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Minimize your Ebay insertion fees

Updated on February 17, 2013
Ebay allows you to choose between  five different item durations. The 10 day option costs an extra 40 cents.
Ebay allows you to choose between five different item durations. The 10 day option costs an extra 40 cents.

Ebay insertion fees can take quite a gouge out of the profits you sell on their site. In general they're unavoidable, but since I've started selling on Ebay last January, I haven't been charged once for the insertion of my items onto Ebay and I haven't broken any rules!

First, Ebay gives you 50 free insertions for free per month. At the moment, the maximum amount of items I can sell a month is 50. That's great if I want to put 50 things at once at the beginning of the month for 7 days (they have a 10 day option, but you are charged $0.40 just for an extra 3 days). I tend to put about 10-15 things up at the beginning of the month (or as close to the beginning of the month, as I'll explain in a bit), then wait for their promotions.

I don't think there's been a month since I've started that there hasn't had free listings on top of the 50 you can sell for free. Some of them are unlimited auction style listings with buy it now and some promotions are strictly fixed pricing. These promotions usually appear about 2 weeks into the month but they're not heavily promoted and you usually get the email promoting the additional free listing the day before (sometimes a couple of days before) the promotion starts. It's at that time that I put up everything that I want to sell.

There have been a few promotions that included the 10 day listing for free as well. But, don't put your item up for the full max amount right away. If you do that, you're not taking full advantage of the free promotion!

For a 10 day listing, if you list your items within the first couple of days of the promotion, list it only for 7 days or the least amount of time that is closest to the promotional period. For example, the last 10 day promotion ran from January 13th to the 19th, which is 7 days. If you know for certain that you will be able to be in front of the computer at the exact time your auctions will end, then go and put the item up for 7 days the first time.

Personally, I know that the chances of my actually being able to be at the computer during that time are small and I don't want to risk losing free time they're offering so I put it 5 to days. That way I know that if something happens and I can't be in front of the computer to relist the items (and it happened this time, I had visit my in-laws on what would have been day 7 at the time the auctions were ending, so I wouldn't have been able to put the items back up. By putting them up initially for 5 days, I was able to relist them.

Continuing on my example, if your items haven't sold within the 5 days, you simply relist them. At this point, put it for the full 10 days and like that you gave yourself 15 days of free listings with their 10 day offer.

Doing this will definitely minimize your insertion fees on Ebay. Another benefit is that your items can go into the next month with the free insertions from the month before. Because I didn't use all of the 50 free that were given at the beginning of the month because I knew that free ones would be coming up, I had some to spare at the end of the month.

Yesterday I put up about 14 items for 7 days. That means that I will have items for sale in February but without using any of the 50 free ones that I get for February. I won't have to worry about the majority of my auctions until close to the next free insertion fee blitz. I will have a few days of space between the end of the autions and the next free insertion fee special so I will go through and put up some with the 50 free insertion fees for February (as I mentioned earlier, maybe 10-15 or so). Then I can put more items up for free with their special and then when those are over, use the rest of the 50 to put more stuff up for auction that hasn't sold.

Of course, if you're obsessed with having all 50 spaces filled at all times then you will be paying for it, even with the free insertion specials, but they will reduce your monthly spending on those fees. Then again, if you're like me and can be patient enough to wait for the free insertions in order to save yourself the fees for each item (because let's face it, at some point you'll be praying to sell an item just to pay for those insertion fees) you'll still get all the items that you want to sell onto Ebay, but not have to pay any insertion fees for that item.

Of course, it's at Ebay's discretion to offer these type of rebates and while I've been lucky enough to have one, for what I can remember of the last year, every month, there will be a time when Ebay won't offer them that often. Better make use if it while it lasts!

I hope that this has been helpful to some of you and that you will take this and save yourself a few bucks on insertion fees from Ebay. Thanks for readinng!


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