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How to make money fast: Dropshipping explained

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How to make money fast: Dropshipping explained

If you are looking for a way to make money fast online then one very simple way to start straight away is to dropship. I know this sounds like some sort of shady sales pitch but then so did I when I was first told about it. I gave it a go for about 5 months and found it was a very easy way to start an online business. If you are wondering why I stopped the simple answer was that I had other projects I needed to focus on. I do intend to have another go one day.

In a nutshell dropshipping also known as retail arbitrage is where you post a product for sale on say for example eBay for £20, wait for someone to buy it. Once it is sold you go and purchase the same product for cheaper from Amazon and ship it to the customer who purchased it on eBay. The difference between the sale price on eBay and buy price on Amazon is your profit.

In theory you could run an online store listing products without the headache and risk of holding stock. Dropshipping has been around online for a very long time and a lot of smaller online retailers most probably dropship the products that they list.

There are lots of high street retailers who do not mind their products being dropshipped. For them it just means more sales and more profits.

When I ran my own dropshipping business I soon discovered that it was quite easy to get up and running. In fact, I made my first sale the same day I launched my eBay store. The profit for the sale was about £1, but It was £1 which in effect I did not have to work for. The logic was that the more products I listed on in my eBay store the more sales I would get. In my first month of dropshipping my turnover was just shy of £10,000 with a profit margin of 20%, the second month my turnover increased to £19k again with a profit margin of about 20%.

So, how do you get started in dropshipping? before you get all excited and ditch your 9 to 5 you need to be aware that it requires some effort on your part before you press the go button on your online empire.

What you need before you start:

  1. Paypal account
  2. eBay account
  3. Amazon account
  4. Auto-Lister and Tracking account
  5. Auto Ordering software
  6. Amazon ZoneHunter
  7. Outsourcing your tasks

Paypal Account

If you do not already have a Paypal account, it is required if you want to sell stuff on eBay. They are easy to open and require you to link your bank account to Paypal. You can choose to either register as a personal account or as a business. If you are going to dropship from eBay on a large scale, then it would be advisable to open a business account. I would read the terms and conditions of each of the types of accounts and take it from there.

When you register as a business you will need to start keeping accounts, filing tax returns etc. It might be an idea to start as personal account for a month or two to see if dropshipping is working for you before you commit to the bureaucracy of running your own business.

When you are working out your product mark-up you will need to consider that Paypal will take 2.9% + Fixed Fee per item value as a fee if you sell only £1,500 per month. Once you start exceeding £1,500 in a month then you will be charged lower fees.

eBay Account

Most of us have an eBay account. I have had mine since 2003 and have used it for little bits and pieces and over the years I have managed to get quite a nice amount of feedback which always looks great on the store.

When you open a new eBay account you will be allowed to list a small number of items until you have a certain amount of feed back from either buyers or sellers. If you wish to sell more items, you can call eBay and request they increase your selling limit.

If you already have an established eBay account, then you might be allowed to increase your selling limit along with how much you can sell each month. When I ceased my dropshipping adventure I had an eBay account with a selling limit of 10,000 items or £100k per month which ever came first.

It is possible to go right ahead and open an eBay shop which will allow you to list up to 1,500 items but you will still have to ask eBay to lift your account selling limits to match that. Many people mistake this part, they think if they open an eBay shop that they will automatically be allowed to list the shop maximum.

The benefit of having an eBay shop is that you do not need to pay any listing fees unlike a regular account. To open an eBay shop, you will need to register as a business. Here you can tell eBay that you are a sole trader. They may also ask you to confirm that you hold stock as eBay would prefer sellers with their own stock as opposed to dropshippers. An eBay shop will cost around £70 per in subscription fees.

When you set your postage costs on eBay make sure they are set to “free” within 2 working days. That’s right you will not charge the customer for the postage. When you order from Amazon you will use Amazon Prime which provides free shipping.

