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How to Be a Seller on Ebay

Updated on May 30, 2013
Selling on eBay is a great way to supplement your income as well as get rid of unused and gently used items.
Selling on eBay is a great way to supplement your income as well as get rid of unused and gently used items. | Source

Selling on eBay is a great way to make money online. The only equipment required is a digital camera (even your phone camera) and a computer with internet access. What you sell can come from your own home, thrift stores and yard sales. You do not have to maintain an inventory to be an eBay seller. For a work from home business venture, selling on eBay has very little risk and a large potential for making extra money. But how do you get started? What do you need to know? Learn all about how to sell on eBay here.

Items to Sell on Ebay

Selling on eBay sounds interesting to lots of people. But, what can you actually sell on eBay? The answer to this question is just about anything! In my personal experience, I have sold clothing, books, toys, speaker's podiums, and more.

The beauty of selling on eBay is that your item is immediately available to the world. Because the world is such a large marketplace there are most likely people somewhere looking for what you have to sell. Don't worry, though. You don't have to sell internationally if you don't want to. And, you don't have to pay for shipping to your customer if you don't want to. More details on shipping will follow later. For now, wrap your mind around the idea that just about anything can be sold on eBay.

Create an eBay Account and Profile

The first step to becoming a seller on eBay is to create your account and profile. Registering your account gives you the immediate ability to both buy and sell on eBay. You can register your account quickly and easily done by providing simple information including your name and email address. While registering for an account, you will be prompted to choose a user ID and password. Click here to register for an eBay account.

Gently used baby items sell well on eBay and can be purchased for a few dollars at yard sales.
Gently used baby items sell well on eBay and can be purchased for a few dollars at yard sales. | Source

Where to Get Things to Sell on Ebay

Finding items to sell on eBay is as easy as looking into your closet at the clothes and shoes you haven't worn in a year. Gently used clothing and shoes that are in season sell well on eBay. Also, if you have that perfect dress that you bought for when you lose a few pounds or that you thought looked so great in the store that hasn't been worn, you can sell it as "new with tags." Brand new items with tags and original packaging sell very well and you can recover much of what you spent on such items.

Check your kitchen for small appliances that are not frequently - or never - used. That juicer or breadmaker that is cluttering up your cupboards can bring in some cash and make some space at the same time.

Think about unused picture frames, sheet sets, jewelry, purses, wallets, and memorabilia. One of my friends is a huge fan of Barry Manilow. She will buy anything - and often seeks out items for sale - that are about him!

My husband cleaned out his tool shed recently as he prepared to set up a new lead bullet casting apparatus. While cleaning, he found several incomplete dye molds and weight sets. To him they were worthless. He posted the incomplete set of varied parts on eBay and sold them for a cool $28. Just goes to show you that one man's trash is another man's treasure!

If you happen to be out at yard sales or thrift stores, keep your eye out for things like current video games, video and digital cameras, tools. These types of items sell well on eBay and can be bought for less than a few dollars at a yard sale or thrift store.

Do Items Sell on eBay with Free eBay Listings?

Yes! In our household we exclusively use the free ad listings provided by eBay. We are in the business of making - not spending - money. From one frugal person to another, make the most of the free listings first and check your results. If you find you need more activity on your ads, consider adding some features to your ads at that point.

What are Ebay Listing Fees?

All eBay sellers are provided with 50 free ad listings per month. These are basic ads with a certain number of photos but are a great way to try eBay risk free. When your item sells, eBay will charge you a final value fee (a portion of the sales price + shipping fees). Sales tax is not included in the final value fee. To estimate what the final value fee will be on a certain item, eBay provides a fee calculator. By using the calculator before listing your item you can get a good idea of what this charge will be.

eBay has really moved from charging a listing fee to charging the final value fee at the time of sale. A seller posting more than 50 ads per month on eBay will incur listing fees for the number of ads over the free 50 ads. Additionally, if you choose to add more than the included number of photos or any special features to your ad, you will be charged accordingly. Learn more about eBay fees here.

Before you list your item on eBay, prepare it as you would prepare yourself for a photo.  Be sure it looks its best.  After all, you want it SOLD!
Before you list your item on eBay, prepare it as you would prepare yourself for a photo. Be sure it looks its best. After all, you want it SOLD! | Source

How to Post an Ad on Ebay

Before you post an ad on eBay, be sure your item is clean, dusted, ironed, polished, etc.... You want your item to be camera ready so that your photos will promote it optimally. Clothing that is wrinkled or shown folded in an unorganized manner does not sell as well as clothing that is clean, ironed and presented on a hanger with front and back views. Prepare your item for photos in much the same way that you would prepare yourself for photos. Make sure it looks its best!

