The Beginners Guide to Selling On eBay

Beginners Guide to Selling on EbayThe last few weeks I’ve received some questions about selling stuff on eBay. I’ve decided to compile those answers into one post. In today’s post, I will discuss some beginner’s tips for people that are interested in selling on eBay.

If you’re interested in selling on eBay the first thing that you need to do is sign up for an account.  Signing up for an eBay account is free. To start out, you just need to include your name, email address, and password.

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The 2nd thing that I would do is sign up for a PayPal account. A PayPal account is an online service that allows you to send and transfer money electronically. It is the best way to get paid using eBay. PayPal is also free to register with. Make sure you add a checking account or credit card to your PayPal account so that it gets verified. The sooner you do that, the sooner you will be able to make money and transfer it to your account on file. It usually takes 3-4 days for your money to transfer to your checking account once you’ve withdrawn it.

Paypal

Quick tip: If you’re new to PayPal I wouldn’t add my regular checking account to my account. I would open a separate one.

There are a few fees with eBay and PayPal. I will discuss the basic fees. The 1st 20-40 listings are free on eBay depending on the category. After those free listings, the price goes to $0.30 per listing.  There is also a final value fee. That fee is 10% of the total amount of the sale. PayPal’s fee is 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction.

Next, you have to decide what you want to sell. There are thousands of things that you can sell. People are making money on all types of crazy items. Below is a list of a few things that I’ve sold.

  • Shoes
  • Sports Items
  • Clothing
  • Coffee Mugs
  • Tools

Quick Tip: If you are having a problem finding inventory check out this post –> 7 Places to Get Inventory for eBay


Before you settle on items, make sure you do your research. The main way I research an item is by searching for it on the eBay website. You want to make sure that it’s an item worth selling. I’ve made a mistake thinking that some items would sell, but they didn’t. Taking an “L” isn’t fun. My eBay flops as I call them can be viewed here.

The next thing that you should do is take good pictures.  Your pictures should be clear and have plenty of lighting. You can also add up to 12 photos for free on eBay. That should be more than enough pictures for a perspective buyer to know if they want to buy your item or not.

The next step is to decide how to sell your item. Do you want to list it as an auction or do you want to sell it for a fixed price? If you list your item as an auction people get the chance to bid on it. The highest bidder wins the item. With a fixed price listing you choose the price. The person can then buy it without bidding. With both of those options, you can choose how long you want them to be listed for.

Before you set a price for your listings, make sure you check the sold listings to see what your items are currently selling for. Below are a few pictures that can show you how to do that. The example that I used was Air Jordan IV sneakers.

I typed "Air Jordan IV" in the search bar.

I typed “Air Jordan IV” in the search bar.

Next I clicked on sold listings. That's where the arrow is pointed.

Next, I clicked on sold listings. That’s where the arrow is pointed.

As you can see most of those Jordan's sold for over $100 bucks. You can compare any item this way. Once you do that you gauge your starting price.

As you can see most of those Jordan’s sold for over 100 bucks. You can compare any item this way. Once you do that you gauge your starting price.

When it comes to shipping, you have two options. You either can charge a flat shipping rate, or you can calculate the shipping. Make sure you research this especially if you have a large or heavy item. I’ve charged too little for shipping a few times and came out in the negative with a few items. That is not a good feeling. If you have to, you can even buy a mini scale and weigh items before you take them to the post office.

Shipping boxes can be hard to come by if you don’t know where to look. I wrote a post a few months ago titled “3 Simple Ways to Get Shipping Boxes“. It details three different ways for you to get boxes for your shipping needs.

I hope this beginner’s guide to selling one eBay answers some of your questions. If you need some specific help feel free to email me or contact me via twitter.

