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FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy Reader
11/30/18 9:28 a.m.

Hot damn.

Just take any junk wiring you have left, go to the scrap yard, and reach that goal.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/3/18 9:11 a.m.
RedGT said:

The prices you are commanding for some of these parts are higher than a full service junkyard, nevermind a self serve one. You apparently found a relatively rare car with a hell of a market in your local area. Impressive.

Actually, almost all of these sales have been eBay sales, using "market pricing." (Based on what previous items have sold for.) I'm sure a Chevy Cobalt wouldn't part out quite as well, but I think there are a lot of cars that would, and many that would do better. I think junkyards in general have missed the eCommerce boom and aren't doing as thorough of a job listing stuff for sale. They still mostly do an over the counter sales model and will ship but it's like pulling teeth to do it compared to clicking "buy it now" on eBay. It might be that in 5-10 years that will have changed - if I had more energy maybe I could be one to drive the change. ;-)

And in a less dollar and cents update; I made a bit of a commitment on page 1 to keep my workbench cleaner. I have always been one of those "clean it, then it piles up until you're literally pushing stuff aside to have a tiny work area" kind of guys. Well, after a year and a half of this how am I doing?

That's without any prep or cleaning before taking the picture. It's wonderful to walk in the shop and see that waiting for me. No more pile of parts and tools interfering with the day's jobs. You'll notice one of the drawers is labeled "current projects." That was my concession to chaos - it's full of little things that I intend to work on "soon" that might otherwise have sat on the bench. It's worked out well, and I do actually work on things from the drawer from time to time. And when I do, I can just get to it, without time spent clearing work space. It's really, really nice. Plus my tools are put away at the end of every day so I no longer have to wonder - "is the 10mm wrench in the drawer or the tool cart or is in the footwell of the car I was working on last night??" Nope, it's in the drawer like usual - the new usual, that is. That makes me smile.

wae
wae SuperDork
12/7/18 9:11 a.m.

I'm getting ready to move into some new shop space that will give me a lot more space than I currently have to work with -- enough space to be able to work on 3 cars, have a functioning woodshop, and still have a couple hundred square feet of "extra" workspace.  With that, though, comes a higher monthly lease and I'm looking for ways to use the space to more or less pay for the increase.  Basically, I'd need to be able to net about $1,700/yr and if I could do half as well as you I could get away with one part-out a year and have some walking around money left over!  Major wife-points if I can make the whole workshop household budget-neutral and if I could actually turn a profit on the whole ordeal...  sky's the limit on that one!

You were looking for an engine donor, so I get why you chose the MR2.  Any advice for what you might look for if you weren't looking for any parts for yourself?  I've done a little hunting around on eBay completed auctions for a couple wrecked cars that are for sale on CL locally, but that's a needle/haystack thing.  Better to start with something relatively high-dollar for a big return or ease into it with an 18 year old wrecked Civic for $400 and use that to build up?  My shower thought for yesterday was to maybe even start with the Mercedes that I've already got, but I'd need to clear nearly $10k out of that just to break even on it/replace it.  

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/7/18 9:22 a.m.

Well I think your Mercedes is a good example to try. You’ve already got it. It’s worth more in parts than in one piece even running I think. When I get some time at a laptop instead of my phone later let me see if I can come up with some useful info for you. 

wae
wae SuperDork
12/7/18 10:10 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

Yeah, I have to give you full credit for getting me to think that way.  I've looked at a few completed listings for parts from those and it seems like they're selling for fairly high dollar amounts.  I've also been watching a copart auction for a 2011 with 60k that is supposed to run but got hit from behind, but I think doing that I'd have more into it than I could get back out even with it in running condition - it's at about $5k now in "pre-sale" bids already.

I appreciate the education.  One other question that I just thought of:  I'm not on the facebook at all right now.  Am I missing a large chunk of the market by not participating there (both from a buying a car to dismantle as well as selling the parts)?

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/8/18 8:57 p.m.

In reply to wae :

Finally got to a laptop. So I have been looking into parting out a higher line car and landed on a 2007-2014 C class Mercedes, which should be pretty similar sales wise to what you have, if a bit lower since it doesn't have the expensive diesel engine parts to sell off. (Because, despite your engine having problems, you have scads [technical term] of engine accessories and pieces that you know are good and are worth a bunch.) To research part-out values, I look at the latest completed sales on eBay for that car. I found a 2011 C300 4matic I was interested in, so I put in 2011 C300, in the eBay motors parts and accessories category, filtered by "USED" and filtered by "SOLD ITEMS." There are a ton of duplicates so I carefully filtered through and tried to take an average value for each part that had actually sold. I came up with well north of $20,000 in parts on one of those. I hope I'm not jinxing my ability to get one for a reasonable price now!!

