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From Amazon Retail Arbitrage to Wholesale to Prep Centers & VA’s

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Whether you’re selling wholesale, retail arbitrage, or online arbitrage, Paul Saucier has done it all and he’s here to walk us through those first frightening steps and beyond. From prep centers to finding inventory and managing VAs, we’re breaking it down with the jack of all Amazon trades. Stay tuned.

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Paul’s Story

In 2015, a friend introduced lifelong entrepreneur Paul to retail arbitrage. In his first Q4, Paul made 50 grand and realized e-commerce could help him achieve a work-from-home lifestyle. Spending more time with his kids while working for himself felt like the dream and because Paul knew his why, he knew Amazon would be worth the grind.

After growing his retail arbitrage team, Paul pivoted into wholesale and discovered the joys of spending capital in bulk. 

FBA Insiders

Let’s dive into FBA Insiders. FBA Insiders started as a temporary group to share RA (retail arbitrage) leads. When the class begged them to keep going, Paul obliged and turned FBA Insiders into a monthly subscription-based service. With FBA Insiders, a monthly subscription gives you access to a private Facebook group filled with 3 years of data, information, and Amazon courses. The service includes a team of 8 professional Amazon sellers posting deals and about 200 leads per month. 

Retail Arbitrage (The Nitty Gritty)

Many people ask Paul – how can I be successful with RA or what products should I look for and where? But truly there’s no perfect answer and it often depends on the category. The first step is typically getting ungated from a brand and title searching for the product rather than simply scanning. Paul reminds us that to stay competitive we must search where other sellers won’t search. The harder it is to find a product, the more likely that product is to reward you.

Wholesale

Paul has a few go-to tips when it comes to wholesale. Most say aim for 30% ROI but he does 50% ROI or higher depending on capital. Paul also stresses the importance of working with smaller or mid-size brands because it’s easier to build relationships. One of the biggest issues sellers have is staying on top of capital. That’s why Paul recommends sitting tight at your 9-5 until you’ve saved enough money to go full-time and keep that revolving wholesale door wide open.

Prep Centers

Back in the day, Paul was getting into commercial real estate, bought a building, and found himself with a vacant space that soon became his warehouse. Always looking for additional streams of income (and streams he could automate), Paul started a prep center business. He uses slack with clients to keep a constant flow of clear communication and boxt to run his prep center. 

Paul reminds everyone to know your shipping costs and fees and factor that into your projected ROI before buying inventory. 

When choosing a prep center, Todd recommends evaluating the prep center by sending them an email and seeing how long it takes them to respond. Communication is where most prep centers fall apart. Paul even suggests sending prep centers an SOP for sensitive products.

VAs

Virtual assistants are for the busywork. Once you’ve nailed processes like sourcing suppliers, it becomes a massive time suck. Paul has found success introducing sellers to part-time VAs. 

Overall

If you take anything from this podcast: it’s not too late to start selling on Amazon. The economy is ever-evolving and Amazon has yet to peak. So stop waiting and start selling. 

As always, happy selling everybody.

Resources From This Episode

Outline Of This Episode

[00:00:47] Todd’s introduction to this episode

[00:01:12] Paul’s story

[00:04:36] All about FBA Insiders

[00:16:05] Succeeding at RA

[00:29:33] Winning with wholesale

[00:43:55] Prep center best practices

[01:03:24] Using virtual assistants

[01:06:40] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode

Transcript

Todd (00:00:00):
Amazon’s definitely blowing up.

Paul (00:00:02):
Oh yeah. And it’s funny because people often ask the question, is it too late to get it? No,, I don’t know if it ever will be because our economy is forever changing. New brands are always popping up new products popping up. Like there’s always things evolving. Biggest change for us this year was doing merchant fulfilled. So having the warehouse is really helpful for that.

Announcer (00:00:27):
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the entrepreneur adventure podcast, where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an e-commerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between. And now your host Todd Welch

Todd (00:00:47):
All right. So today I have Paul Saucier. He is the CEO and founder of FBA insiders.co and also of cajunprepwhich is a prep center for wholesalers and private labelers. And of course he also is in the wholesale world with us and got his start in retail arbitrage. So, Paul, I really appreciate you joining us. Why don’t you tell us about your backstory a little bit.

Paul (00:01:12):
Awesome. Yeah. Thanks so much for having me on Todd really excited to be here today. Yeah, so I got started selling on Amazon in 2015. And I found it because a friend of mine said, Hey, you’re scrappy. I know you like to make money. Why don’t I show you how to scan products at a target? And we’ll look at the Amazon seller app and that’s kinda how it got started. I, at that time I had a landscape company. My background is in landscaping agriculture and things like that.

Paul (00:01:43):
And at that time my wife just got pregnant with our first kid. And and so I had a nine month window to figure this Amazon thing out and say, no, reallyI wanted to come home. And so I just, I hit it hard with retail arbitrage. I was so low. I was getting out there with scanning apps and just learning it, do an inventory lab and all these things. And and so my daughter was born in December and after that timeframe, I was actually able to take off two months of work and granted was winter so my landscape company. And Amazon was going around the same time and landscape kind of that off. And then Q4 just happened. And I think I still like 50 grand in that Q4. And I thought it was a millionaire.

Paul (00:02:33):
I was just like, Oh my gosh, this is incredible. And and so, yeah, you know, I was doing the hustle. And as time went on, I ended up buying some coaching from some people and learned a wholesale. And I went, I dabbled in an RA and OA for quite some time. And one of the things that I was like to do was, was kind of, was bolt down what I’m currently. So with RA, we, you know, I had a team of shoppers. I’d probably four to six people at one point running around buying inventory and doing all these things. And, and one of the things with, with Amazon selling is, and I forgot, I left out this detail. I started selling on Amazon with $300. So I call myself a $300 kid, you know, like, and I still feel like a kid sometimes just playing on the internet, but I slowly built that up.

Paul (00:03:26):
So I turned to be a hundred into 600, 600 into 12. My goal was a hundred percent ROI and just kept helping that money over and over. And then, you know, as you grow your capital, it’s harder to spend it, right? So that’s when you start hiring shoppers, if you’re doing RA because you need help spending your capital or, and then I switched to wholesale and realized, wow, I can spend my capital so much quicker by myself or with one other person and not have the big team. And it’s not that I didn’t like the big human me, people have been flow. Right. And the, in this world, people come in and out of your businesses. And and so I just hit the spot where a lot of my shoppers ended up doing other things.

Paul (00:04:10):
That’s kinda where I stayed. And so, you know, being able to spend a large sum of money in one chunk with the supplier, you know, buying a hundred units of the same thing instead of one of a hundred different things, you know, it is nice to be able to do that. And people do that with RA as well. You know, it’s just, it’s all about relationships. We’re kinda talking about that before we started. Right. so FBA insiders came along about three years ago where we were doing a Q4 group, I was still doing RA at the time and we wanted to share retail arbritrage leads to people. And that that’s kind of how this got started. FBA insiders was only supposed to exist for three months and then stop. And we ended up doing it for three months doing this leads group, teach people how to do RA during Q4.

