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Learn How To eBay!
A Guide To The eBay Online Auction Place.

Part 6 - Selling On eBay

Learn How To eBay!

eBay Article Content:

Part 1 - Introduction to eBay
Part 2 - An Overview Of eBay
Part 3 - Evaluating What And Where To Buy
Part 4 - Buying On eBay
Part 5 - Avoiding The Serious Scam
Part 6 - Selling On eBay
Part 7 - Auction Terms, Abbreviations, And Some HTML Code
Part 8 - Authentic Items Verses Fakes


Selling On eBay

Selling on eBay is becoming amazingly popular. You can sit in the comfort of your own home and become an eBay seller with little knowledge, no real capital, and in your spare time. It is the "make money at home" program come true. Selling on eBay is unlike any business opportunity that I have ever seen or heard of before. If you are on line, with virtually no capital you can start a real business. That is not to say that you will get rich, or that you can quit your job to just sell on eBay; however, these things are possible. It is the same with any endeavor, if you have enough drive and ambition, combined with some knowledge and capital there is no telling what you can achieve. Still, what is possible, is to join the selling game, have fun, make some extra money, and maybe get rid of some of that surplus junk around the house.

There is no "trick" to selling on eBay, you just go out and do it and learn along the way. If you make a mistake, say maybe sell something too cheap, just hope it wasn't a big loss and go on to the next item. You can learn the fundamentals of eBay such as listing costs and so on, but because it is an auction where prices can float freely and what is hot today will be tomorrow's news, you will never truly learn the market, but you can get a feel for it.

eBay Selling Basics
eBay Help Pages

From eBay's Help Section:
New Seller Guide - A Step-By-Step Guide To Selling On eBay

What you must do in order to sell on eBay is to establish a selling account. It is very much like running an ad in your local newspaper's classified section. To advertise an item in your newspaper's classified section, you contact the newspaper, tell them the wording for the ad you want to run, they tell you how much it will cost and you pay them for running the ad. With eBay, you set up a billing account to pay for the listings that you will be running (listings are the "ads" that you use to sell your items).

There are numerous ways to pay your eBay account, the last I knew, you could use a credit card, debit card, PayPal, checking account direct drafting, money order, or business check. Their billing cycle is thirty days, meaning that you will owe eBay their fees every thirty days and they have two billing cycles, the first and fifteenth (check out eBay's fee payment information for complete details.

Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

Once you are established as a seller, you can begin selling. Your local newspaper will type and place your ad for you, with eBay, you must place your own ads (listings). The eBay listing program is the self prompting type that leads you step-by-step through the process. To place a listing, go to eBay or My eBay (your eBay home page), click on "Sell" (usually at the very, top right) and you will be prompted to log in (if you are not already logged in).

The prompts will ask you all the pertinent information such as:

  • The category in which you want your item listed (example: computers, videos, automotive, toys, etc.). At this writing, if you type in what you are selling, eBay will offer some suggestions as to what category to list your item in. It is possible to place a listing in a second category, but there is an additional fee.
  • At this writing, after the category is selected, there is a page of information to fill out about the product for sale.
  • The title of your listing (There is a limit on the number of letters you can use).
  • You can add a picture of the item. One listing picture is free, but additional pictures or a Gallery picture is an extra fee. (Gallery places a picture on the search results page.)
  • The description of your item, there is a large text block area for this; you can just type in the words, or if you know how to create a web page you can create one and paste the HTML code in.
  • For a small fee you can have a template "Listing designer" to dress up you ad.
  • You can add, at no cost, a hit counter to tell you how many people looked at your listing.
  • For a regular auction, the "Online Auction" Selling format would be what to use. The other options are self-explanatory, Fixed Price and Store Inventory (if you pay for an eBay store).
  • For Start price, enter the lowest amount that you want to sell for. Buy It Now price is optional, if there is a price that you would be happy to sell for you can make it your BIN price. Listing fees vary depending on your start price and BIN is an extra fee. For example if your start price is between $1.00 and $9.99 the start price fee will be 40 cents.
  • Duration is how many days you want to run the listing (3,5,7 or as many as 10 days for an additional fee).
  • You can choose to start the auction immediately (when you finish and click the submit button) or you can schedule a start time, for a fee. I would suggest, in the beginning, that you schedule a start time to give you a chance to look over your listing, before you are committed to all of the listing fees your ad will incur.
  • The Payments you accept section is self-explanatory. You can only choose PayPal if you are registered with PayPal.
  • In the shipping section you will probably use either flat rate (you set a price) or calculated (you enter the weight and when the buyer enters their zip code it will calculate the shipping costs). If it is too heavy or fragile to ship, you could select, No shipping - local pick up.
  • You can select up to three shipping options (although you can offer more in your listing information).
  • You can designate what countries you will ship to or not ship to.
  • You can choose to combine shipping for multiple purchases and whether or not to offer insurance.
  • You can choose to exclude certain buyers such as out-of-the -country buyers.
  • If you are selling for profit, you should charge sales tax and there is an option that will charge sales tax to persons in your state.
  • There is an returns section where you can specify if you take returns.

