Reselling Kindles Purchased at a Discount from Staples
Last December I posted about a fantastic deal Staples had on the Amazon Kindle. During the deal, the Kindle was selling for $59 up front with a $30 mail in rebate. After portal cashback, the final cost was less than $30 out the door.
When the deal sprouted up I decided it was a good opportunity to resell. Before I go any further, this post isn’t about how to be a reseller or what to look for. I am not a professional reseller and only do it from time to time when the need arises or a great deal comes along.
With that said, I think there is opportunity for casually reselling like I did in this circumstance. In other words, there is opportunity to take a deeply discounted product and flip it for a profit with minimal effort. That is exactly what I did here.
Heading into the end of December I needed an additional $500 in spending to requalify for a Premier Staples Rewards membership. (Update: They changed the rules on me) While not a huge deal, Premier membership gives me a 5% rebate on purchases compared to 3% with Plus membership. It isn’t something I would go out of my way for, but the opportunity to requalify was staring me in the face.
I actually qualified for Premier membership in 2013 much the same way. At that time a killer deal on the Nexus 7 tablet came along and I bought 3. The purchase earned me a nice chunk of Ultimate Rewards points, I got credit for the spend with Staples Rewards and I profited about $50 per tablet.
As mentioned above, this deal had a mail in rebate. The rebate had a limit of 10 per household, so I initially placed an order for 10 Kindles. Unfortunately the Staples website only allowed one Kindle per order, so I had to click through the shopping portal each time to place my order. It was a pain.
In the end I ordered 2 Kindles for pickup and 8 for shipping and paid with my Chase Ink Plus card. Unfortunately I left town for Christmas and the two held for pickup were cancelled, leaving me with only 8. In hindsight I wish I had ordered at least 20, given that my wife’s work address could have been used for the additional rebates.
I have now completed the sale of all of the Kindles. Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t allow you to sell Kindles on their site, so I was forced to use eBay. I decided to sell one of the Kindles in a traditional auction and the other 7 via a Buy It Now auction with a “Best Offer” component.
All of the Kindles sold over the course of a week. I initially priced them at $64.88 and then lowered the price $62.22. One sold at the full $64.88 price and another at $62.22. I accepted offers on the other five for: $58.50, $53, $55, $55 & $55. The auctioned Kindle sold for only $50.05.
As for shipping, I charged a flat $4.99 fee on all of the Buy It Now Kindles. I was able to use a small flat rate Priority Mail box which cost $5.25 for 2-3 day shipping and included $50 of insurance. Since the packaging was provided free by USPS, I saved on materials.
Here is how the math breaks down:
- Kindle Revenue Generated: $453.65
- Shipping Revenue Generated: $40.93
- Total Revenue Generated: $494.58
- Minus Shipping Cost: ($42)
- Minus eBay Fees (10%): $49.46
- Minus PayPal Fees: $17.14
- Total Revenue After Fees: $385.98
I acknowledge that I could have possibly earned more per Kindle, but my priority was selling them and spending as little time and effort as possible. Since I was allowing offers, a couple of times I accepted a slightly lower offer when I already had other Kindles to send out. This maximized my time spent and minimized my trips to the post office.
Now lets look at my cost of purchase:
- Total Cost 8 @ $63.78: $510.24
- Minus Rebate 8 @ $30: $240
- Minus 5% Cashback (on before tax amt.): $23.60
- Total Cost: $246.64
I should note that I have not yet received the rebate cash, however the rebate has been accepted and confirmed. Additionally, my 5% cashback is pending in the uPromise portal, but it should be payable very soon.
I am also not showing a cost for packaging materials, since I used USPS boxes. My only material used was a little bit of tape, valued at less than $.50. Also, I drove in total about 12 miles to the post office in a car that gets 30 miles per gallon. With today’s gas prices, fuel consumption was less than $1.
So how does the profit breakdown:
- Total Profit: $139.34
- Profit Per Unit: $17.42
- Staples Rewards Earned: $23.60
- Ultimate Rewards Points Earned: 2,551
So maybe now you can see why I wish that I had purchased 20 or more of the Kindles. I was able to make a decent profit and selling more of them would have scaled nicely. Now lets take a look at the time I invested in this venture.
As you can see below, I ended up spending about 90 minutes total on this venture. Had I ordered additional Kindles, I would have realized a larger profit with a minimal amount of additional effort.
- Time spent placing orders: 30 minutes
- Drive time & time spent dropping packages at post office: 30 minutes
- Packaging time @ 2 minutes per unit: 16 minutes
- Time to list the items and respond to offers: 15 minutes
If you look at my monetary profit, then I earned $91.87 per hour, however that doesn’t tell the whole story. I also earned $23.60 in Staples Rewards and about $43 in Ultimate Rewards points. Since I have already gotten full value out of the Staples Rewards, I will value them at 100%.
When factoring in the points and rewards, my hourly rate of return was over $135 per hour and remember I also retained the Premier membership which will get me an extra 2% back on all of my Staples purchases.
I think even people who don’t normally resell can find opportunity in deals like this one. For a minimal amount of time and effort, I was able to realize a very good return on investment and earn some points and perks along the way.
Admittedly the Kindle was a low cost item, meaning I didn’t generate a ton of spend. Thankfully though the deal worked out nice since the shipping was easy and the product was an easy one to sell. This experience hasn’t motivated me to change my stance on full time reselling, but it does reinforce my knowledge that I should jump on resale opportunities when they come.