This post is an update of where I’m at and what I’ve learned during my first 2.5 weeks since joining the Amazon FBA program. Reading about my experience may help you if you decide to join.
My first shipment to Amazon was a box of six books. Since at the time I didn’t have my Avery labels, I elected to have Amazon label the books for me at 20 cents each. Let’s just say that I was very anxious to get the box out the door! I dropped off my box of books at a UPS store on May 5, 2014 and they were finally listed on the Amazon website nine days later on May 14, 2014.
My second shipment to Amazon consisted of five products – two electronics items, two games and one kitchen gadget. I expected to send them all to one place using one box, but Amazon decided that two items should go to California and three should go to Tennessee. Though I didn’t want to pay for two boxes being shipped, I went ahead and authorized the shipment as my products won’t sell sitting at home. I shipped both boxes on May 12, 2014. The box to California made it in four days and my box to Tennessee is still in transit.
I shipped three games to Tennessee today (May 19, 2014). Because of the Memorial Day Holiday, I don’t expect these units to be listed on the website until May 29, 2014.
What I learned: It takes time for your shipment to arrive at Amazon. The further away that you live from the warehouse, the longer it’ll take. I know that’s obvious, but hardly mentioned. Just don’t expect to be buy your inventory today and have it at Amazon tomorrow. I also learned that Amazon may split up your products and have you ship them to different warehouses.
What I will do differently as time goes on: Ship more things in one box to save on shipping costs. Right now, I’m just obtaining a few new products a week to ship out and I’m still somewhat slow at the listing, labelling, prepping and shipping. Once I’m more comfortable with the whole process, I’ll be better able to handle larger shipments.
What I wish that I did differently: Not signed up for the free month of the Pro Account right away. My month will soon be over and so far, I only have 8 items listed on Amazon’s website. By the time my other products arrive, the month will be over and I’ll have less than 40 products to sell. Therefore, I need to make a decision if I should cancel the Pro Account for my 2nd month so that I’m not paying out $39.95 with less than 40 items to sell. The disadvantage is that I then can’t use the Profit Bandit App anymore.
Amazon FBA has a lot of requirements when it comes to what supplies you can and cannot use to label, prep and ship your products with. I’m not going to write about all of the requirements here, but rather what I have learned:
- Labels: I bought the Avery 6460 removable labels as Amazon wants us to use removable labels when placing a label directly on a product. But so far, I have never placed a label directly on a product. Rather, I place them on top of the stretch wrap or poly bag that I used to prep my product. Therefore, I could have saved a little money by purchasing the less expensive Avery 5160 labels instead.
- More on Labels: One problem with these 30-to-a-page labels and with using small shipments is that your labels are formatted to print in the first column. So, you’re ok when you print your first batch of labels. But when you want to print your 2nd batch of labels, your labels from your first sheet are missing from the first column. You can work around this by turning that same sheet of labels around and printing on the 3rd column. But eventually, you’ll end up with a bunch of labels that you can’t print on.
- Prepping Products: I bought the poly bags first and find that they are easy to use. Unfortunately, the largest sized poly bag in the poly bag kit that I bought is too small for some of my products. So, I had to spend more money on stretch wrap This stretch wrap is tricky to handle, but does work. If I could do it over again, I would have bought the stretch wrap first before the poly bags as I can use the stretch wrap on both small and large sized products. This would have saved me over $50.00 in up front costs.
Business Side of It
What I’m learning is that there is a whole business side to selling on FBA that I didn’t know about when I first started. I need to collect and pay sales tax. I should get an EIN number. I read that it’s recommended to actually start a business – get the licenses, business checking account, etc. Besides more learning to do, there are fees involved. It’ll cost me about $200.00 if I want to start up a LLC business. If I want TaxJar to help me with my sales tax, then that’s another $9.95 per month. I’m not sure if I should get going on all of this right away or get a few sales first. Thank goodness I can call up my former accountant for advice (at a fee of course) to get his opinion on all of this.
I’ll write more about this topics later once I know what I’ll be doing.
Amazon FBA Community is Amazing
In the short time that I’ve been an Amazon FBA member, I have connected with several other FBA’ers on Twitter, Facebook and on blogs. So far, everyone has been very helpful in answering questions and with sharing their tips. I have to admit that I haven’t found this type of friendliness in a few other niche groups that I have belonged to. I’m not mentioning which ones, but some are very highly competitive and people won’t talk to you unless they can gain financially from it. So, if you have helped me, thank you! I hope that I can help others who have less FBA experience than me.
Featured Image – © tashatuvango – Fotolia.com
Sheet of Labels: Diana Poisson