Paul (00:05:01):
A lot of people loved it and they said, Hey, you’re not going to cancel. Are you? And we were like, I guess not if y’all like it we’ll keep going. And so we kept going and here we are three years later with all these different services, we can talk about all that stuff that we do there. And then I started my prep center in March of this year COVID month. So right as COVID was spiking and things were going off the cuff, I opened up a prep center. And, and I’d like to say, we’re going strong, given the circumstances, you know, and and especially with, you know, COVID has pushed a lot of people, a lot of brands that were maybe not so much involved in Amazon, not doing a lot more. Obviously the sales have spiked. I’m sure you’ve seen that we had Christmas in May, you know, with these crazy, crazy sales consumers being forced basically to shop online.

Paul (00:05:50):
So yeah, so have that prep center now. And we do, we only do wholesale and private label. And one of the main reasons for that is one that’s my wheelhouse, but two our sales tax in Louisiana, our sales tax is almost 10%. And if you’re doing OAA, you don’t want to ship your stuff to us. You want to ship it to a tax-free state. And you, if you’re, if that’s where you’re at right now, and then I would say just quick Google tax, restates prep centers, and you’ll find a lot of them. But yeah, so that’s a little bit of my journey, you know, I mean, I’m, I’m leaving a lot of details out there doing this for five years. It’s it seems like a lifetime, but it’s pretty short time reality, but it moves quick. Yeah.

Todd (00:06:34):
Internet years, that’s a long time. It’s like decades, but in reality it’s pretty sharp and it goes by so quickly. Our, our journey has some parallels in that. I started with retail arbitrage and I added some private label in the middle there before going into wholesale. So I’ve got some failures in private label, but got my start in retail arbitrage, which I think is still a pretty good way to kind of learn the ropes on Amazon. There’s a lot of barriers to it, but if you can get around those barriers, you can learn the systems without using very much risk or putting out very much money and just learn how to put those stickers on and all those basic things that, you know, a lot of people just kind of take for granted once you’ve been in this for a little while.

Paul (00:07:27):
Right. Right. Yeah. And I still believe it’s a very viable model. My partner that runs the retail arbitrage group with me, her name is Tony Barnes. I think she just did 2 million in sales for, and that’s a hundred percent RA. Wow. You know, and she’s got a team. I know other people that are doing just as much, if not more than that. I know moms that are selling, you know, a hundred grand a month on Amazon doing RA, you know, involving their kids. Like, it’s still a very viable thing. I think with what I always tell people is like, what do you enjoy? Do you want to be behind a computer for a long time sourcing? Do you like spreadsheets? If you don’t like spreadsheets, wholesale’s not for you, you know? Like, do you like being out in the stores?

Paul (00:08:13):
You know, some people love that. So perople love building teams of people and having like local people in their area. You know, what’s your scenario? Are you in your house? Do you like people in your house that worked for you? Like there’s all these different scenarios that you have to think about as you grow and scale. And you know, for me, I would say I’m a lifestyle entrepreneur and you know, I’m more after like I’m in my home office in my garage, you know, and I walk out of here and I go into, you know, to see my kids after, like, that’s what I’m after. Other people are after traveling. Well, if you want to be in Thailand to kid, to RA, you know, it’s going to be very difficult, you know, to have a team of people do that. So it all depends on what they’re after. And I’d say all bottles are Bible and all have hurdles. It just depends on what hurdles you want to climb. What do you want to go after?

Todd (00:09:05):
Yeah. A hundred percent. There’s good and bad for just about every model out there. Why don’t we dive into the retail arbitrage? We haven’t talked about that a lot on the podcast. So let’s dive into what you guys actually do there and the opportunities that people have.

Paul (00:09:27):
Yeah. Awesome. So we have and this is our longest standing product or service security call it that where it’s a a monthly subscription you could do one month, three month or six months subscription to a private Facebook group. And that Facebook group comes with as of the time of this recording, three years of data and information and courses, and the price has never changed. Like we just keep piling information in. And so we had people jump in for a month and they get what they need and then they jump out and then we have people that jump in for a month and then they stay for like 18 months, you know, they’ll be there for awhile. And so it depends on where people are in their journey. But what we provide is basically this complete suite of helping people get from wherever they’re at, in their Amazon journey with retail arbitrage, to where they want to be.

Paul (00:10:21):
So if they’re currently just starting and they need to get approvals for brands, right. That’s one of the biggest hurdles with RA. We helped them with that. We have guides on how to do that. If people are selling $10,000 a month in RA and they want to bump it to 50,000 a month in RA, we help them do that. At that point it’s probably good to get ungated in Nike and Adidas. We have those services available. So there’s in the group, it’s this kind of a LA carte. Where, where are you at? What do you need help with? We also have a team of eight professional Amazon sellers scattered around the country that are posting deals. So when you get this group, it comes with, we say 200 leads a month plus about $3,000 of value in training. So in that, that comes for $149 a month.

Paul (00:11:13):
People have said like, you’re crazy for doing that. Like I know, but that’s like, this is the our kind of our flagship, what we started with. And we truly, you know, and you know, this time you wouldn’t be doing this, if you don’t enjoy helping people. And so that, that’s definitely one of our goals there, but the 200 leads a month come from actual Amazon sellers, not from VAs overseas. It’s not an OA list. Although we do offer that as well. But these sellers are actually grabbing items off of like Walmart shelves, Walgreens shelves, home Depot, wherever, putting it in their cart and then sharing that product with the people that are subscribed to that. And and so, you know, there’s all the data there. And then what’s cool is people can ask questions like, Hey, why didn’t you buy this product?

Paul (00:11:58):
Like one thing we don’t share in their sales ranks and people are like, well, it’s a list you should still, you should share the rank. And the reason we don’t share rank, especially with RA is because as you know, if you’re doing this for awhile, you can look at it, keep a chart and be like, Oh, well, there’s no sale. The rank is a million because it’s been out of stock for four months, but whenever it wasn’t stock, it was 50,000 in grocery or whatever, you know? And so that’s one of the reasons why we don’t share race is we want to teach people how to think for themselves, how to analyze the data. And so the tagline is , we give them fish and we teach them how to fish. So our goal is to set people like sailing on their way, like you don’t need us anymore, and we’ve served you along the way, you know?

Paul (00:12:44):
And and so, you know, if they want to go from RA to wholesale, we have that option. We can, you know, we can jump into that. But you know, so we go into deep into target how to source clothing, to choose with confidence, how to really master Walmart. And, you know, Amazon changes, you know, as quick as we change our underwear. So there’s always things coming up in issues that we talk about, those issues, we do live calls, we do giveaways. People can actually share deals with us and we’ll pay them for those deals. Our deal posters, aren’t just volunteering. They they’re paid.

Paul (00:13:22):
Yeah. So there is no. So, you know, BOLO groups, it’s like, Hey, you joined and then you might be required to share or whatever. You know, in our group we really take this, like this approach where when you pay to join, you shouldn’t have to do any work in the sense of like, you know, adding value to the group or things like that. Like I’ve created a team around this group that adds value constantly the people creating content, sharing the latest stuff about Amazon. And, and just, you know, if there’s a, somebody asks a question there’s people that are selling well over a million dollars on Amazon and retail arbitrage that are answering those questions. So it’s kind of like this group coaching environment where it’s a support group, there’s deals being shared and all that kind of stuff. And so if you look on our, on our website, if you go to the retail arbitrage tab, people can see a demo of how the deals are delivered.

Paul (00:14:16):
And this is pretty exciting because it’s an iteration of what we used to do. We used to share the deals on Facebook. And as you know, Facebook’s algorithm changes like we changed our underwear. It’s just, you know, forever, like, how do you get the thing that you want people to see in front of them? So I took the deals, put them on our own website, and now people have an account that they log into. So when they walk into Walmart, they can check the Walmart box of all the Walmart deals that we’ve ever posted. And it sorts them by date of the most recent. And they can walk around Walmart, looking for these products and, and that’s, you know, it’s pretty, I’m pretty proud of it. I’ve gotten some really great feedback about it. Cool. I will share it. One of the things, probably the biggest issue that we have with the group is a lot of people think that, Oh, well, I joined this group.

Paul (00:15:04):
And so therefore I should just be handed inventory on a silver platter and there’s no service out there on Amazon like that. And if it is, you’re going to make like 5% return on investment, like it’s not going to be a value. And, and so what we teach people is here’s products. You can go and find at Walmart or wherever. If you don’t find that exact same product, but maybe you’re in a new section of the store, it would be good of you to scan that area? Like, if we give you a blue power ranger, don’t pass up the black and the yellow and the red, like scan, all of them look for bundles. The multi-packs like you know, title, search, all of that kind of stuff. So we go through all that training. We even have some like in-store shopping videos and all that kind of stuff.

Todd (00:15:51):
Let’s dive into a little bit of the nitty gritty of retail arbitrage. What are people actually out there doing and looking for to be successful?

Paul (00:16:03):
So like, what kind of products? Yeah.

Todd (00:16:05):
Are they just going to like the clearance aisle and looking for Clearance items or are they scanning An entire aisle or what is the process that you guys recommend to find good products to sell on Amazon pay retail arbritrage?

Paul (00:16:19):
So I would say that it depends on like category to category and store to store. So what we’re teaching is like, so for example, Walmart, everybody has them. And one of the issues with Walmart is that the items get flooded quickly, prices tank quickly. So how to avoid that. So that’s one of the things that we would teach. Let’s see, give you an example. Christmas pajamas, if you’re listening to this, you’ve probably missed the buck this time of the year, but maybe you put it in your hat for next year Christmas pajamas from Walmart. So, you know, their license. Okay. So like Paw patrol Disney, things like that. So rule number one, get ungated in Disney Paw patrol. So we’ll teach how to do that. And then once you’re ungated how do you source clothes? Okay. So sourcing clothes is just scan, scan scans. Like you’re not going to be titled searching close. Maybe you will, but it’s going to take you forever to do that.

Todd (00:17:22):
When you say title searching, you’re talking about typing in the name of the product, rather than just scanning

Paul (00:17:28):
That’s right. And that, so I kind of say scanning is lazy, man sourcing a little bit, you know, the most people are just going to scan, scan, scan. Oh, if it doesn’t come up. Well, whatever. So what we’ll teach is like, let’s see on the grocery aisle and you’re looking at seasonal candy, I’m not being specific about a category or a product because we share all categories and all products bras from Kohl’s, you know, clothes from wherever we even share Nike and Adidas every once in a while, or we’ll share, like we try to hit across the board. One of the biggest questions we get is, well, I’m not engaged in anything or, or how do I know I’m going to be engaged in the things you posted you won’t until you try. And then if you’re not, let us help you get a gated like that.

Paul (00:18:11):
Don’t just look at that as like, ah, I’m just gonna put my hands up and not do anything. Like, no, like, look at that as a challenge to, to jump over because we’ve all had to do it. If you’re going to play this game, if you’re not going to play the RA game, then, you know, do you know, just do wholesale or whatever it is. So with the, like with title searching, there’s like we talk about apps like Spotify or scan power. We definitely recommend using third party apps to do that instead of seller central. So central, if you have like a typo at all, it’s not going to pull it up, but scoutity. We’ll pull up our scan power, pull up a host of different variations and ASINs yep.

Todd (00:18:48):
scoutity use the back in the day. I want to work good.

Paul (00:18:52):
Yes. Still great app. And they’ve done a lot of improvements over the years. And so what we teach is like, find those subsequent listings, you know, like if you scan some Reese’s candy, that’s a Christmas thing and a single pack comes up and Amazon Google listing. Well, just title, search that and look for a three pack or six pack you know, look for a bundle. Maybe, maybe there’s a dark chocolate and a white chocolate. Somebody made a bundle piggyback on those listings. So that’s the kind of stuff that we teach is looking for those hidden listings and finding those because more than likely, they’re going to have a lot less sellers on them because if you had to hunt for it and it took you 30 seconds or minute, and to sort of find it more than likely a lot of the people aren’t doing that. And so that is a huge advantage that you have versus just scanning and to go, Oh, I’m going to be first to the punch. And then there’s 200 other sellers that said that. And now you’re all just trying to get your pennies back out of the product. Yeah.

Todd (00:19:53):
So it’s always the case. It’s just about everything. The harder something is the more profitable it’s most likely going to be, because most people are not going to put in that work.

Paul (00:20:05):
Yeah. And that’s a mindset thing. And you know, people look at hard things to go, Oh man, this is too hard. I’m just going to try to find something else. And the people that say, Oh, this is hard. There’s a gold mine on the other end of this. And I’m going to find it and that tenacity to like, and you have to do that with holes, with any of these wholesale oar. A like if you try to take the easy road and it’s like, Oh, it’s not working prices keep tanking and whatever. It’s like, well, that’s an opportunity to learn from mistakes. Why do they keep thinking, what can you do different next time that will make it better, you know down the road. And so, and, and look, I’ve lost lots of money on Amazon. I would say probably every day, every time I do lose money, I talk that up to paying for education.

Paul (00:20:51):
And I’m probably up to about a doctorate degree in Sutton, on Amazon at this point. But, but I’ve learned I still do it. I still make plenty of money doing it. It’s just learning and sticking with it. And I’ve seen a lot of friends that don’t do it anymore because like, ah, got too hard wherever it’s like, well, that’s just one less competitor, but it’s also like, I think it kind of shows the character of a person when I coach people. And like, I’m going to try to talk you out of this because it’s not the, it’s not an easy road, you know, but it’s a rewarding one. I get to walk out of the store and go hang out with my kids at 11 o’clock and take them to the park. Like that is worth it to me to go after this. And so RA Oh eight wholesale, they cannot get you there. And I know I’m kind of going on a tangent, but

Todd (00:21:36):
Right. But I think one point there is really important. There, because a majority of people, everybody wants to do this, you know, internet business and, and try to have their own business. So a lot of people do and everybody’s travel along and in the beginning, it’s easy. It’s fun. You enjoy it. But there always comes a time where you just reach it. And you’re like, well, this sucks. This is hard. I don’t know if I want to do this anymore. And that’s where super majority of people just give up and maybe that one to 3% that push through that and actually become successful. So I think it’s important that people understand that at some point that is going to come and it’s all about whether you push through that or just give up. And if you give up, then you’re going to go try something else. And you’re going to reach that same point at some point over there. And that’s why you get people who have jumped from one thing to another, to another or another and never find success. Because every time they run into that difficulty, they’re just giving up and saying, well, this doesn’t work. It nobody’s actually making any money in this.

Paul (00:22:48):
Right. And I think on the other hand, you know, but listening to the book, atomic habits lately, I don’t know if you’ve, if you’ve read that or listen to it,

Todd (00:22:55):
I have not read it, but I’ve heard it’s really good.

