Get ahead of the crowd with Premium
Register Forgot password

eBay selling: 20 handy tips for making more money

Kara Gammell 13th Mar 2020 5 Comments

Reading Time: 10 minutes

If you have loads of clutter that you’re dying to get rid of, then consider selling it on eBay.

eBay makes it easy to get rid of unwanted items. But while it’s 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 ebay auction prices at 99p

how to sell on ebay
If you start your auction at 99p, you will attract more potential buyers because many people search for items by lowest price. What’s more, this will also keep your fees down – which means more money in your pocket.
Of course, there is some risk here. It’s possible that even a valuable item happens to only have one interested buyer, who, through sheer luck, gets your item for 99p when it’s worth much more!
There’s a tradeoff here, so never put something at 99p if you’d be gutted to sell it for that much. Use your own judgement and do research to see what similar items are selling for.

2. Understand free listings

selling clothes on ebay

eBay now allows up to 1,000 free listings a month, which is more than enough for reselling your things!

However, although eBay will let you know you’re listing your item for free when you put it live, you’ll still pay a final value fee. This is 10% of the final cost of the item, including postage. PayPal adds 3.4% (or 3.9% for international sales), plus 20p, for each transaction.

It’s not a lot, but something to be aware of when looking at how much you’ll actually make on each sale. When you set up your selling account, the easiest method to pay these fees is by direct debit each month. You’ll get an invoice of how much you owe.

You won’t pay a final value fee if your item doesn’t sell. So if it fails to attract any buyers, try again. You can choose to automate this process by ticking the box to allow relisting if it doesn’t sell. It may be that the right buyer wasn’t around at the time, so don’t give up!

Read more about final value fees on eBay’s website.


3. Download the eBay app

selling on ebay tips

If you sell often 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 on your listings and respond to queries on the go. You can take photos, create your listing, and keep track of how auctions are going all in one place.


4. Make your ebay 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. Double check spellings so people can find your items!


5. Be original

how to sell online

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.

If you sell lots of the same thing, write up your own template and save it on a file on your computer or phone. Then you can copy and paste it, fill in the particulars for the item (size, colour, etc.), add photos and you’re pretty much done!


6. Price it right

how to price on ebay
Items can be listed as an auction or a fixed price. In addition to following eBay pricing recommendations, you can also search completed eBay listings and look at other similar items to help you choose a starting price for fixed-price or auction-style listing.


auction listings

online auction selling tips

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 war.

Although the final price may be unpredictable, if you get several people who really want your item, they may try to outbid each other, raising the final price.

Remember never to put a starting price that’s lower than you’re willing to sell for! But if it’s something not too valuable that’s just lying around anyway, an auction may be the way to go.

Make sure you’ll be around when listings end to post the items within the timeframe you’ve agreed to.


fixed-price listings

If you want to make a certain price on something, though, go for a fixed price sale.

This is a safe option if you absolutely don’t want to sell your item for less than a certain price. You can tick the ‘allow offers’ button if you might be willing to negotiate, or leave it off if your price is firm.

Some sellers prefer buying through fixed-price listings because they don’t have to wait for an auction to end. Just make sure you’re available to post the item within the time limit you’ve agreed to on your listing. With a fixed-price listing, it could sell at any time while it’s live on eBay.


7. ebay is all about timing 

selling online
When starting an auction, you can choose whether it lasts one, three, five, seven or ten days.
It’s generally agreed that 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 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.

You can even schedule your listings to start at a certain time. So if you’re writing up your listing at 3am, you can have it start at a better time so it ends when more people are browsing.


8. Organise your selling around your life

how to sell online

Whether you’re selling a couple of items or dozens of boxes of stuff, you’ll need to stay on top of everything. Use a calendar to mark when auctions are ending, and make sure you’ll be around to post items promptly.

If you’re away from home a lot or maybe too busy to always go to the Post Office, schedule listings to end when it suits you. For example, if your only free time is Saturday morning, have listings end on Friday evening so you can post them the next day.

Fixed-price listings have certain advantages, but as they can sell at any time, you’ll need to make sure you’re always available the next day to post things.

If you need more flexibility, you can adjust the postage settings on your listing to say it will be dispatched within a couple of days instead of one day. But this might turn some buyers away, especially as most people are used to fast deliveries these days.

9. Post items ‘Recorded Delivery’

ebay postage tips

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 ebay postage costs under control

save on ebay postage

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’s no recommended postage option for your item – or you’d 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. Royal Mail also has a Price Finder tool for figuring out the costs, both for the UK and abroad.


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.comParcelmonkey.co.uk or MyParcelDelivery.com. These sites buy postage slots in bulk 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’ll 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 inquiries, 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’re flogging larger items that aren’t feasible to post, select ‘local collection only’ and the buyer will need to collect the item in person.


11. Pack things well

pack items to sell online

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 sell job lots of mailing bags, which come in a variety of sizes, for as little as £3.

Pound shops and other discount stores are also great for cheap packaging, whether it be parcel paper or bubble envelopes.


12. Use lots of pictures

taking photos for ebay

With each listing, you can list up to 12 p­hotos for free. Take advantage of this so that potential buyers can see what you’re 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’re 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. Be honest about any imperfections (nicks and scratches, etc.)

A clean kitchen table or counter could be good options. Use a plain white sheet if need be.


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 ebay reputation

online customer ratings

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 ebay purchases

selling online advice

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.

Take note of things like how they describe their items, postage times, and packaging. See if you can get any inspiration, or note anything you’d do better!


16. Respond to people ASAP

When you get questions about things you’re 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’re selling on ebay

online selling tips

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 on ebay

selling bulky items online

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

selling valuables online

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. Just always be honest about the condition of the item.


20. Don’t give up 

 online selling success

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 now or auction-style) can all help.

Take new photographs or add extra photographs to your listing. Photos are absolutely key, so note how other successful eBayers are doing it and put in the effort!

Are you an eBay ace?

Have you had some weird or wonderful experiences selling on eBay?

Check out our quick-start eBay guide for more tips, and share your best eBay selling tips in the comments below.

Also, check out our Sell Your Stuff hub for more ways to sell your unwanted goods!

Sign Up – Newsletter
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Which one is better, 99p or 49p?

1 year ago

Why not 0.49 or 49P?

3 years ago

“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.”
Sellers should be replaced with buyers.
Also, it is not really worth using recorded delivery for low value items and you can get a certificate of postage for free from the post office which enables you to claim compensation (up to £20) from Royal Mail.

Jasmine Birtles
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert

That’s great thank you so much for the advice.

4 years ago

Ebay is a good place to buy and sell. Issue is once free listing is over the price can go up ultimately reducing your margin.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

Send this to a friend