How to Sell on eBay: A Beginner’s Guide


Now that buying goods on eBay has become ubiquitous, many are turning to the world’s most popular online auction and shopping website to earn money of their own. Selling on eBay can be a profitable work-from-home venture, though many beginners often find there is a steep learning curve before they start bringing in actual profits. Below are some helpful guidelines that will steer beginning sellers in the right direction, speeding up the learning curve in the process.

  • Outline clearly what your goals are as an eBay seller. Are you looking to get rid of some extra junk that is lying around your garage, or are you interested in starting your own small-business? In order to proceed further, you first must have a clear target in mind.
  • Perform the necessary research in choosing what items to sell before haphazardly listing them on eBay. Check what the prices are on the auctions of items similar to what you are interested in selling, so you can gauge your performance against that of your competitors. Skipping this step will leave a beginning seller in the dark, without any barometer to measure his or her performance.
  • For beginning sellers especially, one should aim to list items that satisfy several criteria in order to make the process as simple as possible. This includes listing items that are popular, allow for effortless shipping, and items that are easier to buy online than in person. Once a seller gains some experience in the selling process, then one can start branching out towards more complex items, but it is highly recommended for beginning sellers to follow the suggestions above.
  • In order to minimize the initial investment, initially only sell items that are relatively inexpensive. This will ensure that even if your first few sales are not as successful as you had hoped, you will still most likely not be losing any money. As one gains experience and has a better feel of the process, then one can start selling the more lucrative high-priced items as well.

Following these steps, one is ready to list the item itself. eBay limits beginning sellers to auction-listings, and only after successfully receiving feedback from ten of these auctions will one be able to list buy-it-now auctions. The higher the starting price, the greater the insertion fee that eBay charges will be. Auctions that begin at £0.99 or less are completely fee-less. However, this is only the case for the first 100 auctions that one lists monthly—afterwards, eBay will charge between £0.05 and £0.10.

In order to create a successful auction listing, it is recommended that one follow these important pieces of advice:

  • Be as descriptive as possible in the listing itself. The more accurate information you provide prospective bidders, the better. Hiding negative aspects about your item will inevitably lead to headaches later on in the form of buyer disputes. Stress the positives, but don’t ignore the negatives.
  • Include high-quality imagery of your item. Oftentimes, when there are many listings of the same item on eBay, the highest ending price will belong not necessarily to the seller with the most experience, but to the seller with the highest-quality image.
  • Don’t exaggerate shipping costs. Many sellers inflate the shipping price, hoping to make a larger profit. Doing this will likely turn away many buyers, leading towards less money. Honesty is key, and inflating the shipping cost is an easy way to lose a bidder’s trust.
  • Time your auction to end when eBay experiences the most traffic. By and large, auctions that end in the evening conclude at higher prices than auctions that end in the morning. Additionally, auctions that end on the weekends are more profitable as well, so scheduling an auction to end Sunday evening is optimal.
  • Customer service is essential. Answer all questions directed at your listing, even questions that you think are glaringly obvious. The most successful sellers learn this very early in their eBay careers.

Now that you have successfully listed your auction, the next question that arises is how to arrange for payments to be sent. In this regard, Paypal can provide the most stress-free service: you will receive instant payments without sacrificing your financial information to any unknown parties. Moreover, you will be covered under certain policies intended to protect sellers in the event of a fraudulent buyer. Be sure to only agree to sell your items through eBay itself, and don’t consent to requests of completing the transaction outside of the eBay framework.

In summation, while there is a lot of competition among sellers on eBay, the market is still far from being over-saturated. There is an incredible amount of demand to buy items off of eBay, since it is convenient and often cheaper than buying from a physical store. As such, there is still plenty of room for a savvy seller to begin pulling in profits, and these guidelines are an incredibly helpful way to start.

Now you have the information you need, why not head on over to eBay* and list your first item.

4 Responses to How to Sell on eBay: A Beginner’s Guide

  1. Thanks for sharing all this information as I always wondered how to buy and sell on ebay. It seems a bit overwhelming for someone that is new and that hasn’t gotten their hands wet with the system. I’m sure with a bit of practice it will make it easier for anyone. Cheers mate

    • No problem Mr.CBB. When you’ve done a lot of eBay selling it’s easy to forget how people feel when first faced with the interface and the options available, glad the info helped.

  2. This is a great intro for folks who are looking to get started!

    I used to use Ebay a great deal, but lately I just can’t stomach all of the fees + the Paypal fees!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *