If you have a house full of clutter that you’re dying to get rid of, then consider selling it on eBay.
But while eBay is a great platform to make extra cash, it can be intimidating for first-time users.
Here are 20 essential tips that you’ll need to confidently start making money on eBay.
1. Start your auction prices at 99p
2. Maximise your free listings
Each month, you are allocated 20 free listings, so make sure you take advantage of this. You can list more than that, but it will cost 35p an item.
However, if you’re savvy, you can often find promotions which will save you a bundle – for instance, no insertion fees on up to 100 listings per day.
But you must actively search for these deals out as offers are not included in emails.
To check what’s available, log in to your account on a computer (rather than a mobile or tablet), click on My eBay>selling. If you scroll down to the bottom, you will find the number of free listings you have remaining for the month.
3. Download the eBay app
If you have a smart phone it’s worth downloading eBay’s free app. Using it to post listings is quick and easy – and it means that you can keep an eye of your listings and respond queries while on the go.
4. Make your listing stand out
With one billion live items on eBay, making your listing stand out is crucial.
When buyers search for an item, eBay only looks for words in the listing’s title, so always use keywords such as brand names, colour and sizes.
5. Be original
A little bit of copying and pasting with a few adjustments and tweaks will save you loads of time and effort when writing up descriptions for products, but never copy descriptions or pictures wholesale, as this infringes other sellers’ copyright.
Look at other, successful sellers to see how they describe their products and learn from them.
6. Price it right
Auction listings are great if you’re unsure of the value of your item or you have unique and hard-to-find items that could attract demand and spur a bidding way.
fixed price listings
If you want to make a certain price on something, though, go for a fixed price sale.
7. It’s all about timing
Sunday is the day of the week that attracts the most bidding activity – so listing on a Thursday and opting for a ten-day auction means that you will you cover two of these prime-time selling days. Aim to have your items end between the hours of 7pm and 9pm to get the most bidders.
Alternatively, get into the habit of listing your seven-day auctions each Sunday night to maximise your bids on an ongoing basis.
8. Take advantage of free listing days
Usually, regular sellers can find they use up their 20 free listings very quickly and end up paying an insertion fee for each item.
To save yourself some money keep an eye out for free listing days or free listing weekends, when you can list as many items as you want without any insertion fee.
9. Post items ‘Recorded Delivery’
This is the most important advice I can give. If you send an item recorded delivery you can track its whereabouts.
This prevents any sellers claiming they have not received an item. And if it is lost, you are covered by insurance.
10. Keep your postage costs under control
It’s important to choose the correct postage options so that a buyer knows how and when they will receive the item.
When posting a listing, Ebay has a handy tool which provides postage recommendations based on how other sellers have posted items like yours.
If there is no recommended postage option for your item – or would rather set your own price – you can choose your own postage method. To get an idea of what you should be charging, use eBay’s Postage Estimator.
You can also send parcels to any UK address from a CollectPlus store (CollectPlus.co.uk), which means you avoid the lengthy queues at the Post Office – and cut costs. What’s more, the 6,000 shops that offer this service are all open late, seven days a week.
Also worth a look are parcel and postage comparison websites such as Interparcel.com, Parcelmonkey.co.uk or MyParcelDelivery.com. These sites bulk-buy postage slots from big courier firms such as UPS or DHL and sell them to the public – saving you a bundle in the process.
But bear in mind that you will be dealing with a middleman company, not the courier itself. So if things go wrong and need sorting, you will have to go via the comparison site which will deal with any enquiries, but can be more time consuming than you might think.
Underestimating Postage Costs
While cheap postage may attract more buyers, always remember that underestimating postage costs can quickly eat into your eBay profits.
If you are flogging larger items that aren’t not feasible to post, select ‘local collection only’ and the buyer will need to collect the item in person.
11. Pack things well
Ensure that you ship sold items carefully as if it arrives broken you must give the buyer a refund.
What’s more, if you leave buying your packaging until the last minute, you’ll end up forking out more than necessary. Cut costs and recycle used jiffy bags and bubble wrap.
If you must shell out for brand new packaging, look online for the best deals. Retailers such as Amazon.co.uk sell job lots of mailing bags, which come in a variety of sizes, for as little as £3.
12. Use lots of pictures
With each listing, you can list up to 12 photos for free. Take advantage of this so that potential buyers can see what you are selling.
Adding multiple good quality photos to your listing to help you increase sales and give your buyers a more accurate idea of what to expect – and reassure them that you are a legitimate seller.
Aim for a well-lit, clutter-free, plain white background and always take photos from several angles highlighting the condition of the item.
13. Choose the right category
It’s also important to make sure you list your item in the right category, if you don’t the chance of a good sale goes down.
For an extra fee, you can list your item in two categories to maximise your item’s visibility.
14. Build your reputation
Building your eBay reputation as a trusted seller is very important in making cash on the online marketplace.
To build your eBay reputation, you need to get positive feedback from customers so that you can get at least 95% rate as a trusted seller. The best way to do this is to be the kind of seller you would want to buy from yourself. So, offer good customer service, describe the item accurately, reply to queries within 24 hours and make sure you mail packages within the advertised period.
Establishing and maintaining buyer satisfaction helps you build a solid reputation as a trustworthy seller on eBay and ultimately helps drive your sales activity.
15. Make a few small purchases
If you’re a new seller with little or no feedback buyers might be reluctant to make purchases from you.
So, before you start listing items, you might want to make a few small purchases to accumulate positive feedback, and to get used to the eBay process.
16. Respond to people ASAP
When you get questions about things you are selling reply as soon as you can. If you take days to reply, you might miss out on a sale. Ideally respond within 24 hours.
17. Let people know what you are selling
Once your listing goes live, don’t just sit back and hope for the best.
Promote your items on your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Use relevant hashtags and get the word out there. Also, let your friends and family know so they can spread the word too.
18. Don’t forget bigger items
Just because something seems too large, impractical, or expensive to ship, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell it. Simply offer the “collection in person” option – this means that the buyer and seller can find a convenient time for the item to be picked up.
19. Never underestimate what people will pay for
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure so even if you think some of the things you’ve got lying around are useless, think again!
Even broken or not-working items can sell for parts or to enthusiasts. Sometimes if you sell a bundle of broken electronics you can make good money on them.
20. Don’t give up
If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
Relist unsold items and tweak your posting to grab the attention of buyers. For instance, changing the title, adding a better description and changing the format of your listing (buy it not or auction-style) can all help.
Take new photographs or add extra photographs to your listing.
Are you an eBay ace?
Have you had some weird or wonderful experiences selling on eBay?
Share your best eBay selling tips in the comments below.