Set your listing locations to only include UK mainland. Do not ship to Northern Ireland since Amazon warehouses may not hold stock to ship there next day.

Amazon Account

Like eBay accounts most of us have an Amazon account. Here you will need to connect your bank card so when the sale come into eBay you will be able to purchase the items on Amazon and have them shipped to your eBay customer.

Once you start making sales a good way to keep track of your expenses is to purchase Amazon vouchers and pay for all the purchases using the vouchers. If you can also apply for an Amazon credit card and use that to buy the vouchers using the credit card. The benefit to doing this is that the Amazon credit card will give you reward points in the way of Amazon vouchers for every £1,000 you spend (Believe me when I say that when your shop takes off you will go through £1,000 in one day. Just make sure that you keep an eye on the credit card balance as dropshipping can drain the balance very quickly as I found out, then you need to start transferring funds from the Paypal balance into your bank account to start paying the credit card bill, best to have two cards to work from.

You will need to register for an Amazon prime account so that you can offer free next day shipping. Your customers will love you for this as Amazon Prime is so good that they might even get their purchases on the same day. Which means even more great feed back on eBay.

Auto Lister and Tracking account

If you do intend to dropship from Amazon to eBay you may be wondering how it is possible to list 1,000’s of products and keep track of any price changes which happen on Amazon and update them on your eBay listing. Well, this is where Auto Listing and Tracking come into the picture.

There are a couple of well-known Auto Listing and Tracking software platforms out there, I would recommend using AutoDS or Hustlegotreal. For now, I will talk about AutoDS.

AutoDS will allow you to bulk list products from Amazon in one click of a button. All you do is link your eBay account to AutoDS then decide on your profit margin, shipping policy a few other tweaks and away you go. Each Amazon product has a unique code that identifies it. When you paste this into AutoDS listing it will go an fetch the product from Amazon and list it to your eBay account.

As you get more proficient with finding items to sell, you will be able to list in bulk by uploading a notepad file with all the Amazon Product Id’s.

You must be careful that you do not load up any medical or adult products into eBay as eBay will take them down and also you must never list any products on eBay vero list which protects copyright holders or you could find your account banned. You can find the which companies are on the Vero list via a quick google search.

AutoDS will monitor the price on Amazon each hour and if the price does change then AutoDS will automatically change your eBay price to reflect it so you don’t lose any money.

Amazon Product Id

Auto Ordering

When an item sells on eBay you need to make sure that you quickly log into Amazon to place the order to have the item shipped out to the buyer.

This is boring and laborious. So, instead of performing this task manually why not employ software to do it for you. AutoDS comes with a built in Auto ordering feature which places the order for you on your Amazon account and supplies a courier tracking code too.

AutoDS do charge an additional fee for the auto ordering feature but it is worth the expense.

Amazon ZoneHunter

When you want to get lots of Amazon product ids in one go you can purchase a copy of zonehunter to grab an entire category from Amazon which you can then filter based on price, ratings, feedback left and if it is shipped via Amazon Prime. This piece of software will save you hours of copy and pasting.

Outsourcing your tasks

As you get more experienced and more sales are coming in via your eBay shop you may start finding it hard going doing all the little things. At this point I would suggest going to a website called upwork and hire a virtual assistant. Also referred to as VA’s they can hired for around $3 per hour and will perform all of the boring tasks leaving you to focus on growing your business.

Pros: Very easy to set up and using the right tools like Autods or Hustlegotreal you can list products very quickly

Cons: Can be a burden to maintain top notch customer service for returns, not delivered or other issues. Here you would hire a virtual assistant who will do all of the admin work for you. (Go to upwork) to find a VA

Amazon is not the only source of products, you will find that it is possible to dropship from Smyths toys, Argos, John Lewis and so many more and you do not need to use eBay. You could set up your own website to sell from, thus saving you eBay fees.

This is a very high level overview of dropshipping. There is so much more that I could write about it but all the pieces you need to start your dropshipping empire are here.

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