One of the fastest ways to start making money with your own business is to start selling things on eBay. The amount of money you can make this way ranges all the way from tens to thousands of dollars, and even millions of dollars with sellers who keep at it and take it to the next level. There are many little things that are crucial to having a successful business, so this guide will help you learn all of the things you need to make eBay your full time business.
Ebay is my favorite for many reasons. You can use it to make some extra cash on the side, side hustle to pay off debt or build your savings, and of course, you can actually make it your full time business.
If you’re looking for a business with a relatively easy startup then this one could be quite worth it. You can see a return pretty quickly for the time spent.
When I first decided to try selling on eBay it seemed a little daunting. I had never sold anything online before. However, with a few easy steps I quickly figured out the basic steps and have now sold hundreds of items.
With eBay you can make a pretty good amount even as a side hustle. But there are plenty of people who do make it their full-time business.
Full Time Ebay Business People to Follow
Suzanne A. Wells – The very first person that I came across while trying to learn the eBay biz was Suzanne. She is a wealth of information when it comes to eBay. There are many videos that she has on Youtube on various subjects that can come up in your business. If you want even more information, you can join her premium library that is loaded with knowledge about eBay.
Flea Market Flipper – Melissa and her husband have taken the leap to full – time eBay flipping and did over $133,000 in one year. They have loads of posts filled with their knowledge and interviews of people who make a great living from flipping. They offer courses that help you learn everything that you need to know about flipping from beginning to end.
Pro tip: Make sure you join Ebay Facebook groups! They are just FILLED with information. The groups are made up of people who are actually selling on eBay. The best thing about it is you can search the groups and even ask questions to any problem you might come across. I would highly recommend joining this group because they even do a Making Money Monday where people post items they have sold with information like where they got it, how much it cost and how much they sold it for.
What to Sell?
The biggest hurdle in actually making eBay your full time business might be where to find your inventory and what to actually get to resell.
Most families have hundreds of dollars’ worth of things laying around their homes. Start out with selling things around the home to see if eBay could be the business for you.
If you sell some things and you decide that you want to make selling on eBay into a business, the next thing you need to do is figure out what kind of items you are going to sell. There are many niches that do well and you can make almost any niche a success.
To start, think about your interests and knowledge. Do you like clothing or vintage items? Knowledgeable about sports? Games? Pick something that you know a good deal about and start from there.
If you’re thinking, do I need to have a niche? No, you don’t need to, but usually sellers have a niche they gravitate towards. I mostly sell clothing although I do sell other items here and there if I think something has a good resale value. It is sometimes good to branch into other areas where the profit margins can be much greater.
The point is to start with something you are already familiar with. When I started reselling clothing, I started with brands I knew were pretty nice. But fast forward a few years and I learned so many new clothing brands that I’ve never even heard of before, that people love, as well as other sought after brands of goods in general.
You will learn so much as you start selling more and make an effort to learn the business. Make sure you are part of the reselling Facebook groups, watch YouTube videos, and perhaps even take some courses. Your knowledge will start to grow along with your profit.
Categories that do well in reselling:
Clothing, Vintage Collectibles, Sports Items, Electronics, Hard goods
It is important to do your research before you start but much of it is experience also. As you sell more, the more you will have a feel for what sells well and what doesn’t. There are many videos on YouTube and books that you can find that can give you a lot of information.
When out finding new treasures to resell, it is easy to get carried away and start purchasing everything you like and think that will sell. The truth is, that looking up the item is important to truly determine the resale value. Sometimes you will find that something doesn’t actually have the resale value you thought, and other times your eyes will pop out of your head when you see how much something can go for.
What is great is that you can look it up right on the spot. Using the eBay app, type in or scan the item and then filter by the sold/completed listings. This will pull up all the listings of that item that have recently sold and for what price. Then you can determine whether it is worth buying or not. To make sure your business starts out profitable, you have to get the right inventory for the right prices.
If for some things you can’t find any comps then just list the item as an auction with the minimum price you would like to get for it. This will let the buyers decide how much they want to pay up for it.
The more you do research and have knowledge about what sells, the more you are able to find things that will be more profitable and have more sales. The more sales you have, the more your eBay business will take off!
First, you will have to create an eBay account which is really simple. You will just need your name and email address. Once you have an account, you can click on the ‘sell’ button on the upper right. This will pull up your selling account from where you can create a new listing.
You will also want to download the eBay app which can make the listing process much easier. If you can take great pictures with your phone, then you can easily upload them on the app and create a listing. Otherwise you will have to upload them on the computer which might take longer.
Also, you will be able to see your sales right away on your phone. If a buyer submits an offer, you can easily either accept right away or make a counteroffer on the go.
You will also need to set up a PayPal account if you don’t already have one to receive your payments.
Once you sell a few items, PayPal will need proof that you are actually selling and sending those items. You can just screenshot your orders that they have been delivered for one of the requirements that they ask for.
Starting out as a new seller with a plain account eBay gives you 50 items per month that you can list for free.
Now you can start listing your items.
