Points to Ponder

Tips for Selling on Ebay

My favorite way to make a little money on the side while getting rid of extra stuff is selling on Ebay. I have sold things here and there for the last few years, going for spells without listing anything and then picking it back up and listing a whole bunch of things at once. I can’t claim that I’m an Ebay pro or anything, but I do feel like I’ve learned some useful tips along the way. Spring is coming (It Is Coming, there is an end in sight to winter!!), I feel as if this is a timely post since people like to de-clutter when they spring clean. Here are a few things I’ve learned through my Ebay experience:

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*List as many details as possible. Buyers are often looking for something very specific, so fill out as many details as you know on what you’re listing. List measurements if possible. Also put as many details as you can in the title of your listing. Don’t be vague. If it’s something you don’t know a lick about, try to research it first.

*Take good pictures. Use indirect natural sunlight if possible and include some nice close-ups of your product. I often like to use a sheet of white foam board as my background. If selling a clothing item, I will even do one of the inside tag. Also, if it is something that has a maker’s mark or is a numbered item, I will include a picture of that too.

*Be honest about any flaws. This sounds like it would drive people away, but at least they know up-front whether something is in perfect condition or not. Usually they will still bid on it if it is something they really want.

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*Ship it out quickly. I put a 3 Business Day handling time, but after receiving payment I like to get it out within a day or so. A lot of my positive ratings from buyers have comments regarding how quickly they received their item.

*Package it well. When preparing an item to ship, make sure everything is very secure. You have no idea what a package goes through until it reaches a destination, so prepare for the worst. If it is even remotely breakable, have it marked “Fragile.” I use lots of clear packing tape when I am readying my things to ship.

*Include a Thank You. Not everyone does this, but I think it adds a nice little personal touch. Nothing real time-consuming, just one or two lines hand-written with your first name as a signature. Even if something sells for low, I still try to remember this.

*End an auction on Sunday night. I remember reading this somewhere shortly after I really got into listing things. There is truth to it as a lot of people are online Sunday nights. You can snag some of those last-minute bidders this way.

*Don’t short yourself on the shipping. Know just about what that item is going to cost you to ship before you even list it. I have gotten burnt a few times for the shipping before, so lesson learned. On the other side, don’t overcharge for shipping either.

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*Go postal. This is again a personal preference, but I have had pretty decent luck using the postal service for shipping. Flat Rate boxes and envelopes can be picked up there for free. Recently I discovered that they can pick up your packages straight from home for free when delivering your regular mail. It has saved me lots of trips to the post office–just request your pickup the night before online. Also I print out my shipping labels and pay for it all through Ebay via my PayPal account.

*Check for messages. Sometimes people send messages with questions about your item, so it’s good to respond to these in a timely manner. If not you can potentially lose a buyer.

Well, those are the main things that come to mind. In a nutshell, be a seller that you would want to buy from.

Ebay is a great tool and a pretty easy way to earn some cash from home. I have fun seeing what sells and what doesn’t. It is really surprising sometimes. Just a FYI–not everything will sell, even if you think it’s wonderful. On the other hand, I have listed some oddball things that have gone unexpectedly well. Now that I have some experience under my belt, I have an idea of what can go and may keep my eyes open at yard sales for potential things to flip on Ebay.

To wrap up this post, here’s a little anecdote from last year. An Ebay success story, if you will: Early last fall I was scoping out yard sales and did a drive-by of one that was listed in the newspaper. Upon finding the address, it didn’t look too appealing, but I kinda felt bad for the people and stopped (plus they saw me drifting by in my Mom van, so guilt ensued). Anyway, I got out and perused what they had to offer. I happened upon this pretty red Christmas tablecloth that most definitely looked vintage. It was either 50 cents or a dollar, so I scooped it up, intending to use it at my house over the holidays. After arriving home, it somehow got placed under some other things and I didn’t unearth it until several months later. I happened to do a search of it on Ebay and found that it was a more rare print of a desirable vintage brand. Suddenly willing to part with my treasure, I listed that tablecloth and it immediately had watchers and lots of views. My 50 cent or a dollar tablecloth ended up selling for over 60 bucks! I was thrilled. (I also picked up an old GI Joe with a box of other boy soldier/gun stuff. Little did I know that it was one made the first year GI Joe came out and he sold for a lot too!)

2 thoughts on “Tips for Selling on Ebay”

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