This guide is mainly concerned with the Australian eBay marketplace.
I'd have to say hydration packs, CamelBak in particular, would have to return some of the lowest profit for goods sold on eBay (if you're a small time seller, like me, who doesn't have access to bulk, closeout or 2nds purchasing options). I'd guess a large part of this stems from the high retail price of these items and the buyer's desire to get a bargain. Yet, eBay is still the best place for the small time seller to offload hydration packs.
To get the best price possible, I recomend selling New With Tags items. Of course this means you need to find a supply. Before looking for cheap hydration packs, you should familirise yourself with current retail prices (then halve the lowest price you find. That's about how much it will sell for on eBay). Searching on eBay's American site will turn up heaps of new hydration packs for auction (the problem plaguing US sellers is overabundance). For many of them, you will need to email the seller to get postage cost to Australia (preferably USPS Global Priority Mail). Up to $15USD for postage is reasonable. Assuming you find a few sellers willing to post to Australia for $15 or less, you then need to consider what your maximum bid wiil be. Using the CamelBak Range as an example-
- up to 3L (100 oz) ThermoBak, Hydrobak, Viper, etc.. - no more than $7USD
- Utility packs such as Ambush, Mule, Lobo, Outlaw and H.A.W.G- no more than $10USD
- Larger packs such as Motherlode, Rim Runner, BFM and Talon- no more than $20USD if shipping is under $25USD.
Product colour plays a small part in your success. Plain Black will generally attract more bids than any other colour. American Camouflage patterns don't do so well on eBay Australia. If your aim is to attract bids from service personal, go with Black, Foliage or Ranger Green or Coyote Tan. The time you list will also influence the success of your sale. It's goes without saying, that coming into winter is not a good time to list. for the most part, winter shoppers are actively looking and expecting a rock-bottom bargain. Go for the hotter months of the year (the reverse is somewhat true for your buying-Remember seasons are reversed in the Northern Hemisphere). As with any other auction, accurate description and picture of the actual goods (ie, the one you take of it on your table) tends to inspire buyer confidence. I've also found quoting retail prices gets more watchers (& potential bidders) than a description that doesn't. The hard part is deciding on a list price. It's all up to your level of confidence. If you're really game list a 99 cent start price (I've had reasonable results combining this with a buy it now option). Or you could list for 1/2 the cost you paid for it. Try and avoid listing too close to the price you want. Remember when you were buying, did you bid on the lowest or highest listed prices? Don't expect to sell for anywhere near retail prices. Of the few ThermoBaks I've sold, I've managed to break even or made at most $20AUD profit (admittedly I do tend to sell US Tri-colour desert camouflage pattern, as opposed to any other colour). The only time I came close to offloading one at near retail price, the high bidder retracted his bid 2 days out from the auction end. Which brings me to a valid point-Buyers are willing to bid on a 99 cent auction with the hope that they can win it for a steal (even if your buy it now price is less than 1/2 retail), and will bid past your buy it now price, then want to pull out when they find something cheaper. If you have 2, list one at auction and the other as buy it now.
The main point to take away from this, if you're going to 'give it a go', is be conservative with your purchasing. Don't expect massive profits from these types of product, they simply don't return much for your outlay.
NWOT or USED
I've lumped both of these in the same catagory, since, from a buyers perspective, new without tags may as well be used, but in very good condition.
Most of the selling NWT commentary is still valid for NWOT & Used. However, extra emphasis is placed on presentation. Ensure that the bladder, hose and bite valve are extremely clean & sterlise them with the manufacturer's recomended solution. Make sure the pack is also cleaned, per manufacturer's instructions (avoid machine washing. Hand wash instead). If you're selling the unit complete with bladder, make sure you include a picture of the bladder by itself, preferably on a white background, in good light, so prospective buyers can see that the clarity of the bladder and hose (after all, would you buy one that had a cloudy hose and a bladder with black spots in it?). A Used or NWOT unit that is clean and in good condition will go for almost as much as the same unit NWT, if it is well presented.
This part of the guide is concerned with buying a Hydration Pack, with the intent of it being a personal use item; as opposed to buying with a view to resell. The selling commentary part of this guide has many valid points that can be applied to buying a hydration pack for personal use.
Like selling, the ideal is a hydration pack that is New Witn Tags. And, like the seller, the buyer should become familiar with the current retail price for the unit he/she is looking to buy. From that you, as the buyer, can get an idea for how much you're willing to pay. Be reasonable, and don't expect to score a pack with a retail value of $200 for $10. If you're buying a pack for personal use only, you can set your maximum price higher, since resale value isn't a concern at this point. Be willing to use an auction's buy it now feature if the buy it now price is close to your ideal price. If you're looking at international sellers, remember to find out what their S&H costs are before you decide on your maximum. Also factor in exchange rates ($80USD is almost $110AUD, at time of writting. Combine that with $33USD S&H, and you're looking at $150AUD! Depending on what you're buying, it might have been less to buy it retail). In addition to S&H costs, you'll also need to consider postage method. USPS surface mail, whilst cheap, is notoriously unreliable. Some unscrupulous sellers have been known to take advantage of this fact, so be wary of stock photos and read feedback carefully.