Take Great Pictures
The first steps after you have created your accounts, would be to take pictures of the items you want to sell. Make sure you have good lighting in your pictures so that the color and textures show up correctly. Also, have a clean simple background such as a plain white foam board for the smaller items or a plain white wall for the bigger things.
Having great photos that look good and stand out to the customer is key to making a great profit. You don’t necessarily need to have a professional camera, but the more professional and clean looking your pictures are, the better.
People pay more for what they think looks good.
Pro Tip: The right color of the item doesn’t always come through in pictures. Some sellers use a crayon in one of the pictures to better showcase the color as a comparison. You can also find a plain color image online that correctly shows the color of the item and include it with your pictures.
Most importantly, take pictures of any defects, tears, or stains your items might have. This is a very important step because you want to be upfront with your buyers and make sure you have their complete satisfaction in what they buy from you.
That way, especially since you are just starting out and don’t have any reviews on your account yet, buyers will trust you more and will be more likely to buy from you.
Customer trust and satisfaction is so important!!
Buyer satisfaction is crucial in your eBay business because if you have many bad reviews people will not want to buy from you. On the other hand, if you have many amazing reviews, this will attract more buyers that will be willing to buy things at premium prices because you have their trust.
Create Your Listing
After you have taken all of your pictures, now it is time to upload them to create your listing.
There are some required things that go along with making a listing. The title is the most important part of the listing.
That is how the customers will find your product so you want to make sure you add keywords in there that buyers may use to look for this item. Use as many keywords as you can and fill in all of the space given for the title.
Have the most important keywords like the brand, size or any popularly used word for the item first in your title. Then fill out the rest of the space with any other words that could be relative.
The rest of the listing is all in the details. You are required to fill in brands, sizes, condition and style, especially in clothing items.
If you are selling clothing, take measurements of the items. This will increase your chances of selling them because buyers want to be sure that what they are buying is going to fit them. If you don’t include measurements, some buyers will message you for measurements while others will just pass your item by.
Since sometimes it can be difficult to truly see the size of items in a photo you might want to consider including measurements of other non-clothing items as well.
For the description, keep it simple but loaded with more keywords. Describe the condition of the item well so people know all of the small things like scratches something might have. Even though you might show in the pictures the condition of the item and what it includes, always write those things down in the description. That way you are in the safe if the buyer starts to claim something when they receive it.
As with any business or platform online, you have to consider the Search Engine Optimization. To have your listings show up higher in search results there are a few things you can do. The first being of course those keywords that you already put in the title.
Then, you have the option to list your item for a different amount of days or to list it Good ‘Til Cancelled which means it will be listed until sold. The best option to do is to list it for 30 days which is better for SEO.
One of the reasons is because once the time is getting closer to ending on a listing those listings are moved up in search. Also, newly listed items appear higher in search as well, therefore relisting them every 30 days will be better for people to find your listings.
Pro Tip: When you relist an item, choose the sell ‘similar’ option because that is also better for SEO. This may also be a good time to move around some keywords in your title or add some new ones and perhaps adjust the price a little to make sure your item sells.
You need to know how much your item weighs before you can send it so I would recommend getting a postal weight scale to weight your items at home. You will also need a printer of some kind to print out your labels. I use my Epson WOrkforce WF – 3620 and it works excellently for me to print out the labels.
Set the weight in your listing on eBay and the length, width and height of the item. Ebay will automatically calculate shipping for you and you can charge your customer the right amount for shipping.
Sometimes having the fast ‘n’ free shipping option can be appealing to buyers so if you choose to do that, then calculate the shipping cost into your item expense. For larger heavier items it is recommended to do calculated shipping so that the cost of shipping doesn’t eat up your profit.
Once you have it set, easily print out the label that eBay provides. Ebay gives you a little discount for shipping through them when you use their shipping labels. You can use plain paper and tape it onto your package, or for a more proffesional look, the shipping labels with adhesive work great.
When it comes to shipping, especially if you’ve never shipped anything before, there are a few little things to know.
There are many different ways to ship something but these are are two most common ways.
This one is used for the bigger and heavier items weighing more than a pound. There are two kinds of priority shipping so make sure you have the right box.
One of them is based on the weight and distance the package is travelling. The other, the ones that say flat rate, are a set price no matter what you fit into them. The flat rate is the best option when your item isn’t too big but weighs a good amount.
First Class Mail
This one is used for the smaller packages that weigh less than a pound. It works great for sending clothing items.
To send items first class, these polymailers will come in very handy. Make sure to get the waterproof because otherwise your item can get ruined. I learned that lesson the hard way.
Before you send off your items make sure you package them well so that they don’t break and look presentable. You can even write a personalized note to thank the customer for their purchase.
The key to a successful business is to have a healthy profit margin on every item you source and sell. You need to set a personal profit margin that you want to have on every item, such as making at least fifteen dollars pure profit (not including fees). The more you grow, the more you can increase the profit margins.
The ‘bread and butter’ items in your eBay store, or the items that you know will sell fairly quickly but don’t have a high profit, make a nice cushion for the store. These are various knicknacks that you find for a few cents or dollars and sell them for anywhere from ten to forty dollars.
