My Record Week and a Standing Up For Yourself

May 5, 2013

Motivation, Stories

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I’m sorry I haven’t been writing as much lately. Writing posts can take a good bit of time and I’ve been busy, especially this past week. I had my best week ever, selling and delivering 18 appliances. I made as much this week as I used to make in a month.

I sold, delivered and setup 10 dryers, 5 washers, 2 refrigerators and 1 oven. I then removed the old appliances each time. I also had to prepare, fix and repaint many of the appliances to be resold again. I’m tired,sore and have been getting outstanding sleep this week!

It’s amazing how much more motivation I had this week with my mind set on paying off our debt as quickly as I can. If you don’t have goals, even if they are just short term goals, I highly encourage you to sit down and come up with some. Trying to reach a goal makes sacrifice endurable.

I also wanted to share a story.

Early this past week I drove a refrigerator to a small apartment multiplex. I met the owner there, and got a bad feeling right from the start. The first thing he said when walking up to the trailer was that he wanted to check again on the measurements to make sure it would fit. I very clearly stated the exact measurements of the refrigerator in the ad, and then again we talked about it on the phone. He knew exactly what the dimensions were beforehand.

When we got into the apartment, I measured the opening and the fridge was a full 1/2 inch too wide for the opening, and there was no fudge room whatsoever. I turned around and said bluntly that there was no way it was going to fit. After a moment of awkward silence, he started his spiel about how he has rentals and wondered if I had a business card. Basically it was his way of trying to get out of paying for the refrigerator that I had brought to him.

Rental owners are shrewd, and often times very cheap. They want the cheapest solution to almost any problem, and they will often use the promise of future business to try and get a lower price. Always a lower price! What I have noticed however, is that when the promise of future business comes in a moment of desperation, where they are attempting to get out of an obligation like paying for delivery etc, you can count on never hearing from them again. If they aren’t going honor one obligation, why would honor another?

So, having learned this from the past, and quite frankly, not being interested in doing business with people that, I told him that I would need a $40 trip charge for just showing up. He squinted, like I had just punched him in the wallet, and seriously asked if I would take $20. I said that my time is valuable too, that I had to load up the refrigerator and use time and gas to drive it over and that I needed at least $40.

He then thought for a bit, asked me if I would still take the old refrigerator away, which was fine, and then decided to go ahead and buy the refrigerator. He couldn’t stand the thought of wasting $40.

So, the promise of future business is worthless compensation, and should be treated as so. When it is offered to you instead of full price, politely turn it down and ask for the full amount.

Stand up for your time. It’s valuable, and you can’t let other people treat it like it’s worthless.

What are some situations where you had to stand up to a buyer? I know you all have some good ones!

I’m going to continue to write over the summer, just possibly in shorter posts.  I hope you all are doing well. Press on.

-Ryan

 

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24 Responses to “My Record Week and a Standing Up For Yourself”

  1. Diana Says:

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your posts and that I hope you continue to write over the summer. I like your unique and positive outlook on life and your business. Please keep up the good work!

    Reply

  2. Joel Fredericksen Says:

    Great example of standing up to a cheapskate. Since I fix and sell bicycles on CL I’ve met all kinds. Last week a guy came out to see a bike that I’d advertised for $100. He offered me $60. I said “You can have it for $80 but no lower.” Then he said, “Come on, I had to drive all the way over here.” I said, “When you check out at the grocery store, do you ask the clerk to give you a discount because you had to drive to the store?” He said, “But I only bought $60.” I said, “There’s an ATM a mile down the road.” Not surprisingly, he went back to his car for a moment and brought back another $20. Most folks are honest which helps to make up for some of the jerks out there.
    Also, I heartily agree with the idea that lowering your price because someone promises more work down the road is a waste. In my main business of video production I’ve had a number of instances where businesses want a discount on the first project because “we’re sure we’ll be doing a lot of business with you in the future.” Then my contact person at the business quits or is downsized out and that’s the end of that. I think some people believe if you provide a service as opposed to a visible item then you can give them a break. The way I think of it is this: If my day rate is $500 and I tell the business that I can do it for $250 this time, then from that point on, my rate, in their mind, is $250. It’s a poor way of doing business and if you allow it to happen you won’t be in business for long. I’ve also found when dealing with clients that the cheapest are also the fussiest.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Good words Joel, and great story!