When you finish with the details of your listing, eBay will give you a chance to review your listing, to see what it will look like, and to know what the total of the listing fees are, before you have to click on the submit button. Along with the listing fees, there will be also be closing fees, but they depend on what price the item sales for, which is unknown at this point.

When you submit your listing, you will be given a unique number for that listing and that number will appear, along with your listing title and other information, on your "My eBay" page.

Some listing options incur extra fees here are a few. For a complete list go to eBay help and in "search help" type in "Insertion Fee".

  • Reserve auction - puts a minimum price on your item (the minimum price you will accept) and protects your Buy It Now price until the reserve price is met.
  • Buy It Now (BIN) - If a buyer is willing to pay this set price, they win the bidding and the auction stops immediately, however, the first bid placed below the Buy It Now price wipes out the BIN you offered (use a reserve if you want to protect your BIN price).
  • Dutch auction (a Dutch auction is a bit complicated, it is for selling a large number of the exact same item).
  • Listing design templates.
  • Bold print.
  • Highlighted - (puts shading behind your listing)
  • Gallery - If you used a picture, adding gallery puts a tiny picture on the search results page next to your search title.
  • Listing in two categories such as sports and clothing for a T-shirt with a race car driver's picture (could double some of the fees).
  • Home Page Features ($39.95).
  • Featured Plus ($19.95)

Link to eBay listing fees for eBay .com

NOTE: Real Estate and Automobiles have different, higher fees.

If your item does not sell, you can re-list the item. You will again be charged insertion and option fees to re-list an item, but if you use the re-list option (found on your item's original listing page) within 90 days and your item sells the second time, eBay will refund the insertion portion of the original fees for the second listing. There are restrictions so you should read the eBay "Insertion Fee Credit for Re-listed Items" page in their help section. (This feature is available in most listing categories, but not all).

You might want to be careful about using too may listing option "tools" at first, you will be absolutely amazed at how quickly listing fees add up. Every time you place a listing you will be shown your total current bill or at any time you can go to your account page to check your balance.

This is a basic overview of the fundamentals of listing, if you are serious about selling on eBay, you should go out to the sellers' information pages and print off the information that you need.

Now, what about your listing? You do not need to know any html to place a listing ad; however, there are a few easy html codes that will spice up your listing and you can use eBay Listing designer. You always get a chance to review you listing and cancel or change it, so get brave and try some things.

I always believe that a listing is a reflection of the person behind it and the attitude and words used determine whether or not I will trust them with my money. I do not like tacky, abusive ads and I will not buy from them. Think about such things when you create your listing. Your listing should be positive and sincere.

Think about all the fees eBay will charge you when you list and sell an item. If you list an item with a starting price of $1.00, with no reserve, and that is all it sells for (which happens a lot), you will still owe eBay about 40 cent for the insertion plus a final value fee, more if you used any listing tools.

Be careful not to overprice your item, while you do get a chance to re-list an item, if you are still too high the second time you will end up paying two insertion fees and still not have your item sold.

Use scales to weigh your items to get the exact weight before you list an item. You can select to offer buyers a shipping calculator for either/or USPS or UPS. If you decide to use flat rate shipping charges, it is not easy to predict the actual shipping charges because they vary by zone and zip code, you will just have to decide what price will best cover your possible shipping expense. Many sellers offer a base shipping price and note that Alaska and Hawaii will be extra. Shipping cost have skyrocketed in the past few years and if you are not careful you can really hurt yourself by undercharging for shipping and handling. You can get shipping cost charts from the Post Office and/or UPS (they are also available on line at and www.

