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Beginners Guide To Selling On Ebay

Updated on November 19, 2008

Things A Newbie Should Know

If you are just starting to sell on ebay there are some things that you should know that will help you out. Selling on ebay sounds simple and before you started you probably thought "hey I can do that"

Well as Im sure you have come to see it is not all its cracked up to be! And it is difficult, time consuming and frustrating. Especially if your're the new kid on the block. It seems that most sellers on ebay are not too hip on helping the newbie sellers out. This is just from my own experience and could very well not be the case for you. When I started I sold all kinds of things like MAC Cosmetics, rare hockey pucks, WW II items, glassware, collectibles and eventually record albums. The most expensive item I ever sold there was a Boston Bruins hockey puck.for $500. Some things that I just knew would sell never did and others like the hockey puck I still dont quite understand.

Anyway back to the things you need to know.

First is to sign up for this free auction service that tons of people use on ebay. It is called Auctiva. Here you can upload your pictures that you want to appear in your listings for FREE. Ebay tries to get as much as they can out of sellers including charging for pictures and the fees do add up rather quickly especially if you have not sold anything yet. So checkout Auctiva, it is a must use tool for sellers.

Make an about me page to tell others about yourself. Do not do this in your listings. Most people just want to know about the widget and if they want to know more about you they can look at your about me page.

Pictures And Description

You want to take good sharp clear pictures of your items and do it from all angles so buyers/bidders can get a clear idea of what it looks like. Depending on your item you need at least 3 good pictures. If you are selling glassware always include a picture of the makers mark on bottom if it has one. Also describe your item in detail. Give measurements, color, shape, size, condition, age, original or reproduction.

If your widget has anything wrong with it you need to tell about it in your description. It is always better to say that it is flawed and what the extent of the flaw is if indeed it is flawed. Assume that your buyers are blind when describing your widgets. Also use a bright light and magnifying glass to examine glass or breakable widgets for damages. There are some picky people out there who want to know all of these details and then some. You for sure do not want to have a buyer claim an item was not as described and file a claim to get their money back.

Listing And Pricing Your Items

When pricing your items you should start them out at $9.99. If you start at $10 that is just extra fees for you. The more expensive you list your items the more you will have to pay ebay for doing so. Even if your items do not sell they still want their money. Reserves are also a wastet of money. Dont use these unless you have to. Try starting your more expensive items out at the absolute lowest price you would sell it for. Doing this saves on listing fees.

Be competitive with your prices. If you have the same thing listed as another seller, try and have yours listed a penny cheaper or have free shipping. Buyers are looking for a bargain on ebay and many times the cheapest price sells.

Many times people end up paying more for an item that is started out cheap. Even if the end price is more than another item just like it only listed at a few dollars more..

If you are selling things that are rare or that you just dont want to give away for $9.99 this is the items you would want to use a reserve or a buy it now on. Buy it now or best offers are nice to use for special items.

Do some research on your item and see if any like it have been sold or are listed at the same time as yours. Look and see how other sellers list their items and the prices they start them at. Also check the completed items section to get an idea about prices and if your item really is rare or not.

Packing And Shipping

When you do your shipping you ALWAYS need to have a receipt or proof that you mailed the item. The easiest way to get this is to do all of your shipping online through paypal. There you can even get delivery confirmation for free. Never send your items until you are paid. I do not know how the new rules work that involve paypal holding your funds until you get a positive feedback and all of that, but I sure would not send anything until I got paid. Do not pay for shipping out of your own pocket. This can really eat away at any profits you may have made and more so if you are sending things that are heavy. Best thing to do is to buy a postal scale. You will need one when shipping online anyways. You can find a decent one on ebay for about $20.

Always purchase insurance for breakables and pack safely. Lots of newspaper bubble wrap, card board, foam and packing peanuts. After you are done packing your item up you should be able to shake the box around and hear nothing inside moving. There are some good packing guides on ebay if you need more help with that.


If you have zero feedback people are going to be uneasy about giving there money to you. Try and buy some things the postal scale, bubble wrap, or other small things that will help you to build your feedback up. You can always check the feedback of your buyer just to see what type of buyer they have been in the past so you will know what you can expect from them. Leave feedback for your buyer once you have shipped the item and have confirmation they have received it.

Use Caution

You need to be careful with your passwords using both ebay and paypal. You should change them periodically. Also never give out any information in emails from people claiming to be paypal or ebay. This happens a lot and people end up with their accounts being hijacked and stuck with fees for things they did not list. If you are unsure about an email you can send it to whoever it is claiming to be from and they will confirm it is from them or tell you it is not from them. And then they will help you to figure out what is is you need to do next.

Overall in my 3 years of selling on ebay I only had 2 unhappy buyers. But these were the few and far between people that you can not please no matter what you do. They are the ones that hopefully you never have to deal with.

As long as you do honest business, stand behind what you are selling, are willing to work with your buyers when there is a problem, and keep in mind the things I have told you, then you should have no troubles selling on ebay.

Selling On Ebay Video


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    • hubber-2009 profile image

      hubber-2009 9 years ago from India

      not only for the newbies and also who are actively doing business with ebay.. nice hub..

    • Ashley Tyler profile image

      Ashley Tyler 9 years ago from Oklahoma

      Yes I thought about some things I wish were told to me that never were when I started selling on ebay and decided to share them

    • emilclemons6757 profile image

      emilclemons6757 9 years ago from FLORIDA

      Excellent hub, Great info for newbies!