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Help - I am planning on starting a part time online business selling movies

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Help - I am planning on starting a part time online business selling movies

Old 05-07-06, 05:12 PM
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Help - I am planning on starting a part time online business selling movies

Hello all,

First off I'd like to let everyone know that you guys have a great community going on here, and I'll be coming around often.

Anyways, the reason for this post is I have some questions. I am planning on starting a part time online business, most likely through EBay, for selling movies. I am planning on going through Ingram as my distributor, as they handle the majority of the entertainment worlds distribution. First, I'd like to know if anyone here knows about how much their new release dvds run, as I haven't signed up yet, so I can't get the goods. the reason I want to know is because I've seen sites that say they know of distributors who will have the new releases for anywhere from 1.00 to 3.00. I doubt that's true, but still it raises an eyebrow.

Secondly, I'd like to know what your input would be for pricing the dvds when I do begin to sell them. What do you think a fair price is (buy it now price) to sell them at. At places like Target and Wal Mart, when a dvd comes out if it is on sale, it runs about 15 bucks. What do you guys have for an input.

Thanks,

Josh
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Old 05-07-06, 06:39 PM
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Step One: Steal underpants.

Step Three: Profit!
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Old 05-07-06, 06:54 PM
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I'm going to be blunt - your business as you currently have it set up will fail and will cost you a LOT of money.

You can not compete with the chain stores on new releases. It just can't be done. When they sell at the low prices for the first week of release, those are called loss leaders - as in they're selling them for less than cost and losing money, hoping that the good price will lead shoppers into the store to buy more expensive (and more profitable) items while they're there. Anyone that claims they can sell you new releases for $1 to $3 is either (a) lying by misleading you to believe new releases means stuff that came out lately when they mean stuff that is still sealed (like the many public domain titles) or (b) selling you bootlegs, which is something you don't want to get into.

Furthermore, there's the problem of selling them on eBay. After shipping & handling & insurance, you would have to be able to sell a new release at about $10 or so to compete with Best Buy's loss leader prices of $15 on new items. And even then, most people are going to figure "why should I bother buying it on eBay and wait for it to show up when I can go right down the street to Best Buy / Wal-Mart / Target / whatever and have it now?" Instant gratification is a powerful thing.

The time has come and gone for a solid eBay based business. If you're really set on doing something online, look into getting some store space and setting up an eBay selling business. That's the latest thing around here, people open up stores and they handle all the selling issues and then charge a percentage of the sale price.
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Old 05-07-06, 07:58 PM
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If you're turning to anonymous posters on an Internet forum for your distribution data, your overall business plan hasn't been thought through very well.

There are too many online DVD e-tailers out there that were started with very large investments that have better prices and distribution methods than you will be able to achieve as a part-time business. You'll never be able to compete successfully.
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Old 05-08-06, 09:01 AM
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I always wanted to start up a nice little family owned dvd store. I mean a B&M store. But I spoke with someone who use to own a laser disk store that turned into a dvd store. Once he turned to dvd's he business lasted about 4 months. The major stores were blowing him out of the water every week and this was when dvd's first came out and the retail prices were alot higher than they are now. So right then I knew there was zero chance of success having a dvd store. Online dvd store....forget it! They is no chance of being successful, especially Ebay where there are tons of bootlegs being sold for 3-5 bucks each. You can tell the legit sellers there, look at their prices and then check the sales papers of Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, etc. With shipping added in you are WAY above what you would pay in the stores. Plus the online seller won't ship until the release date so you have to pay more PLUS wait about a week after the release date to get your dvd. Does that sound good or what? I get up Tuesday morning and stop at the local Walmart and buy the new releases for rock bottom prices, there is no competing with that....
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Old 05-08-06, 09:43 AM
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I agree with what the others have said. You simply can not make any legitimate money selling new release movies online. I have often looked at buying new movies online and after shipping the price is the same or more than a B&M store. I have bought rare or out of print movies on ebay but that could be a tough business to get into as well.

Good luck on whatever you decide.
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Old 05-08-06, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jarth3000
First off I'd like to let everyone know that you guys have a great community going on here, and I'll be coming around often.
Even though I don't believe your idea will fly, I hope you stick around here.

