051: Estates Sales and Swap Meets – Tim Chapman

Tim is a full time seller on eBay since 2001. He sources the majority of his item from Estate sales and swap meets. He sells almost anything as long as it is not offensive. Unlike most seller now days, Tim sells nearly all his items using the auction format, and he does everything by himself.

Interesting Notes

  • Tim buys from the sellers at the swap meet, who get their items from the auction sale of storage lockers.
  • He buys from the same sellers every single week, in which he has built a friendship.
  • He uses a friendly style negotiating tactics.
  • From being the main sales guy of a manufacturing company for 12 years, Tim joined eBay on 2001. It started when one day his boss told him to sell their stuff on eBay using the eBay account his boss created. Then six months later, Tim quit his job, and has never been happier.
  • His typical weekly schedule is: Monday – whole day listing; Tuesday – whole day shipping; Wednesday – day off; Thursday – go to estate sales in the morning and listing in the afternoon; Friday – go to estate sales in the morning and shipped in the afternoon; Saturday – go to the swap meet and take pictures in the afternoon; Sunday – day off and go to church
  • The most unusual thing Tim sold in eBay is the 1958 corvette he bought from an estate sale. A girl saw it and called Tim up to tell that she wanted to buy the corvette because it reminded her of her dad who once sold a corvette so she can go to college.
  • He has no negative feedback. Why? This is his tip: “Do the best you can. Put yourself in the customer's shoes. It's not about you. It's about the customer”.
  • He won the feedback contest on an eBay radio show with his 37,000 positive feedbacks.
  • To add a personal touch to his item, Tim writes, “Thank You! Tim”, in his own handwritting, before shipping it.
  • He plans to take a huge leap of hiring somebody in the future so he can move forward and maximize his time.
  • He is bursting with joy and happiness in what he does.


  • “Negotiating should really be a win-win; both sides must be happy.”
  • “I know about photography. I know about sales. I've been a swap meeter and been going to swap meets since I was a kid. I know what a deal is and I'm a fast typer. All these things came together and it is a perfect fit for me and I love it!”
  • “Every single dollar you negotiate is a pure profit.”
  • “One advantage of being an auction seller is you have scheduled days because you don't have to ship every day. You have set shipping days.”
  • “In order for you to do full time selling for a living, you must expand your horizon to buy everything. You have to have a very wide horizon of a repertoire of things that you can buy.”
  • “From an estate sale, you can only buy what's there so you must know how to be able to buy what's there.”
  • “If you have a really, really good item, the people are going to be there. Even, across the world, people are going to be there.”
  • “Auctions can be fun! It's exciting!”
  • “Put the customer first and you're going to be in good shape. Do whatever you can to put the customer first.”
  • “In shipping, you are forced to do it efficiently. You must be efficient otherwise you will be spending the whole day, and time is money.”
  • “Find what you love. If you love what you do, you're never going to work another day in your life.”
  • “If you are not happy with what you are getting; if you are not happy with the output; you must change the input.”


  • SixBit

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