Yes, there is something to be said for having the “right tools for the job” – however, what do you do if you
- just don’t have the money for those “tools”?
- Or maybe you have the cash but are just leary of dumping money into something until you see that it will work for you.
Debra and I have hashed this out and have figured out what our bare minimums would be for starting out with FBA “on the cheap”.
Here’s a little secret… You do NOT need all of the optional FBA “toys” to get started.
Before we share the list of items you’ll need, we’d like to give you some friendly advice – because we have been where you are:
First, find a balance between diving in head first and being a bit cautious.
This is not the business to start if you need to pay a big bill at the end of the month. If that is what you need, then start listing stuff on eBay and Craigslist and come back to FBA later on or start it slowly on the side. Don’t spend any money on your business that you can’t afford to loose.
The reality is that your items are NOT going to sell as soon as they hit the Amazon warehouse. Some may sell quickly, but the majority may sit there until the right buyer comes along. This is especially true when sending in long-tail items. Most of our thrift store finds end up being long-tails, but that is ok with us because the return on investment can be huge.
You’ll often hear people talk about the fast nickel vs. the slow dime. Well, a lot of our thrift store finds end up being “slow QUARTERS” – we’ll take that any day, thank you very much!
Second, you are going to make mistakes!
Mistakes are how you learn. The good thing about sourcing through thrift stores is that you’re mistakes will cost you less – think of it as a low cost education in FBA.
Take note of the return policies at the thrifts you shop at. Some allow returns, some do not. Some have certain restrictions like the original price label must still be attached…etc. In the event that you do goof, you might be able to return the item.
A GREAT tip I learned from the “Ultimate Guide to Savings By Store” is that some thrifts will give you a 20% off coupon when you donate to them. So those “goofs” can actually be turned into cash!
Third – Don’t be afraid of listing and getting your items shipped into Amazon! After your first one it gets easier – and soon you’ll be a pro.
Do be aware, though, that the shipping cost will be coming out of your Amazon FBA account. This means that before your first sales happen, you’ll have a negative balance – this is normal.
We expand on this more in “The $100 Myth” section of our guide.
Onto the recommended basic items you’ll need:
App & Smart Phone:
- Profit Bandit Scouting App ($15 one-time fee)
- Requires you to have an Amazon Pro-Merchant Seller Account.
- Amazon seller account
- An Amazon Pro-Merchant Seller Account is $39.99/month and worth it! If you are not pro-merchant then you have to pay Amazon $0.99 per sale along with their other fees. So, if you sell over 40 items a month you are actually saving money. Plus there are other benefits. AND you might be able to get one month for free. Sign up here: http://www.amazonservices.com/content/sell-on-amazon.htm?ld=SCSOAlogin
- Smart phone
- get one through your cell service provider on a regular contract (phone price will usually be discounted)
- look for a month-to-month one (Amazon.com has some here and so does Walmart here ).
- buy a smart phone outright from your cell service provider.
- buy one on ebay that works with your cell carrier (no warranty)
- borrow a family members phone
Alternative, when I first started out, I did not have a smart phone and did not want to get locked into a contract for one. I did not know if I was going to stick with this FBA thing for the long haul. So, I used an iPod Touch with a month-to-month Verizon hotspot/mifi that I bought outright.
Fast forward a year later and I have finally bought my first smart phone – a Droid Razr Maxx.
- labels (30/sheet)
- boxes for shipping
- shipping tape and dispenser
- way to remove price stickers – goo gone, plastic razor blades or scotty peelers are really great for this.
- your bathroom scale for weighing boxes.
- Stand on the scale alone and write down your weight. Hold the box and stand on your scale and write down the weight. The difference is the weight of your box.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Amazon wants you to print your labels using a laser printer or thermal printer. The main reason is because inkjet ink can run if it gets wet and no one wants their items being unsellable because the label can’t be scanned – right?
You can find more information about Amazon’s Label Requirements here: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/h…
Many people have suggested purchasing an old Brother Laser Printer for around $100 to print out your 30-up labels.
I started out using inkjet labels and I know many others have as well. My reasoning was that I didn’t know if I was going to “stick with this Amazon FBA thing” so I didn’t want to put out money on something (laser printer) that I was not going to use. In a short amount of time I upgraded to a Dymo thermal printer for printing my FBA labels individually.
Whether you choose to use a laser or inkjet is up to you. As with anything Amazon related, please read through their rules and regulations yourself. They do state that they could refuse your inventory if it is not labeled according to their guidelines.
You can find LASER 30-up labels here: http://thriftingforprofit.com/30labels-laser
You can find INKJET 30-up labels here: http://www.thriftingforprofit.com/30labels
I have created 2 videos for you that show you how to list your items and print labels directly through Amazon Seller Central. Watch them in the “How to List Items Through Amazon Seller Central” post
Debra has created a very helpful video showing how she removes tape and stickers from items:
Here’s a great video from Rob Anderson where he takes you on a trip to a Walmart to buy shipping supplies:
That’s all I have to say about that!
Get started with YOUR FBA business now – you have no excuses!
Please post any questions you have below. Debra and I will do our best to help you however we can :