How To Get Started Selling On eBay

Many people are in a hurry to make money when they start selling on eBay. However, it does take time to learn how to do it right and early mistakes can be costly. It is a good idea to begin by selling a few smaller items you have around the house rather than jumping directly into drop shipping or stocking up on new goods. This allows you to build up both your experience and feedback. Also consider that most savvy buyers won’t buy expensive items or drop shipped items from newbies because they tend to mess things up.

What Do You Need?

You need a good digital camera that is easy for you to use that can take good close-up shots of the merchandise you’re selling. Another good alternative is a flatbed scanner but it doesn’t work well for every item type. Easy to use photo-editing software is important too. You’ll want to learn how to crop your pictures down to a reasonable size. Remember good photos are essential for selling on eBay. Avoid using stock photos or borrowing random pictures on the Internet. This can come back to bite you.

Printing out your own postage via PayPal can save you a lot of time since you can, in most cases, avoid the line at the Post Office. Of course, to do this you will need a good digital scale to weigh your items accurately for shipping, a good inkjet or laser printer to print out your labels, and packaging material. I recommend buying your scale on eBay. The scales you find will work fine and are considerably less expensive than those in office supply stores. Packaging material is kind of a broad topic so I’ll cover this in a future article.

What Should You Sell?

That’s not an easy question to answer because it’s different for everyone. I’ve found that it’s best to sell what you own already and that you have a lot of knowledge about. For example, my first 100 sales were mostly for old wargaming books I had stored after college 20+ years ago. They sold well, for the most part, and some went for surprisingly high prices too. Look around your house and I’ll bet you’ll find stuff that you don’t use any more that you can easily part with.

But, what if you aren’t a packrat or are young and don’t have a lot of stuff sitting around? Another route you can take is to check out local garage sales, thrift stores, and discount stores for things to sell. Look for items in good condition that you know the current sales volume and price for on eBay. Discount and closeout stores like TJMaxx usually offer good quality merchandise at low retail prices. I had some good early success buying celebrity logo trinkets and selling them for 2 to 3 times what I paid for them.

You want to avoid getting stuck with a lot of items you can’t move so go slow and cheap. Only list about 10-15 items at a time. Save your receipts so that you can return stuff that doesn’t sell and so that you can write it off on your taxes as an expense if it does. At this point, you won’t be making a lot of money but the objective is to build up your feedback and develop your own system for managing your new business. Once you get to over 100 feedback from selling activity you’ll have the experience to easily take your eBay business to the next level.


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Comment by Florchakh
2007-10-08 06:58:31

Some time ago I’ve tried to sell a domain name. Of course there was no way to sell a pearl from this frickin’ SEA of crap, so I think it was the last time when I used eBay.

It looks like other, niche services works MUCH better for niche products…

Comment by jfc
2007-10-08 07:28:14

That’s true about domain names. You’ll have a lot better success selling on DigitalPoint or other webmaster/web marketing/domaining type forums where you’ve taken the time to establish a rep.

You really have to know the niches you’re selling in on eBay. Some are way too crowded to sell in effectively while others, amazingly, aren’t too bad for a new seller who takes the time to build up slowly.

Comment by Florchakh
2007-10-08 08:19:45

What an irony - there still no better place for gaming the price than eBay ]:->

2008-07-20 14:50:52

When we moved homes a couple of years ago we sold several items on eBay … that was my first time selling. We sold most of the things for pretty reasonable prices, and I was surprised what people were interested in.

For instance, we sold some spare parts for a Jenn Air indoor grill and ended up with quite a substantial sum. But we had much less success with books and CDs. They sold much more successfully on Amazon.

Comment by jfc
2008-07-20 16:07:28

Hi Refurb,

Books and CD’s aren’t big sellers on eBay for most people due to the heavy competition. You’ll do better selling used CD’s and paperbacks by renting a table at a local flea market. Buying used books, DVD’s and CD’s on eBay can get you some good deals though.

Comment by Mike
2008-10-23 20:43:49

Interesting thoughts. I’d recommend that you check out what similar books sell for on eBay before dumping anything for too little money. Although there is a lot of competition on eBay, you can still hit a real winner if you’ve got the right out of print book. It only takes about 30 seconds to check.

Comment by Jean
2008-12-03 05:02:28

For me use of TurboLister and shipment optimisation are the most important. Shipment can be a nightmare if not well planned.

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