As cajun said, the only time I venture to eBay is for that hard-to-find DVD. There's no way you can compete with the established big boys.
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Old 05-08-06, 10:04 AM
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Go for it. In order to compete you'll have to sell the new DVDs at a loss, but you can make up for it in volume!
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Old 05-08-06, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
Go for it. In order to compete you'll have to sell the new DVDs at a loss, but you can make up for it in volume!
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Old 05-08-06, 10:52 AM
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Here's a much better business model:

1. Steal a bunch of Criterion DVDs and high-value box sets. Choose a store with the scrawniest, pimpliest, most wheelchair-bound loss prevention specialist.

2. Trade your loot in to GameStop, preferably the GameStop on Broadway at 8th Street in Manhattan.

3. Give me a heads-up once the transaction is complete. I'll go over there to make sure everything looks good.

4. Use proceeds from your business to buy crack. There's a nice place at the corner of 2nd Street and Avenue B that'll hook you up.
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Old 05-08-06, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by illennium
Here's a much better business model:

1. Steal a bunch of Criterion DVDs and high-value box sets. Choose a store with the scrawniest, pimpliest, most wheelchair-bound loss prevention specialist.

2. Trade your loot in to GameStop, preferably the GameStop on Broadway at 8th Street in Manhattan.

3. Give me a heads-up once the transaction is complete. I'll go over there to make sure everything looks good.

4. Use proceeds from your business to buy crack. There's a nice place at the corner of 2nd Street and Avenue B that'll hook you up.
Damn you are one funny guy...Do you get paid to tell these jokes? I am on the floor laughing right now...No really you are the man!
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Old 05-08-06, 02:55 PM
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I recommend buying used collections and sell the DVDs individually. I used to sell DVDs on ebay and I mostly sold DVDs I bought used. New releases are hard to sell after the first week. Most new releases are blind buys and bought on impulse and ebay will be flooded with them, not to mention that you're also going to be competing with rental stores who buy too much of a title and have a lot of PVDs to sell. You'll be more sucessful on ebay with catalog titles because they are rarely on sale. I think " buy it now" listings are a bad idea because people on ebay are out for a bargain and most of the time "buy it now" listing are ignored unless the title is rare, cheap or the buyer needs an item right away. In my experience auctions sell better because people get caught up in the bidding and people like naming their own price. Most of the time I got more than I hoped for with auctions than when I had the same item listed as a "buy it now" item only. Of course some titles you just have to let go of cheaply but in the end you'll still turn a profit.

With ebay and paypal integrated it is much easier to ship because paypal works with Pitney Bowes and the US post office so that you can print your own postage. Just make sure you buy yourself a postage scale which you can get at any office store.

A typical DVD weighs 4-5 ounces in a bubble mailer. This is a $1.11 for 4 ounces and $1.35 for 5 ounces. By using paypal to print your postage delivery confirmation is only 13 cents. I used to ask for $2.99 for shipping. This paid for shipping but also helped curb paypal/ebay fees and shipping materials. Once you get going make your items available to international buyers. A lot of tiems my items wouldn't have sold if it weren't for our neighbors up north and over seas.

You can find great deals on ebay for shipping materials (bubble mailers, tape and shipping labels). One thing I had to do with used DVDs is replace cases and repair scratched discs but all you need can be found if not on ebay then just use google. A digital camera is good to have to. I know I like seeing what I'm buying before I bid, with so many editions of the same movie it helps buyers know who to buy from if you have a picture.

If you plan on selling a lot of items download turbolister.

You should also set-up an eamil just for your ebay account so you don't lose track of anything. When you print a label through paypal a confirmation is sent to you and the buyer so you can track the package through usps.com.

I used to buy my DVDs from stores that took trade-ins because I found so many rare and out-of-print titles for cheap. Another way to get DVDs is post on craigslist that your buying DVDs/dvd collections for a certain amount or to post flyers around.

Best of all though is to start off slow and see what works best for you, tis will also give you a chance to build a feedback rating which is the most important thing.

And one last thing when you ship a used DVD put some padding in the case to ensure the disc stays in place. People really appreciate it.

