Do You Review Your Monthly Invoice?
I let this very important part of running a business slide…month after month and before I knew it over a year had gone by! How did this happen? I spent 30+ years in finance and reconciled soo many things each month this should be second nature to me, but it was too easy to let slide. And it cost me A TON of money! Hopefully my experience will keep you from making the same mistake.
Yesterday I glanced at the my invoice and something caught my eye. I’m not sure what it was but it caused me to take a closer look. Typically, I download my monthly invoices each quarter in CSV format and dump the data into an excel spreadsheet. I file it away in my yearly tax folder and ‘think’ I’ll get back to it later….but later never happens.
The part that caught my eye was $70 in Bold Listing Fees…WHAT!? How on earth did I create soo many listings with that tiny box under the title checked that I racked up $70 in fees for just September? It was easy for me to figure out the how because I was listing some items earlier this week and when I quickly highlighted my title to copy it and paste it in my description, if I did it too quickly I highlighted the text underneath the title bar and that triggered the “Stand out with a bold title in search results” at a cost of $4.00 per listing.
I usually catch these errors when I hit the “Update listing” button, I’m careful to verify the fees are $0.00….or so I thought! Turns out I’m not so careful after all!
I immediately went into reconciliation mode. The first thing I did was go to each listing were an extra fee was being charged and changed the listing so I no longer was incurring these charges…that was a quick $70 savings! Then I downloaded my last two invoices, created a summary spreadsheet and proceeded to reconcile my invoices back to January 2017. When I saw the listings that had this extra ‘feature’ added I realized that I created these listings last fall…ugh. Never mind that these listings were 13 months old and spending $4 each month to have a bold title in search didn’t seem to be helping get them sold, I had 13 months of fees that totaled $900 and I hadn’t even noticed. I was throwing money away each month and I didn’t even know it. MY BAD! For 13 months I was spending money I didn’t intend on spending and I was completely annoyed with myself. I know better!
This was not eBay’s fault at all, but I decided to give customer service a call and see if they could do anything about it. I’m happy to say they did! They gave me a credit to my account that I did not deserve! I thanked the CSR and vowed to review my invoice by the 5th of every month from now on. That’s what I would do if I were working in an office and accountable to a superior, therefore I should do nothing less where my business is concerned.
While downloading and sorting my nearly 10,000 line items on my invoice I noticed one listing that had a $1 gallery view fee attached to it…UGH. This is a $11 item that I’ve already paid $13 in fees for and it hasn’t even sold yet! I fixed that one and now know to scroll all the way down the list to check for any other fees.
If you’re not reviewing your invoices each month, I hope my lesson will motivate you to start reviewing them in detail each and every month. I’ve added a reminder to my calendar and so should you. If you want help on how I downloaded my data to an Excel spreadsheet and sorted everything, let me know in the comments and I’ll make a post on how to do that.