Selling on ebay takes a little bit of planning, not much, but if you follow these steps you can do this and get a lot of satisfaction while you do, as if you play your cards right, you’ll earn a little bit of cash and have a little bit of fun. My guess is that twice a year you will be putting this plan in to action and have a much clearer house for it.
For clothing, you will need to buy some ‘clothing bags’ – they are usually grey, tough, lightweight and you can pick them up on eBay (chuckle), but my favourite (and I use these) is 100 x 16 x 12″ bags from Amazon . They cost £8.79 and it’s FREE shipping, that’s less than 9p a bag and you get this back in your P&P charges anyway. Even if you feel you need to use 2 bags to bag each item – they are still cheap as chips and you are still claiming the 18p back in P&P.
If you have not done so, set up an ebay account and ALSO a paypal account. The Paypal account is for your security in receiving payment and for the buyer’s security in receiving the goods. The ebay account is unbelievably easy and the Paypal account takes a couple of days to activate – they ask you to deposit something like 10p into your account to make sure it’s you (which is a bit exciting and it’s funny how you wonder if it will work – when you are obviously not money laundering or a criminal, but you still feel it might not work, lol).
To be a reputable seller you need to have some score rating (ooh it’s a bit like blogging) and so a couple of cheap purchases (like strong, grey mailing bags, or one of a million cheap 99p offers you can find on there) will set you off with an “I can trust this person” they paid and received reputation.
Now you are ready to start selling on ebay!
eBay has a simple step by step template for listing your items, but I want you to know the following:
▪ You get charged to list items that have a starting price of over 99p – it’s free to list 99p and under.
▪ Starting at 99p encourages buyers to bid and when they start – your item increases in value.
▪ There are buyers who wait until the final hour of the listing to bid, so that they can get the item for less without others realising.
▪ There are buyers who have automated bidding, who when these last minute buyers come in to steal, then increase the bid automatically.
- The automated bidders have a maximum bid – so when the last minute stealers reach this they get excited and make a last minute (literally last minute) attempt to win the sale. If there are lots of watchers – there can be a lot of last minute bidding.
- If you choose Auction Style and to start the bidding at 99p and the item does not sell – you will not be charged for listing the item. If you chose Auction Style and to start the bidding at more than 99p – fees apply (see ebay fees).
ALL of the above is very good news to you – as a bid is a sale and you will make ‘at least 99p on this item’.
When listing products, give as much information as possible – sizing is important, if you know the brand sizing list this (i.e. Boden has a page on all of its exact measurements).
- List size, colour, brand, New (with or without tags), Used, long sleeved, hooded, etc – it’s all in the system.
- DO always put if applicable – ‘From a Pet Free Home’ or a ‘Smoke Free Home’ buyers lke this!
- Do mention that you post out only on Saturdays (or any other days) – if that is the case.
- If you don’t want to accept returns – tick this box. You are not a business and you are doing this for small money and a bit of fun.
- Offer to send your items 2nd Class Post or Royal Mail Tracking (for larger items). Heavy or multiple sales to one person, can sometimes be cheaper by ParcelForce. Do not pay more than you need to for postage unless the buyer asks ‘before’ payment – in this case you research the cost and inform them of charges for their request.
- Use different sized fonts, colour and underscore to highlight and make your text clear and attractive – but do not use the templates or feel you need additional tools to sell low cost items (they cost money and are applied to the lsiting fee even if you do not sell).
Your P&P is charged by you for what it will cost for you to send the item, plus the packaging you have bought. You cannot charge more than £4.00 for clothing in P&P. An example would be 500g packet (approx weight of a pair of jeans) for £3.00 P&P. This will cover your bags and 2nd Class posting easily. Don’t feel obliged to send 1st class or recorded – unless the buyer asks (in which case, you can adjust the invoice to charge them more).
The whole selling process is part of an automated system that ebay control and send you reminders and notifications for. If someone bids – they tell you, if the listing ends – they tell you, if you are bidding on something and you are outbid – they tell you!
When the item is sold the buyer is informed and ‘only’ when the money is in your Paypal account and confirmed does the item status change to sold. However, always check your Paypal account before posting to check the correct amount is paid in and to see if teh buyer has any specific requests on posting. You then post your item and let the system know you have. The buyer gives feedback on your sale and you give feedback on the purchase. Easy peasy!
Package your items securely and appropriately – use mailing bags for clothing (they weigh less and are sufficient), use jiffy or padded bags for items that can be easily damaged, like books, CD’s and DVD’s.
Always, always, always, ask the Post Office for receipt of posting – it’s free and it’s your insurance for the product.
You are charged by ebay for 10% of the final sale of the product – so if it sells for £6.99, you are charged 70p (if you listed at 99p then the percentage of the final amount is all you pay eBay). If you were tempted to use extra selling tools like Buy it Now or extra titles, they will charge for these too! Buy it Now allows you to stipulate the cost of the item and 40p. If you list an item Auction style for more than 99p there is a tiered system of charges starting at 15p for listings up to 4.99 and then 25p for listings up to £14.99. This is the starting price remember and if the buyer thinks it’s too much to start with – they won’t bid! Lower starting prices sell better.
Paypal also charge you for the transaction – this is also a percentage of the amount, but reduces your profit, so do not short change yourself when applying P&P charges or be tempted to use gimmicky selling tools on ebay.
Sometimes things go wrong! But more often than not it’s a delivery problem and you are not responsible for this. You can give the buyer details of the postage or a tansaction no. if you sold a large item that was cheaper to send Parcel Force, but you are not responisble for chasing it if you have given the transaction no. – if the driver left a card with the buyer, then it’s up to them to re-arrange delivery – not you!
If the item is no longer wanted and you don’t accept returns – then you don’t have to take it back. If the item is damaged on receipt, ask for proof of this (in photographs). They can ask for repayment and will approach Paypal for this – a case is opened in the ‘Resolution Centre’ but you get to state your case and the photographs of your item in the listing and your description are your evidence. Items damaged in transit are not your concern – unless you package glass in a polythene bag of course – that would most definitely be grounds for a refund!
The more you use ebay, the easier it becomes and the chances of making a tidy profit are more likely. I find that if I don’t take it too seriously and let it be fun – then it usually is and I get to clear out items I don’t need and get the satisfaction of doing just that and a bit of cash in the process.