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Selling Online: A Rundown on Fees

Updated on October 21, 2011

The Many Options

For anyone that has tried to sell something online, the many options for sites can make your head spin. A few of the main ones are Ebay, Amazon, and Craigslist. There is also Etsy and the various Ebay affiliated sites such as Kijiji and and With all these options, it is tough to make a decision on the best place to sell your items. Looking at the various selling fees associated with the sites can make the decision easier, though.

Quick Vocab

Sometimes deciphering the fees taken is like reading another language. Here is a brief overview of some of the words used.

Insertion Fee: A fee for listing the item on the site.

Listing Fee:A fee for listing the item on the site.

Closing Fee:A fee taken from the final sale price, usually a percentage of the sale price.

Ebay and Half.Com

Selling on Ebay is a relatively simple process. There are many items that cannot be sold on Ebay, such as live animals, adult content, medical items, etc. The full list is available at the restricted items link below.

Fees for selling on Ebay also vary depending on the item and if you are doing a buy-it now format vs. the bidding format.

You get 50 free listings per month when using the bidding format. After that the insertion fees range from $.10 per item up to $2.00 per item. If the item is sold, 9% of the selling price is taken by Ebay, with a maximum limit of $100 per item.

If you have decided to use the buy it now format for your items, the insertion fee is $.99. If the item sells, the fees can range from 7% up to 11%. Here things can get a bit tricky. the chart below explains it quite clearly. does not have listing fees, but takes a commission off the final sales price of an item. This commission ranges from 5% for items priced over $500 to 15% on items $.75 and $50.

Kijiji and Craigslist

Kijiji, also known as Ebay Classifieds, and Craigslist are very similar. Both of them are organized based on location, making shipping costs null. They also allow you to list your items for no fees. Craigslist does require fees for some areas including San Diego, Atlanta, and New York. the link for the complete list is below. The fees in these areas are quite high, starting at $25 per job post per category or $10 for any therapeutic services in the US, making craigslist slightly expensive for those area residents. Kijiji has no fees regardless of the seller's area. The only problem with these two sites is if you live in a rural area in which no one may want your product.


Amazon is a large site with many fees. When it comes to selling your item there is a fee for it being listed on Amazon within a range of 6-25% of the sale price. On top of that there is a variable closing fee that varies depending on the item. Along with that variable closing fee there is a fixed closing fee of $.99 for any item.

If you end up selling more than 40 items per month, you can also add in a subscription fee of $39.99 a month. This is because you are considered to be selling professionally.

Etsy is a site perfect for creative handmade products, vintage items and art. I personally have experience with this site since I sell on it. All other items are excluded from sale on Etsy. To list an item it is $.20 per quantity of an item. For example, if you have 5 vintage hair pins that are identical, you would pay $1 to list all of them. When the item sells a sales fee of 3.5% is taken. There is also a conversion exchanging currency. Since all items are listed in US Dollars, if you are selling in Europe, you will need to change the currency. The conversion is handled automatically by the payment processing service so you do not have to worry about converting the payments and fees yourself.

Finding the Right One For you

I wish you luck in finding the right site to sell your merchandise. It may take a few misses before you find it. You really want to look into where your merchandise will sell the fastest. Even though there may be fees attached, if you are looking to make a career out of selling online, you mustn't let that scare you off. My advice is if you are looking to get rid of a few items you found in your attic or basement, Craigslist of Kijiji may be the best option to start with.


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