Beginners Guide to Selling on Ebay

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  1. great tips, Jason! I’ve never sold anything on e-Bay, but. Do use Paypal regularly. One tip you might want to include re PP is that there are a lot of PayPal scammers out there. I regularly receive e-mails from scammers asking me to verify something on my PP account by clucking a link. Always check the email address on these, and you will see that it is not from PayPal, but rather someone else attempting to gain access to your details.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Cao Chocolates of MiamiMy Profile

    • You’re right about those PayPal scammers. I receive random e-mails from time to time but they don’t even come to the e-mail that is connected to my PP account. They come to one of my other e-mails. They are deleted immediately.

  2. Great eBay tutorial! I will admit that I am intimated by selling on Ebay. I did, recently, sell some stuff on Craigslist which I was super excited about. Now I have mad Craigslist skills =) Okay, not really but hey, I sold some stuff!
    Mrs. Crackin’ the Whip recently posted…We are never ever getting back togetherMy Profile

    • Thanks! Selling on eBay can be intimidating in the beginning. I’m sure if you give it a try you will be fine and make decent money.

  3. Great tips, Jason! My wife has sold quite a bit on eBay, but I haven’t dabbled in it. I’m always impressed at your ability to flip things you buy at garage sales or the thrift store.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How a Cash Budget Can Stop Bad Spending HabitsMy Profile

  4. I have used Ebay a few times.
    I admit to viewing it as overwhelming in the past but slowly getting the hang of it.

    I am cautious of buying clothes online as if they do not fit, I have the hassle of returning them.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Contentment – do you have it?My Profile

  5. Thanks for the wonderful information. I never thought of using EBAY before but I thought it was complicated. You really broke it down into steps and made it simple to understand. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. Fascinating Jason! I’ve purchased a few things on eBay (mostly for my computer) but never sold anything. A few of my fellow authors sell their books on eBay but I’ve never taken the time to research it. You’ve inspired me to at least take a looksee. Thanks!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Create a Personal Motto to Stay Focused on What Really MattersMy Profile

  7. Thanks for the tips Jason. I’ve never sold anything on eBay bnt I certaijnly have a lot of stuff I don’t use and would love to get rid of. By the way, keep playing that Billy Joel album. Its’s pretty good.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…The View From the High LineMy Profile

  8. You’ve got me–I’ve only ever glanced at EBay a few times. I’ve found it too intimidating for shopping or heaven-forbid, selling. Now I know it’s not nearly as scary as I’ve made it up to be!
    Rose M Griffith recently posted…The Chaos of FamilyMy Profile

  9. Jason, these are great tips – I especially like the one about doing a selling price research. Sometimes when I was busy I’ve made the mistake of just listing the item with a random picked price – usually didn’t work. One other thing that maybe you could mention: You can list an item for auction and at the same time add a buy it now price.
    Lenie recently posted…Cooking Tips for Reluctant CooksMy Profile

  10. I haven’t sold on Ebay but I know where to find out how to do it now! Thanks.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Don’t Pitch in a Networking Group!My Profile

  11. When selling items on Ebay, do I have to use my home address on the shipping label, or can I just use my P.O. Box? Which shipping option is best for beginners, automatically calculate by distance or use a scale to weigh items before going to the post office to determine the cost of shipping? I’m trying to create a store on Ebay, but need some clarification on some things before beginning. Where do you get boxes/containers to ship your items in? Does the computer automatically assign your items SKU/Item #’s or do you make up numbers for this? How do you create e-mails with confirmation #’s to let customers know their items have been packaged/shipped/delivered?

    • Those are a lot of questions. I don’t have an eBay store so I don’t know the answers to those. You can use either address. It’s better to weigh your items with a scale. The items are automatically assigned an item number. Have you checked ebay.com? They have some forums that should be able to help you with those tougher questions.

  12. MORE QUESTIONS: What items can be sold without pre-approval from Ebay? I want to start listing items right away. Is it better to list items for “bid” or “buy now.”

  13. Great tips. I’ve registered and got my items in one box, got a Paypal account and now at the stage of doing my research. Will let you know. Thanks