Paul (00:22:58):
Phenomenal. One of the things that he talks about is you know, one of the biggest issues with business is boredom. Once you, once you’re bored or, or any, any skill, like you’d think of an Olympian athlete, you know, the guys that become the Olympian athletes are the ones that can tolerate the boredom. Because like with all of this, it’s so repetitive. People ask me all the time, like, man, you must really love something. Amazon’s like, not necessarily, it allows me to do what I want to do. Like any, any business, however it’s, it’s what you make of it. Right? And so if I can tolerate the boredom, if I can search the spreadsheet, when I don’t feel like searching the spreadsheet, or if I can hit the store, when I don’t feel like hitting the store, it’s just like exercise. If I can hit the gym, when I don’t feel like hitting the gym, the person that shows up, those are the people that win.

Paul (00:23:47):
And that’s something that we all can control. We can all show up and, you know, like even today I’ll be honest. I was like, I don’t really feel like doing a podcast. Right. Like I just, I wasn’t feeling it, you know, but I’m like, but I showed up and I’m glad I did I’m here. This is fun, you know, meeting a new friend and, and stuff. So it’s, and I don’t know how you teach that. You know, like I think a lot of it is support, you know, like one of the biggest things with, with FBA insiders, we provide a lot of support because especially it’s, it’s lonely running the, you know if you have two friends that sell on Amazon that live in your area, like you’re lucky, most people have no one to really talk to about this kind of stuff.

Paul (00:24:30):
And so joining the community, having friends to talk with jumping on the phone, adding value to their life, helping them first, not waiting for you to be helped, you know, first, like just those basic things. It really creates that environment of success and and just pushing through. And so you know, and on the flip side, you were talking about the there’s the 2% to 3% that pushed through, and let’s say the other 97% that don’t I would say, you know, that’s, that’s sad because many people they’re in that nine to five, they want to leave the nine to five and then they settle for the nine to five. It’s like, Oh, I tried and it didn’t work. And it’s like, no. And so now you get to live the next 30 years, like, you know, doing a job that you don’t want to do.

Paul (00:25:19):
Like that’s sad, you know, like what’ and that, to me, that’s so motivated. Like I want to be doing something that allows me to do it. I want to be doing, you know, spending time with my family, you know, getting to travel those types of things. And you know, being benevolent, all of that stuff. And to me, money is a tool, right. And if we can have an open hand with that, you know you know, there’s, there’s a lot that can happen. So getting more philosophy stuff, but you know, all retail, arbitrage, wholesale, suddenly Amazon selling on the internet, it’s a tool and it’ll, and I think it helps us meet our goals. And so it’s one of those goals for me. I wanted to come home with my kids. Some people might want to be a vagabond or whatever.

Todd (00:26:02):
Yup. Finding your why. It’s very important. Talked about that before. And now, without that a reason to keep doing it, when you hit those roadblocks and get bored and stuff, then you’re just gonna give up. If you don’t have a why to keep moving forward.

Paul (00:26:18):
You’re exactly right. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times when I was starting to sell on Amazon and trying to go from part-time to full-time that I had so many doubts in my head, like, this is, this is going to work. Is this going to work? Is this going to work? And then having like in the back, I mean, thoughts of like, okay, if this fails, then I can go landscape art. This feels I can go be a waiter or a waiter or this, like all these wild thoughts. So just like, I’m just waiting for the, for the ball to, you know, and it’s like, man, if I just lean into it, be confident. Like I remember the first time I bought 10 units of the exact same thing in a marshal. It was like these halo Lego sets. And and it was like, I felt like, like I’ve always went really wide with my purchases.

Paul (00:27:01):
Like I wouldn’t buy more than two of something. And I bought like 10 of the same thing and I was like, Oh, the sales rank is really low on the, data’s not enough. I’m balled over it for like 20 minutes in the store. And I did it and they all sold in the same day. And I was like, why did I question myself so much? You know, like I know the data, I know how to read it. Like, what I really teach people today is like, whether it’s RA or whatever, you want to be a master at reading to keepa chart, you know, like, that’s a huge thing that we talk about in all of these groups. And it’s like, really? I’m a professional at keepa chart . That’s the way I look at myself. Like, I can just, I can read the charts, like the back of my hand. And right now they’re going crazy. Like a lot of them aren’t showing data. How do you get historical data? What you do with all that. And so, you know, but with that, it’s like once you know how to do that, there’s a lot of confidence that you can have in your purchases, obviously within reason. Right. They’ll go crazy and buy 10,000 of something and hope that it works out. Yeah.

Todd (00:28:01):
I can fully predict the future from the past, but you’re going to have a pretty reasonable idea.

Paul (00:28:05):
Yeah, absolutely. So like with wholesale, one of the things that I teach is like, when you’re first order super conservative, you know, like, don’t get crazy, I’ve done it before. Didn’t work. Like the times that I was like, Oh, I’m buying 300 of this thing. It’s gonna blow up the water. And then I buy 300 and then, Oh, Amazon just decided to sell the brand, you know? And there goes the buy box.

Todd (00:28:31):
Yep. You always, that first purchase is always like maybe a case or a couple of cases that you have to get your own data. And no matter how much you think you understand that keep a graph, you never know what’ll actually happen until it’s in there.

Paul (00:28:45):
I literally told somebody that like two days ago, I was like, your data is the best data.Keepa is a tool, all these, you know, jungle scout and they’re all estimation tools. And that’s just, it. Remember that it’s a tool, it’s not, you know, Bible truth. It is just a tool. And you know, use it to your best ability because they all waiver like, you know, some of them really high estimations over low. Meet in the middle, you know, and and just get your own data. Like, and what I like to look at is my daily sales. Okay. Today I sold three yesterday. I sold, you know, for the day before that assault one, get those averages on average 2 a day, that’s 60 units a month. I’m gonna order 60, keep that 30 day supply rolling. And that’s how that works. So let’s let’s

Todd (00:29:33):
Roll into wholesale since we’re starting to talk about it. You sell in wholesale yourself as well. What are your targets and what do you train people to do in that area?

Paul (00:29:47):
It may vary so much, you know, I would say the most common things that you hear, 30% ROI, minimum. Some people go lower than that. So in the 20. Personally for me, I like to say 50% ROI and higher. And I’ve done a pretty good job with that. It depends on how much capital people have, you know, and where that, with that in terms of the supplier, you know, we really promote small to mid-sized brands where that you can pick up the phone and you might get the owner, or maybe it’s a team of, you know, of 20 or 30. Like I, I’ve got a supplier out in Georgia. I pick up the phone and talking to the, the owner’s son, you know, and I pay over the phone.

Paul (00:30:34):
They, and this is my favorite is when they ship direct to Amazon. I don’t recommend that for everybody if you’re just starting out, but I’ve got probably a handful of suppliers that I don’t have to see you touch it. And it goes to that doesn’t even go to a prep center and I own one, it goes straight to Amazon. If you can do that. That’s sweet. In terms of the parameters though, I try to keep it pretty open, open window. L depends on the category. Like, like we were talking about earlier, you know, do you want to put forth the effort of correcting listings or, you know, things like that. You know, if you’re willing to do some extra work, then your parameters can go a lot wider. If you don’t want to do any extra work, then you, then you’re on a pretty narrow path.

