How to Make Money on eBay

eBay, the powerhouse of the online marketplace world, is an unknown gem when it comes to making some extra cash on the site of a full-time career.

With the reselling industry more active now than ever before, there’s no better time to become a part of it and begin selling on eBay.

How to Get Started

First and foremost, you’re going to need to head on over to eBay and create an account.

Accounts are completely free to set up and allows you to begin buying and selling items on eBay – without one, you won’t be able to trade with other users.

With an eBay account, you’ll also be able to log on to track auctions and view bids on your items.

It’s important to choose a representative and appropriate name as this is who you’ll be known as within eBay, thus you should avoid using offensive & obscure words in your name.

Try to have something that’s both catchy and positive.

Choose Your eBay Fees

Next, you should spend some time learning about eBay’s fees.

By default, you’ll be selling under eBay’s standard fees and having 10% deducted from each sale you make.

This option is best for new users as you’ll only be required to pay when you actually sell items.

If you only make one sale in your first month then you can still make a profit as you won’t be paying monthly fees.

Alternatively, eBay users that are attracting a lot of regular sales may prefer to may monthly fees rather than losing out on every sale.

These fees can vary, with the lowest costing around £12 each month and the highest costing over £200.

The latter may seem superfluous, however shops that are making thousands of sales every month may wish to subscribe to this option in order to avoid having to pay listing fees for each item.

Set Up Your PayPal Account

Once you’ve decided on a subscription plan (including eBay’s default system), you’ll want to setup a PayPal account in order to actually exchange cash with other users.

PayPal will allow you to use your debit/credit card to make transactions through eBay and over 80% of eBay users use PayPal to make purchases.

PayPal isn’t absolutely necessary for using eBay, however without it you’ll be making things significantly more difficult for yourself.

Most eBay users will only make purchases through PayPal, thus choosing not to use it could seriously hinder your profits.

PayPal is almost entirely free to use and charges very little in fees.

I would suggest you use PayPal if you wish to make the most out of your career as an eBay seller.

Find A Product To Sell

Once you’ve created both eBay and PayPal accounts, you’re going to need to start thinking about what it is that you wish to sell on eBay.

To do this, I’d advise first searching through the items that you already own and no longer need (the things that you most likely have stashed under your bed/in your attic.)

It’s surprising how much the things we leave to gather dust are actually worth online.

eBay also has a feature they call ‘Selling Inspiration House’, through which you can search around a sample virtual home and click on items you may wish to sell to find out how much they’d be worth on eBay.

This can be a great way to start valuing items that you may already own without actually having to search your home for similar ones & pricing them up on the internet.

Research Your Competitors

Once you’ve found a number of sellable items, have a look around on eBay to see how much other users are selling them for and how many bids those listings are attracting.

When you find some items that are selling well, look for more of them and try to sell as many similar items as possible.

If there’s a specific category of items that seems to be attracting a lot of cash online, consider visiting a car-boot sale and purchasing similar items for a lower price to upsell through eBay.

It’s best only to sell items that you have some knowledge about.

This is because you’ll be required to write product descriptions about these items before you actually list them.

Even the most detailed descriptions are still bound to attract questions and it can be difficult to answer these if you have no background knowledge on the items that you’re selling.

As with anything, you should start off your eBay empire as small as possible, taking each step one at a time.

If you begin selling just a handful of items, you’ll have time to learn the ins and outs of eBay and really get a feel for the marketplace before you start to deal with hundreds of expensive items at once.

eBay Seller Success: Managing Feedback 

If you wish to succeed as an eBay seller, positive feedback is absolutely key.

After each transaction, both users will be required to leave feedback about the other.

Perhaps a buyer will rate a seller highly for their cooperation and friendliness, or alternatively they may leave a negative review because the seller was rude and unhelpful.

Many buyers will base their purchasing decisions on the existing feedback of a seller.

If a seller has bad reviews and has been described by others as being unreliable/unfriendly, buyers will simply go elsewhere to purchase the item they require.

Thus, it is key to generate positive feedback on every single purchase in order to maximise your sales.

To do this, follow these pointers:

  • Ensure that you reply to users as promptly as you possibly can. Don’t keep people waiting for weeks for an answer to a simple question as they’ll simply get tired of waiting and buy from somebody else.
  • Always be as friendly as possible. Don’t be rude to customers asking frequent questions and be sure to be as helpful as you possibly can in order to generate positive feedback.
  • Be honest about the items you’re selling. If the item is secondhand and damaged (at all – even the slightest of damaging should be addressed), be sure to let buyers know in your product descriptions. If you lie about the condition of your product and send it to a buyer, they’re more than likely to demand a refund and leave you very negative feedback for your sale.

Optimise Your Product Listing

Once you’ve gathered up some items to sell and have done your homework, you’re ready to go ahead and create your first listing.

To do this, log in to your eBay account and click ‘sell’ in the top left-hand corner.

Then, you’ll need to add some images and descriptions to your product to let buyers know what it is that they’re buying exactly.

As said before, be sure to be completely honest in your descriptions and address any damaging items have sustained.

Once you’ve added the info, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to sell the item.

Auctions Vs Fixed Price Listing: Which Makes The Most Money?

Through eBay, items can either be sold in an auction or at a fixed price.

If you decide to list your item in an auction, you’ll be required to set a starting price and a time-frame for the auction ranging from 3 to 10 days.

Auctions are a good option if you’re prepared to sit and watch the price of your item change and can deal with the stress of doing so.

It can be somewhat nerve-wracking watching your listing as it attracts bids because in many cases these bids may fall short of your desired sale-price.

Auctioning your items avoids the fixed-price method, opening up the possibility that your item will sell for far more than you’d initially hoped.

Alternatively, you may wish to give your item a fixed-price by which users can select to ‘Buy it Now’.

If you’re confident that your item will sell at a given value, you may wish to choose Buy it Now (BIN) as you’ll be able to sell your item, ideally, in much less time.

Additionally, you avoid the risk of having somebody purchase your item for less than you’d like to sell it.

The only issue with this method is that your item cannot be sold for more than the price at which you list it.

Using either of these methods will still demand that you choose a price, whether it be a starting price or a BIN price.

The most effective way to price an item is to search the marketplace to see how much other items are selling for.

eBay allows you to search for items that have already been sold by other users (‘completed listings’ in the ‘advanced search’ option), thus giving you the opportunity to accurately price your item at a value at which it’ll actually sell based on others that have also sold.