Long term readers will know I’ve had some hardcore decluttering sessions over the last couple of years, getting rid of everything from clothes to mountains of out of date paperwork. While this is all good there have been odd moments where I’ve wondered if I shouldn’t have tried to sell some of it. Most of the things I’ve got rid of (that weren’t total rubbish!) have been donated to charity shops which I’m more than happy with. However, I’ve kept back a few things that I thought might sell on ebay. Without, er, actually getting around to reactivating my ebay account and getting on with it. The trouble is, I’ve forgotten how the whole system works – what sells, how to present it, when is best to list things and so on. Caroline from What’s Happening At My House has always impressed me with her dedication in heading out to local car boot sales nearly every Sunday morning and actually getting things listed on ebay on a regular basis (unlike me – the lazy, hoarding type)! She has kindly agreed to do the first ever guest post here on Shoestring Alley on how to get started. Over to Caroline…
Hello – I’m Caroline.
I’ve been reading and enjoying Shoestring Alley ever since Shoestring began writing it, and she has asked me to write a post about selling on eBay.
Whilst I don’t consider myself any sort of expert on the subject, and am still learning all the time, I have been selling on Ebay for almost ten years now, and have grown my business over the years to make a good, regular part-time salary from it.
So, without further ado, here are my top ten hints and tips for selling on eBay, aimed particularly at those who are new to it.
1. RESEARCH – you can see how much similar items have sold for in the recent past by ticking the ‘completed items’ box in the Advanced Search feature. Also useful to see which category is best to list in.
2. DESCRIPTION – be as honest as you can in your description. If the item has any faults or is well-used, say so. Try to keep the written description factual and concise.
3. PHOTOGRAPHS – as the old saying goes, a picture paints 1,000 words. Good quality photos are the key to getting a good price. Generally speaking, the more photos, the better (although in some categories, eBay charge extra for more than one photo).
4. TITLE – Remember that people will find your item by searching on certain words. An item title that reads “DRESS SIZE 12” will therefore get far fewer hits than the title “BLUE LONG SLEEVE SILK WALLIS DRESS, SZ 12, BNWOT”.
5. START/END TIME – Everybody has their own ideas about this, but personally I’ve found the best end times for auctions are Sunday early evening and Mon/Tue/Wed between 7 and 8.30 pm.
6. STARTING PRICE – As a rule of thumb, I like to keep my starting price as low as possible, which I have found encourages more bids and interest. I start many items at 99 pence (which also means free listing).
7. OVERSEAS – For many years, I didn’t send items overseas, but after a friend had some success I tried it, and about 5% of what I sell now goes abroad. Touch wood, I’ve had very few problems with postage – only one item has gone missing in the last 12 months. Do make sure that the Royal Mail will pay out if the item is lost, though – I found out the hard way that perfume is not insured overseas.
8. FEES – remember to take into account eBay and Paypal fees – they are often higher than you anticipate.
9. POSTAGE – weigh the item, and work out roughly what it will cost to post with packaging added. Do not be tempted to overcharge for postage, although adding a small amount to the actual postage cost to cover peripherals is acceptable.
10. COMMUNICATION – probably the most important tip I’m going to give you. Always communicate with your buyer. Answer any questions promptly, thank them for their purchase, post their item as soon as humanly possible after they’ve paid for it, and let them know you’ve done so. In the rare event that there are any problems, communicate politely and promptly.
Thanks Caroline! Now it’s just down to me to get some things listed…!