Paul (00:31:18):
You know, distributors are, are good. I think it, it helps people cut their teeth, but it’s, to me, it’s glorified on arbitrage is buying from a distributor. You have permission. That’s good. So you shouldn’t get IP complaints, ideally depending on the distributors, some of them just sell you stuff when they’re not supposed to. But you know, ideally what we try to teach is, is how people lock in the corner, right? So building those relationships with brands again, more on the philosophy level, if you’re relational with people obviously they want you to spend money with them and they want you to, they want you to pay on time. You know, if you’re gonna ask for like 30 day net terms, pay on time, you know, like that kind of stuff. And so building those relationships is something that I’ve really done quite a bit of.

Paul (00:32:09):
And it served me, you know, over time. I’ll never forget when I got my first exclusive I really focused on educating the brand owners and it was this skin cream and this guy, he, you know, him and I kind of hit it off in the beginning. It came out of Canada. And he, I gave him these projections like, Hey, well, we should sell about 300 units a month of this cream. Based off of all the data that I’ve got. And and so I ordered I don’t know, half that, half that amount or that much. I can’t remember how much I ordered. But I didn’t reorder for awhile. And he calls me, he’s like, Hey, why aren’t you buying the inventory? You said, you’re going to buy. And I was like, well, you’re selling to three other Amazon sellers. And let me just share with you how he was on the work. So there’s a buy box rotation. I’m not going to get the velocity of that. I told you I could get, because these other sellers are selling Amazon. Who’s like, Oh, well, I’ll just sell it to you then.

Paul (00:33:07):
Alright, great. Yeah, it was that easy, you know, like and then we did some listing optimization stuff together and some different things. And and that was another product that it went straight from Canada and to Amazon, like it didn’t go to a prep center or anything. And you know, it’s nice to spend 30 minutes on an order that generates a thousand dollars in profit, you know, it’s available, it’s out there. So

Todd (00:33:35):
Yeah, what’s, what’s really nice about distributors is that you can get such a large variety of products. So sometimes what I’ll even do is I’ll open up accounts with distributors. Maybe their prices are good enough, maybe they’re not, but in either case you can then look at those individual brands that they’re selling and perhaps open up an account direct with the brand. You can also negotiate pretty good prices with distributors as well. I’ve got some distributors that I’ve opened up accounts direct with the brand, but their price is that the brand direct is like pennies lower than the distributor. So that actually makes more sense to just buy from the distributor. Cause then I can buy in larger bulk and, you know, save on shipping and stuff like that. Then, and as you grow in wholesale, like talking with Scott Needhim of buy boxer, which they’re doing like 60 million a year. They, they almost can’t buy from brands because to make sense for them, they have to buy in like semi-truck loads. They can make like a 1000, $2,000 order with a brand because it’s just not worth their time.

Paul (00:34:50):
Right. Right. Yeah. It just, it depends on, again, like we were talking about with capital, you know, if you’ve got endless capital like Scott does. Yeah. Semi-truck loads, you know, and there are, it depends on the brand, you know, like probably I would imagine in his situation, he can go after the larger brands, you know, where he can, we can say, Hey, well, we’ll buy 10 million a year from you and, and lock in a contract or whatever. So it just, it depends on, on your scenario and where you’re at and definitely with distributors there’s there’s money to be made. It just depends on the landscape of Amazon. And I know you see this where brands are getting savvier and they want to go direct right to Amazon, or they want to have some exclusive sellers buying from a distributor often does not create that relationship with the brand.

Paul (00:35:45):
And so it, it’s challenging to do that if that’s the end goal, right. In everything that I do, I want to try and lock it in as securely as possible, nothing’s a hundred percent secure, right. Things can always happen. But to do that as best as possible. So when building relationships with brands for example, if you’re selling from a brand, maybe they’re selling to 10 Amazon sellers, smaller brands, what they tend to do is they just go, you know what, I’m really tired of dealing with all these sellers. Why don’t I just sell to like three? And you want to be on that cutoff line at that three or at that five or whatever they choose then. And to hear the brand owners say, we’re not taking any more Amazon sellers, you know, it’s, it’s sad to be on the side of the coin where you’re like, ah, I’m this the Mr. Buck, but it’s awesome to be on the inside of that because you’re like, man, I got this thing on lock down.

Paul (00:36:39):
My sister sells $50,000 a month on Amazon from her house, raising three babies. She’s pregnant with her fourth from one supplier because she got in early, locked it in and has exclusives on several different products. And I’m like, I taught her how to sell on amazon. I’m like, how did you do that? You know, like that’s kind of this is too good to be true. So, but my sister’s one of those people that’s good at everything she does. And it’s really annoying. And, but she did that scenario. It’s like, but this is out there for the taking, like, if people can realize like these things are available, but the only way that you get that to happen is by being there by pushing, calling companies, getting on the phone, you know, or just, you know, sending out emails, whatever it is and, and locking those things in.

Paul (00:37:27):
So yeah, it definitely, it, all depends on the, the brands that you want to go after and where you’re at. So I wanted to share this story. We’re talking about distributors. I actually was trying to get a distributor locally here in new Orleans to send product direct to Amazon for me. And this is about a 60 employee company and I haven’t I called this rep and he was like, you need to talk to the owner. I was like, no one says that normally when it’s like, Hey, can you ship to Amazon? For me? It was like, okay. So I actually drove down there and met the owner. It turns out he’s fourth-generation owner, this company, it’s about a hundred year old company and he’s a man I’ve always wanted to sell on Amazon. I’d love to learn how to do this.

Paul (00:38:13):
And it was like, a lot of people want to do it. Yeah. And and he actually was already selling to people that sold on Amazon. So he’s got about 30,000 square foot warehouse. So he was selling them maybe three or four Amazon sellers at the time. And and so anyways, long story short, we actually formed a partnership where we’re 50% owners of an Amazon account together. And now I have access to 30,000 square feet of product with this guy. And so I brought the value of Amazon. He brought the value of the product and all of these super long relationships with these brands. I mean, brands that they’ve been buying from for 50 plus years, I can’t, I can’t bring that to the table, but he can. And so it was just this really good marriage, not to mention. We get along really, really well.

Paul (00:38:57):
Like that’s super important for business partnerships, but yeah we, you know, our first year, I think we still have like 600 grand and this is like side project. And so it’s like, you know, always for me, I’m always, I’m an opportunist, always keeping my eyes open of like, okay, well, how can I pivot? In other example, private label, I’ve created private label products from wholesale brands, you know, like generic products, there’s no name on them or anything like that and, and made my own brands. And so my ROI went from 50% on these products to 150% or 200% in some cases, because I was able to increase the value.

Todd (00:39:38):
Yeah. That’s, that’s definitely one thing that’s kind of fun with wholesale is that you see a lot of products that maybe they’re selling really well, but the listings are really bad and there’s no other like good competitors and you can find some really good ideas for private label brands just being in that world, for sure. Yeah. Wholesale and, and opening up an account with someone that’s another really good way that people can do this Amazon game. Obviously you need to know the worlds and be the expert bringing it to the other person, but that way I’m guessing that you probably don’t even have to pay for the inventory. He’s just sending it all in and you guys are like splitting the profit

Paul (00:40:22):
That’s right. Yeah. So we actually, we started basically yes, sending the inventory in, we tested it under my account for about six months making sure it was a good relationship. I showed him the numbers. Biggest thing is trust right. In these scenarios. So the establish that, and then and yeah, so now we, we buy the inventory together. And you know, so we each put eventually put a large, say large. We each put a sum of money into a pot to say, Hey, we’re going to put fuel to this fire. We’re going to buy more inventory pay ourselves back and then just keep the thing going. And so we paid ourselves back rather quickly, and now we’re just playing with the house’s money and just growing it, growing it growing it growing it. And so, you know, that’s one of the biggest things with Amazon.

