Is eBay Worth the Trouble? – Results From My Recent Listings


I received a couple of emails in response to yesterday’s post. Two readers wanted to know if I would list items on eBay again and whether or not it was really worth the trouble of selling there.

Honestly, I think it depends on what you want to get rid of and how much you think you’ll earn from the items you sell. I listed unwanted gift cards, movies, an old cell phone and a video game controller. (None of these were high ticket items.)

My goal was to earn a minimum of $10 off of each listing. As you can see in the table below I failed to achieve this in five of my thirteen listings; not very good odds.

Here are the results of my listings:

Listing Price + Shipping Fees + Shipping Profit
Disney Blu-Ray & DVD $37.86 $7.44 $30.42
Earbuds $8.50 $3.33 $5.17
Disney Blu-Ray & DVD $10.68 $3.77 $6.91
Earbuds $12.99 $3.91 $9.08
Disney Blu-Ray & DVD $16.50 $4.68 $11.82
Outdated & Cracked Cell Phone $29.50 $6.53 $22.97
$25 Gift Card $24.01 $5.33 $18.68
Disney Blu-Ray & DVD $16.74 $5.19 $11.55
$25 Gift Card $21.53 $5.08 $16.45
Play Yard Sheets $10.25 $5.56 $4.70
3 Children’s DVDs $12.55 $5.24 $7.32
Training Pants $51.00 $10.35 $40.65
Video Game Controller $106.00 $22.22 $83.78

Total Earned: $269.48

All of these items were extremely easy to list. For the most part I searched for the UPC, used the generic details provided by eBay and added a sentence or two about the quality of items for sale. I took two or three pictures on my iPhone and quickly uploaded them to the auction site. The worst part of that process was rotating the images, because everything I uploaded seemed to load into eBay sideways. The total time for listing was just a minute or two.

I split the listings into two separate weeks and set the duration of each sale to seven days. My goal was to end all sales by Saturday evening. I like ending on Saturday because it gives buyers an extra day to pay. (I can’t ship anything out on Sunday anyway.) On Sunday evening, after all the auctions were paid, I packaged everything up and dragged it off to the post office in one big trip.

For the most part this worked. A few buyers were slow to pony up their money, but luckily the items they purchased fit in the blue postal box at the end of our street.

Three of the thirteen items did not sell the first time I listed them. I lowered the price ever so slightly and a week later they all sold at higher prices then I originally expected. For the record eBay suggests starting listings at ninety-nine cents. They say low prices will spark interest from more buyers, which might be true, but I’ve also been burned by setting auctions too low in the past. There is always the possibility that an item will sell for next to nothing. I’d prefer a slightly lower ending price then risking a ninety-nine cent sale. Perhaps there is some happy medium to knowing just how low to start while still ensuring a decent profit.

For each auction eBay charged 10% of the sale price, plus 10% of shipping costs. A few times the cost of shipping, (including packaging supplies), was more than I expected. Oh and when selling on eBay you can’t forget about PayPal fees, which tacked on anywhere from sixty-eight cents to an additional five dollars in the auctions listed above.

If a similar situation presented itself I would certainly use eBay again. I earned $269.48, which isn’t an earth shattering amount of money, but it’s certainly better than $0.

Next time around I probably won’t sell anything that isn’t valued at over $20. I also wouldn’t offer free shipping, because those auctions resulted in the smallest amount of profit.

How about you? Have you ever sold stuff on eBay and what was your experience like?

Photo Credit

2 thoughts on “Is eBay Worth the Trouble? – Results From My Recent Listings”

Leave a Comment