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View Full Version : How to be a good or even great eBay seller..



Exhaust Port
08-27-2003, 09:53 PM
Ok, so I'm thinking of entering the world of selling junk on eBay. I've been wanting to get into this aspect of the internet but with my recent aquisition of a digital camera I've run out of excuses to get started.

What I'm looking for isn't information about how to post stuff online but how to do it well. What pitfalls should someone look out for? How do you track what you sell and when auctions end? How do you decide on your minimum price?

Any eBay veterans out there?

DarthChuckMc
08-27-2003, 10:39 PM
I'm not a pro, but I can give you my .02 cents.

You can track everything in the "My eBay" section. No problem there.

I've found that 7 day auctions are the best..not too short, not too long.

Try to post the auctions on a Sunday evening. When they end, it'll be the weekend, and an evening. More oppertunity for last minute bidders.

Start the bidding for .01-$1.00 always gets you bids FAST, but you risk the chance of it selling below your cost. I usually start the bids at what I paid. If I paid $4.77 plus tax for a Mynock Hunt Chewbacca, I'll start the bidding for what I paid for it. If it is something over 2-3 years old, I kinda wing it. I know the price guides say Ep1 Darth Maul with black vest is $200 in ToyFair, but...the prices in there are GREATLY exagerated. If it's something older, check out the "Completed Items" link and type in what you want to sell. You can get an idea of what people are willing to pay, that way you don't screw yourself, or start the bid so high, people won't even touch it.

The MOST important thing......SHIPPING!!

I HATE it when someone sells something...for instance...the GREEN Clonetrooper army 3 pack for $10.99 Buy it Now....and then says shipping is $10!! Unless there are sending it Express mail or UPS Next Day Air, it AIN'T gonna cost $10 to ship a 1 lbs. package.

Be honest with people. Tell them you will provide ACTUAL shipping cost at the end of the auction, or have them send you their Zipcode in advance. You can use www.USPS.com to estimate the cost by entering you Zip and theirs, plus the weight, and it will give you the cost.

Anything I haven't answered let me know, or I'm sure someone else will chime in, too.

Good Luck.

Kidhuman
08-27-2003, 10:40 PM
Okay, you can track stuff through MY ebay. It will track what you sell and buy. Dont fall for the little add ups when posting. Post the free picture, thats all I do. If people want more pics let them email you for them. That will save you some money.

Look at the current prices going for the same item. I have both bought and sold on Ebay. I have a 100% positive feedback. It is only 26 or 27 but hey, it is still 100%. If you want, add a buy it now price. It depends on what it is. Say, if you would like 40 dollars for the item, put that for the buy it now and start the auction at say 20 dollars. The buy it now option will disappear once a bid is made, unless you have a reserve price. A reserve price means that the item will not sell unless the bidding hits that amount. But that is some extra cash. Sometimes with a buy it now people will offer free shipping. Sometimes I will bite on it. If there is something I dont want to lose out on and the BIN price is reasonable and free shipping, I will buy it. If you have any other questions PM me or post here and I can help you out.

Exhaust Port
08-27-2003, 11:11 PM
Great comments! I've been tracking similar items to see how much they start and end at to guage how I might advertise mine. I'm still not sure what to do with unique or rare items. I guess if I'm afraid of losing money on the deal that a reserve is a necessity. Do you notice better success when selling with a reserve when you start bidding at a low price vs. a price closer to reserve? I know sometimes when I bid I like to see at least a ballpark $$ up there just so I know what the seller might be looking for.

Shipping is a big question mark in my book. I get a sizeable discount on FedEx shipping but I haven't done enough research on it to know how to quote people a shipping cost or anything. Anyone set up a FedEx account before and know the details of how they work?

Kidhuman
08-27-2003, 11:15 PM
Yes, they will bill your credit card. The account is good until you dont use it for thirteen months. Just contact them through their website www.fedex.com or call them.