Last edited by OwlAtHome; 05-08-06 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 05-08-06, 03:07 PM
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The last time I checked with Ingram's plans, you won't be able to even mark-up your cost per DVD by $.10 per title and hope to beat most established online vendors (or most discount B&M's). Unless you buy in VOLUME, you won't be able to compete. For many new releases, vendors sell them at a loss (or at least zero return), just to lure buyers in their store or site.

I think the best plan (at least for starters), was already mentioned. Buy "collections" and then sell them individually through eBay. If you are successful this way and can attract loyal customers, then look into setting up with Ingram (or some other supplier).
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Old 05-08-06, 05:02 PM
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Trust me, the margins on DVDs don't exist anymore. Your overhead will suck up whatever margin you make. DVD product is so de-valued, it's a shame. All the mass merchants would rather sell at a loss to attract customers than "make a buck or two".

You should look at something your competitors do not do, or provide something of a service that customers are looking for and are willing to pay for. Customer service COSTS money and a lot of stores are failing in that area...

Gone are the good old days of selling DVDs - where stores actually made a decent profit

I wish you good luck with whatever endeavour you decide to do!
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Old 05-08-06, 06:42 PM
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I'm going to go sort of against what OwlAtHome said. Buying collections off of eBay to re-sell on eBay is a bad thing. You'll have to buy a VERY large collection to get down to a decent out of pocket cost per disc... something like 500 titles minimum. Then you'll find that 50% of the discs in these collections are always the same crap that no one wants and/or everyone already has... The Matrix trilogy, Lord of the Rings 2-disc sets, and a lot of other garbage that sells new at the chain stores for $8-$10. Then we get back to the same problem I mentioned in my first response - selling it at a cost that makes you money, but is a bargain for your client. Take your average $10 catalogue title. If you're lucky, you're paying $4 for it in your final "per disc" cost in the large auction you win. If the chain stores are selling it for $10 new, there is absolutely no way to sell this item for a profit on eBay, at least not a profit that makes it worth your time. Let's say you put $7 on it. Then you add a $2 fee for shipping. 99.9% of the people are going to be thinking "why should I pay that much for a used copy that I have to wait for, when I can go to the store and buy it brand new for a dollar or so more and have it right now?
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Old 05-08-06, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ChristianB
Trust me, the margins on DVDs don't exist anymore. Your overhead will suck up whatever margin you make. DVD product is so de-valued, it's a shame. All the mass merchants would rather sell at a loss to attract customers than "make a buck or two".

You should look at something your competitors do not do, or provide something of a service that customers are looking for and are willing to pay for. Customer service COSTS money and a lot of stores are failing in that area...

Gone are the good old days of selling DVDs - where stores actually made a decent profit

According to the government, I made a profit last year, but that was because I'm not allowed to claim the $25 grand in credit card debt that I carry after being in business for a year and a half.

I figure if I can keep my store afloat for another couple years, I'll break even.

And you're very correct on the customer service aspect. The one thing that I believe brings people back into my store is because they know that this isn't just my business, it's my hobby. I love movies, I love DVDs, I love talking about them. Like any specialty shop, that's one of the main reasons a customer will come back... because unlike a chain store where the person is just a 9 to 5 warm body in a company shirt, a small business is run by someone that knows their product and is dedicated towards it.

I also make decent money special ordering for customers that either do not know about sites like DDD or do not trust giving out their information in ordering online. I chalk on $3 - $8 for a service charge (making sure to keep it at or below what they'd pay if they found it at Best Buy), and we both go away happy.

The real trick, though, is having the storefront. People know they can bring in movies to trade or sell... and it's so much cheaper to buy from someone that's brought a collection in than it is to buy someone's collection off of eBay.
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Old 05-08-06, 07:06 PM
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Oy vey!! Selling DVDs on ebay as a business!!?? That ship sailed a looong time ago mein freund.

Forget the mainstream crowd they'll cruise on down to Best Buy or Walmart and beat you on price and convenience every time.

What you need is to sell to a more selective and less discriminating buyer. I'm talking about seedy buck toothed guys with stubbly beards and foul smells emanating beneath their wrinkled Columbo style trench coats.

