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Quick Tips for Learning How to Sell on eBay

Updated on April 17, 2011

EBay: Everyone knows what eBay is. But not everyone has tried to Buy or sell on eBay. First, a little info about eBay: eBay is worth 45.39 billion dollars!!!! (I wouldn't even know what to do with that kind of money, would you?)

Founded in 1995, eBay Inc. connects hundreds of millions of people around the world every day, empowering them to explore new opportunities and innovate together. eBay Inc. does this by providing the Internet platforms of choice for global commerce, payments and communications.

Since it first began, eBay Inc. has expanded to include some of the strongest brands in the world, including eBay, PayPal, Skype,, and others. eBay Inc. is headquartered in San Jose,California. Although in recent news they did admit they may have paid too much for Skype, eBay is one of the leading businesses in the world.

To get the feel of things, you should first try buying a few things (this also allows you to receive feedback points, which aids you in getting more of a recognizable online presence). Pick a name you will remember when signing up. A password should be easy enough to remember but not too easy for a hacker to figure out. I just chose a statement I liked and used the first letter of each word and then my favorite number at the end. A mix of numbers and letters are harder to figure out for hackers.

Now when you buy, you have to bid. Don't bid if the auction just started. There is an option to watch the item (found in your my eBay tab), put it on your watch list, and when the auction is close to ending, start bidding. Only bid in increments of .10 or .25c if possible, if others are bidding it will go up fast. There is more about bidding in the tutorials on the site.

If you don't want to have a bidding war, and risk not getting the item, look for "Buy It Now" options and just pay outright. It is best to try both methods so you get the feel for it.

Once you have bought a few things, try selling something. The average price to post an item is .35c to $3.00. Certain extra features are not necessary to use. Always pay the .35c for a gallery picture though. Listings with no pictures, get less bids. eBay is pretty good for sending you emails with discount days. Like .5c listings on Thanksgiving, etc. Those are the prime days to post as much as possible. Keep in mind though, others will be getting the same deal so there will be more postings as well.

Now a days, eBay is a buyers market. There are so many sellers with the same products, trying to have the lowest price to convince the buyer to choose them instead. Electronics are a big seller, but everybody and their mother want to try selling electronics, so I would not go that route.

There are postings for Wanted Items in the section called "Wanted Now". Or look where it says "What's Hot". Once you find that, check through it and see if you can offer anything they are looking for. If not, the next option is to try keyword searches to see what people look for online.

Word Tracker is a good tool for that. It even offers a free demo version so you could try it out and see how the program works. You can get a free copy of Word Tracker. They are also offering a bonus free keyword email course so you can learn the tricks and tips to using it more effectively.

When posting your items to sell, in the beginning you are only going to have the auction option available. In order to make sure your items sell for what they are worth you need to start your bids at the lowest price you are wiling to accept. You can set a reserve price, but most people do not want to keep bidding trying to guess what you might have set it at (it is not available for their viewing). But there is a way you can include the reserve price in the description, it is just not allowed in the title. Also it costs more money to place a reserve price.

So let's say for example you have a stroller that your child no longer needs. It is in really good condition, almost looks brand new. These strollers sell brand new for $189. You have owned it for a year. Shipping in the United States is an average of $30.00. You can offer local pickup as well, that encourages the buyers in your city to want to buy. Buyers pay for shipping.

You could offer to Canada (or your own country), and just put down contact seller for shipping info, or eBay has an option now for the buyer to check shipping with the new tool they installed. The biggest market you are going to reach though is people near you, or ones who don't mind the shipping costs.

You would love to sell your stroller for $100, but are willing to accept $50. So your opening bid then you would set for $50. Some people may not want to bid with an opening bid at that price, but if someone wants it they will watch it until the end comes near. Even if you only have one person at the last minute buy it for the opening bid, you have still made the money you were willing to settle for. If an item does not sell the first time around, it qualifies for a re-list, which means, you can put it up for sale again and not be charged the listing fee unless it sells.

Signing up for an eBay account is free. Signing up with Paypal is free (You need Paypal to accept payments for your items and to pay for items). The average cost to list an item is approximately $1.65. When the item is sold, eBay takes a final sale fee which is usually like 2% of the item sale value. If you are just selling what you have around the house, you need no money investment for inventory.

You can also ask your friends, family and others you know if they would like you to sell their items for them and you just charge a listing fee. This would be something you could do when you are used to selling on eBay more often. I have made a few dollars extra going with this route. You would just estimate how long it would take you to post the item, watch the item, answer any questions from potential buyers, accept the payment, contact the buyer with shipping details, then package and ship the product. eBay has a system setup in your "My eBay" section that helps you control all of that.

Your local post office should have brochures on calculating shipping. If you plan to start this idea up and think you could get enough people to sell for (make up flyers to put around your neighborhood too), then you should invest in a scale for items less than a pound. I just used a kitchen weight scale I found at the local Walmart. It cost me $3.00. For the bigger things I used my own standard weight scale.

If you live close to a post office you could just go over there and weigh things, and then just pay the shipping costs while using their shipping invoice, and send it off in one shot. Otherwise, when using Paypal, you print out the invoice and shipping label they create for you, then just tape it on to the front of your package.

Use clear packing tape to ensure it's firmly pasted on since it has the proof of payment and a bar code for tracking. Dollar stores have bubble envelopes of all sizes. If you are shipping anything breakable then it needs to be boxed up with proper packing stuffing. The Dollar stores also sell styrofoam "peanuts" which are bagged.

Otherwise the post office has all the stuff you need; it is just more expensive. Unless it is breakable, you can just use envelopes, and small cd/dvd size boxes. Every city, state, and country would vary as well.

Therefore, eBay is one of the cheapest ways to start making money online.

How much money would you like to make? If part time income of only a few hundred dollars a month is all you want, private selling is good. You could even expand your business later on to teaching eBay workshops at your local community center. Some community centers only offer volunteer services though, so you would have to call around and do some research. Make sure to put your item on the Watch list so you can track the progress for the week until you auction ends.

Also, researching to see what items people are looking for is key If you do not find out what items people are looking for, you may end up spending more in posting fees than in receiving actual sales.

Making money with the power of eBay can be a rewarding experience both on a personal and professional level. Whatever way you choose to go, taking full advantage of everything eBay has to offer will determine whether you make money or lose. To your success!


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