      Another thing, I never apologize for little dents, or scratches anymore. People know how much the items cost new, which is driving them to buy used. When your buying the item for 50-80% the new price, one should expect a few cosmetic flaws.

      Reply

      • Joe Says:

        Ryan

        I think this post answers my question. I have been doing this full time now for 2 weeks so far so good everything has sold for profit but i was curious about in the listing about the small dents, scratches etc..

        Joe

        Reply

        • Ryan Says:

          There isn’t too much you can do about the small dents. Large dents can be pushed out somewhat. Scratches can be painted with Krylon Appliance Epoxy, the best appliance paint on the market. Hope that helps!

          Reply

  3. Joe A Says:

    Good morning Ryan

    Love your site! I’m taking the leap and leaving my pointless management job
    to do Craigslist full time. Any quick tips or advice? I have learned a lot from
    this site. Working for yourself is the American dream. Once again,
    thanks for all the insight.

    Joe A

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      Solve a problem people have in an area that you are interested in, even if it’s just a small interest. Then, figure out how to beat your competitors in all the fundamentals, customer service, quality, price etc. Figure out a way to do things a little differently, to set yourself apart from other people. Work hard and expand as your customers and profits grow, not the other way around. Best of luck!

      Reply

  4. Megan Says:

    Congratulations on having your best week! We are a little more than a month into trying to buy and sell on craigslist full time and your website has been very encouraging. Thanks!!

    Reply

  5. Ethan Says:

    I enjoyed reading this a few weeks ago. Looking forward to more from you!

    Reply

  6. Ali Says:

    Good for you! People are always trying to save a buck, and those of us on the other end of that “bargain” need to stand our ground. Enjoyed your feature on Lifehacker.

    Reply

  7. 13.1 Stickers Says:

    Just read about your story on Lifehacker. Very impressed with your hard work and entrepreneurial skills. Keep up the good work!

    Chad

    Reply

  8. Robert Whitelaw Says:

    You have absolutely pegged what you can expect from a huge number of rental owners. I came at it from the real estate side and you from the appliance side. These folks are everywhere tho. However, once you come across the rental owner that honors his word, you will find those folks become great partners in moving your business forward.

    R

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      I agree. I had one guy who owned a 200+ unit apartment complex buy over 40 appliances from me a few years ago. Great guy, very fair. There definitely are exceptions!

      Reply

      • Steve Says:

        In my experience, the incompetent rental owner is a menace to business. Those folks inhabit every income level and business type, more or less. During my career, I’ve lost time and expense for the ‘opportunity’ to sell high status and/or (nominally) wealthy people. I learned where the real power in the situation is, so when faced with a ‘screw-u’ play, there’s a simple, deliverable, and costly answer. (And, thanks to my Dad for recommending Robert Ringer’s books – read and re-read.)

        Ryan, you must have at least a book – maybe a series of books, you could issue from your adventures. ;-)

        Steve

        Reply

        • Ryan Says:

          Steve, working on the book! It will eventually be done :) Usually an honorable person won’t attempt to compensate someone now with the promise of future compensation. Give a person the wages they deserve, or the payment they deserve.

          Reply

  9. Jacob Says:

    Ryan,

    Thank you for a very motivating and interesting blog.

    What’s your advice on not getting cheated on an item? Meaning: The seller leaves out small important facts to make it more desirable, or blatantly lies about something.

