What to Consider Before Beginning to Sell on eBay

Want to sell on eBay?

I used to sell a lot of stuff on eBay in high school (see this post). So naturally, when people catch wind of that, they tell me about their aspirations of getting rich off eBay. But the truth is, most people will not make much money on eBay for various reasons. If you’re serious about selling on eBay you WILL make good money. If you want to be in that latter group, consider this stuff before you start selling. It’ll make the road to riches have far fewer unexpected speed bumps.

Will anyone actually buy what you’re selling on eBay?

You may love that old pair of bell bottom jeans, but will anyone else? eBay gets millions of unique page views each month. But that doesn’t matter if no one types into the search ‘bell bottom jeans with no crystal studs and no charm’. You know what I’m saying…

What does it actually sell for?

If you’ve ever watched Pawn Stars, you’ve seen people go in and tell Rick that “Oh, well it’s priced at $1,000 online.” Rick will get annoyed and reply, “Yes, they are listed at $1,000 but they don’t actually sell for that price.”

So don’t count your eggs before they hatch. Before listing anything, first find out what like items are actually selling for. It’ll help you from having serious depression later.

Remember to Take Your Time into Consideration

Best case scenario, here’s what you have to do: You have to find the item, clean the item (if you want the most $$$), take pictures, write a description, do your pricing research, list the item, answer questions, send an invoice, pack the item (if you thought Christmas wrapping took forever), ship the item, transfer funds out of the PayPal account and into your bank account, post transaction feedback.

Whew. I’m tired just writing about it.

Reply to All Questions Quickly

Don’t neglect doing this and yes, it will take time. You have to answer these questions with appropriate answers. When an item is dinged don’t just say, ‘Yeah it’s banged up.’ Instead, say that yes the item did get damaged once but it’s not visible when its in use and everything still functions properly. Sale-closing replies take time to construct.

So answer questions quickly, with good business sense, otherwise the buyer will move onto another (not-so-dented) Blu-ray player.

People Will Try to Screw You

Be on guard for this. I had one guy want to file a complaint with PayPal because he didn’t like what I charged for shipping. I made it a standard rate of $20 when I listed the item. When USPS sent it to his house, he noticed the item only cost me $14 to ship. He wanted $6 back.

PayPal Takes a Huge Percentage of Your Overall Profits

A few percentage points don’t seem like much but if you do good business on eBay it takes its toll. Thousands even per year. Consider this before thinking you’ll be as rich as Scrooge McDuck.

Re-Listing May Be Necessary

Repetition is often the key to success. If an item doesn’t sell the first time then try-try again. If the item got 700 views the first time, the next time you list, you will likely get 700 more views. Out of 1400 people, surely someone will pull the trigger.

But You’ll Find out What Does – Focus on That.

In business, you fail repeatedly. If you’re not failing to sell certain items, you’ll never know what items sell and what items collect dust. Keep good accounting records to see what items sell fast – then focus on acquiring and selling those items.

What to Do after You Get Your Business Started

There are thousands of people making six-figures a year just by selling on eBay. When you become one of them, there are a few additional things to think about. But don’t worry, starting a business is usually the most difficult part – and if you’ve made it through this much of the article, you are well on your way to making that happen. When you do become successful, it’ll require you to build up your business acumen, possibly take classes in business and accounting, hire people, and pay a few taxes. The most important part of business, even more important than minding the numbers, is minding the relationships.

When you need to hire your staff, here are a few ways of finding the best employees:

1. Use your LinkedIn or other social media accounts to find specific candidates

2. Ask around in your eBay niche if they know anyone who would like to work for you

3. Find someone who has liquidated their eBay business but would still like to stay in the industry as an employee

4. Get creative. Place a ‘wanted’ ad on eBay!


Now go have fun selling on eBay! Use this information to create another stream of income or even replace your full-time job! Happy bidding!



Will from FQF

Bonus: Random and entertaining facts about eBay.

Pics courtesy of Kazuhisa

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