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  • Cat M

Find Out How To Sell Stuff On Ebay

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Last Thursday I sold my husband's old Iphone for £179 on Ebay.

Now, I hasten to add that he was happy for me to do it. Although he knows that I'm quite quick at selling things that we don't use and I'm aware that at some point he might start nailing down his other valuables :-)

But if you're currently at home with no, or limited, work...and have been wondering how to sell stuff on Ebay...why not use this time as a great opportunity to clear the house of unwanted clutter, whilst making yourself a few extra pounds...

As one of the biggest online marketplaces, with 24 million buyers in the UK alone, Ebay is definitely a platform to consider for selling your old stuff.

But, just before you run around the house and start clearing all of the rooms, here are a few things that I have learned that you might like to consider:

1) Not everything will sell well on Ebay and some items might not sell at all, or will take a while to shift. In my experience, branded, higher value items work best. You are unlikely to make much money trying to sell George branded clothing from Asda.

2) You might need to spend a little time cleaning or prepping whatever it is that you want to sell, to get it ready or to make it more appealing. ***NB: BEFORE selling anything that has your personal data on it, like an old phone, make sure you read reputable articles online about how to properly clear it / refurbish it for resale.***

3) Ebay will take a cut of your profits. Check what your deal is when you create an account with them and again, once you are ready to list an item. Ebay will often do free listing promotions, but take around 10% of the profit you make from any sale. Make sure you find out the exact figures.

4) You need to consider the cost of postage. Currently I'm self isolating and not going to the post office and so either post box friendly items or items with enough margin to be sent by courier work best for me. Obviously, once the Post Office becomes a reality then things are a little easier. Whatever you do, make sure you are fully aware of the weight and size of your package and how much it will cost either through Royal Mail or through a courier service. Your profit can be quickly erased, and in fact you can end up paying out from your own pocket, if you make a mistake on postage (I have learned the hard way by guessing a low priced item would be classified as a small package, when it ended up being classified as a medium package). Before the listing goes live, you'll need to decide whether you or the buyer pays for postage, but remember you need to be competitive vs. other similar offers - and once you have set the price and it has been paid, if you make any mistakes on the postage cost, that's on you.

5) You will need to buy or recycle packaging to pack your item. I make a point of keeping every cardboard box we receive from our online purchases so that I can recycle them later. Otherwise, I have found Poundland to be quite useful in terms of cost effective packing materials...padded envelopes, tape, bubblewrap etc. These costs need to be taken into account when you work out your likely profit from the sale.

6) In order to receive money from buyers, you'll need to set up a Paypal account. I can't remember the deal on this, as I set my account up a while ago, but make sure you check what costs are associated with using this service, as well as be aware of all the benefits (Paypal has certain insurances in place in case of disputes, problems with sellers etc).

Once you have considered the above, and found some good items to sell, you'll need to give yourself the best chance of selling by paying attention to the following points.

1) The price. Search on Ebay for exactly what it is that you want to sell, to see who else is selling it, what condition those competitor products are in and how much they're selling them for (selling price and delivery price). You need to be realistic and competitive. Ebay gives you the option to sell your item in an auction, rather than have a fixed, sell it now price, where buyers bid for your item for a given amount of time and with a starter bid value. I have rarely used this facility and have mainly chosen to sell at a fixed price, with the option for people to make me an offer at a slightly reduced price. Make sure you uncheck the auction option if that is not what you want.

2) The quality of your photography. Taking snaps with your phone is absolutely fine. Make sure you take photos in good light, showing your item in its best way possible, whilst clearly identifying any flaws (e.g. scratches, stains). This ensures the buyer knows exactly what they are buying and you are less likely to get complaints or returns. I have found that a white bedsheet or white paper works well as a background, although Ebay are now helping sellers by removing any ugly backgrounds for them.

3) The description. Make sure you list / categorise your product accurately, so that it is easily found in the right section of Ebay. Write a clear heading/title that's exactly to the point. Fill in as many of the description boxes as you can and write a few lines of text in the information box reiterating the main selling points, maybe why you're selling the item and clearly explaining the benefits and any flaws.

Once you have done all of the above and have pressed the list button, I encourage you to leave your listing alone for a few days. If you really need the money, then check back after a week or so to see how many views your listing has received. If it has received quite a few views, but no-one has become a "watcher", then you can choose to lower the price a little, or check what the competition might be doing that you're not and improve on your listing. If you have a watcher or several, Ebay gives you the option to send them a special deal to see if they bite.

Just remember that once you have sold something and the money has gone into Paypal, you will need to fulfil the promise to the buyer and send it out within the timeframe and in the way that you stipulated on your account. And don't spend your Paypal money all at once, as Ebay will be sending you an invoice and taking their cut possibly a few weeks after your sale.

If the above sounds complicated, I promise you it isn't. As with everything, it's just a case of taking each step at a time and trying things out. I have sold several things on Ebay over the last three years and have only received good feedback and no returns. It's maybe not going to make you a millionaire overnight, but it will help to declutter your house, keep you productive and bring in some pocket money...all of which will make you feel great.

Now it's over to you...

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