Paul (00:41:13):
Earlier I was talking about retail arbitrage going full time. I went full time three times because of just different scenarios that happened. And one of the biggest issues is not having enough capital to keep the revolving door going. You know, like being able to leave that money in and, and safely keep growing that capital is difficult and life happens, right. You know, Oh, I need a new car or, you know, medical bills or whatever. And it’s like, Oh, pull that investment capital out. And now I have no money to buy inventory or less money to buy inventory. Now you’re back at building that, that thing up. And it’s just, it’s hard. You know, one of the things that, that I tell people, no leaving the nine to five was like, if you can tolerate your nine to five for a good year, year and a half while you’re building Amazon, you’ll be so much more in a better scenario, you know, as you built that up you know, versus like, I hate my job. I quit. I’m going to go back with any of us. It’s like, how much do you got in your savings thousand bucks? Oh, well, you’re going to be right back at the job. You know, like it’s, it’s difficult. It is, you know, but it’s, it’s doable. It’s just, you know, teaching basic math of like, you can’t just take all the money in the inventory and live off of that.

Todd (00:42:34):
Yeah. And it kind of depends on what part of your life you’re in too. Right? You have kids you’re married and everything and I’m married. So if I was to fail, I have a lot farther to fall. Then some college kid who’s sleeping on their friend’s couch, you know? So that’s actually an advantage of that college kids sleeping on someone else’s couch, because you can take a lot bigger risk than someone else and have less to lose if you fail. So some people might look at that as a disadvantage, but you can also see it as an advantage as well, depending on how you look at it. Yeah.

Paul (00:43:16):
No, I was telling somebody the other day, I wish I found Amazon when I was a college student. Like that was 2006 to 2010. And so like, man, if I would’ve found it, then whew, that’s so early to be getting in on that. I have a client at my preps center he’s been selling, he was on for 15 years. And like, he was, he was one of the guys that like got the email from Amazon was like, Hey, you want to opt into FBA? We’re starting this thing called FBA. You know, it’s like, man, to get in that early, like that had to be such like so sweet, but then to see all the changes, right? Like it’s constant.

Todd (00:43:55):
Yeah. So let’s let’s segue into your prep center and talk a little bit about that. A lot of people are always looking for a prep center. Maybe they don’t want to have the products at their house or touch the products themselves. What made you get into the prep center world?

Paul (00:44:14):
It’s kind of a series of events that have happened, but I basically bought a a building. I was getting into commercial real estate investing and I bought a building with a friend of mine and it was sitting vacant and I was like, well, I need space. I need warehouse space. Why don’t I just move my business into our warehouse? And I was like, I have all this space. I might as well prep for other people. And there came the prep center, you know? And and you know, I have FBA insiders, so there’s a little bit of an audience there. And so, yeah, it was just another, you know, I’m after multiple streams of income. And so it was just another stream of an offshoot and that’s how pretty much everything’s happened. Like Amazon’s the hub and there’s all these offshoots.

Paul (00:45:02):
FBA insider is an offshoot, Cajun prep is an off shoot. My partnership with my friend, you know, doing the other distribution products. That’s an offshoot. And so looking for those streams that can be automated. So like the prep center you know, we’ve got a team of six right now. But man, it’s incredible what they can pound out in a day. No, I mean, we got, we get some pretty large shipments in right now from a few clients and you know, our turnaround time is about two days right now. And I know some prep centers are like 30 days that depending on who you’re working with and how jammed up they are and how much space they have and all that. So one huge advantage with my warehouse space. We got a lot of it. And so we can do long-term holds if we have to storage and those things.

Paul (00:45:51):
So yeah, so that’s how it came about. No, one of the biggest things with prep centers too was that a lot of people say, it’s like, how do I know you’re not going to like, take my inventory, you know, or go open up an account with my, my personal. Is like, well, first off, anyone can do that, any prer center could do that if they want to. And so whoever you’re working with, you wanna make sure you trust them. And so I would like to say that my rapport over the last three, four years being in the Amazon site community and building that up and all that, like people that know me can vouch for me. And I would say whoever you’re working with get vouchers from customers, or, you know, other people that are using them and make sure that, Oh, Hey, there’s 500 sellers now in this list.

Paul (00:46:38):
And then I was the only one of after I started using this prep center, how did that happen? You know, like, and I don’t think that happens a lot, at least as far as I’m concerned I kind of stay in my own bubble. But yeah, you know that’s how it came about. And we built some really neat processes along the way, and added some software. Yeah, well, I would say, like, I don’t know if this separates us a lot from other prep centers, but one of the things we do with client communication is we use Slack. Are you familiar with Slack?

Todd (00:47:12):
Yup

Paul (00:47:12):
So some people, you know, that come to us, they’ve never heard of it. Some people have but it’s a really just great way for my team to communicate with the client and say like, Hey, there’s an issue with this ASIN.

Paul (00:47:24):
Or, you know, like, we are pretty adaptable. We take photos of inventory if we need to you know, we’re, we’re really flexible because I’ve, I’m an Amazon seller. You know, I, I know the game I can help people out, you know, I kind of go farther than you know, just talking about prep that people need help with selling on Amazon, if there’s an IP complaint issue, like we can talk about all those things with, with sellers. And so yeah, that, that’s how it came about. And it’s been, been a pretty fun journey.

Todd (00:47:59):
Yeah. And I, I like, I’m looking at your prices. I like how you have mostly like flat rate prices, not a lot of like hidden fees and things like that, which is really nice. Before we dive into that though for my own purposes. Do you mind sharing what software you’re using to run the prep?

Paul (00:48:22):
Yeah. So we use boxt B O X T. So have you ever heard of that before? Yep. I actually use that one. Yep. Okay. So we’ve incorporated box into our processes where it’s it’s a requirement for every client to have it. And we actually get a, a prep center rate, which is, which is cool. But yeah, so we, we make every client have that, so that it just works with our processes. That’s it helps us manage, like, you know, like if you’ve ever prepped for like only seller central or even with just like, it’s just terrible. Oh, it’s terrible. So with box, well, we’re super accurate with the box contents, the box level contents, and then we’re also really quick with our preps. So the way that we’ve kind of like, we’ve got this flow, that the way the inventory comes in on our line and out our line and all that. So yeah, that’s, that’s what we use.

Todd (00:49:20):
Or anybody’s interested in checking that out. That’s a boxt boxt.scanpower.com. I use it to build my pallets. It’s, it’s fantastic. It’s the best thing I’ve found so far. You do get some errors from time to time that are kind of strange, but for the most part, it works really well.

Paul (00:49:40):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and with us being a prep center, we have such a wide variety of product comes in. Groceries, sports, and outdoors, like whatever, it’s all kinds of stuff, clothing but boxt is kind of like that central ingredient to that to, to all the inventory, you know, depends on what it is and the client and how much it is and all that, but boxt has dramatically helped us improve those processes. So you know, I’d like to say we’re probably one of the fastest out there, like we’ve even had same day turn around at times of inventory where like, if it comes in early enough, we can get on the line and get it out the door really quickly. So

Todd (00:50:21):
So what about Software for like tracking the inventory in the warehouse, using anything special for that?

