Beginners guide to selling on EBAY, Part 1

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I do not wish to over present myself and state that I am an “expert” on selling on ebay. I consider myself in the category of a “new seller” myself. Yet, I wish to share some thoughts and information with you of what I have learned since beginning to sell items on ebay.

Do you have any items in your house that you wish to get rid of? I am sure we all have more then a few items in our house that we no longer wish to use or even want. I decided one day that I want to “declutter” my house. This was the beginning of my selling on ebay. You need to think of the technical aspects before you jump right in with both feet. You would never go and buy a car without first researching and thinking the whole process through. In Part 1 of this Guide we will review Payment, Shipping and Packaging information.

Payment Method: I suggest this first because PayPal is one of the most convenient way to pay on ebay. It is very easy to set up a Paypal account to accept a range of payment methods from others. Please make sure you get verified. If you are verified others will look at you as you are serious about your “business” and it is a source of protection for both the Seller and Buyer. The process of getting verified does take about a week on average and that is the reason I feel you should pursue this process first. You, of course, can accept Personal checks as a means of payment. Please keep in mind there is a risk involved. If you happen to get a check and it does bounce more then 50% of the banks charge a fee to your account for a bad check. In the end you may not be able to get reimbursed for the account fees, plus the item that you sold.

Keep in mind what the perspective of the buyer is. Buyers on ebay not only want to get a deal on an item, most people wish to have the item they paid for as quickly as they can. Paypal allows them to quickly purchase the item and allow you to have the payment as quickly as possible so they can get their item as quickly as possible. If you only accept Personal Check, Money Order of Cashiers check this involves more time. They need to write the check, send the check, wait for the money to get into your hands, wait for the check to clear and then wait for the item to be shipped.

Shipping: It is recommended that you have a shipping scale available to you or at your residence. This will allow you to correctly state actual shipping weight. You should familiarize yourself with the different methods of shipping before you pursue selling on ebay. Look at the different companies there are in your area. You have United States Postal Service, UPS, Fed Ex, DHL and others. You may go to any of their websites and just play around with weights and different areas of the United States to see what the estimated shipping costs would be. When you are selling an item on ebay you may charge a “flat rate” or you may charge a “calculated rate” based upon your zip code and the buyers zip code. Before deciding take some factors into consideration. Say you charge a flat rate of $5.00 for a 5 pound box. Say you live in New York. Will you be able to cover shipping costs for $5.00 (5 pound box) to a person who lives in California? If you do not want to take the chance of coming up short on shipping costs then you should decide to go with a “calculated rate”. You will be able to enter in your zip code and the weight dimensions of your package. Then say if someone from California or even New York decides to buy your item you are secure in knowing you will not lose money on shipping costs. You need to be advised that shipping is not based upon “exact” weight. Say you have a box that weighs 5 pounds 4 ounces. Because the shipping weight has now exceeded 5 pounds, it is shipped at a 6 pound box. Knowing this in advance will save you and the customer time and money.

Packaging: Be prepared with boxes and shipping supplies before you list and item to sell. You can sign up for an account through USPS and they will ship (free) supplies to your home. I know if you sign up for a UPS account (fee) they also offer free shipping supplies. There are also numerous auctions on ebay for boxes, labels, tape and other materials. Know what you are spending and the bottom line of your cost to ship BEFORE you post on ebay.

Take into consideration your time involved and your actual shipping costs. For example say you purchase boxes that equal to .50 per box, plus the tape, labels, etc. So in the end just the packaging materials and box to ship the product costs you .75 cents. You need to factor in how much the actual shipping cost is to you. You then charge a “packaging/handling fee” to cover your actual cost to ship the product to the buyer.

Please note there are people on ebay who decide to make more money from shipping. I am highly against this type of business. If you charge $10.00 to ship and item and in the end it only costs $5.00, that is quite high. You will lose business in the end. Put yourself in the buyers shoes. You want to purchase a product, but not be charged steeply high fees for shipping to add more income in another person’s pocket. These people are also avoiding ebay fees when they do this. I see this sort of business as “mistrust”. If I am going to purchase an item from someone I want to know the bottom line I am paying for the item. I do not feel comfortable being charged highly inflated shipping costs to benefit only the seller. I once bought something off of ebay. It was an extremely small item that fit into a regular size envelope. I was charged $3.75 for shipping on this item. When I received it, the packaged clearly stated the actual shipping charges were only .35 cents! That means I paid $3.40 extra. I would have clearly understood if I would have been charged a small packaging/handling fee, but I felt that I paid an extra $3.00 for an item that was not worth the extra money. In the end it would have been cheaper for me to run to a near by store then to purchase this item on ebay.


Part 2 covers photos, description, feedback and the end result



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