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7 easy steps to make money on eBay

MoneyMagpie team 22nd Aug 2019 7 Comments

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Using eBay to sell unwanted bits and pieces is a great way to clear up the clutter as well as making some extra cash on the side.

Discover how to make money on eBay by reading our special guide.

  1. Make money on eBay – what you can sell
  2. Make money on eBay – getting started
  3. Make money on eBay – Getting ready to write your listing
  4. Make money on eBay – Taking a photo
  5. Make money on eBay – Fees
  6. Make money on eBay – After the hammer has fallen
  7. Make money on eBay – Completing the sale


make money on ebay – What you can sell

7 easy steps to make money on eBay

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!

eBay is the perfect place to put your possessions up for sale – and you could make a lot of money on it.

Even if they’re broken, you can potentially still sell them. If you put the word ‘broken’ into eBay you can see all sorts of items for sale including job lots of broken costume jewellery, broken crockery ‘for craft’, broken guitars, broken laptops and phones ‘for parts’ and more.

Even half-used bottles of perfume sell, particularly if they’re posh perfume. Same with part-used pots of posh creams and cosmetics. Oh, and you can even make money selling your old toilet rolls! Don’t discount anything until you’ve tried it: you could make a lot of money on eBay.


how to sell different items

You might be thinking: can I make money through eBay? And the answer is yes. You can make money on eBay with all sorts of items. Big, small even broken stuff can sell.

  • If something is beyond repair – think about selling its parts, they could be useful to someone. As with laptops, guitars, iPhones and other items, you can sell the whole thing, but just let buyers know they’re broken and are there ‘for parts’.
  • Toys from your childhood or old magazines may be worth a lot to a collector. If you’re not sure check to see if there are similar items already listed. Some Ladybird books are valuable, for example, but others only go for pennies as you can see in this article on how to make money from Ladybird book collections
  • Computer, camera and video cables for machines you don’t have any more can be useful to others – the same goes for manuals you don’t need. Sometimes it’s best to sell cables as a job lot. Manuals can be sold individually.
  • Just because something seems too large to ship, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell it on eBay, as you can use the “collection in person” option and find a mutually convenient time for it to be picked up.
  • Even toilet rolls can be sold. You get about £7 for 50 of them – people buy them for craft purposes – but it shows that all sorts can be sold!
  • If you’ve got something to sell, see how much other people have sold it for by putting the name in the eBay search bar and clicking ‘sold’ in the left-hand sidebar. That will show you what people actually got for them rather than what they were hoping to get! And remember, you can make a lot of money on eBay if you put up lots of your old junk at the right prices.


make money on ebay – Getting started

7 easy steps to make money on eBay

  1. The very first thing to do – before you can make money on eBay – whether you’re buying or selling, is to register as a buyer. You’ll need to pick a user ID to sign in each time, so make sure you pick a memorable one.
  2. Once you’ve registered you then need to create a seller’s account; to do this click on the tab in the top right corner labeled sell and fill in the information required. You’ll be asked to enter your credit or debit card details here – but don’t worry, it’s just for verification purposes, so you won’t be charged.
  3. Buyers and sellers are held to performance standards although the website is largely operate on a basis of goodwill and honesty – bolstered by a user feedback system. Every time you finish a transaction with a buyer or seller, you have to rate the experience and the score becomes attached to that users profile, and vice versa.
  4. If you’re a new seller with little or no feedback, buyers might be reluctant to make purchases from you. So before your start listing items, you might want to make a few small purchases to accumulate positive feedback, and to get used to the eBay process.

download the app

eBay has an app you can download which makes it really quick and easy to sell. You just take the photos with your phone then upload them through the app, add in the description and price and it’s all done.

If you’re going to sell quite a few things and you want a quick and easy way to do it, then this is a great tool. You can get it from the App Store here and the Google Play Store here.



It’s free to register – but you will have to pay fees for your listings when you start selling (and then make money through eBay).


MAKE MONEY ON EBAY – Getting ready to write your listing

7 easy steps to make money on eBay

After you’re registered as a seller, you could take a look around to see what’s already for sell and how others make money on eBay.

  1. Put the name – or description – of your item into the search bar. eBay will suggest a category and sub-categories for your item to go in. If you agree then click to continue. If you don’t then you could put in the category you think it should go it.
  2. Next you need to come up with a title for your item, Take some time to think of what buyers would search for if they wanted to buy your item. Take a look at what others have written about the same thing. For example, they might say “healthy Breville juicer for fruit and vegetable drinks” rather than just “Breville juicer”. Or if you’re selling a dress you might want to list the colour, size, make and style into the title “Red Moschino dress size 10 knee-length”, for example.
  3. Spruce up your listing with different fonts, colours and formatting. Don’t go over the top though – as over-complication can be off-putting.
  4. Decide the length of your listing – refer back to your research and see whether a longer listing is more profitable than a shorter one. List your item over at least one weekend as people are more likely to search eBay in their leisure time than at work.
  5. If possible, get the company that made the item you’re selling to do the work for you. Mass-produced items like mobile phones, instruments, tools usually carry a product description and specification on the manufacturer’s website. You can use these descriptions as a basis for yours. Just put it in your own words.
  6. Add a description of your particular item’s age and condition. You will be prompted by eBay to fill in sections like make, model, fabric etc. Fill in the ones that you can and don’t worry about the rest.
  7. If you’re going for an auction, try to give it time. Longer auctions will allow more potential buyers to stumble onto your sale, although most bids take place in the last few hours of an auction, so running an auction for more time doesn’t necessarily mean it will make more money. A lot of items do better in the ‘buy it now’ category rather than auction. Certainly if you want to make a lot of money on eBay, then if you put down a decent price and you’re willing to wait, this can be the best way to do it.
  8. Now it’s time to decide a starting price if you’re going for an auction. If you start under 99p it’s free, and sometimes it’s worth taking a risk and starting at a lower price because it will encourage people to bid on what they think is a bargain. If you’re happy to start the bidding low, but want to make sure it reaches a certain amount, then use a reserve price to protect the item. This means that unless someone exceeds the reserve price the item will not sell and you can list it again.


