In my family, I am known as a technology hold out. It’s not that I hate progress. I don’t! Especially if there is a carousel attached. I mean, after all, there is a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day.
It’s just that I’m a creature of habit. I like what I like. I like knowing how to do what I need to do. When you try and show me some new website or gadget or whatever that doesn’t look like what I like and already know how to do, I’m going to give you a frowny face.
Which is why it took me a minute to catch on to the Ebay thing. And when I say a minute, I mean about ten years. But here I am, basking in the glow of the internet marketplace. Like most things in my life, I saw the light due to Disney. Specifically, my littlest had her heart set on a Snow White dress for our last Disney trip. The problem was, she is a little bit and recent sizing for girls costumes for the Disney store starts at a 4, and she needed a 2/3. There was no way I could convince her to wear a “baby dress” (read: onesie) so in desperation, I turned to Ebay. I had heard you could buy things there.
Ebay did not let me down! We found a perfect dress that was in amazing condition for half the price of a new dress. There are a lot of internet marketplaces these days, but Ebay was the first and arguably the biggest. Unlike some sites, Ebay sellers can be verified and rated, so you know who you’re getting in business with.
(Ok, it’s the silliest picture ever, but check out how cute her Snow White Dress is!)
It got me thinking: if you could buy things successfully on Ebay, could you also sell them? I asked Mr. B, because he knows all the things. To my surprise, he confirmed that you could because he has been selling things on Ebay for years. What?? Turns out all the snowboarding gear and vinyl records that I thought were in boxes somewhere had been sold on Ebay. Who knew? I asked him to break down the best ways to be an accomplished Ebay seller, and he delivered!
To get started, you need to follow four simple steps:
- Open an Ebay account (for free)
- Open a PayPal account (for free)
- Buy a Postal Scale (but be on the lookout for free ones through promotions by places like stamps . Com
- Install Turbo Lister on Your computer (for free) to make listings easier and less time consuming
Once you’ve got those down, there are four guiding principles to consider:
Understand Your Inventory. Certain items tend to sell well on Ebay. Children’s toys, DVDs and Blu Rays, Vinyl Records, and Video Games all do very well. Before you list an item, search it on Ebay. See what other sellers have listed it as. You want to be competitive: lower than the highest listing for a similar item, but not so low that it makes users question the quality of the item.
Consider Listing as a Lot. This is useful if you have items that have a theme (Disney Princess movies), similar make (Vinyl Records), or would be most cost efficient if shipped in a larger lot (small collectible toys, like the Littlest Pet Shops or My Little Ponies). This is one place where selling online can be an advantage over a yard sale. If you had a bunch of smaller toys, it would be easier for buyers to sort through and find the ones they want and haggle prices. But if someone is just looking for a “Little People” online, they’re willing to take a few duplicates for the convenience of finding the product when and where they want it. Thank you, Internet!
Be Smart About Shipping. You’ve got your scale, so you know the weight of the item you’re shipping. Turbo lister can specify for you the shipping price based on weight of package and distance. Here is where you have a decision to make. You can list the shipping for the price, OR you can include it in the cost of the item and advertise free shipping. You’re selling that sweet “Labyrinth” soundtrack on vinyl: you can list it as $15 with $4.95 shipping, or you can list it as $20, with Free Shipping. With Amazon Prime and other retailers constantly doing threshold Free Shipping deals, absorbing shipping into your cost might make you a more competitive seller.
Always Be on the Lookout for a Steal. Remember that “Labyrinth” soundtrack on Vinyl we were just talking about? Mr. B was out for a run when he happened upon a yard sale. He loves records, so he was looking through the seller’s vinyl collection. He bought two different albums and the seller threw in the David Bowie classic “Labyrinth” because he had never heard of it, and just wanted these albums out of his house. Mr. B then turned around and sold it on Ebay at a complete profit. Which, truthfully, I was a little salty about because I love “Labyrinth” and I wanted to listen to ‘Dance, Magic, Dance’ in high fidelity! Just goes to show, one man’s junk is literally another man’s treasure.
Have you sold things on Ebay before? Do you buy a lot on Ebay? Do you like David Bowie as much as I do? Tell me all about it in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey three years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!