JediTricks
08-28-2003, 01:09 AM
Our own Thrawn has a feedback count of over 10,000 on ebay, over 99% of which are positive, and over 1,00 are repeat business. His layout is simple, quick explanation of the item, picture of the item, explanation of his policies on shipping, insurance, payment, whatnot, and he starts everything at a fair price. No special listing gimmicks, no keyword spamming, no loading the user down with info overkill, no fancy layouts or pointless extra graphics.

plasticfetish
08-28-2003, 08:36 PM
I HATE it when someone sells something...for instance...the GREEN Clonetrooper army 3 pack for $10.99 Buy it Now....and then says shipping is $10!! Unless there are sending it Express mail or UPS Next Day Air, it AIN'T gonna cost $10 to ship a 1 lbs. package.
Shipping is really the biggest wild card though. Depends on what, how big, how heavy, where it's going and how fast it needs to get there. Also, you need to decide if you're going to count things like the cost of box (do you double box for safety?), tape, bubble wrap or packing peanuts into that cost. As well, time spent driving to post office, UPS or FedEx to have things weighed ... and then back again after you've confirmed and agreed on the amount to ship. (I consider that stuff "handling.") I've shorted myself a number of times (if not every time) trying to guess an approximate shipping and handling cost. I've never really "made" money on anything I've sold because frankly I end up spending way more time than it's worth building and tending to the ads. Shooting and editing photos ... then uploading them to a host (I use the small space that my Internet provider gives me) takes time. Writing the ad with hopefully clear and accurate descriptions of the item(s) takes time. Posting the ad and making sure it looks OK takes time. Answering any email questions, often from people who may only be casually interested and then constantly having to deal with people who are trying to haggle over your price takes time.

BUT ... it's kind of fun and if you have something that needs a good home, it's not such a bad way to do it.

kool-aid killer
08-28-2003, 08:59 PM
I have seen some auctions where the seller states in the description how much the reserve price is. Im always reluctant to bid on something with a reserve though. Shipping is a hassle. Ive never sold on ebay but there have been times where the seller has lost out on money (i always check to see how much it cost and if it is over 3 to 4 dollars i send them a money order to make up the difference) but most of the time i end up giving them a bit more than they needed. Hope that helps.

icatch9
08-29-2003, 08:27 AM
I'm an old pro both ways. One thing to keep in mind is pack the items very nicely. I remember the first thing I sold was packed OK, but not the best and it ended up there damaged. The dude didn't negative me, but he could of. So, from then on in my discription I always say "Items will be packaged carefully, but I am not responsilbe for items lost or damaged by the post office. Insurance is avalable upon request and cost of high bidder."

You can order priority mail boxes from USPS.com. They are free and shipped to you for free too. Talk about a great deal. They have all sizes of boxes and tape, lables, stickers, ect. Eveything you need to ship priority right from you home. I know you go FedEx, but sometimes USPS is cheaper. Just an FYI.

I also have a generic email that I send to every winning bidder. It's a word document that I typed up telling the winning bidder where to send payment, what to include with payment, bla bla bla. It makes notifing the winning bidders a 5 minute job instead of a 30 minute job.

Hope this all help. Good luck, ebay can be loads of fun :D!

Exhaust Port
08-29-2003, 10:35 PM
What about payments. I've used Paypal a few times to purchase items and love it. I was thinking about using only that as an option as it protects both the buyer and seller. Is it used enough by buyers that using it exclusively won't deter bids?

DarthChuckMc
08-29-2003, 10:46 PM
Paypal is great, BUT...yes there is a but....if you accept more than $100 in a single month, you are considered a business account, and they start charging you a percentage. For instance, I sold a Padme DFC for $5.75 + shipping $3.85. Paypal charged me $.40. Everytime you accept a payment, after you've "qualified" as a business, they take a little piece of the action.

I used to sell to a friend of mine in Tennesse, and sometimes I would find $150 worth of stuff, and he would send me $75 every two weeks to cover the purchases I made for him, these turned me into a business, even though it was just me and a buddy buying/selling from each other, without eBay involved.

Whenever I sell, I ONLY accept Paypal. Sometimes people will say, "Oh I sent the money order last week, you shoudl have it by now.", or "I'll send another one right away.", and you never see the money.

I sell everything, PAYPAL only, payment due in THREE DAYS, or NEGATIVE feedback will be left, and I will relist the item. You have to be strict, because there are plenty of deadbeats out there.

plasticfetish
08-29-2003, 11:39 PM
It's certainly possible to accept only PayPal payments. I think enough people have an account and you'll probably do just fine if that's the way you want to go.