MAKE MONEY ON EBAY – Taking a photo

7 easy steps to make money on eBay

Put up more than one photo if at all possible and try and make the photos as attractive as possible.

Ideally take them in good light, on a plain background – or a background that makes the item look really good.

Having strong photos can work wonders on your final sale price.

Think about whether your item needs more than one angle – if you’re selling clothes or appliances, for example. Doing this will increase your chances of people bidding.

If you’re selling clothes, try to wear them for at least one picture. Or if you have a dresser’s dummy, put them on that.

As well as taking photos of all the good elements about the item, you should also take pictures of any flaws so that the buyer can work out whether it’s worth their while bidding on it. Having several clear photographs is also a good way of protecting yourself if a buyer claims the item was misrepresented. It also makes it more likely to sell – so you can make money from eBay.




7 easy steps to make money on eBay

Once you’ve registered you can start posting items and you can make money on eBay. But, before you do, this is where you’re going to need to consider what kind of listing you want as different listing incur different fees.

  • The first fee that anyone selling on eBay has to pay is an insertion fee. This is what you pay for listing your item. The amount depends on the starting price you’ve decided on and the kind of item you’re selling. The best way to check the insertion fee is here, taking into account what kind of item it is (media, clothing, electrical) and the starting price you want to list it at.
  • If you want extra features you’ll have to pay a little more – like a gallery, or the ‘buy it now’ feature. It seldom costs more than 50p, but check here to get the exact amount. These fees are all payable upfront before your listing goes live.
  • After your item has sold, you then have to pay a Final Value fee to eBay. This is 10% of the final sale price up to a maximum of £75. Check out the final value fee table.



7 easy steps to make money on eBay

The final things to decide on are payment and postage.

Remember: 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. Buyers are usually willing to travel if the bargain is good enough and it give you the option of settling payment cash-in-hand.

You can also accept cheques or postal orders to maximize the amount of potential buyers, but these methods take longer and are generally unpopular.

What you’re going to charge for postage doesn’t have to reflect what it’s really going to cost you – but cheaper postage will encourage people to bid on your items, so before you post your listing, get down to your Post Office and work out how much it will cost to send in the UK.

Remember to check how much international postage will cost if you don’t mind selling to international buyers.


MAKE MONEY ON EBAY – Completing the sale

7 easy steps to make money on eBay

Once the listing has ended and you’ve got a buyer, you’ll both receive confirmation through your eBay account.

Never post an item if you haven’t received payment. If they’re paying by cheque this means waiting until the cheque has cleared and the money is in your account.

You’ll then get an invoice from eBay for your final value fees.  Your fees will then be deducted from your account no sooner than 15 days after you received an invoice.

Alternatively you can make one-time payments via direct debit, credit card, or with a cheque or postal order (although the latter is tedious and more expensive). Any account balance over £1 requires payment in full each month. If you don’t pay after reminders and warnings, eBay will freeze your account and then send the bailiffs in.

If you don’t sell the item then you won’t have any final value fees to pay and you can relist your item for free (as long as it sells the second time – then you’ll get the second relisting fee refunded).

Once the transaction is complete and you have made money on eBay, your buyer will leave feedback that will have an impact on your feedback score, so it’s up to you to make sure it’s all positive. Buyers will leave you a 1-5 star detailed seller rating on item description, communication, dispatch speed, and fairness of shipping charges.

Remember: if you establish yourself as highly-rated seller, you’ll be all the more likely to attract new customers and ensure loyalty from those who have bought from you in the past.

Are you an expert eBay seller? OR Are you new to the world of online selling? Either way share your thoughts, tips and comment below this article to help others. 


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4 years ago

Some useful info for selling on ebay.

9 years ago

I use 1cheaper.com it compares products across multiple online stores to find the cheapest price including delivery costs and discounts from coupons.

helloall11011 .
helloall11011 .
10 years ago

do ebay have access to your paypal info though?

11 years ago

Why not just take over the online selling for yourself and cut out out the “middleman”? If you use .payondelivery.com, you can sell for free in multiple places, you can even sell on Facebook with PayOnDelivery.

Lexie Hanel
Lexie Hanel
12 years ago

We are a hospice who is looking at a receyleing project we would like to sell battries to support the funds needed to support our patients and their families

Julie Weston
Julie Weston
13 years ago

I have just started using ebay, and have only sold items to a value of £6.97, each item was only put up at 99p auction format and I think one was relisted, but ebay says my fee to them is already £1.22 – this is much more than 7.5%. Could you explain the fees to me in simple terms please – and how much will paypal charge. I am making a loss at this rate!

13 years ago
Reply to  Julie Weston

Hi Julie, I am not an ebay expert. But I do have a tip. You may have heard about Garage Fairy, they pick-up your items and sell your stuff online, their traders handle the selling and they can have it sold in 3-4 weeks or less, depending on your product. garagefairy. if you need more details.

Jasmine Birtles

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

Jasmine Birtles

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