When you have selected your photos, log in to eBay. Click the "sell" button on the upper right side of the screen. You will be prompted to describe your item, select how you will sell the item (auction style, fixed price, auction style with reserve pricing, etc....), and add photos. The process is simple but somewhat time consuming. The good news is that it does pay off with consistency.

How you choose to sell your item depends on your goal. Consider these points when choosing how you will sell.

  • If your goal is to clear out space and make some money at the same time, you might want to sell auction style with a .99 starting price and have shipping paid by the customer.
  • If you have an item that is valuable, you might want to consider selling with a reserve price. What that means is the item will not be sold unless the bid price at least meets what you have set as the reserve price. So, you are protected from loss on the value of your item.
  • If you are not negotiable on the price, you may want to sell on a "Buy It Now" basis. Buy It Now sets a fixed price for your item and may or may not include shipping fees. This is simple for buyers and sellers. One word of caution: Set your price fairly and around your bottom dollar price so that your item will sell. The reality is that while folks may want your item, if it is priced too high they will not buy it.

Measuring and weighing boxes prior to listing on eBay allows you to estimate shipping costs.  Wrap the packages after this to save time on shipping later.  Be sure to note on the outer package what is inside!
Measuring and weighing boxes prior to listing on eBay allows you to estimate shipping costs. Wrap the packages after this to save time on shipping later. Be sure to note on the outer package what is inside! | Source

How to Estimate Shipping Costs for Items Sold on Ebay

My husband does most of the eBay selling in our house, and he has developed a tried and true method to be sure that he does not lose money on shipping charges. He has a few basic simple rules.

  1. The customer always pays shipping.
  2. He always packages items after photographing and before listing on eBay.
  3. Packages are weighed and boxes measured before posting on eBay.
  4. When posting the item on eBay, he enters the correct measurements and weight of the package to get the exact shipping price.
  5. When the item sells, it is already packaged. He prints the shipping label and mails the package.

Maintaining a Positive Ebay Seller Feedback Profile

While anyone can sell on eBay, not everyone is a great seller on eBay. Further, sellers are actually given feedback scores on eBay for buyers to see. So, it makes sense that sellers want to preserve and maintain positive feedback from their buyers to encourage future sales.

Basic etiquette for eBay sellers wanting to maintain a positive seller profile include:

  • be sure the item is clearly described - including defects;
  • provide clear photographs of the item in each ad;
  • respond quickly to questions from potential buyers;
  • package items carefully to ensure safe shipping;
  • ship items quickly to enhance the buyer's satisfaction;
  • leave feedback for your buyer after the transaction is complete;
  • resolve any complaints or dissatisfaction quickly.

Would you sell on eBay?

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Managing Customer Questions and Complaints

Customer questions and complaints come to the eBay seller through the eBay Message Center. When you have items for sale it is important to check for messages at least 1-2 times daily and respond immediately.

Questions from buyers prior to sale are usually related to size, dimensions, color, defects, and such. If you have more than one item for sale, customer may ask if you will combine shipping costs on multiple items. All questions should be addressed.

Complaints after delivery include anything that the customer finds unsatisfactory about the item received. Your resolution of the problem can include replacing the item at no cost to the buyer or refunding purchase price + shipping. In general, if your item is presented well with notes about defects or imperfections, the ratio of complaints to satisfied customers should be very low. If this is not the case, you need to review your personal eBay sales practices and pay closer attention to details.


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    • Lees Toy Review profile image

      Lees Toy Review 

      4 years ago

      Some great basic info here

    • thewritingowl profile image

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      Thinking about giving ebay a go as I need a P/T income from home this year. Thanks for advice.

    • las81071 profile image


      6 years ago

      I am always looking for ways to make money thanks

    • kansasyarn profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Sanderson 

      6 years ago from Rural Midwest

      who-is-william, eBay gives all sellers 50 free listings monthly. Could be a good way to put some $$$ in your paypal account!

    • who-is-william profile image


      6 years ago

      Without spending a dime..?

      My paypal account currently counts 0,00 $. I don't have money for listing fees.


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