However, focusing more on the items that will make you decent sized profits will help you grow your business much faster. Your business will be made up of both of these kinds of items but these are the items that you get for cents on the dollar and sell them for much more profit that can go over into hundreds of dollars.
This is when, for example, you can get something for ten dollars and sell it for $120. Items like these are what will make your business much more profitable.
These are called BOLO items. It stands for Be On The Lookout. These are brands that sell for top dollar and have a good following. By watching the YouTube videos and joining the Facebook groups, you will be able to keep up to date on all the latest finds.
Upgrade Your Account
Ebay has a few different accounts for sellers. It depends on the size of your business.
When you first open your account, eBay gives you 50 free listings. After that eBay charges an insertion fee. To not get charged for a fee for every item you list, you will have to upgrade to one of these accounts. Paying a monthly fee instead of insertion fees for every item becomes much more sensible after a certain amount of listings that you have.
Having a starter store is enough when it’s just a start up side hustle, but you will need to upgrade as your business grows.
There are five eBay store levels: Starter, Basic, Premium, Anchor and Enterprise.
- 100 free fixed price listings/month
- 30 cent listing fee after free are used up
- 10% final value fee
- 250 free fixed price listings/month
- 25 cent listing fee after free are used up
- 4-9.15% final value fee
- 1,000 free fixed price listings/month
- 10 cent listing fee after free are used up
- 4-9.15% final value fee
- 10,000 free fixed price listings/month
- 5 cent listing fee after free are used up
- 4-9.15% final value fee
- 100,000 free fixed price listings/month
- 5 cent listing fee after free are used up
- 4-9.15% final value fee
To get to a full time business, you will want to be at around 1000+ listings and will need a Premium store.
You can see more details about the different stores here.
When you start getting serious about your eBay business, you can start using the promotional marketing that eBay provides for you.
There are a few different kinds of promotions to consider.
With a sale markdown you can put a x% off any listings you want if you want to sell them faster. Also there are options for coupons and shipping discounts.
However, the best usage of the marketing options provided for you are the promoted listings. This is where eBay offers to bump up your listing in search as an ‘ad’.
You get to choose the amount of percentage eBay gets to keep off of the final value price. The more percentage you allow eBay to take, the more they will promote your listing. You only pay eBay for the promoted listing if your item sells so it can be very much worth it.
Figure out a system right away on how to store you items that works for you. Once the inventory starts to grow, it will be much harder to keep track of where everything is. If you are planning on storing things in bins, number those bins and then put that number on the bottom of your listing description. When the item sells, it will be easy to look up the bin and find what you need.
When starting out, it is so important to not overlook the step of documenting everything. The day you first purchase the items, write everything down as soon as you come home. Keep your receipt in a specific folder or notebook that will keep it safe.
If you don’t do it right away, receipts can get lost, and then you won’t remember what you payed for every item.
This is important to treat your business – like a business. As long as you document everything right away, then things will be much easier for you when tax season rolls around.
Make sure you calculate all of the fees that eBay charged, as well as Paypal. Also, any other expenses such as materials for photography or shipping should be calculated and subtracted from your sale price.
This will also show if you are doing things right and if your business is bringing in considerable profits. From there you can also calculate the projected numbers of where you would like to take your business.
It is possible to get to 500 and even 1000 listings in your eBay account on your own. However, when it starts getting to over 1000, it can start to become quite a task to manage all on your own.
The whole reason many people want to start an eBay business is to have more freedom and time. So, spending all your days taking pictures, listing, and sending items isn’t what you think of when you think of freedom, right?
Now that you’re at the point where you have plenty of listings, you can start outsourcing some of the things. With any business, if you want to grow as a business, you have to keep expanding your inventory and outsourcing tasks. The key to making your eBay business full time is to keep building up a good amount of inventory until it exceeds a full time amount of income.
One of the most time-consuming steps is taking all the pictures and measurements of the items. You can find people who you know, they can be a friend or even your kids wanting to make some extra allowance, and then hire them to help you out.
Let’s say you found two people to help you out, then you can agree to pay them 1-2 dollars per item to take all the pictures. If you give them 25 items per week, and it should take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on their speed, then they are making an extra couple hundred a month for only a couple of hours of work. You also get an extra 100-200 items listed per month, therefore it’s a win-win for everyone.
There is also the option of hiring people to list your things for you. Suzanne A. Wells offers a program where a person who is knowledgeable in the eBay business will help you list. They charge two dollars per listing which is a pretty good deal if it takes hours off your time. It is also a good idea if you don’t know all of the keywords to put in your listings to increase your sales.
For example, a keyword that I learned when starting my own eBay business was ‘lagenlook’, that I had not known before. It describes a style of clothing that is layered.
This way you get the two, time consuming steps out of the way and focus on getting more products to sell.
Some people prefer to go the other direction and get a warehouse/office location after which they hire people out. It all depends on how big your business is growing. Once you get to that point, you can decide which option is best for you.
Some of the more profitable people selling on eBay are making thousands of dollars per month. Just like any other business, it will take work and effort to get the business going. But you can, like many other people, make Ebay your full time business if you put in the effort. Hopefully this guide will help you get a start in that direction.