Weekend Project: List One Thing On eBay

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While digging through the garage to find our (three) Christmas decorations, boy did I find a lot of junk. I’m pretty sure that everyone reading this has a least one thing that they feel has some value and also don’t want. Old cell phones, DVDs, that-old-thing-you’ve-had-forever, whatever. Remember my 3 eBay selling tips:

1) Just list it. – The most common mistake I see people make is put off listing their items for sale, waiting for the perfect time or when they’re less busy. Unless you are listing antiques, your stuff is losing value by the second, especially electronics.

2) Take a picture. – Wouldn’t you rather see the actual thing you are buying? This is critical to getting the best price.

3. Make your description honest, clear, and concise. There is no need for fancy templates or a dissertation on your product. People just want to know what it is, and if there is anything wrong with it. I’ve seen so many auctions that have plain straightforward text with a good picture sell for much more than a gaudy listing that’s 3 screens long.

In other words, it really shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to list your item. Just snap a picture, and write up a paragraph about it.

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  1. moneysmartlife says

    One of my favorite eBay selling tips is to use TurboLister,
    http://pages.ebay.com/turbo_lister, a free tool from eBay that can save you a lot of time.

    It takes probably 30 minutes to install it and create your first listing but every listing after that is a snap! You can just copy the first item you listed, make a few changes, and have another one ready to sell!

    I helped two guys from work get started selling on eBay and the first thing I recommended was setting up TurboLister. If anyone has any questions about the setup just let me know. One warning, selling on eBay can be addicting, using TurboLister makes it easier to do so it can worsen your addiction!

  2. Alex - YoungFinances.com says

    Great idea — I’m going to list a couple things on eBay right now.

    Thanks for the tip on TurboLister. I’m installing it and going to check it out with these listings I’m doing today.

  3. What about shipping? That is what has always stopped me, it has always been too much of a bother to figure out how much it would cost to ship that that-old-thing-I’ve-had-forever and the whatever.

  4. I’d just to go USPS.com, UPS.com (UPS Store), or FedEx.com (Kinkos). All of them have online postage estimators. Estimate on the high side if need be, so at least you know you’ll be making a profit.

    If it’s heavy and small, consider a flat-rate box from USPS. As long as it fits, it’s good. Or media mail (book rate) for books.

    If it’s heavy and BIG, I’d probably just sell it over Craigslist.

  5. I believe eBay now has a shipping calculator you can use! You just enter in the service that you want (ex priority mail), the zip code you’re shipping from, and the cost of materials, and the buyers can enter their zip code + have the shipping cost calculated.

    Also, Jonathan, I won your drawing (Myth of the Metals is my blog) and emailed you, but haven’t heard back. Did you get my message?

  6. Dan – I got it, I just haven’t got it from everyone yet so I haven’t sent them all out.

  7. Alex - YoungFinances.com says

    As a follow-up, I found nearly $300 worth of stuff I was never going to touch again and have it listed on eBay thanks to this post! Some of it has already been sold because I put really good “Buy It Now” prices on everything to end the auctions quickly.

    It’s good to have a reminder every now and then to clean out the closets!

  8. One thing to consider — if it is a CD/DVD/game etc., Amazon is often a very quick and easier way to sell. i have sold $1000s in stuff on Amazon over the years, and they make selling very quick and easy.

    eBay is still good for bigger items. Remember that even BROKEN items, like electronics, may well have value on eBay! I sold a broken ReplayTV for over $200 a few years ago.

  9. if you are in a craigslist city, that is another good place to list and sell. i’ve sold lots on it before with good results. good thing is that people are local so they can see the stuff (just watch out for all them nigerian type scammers).

    i personally hate reserve prices with no minimum bid. simply doesn’t make sense to me. start the bidding near or at your reserve price.

    i second, third, or whatever the GOOD pictures. There really is no excuse for using stock photos or fuzzy photos these days.

    i never buy from people with outrageous shipping costs. I’ve seen things listed that most people are selling for like $800, but some idiot sells for $400 with $300 shipping. Get real, i’m sure there are idiots who are willing to do this.

    oh, and don’t try to recoup costs to fix the thing if it was broken, you will not sell the thing and the thing will continue to depreciate (especially electronics).

    and don’t forget lots of communication.

  10. Does anyone know of an easy-read all-inclusive book or website that talks about becoming a power-seller or going full time as a seller? I’ve heard that ebay provides benefits for power-seller, but I’m not sure if this is true. I’m not even sure where to start, which is why I’m writing in the first place.

  11. Anyone know of or where to find good suppliers? On FW, no one will share anything. I’m not interested in the get rich quick informercial info.

  12. Never had any luck selling on eBay, however i will follow your descriptive guide to try my luck this weekend. Thanks

  13. Also, about the “Just list it” point: You may want to initially hold off on selling your unwanted but somewhat valuable electronics when you first sign up for ebay. This is because, you will start with zero feedback, and you will get less for the first few items you list, because buyers might be skeptical about your credibility. So, just list the cheaper stuff first, wait for feedback, and then sell everything else.

  14. I try to use craigslist as much as I can since ebay and amazon take a percentage of the price. However, when I am selling something that might not sell locally or needs a larger buyer audience, like my old college textbooks, I use ebay or amazon.

  15. Ebay actually helped me get rid of things I don’t need anymore and got me some cash in the process. Now I’m reselling things off ebay…if I find some sale items…I buy a couple…one for myself and one to list at ebay.

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