Maybe you’ve been eying the eBay market for a while, wondering how to capitalise on the popular auction house to make yourself some money. Those looking for tips for selling on eBay know that while making extra cash is a nice benefit of eBay, you can also reduce your carbon footprint and get rid of some items you aren’t using anymore.
The old adage is true: “one man’s trash is another’s treasure,” which means you probably have tons of “treasure” tucked away in the nooks and crannies of your house.
#1 De-clutter and line your pockets
Simply going through and getting rid of things you don’t use any longer can be a source of major funds. If you aren’t sure whether to put something up for auction or keep it, think about whether you have used it in the past year. If you haven’t, it’s time to let someone else have a crack at it.
Sort through your stuff and make a pile of what will go on auction. Don’t forget films and cds, clothing, kitchen items, and those odds and ends in the garage or loft.
How do you get started? You must create an auction for each item and price it. Realise that new items usually get higher bids—those still shrink-wrapped fetch even higher bids.
Well-known brands sell easier than unbranded items.
Items that are rare or hard to find will also bring in high bids.
Bundle similar items together and sell them as a lot. Do you have a lot of baby clothes that aren’t branded? Bundle them togehther and sell them as a lot.
Free samples of high end cosmetics can be listed. Even items in non-working condition can find a market. Just be upfront about the item’s condition.
#2 Use a free bulk listing tool
Turbo Lister allows you to save your auctions and edit them when you need to use them. You can pre-write a listing to start later. This software is eBay’s own, which means it works well with eBay’s interface. Just download it, design your auctions and click “upload” when you’re ready to start listing.
However, if you want to take advantage of a free listing promotion, you can’t use Turbo Lister. No worries. Save your listing descriptions in a Word document and just re-use them as needed.
#3 Buy first to establish yourself
Regular eBay users will be reticent to buy from someone with no feedback. Circumvent that problem by purchasing some items for yourself, and paying for them right away. You get feedback, which helps build your profile.
If you are selling pricey items, you definitely want some feedback so as not to sell at a much lower price than you could’ve earned with it.
#4 Scope out those who came before you
One of the beauties of eBay is that you can see what other items have sold for and how they were described. When you search for an item like the one you want to sell, click the box marked “completed items” in the left hand bar. Red means the item didn’t sell.
Once you’ve spotted an item like the one you are selling, check it out. Click the “sell one like this” which appears at the top of the listing. This automatically sets up your auction with many of the details.
Do not copy the other seller’s descriptions or pictures as this is a violation. But use it as a guide to help you.
#5 Write an outstanding title
Buyers search and decide whether to click on an item based on it’s title. You have a limited number of characters, so use them wisely. Ask yourself: would someone type this in as a search? “Pretty dress” isn’t something someone will search. But “Size 10 dress silk” is.
Learn the lingo as well. “NWT” means “new with tags.” “NWOT” means “new without tags.” “BN” means “brand news.” “BIN” is “but it now.” “VGC” is “very good condition.”
If you have extra characters, consider alternate, but common misspellings of what you are selling. For example, “Hanna Anderson” added to your title may get you more buyers, who accidentally type in the wrong spelling.
#6 Be accurate and specific in your description
Write the most accurate description you can, and include as much information as possible. The make, model number, dimensions, size, style name, color and color name, condition, brand, how much wear and tear is on the item, are all things to include. If there is damage, include pictures of it.
If you do not do this, you risk poor feedback, which damages your reputation as a seller.
#7 Pictures, pictures, pictures
Pictures are critical for your buyer. Snap the item from different angles, in different light and capture all enhancements and flaws. Snap the item against a plain background.
Uploading pictures is very easy with eBay’s auction system.
#8 Choose a good start price
Use caution to set your starting price. You don’t want to set your price too high as this scares buyers away. You do not want to set it too low either because you may end up with a low finishing bid.
Use the “completed listings” to guide you in regard to pricing. Research shows auctions with moderate opening prices get more bids and sell for higher final bids.
#9 Ending your auction is important too
The ending time for your auction is critical. You want to ideally end your action between 7 and 9 in the evening on any weeknight.
#10 Hold items to sell in their season
Items will fetch a higher price when you sell them during the time period people will be using them. Selling your Christmas tree in June won’t get you as many bids as if you sold it in November.
#11 Think global market
You can opt to sell items internationally via eBay. This greatly increases your market. Just educate yourself on the shipping requirements so your shipping costs will be accurate. Bulky items would be cost prohibitive to ship overseas, but on smaller items it is a workable possibility.
#12 Calculate your closing fees and listing fees
Don’t forget to check out eBay’s fee schedule so you know what your actual profit will be from your sales.
#13 Don’t let buyers pay with PayPal for items they pick up
Buyers can pick up the item, then tell PayPal they didn’t and get their money refunded. Since you have no protection of a slip from the post office showing you mailed the item, you’re out of pocket plus the item.
#14 Protect your feedback profile
Always keep in communication with buyers and ship in a timely manner. Your feedback profile is highly valuable.
#15 Resist the temptation to pad your own auctions
Do not enlist the help of friends or family to bid up your item. You can get caught and lose privileges to sell on eBay.
#16 Hoard packaging items
Anytime someone sends you a package, carefully open it so you can reuse the packaging for something you’ve sold. And you can store old newspapers to be used for filling material.
#17 Carefully weigh packages and price your postage
Not charging enough for postage will eat into your profits. Invest in a postal scale and carefully check your prices so you can accurately charge your buyer for the postage costs.
#18 Require proof of delivery
Include the price of proof of delivery into your auction/postage prices. This is to protect yourself, so a buyer can’t claim they never got an item and file for a refund.
#19 Use the PayPal shipping address
If you do not do this, then eBay won’t protect you if someone tries to scam you.
#20 Have a specific eBay bank account
Open an account specifically for your eBay income. This way you can track your fees and your profits. You can also use the account to save for something special.
These tips should help you begin your quest to de-clutter your home and fatten up your wallet. Sell smart and protect yourself.
Paul Graham Blog.com