That said, this is a J-O-B. It is something you can do an hour or two at a time, but you're going to have dozens of hours in parting the car and photographing the pieces and listing them on eBay and answering questions and shipping parts. OH, the shipping. It's so time consuming and having the supplies on hand takes up a bunch of space and costs a bunch of money if you don't have a ready source for second hand stuff. I have a couple hundred SF of attic storage full of boxes and then a few bags of peanuts and a couple rolls of bubble wrap and tape and a box stapler and and and ... all that stuff is needed because you gotta ship the stuff right away when it sells. You can put multiple days handling time on your items but if you start stretching your shipping times out and delaying shipments you're gonna have unhappy customers. Shipping an injection pump or a window regulator is way, way easier than shipping, say, a door. Speaking of which, stripping the door down nets you way more money than selling it complete. To the point that it would almost make sense to sell the pieces and scrap the shell - except the shell is probably still worth $200 or so, so it's tough to let go of it. But shipping them is a bear.

Shipping costs are a killer, too. So, so much of your competition is putting free shipping on their items. To compete your total sale including shipping needs to be comparable to theirs. I probably have more in shipping costs than I paid for the MR2 spyder at this point. However, my totals exclude shipping so the profit is actual profit. Just be aware that a $50 sale can quickly become $20 in net after eBay fees and shipping when you do free shipping. I feel like the majority if my "free shipping" eBay listings sell to people in rural California, but that's probably confirmation bias. I figure, if you get $25,000 for your parts, 10% goes to eBay ($2,500), 3% to PayPal ($750), and maybe 20% - 25% might go to "free" shipping ($5,000-6,250), netting you $16,750-$15,500. Which sounds fine on paper but it can feel pretty rough when your eBay bill for the month (which includes any UPS or FedEx shipping) is $1,200.

I rough guess an hour per item of time, between pulling, listing, and shipping it. That might be low, actually. But I've sold 55 items from the Spyder and netted $4,651 so at this point that's NOT BAD per hour, even if you double the time estimate per item. I think I came up with 147 items to sell from a C300, so that's very many hours of work, but also many thousands of dollars in profit. One part out a year might pay your entire rent at your shop - or more!

So far I'm enjoying it, it hasn't felt like a burden, but if I move beyond cars where I'm doing it just for fun it might become a drain. Then again, I've been selling online in some capacity for over 20 years so if it hasn't worn on me yet I'm probably going to be OK.

Maybe some of your extra space in your shop could be set aside as a pack and ship area instead of room for a third tenant. If you come up with a good way to organize shipping supplies PLEASE tell me, right now mine are a mess.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/8/18 9:11 p.m.

Oh, and speaking of this thread: I sold the convertible top apron (the drain / diaper thing that sits under the top) for $50. So, new totals:

Purchase price:    $1,500.00
 +Towing:    $125.78
 +eBay fees:    $505.70
 +Title fees:    $58.50
 -Parts sales:    $7,048.00
 =Total profit:    $4,858.02

Woohoo! Over $7k!!

But, I had my first sale problem: an item didn't show up! FedEx says it was delivered but the buyer didn't get it. It's not unlikely it was stolen off his porch, but since I don't require signature confirmation on my items, I'm out of luck. I went ahead and placed a claim with FedEx but expect it to be denied. The good news there is it was a door speaker, a $30 sale plus shipping. So even with that loss I'm money ahead versus requiring signatures upon delivery since that's an additional fee on every one of the 57 items I've sold so far. Total would be way more than $30. Also good news is the buyer was very understanding. I refunded his money after placing the FedEx claim and he left me positive feedback with is more than a lot of buyers would have done for me.

Plenty of people seem to think "any inconvenience at all" is reason to at least threaten negative feedback. Ie, last negative I got was a couple years ago I sent the wrong tail light (driver vs passenger side, hey, they were easy to look at wrong) and despite me immediately sending the right tail light to him and not asking for him to return the $80 tail light, he still left me negative feedback. Thanks shiny happy person. Somehow despite that I've maintained a 100% positive this year. One or two negatives don't really affect your sales but it still feels affirming to see that 100% rating.

 

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/8/18 9:27 p.m.

