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eBay Tips from a First-Time Seller

7 Beginner eBay Tips from a First-time eBayer

Well the results are in for the first items I've ever sold on eBay!  Here are a few tips that I learned along the way.

1.  Google your items for the correct specs if there are differences.  This was most useful for me on the iPods- it turns out Apple has a support area that lists all the different generations of products.  I just did a Ctrl+F to put in the Model number on the back.  What came back was more information than what I ever wanted to know about the iPod.  The eBay "Sell similar item" feature has a bank of products as well, and will auto-import most specification.  On a couple, it didn't have the screen size, so I was able to pull the "official" word off

2.  Take Good Pictures & Mark Damage.  Great pictures are a must in the blogging world.  However, it surprises me how much they're lacking in the depths of eBay.  I wouldn't say my pictures are phenomenal by any means, but they were much better than most others I saw.  Especially since I wasn't accepting returns (I want this stuff GONE!) I took extra care to mark any damage on the photos, no matter how minor.  I made sure to put a disclosure in the listing as well, letting people know to check the pictures and ask me any questions they'd like.  Even though I wasn't offering returns, the items are/were backed by the eBay guarantee.  Which means I have a credit card on file with them, in case any buyer decides I wasn't truthful with my listing.

3.  Estimate shipping.  This was by far the hardest thing for me to figure out.  Short of going down to the post office and seeing what exactly this stuff weighed, I had no way of knowing for sure the shipping cost.  Then it still depends on where it's being shipped to.  Finally I decided I'd take a conservative estimate.  Don't listen to what eBay says similar items have shipped for- 3oz might be right for an iPod nano if you're sending it in an envelope with not packing materials.  If this were something I was doing as a business I'd make more of an effort to learn the cost from the get-go, or at least over time realize how much it may run me.  Or get set up with a scale, since you get an "eBay discount" for paying for shipping online.

4.  You WILL get Messages almost Immediately.  Like within minutes of the listing.  They will be along the lines of "Will you accept this amount as a Buy It Now? Let me know."  The first one I got I was like, "Well crap, maybe!"  But then I looked into the potential buyer.  They're selling the same things as a Buy It Now for 3 times as much!  eBay also points out that you shouldn't accept an offer via private message.  Last, I thought-  If I were going to accept a Buy It Now price, then why didn't I just list it as that, instead of an Auction?  All of these are reason to say "no thanks!"

5.  Follow Up Questions in a Timely / Polite Manner.  It kind of goes hand in hand with the above.  Respond to all your messages as quick as you can.  If they were the ones about the the "Buy It Now" price, I'd just say, "No thanks, I'd like to see how it does as an auction."  One item, I noticed a spot on the screen as I was packing.  Seriously, it wasn't there when I was taking pictures for the listing!  I immediately contacted the buyer (who had been very quick to send payment!) and let them know.  Then spent half of the evening trying to get pictures of this uploaded to eBay.  Turns out there's a size limit- but they don't say that's what the problem is when upload fails.  I wound up giving an almost 10% discount on the item and gave the option of a complete refund.  I put a note in there with it let me know if there are any other issues- I'd accept a return in this case.

6.  You May not get (M)any Bids the first Few Days.  I did a 7 day auction, and though I haven't sold anything on eBay before, I do (did) have an inkling of how things work.  I didn't get any bids on any of them until there were only 3-4 days left.  Perhaps I should have just done a short auction time?  Probably.  But don't freak out, because people will bid.

7.  Remember Why You're Listing.  In my case, I was listing these things that are perfectly good, but we haven't used in a long time for a number of reasons.  My bottom line thought was, "I'm making more money on it now, than I was by having to move it for a 400th time."  Obviously if you're trying to make a business off of selling things on eBay, then your thought process will (or at least it SHOULD) be different than mine!

Has anyone used eBay to sell their used items? Any other tips I should look for the next go-round?


  1. I have always wondered about EBay selling. If I wasn't in a rush to move I would probably put a ton of stuff up on it!! Thanks for the tips!!

  2. That's exactly why I decided to list stuff! I don't want to move it again, or again after that!!

  3. My husband uses ebay all the time. He was complaining about their shipping fee set up as a seller, so he doesn't do it as much anymore. He sure does get a lot of stuff off ebay though!

  4. Gah the shipping drove me bonkers. NONE of eBay's estimates were correct, so that dipped into my profits a little more. However, if I were doing this on a regular basis, it'd behoove me to invest in the $50 scale and USB from USPS. Who by the way, will gladly check the weight of your packages to make sure you've paid AT LEAST the correct amount.
    I had one that was an ounce over what I thought based on my highly technological food scale. They let it slide, but made sure to let me know. I got no refund for the 2 lb 10 oz package that I put the weight as 3 lbs for, though. I just pointed out that my vast overpayment on one should more than make up for my underpayment on the other

  5. But MY question is, have you sold your massive Beanie Baby collection?

  6. Good tips on the shipping. That was hard to figure out at first. My first item was returned back to me because there wasn't enough shipping...and then I had to ship it a second time. Thankfully I still made money on the item. If it would have been sold for a little less, I would have lost money though!

    I ended up purchasing a cheap kitchen scale and it has helped so much! Before I was putting more postage than I needed just to cover my back, as I learned my lesson from the first time. ;)

  7. I need to start using eBay because I have a ton of things I need to sell, I just think it's so time consuming as in, I really don't have any free time right now. Great tips though, will definitely re-read this when I do find a free hour or so!

    xx -n
    Naomi in Wonderland

  8. Bahahah! Actually, they're all out in the garage I think. And I'm pretty sure creatures nested in them since they were packed away in cardboard boxes. I'm always afraid to check when I'm home...

  9. Yes! I was using a little food scale and it worked quite well! However, I was still worried so (especially on the big one that was 2+ lbs) I added a little extra. I think next time, I'm going to take the pictures and get everything boxed up how I'm going to ship it, and weigh it then. As opposed to going with eBay's approximate weight!

  10. I thought it would be more time-consuming than it actually was. However, eBay's "bank" of items really helped out, as it imported all the specs of the items and I just had to put in the description what is included and any damages.

  11. we've sold a couple (for sure one item) on ebay.. and these are great tips for any first time seller!

  12. Thanks! I got the last item shipped out yesterday, now I'm just anxiously awaiting feedback!


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