Inundated with emails about this, I decided to show how House Of Rave works. This is just one example of how I use a drop shipping service to make money on the internet. There are still some inefficiencies, but this is the way I handle things now.
I will show what happens from the time I get an order, till the customer receives their order. Everything is done in 5 steps. I can accept, process, account for and send off 2 orders in around 2 minutes with this system. 10 orders will take me about 10 minutes with this system:
1.) Check, View and Review Orders.
I login to the backend of my Shopsite software to see how many new orders I have waiting. I click to view all the orders and do a quick skim of the order information. I am looking for any subtle signs of fraud at this point. After 5 years, I’ve become pretty good.
I can view individual orders or all the orders at the same time:
2.) Charge Orders.
This is the most inefficient step, as I choose to process cards manually to become more familiar with the customer names, locations and spot fraud. I login to my merchant account digital gateway and copy/paste from Shopsite the needed customer information. This step goes quicker than imagined because I use my tablet PC pen.
Here I find out if each order is legit. If the order is declined, I make a note of it and move on. If the order was paid for using PayPal, I login there to find if payment was made. If the order looks suspicious or comes back with negative address verification, I will often call the person on the spot to verify the order.
Manually charging orders seems a waste since I can simply press a “Charge” button instead. However, over time I have noticed that I start to remember customer names, locations and ordered items. Since this step exposes me to the orders, it helps me identify order patterns and it drastically reduces my fraudulent orders (Although this isn’t as much of a problem compared to a few years ago).
3.) Enter Into Accounting System.
This step is very quick and allows me to see my estimated current profit, my expenses, what I owe etc.. I’ve used some pre-made accounting modules for Shopsite in the past, but I like my Excel sheet better. Over the years I have honed it to help predict my profit at the end of each month. I don’t know my exact profit until I get the monthly bill from my supplier, but this Excel sheet gets me damn close.
4.) Create with Word & Send.
This step is the way THIS particular business of mine works. Once an order is ready to go, I copy/paste the information into a Word document and send it via email to my supplier. From there, they print it as an invoice and send the order. This is the way my particular supplier chooses to do business, others may have different methods.
My supplier will send me a tracking number once the order is sent. These go into my tracking system where customers can check the status of their order. The tracking module also sends customers their tracking numbers via email automatically.
How I make Money:
I pay wholesale price for the products I send out from my supplier. They send me a bill for the products & shipping each month. I charge retail price on the website and bring in all the money myself. At the end of the month, I cut a check to my supplier and the difference is my income after product expenses. I then subtract my server costs, merchant account costs, PayPal costs and phone bill costs to get my total profit amount.
I’ve made about $800 – $1,000 every month for 5 years doing this. I’ve recently made additions to the site which have doubled my profit to about $1,600 a month. I plan to make this side income generate about $5,000/month in 2006.
I’ve had other online businesses which operate differently, but this process works best for HoR. There is still a lot of room for improving the efficiency of this system, and in 2006 I’ll have time to concentrate on it.
One thing I find the funniest about this business was my first order. I had no clue what to do with it. I just got the business running first, and was forced to figure the rest out very quickly.
Hopefully this helps someone further understand the inner workings of this type of small business!