How to sell on Ebay

So let’s say you have some old items you want to cash in. What to do?

How do you sell on Ebay?

First investigate pricing for similar used item online on sites such as Ebay, Amazon and Craigslist. Know the market price and how many are out there that are similar.

Once you have determined you are ok with the market price take photos of your item and write out a description. Just use your phone to do so and email to yourself. Feel free to copy other people’s posting wording and plagiarize their adds if the items is identical.

Get packaging together for the item. Usually used Amazon boxes and mailer will do fine. There is no need to buy new packaging. That is wasteful and will eat into your margins. I just save all the old Amazon boxes, mailers from them and Ebay.

Put the item in the packaging and weigh it on a digital postal scale. You can get these cheap on Amazon for like ten dollars. It’s a one time investment. that will pay for itself in cheaper postage. Then measure the dimensions of the box and weight and write them down.

Log onto Ebay and write up the description under sell and put it into a category. You can also use someone else’s listing as a template. It’s called sell one like this. Then modify the listing with your own wording.

Set the price: Tricky Business

I usually don’t do auctions. If you have priced it correctly it will sell as buy it now. If it doesn’t sell you can always drop the price. However you cannot raise the price once someone has bought it. Duh.

I don’t allow offers. Ebay keeps wanting to set it as this so they can make that transaction fee of 10%. If you do you will get lots of low ball offers and end up selling for less than you wanted.

Enter the dimensions and weight on the site and set it as user pays postage. You don’t want to take a cost hit if the person lives in Hawaii or Guam etc.

List it!

If the item sells then buy the postage via paypal on the Ebay site. These rates are competitive and better than what you would get on your own. It’s better to use this than UPS which is expensive. The Ebay postage includes tracking. Then just drop the item off at the nearest post office.

Be wary of fees and commissions

  • Ebay normally has a 10% sales fee and a small listing fee. Look at these first.
  • The fees on Amazon are much higher so look at the net amount you will receive. The amount they give you for postage is usually not enough.

Get paid via Paypal!

This is the best way to get paid as in direct deposit into you Paypal account once the item shows as delivered. Once you have funds in your account then just transfer them to your checking or savings account.

Other good places to sell are…maybe

Amazon: For expensive books like textbooks. Be sure to ship via media mail. You will have to physically go to post office to buy that but regular postage will eat you alive as books are heavy.

Craigslist: For big and bulky items like furniture that you can’t ship. What is annoying is you have to deal with people in person and based on my experience these buyers are really cheap and want to haggle. I had one guy insistent on haggling an old table down from $20 to $15. Dude it’s five dollars! You’ve been warned.

Consignment stores: For nice baby clothes plus items. As we discussed these also work for real fashion clothing. No one is going to buy your used Gap hoodie however they may be interested in that Gucci dress or Prada shoes or Lacoste sport coat no longer fit. Think real items you would want new but can’t afford and might consider used to move up a social class or two.

Not good for selling and why

Pawnshops: the pawn dealer needs to make a profit so values may be low

Garage sales/yard sales: People aren’t usually looking for a specific targeted item. They tend be opportunistic and give low prices. If you just want them to get rid of some bulky item to save on disposal this could be the way to go.

Flea markets: Again there are many opportunistic buyers so prices will be low. You may also have to pay to rent a space or stall. You don’t want to pay.

Take the tax deduction?

In the past in the USA you could reduce your taxes via making charitable contributions at semi-inflated costs. With the tax law changes you can’t really do that as deductions are capped. Plan on getting nothing and trying to sell instead or just giving away for free

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