Less But Better // eBay & I
In 2004 I listed and sold my first ever item on eBay. 12 whole years ago. It was a battered old poster of the Manic Street Preachers, the same one as this. It was torn down the middle and had numerous drawing pin holes in each of the corners. It was tatty and beyond being hung again but I couldn’t face to see it go in the bin. Amazingly, someone else saw the worth of this item and it sold for £45.00.
So, I listed another item soon after. A 3 track CD single by Rammstein that I picked up in a record shop in Leeds for £1.00. It sold for £120.00. Crazy.
From then on, I was hooked!
I rarely mention eBay in real life or on social media but honestly, it has become such a huge part of my life that I find it hard to imagine a life without it. There’s no doubt that I have an eye for a bargain and love nothing more than selling for profit. At the same time though, I also have absolutely no qualms spending a lot of money on something if I know it will retain resale value once I have done with it!
I’ve been very lucky that my sales there over the years have funded everything from little luxuries to expensive Disney holidays, tattoos and even our wedding. 12 years later, I still can’t get enough!
Sure, eBay nowadays is a completely different place. The rules are different. It’s harder to follow and it’s certainly harder to make a profit. But sales are still there to be had and it’s a perfect outlet to make some cash from your clutter.
According to eBay, the average household has up to £4000 of excess items cluttering up their home. That’s an awful lot of money potentially just sitting there!
I didn’t want to write a full eBay guide as there are heaps and heaps of amazing blog posts already in existence. But, as it’s a subject that I have been asked about frequently I thought I’d have a go at sharing some of my top tips that have really helped me enjoy the eBay experience whilst selling over the years.
So, here we go….
Nothing, nothing is too weird or too broken or too worn to sell!
This is key. I found this out after I listed a pair of completely trashed boots many years ago when I first started out (really they should have gone in the bin but I was curious!) and they sold for £400.00.
Some of my most profitable items have been the ones where I thought to myself ‘this should probably go in the bin but I’ll give it a go on eBay first’! Bits of old rope, scraps of fabric, half used reel of cotton, empty bottles of perfume…. you name it, I’ve sold it! As long as your listings are detailed, honest and accurate with plenty of photographs you’ve really got nothing to lose.
The ever lovely Emma at From Aldi To Harrods writes a great monthly blog post of her top 10 weird things that sold on eBay. Her December 2015 post is here. Take a look, it’s absolutely ace!
Build up your feedback score
If you’re new to eBay, build up your score to at least 20 by making a few purchases and getting to know how it all works. Use this opportunity to stock up on packaging supplies in bulk as these are often incredibly cheap on eBay and far better than the supplies you’ll find in your local pound shop. When you start selling, make sure your customer service and communications are excellent. You’ll find buyers will trust their money with you if your feedback score is both bulky and positive!
Use the full potential of your listing.
Make sure your title keywords are spot on to catch your buyers attention. Use good lighting and a good camera for your photos. Upload as many photos as you can. Use a clear font in your listings to make your description easy to read. Be detailed. Be polite. Be honest. Describe any faults accurately. Answer any questions within 24 hours. Simple!
Work out your costings before you sell
You want to make a profit, right? Make sure you research your fees before you list your item so it doesn’t come as a shock at the end. eBay have a handy little calculator that will allow you to estimate your fees here. Price your item accordingly with this in mind!
Make use of free listing days
If you’re a private seller, eBay will give you 20 free listings a month. If you have a lot to sell though, you’ll use these up very quickly! I tend to type up my listings in a word document and take all my photographs so they are all ready to go once free listing days or email offers are announced.
Best time to start an auction? Thursday evening. Best time to end your auctions? 10 days later, Sunday evening! You’ll get most of your potential buyers in the last few hours of the auction so make sure it ends at a time when lots of people might be online to place a bid.
Ensure transactions come through PayPal. Send valuable items signed for. Always get proof of postage from the post office. If you don’t accept returns then make this clear in your description.
Some items by nature will attract more unscrupulous buyers. Usually big ticket items. Be aware of the scams that might crop up. I’ve had so many problems selling items such as camera lenses, electrical products and jewellery. Don’t agree to anything that sounds dodgy because it usually probably is!
Don’t list more than you can package
I’ve made this mistake more than once! Start parcelling things up as soon as you get a bid, don’t leave it all until the last minute. If you list 100 items in one go, then you potentially have 100 parcels to send at the end. Remember that. Be prepared and get a head start!