Paul (00:50:28):
Google sheets. You know, we eventually, I wanted to build out a dashboard on our site, but I mean, Google sheets is powerful enough and it gets the job done. You know, you can see, so what we do is we have a spot where people can drop in their inventory of, Hey, this is what’s coming to you. Here’s the title. ASIN a little bit, some other information. And then we grab that and depending on the client, they’ll either build out the shipment in seller central, or we will build it out for them. And then we’ll basically take it from there and ship it out. And so we let the client know, Hey this shipment was just, was just received. That landed if there’s any damages you have to know about the damages. And then, you know, things expired if it’s grocery, whatever.

Paul (00:51:19):
And then we create the shipment and then alert the client, Hey your inventory has been sent out and here comes your invoice. Yeah, it’s a, we do a lot of custom pricing. So if somebody comes to us, they’re like, Hey you know, we’re doing 10,000 units a month. Like obviously we’ll, we’ll give them a break there. Or Hey you know, all I have everything I do is glass. Can you do some custom boxes? Like, yeah, like, we’re, that’s really what I’m talking about being adaptable. And this is just not on Amazon, but just business ownership, one Oh one, like be adaptable. And and so we can customize a lot of different scenarios for people.

Todd (00:52:00):
Yeah. I love your flat rate pricing, as I was saying. And it looks from what I’ve seen, very competitive you’ve got a dollar, an item for all the basic wholesale and private label stuff, and that includes poly bagging, suffocation, warning, and all that good stuff. Even do photos of damaged items or boxes that says there. So and then it looks like you have volume discounts as well, depending on how much, how many units people are sending a month.

Paul (00:52:32):
Yup, yup. Yup. So those percentages there you know, and, we can even, again, depending on what it is, like, we’ve got some people that do a lot of small night we don’t have to dig into what small night is. But you know, for those clients, it’s like, Hey, if you’re doing, like, if it’s just FNC labels and it’s a lot of them, like, we’ll, we’ll give you a big break on that. But if your stuff’s like a pain in the rear, we’re poking at the charge for it is that we can only do it so fast. You know, if it’s like, you want to do a three-pack of glass jars, you know, that’s just going to take some time. But you know, what we can do though, for people that are sourcing one of the biggest things, when you’re buying the inventory, you need to know your prep costs.

Paul (00:53:15):
You need to know your shipping costs ideally, and build all that in because if you’re working with the 30% ROI, well, after prep and shipping and inbound shipping, like, well, now it’s 5% or 10% or whatever, and now there’s no meat on the bone. And, and so what we can do is have a conversation with people. So on the website, you’ll see those, a Calendly link there. So people can book a call and get set up with us. And we have some onboarding docs that we’ll send and lock in their pricing, and then they can go to town with buying inventory. You know, because if you’re thinking that your prep rate is a dollar 50 a unit, well, that 50 cents could really throw things off. You know, like if you could save that 50 cents on your prep, maybe that’s a make or break for you. I don’t know. Especially when you multiplied by thousands of products, you know, it adds up. So

Todd (00:54:11):
Yup. And I don’t know if we mentioned the website for your prep center is Cajunprep.com. So if people want to check it out and you guys are in Alabama,

Paul (00:54:21):
Right. Louisiana, Louisiana, we are in Cajun town. Okay.

Todd (00:54:26):
Yeah. Down in Louisiana. And one thing that I have done a little bit of, I used to use just prep centers mostly. But now I have my own warehouse. I still use prep centers occasionally. And what I usually use that for are like big heavier items that let’s say I’m buying it from the supplier in North Carolina to ship that all the way to Utah and be quite expensive. So I’ve actually found like prep centers that are near those suppliers and just jump it over and then they can direct ship it into Amazon and even paying the prep fee and everything. It’s still cheaper than paying that shipping grade across the country. So that’s another way you can kind of utilize a prep center, even if you did have your own warehouse or maybe you’re doing it out of your house or something like that.

Paul (00:55:18):
No, you’re exactly right. I did the same thing with the supplier. I had in Ohio and like the prep center was 30 minutes away, you know, from them and, you know, I could ship a truckload so that preps, or didn’t cost me anything, you know, to get it to them, but to ship that down to Louisiana, same deal, you know, it’s like, and I have to deal with it. Right. So there, you have to see like, okay, what’s, what’s worth it or not. But it is funny that we both brought it back in house. Cause I did the same thing. I was a hundred percent prep centers and I was like, you know what? I, you know, I really think I can, I can bring this in house and do it faster, cheaper. And then also like if you need to manipulate things more, like you start getting into some really weird bundles and stuff and you know, you gotta be careful, like sometimes communicating with customers can be difficult.

Paul (00:56:06):
Like the, I was talking to earlier about the private label products that built from my wholesale brands. These were three part kits and one of the ingredients of it was was cardstock paper card stock. So it’s like, okay, so this has to be packed. Just so some advice for you that you’re doing using prep centers. If you’ve got somebody that’s sensitive, create a, an SOP of how to do the prep and just send it to the prep center, just give this to your staff. This is how it has to be done. And, and that’s, if somebody came to me and was like, Hey, here’s an SOP for, this is how it needs to be done. Wonderful. Like that helps my staff so much. It’s kind of like working with virtual assistants, clarity is key. You want to have a lot of clarity with these prep centers of what you expect from them, what they expect from you. You know, and that will help all scenarios go by smoother. Yup.

Todd (00:57:03):
Yeah. And make sure you evaluate the prep center as well. You know, I’m sure you guys do an awesome job, but what I like to do, if I’m going to work with a prep center is first like use their contact form to send them an email maybe ask some basic questions, you know, like you know, how much would this style product cost to prep or how long would it take for you to receive and send it back out? And even if those questions are on their website, I like to send some questions like that because I want to see how long it takes them to get back to me. If I’m a new customer and I’m going to be coming on and it takes him the week to get back to me, it’s probably not going to be great once I’m an actual customer and they don’t care about me as much anymore.

Todd (00:57:50):
And then I also like to get them on the phone, you know, after they maybe answer that initial email and everything looks good, get them on the phone, talk to them about their operations and stuff like that, and just see what kind of communication level cause that, that seems to be where most prep centers fall apart is their communication with the customers. And I’ve had that problem before where, okay, this shipment says it was delivered four days ago and nobody said anything to me. Did you guys get it? Or what happened, what’s going on? And that can be a real pain when that communication is not there.

Paul (00:58:28):
Well, in, in those two things that you just mentioned you know, that’s exactly when I started the prep center, it was like, we’re going to get things out quick and we’re going to communicate, we’re going to over-communicate, they’re going to be annoyed with us that we give them so many alerts. Like that’s what I want our customers to feel is like, man, they are Johnny on the spot. And so I’ve got her, I got lucky. I have a really awesome manager that he’s just really great with tracking all the data and all that. Like even on our personal thing, like there’s some KPIs that we track. One of them is items per man hour. And I want to look at those averages, like, where are we at? You know, why was this day low? What happened here? And so like from an internal standpoint, we track things, but also for the customer when to track things.

