eBay Tips

Creating space while making cash: eBay tips to come up trumps…

So, this week I have been on annual leave. As well as spending time with the children, planning and organising fun (and inexpensive where I can) outings, I have assigned myself some much-needed tasks around the home. I have (as I mentioned earlier, see I have a secret…) rather a lot of clutter in my house (I refuse to call it junk)…


So, in order to thin down my ‘clutter’ and make some much needed room, I have decided that I will banish 5 items a week from my home. Now, 5 items a week for 52 weeks (according to my calculations) means that I will have freed up the space taken up by 260 items!! Holy cow! My vision of my home becoming a minimalist zen could well become a reality!  I may be able to close the doors to my cupboards properly! (Or, in my husbands words, I might end up filling that space with 260 new pieces of junk…)

Now, as I said earlier, my clutter is not junk. Even if it was, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure…”  While I believe in giving the clothing which we no longer wear (or fit in to) to our local charity shop, anything else I try to sell on. So far the platforms which I have used to trade have been car boot sales (I quite enjoy the bartering and banter!), Facebook selling pages (not bad, but occasionally unreliable), Gumtree (some quite good results), but my favourite has to be eBay…

I started selling on eBay (and buying, unfortunately!) back in 2007. Over the years I have amassed in the region of over 2000 positive feedbacks, so have therefore picked up a few pointers over the years. Back then the fees (or packaging costs) weren’t as high, so there really was some good money to be made. This is still the case, but over the years I’ve noticed a definite decline in the profits, especially when you factor in the PayPal fees too. However, it’s still one of the places I always look when I’m making a purchase, and the fact that there are others like me means that there are always buyers out there who are longing to give your items a good home (for a reasonable fee, of course…)

So, if like me you have some items which you are considering selling on eBay, then feel free to tap into my experience and learn from my mistakes…

Here are my top tips:

1. Schedule your items to end on a Sunday…

When I first started selling I didn’t pay any attention to when the auction was due to finish, but soon realised that, like hundreds of thousands of other people, there were certain times which were more readily available for me to browse on eBay. Whether it be due to work commitments, family commitments, etc., an end time of 4.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon might not get me the interest which I was hoping for on my item. So, I changed my listings, scheduling the start time to the nearest Thursday (I almost always do 3 day listings-only because that’s my preference) so that they would end on the Sunday. The improvement was huge! Initially I used to end them for about 8pm, which is great, but not if it’s a very popular item. What you find is that eBay may well be flooded with items just like yours, all finishing at that approximate time (those other sellers must have done their homework too!).  If that’s the case I would opt to end them between 2-5pm.

2. Take the best images you possibly can…

Now, I don’t expect you to call in a professional, however you really will benefit from making a little time to take your pictures. Take photos from all angles, on a plain background (White is ideal, but plain is the deal clincher). If there are any imperfections, be sure to take a detailed shot of it (and explain the exact nature of the fault in your listing) -you will still get interested buyers, and will save yourself the headache of having to apologise and refund later on… Light is also important-I always try to take my pictures near a window so that I get some good natural light. And lastly, position the item so that it looks good. You are creating a stage to entice people to your listing-make it count.

3. Use the ‘advanced search’ option to find out how much the same item sold for recently…

Before I even start to create my listing, I use the advance search option (top right hand side) to search the items I’m about to sell. By typing in the keywords, and highlighting ‘completed listings’ you can see all the previous listings for your item. By looking to see which ones sold for the highest amount, you can view that listing to get some pointers on why it managed to make more money than the others. It could have been that it was more detailed than the others, had better pictures, maybe it looked slightly more professional. You will usually be able to tell why it sold and why another didn’t just by comparing the two.

4. Provide an accurate and detailed listing…

There is no way that you can provide ‘too much’ information. If you are honest about the condition of the item, and provide as many details as possible, you will benefit from gaining the trust of the buyers.  Therefore, they will place more confidence in purchasing from you, which may mean that they are happy to place that one last bid… Kerching!! Another important part of creating your listing is to make sure you are advertising in the correct department. Your ad could be the best ever, but it’ll be of no benefit to you if people aren’t able to find it!

5. Don’t be tempted to inflate postage costs…

These days, anyone can work out how much it costs to post an item of an approximate weight. However, it still astounds me to see that some buyers still hugely inflate their postage costs. It is my belief that these people remove themselves from the market. Out of principle, I will never bid on an item which has an astronomical postage charge, no matter how much I may want it… However, please be aware that an item which may not be expected to go far in a bidding war might benefit from having a higher postage charge. The facts are that you have to pay an eBay fee based on the final selling price, so if you have a high postage charge but low selling price, you will pay less commission…

6. Send Recorded Delivery on anything which sells for over £10…

Again, this is a matter of preference, but even if I haven’t factored in the cost of Recorded Delivery, I would rather take this loss to have the peace of mind of having a trackable parcel than having to refund it and try to claim compensation due to non-delivery. Some people will ONLY send Recorded, but I know that on lower priced items some buyers will not find that a feasible option, and will therefore avoid bidding on the item for that reason.

7. Leave feedback whenever possible…

Lots of people make a living from eBay, and who knows, maybe it’s something you may consider doing in the future. Therefore, it’s worth making good links now. If you’ve received good service from a seller, make it known!! If you’re lucky, and you’ve provided good service as a seller, hopefully you’ll attract some good reviews which will boost your status as a seller! This should mean that you will get recognised as a reliable and honest seller; which will hopefully have a knock on effect on your generated revenue!

Good luck!!!

Have you any good tips which I’ve missed out? I’m sure our budding sellers will be grateful for your expertise! Please feel free to comment and point them in the right direction 😀

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