Don't forget the handling part, it cost money to obtain boxes and shipping materials, time to package items, and gas to drive the parcels to a shipper. Even if you get set up with USPS or UPS as a shipper, you may be charged a fee for pickups. You can run your listing with just a note that shipping will be calculated when the auction is over and you know the zip code or shipping zone of the winner bidder, but this may put bidders off for fear of being ripped-off on shipping charges.

Once you have your items listed, you can monitor them on your selling page "My eBay". Your "My eBay " page lists your current auctions, how many bids they have, the current high bids, when the auction closes and so on. You can select what selling options you want on this page with "Customize Display" (on the right). This page has numerous options on the left for other pages such as: Sold items, Scheduled items, Unsold items (great for quickly re-listing), your account information, and lots more.

Okay, so you have listed your item and wow, it sells, what do you do now? Thankfully the eBay software has many nice features, one of which is that you can send an invoice to the buyer with a click of your mouse. If the buyer is sharp, they can "check-out" on their own, even before you send them an invoice.

When a auction ends, eBay will send you an end of auction notice with the buyer's e-mail address. As the seller you should contact the buyer right away. You can use eBay's end of auction service, Pay Pal has one, there are other companies that offer this service, or you can do it the old fashioned way and just type out an e-mail. The nice thing about the various services is that they do the payment and shipping calculating for you (with the info you provide). If the buyer goes through eBay's check out, which becomes available at the end of an auction, you will get their name and shipping information and how they intend to pay for their purchase. Until the buyer contacts you, you only have an eBay user ID and e-mail address.

If you do not hear from a buyer within three days, eBay has an option to send them a reminder notice (found on your "My eBay" sold page). Actually, if you do not hear from the buyer within three days you might have a bad buyer, most good buyers will contact you within that time frame, but you should go ahead and send the reminder, occasionally the buyer simply forgot, maybe they put in a proxy bid and just got busy and wasn't on their computer. It happens, but most buyers are anxious to get their purchase and contact the seller right away or at least within twenty-four hours. There are many buyers who will check out and pay with a service like Pay Pal in a matter of minutes of the close of the auction; this is always great.

After you send a reminder notice, it is up to you as to how long you want to give the buyer to respond. When you are done with a non-responding buyer, to be business like, you probably should e-mail the buyer a final, twenty-four hour notice. You can't get a refund on listing charges from eBay for thirty days, but personally, if I don't hear from the buyer in a few days, I send a final notice and re-list the item; I have found it is rare to have anyone respond after about a week.

On the good side, most buyers respond to e-mails and pay for their purchases, obviously, or sellers would stop selling. Once a buyer has responded, it is just a matter of waiting for them to pay. It seems like about half pay quickly and the other half are a little slow, but you should receive the money from most good buyers within about a week. Many sellers put time restrictions on buyers to speed up the payment process, but that is up to you.

Once you receive payment from the buyer, you need to ship promptly. It is irrelevant if the buyer paid a little slow, you are trying to establish a positive reputation as a seller on eBay, even if you are only an occasional seller, buyers need to be able to trust you.

Additionally, you need to leave the buyer positive feedback for paying, even if they were a little slow, at least they completed the transaction. There are many buyers that do not leave feedback, sometimes they will write you a nice e-mail, but still not leave feedback; this seems to be common with new eBay members. Don't hesitate to ask the buyer to give you positive feedback.

There is a lot to learn about being a seller, but as mentioned at the beginning of this section, most of it you can learn along the way. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and join the party and figure out the social graces along the way.

Additional Help:

eBay Rules and Policies
eBay Answer Center - Forum

Disclaimer: For obvious legal reasons I need to make a few things clear. The ideas in this article are simply my opinions. I can not guarantee that reading this article will save you money, make you money, or prevent you from loosing money. This article was written for adults (minors should not be entering into on line purchase agreements) and I expect adults to be responsible for their own actions and the actions of their children when it comes to Internet conduct. Before trying to follow my opinions you should check with your own authority, such as an attorney. While I did my best to do research before writing this article, errors are possible and eBay and other auction sites make changes to their web sites which could make some of my references obsolete or incorrect. As always, shop, read, and compare before you make your own decisions.

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