, how much of it’s dedicated to this business versus the Ebay and other stuff that you do.
John: [00:58:33] I’m 95 percent of it is dedicated to the business and five percent.
Stephen: [00:58:39] And You keep your toe on Ebay just because you find things that might be a better fit for that. Do you see that staying for your future?
John: [00:58:46] I think so, yeah. I like having multiple revenue streams to play it. Again, sports, I did the local thing, um, because you know, even though we are, we’ve been going strong for three years. We still have a bad week every once in awhile. You know what I mean? Like every once in a while there was a bad auction week, so that’s when the other revenue streams kind of kick in.
Stephen: [00:59:04] The coolest thing to me as I was sitting here thinking about this, you don’t have a lot of your own inventory laying around with 95 percent of your. You’re a space dedicated to this because you really have no excuse for keeping inventory laying around because you have an avenue to sell it. It might sell at a book, but you have an avenue no matter what, you’re not limited. I think that that’s very attractive for the people who are sitting there saying, I don’t want to have junk sitting around and junkies relative. Um, this is very attractive because you’re turning and burning. We can, we count, we can weak out. John, you’re very cool to somebody who’s interested in finding out more about this and talking to you one on one, which I absolutely recommend. And you know, the recommendation is I absolutely recommend you go and see this kind of thing.
Stephen: [00:59:48] If you guys can get that far along in the conversation, be certain because this is a long game, right? This is, you’re not thinking next year, you’re thinking the next five years, right? John? Yeah, and to me that’s what you want, but you want to build. I mean, how about this? You’re thinking the next five years you’re not worried about next week’s paycheck because of all this work. And to me that’s very, very exciting. You’re able to work on your business. You’re able to plan. I’m very, very cool. All right. Somebody has questions. What’s the best way to get in touch with you?
John: [01:00:23] We’ve got a contact us section.
Stephen: [01:00:25] OK, they have a context section. Um, tell me you heard it from this conversation because it’s interesting to you because these are the kinds of things that interest me and I would hope that this is interesting to others as they’re sitting there saying, hey, what do I do with my Amazon? I just saw this story out there. Um, and I think a forest to cure and forest has a business where people were sending their, um, their merchandise to them, you know, the stuff that didn’t sell on Amazon and they were sending it to him and he had a very similar model, but it’s, it was massive. I mean, he has his hands full and right now he’s not taking anything in because it’s so voluminous. Right. Is this something that a group of people could put together for that particular model?
Stephen: [01:01:05] I think so too, and I think it, you know, you can play with the percentages group people could pull together, send it to someone who wants to run this kind of business, understand though this is a business that they will need to get paid for, but then they could model it and love that. That’s not a bad idea to OK, John Yarberry, and I’m going to put the links in here, but again, it’s. Look what I found out bid. So John, the goal of the podcast is to help people who get stuck, right? They get stuck, they have not figured it out like you. Um, and I guess you would say that you haven’t completely figured out your work in progress to be fair. OK. And then there’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s very cool that you’re, you haven’t figured it out. And to me that’s what’s exciting. What would you say to those who were, who were at the place where you were? And they’re saying, I want to kind of control things or maybe I want to go in different direction. What’s your advice?
John: [01:01:56] Just in general, if somebody has an inkling of doing something different or they want to, you know, start a new business, I would say just take the first step and do it. Because if you’re saying to yourself, I’m not ready yet, you know, what about this, what about that? You just have to do it and kind of learn as you go. I’ve always been like that. Um, just, just do it and force yourself to do it. I might not be pretty at
Stephen: [01:02:20] first, but you’ll, you’ll work it out and you’ll get there. I think about the, if you were three years ago, you know, if he didn’t do it, you’d be still looking backwards. I man, three years ago, I should have done this three years ago should have done this. And John’s not saying that right now. He’s saying, man, I’m glad I did this. And to me, that’s what’s so cool about it. I mean, I, I wish you nothing but success. John, thank you so much, Steven. This was fun, man. Oh Man, what a great guy and what a smart, smart individual. I just can’t imagine they’re 70 hour work weeks and if you heard him say this the first year he did every single thing himself. That’s why he’s successful because he’s willing to do the work. How many of us are willing to put in that 4,000 hours to make a business successful?
Stephen: [01:03:06] We talk about it, we all want it, but he put in over 4,000 hours and didn’t take a paycheck and just put his head down because he was so clear on where he was going. Um, and he’s figuring it out in a way. His advice is very sound. Take the first step. That’s a hard thing to do. There’s going to be a bunch of people saying, wow, this is cool. I should look at it, I should think about it, but very few are going to take action. John’s here to tell you that he’s three years out looking back saying it’s the best thing he’s ever done. Think about that. Look back in your business three years ago. Would you say that where you’re at is the best place that you could have been? If not, consider it. Um, it seems like a straight guy. I love the fact that he’s willing to give you some coaching with it.
Stephen: [01:03:47] And again, my advice is if you’re going to invest in a business, you go see it and you go work in it and you volunteer there and you put up with the, the dirt and the filth and you deal with some of the people, individuals, characters that sell and buy and understand what it is. So you have no delusions. However, and then again to do you want staff. I mean, that’s one of the things that comes with it. And then you have the challenges that come along with that. But if you can get past all that and you can get the space and you can get the insurance and you can get all those logistics worked out with some help from John. This might be a very, very interesting model. And as I kind of alluded to, this might solve some of the problem, what to do with that excess inventory. Especially if you have a group of people that are willing to get you started and help fund the selling items to sell because again, that’s one of the biggest challenges that John will tell you is to find the items to sell. Find the sellers that’ll be there 52 weeks a year. Not as easy as you think. E-Commerce, momentum, [inaudible], e-commerce, momentum, Dukkha, take care.
Cool voice guy: [01:04:51] Thanks for listening to the e-commerce momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found at e commerce momentum dot. Under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on itunes.