In reply to wae :

I forgot to cover the Facebook question. I'm not on Facebook either. The vast majority of my sales (>$5000 of them) have been eBay with most of the rest being from a generic "Parting MR2 Spyder" ad posted on Craigslist. I'm sure I could've sold some through Facebook but it doesn't seem needed yet. I suspect it would be like selling on a forum with the incessant questions about particular parts. I find there's 100x the questions and 1/10th the sales on Forums compared to eBay. Not necessarily less work just a more aggravating kind of work to me.

wae
wae SuperDork
12/8/18 10:05 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

That is awesome info, thank you!  I just played with some numbers on a couple different cheap-but-new-ish wrecked cars that are available locally on CL and taking in to account packing material, vehicle retrieval, title work, paypal fees, and ebay fees it looks like it could easily be a 50-60% margin business, not considering labor.  Utilities are just an estimate right now, but if I could net $4,200/yr that would absolutely 100% pay for my half of the shop and it kind of looks like that isn't completely out of the question.  I could redirect what I'm currently spending for shop space into a 2-post lift.

I agree 100% that it makes more sense to use the room in the shop to do this versus taking on another partner.  I can dismantle a car, have a longer-term project and still have room to pull in another car to work on (or, actually, even pull in my RV) as opposed to having to keep space clear so that someone else can get in and out.  When I get set up, I'll share what I come up with for my shipping department.  A couple decades ago, my dad did a little bit of mail order custom screen print ceramic tile and to keep costs down he leveraged his kids as child labor to help out, so I've got a little bit of that framework in the recesses of my head somewhere that I can dust off.

You've pretty much talked me into it because apparently it works.  What I can't get my head around is that there are that many people buying used car parts off of the Internet. Apparently they are, but it still surprises me a bit.

 

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/9/18 12:02 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

I just left some negative feedback after I got charged double shipping.  I messaged the vendor about it first and they first lied to me about it, then blamed eBay.  Still never offered to make it right and refund me the extra shipping charges tho.  So they deserved it, IMO...

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/9/18 7:41 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Hey, they didn’t make it right. My beef is if the seller makes it right (or more than right!) as fast as possible and the buyer still leaves negative. Ugh. 

I had a seller send me a cracked headlight. I contacted them and said I was unhappy with it. They refunded me and said to just toss the headlight. I left them positive feedback. They were very pleased. 

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/9/18 9:05 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

For sure.  I would've left positive feedback if they'd taken care of the shipping charges with a "Sorry about that!" message to me.  Instead they lied about it first, then blamed eBay when I pointed out the shipping from their direct website was about half what I got charged.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
1/17/19 10:45 p.m.

There've been a few more parts sales; misc stuff keeps selling here and there. That will probably go on for a year or more!  I sold stuff like the carpet, one of the door checks, the rearview mirror, etc. Result was $326 more in sales, which surprised me.

New totals:
Purchase price:    $1,500.00
 +Towing:    $125.78
 +eBay fees:    $538.30
 +Title fees:    $58.50
 -Parts sales:    $7,374.00
 =Total profit:    $5,151.42

Somehow there's still $1512 worth of parts listed. I don't think I'll get that much for them given how long they've sat, but it should be in the ballpark.

I've made a couple small sales from the Mercedes but I've been so busy I've been unable to keep my threads up to date. Hope to get to that one soon.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
3/1/19 9:44 p.m.

Truly the gift that keeps on giving.. I've had some of these parts listed for months and months and things still sell every now and then. They're sitting on a shelf and it costs me nothing to leave them there and let them auto-relist.

Sold the rear control arms, coolant overflow bottle, etc.. Net effect was a new total of ... $7,564 in sales! Man, now I'm feeling like $8,000 is the eventual goal. It'll take a while because what's left is clearly the slowest selling stuff.

New totals:
Purchase price:    $1,500.00
 +Towing:    $125.78
 +eBay fees:    $557.30
 +Title fees:    $58.50
 -Parts sales:    $7,564.00
 =Total profit:    $5,322.42

Needless to say, I'm very happy with this project. Plus I got an awesome running MR2 out of it.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
4/4/19 4:14 p.m.

Sold the engine lid. Breathing on $8000 in sales. Time to start dropping prices to get there??

New totals:
Purchase price:    $1,500.00
 +Towing:    $125.78
 +eBay fees:    $569.80
 +Title fees:    $58.50
 -Parts sales:    $7,689.00
 =Total profit:    $5,434.92

I still have ~$1000 in listings up, I bet I could get $311 in sales out of them quickly if I start making them cheap. We'll see if I feel like it. It would be a fun cap to this part-out.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
4/4/19 7:39 p.m.

Truly amazing. I say cut the prices hit $8K and move on you have done very very well Congrats!

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
4/6/19 7:53 p.m.

I'm definitely going to cut some prices but just had a couple of the wiring harnesses sell so I'm getting so so close to my newest (and likely final) goal. Another $184 in sales means I'm at $7,873. I'm kind of flabbergasted here. I'm so, so happy the harnesses got sold, too - I hate scrapping stuff like that because I know there's someone out there that needs them and they're definitely not available new any more.

