Helping You with Your Amazon FBA Business

Sept 2014 Income Statement

October is among us and with it comes the start of the busy 4th Quarter season that I’ve been hearing about. I hope that my products fly off the shelves as I really need it after a not-profitable September.

September wasn’t all bad because I did get approved in Health & Personal Care.  This gives me a wider range of products to sell and I’m looking forward to sending in my first items.  I’ll be applying in Beauty next and I’ll be writing a blog post soon about the application process.

I’m sharing my Profit and Loss Statement with you now as I worked on it last night and my mind is still in “numbers-mode”.  I’m happy to say that my monthly sales are my highest ever but sad to say that I’m also at a loss.   After you see my numbers, you’ll see first hand that higher sales don’t always equate to higher profits.

Before I show you the numbers, I’ll put my usual note in that I sell on Amazon FBA part time as I work 50 hours a week at my regular job.  I estimate that I typically spend between four and ten hours a week on FBA.

With that said, my FBA time in September was less than normal due to a much needed trip to Las Vegas and then from coming down with a cold after I returned.  I think I went almost two weeks without shopping for inventory. And now today as I write this post, I’m sitting at my dad’s house in Arizona. Retail Arbitrage will not be happening again this weekend. Believe me, I rarely go on vacation and I rarely get sick. And then boom, everything happens at once.

Well, here is my newest Profit and Loss Statement:


Sales, COGS and RepriceIt
My sales were very slow the first few days of September.  So, to see if I could get them going again, I signed up for a 2-month free trial of RepriceIt.  On September 8, literally minutes after having them reprice my inventory, my sales took off.  Not only that, but I was also selling some of my older inventory items that I gave up on.

But if you compare my COGS to my sales numbers, you will see that my ROI went way down.  In June, July and August, I was selling at over 3X my inventory costs.  In September, I went below 3X.  I’m more careful now with RepriceIt and I review all price changes before sending them to Amazon. At this time, I don’t know yet if I will continue with RepriceIt after my free trial is over.

Note:  RepriceIt offers a 30-day free trial.  I got an extended free trial as a benefit for being a member of Scanner Monkey.

From May through August, I only had one customer return.  This one wasn’t a big deal because after it was returned, Amazon put it back into inventory and I immediately sold it again at the same price.  My luck ran out in September as I got hit with three returns.  And to make it worse, two of them were for higher priced items.  My September returns:

  1. A silly “As Seen on TV” product that I bought new for $5.00 and sold for $15.99.  The customer returned it stating that it was an unwanted item.  Amazon marked it as customer damaged.  I had it sent back to me and found that the product itself was still in great shape but the box wasn’t.  I sold it to a co-worker for $5.00.  So this return wasn’t a big deal.
  2. A set of curtains that I bought on clearance from Toys R Us and sold for $34.86.  The customer returned it stating that they ordered the wrong item.  Amazon marked it as customer damaged and the product is currently in transit to my house.  I hope that it’s still in decent enough condition that I can list it again.
  3. An electronics item – network adapter kit – that I bought on clearance from Office Max.  I sold it on Amazon for $44.48 and the customer said that it’s defective.  The item was returned to Amazon today and I’ll have it shipped back to me.  I hope that it’s really not defective as I’m unsure if I can still return or replace it.

I am glad that Amazon has an easy return policy as that helps our sales.  I have bought plenty of products from Amazon and it’s to nice to know that I can return most products within 30 days.   But as a seller, it stinks to have brand new items returned as customer damaged.  I know it’s a cost of doing business and that I’ll have to live with it.

For those that have been selling for a long time, what percentage of your products are returned?  Please leave me a comment below as I’m very interested in knowing.

Education and Prepping/Shipping Supplies
These were again my two non-Amazon expenses that took a big chunk out of my sales income.  In fact, if I didn’t make any purchases in these expense categories, I would have been up for the month.

For education, I bought:

  • The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games by Stephen of Full-Time FBA.  I bought this because it was on sale and I needed something to read on my plane ride to Las Vegas.  The main reason though was because I am interested in purchasing more games for resale.  The profits are there especially if I buy them from the thrift stores at just a few dollars each.  You can see an example of this in my post about selling a used Operation game.  What is nice for me is that there is a thrift store on my way home from work and it’s very easy for me to stop in there and check for games.
  • Online Arbitrage: Sourcing Secrets for Buying Products Online to Resell for BIG PROFITS by Chris Green.  This was actually an impulse purchase one night when I was sick and was frustrated that I didn’t have the energy to source at the retail stores.  The book is very expensive but so far, I have learned a lot about sourcing online.  In fact, two days after buying it, I made my first online inventory purchase.  I bought two items and if they sell at the current price on Amazon, I will make over half of the book money back in profits.  Oct 7, 2014 Update: Amazon lowered the price on the book so I requested a partial refund from them.  They are going to give me back $18.71 which will be recorded on my October P&L Statement.

For prepping/shipping supplies, I bought poly bags and labels.  I could have held off and bought them later this month, but BubbleFast had a 15% coupon code for Scanner Monkeys that expired in September.  The coupon code saved me $17.00 so I felt it was worth making the purchase a few weeks early.

To see the products and services that I use for Amazon FBA, please check out my Amazon FBA Resources Page.

October Plan
I’ll be spending the next few days at my Dad’s house.  It’s a very quiet environment and it’ll give me a chance to go over the Online Arbitrage book and look for more items to sell.  I truly enjoy shopping in person more, but I also believe that if I want to take my Amazon FBA business to a higher level while still working 50 hours a week that Online Arbitrage is the way to go.  My goal is to purchase $100.00 worth of inventory from online stores each week.

Beyond that, I’ll just keep doing what I have been doing – learning and stopping at the thrift stores after work.

I hope that you enjoyed this post and please leave a comment below even if it’s just to say hi.

Photo Credits
Featured Image of Rainbow: © makam1969 –
Profit and Loss Statement: Diana Poisson

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • GS October 3, 2014, 4:40 pm

    Hi, Diana, Congrats for getting approved in another category, it does open many more doors for you while shopping. Again great post. You numbers looks good to me since you are still in the beginning process and you are educating yourself on the way. Chris Green’s book is Super expensive…I hope it is worth it.

    • Diana October 3, 2014, 5:56 pm

      Hi GS, yes that book is very expensive. I actually quit buying books a few years ago and borrow them from the library for free instead. I checked on Amazon today and saw that someone is selling their copy at a reduced price. I’ve never thought about it until now, but I can always do the same and resell it through FBA. So far though I have learned a lot from it and it has changed my approach to sourcing online so I hope that I make my money back in sales. Thanks for stopping by and take care!

  • Stephen Smotherman October 6, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Diana, I’m so glad The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games has helped you. I enjoyed writing the book and love that it’s been able to help so many.

    And congrats on being approved for another category. It will be awesome for your business. Keep working hard! Hard work pays off!


    • Diana October 6, 2014, 10:09 pm

      Hi Stephen, I love how you give step-by-step directions in many of your chapters. I did well on that Operation Game that I resold but I also made a few mistakes with other used games that were missing pieces, not in great condition. I said that I wasn’t going to buy anymore used games but your book gave me the confidence to look at the used ones again. Also, your blog is very helpful – I’m going to sign up for FBA Global Export because of your recent blog post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! Diana


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About Diana

I am working towards creating a full-time income by selling on Amazon. It's a lot of work but very fun! If you're interested in selling on Amazon, be sure to follow my blog as I'll be providing you with lots of tips!

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