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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Appliance Repair Equals Easy Money

Craigslist abounds with people wanting to get rid of appliances that are broken.  Many of these can be had for $5, a song, or less.   I recommend that one focus on fairly new items so that they are easy to sell after they are working again.  Here is a quick video to show how easily a dryer can be repaired.  In this video, I'm replacing the heating element, but another common dryer repair, drive belt replacement, is even easier.

There are tons of good YouTube videos that cover common repairs for exact makes and models of appliances.  Usually, only common tools are required and so there isn't much investment required to do this as long as you have a way to transport large items.

Remember, even if the appliance is too broken to repair, it is still worth money as scrap metal.   Also, there may be parts that can be scavenged from some appliances and then used to repair others.  One could potentially strip broken appliances and just sell the good parts online.  Please comment below if you have any other information to share that would help someone make money off broken appliances.

Lastly, I found the best replacement parts prices at:

Using Google Maps to Find Golf Balls

It is easy to make extra money if you have a lot of used golf balls to sell.  All you have to do is go see how much they sell used/refurbished balls for at Walmart, and then sell them on Craigslist for less.  The trick is to find hoards of used balls. I'm getting pretty good at using Google's satellite images to find places to hunt for golf balls.  Here's how I do it!

I start by looking for all the golf clubs that are in my town, or anywhere that I might be driving past.   Then I zoom in on the golf course.

In the picture above, I have zoomed in on a golf course in a planned community that is not far out of my way when driving to work.  I circled a place where there is a cul-de-sac next to one of the fairways on the golf course.   Since there are no houses on the end of the cul-de-sac, this is a place where I could potentially get to the edge of the golf course without getting on the golf course.  When zooming into this area further, I can see several other features that make this a good candidate location.

The first good feature is that this location is on the right hand side of the fairway as you look from the T-off spot to where the hole flag is.   That means all the sliced shots will accumulate there.  The other great feature is that there is a tiny stream running along the right hand side of the fairway.  That means that there is an obstacle between golfers and their lost balls ... another good indication that there may be some accumulation in this area.   Another great feature of this spot is that I can park close by.   The red areas outline places I want to search.  The round circle is where the sliced shots are likely to accumulate, and the oval area is where there may be balls that have washed out of the pond after a storm.  That bend in the creek is a likely settle-out zone.  However, I will mention now that I didn't find anything in the oval area.  The last feature becomes apparent when you go to google street view:

It's the best feature, tall grass!  Actually, the grass was even taller the day I went looking for balls here.  That made it harder for me to find the balls, but it was crucial for discouraging other more casual golf ball hunters from searching the area.  I've pulled over 300 golf balls out of this area in about an hour's worth of hunting.  But, you need more than one spot if you're going to make any decent amount of money hunting golf balls.  So, back to google maps.

Other areas that I like to search are golf clubs that are adjacent to a public park or railroad track.  You can see in the picture above that there is a wooded area between the Brushy Creek Regional Trail and the golf course.  The red outline highlights another slice zone near the hole on another course.  Again, there is a little stream that separates the golfers from their lost balls, and also there are usually high weeds there.  Another great spot is often directly behind the hole on a course.   A lot of balls sail past the hole when a golfer is trying to make a wedge shot but catches the ball with the leading edge of the club.  So, you have to pay attention to where the holes are and which direction the golfers are swinging from.   That's how you figure out specific areas where balls accumulate.

Above is another spot on the same golf course where I find balls all the way on the other side of the railroad tracks.  The short red line in the cul-de-sac is where I picked to park, and the red outline area shows where I found the most balls.  I did find a few in the ditch marked by the long straight line as well.

Be careful out there though!  Watch out for snakes in the small streams and high weeds.   Happy golf ball hunting, and please check out my youtube video that explains a little more about sorting and selling golf balls: