Finance G loves... My Life

Want extra cash? Try selling on eBay with these 10 Simple Steps

In your early twenties you want to have ALL the fun. But ‘ALL the fun’ costs money and it’s unlikely that you’re CEO of any company just yet. So money can sometimes be an issue. 

I like to use eBay to help me…

A. Get rid of all those items that I never wear/use or have a need for. 

B. Get some extra cash so I can go out and have a much fun as I like/buy new things for my wardrobe.

Every time I mention selling things on eBay to my friends and family everyone always tells me that it takes too long and they can’t be bothered. Quite often I think that what they really mean is they don’t know how. So here’s a guide and some top tips for selling and making some extra cash on eBay.

Step 1: Have a sort out 

Decide what you want to sell by looking through your wardrobe and cupboards. Consider whether the bag you intended to take to the charity shop has some valuable things you make be able to make a few pound on.

Step 2: Photograph your items

Take lots of pictures of each item. Find a neutral background, I use the back of my kitchen door and I always photograph on a nice wooden hanger.

Step 3: Sign up to eBay

It’s easy to do, just like any other account these days. I made mine a number of years ago but one tip I would say is to not use your real name in your username. You will also need to attach a PayPal account so that people can pay you.

Step 4: List your items for sale

Give as much detail as possible and if there are any problems with the item like wear and tear, BE HONEST. Your buyer will only ask you for a refund if you aren’t clear or try to hide things. Ask yourself “will someone search for this?” People are more likely to search for a ‘Ted Baker shirt’ than just ‘shirt’.

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Step 5: Give a starting price for your auction and correct postage cost

When I first list the item for sale I always start the auction at the ideal price I would like for the item. After all, you never know if it’s a sought after item. For most items, I list my postage as 2nd Class Small Parcel which comes to £2.95. If it’s a smaller item I sometimes choose a large letter which is cheaper, but only if I can guarantee that I can package that small. Occasionally I have not been able to package small enough so in those cases where you know you won’t fit it into the small parcel dimensions consider charging more, eBay list lots of options. The reason I always do 2nd Class is because it allows you more flexibility on posting times. eBay also take a cut of the money you charge for postage so bare this in mind too.

Step 6: If your item does not sell

If your item does not sell, re-list for less money and you may get more interest. There have been times when I’ve listed it for less than I wanted for it but so many people bid that I eventually got more than I’d originally put it up for.

Step 7: If your item sells – Yay!

Wait for your buyer to pay into your PayPal account (a small amount will be taken by PayPal/eBay at this point, it’s usually about 5%). Now it’s time to package your item. Your aim is to not exceed Length 45cm x Width 35cm x Depth 16cm which means postage will cost £2.95 or less. Reuse packaging from orders you’ve received to save money but take off any details of your own address before doing so.

Step 8: Post it

Work out where your nearest post office is and make friends with the staff there, if you become a hardcore eBayer like me, they will be your best friends. Always ask for a proof of postage receipt so you have evidence you posted the item. For really expensive goods you may want to post it signed for or tracked but this costs more so include that in your listing charges.

Step 9: Give Feedback

Mark your item as ‘posted’ on eBay and give your buyer feedback. ‘Thanks for quick payment’ is what I tend to say and it usually means they give good feedback too if they are happy with their item.

Step 10: Enjoy the money

Transferring money from your PayPal account to your bank account is easy and means you have access to the money straight away. At the end of the month eBay charge you for your sales (usually around 10%) so leave some money in your PayPal account for this and be prepared for the bill.

Top Tips Overall: 

  • List as many items for auction as you can at once. This means that when they sell, they all sell at the same time and so you can post at the same time. Less trips to the post office = less bother for you.
  • Consider the time you post your auction. Exactly a week after is when your final minutes of the auction will be. Aim for evenings and weekends to allow as many people as possible to be available to do any last minute bids.
  • New items like cellophane-wrapped DVDs and clothes with tags fetch a higher price.
  • Branded goods sell better. People trust a ‘Morphy Richards Blender’ over an ‘Electric Blender’.
  • Once the item is listed I always click ‘watch’. This gives the illusion to anyone looking at the item that someone else is already interested in the item.
  • Take advantage of free listings and eBay offers. To begin with eBay usually give you 20 free listings per month meaning you only have to pay a fee when you sell and not 35p per listing. As you grow your account, eBay will give you more free listings per month.

Happy eBaying!

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