Thursday, 4 October 2012

My tips for selling on eBay

As you know I spend most weeks listing items on eBay. It's actually the start of my mission of making a living from it. It's hard work but it's growing. I know a lot of of us have those clear outs and throw a load of items on eBay in the hope of earning a little extra cash but there's ways and means of making sure you're actually making a profit. There's two things I'm going to talk about today - fees and why you should open non payment cases.

When you start out on eBay it's all to easy to fling things on and start them at really low prices which they may or may not get huge amounts of bids on. But if your selling them for say 0.99 and not considering all the eBay and paypal fees alongside how much it costs you to buy your envelopes you might actually be loosing money. You certainly need to be mindful of those hidden charges. 

So lets talk first about fees. While I obviously use the American version of eBay the same applies to the UK [although the pricing will be different]. Every time you list and item on eBay your charged a listing fee - the charge of which is determined by how low or high you start your pricing at. In the US any item listed with a starting price of $0.99 is charged at $0.10, $1.00-$9.99 at $0.25 and so on and so on. Your additionally charged for certain time lengths your listing too, plus extra for adding buy it now - so if your not careful you can add up a fair whack in fees before it's even sold. Even if your listing on FREE listing events you will still pay those fees if it sells. Next there's the final eBay closing fee which is charged [in the US at least] 9% of the final closing figure which includes the amount the item sold for plus what your charging for shipping. Then add paypal fees and you're charged 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction received into your account. It all adds up.

This is why I use a spreadsheet before I list anything on eBay to make sure that i'm not making a loss from the off. I also include the pricing of envelope and the buying price of an item. 

Obviously if your just selling the odd item upon eBay you don't need anything as insanely crazy as this but you do need to be mindful of all those fees or you won't be going anywhere. As eBay is my way of making money so I have columns calculating all the fees for me, places to add in shipping costs and how much money i'm actually making. 

You should never guess the weight of an item in calculating shipping costs. When i'm filling out my spreadsheet I work alongside my postage scales [or you can just use good old kitchen scales] and the USPS  website. Weigh your item inside an envelope and work out your price - I add a $1 shipping and handling fee for each pattern. If your guessing weights you'll probably end up undercharging and loosing out. 

Now most of your items when you sell them the buyers will pay up. But increasingly you might be coming across people bid on something and then never pay up or what I call eBay trolls - people who bid with no intention of ever paying. I know people find it a hassle opening unpaid cases against people but you really should - why because not only does it inform eBay of those non payers but, even if the payer didn't pay up eBay will still charge you the final closing fee. If you open an non payment case, and the buyer still doesn't respond you can close the case and eBay will refund you. When your trying to make money you should always claim back what is due to you. 

So I hope this helps - these are to the two biggie parts I've really tried to focus on in my own selling and use of eBay lately and hopefully it might help you too!

If you have any eBay tips or items you would like me to focus more on when it comes to eBay just leave a comment below!


  1. So organised, I love it! The spreadsheet calculator is a great idea! Thanks for sharing

    1. Yeah I had to make myself get super organised as some weeks, like this week I have over hundred items up so it's just good to know things are on track and what I should be asking/expecting for items too.

  2. great post, Rachael. I've sold some things on ebay, & something you didn't mention here but definitely should is shipping insurance & tracking info. you can include that in your price or offer it as an option, but I offered it as a buyer-selected option that of course rarely got used. & wouldn't you know it, someone bought a $150 textbook from me for $60 (calculate fees & loss & it still hurt) and then claimed to have never received the book. I was out the book and the $60. never again! ALWAYS buy insurance or tracking for proof that your item was sent & delivered.

  3. Great advice, I always double check postage costs and tend to list most of my items on free listing days. Even though I've been on eBay for over four years, it was only this year I got my first non paying bidder, and it really upset me for some reason.
    I was so angry and annoyed that they had no intention of paying for the item in the first place. But as you said, I openend a case and was at least refunded my fees. xxx

  4. I have pretty much given up on selling things on ebay but I think i just wasnt calculating fees properly and was just too busy trying to get rid of things - thanks for the tips!

  5. Thanks for the tips. I was rubbish at selling on e-bay but i have so many things i dont use anymore that i really should try again. Great advice xxx