My Rule for Selling on eBay

I’ve received quite a few emails since I wrote the post Tallies from 2012: How Much Money Did My Blog Earn? A reader asked me what I sold on eBay and if I have any rules for selling. The answers to both of those questions are pretty simple.

While I sold a variety of items in online auctions I made the most revenue selling electronics. I sold a variety of items including speakers, iPhone accessories, routers, weather stations and unwanted video games and consoles. In most cases my husband updated an item and I sold the previous model we owned.

I only have one true rule for selling on eBay. I must make a minimum of $10. Before listing an auction I run calculations to factor in PayPal and eBay fees as well as all shipping costs. If my profit is less than $10 then I won’t list the item. Instead I’ll typically ask family members if they have any need for it or give it away.

I’ve seen people list all sorts of things and sell them for just a dollar or two. By the time they pay for postage they must make less than 10 or 15 cents in profit. While this may add up over time it is not something I’m willing to do.

I don’t want to waste time taking pictures, listing items, waiting to get paid, printing shipping labels and dragging items to the post office or UPS. If I don’t make a decent profit on selling something I’d much rather give it away.

I also find that the cheaper the auction the more difficult it is to get winning bidders to pay. You would think it would work the other way around, but strangely enough my most expensive items are often paid for the minute the auction ends. For smaller auctions it can take quite a few days to receive payment and on more than one occasion I had to file a dispute when the winning bidder failed to pay.

How about you? Do you sell items on eBay and if so do you have any rules for selling? Do you have a minimum profit threshold or are you willing to list anything on eBay?

2 thoughts on “My Rule for Selling on eBay”

  1. My fiance also has trouble getting people to pay for less expensive items. He recently started requiring that users have at least 1 feedback in order to bid after noticing the winning bidders who don’t pay tend to be those with 0 feedback. His theory is that people submit dummy bids in order to drive up the bids on their own listings.

  2. I think it depends on what you’re selling and whether you’re looking for one-time sales or repeat customers.

    I sell vintage paper collectibles and most of my buyers are collectors who are likely to be interested in at least some of my other items. Most of my items sell for around $5 to $10 each, but many of my buyers will buy at least a few of my items at one time and I figure a $15 – $25 sale is nothing to sneeze at. I love combined shipping – I started buying years ago on a shoestring and hated inflated shipping charges – and always offer the lowest reasonable shipping charge, so buyers know they’re not getting gouged or nickel and dimed.

    I also allow plenty of time for buyers to pay, which many buyers use to find more of my items to buy, because my combined shipping usually makes buying additional items a very good deal. Since I build plenty of time to pay into the listings, I rarely have a problem with overdue payments. The buyers interested only in the one item they bought usually are eager to receive it and pay the fastest.


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