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Need Extra Cash? Join me in Selling on eBay!
Money to be Made
If you're looking to bring in some extra cash, selling on eBay could be the answer you're looking for. There's money to be made by becoming part of the eBay seller community. I made my first sale about 5 years ago, but thought it was too much effort, for a small payoff at the time. But looking back now, I have to admit, it was laziness on my part. Now years later, I am actively selling and enjoy it. The eBay folks have made it much simpler and more enjoyable. I have been able to reduce the clutter in my house, while bringing joy to others with great deals. I also enjoy going to garage sales and auctions, where I find wonderful items that I know others will love. I enjoy being able to provide such items to those that don’t have the time to go out and find themselves.
EBay is such a large marketplace, you can find virtually anything your heart desires. I found that I completed most of my Christmas shopping on eBay. From brand new toys in the box for my children, to video games and clothes. I was also able to find a rare vintage rolling pin for my mother to add to her collection and sports items for my husband. I know eBay has been around for years and years, but I find with each passing year, it becomes better and better.
If you find yourself with extra items and wanting to earn some extra cash the first step is to open an account if you don’t already have one. Another nice benefit to eBay is your account is always free, and allows you to operate as a seller or a buyer. Give a little thought to your user id, as this is how buyers and sellers will refer to you. Pick something unique and memorable, but not offensive. Something positive is always good. I created my account so many years ago, my user id is lramos2718 (pretty boring). I recently reached the level of Power Seller, so choose to keep my original user id.
Once you have the account you can track your auctions, view bids and send and receive emails. You will then need to decide your fee arrangement. I chose the standard fee arrangement. This allows me to list up to 50 items per month for free and pay 10% of the final value once my item sells. There are other options available at monthly costs ranging from 15.95$ – 179.95$, which allow more free insertions and lower percentage of final value fees. If you plan to list more than 50 items, it would be beneficial to look into the other plans. At some point in the future, I plan to further research those as I increase my number of listings.
Once you decide your fee plan, if you don’t already have a PayPal account, you should open one. It is not a requirement to sell on eBay, but will make your transactions so much easier. PayPal allows buyers to use their checking account or credit cards to pay for items they buy from you. It also allows you to sell internationally. Almost 30% of my sales have been to international buyers, from South America to Europe and many places in between. PayPal makes it so simple, buyers’ initiate the payment transaction with PayPal and PayPal transfers the money to your account. If there is a problem with the purchase or sell, PayPal is there to assist with refund transactions.
What to Sell
Once you are set up and ready to go, you must decide what to sell. I went room to room, looking of things I no longer needed, or clothes we no longer wore. I also found several items that had never been used. It is a great idea to look around on eBay and get an idea for things that are currently selling, along with the prices they are selling at. Its important that you sell items you are familiar with. Not only will you have to describe the item, but you will also receive questions from potential buyers. Those questions are difficult to answer if you aren't familiar with the product. My parents asked me to sell their hay tester. They were looking to get at least 300 out of it, as it was still brand new in the box. I didn't know a thing about it and found myself forwarding questions and googling hay testers for more information. So it can be done, but I prefer to stick with items I am familiar with.
It is also a great idea to start small. I started very small years ago, but never really learned the ropes until this time around. About 6 months ago, I started again with only a few items. I wanted to establish myself as a reputable seller. I started with 100% positive rating and have continued to maintain that rating. Great customer service is the key to a positive rating. I have made mistakes along the way, listed a wrong size, not packed the item as well as should have and breaks along the way, and other mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and I have learned from mine. Through these mistakes I put the customer first and remedied the situation to their satisfaction. This is the key to earning the trust of buyers and establishing yourself as an honest seller.
Price Your Items
Many years ago, eBay functioned only as an auction site, but there are other options now. You can list an item at a buy it now price, and leave it out there until it sells. However eBay buyers are twice as likely to buy an item when it’s listed auction-style. When I look to purchase, I reduce my search to only those listed auction-style, as do many other consumers. Therefore, when I sell, I list all of my items in auctions by establishing an opening bid and setting the number of days for buyers to submit their bids. Auctions can be set anywhere from 1 to 10 days. I have found that many buyers watch items for awhile and think about them before placing a bid. So I usually set mine for 7 days, allowing enough time to build additional interest and more buyers.
When setting your starting bid, set it low enough to draw attention. When deciding your pirce, it is helpful to look at other items similar to yours and see what they started at, and sold at. Items priced to high are often looked past. The idea is to get enough interest to raise the bids. If you have an item that you can’t bear to get rid of for less then a certain price, you can set a reserve price. EBay charges an additional fee for this feature, but will ensure that your item doesn’t sell for less then you are looking for. I have only used the reserve price option on certain pieces of jewelry.
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures and a Desciption
Pictures are worth 1000 words. Its not enough to simply talk about your item, you must show customers exactly what they are getting. When taking pictures, keep your background as simple as possible. I set my items up on a shelf in front of a beige colored wall. In addition I try not to use my flash, opting for natural sunlight instead. Make sure to avoid shadows as this will take away from your picture. You must also ensure you hold your camera steady, as blurred images won’t clearly show buyers your item. Take multiple shots. The more pictures from different angles, the better. Also be sure to include close ups showing important details. EBay allows you to post up to 12 pictures at no additional cost.
Once you have photographed your item, pack and weigh it so you can determine your shipping price. EBay offers an option of “calculated shipping”. If you choose this option, costs will be calculated for you based on the buyer’s ZIP code and weight and dimensions of your package. I don’t tend to use this option, as feel that buyers would rather see an amount up front before bidding. This function does allow them to get an estimate prior to bidding, but I prefer to put a set amount. After shipping several items, you will get a feel for shipping costs. Ensure you don’t set them to high. Shipping is not the place to make money, as it will turn buyers away from your items. You can also choose to offer free shipping. This is a definite attraction to buyers. When selling higher priced, small items, I try to offer free shipping.
Once your item is photographed and costs are determined, write a great description of your item. You need to tell potential buyers a much as possible about your item in a such a way that is clear and appealing. Create a clear title using appropriate key words and adding in useful information, such as brand name or designer. In your description include all pertinent information such as size, color, model names, or numbers and any accessories included. Its is also a good idea to add how old it is and what type of condition. Not only are specific features important, but talk about the benefits the buyer will receive. I sell a lot of toys my son no longer plays with, and clearly detail the enjoyment he had with them.
Once you've received a winning bid be sure to confirm the total price, accepted forms of payment, shipping method and expected delivery date with the buyer. I use the online “checkout” feature, which automatically sends the information to the buyer. You can also send an invoice via My eBay. Before you ship your item, make sure you have received the payment. I have only had a couple of instances where the buyer was slow to pay. A gentle reminder is very effective. I have also had a couple of cases where the buyer never responded and didn't pay. In this situation you will have to open a case against the buyer. EBay will then handle if for you and reimburse any fees, allowing you to re-list the item. Buyers, like sellers, like to protect their eBay reputation, so problems are few and far between.
As soon as you receive payment, ship out the item. Be sure its wrapped and packed well, to keep from breaking. You want your item to arrive quickly and in good shape to ensure customer satisfaction, thus leading to positive feedback. Its not just buyers that leave feedback, sellers should too. This lets others know how it is to do business with you, while also helping to improve your buyers reputation (as long as it was a good experience). This will also aid in earning you a reputation as a thoughtful and appreciative seller. Not only do you want a positive reputation among buyers and sellers, but eBay as well. Be sure to pay your fees on time. I set it up so eBay is able to take them automatically once a month from my PayPal account.
Follow these simple steps and you are well on your way to cleaning up unwanted items and earning extra spending money in the process. EBay continues to grow on a daily basis. It is such a wonderful community and I am glad to be a contributing member. Be sure to check out my items I'm currently selling at http://www.ebay.com/usr/lramos2718.