Selling on eBay - A Day in the Life of an eBay Seller
7:00 A.M. Start the day with customer communication and service.
By 7:00 A.M., I have already walked the dog, made a pot of coffee, fed the dog and myself, showered and dressed for the day, taken a package of roast beef slices out of the freezer and popped it into the fridge to defrost for lunch, and arrived at my office.
Now I sit down to the computer to see what's happened overnight with my current eBay listings.
Because eBay never sleeps, two of my items have new bids and two have sold. There are four questions from potential buyers about my active listings that I need to read and answer, and I received feedback on my sales and must now leave feedback in return.
First, I answer the potential buyers' questions and leave the feedback, because timely email communication is vital in this internet sales and shipping business where you never meet a customer face-to-face.
For the two items that sold overnight, I prepare shipping labels and thank-you cards, an insurance and a delivery confirmation form, and a US customs form for the one that will ship overseas. I carefully pack the items and load them into my car for delivery to the post office later in the day.
Some Selections of the Day
8:30 A.M. Select and research the items to be listed today.
With the morning's correspondence and paperwork out of the way, I make another pot of coffee. It's time to start creating today's listings.
I select seven items from the inventory on hand...a piece of older Japanese pottery, three pieces of funky designer costume jewelry, an antique bank, an Art Deco sculpture, and a vintage porcelain tea strainer. As you can tell, we have an eclectic inventory, since we sell mostly antiques, collectibles, and pre-used items.
Two of the seven items destined for today's listing need to be researched (no one here is an authority on everything!). So, back to the computer to learn more about the Japanese pottery and the Arabian safe. If I can't find what I'm looking for online, I have a large collection of reference books that can help. If I still can't find the information I need, I go to the library or consult with a local expert.
Today, I am happy to find the information I need online, saving myself a trip to the library or expert.
9:30 A.M. Write descriptions for today's listings.
Selling on eBay requires that you be honest and thorough in your descriptions and photographs. If you shop by mail, you know why: you can't hold the item in your hand to feel its weight, inspect it visually for quality, or see the true colors. That is why we go to great lengths to inspect our items and spell out every aspect we can, including dimensions, weight, colors, condition, and sometimes history.
For every item we sell, we use a log sheet to collect the descriptive information as well as our own internal inventory and shipping information. On the log sheet we record the title that will head the listing, the eBay category into which the item falls, the selling format (auction, store inventory, or buy-it-now), appropriate pricing information, notes for a clearly written summary description, specifications (dimensions, weight, maker's marks), a statement of condition, our inventory number, shipping weight, and shipping service options.
It is now 11:30 and time to deliver the two packages to the post office, go home to walk the dog, and have that roast beef sandwich for lunch. But no more coffee for me!
1:00 P.M. Photograph the items for today's listings.
Back at the office, I start taking digital pictures. Since I inspected our items carefully earlier this morning and wrote detailed descriptions, I have a clear idea of which views of an item are both necessary and effective.
Once the shots are done, I import them into an application where I can crop them and make adjustments to color and contrast. I then export the refined photos to the hard drive.
2:00 P.M. Pull the descriptions and photos together and upload the listings to eBay.
I use eBay's TurboLister application to list items. Entering the descriptions and photos goes fairly quickly, as I am a rapid-fire touch typist and use templates to capture information about items that are similar to each other. I schedule the uploaded listings to appear on eBay between 6:00 and 8:00 P.M.
3:30 P.M. Wrap up the day at the office.
Sally's Trove is a business, and like any other business, we have administrative, bookkeeping, marketing, and operations tasks to tend to. In this last hour and a half of my day at the office, I file paperwork, pay bills, do some market research and networking, line up buying appointments, and probably sweep bits of packing materials off the floor and take out the trash. Oh yes, and clean the coffee pot and set it up for tomorrow.
5:00 P.M. Head for home.
When I arrive home, it's time to unwind, shake the day off my shoulders, and clear my head. I make a cocktail and take a sip, walk and feed the dog, and pull my dinner together. Since I usually plan ahead for dinner, all I have to do is check my weekly menu, haul my already-prepared dinner out of the refrigerator, and finish that evening cocktail.
After dinner, I sit down at my home computer and review the listings I uploaded this day. If all is well, then I am done and can have some serious play time with the dog, get in touch with family and friends, take care of domestic business, and maybe sketch out some ideas for a new HubPages article. If all is not well, for example if I find that I've erred in a category choice or opening bid price, then I make those revisions from home.
At 10:30 P.M., there's one last trip outdoors for the doggie, then I brush my teeth, fall into bed with a good book, and feel lucky if I can stay awake long enough to read a few pages. Lights out!
Selling on eBay can make "9 to 5" look pretty darn good.
I hope you enjoyed sharing a day in the life of an eBay seller.
For those of you who buy on eBay, I hope I gave you a good picture of the time and effort running an eBay business can entail.
For those of you who sell on eBay for others, next time one of your friends, customers, or family members says something cute like, "Oh, just throw this up on eBay for me, will you?", don't say a word, just give them the link to this hub.
Meanwhile, please visit us at Sally's Trove on eBay.