    My own experience was this:
    We needed a new gas furnace for our house and a guy 4 hours away had one at a good price, with pictures to back it up. I emailed with him and asked for the serial number, so I could check the age of the furnace. My mistake was teling him which part of the serial number denotes the year of manufacture. Of course, once I got there, one of the digits for the year had ‘unfortunately’ been mistyped in his email – making the furnace seem 3 years younger than it really was.

    He obviously counted on the fact that after driving 4 hours I wouldn’t want to go back empty-handed – and as much as it shames me to say, I did buy it.

    This brings up another point:
    This guy had lots of stuff for sale in his front yard – he was clearly doing a lot of buying and selling of used things – and was obviously a shrewd seller.

    When I see someone selling a lot of stuff on Craigslist, I almost always assume I am not getting a good deal. I end up thinking that I am being made to pay top dollar, because how would this seller be able to make a profit, otherwise?

    Do you have any advice for identifying the scamming kind of professional sellers on CL?

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      If it was local I would have walked away out of principal. The fact that you had to drive 4 hours changes things a bit. I would have worked the person hard for a lower price, and if they would have balked, I probably would have be made enough to just leave anyway. People need to be shown that it’s not ok to treat people like that.

      There are so many ways people get things. This guy could be an installer himself that saves customers old equipment. He could have a friend that installs these, you just never know.

      As far as recognizing if they are selling multiple items, do a search by their phone number. If that doesn’t turn up other items, when you call, tell them you are calling about their Craigslist item, and let there be silence. They will then ask which one, and at that point you can ask what else they are selling.

      Sometimes it’s better to buy from dealers, even if they are making a buck on something, because it’s probably less likely to have something wrong with it than if it’s just someone that barely knows the product they are selling. Regular people try to deceive me all the time when selling me their appliances, and I have to call them out on it.

      Anyway, hope that helps.

      Reply

  10. Tracy Says:

    Ryan, what recourse would you have had if he had just declined to pay you? It’s not like you could force him to pay, right?

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      I wouldn’t have had any recourse. That was the first time in a few thousand appliance deliveries that it happened, and it turned out well. Eventually I will end up on the short end of the stick in a situation like that, and I will just move on. People hate awkward situations, and there is nothing more awkward than having someone deliver something to your house and then change your mind and try to send them away! It’s just super rare.

      Reply

  11. Robert H Says:

    I Read Your Blog The Other Day, And, Like You, I dabbled Into Everything. Seeing How You Went All Out On Appliances, I Decided To Give It A Shot.

    So Far So Good! I Have Made It A Point To Make 100% Profit On Everything. Sold Some Washers And Dryers And Even A Couple Of Fridges. Mostly Bought Ones That Work And Re listed Them.

    All Of This Thanks To YOU!

    Now For My Story. I Bought A Washer, Dryer, And Fridge For $55 Total. Was A GREAT BUY. The Guy Needed Them Gone From The House They Were Selling. We Have A Little History, So He Hit Me Up Not Know I Started Doing This. He Said He Would Sell, And Deliver For $75. I Got A Call On A Set Of Washer/Dryer That I Posted ON Craigslist, That I Already Sold, And Told Them I Would Sell Them This Set For $100. The Customer Was Located Only A Couple OF Miles Away From My Friend. I Then Told My Friend I Would Pick Them Up Myself, Save Him The Gas And Labor, And Pay Him $55. Done Deal. Made $45 And A Fridge.

    I Guy Came By And Looked At The Fridge That I Posted For $80. Said It Looked Good And Had Me Deliver It. When I Got There, He Tried To Offer Me $50. I Was Obliviously Upset Because I Just Drove All The Way To His House. I Told Him I Couldn’t, And I Told Him I Had Someone Else Who Was Interested. He Pulled Out The $80 And He Got His Fridge.

    Never Have I Seen Someone In Person Say They Wanted It, And Try And Negotiate After We Agreed On the Sale, And I Delivered It.

    Also, As A Side Note: I Use Free Delivery In My Title OF My Ad And Always Get A Good Response.

    Reply

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