New totals:
Purchase price:    $1,500.00
 +Towing:    $125.78
 +eBay fees:    $588.20
 +Title fees:    $58.50
 -Parts sales:    $7,873.00
 =Total profit:    $5,600.52

Edit: Marked them all down about 30 - 40%. Hope that clears them out fast.

sevenracer
sevenracer Reader
4/10/19 4:24 p.m.

Do you do auctions plus buy it now, or just buy it now? 

I am trying to sell some stock miata parts.  I think I am priced right, but getting no interest. 

 

Curious to know what you think the best way to list is for parts that don't move quickly.  I want to minimize fees, have it auto re list, etc. 

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
4/23/19 10:07 a.m.

In reply to sevenracer :

Sorry I missed your post! I just do buy it now, typically, with best offer enabled. I usually set an auto-decline amount on the best offer where it will say no to an offer that's well below what I would be willing to accept. More rarely, I will set an auto-accept if it's an item I'm flexible on. Auctions seem like a waste of time on car parts as usually it's something people need rather than just a luxury or "it would be nice to have it" kind of thing.

How long have you had the Miata parts up for? Have any sold recently and if so are you around the same price they sold for? (Search for the same part, and then filter by "sold" listings.) Free shipping might induce a sale but make sure to check how much that shipping will cost you. Sometimes it's more than the part sells for, which is a real bummer.

I sold another part; the throttle body. Getting real dang close to my "final" goal.

New totals:
Purchase price:    $1,500.00
 +Towing:    $125.78
 +eBay fees:    $597.70
 +Title fees:    $58.50
 -Parts sales:    $7,968.00
 =Total profit:    $5,686.02

mtn
mtn MegaDork
4/23/19 10:23 a.m.

125% annual return. WOW. I realize that there are probably some hidden costs in there that you're not including (specifically, time/labor and potential taxes as eBay might be sending you a 1099), but that is AWESOME return on investment. 

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
4/23/19 10:33 a.m.

Labor is the big one. It's really hard to estimate the number of hours I have in this, but at a really wild estimate I'd say it's probably 80-100 hours to do a part out like this. Even so that's over $50/hour which is pretty good when it's mostly replacing TV watching time. Still that's more of a job and less of an investment. ;-)

The shop building costs me something, but it came with the house and heat and electric are pretty minimal on it. I would have it whether or not I was doing this, so it's hard to treat any of that as costs against the part-out.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
4/26/19 9:39 p.m.

HERE WE GO! I sold the driver's door lock actuator / latch mechanism. New total sales:

$8,008!!

So awesome. I doubt I'll scrap what's left any time soon but some of it's eventually headed that way. It's closing on two years since I bought the car and some of this stuff has been listed for close to that long. Other pieces, well, as long as I'm under 50 listings/month on eBay it costs me nothing to let it auto-relist, and as long as I've still got my MR2 they can also be considered "spares." But I'm going to call it at $8000 is what you can reasonably recoup from one of these given enough time, patience, and persistence. If the front end wasn't wrecked and I wasn't using the motor you could probably push $9,500 give or take. (engine $700, headlights $200, front fenders $300, front bumper bar $150, front bumper cover $200.)

New (and final?) numbers:
Purchase price:    $1,500.00
 +Towing:    $125.78
 +eBay fees:    $601.70
 +Title fees:    $58.50
 -Parts sales:    $8,008.00
 =Total profit:    $5,722.02

The profit is a bit fuzzy, as I'm sure there were expenses in there I didn't track. Packing material, tape, maybe some free shipping I didn't account for. But it's pretty close, certainly within 10%. And this whole thing started as a way to get a "free" engine for my Mr2 which ended up actually more than paying for the engine, the original MR2, and all the improvements I've done to it since. Pretty good. I'm certainly happy.

dculberson (Forum Supporter)
dculberson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/14/20 3:36 p.m.

Wow, it's hard to believe my last post here was almost a year ago. I was going to let this end, but I still have a few little pieces sitting in inventory. I dropped the prices pretty low to clear them out without just tossing them. I sold the heater core and enclosure, rear right knuckle/spindle assembly, the brake pedal, lock cylinders with key, and the wiring harness from the frunk area.

New total in sales $8,308. Not bad! I had a few other MR2 parts sell, but they don't really count as they didn't come from this car.

I've been doing enough in eBay sales that it made sense to open a "store," as the discount in fees paid for the store subscription and it got me more "free" listings. So leaving the last few parts listed doesn't cost me anything at this point and I'm happy to see them get used rather than landfilled.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle SuperDork
9/7/20 7:12 p.m.

Thought about this one just now. What's new?

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
9/8/20 7:43 a.m.

I love this thread. 
did you make one for the merc, or any other cars?

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