Paul (00:59:12):
And so you’re, you’re exactly right. I mean, man, if you try to contact a prep center and they don’t get back to you for three days, you’re like, dude, I’ve got 10 grand with you right now. Like please get this out the door, you know, or whatever it is like. And so we treat the inventory like it’s our inventory, you know, like, and, and that’s even when we’re prepping things, we want it to be in a giftable condition. We don’t want to be loosey goosey with it and stuff. And so, you know, there’s permanent internal standpoint of, of what every prep center does with their staff, how they treat them. And I think you can kind of tell when you get the owner on the phone and that’s why, like, I like to jump straight to a phone call. Let’s just have for 15 minutes, it’s only 15 minutes from me and for you, I think it could be maker prank, you know?

Paul (00:59:55):
So it’s like, let’s, let’s talk on the phone. You can feel out who I am. I can feel it, who you are. And there might be a thing where me as the preps are, and I’m like, I don’t want to work with you if you’re a jerk, I do not want to do business with you. You know, there are, it goes both ways. We’re both, we’re being interviewed on both sides. And so, you know, from there then it’s okay, let’s get you onboarded and communicate. And so we always liked to knock things out of the park, but and to have the Slack, I love it because I get, you know, it’s on my phone and you know, on one hand I don’t want to be ruled by my businesses. On the other hand, if there’s an alert, that’s urgent, I can catch it, you know? And the prep center is not, you know, it’s not like Amazon where, where it’s 24 hours were nine to five.

Todd (01:00:42):
So yeah, communication is definitely key. Another little thing that I like to do that can be helpful is look up the address of the company on Google maps and make sure it’s actually like an actual warehouse on Google maps. Just another little way to kind of verify that the business is probably legit because a lot of people are pretty nervous about that when they’re sending product to a prep center and people they’ve never mapped and things like that. So just doing the little things to kind of verify the business.

Paul (01:01:16):
So one thing that I would say about the address is I actually don’t provide mine. And the reason being is because I don’t want people to send me inventory that aren’t set up with me. So that has actually happened where, you know, with other prep centers and stuff, it’s like stuff just shows up and you’re like, who’s this, and you have no idea how to contact. Like people just send you stuff and you would think that’s like, who would do that? I don’t know, but it’s happened. And so that’s why I like to, like, I provide the address after the call. And so, you know, I get that methodology of like make sure it’s legit and things like that. And, you know, yeah, it’s definitely one way to bet. That’s just my, that’s why I keep it off and maybe I should put it on. You know, but

Todd (01:02:05):
Yeah, yeah. I think as long as you give the address out, you know, to the people, once they’ve contacted us, so they can kind of vet you a little bit Bit and then maybe Local chamber of commerce or something like that as well.

Paul (01:02:20):
Right. And I probably can even put a note on there of like don’t ship us anything before you’ve been set up something like that,.

Todd (01:02:24):
Or just leave out the address number, you know, contact where they complete address. They go, then at least I’ll know your street and city and everything, all that stuff for sure. Sure, sure. All right. Cool. I think we dove into a lot of really good stuff in this. If people want your prep services check out Cajunprep.com and then for your training and things, we set up an affiliate link for that. So they can go to entrepreneur adventure.com forward slash insiders, and that will take them over to your FBA insiders page, where if they’re interested, they ca learn about retail arbitrage, online, arbitrage wholesale. And one thing that we didn’t talk about, which we can touch on really quick is your FBA VAs. So you’ve got you, you help hook people up with trained virtual assistants, correct?

Paul (01:03:24):
That is correct. So if people go to that tab, the FDA VA’s there is a questionnaire that you can fill out and there’s a whole host of things that a VA can help with. So we have a full-time or part-time VA’s that are available, that are trained and it’s all, you know, an Amazon there’s so much minutiae, right? Of things that you, that just take up your time, handling customer messages, reimbursements, price, alerts, stranded inventory, deleting, all this things you know, feedback, all this kind of stuff. And so the VA’s are trained to handle all those things. So it’s not so much sourcing as much as it is. All of it, like admin assistant type work,

Todd (01:04:12):
All the busy work that is super important, but is not fun to have to be doing all the times. Right

Paul (01:04:20):
Now, I will say this is not on our website. It might be at one point, but one of the things that I actually did is I had a VA that was all this VA did, was reach out to suppliers. That’s like he was trained on that. That’s all he did, you know, five days a week. And I got in and dated with so many suppliers that we couldn’t keep up. It was like, we don’t need any more suppliers. Let’s just milk our milk, our brands that we have. And so I had this trained VA and I was like, man, that don’t wanna let them go. And so I had you know, some other wholesale Amazon sellers and I just was like, Hey, is anybody interested in a part-time VA one day a week to go and source for you. So you get four days out of the month.

Paul (01:05:05):
And, and this was people that are kind of starting out. And and so, yeah, I got four other Amazon sellers doing one day a week with a trusted VA. And I was like, this is like, they’ve all been really happy with it. And, you know, for somebody that’s starting out, especially if you’re part-time, you don’t have a ton of time to call people and reply to emails. Cause all the VA is doing, sending the initial email, finding the supplier and then you feel the response. So setting up the accounts and things like that. So that might be something that we, that we offer in the future as well, because that is, you know, once you learn how to source for suppliers, you know, it is so time-consuming to do constantly. And so but you want that pipeline to stay filled with new fresh suppliers until you’ve built up a good, a good stash of people that you can buy from.

Paul (01:05:55):
So, yeah. Yeah. So that is the VA service. We, we might, you know, I, I don’t know, we’ll see about doing the part-time VA for the wholesale sourcing here soon. And yeah, and there’s a shop page on a website with a lot of other like smaller mini courses and things like that. Like if you don’t want to jump into any of the groups, you can just buy like some olive cart courses and things like that. Like, what are the things we talk about as gift cards and buying discounted gift cards to really save money, like when you’re doing RA or even just personally, like you want to go out to eat, you can buy a 20% off gift card from res.com and save 20%.

Todd (01:06:40):
Awesome. Well, Paul, this has been fantastic. Again, entrepreneuradventure.com/insiders. It’s people want checkout, what you guys offer over there and Cajun prep.com really appreciate you coming on the show. I think this has been great. A lot of really good information and yeah, I hope your how’s your Q4 going real quick

Paul (01:07:01):
Going well, man. Yeah. yeah, it’s, it’s been, I mean, there’s whirlwinds, right? I mean, having to deal with all these slow FBA check-ins, but making it work, you know, so how about yours going well?

Todd (01:07:15):
Oh, fantastic. I’m setting records pretty much every day. Awesome. Fantastic. Good stuff. Definitely blowing up.

Paul (01:07:24):
Oh yeah. And, and, you know, it’s, it’s funny because people often ask the question, is it too late to get it? No, I don’t think it’ll, I don’t know if it ever will be because our, our economy is forever changing. New brands are always popping up new products popping up. Like there’s always things evolving, you know? And like, I would say the biggest change. I don’t know if you do merchant fulfilled. That was the biggest, biggest change for us this year was doing merchant fulfilled. So having the, the warehouse is really helpful for that. You know, but that’s probably been the biggest thing this year, but I mean, it’s again, rolling with the punches and that, that gain in keeping it gone. All right.

Todd (01:08:09):
Awesome. Paul, I appreciate it. You have an awesome one. Great. Thanks for having me on it’s fun.

Announcer (01:08:17):
This has been another episode of the entrepreneur adventure podcast. Thanks for listening fellow entrepreneur and always remember success is yours. If you take it.

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