Selling on-line through eBay is easy and (at the same time) challenging. It’s slightly addicting and euphoric when people bid and you make a sale. I was at a comic convention and some stuff I had I couldn’t sell (my target audience is right there) no matter how low I made the price, but on eBay I’ve sold more than a few for more that the same price at the convention. Setting it on a table with a sticker is way easier than photographing it a posting it on-line and then wrapping it and shipping it (and collectables are harder to wrap).
I sold some used 5 Finger shoes for close to what I paid for them (originally on sale), they were in great shape (almost new) but I just didn’t like the way they felt compared to my four other pairs; I sold a well worn pair too, much more than I thought I’d get for them. Stuff I think should sell high, sells low (or not at all), stuff I think won’t sell get snatched up in ten minutes some times (wished I’d made that buy it now price higher). If possible I post extra pictures (if free) and tell why I’m selling it.
If you’ve never shopped on eBay, go buy something, anything; get a spare charging cable for your iDevice or cell phone. Then come back here. Why? Because you need to understand the buyers end of the transaction. Plus, to buy something you need an eBay account and a PayPal account and if you have those set up then I don’t need to explain that part…
It’s easy to sell:
- Take a picture, make the item take up most of the photo (or crop it if you know how). Some items let you post more than one picture for free (generally collectables?).
- Write a single line title (mot categories charge you for more than one line).
- Pick a starting price. Most people say start at a penny, and I understand the logic (more bids makes an object look more desirable) but if it’s an odd item and no one is looking for it…
- Pick a buy it now price. If they don’t want to bid they can buy it now for this price (FYI, you pay a slightly higher price if they chose buy it now).
- How long is the auction for? Pick 7 days (10 usually costs more).
- Write a short description. I say make it a bigger font and center it and use a few colors. Presentation is everything!
- Pick a price for shipping, for your first few: if it’s heavy (up to 6 pounds put $8-$10), if it’s light (less than a pound) put $4-6; you’re learning if you lose a few dollars on the first few, not a big deal, right?
- Pick where you’ll ship to. This is important, who knows what shipping costs to Timbuktu (yes, it’s a real place), narrow it to the continental 48 states for the few few.
- Make sure your additional charges are $0.00 then submit it (then submit again not he next page).
It seems like until someone bids on it you can revise it. Sometimes (maybe if people are “watching” it) you can’t revise the title. Even if someone bids on it, you can revise it, but it appears appended at the end of your description.
An eBay item end time is set the instant you publish it (for the number of days you select). If it’s an auction, don’t end it at 3 AM, a lot of the bidding happens in the end few hours. I try to end my auctions during the work days (3 or 4 PM Eastern) or in the evenings on the weekend (Sunday evening seems to be a big time) or even on a week night (I seem to sell a lot of buy it now items on weeknights). But I like to make the ending time be when a good portion of the country is at home or still at work, not during that travel time. For 10 cents you can delay the publish time to be a time of your choosing (I use this occasionally, it’s 2 am and I’m ambitious, I’ll post these to not go up until the afternoon of the next day.
If after a few days no one is bidding, consider lowering the start bidding price and the buy it now price. Or look around and see what other people selling are charging or what they’re saying in the description.
What does it cost to sell on eBay? If it’s an auction, it’s 9%. If it’s a fixed price (or buy it now?) it depends on the category, they take 7%-13%. eBay motors is probably different, but you’re not going to sell a car as your first item are you? You also get charged around 3% for the credit card transaction via PayPal. So 10%-16%. If you sell more than 50 items in a month, there might be some small fees just to list an item with buy it now, but you haven’t sold anything yet, so don’t worry about that.
Every so often they have (1-3 day) specials for listing fixed price for free or adding buy it now to auctions for free. It seems like it’s towards the end of the month, but not always.
And I think there is a limit of 100 items per month to sell (or $5000) but what you do to expand that, I’m not sure. I haven’t had that “problem” yet.
Books, DVDs and CDs are a whole different animal, I’ve sold a few, but it’s barely worth it. There are a million people selling these exact items and there really isn’t much of a difference between them. I think the people who are making money on these have thousands of items for sale and make their money by quantity. I’ve made more money on a used pair of $50 shoes than on a half-dozen new (still shrink wrapped) DVDs. I’m not saying don’t try it, I’m just saying don’t make it your first item.