I tend to accept personal checks (the address on the check must match the address that I'm shipping to), money orders and PayPal. I give the buyer 3 days to respond with their name and shipping info and then 10 days (max) from the end of auction to get me their payment.

Kidhuman
08-29-2003, 11:46 PM
I tend to stay away from checks but if thwy must I wont mail out until it clears the bank. Paypal and Money order are the best forms of payment IMO

derek
08-30-2003, 08:35 AM
i've heard some pay pal horror stores though.............

one guy sold some stuff, shipped it out to the buyer, who paid via paypal. the buyer gets the stuff, waits a month and then tells his credit card company the stuff is damaged and he gets his money back form his CC company, and paypal in turn charges the amount back to the seller.
now the buyer has the merchandise and his money back. this is why i stick with money orders and cashier's checks.

http://pub133.ezboard.com/fmenwithdollsfrm1.showMessage?topicID=9722.topic

sith_killer_99
08-30-2003, 10:02 AM
Derek, that's easily resolved. Just make the buyer pay for insurance on larger purchases. Some people require it for anything over $10.00. I have also sold some stuff on Ebay recently. I use delivery confirmation on pkges and insurance on high dollar items.

Also, Pay Pal charges for the "Money back guarantee" so it's not like people can make money by scamming low dollar auctions.

RiversdaleCaptain
08-31-2003, 05:17 AM
Whenever I buy and sell, I use direct deposit, thats very easy. The cheques and money orders take too long to arrive.

also, about shipping costs, i just charge a price that seems reasonable and its usually about right. My mum pays for the shipping on my items though so i'm a lucky boy :)

When the shipping costs a lot on an item you buy, the item is usually very well packed and never damaged, so it's worth the extra $'s

sith_killer_99
08-31-2003, 07:47 AM
When the shipping costs a lot on an item you buy, the item is usually very well packed and never damaged, so it's worth the extra $'s

I tend to agree. For instance, I always try to ship in new boxes, which usually cost anywhere from $1.00-$3.00, not to mention the cost of bubble wrap or a star case.

In fact, I have been known to ask people to ship in star cases, if they didn't offer it on their auction. Of course I offer to pay for the extra cost.

Exhaust Port
08-31-2003, 08:34 AM
Also, you need to decide if you're going to count things like the cost of box (do you double box for safety?), tape, bubble wrap or packing peanuts into that cost. As well, time spent driving to post office, UPS or FedEx to have things weighed ... and then back again after you've confirmed and agreed on the amount to ship. (I consider that stuff "handling.") I've shorted myself a number of times (if not every time) trying to guess an approximate shipping and handling cost.

I guess this brings up plasticfetish's comments again, that S&H should include all your expenses not just how much the shipment costs. The box, packing material, time and driving expense are part of it. Especially when you're dealing with smaller money items it could be very easy to lose money on the deal if the S&H doesn't cover your true cost. I'm going to have to sit down and really figure out what the Handling part costs and then tack that on to the Shipping cost.

sith_killer_99
08-31-2003, 08:47 AM
Also take into account overseas shipping. I miscalculated shipping overseas and ended up shorting myself $8.00!!!

I prefer to ship within the US because of costs and tracking. I usually use delivery confirmation with all my shipments, just to protect myself, but I pay for it out of pocket (45 cents).

kool-aid killer
08-31-2003, 10:34 AM
I use money orders. Ive only had one problem with that but part of it was my fault. Determining the shipping cost is a hassle with all the things you have to factor in. Sometimes you come out with a little more and other times with a little less. If you buy along with selling i would reuse whatever material you can (the box, peanuts, bubble wrap etc.) It works for me in trades.

Exhaust Port
08-31-2003, 10:54 AM
Also take into account overseas shipping. I miscalculated shipping overseas and ended up shorting myself $8.00!!!

Not that I plan on anything that I sell having an interest overseas but how, may I ask, do you calculate overseas shipping?

Kidhuman
08-31-2003, 10:58 AM
I dunno, you have to figure in air mail costs and stuff like that. I have never sent anything overseas. I won anauction once and didnt realize it was from the Uk and when I saw shipping was 17 dollars I flipped out, but then I realized it was overseas.