In a comment earlier today, a member asked for help learning to sell on ebay, and I volunteered to write the article. I have been selling on ebay since 2000, and have been a PowerSeller for many of those years.Â I do not make a living as an ebay seller, though many people do, but I average about $1000 per month.Â It's not an easy "get rich quick" proposition like many infomercials lead you to believe, but you can certainly make some extra money doing it. If you are willing to invest a fair amount of time and effort, you can make a fair profit.Â Â Â
If you don't already have an ebay account, you can easily set one up by clicking hereand following the instructions.Â On ebay, reputation is everything.Â People will be hesitant to buy from you if you do not have a good feedback rating.Â So before you start selling, I recommend you buy some things.Â There are millions of items available for sale on ebay, so there's bound to be something you need.Â This will both familiarize you with the ebay process and allow you to establish a good feedback profile.Once you are ready to start selling on ebay, there are four basic steps:
1.Â Â Â Â Â Find items to sell
2.Â Â Â Â Â Photograph the items
3.Â Â Â Â Â List the items
4.Â Â Â Â Â Pack and ship the items to the buyerFinding items that will sell on ebay is the most difficult part.Â Â Start by looking around your home for things you no longer need or want.Â Though it is true that one man's trash is another man's treasure, try to be discerning in your efforts.Â It's doubtful anyone will want your old worn out clothes or broken CD player.Â Â It's quite likely, however, that you can find someone who wants the DVD you never plan to watch again or the Barbie dolls your child no longer plays with.Â Things you consider junk may well be popular collectibles onebay.Â Â Old baseball cards, costume jewelry, memorabilia from Disney, vintage lunchboxes, and many types of figurines all have established markets.Â
When you run out of things from home, or find your family members hiding their possessions from you, it's time to move on to other sources.Â Â Garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales can all be good sources of inexpensive items you can sell for a profit.Â But be sure you know what you are buying, and what it's worth.Â Â Another great source for finding products is ebayÂ itself.Â Search for "wholesale lots" or "lots" in your category of choice. I sell jewelry, and often search for "costume jewelry lot".Â I buy large lots (100 pieces or more) and then resell the items individually.Â The key to this is knowing your product and how much you should pay for it in order to resell for a profit.
If you find that ebayÂ works well for you and you want to make it a full time job, or regular source of extra income, you will need to establish a steady supply of items.Â This generally means moving on to wholesale buying.Â Though there are many companies which offer drop shipping, or "wholesale" clubs, I strongly suggest you stay away from these.Â Â They are unreliable, generally over priced, and ebay is flooded with people using these sources to try to sell the same products whom you will be competing with.Â Legitimate wholesalers require minimum purchases and will only sell to those who have a resale license.Â Â If you plan on making ebay a full time job, you should establish a business and get a license.Â This is not difficult, and usually doesn't cost much.Â
On ebay , a picture is quite literally worth a thousand words.Â If you don't already have one, get a decent digital camera. Make sure your camera is set to "best".Â Take photos in natural sunlight whenever possible, and take pictures of the item from various angles.Â It's best to take the picture with a solid background.Â Buyers want to see the item, not all the things on your table.Â A simple piece of solid color material works wonders.Â Use photo-editing software to crop and "clean up" the picture.Â Ebay only allows one free picture in each item listing, but you can sign up for a free account with an online photo hosting service, such as photobucket, and easily copy the html code into your listing.Â This allows you to insert as many pictures as you'd like without paying fees for extra photos.Â
Once you have a good photo of the item, you're ready to list it.Â On the top of every ebay page is a tab that says SELL.Â Click the tab and you'll be brought to the item listing page.Â Your first step is to choose a category.Â Be sure to choose the right category (and in turn various subcategories) for your item.Â When you next choose a title for your item, be sure to use all 55 spaces available, and choose your words carefully.Â Think like a buyer.Â What words would you use if you were searching for such an item?Â The title should be succinctly descriptive.Â The chosen category and words in the title are the most important parts of the listing, as they are what will bring buyers to your item.Â Â
When entering the description of your item, you should include as much information as possible.Â Include measurements, age, brandâ€¦ anything that will be important to potential buyers.Â Be sure to honestly describe any flaws.Â You must be in honest in your descriptions if you want buyers to trust you.Â Use basic html code to jazz up your descriptions and make them more eye-catching to buyers.Â Use a font that is easy to read on screen, use bullet points to describe key features of the item.Â
Setting the starting price of your auction is often difficult, especially in the beginning.Â You can check completed items on ebay to get an idea of what similar items have sold for.Â Keep in mind how ebay listing fees are structured when determining your starting price.Â Ebay charges 35Â¢ when you start your auction at $9.99 or less, but 60Â¢ if you start it between $10.00 and $24.99.Â I see many people starting an auction at $10, and can't help but wonder why they would spend an additional 25Â¢ to start their auction for 1Â¢ more.Â
Once you have a price, you'll need to enter the shipping cost.Â Weigh your item and use postal rates to determine costs, or enter the weight and let ebay 's shipping calculator figure out the rest.Â It is acceptable to add $1 or 2 to the actual cost to cover packaging and materials, but if you try to make a profit on shipping, you won't get many repeat buyers.Â
When you list an item is as important as how you list it.Â Most bids on your item come in the last few minutes of the auction.Â If your auction ends at 3AM, you won't get nearly as many bids as if it ended at 8PM.Â Most ebay sellers concur that Saturday and Sunday afternoons are great times to run auctions.Â Consider extraneous factors that may determine how many people are likely to be browsing at a given time.Â Nights that top-rated shows, such as American Idol or Survivor, air are generally not good times to end an auction.Â Nor are holidays.Â Ebay business is generally best between October and March and much slower in the summer, though there are exceptions.
Once you have listed your items, be sure to promptly and professionally answer any questions you may receive from interested buyers.Â When your item has sold, send an invoice and a thank you to the buyer's via ebay 's message system.Â When you have received payment, carefully pack and ship the item to the buyer.Â Purchase delivery confirmation so you can track the item and prove you mailed it.Â If the item is expensive, purchase insurance.Â Though many seller's offer insurance as an option to buyers, it is the seller's responsibility to be sure the item gets to the buyer intact, so insurance protects you in case of damaged or lost items.Â Once the buyer has received the item, be sure to leave feedback for the buyer, and they will likely do the same for you.Â As your feedback rating increases, so will your sales.Â
With time and experience you will, hopefully, find your niche.Â Be patient.Â Â Â Â