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How to sell on eBay without paying fees

Updated on March 5, 2014

You've been watching and maybe buying on eBay for awhile, and you figured: I can do this also,
I can be an eBay seller.

However, selling on eBay may have financial repercussions, and you don't want to make any greenhorn mistakes that might penalise you financially.

Methinks you've come to the right place!

I'll show you how to make your first sell ad on eBay, without paying (what eBay calls) insertion fees.

It may not be common knowledge, but eBay allows you to create up-to a hundred auction-style listings for free (per month), if the starting or reserve price is between US$0.01 and US$0.99.
There would be some features you won't be able to use (e.g., displaying more than one photo on the main page of your listing) but for training purposes, and to get your feet wet, the listing you'll create will be more than adequate.

Okay, let's start.

First thing we need is something to sell. It could be anything you have which you won't be too sorry if it sold for a Dollar (or less).

I looked around my office, and decided to sell the March 2008 issue of Popular Photography magazine. It's almost new and though the price at the news-stand in the USA is 5 Dollars, I wouldn't mind getting less than a Dollar for it.

Log into your account on eBay, choose from the top menu sell/sell an item -

and press the Start Selling button.

This is the window you're presented with.
We'll start filling it presently, but I want to draw your attention to the lower half of the Window: Sell with a template.
After you spend the time to create your entry, eBay gives you several ways to create similar entries in the future: using templates is one of them.

We'll start by filling a description of the item we want to sell.
In this case, I entered: magazine photography used

After pressing the search button, eBay gives us some choices for categories. We seem to be lucky, as the first choice - Magazines back issues - looks to be exactly the description for our item. So, we can tick it and move on by pressing Continue.

However, if eBay would not have been so good at guessing the description of our item, we could use the Browse categories or Recently used categories and choose the category that best describes our item.

This is the form you are presented with.

It may be adequate, but eBay offers another form with more entry choices.
I'll chose that form (always better to have more choice) by pressing on Switch to form with more choices.

Now choose from the pull down menus the relevant choices for our item.

We now come to the point where we need to decide what graphic/photo we want to represent our item.

Since my item is a magazine, the best representation would be its front cover.
Using scanning software, I scan and save it to my hard drive (if you need a refresher on how to scan, do this).

Note: if you are going to scan for inclusion in eBay selling ad, there's no need to go beyond 150 DPI. What you need is to crop your scan intelligently: nothing broadcasts un-professionalism more than a badly cropped photo.

Press Add pictures and in the pop-up window choose the Basic or Standard tab.
Use the Browse button to locate the scan you saved on your hard drive.

Finally, press Upload.
Depending on the size of the file you upload and your Internet connection, this may take a while.

Another alternative is to link to a photo on the Internet. You can choose the Self hosting tab and enter the URL (Web address) of a picture to link to on a Web server.

While you are waiting for the file to upload to eBay, you can create the description of the item.

I find that it is easier to create the HTML code and images of the description in another HTML editor/processor, and then copy-and-paste it to the eBay form.

Choose whatever you want the potential buyer to know as well as any other data the buyer may need - to make an informed decision to buy your item.

Take the opportunity to press the Save draft and look at the Preview.

In Starting price, put whatever price up to US$1.00
Leave Buy It Now price empty.

Leave the Duration at 7 days.

Mark the PayPal box and enter your PayPal e-mail address.

Enter shipping and handling for USA addresses (yes, eBay is quite Amri-centric).
Don't put a shipping price above the maximum that eBay indicates.

Fill in Handling time.

Enter International shipping costs. You can break down - geographically - the shipping costs, but eBay does not allow you to create costs for a list of countries of your choosing.

If you want to be on the safe side, you can Exclude shipping locations.

Make sure the Item location is correct, as this is where the Local pickup above refers to.

If applicable, fill or change the Buyer requirements, Sales tax, Return policy, and Additional checkout instructions.

Et voilĂ ,
as promised - your first eBay selling entry, and it costs you US$0.00 !

Note that after your item is sold, there will be fees you'd have to pay eBay, based on the selling price.

Press Continue >.

You are transferred to the Review your listing window: so, review your entry and make any changes that occurred to you.
You do this using the Preview your listing or the Edit listing options at the bottom of the page.
There, you also have the option to Save this listing as a template and use it to sell similar items.

After all is to your satisfaction, you can press the List your item at the bottom of the page,
or press the Save for later icon at the top of the window.

If you pressed List your item, you'll see how your item looks to buyers on eBay.

Should this how-to elaborate on how to scan a photo ?

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    • profile image

      walt brandt 

      4 months ago

      vary helpfull

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      4 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Very informative and useful hub. Thaks for sharing.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      plus offering extras which can announce this kind of the main benefit of the skepticism. akcbfdedceee

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Currently there are no listing fees for items costing more than $1 also. I think you get 50 free listings per month.

    • Dave Powell profile image

      Dave Powell 

      7 years ago from Winchester, MA

      Hi Ron!

      I hadn't actually thought about this (and I've been selling on eBay since its earliest days). I almost never start items for under a buck... but will test that out! Strangely, though, in some auction categories, you can also start for under $10, and still have zero Insertion Fees.

      I'm also a brand new hubber, and found your article when I published my first eBay piece yesterday. So our little eBay community is growing!


      Dave Powell


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