Yes my young friend I'm talking about a career in pornography. That's your ticket to fabulous wealth and ecstasy beyond your wildest imaginings. but don't just peddle the Adult films produced by the big studios-- be an innovator, be creative, be bold and determined.

Take total control from production to distribution. Buy yourself one of those fancy digital video cameras and hop a bus to the nearest college town. Then put an ad in the paper for "young, attractive, open minded, women looking for an acting career." Set up shop at the Hotel 6 and film away.

Your destiny awaits.
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Old 05-10-06, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Holly Martins
Buy yourself one of those fancy digital video cameras and hop a bus to the nearest college town. Then put an ad in the paper for "young, attractive, open minded, women looking for an acting career." Set up shop at the Hotel 6 and film away.

Your destiny awaits.

i want on your mailing list!
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Old 05-10-06, 09:19 AM
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Forget the new dvds, the main way to make money is finding oop valuable movies at your local pawn shop or game store and selling them.

Also, once in a blue moon you will find a good deal on the net for a new release ($16.99 for the King Kong SE from Tower Records comes to mind lately) that you can buy a lot of and maybe mark up $5 but in the end it's not really worth it.

Or you could wait for DDD semi-annual 20% off sale and stock your store...best of luck but there are just too many factors that will probably lead to you failing.
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Old 05-10-06, 03:30 PM
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I think we scared the OP away.
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Old 05-10-06, 05:28 PM
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I started a side business in 1998 selling DVD's to my friends and family. I bought my DVD's from Ingram and DVDOneStop (they have changed since then).

At the time, none of the big chains had started selling DVD's, so it was hard to buy them from any place other than online. One of the best places to buy was JustLaserdiscs.com. They sold all movies at 20% off. I found that I could buy from distributors at 25% off and make $1 or $2 per movie sold and still beat JustLaserdics prices. In the year that I had the business open, I sold about $2-$3K worth of DVDs to a handful of friends, and I may have made $200 over the entire run ... and I was my best customer.

I closed my business in mid-1999, after places like Reel.com, 800.com, BigStar.com and ultimately Best Buy were selling them at huge discounts.

These days ... not worth it at all. Best Buy's and Circuit City's business plan includes putting business like your's and mine out of business.

Last edited by flix1; 05-10-06 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 05-10-06, 05:53 PM
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jarth3000's one and only post.....imagine that.
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Old 05-11-06, 12:49 PM
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Old 05-11-06, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Harold Wazzu
Forget the new dvds, the main way to make money is finding oop valuable movies at your local pawn shop or game store and selling them.
I agree with this, but I don't think there's enough consistency of supply to make any significant money off of it.

Also, once in a blue moon you will find a good deal on the net for a new release ($16.99 for the King Kong SE from Tower Records comes to mind lately) that you can buy a lot of and maybe mark up $5 but in the end it's not really worth it.
If you bought a stack of those at 16.99 and marked it up $5, you'd end a week of auctions with a barely-diminished stack. I've been watching that DVD on Ebay a lot (before I caved and bought it in a store for $10), and it never seemed to go anywhere near that price. I'm sure a few sold ("Buy it Now" no doubt), but to sell enough to make a profit you'd have to buy them at $10 or less. Now would be a good time to buy it on Ebay if you didn't already, because it can be had for a song.
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Old 05-11-06, 05:02 PM
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I bought a huge stack, around 20 total of ED WOOD when it came out as SE originally at a Best Buy.

sold around 10 at price or traded at price ( 19.99) on this site.

and put the others on ebay at $60 Buy it Now. and made a crap load.

if you do this u may be in luck.

while that doesn't happen often, i know i got 3 Jarhead 2 Discs at Hastings for next to nothing, i traded in pawn shop DVDs, and the total came to be around $18 Out of Pocket for me- and i more than quadrupled my money there.

looks like munich, and some other new release 2 discs are going for some more money than they can be found for, with some looking.

best bet is to find OOP titles.

pawn shops are the best
found Panther yesterday for $4
and 2 copies of Wake up ron Burgandy for $3 each
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