How to Sell on eBay

Almost Free Money cover


Learning how to sell on eBay is easy. In this post, we provide unique tips for maximizing profits when reselling garage sale finds and thrift store gold.

Just click on the eBay hyperlink above to be directed to the eBay new seller instructions. They make it so that anybody can learn how to sell, within a short time period, regardless of their internet skills.

worlds longest yard sale 2013

Yard Sales can be great places to find cheap eBay inventory!

Both learning how to sell on eBay and Amazon is covered in detail in our e-book Almost Free Money.  AFM also covers which types of items and materials lend themselves better to success on one site or the other. It also cover how to start selling on both sites, if you have never sold online.

  For experienced re-sellers and flippers, AFM provides many tips and techniques for maximizing profit for your garage sale   finds by selling them online. You may also wish to check out our related blog post about How to Sell on Amazon. It complements this page on how to sell on eBay.

Tips for How to Sell on eBay

Eames era clock

Vintage clocks like this 1960s Eames era clock can bring $50-100 on eBay

    1. The one thing that will make or break your auction is a GOOD COVER PHOTO! Get a good digital camera, and learn how to use it. Make sure that the photo that will appear in the thumbnail for the auction is attractive in that small size. If your item does not lend itself well to an interesting photo, use a colorful background, or zoom in to one cool aspect of the larger item. This is very important when learning how to sell on eBay.
    2. Listing your auction in the correct category is vital. That’s why we provided listing ID #s for 520 items that you can buy for under $1 in AFM. You can figure out which category is best by researching Completed Listings.
    3. The USPS provides FREE Priority Mail boxes. All you have to do is go to the USPS website and request them. Get a variety of boxes, including Flat Rate Boxes and envelopes. Also start saving boxes and packaging materials (Newspapers, bubble wrap, packing peanuts).
    4. You will need a digital scale, so that you know how much items weigh. You will have to assign a shipping charge, which eBay calculates based on the weight of the packaged item.
    5. Figure out ahead of time where you will be storing inventory. You will need some room for boxes, books, etc. The more room you have, the more flexibility you have as to what you can resell.
    6. Ship quickly! Nothing makes winning bidders more upset than having to wait for the receipt of their item. Put yourself in their shoes. If you found something you had been trying to find for a long time, and won that auction, you would want to get that item as quickly as possible, right? There’s no excuse for not shipping out a package within two days of receiving payment.
    7. The customer is always right, even when they’re idiots. I have had dozens of customers complain about their items, even though the issue that they were complaining about was described EXACTLY in the auction description. They just failed to read the description before bidding. Just nod, and give them a refund, and then resell the item to someone else. Since eBay changed their feedback rules, there is no recourse for bidders leaving negative feedback. You do not get to leave negative feedback for buyers, even is they are complete jerks. Remember, the only thing that you have as an eBay seller to compare you to other comparable sellers is your feedback rating, so protect it at all costs!


Tips for Making a Better eBay Auction


    1. Make your auction titles interesting! Think about what your potential bidders are interested in, and include that in your title. Be specific. Examples are dates for when items were produced, author’s or artist’s names, which edition a book was (especially if 1st edition), limited edition releases, etc.
    2. The most important thing about learning how to sell on eBay is to be able to think like your potential bidder, who is a collector of the item that you are listing. You need to know what collectors need to understand about your item before they feel comfortable bidding on your item. Know how they assign conditions to their collectibles, what aspects of the condition make a collectible more valuable (like sharp corners on a trading card, or having a vinyl record jacket without seam splits). Relay that information throughout your auction – In the auction photos, in the title and in your description.
    3. Tell the collector that you are concerned about the care of the item that you will be sending them in the mail. Specify how you are going to ship their item: Bubble wrapped, in a sturdy box, etc.
    4. ACCURATELY describe the condition of your items, and take photos, so that potential bidders can see defects. Do NOT exaggerate the quality of your items to make them seem better than they really are. See #7 to the right.
    5. If you are not familiar with the item that you are selling, find several comparable items that did well in eBay Completed Listings, and take a look at how the seller listed the item to get a good price for it. Look at how the photos were taken, what aspects of the condition were described, and what was in the auction title.
    6. If you are still learning how to sell on eBay, spend some time and do some surfing on the site. Look at interesting auctions, and note how successful seller list items, and provide photos. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
    7. Good photos are extremely important. All people are visual shoppers. Many only scan text descriptions, so your photos sell your items. You are better off spending more time taking and uploading photos than typing long descriptions.

Benefits of eBay vs Amazon

  • Items sell on eBay within 7 days, or shorter if you choose. Rare items may take months to sell on Amazon, or may never sell at all.
  • eBay auctions are great for rare collectibles, when you don’t have much to compare them to. Make an eBay auction, and let the market set the price. eBay auctions may end up going higher in price than what you would list the item for on Amazon’s fixed price format.
  • You can easily provide many photos on eBay, so that bidders can see how cool your item is. Amazon provides one small picture, in many cases.
  • You can specify your shipping charges on eBay. Amazon has a set shipping allowance, which sometimes does not cover the cost to actually ship an item, especially if you consider packaging costs.
  • eBay has more categories for collectibles, and many collectors do not look on Amazon at all.
  • It’s easier to research how much comparable items have sold for recently on eBay. That’s a huge advantage when you price your own item. You can also see what worked for other sellers that have sold your item before. Whether you are learning how to sell on eBay, or a veteran auctioneer, you should still be researching what to sell and how other sellers have made money listing auctions.
Article Name
How to Sell on eBay
Veteran eBay sellers provide the best eBay tips for how to sell on eBay by making better eBay listings, eBay photos, eBay titles. Make more money on eBay!
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