When I decided to go full out and gear up with lots of new camping equipment, what did I do?
I found everything in my closet that I could to sell on EBay. I figured I’d use that money to pay for my new stuff. Sure I had some used camping equipment to sell, but there were lots of non-camping things around the house that I could sell also.
The nice thing is that my wife doesn’t hassle me about spending money on new gear, because I’m using the cash from my EBay sales…well mostly…
Many people are afraid of selling on EBay because of the hassle factor.
What is this hassle? You have to learn some new skills. You have to learn how to navigate in an EBay account, and how to set up PayPal, and get paid for your EBay sales throught Paypal.
Well, if you want extra money, you do have to do some work. Right?
I have made thousands of dollars selling on EBay and Amazon, not even trying to make money.
By reading this short article, you will know 100% whether you want to try it.
My EBays skills were developed some years ago when I wanted to get rid of a lot of stuff I had accumulated over the years. I was tire of packing and unpacking all this stuff every time we moved.
I was saving all this memorabilia over the year for my kids, and as they got older, into their own lives, I realized that they probably didn’t even want it.
For example, had this old metal lunchbox from elementary school, with the Seawolf theme. Would my daughters, in high school at the time, ever want that old lunchbox? I just didn’t have the space to store “all my stuff” any more.
So I listed the “Seawolf” lunchbox on EBay, just for fun, and it sold for around $50.00, plus shipping.
I was hooked.
I especially liked the fact that I wasn’t simply parting with this collectable item. I was giving it a new home, where it would be appreciated. I was uncluttering my life. See my article on uncluttering here…
I did this a few more times, but my wife was downwind of the smell of extra money coming in. She was like a shark getting a whiff of blood.
She was tired of polishing all the silver we had been keeping in the china cabinet, and we listed it on EBay. Again, in came the money, and out to a good home went the items, resulting in less work to do in maintenance. Now we got serious about cleaning out basement, attic, and all closets.
You too, can get started uncluttering, and making a few extra dollars in cash.
You will soon realize that you can buy stuff, and then sell it on EBay to make money. That may not be your thing, but for a while, we went through that phase. It paid for a brand new computer.
Do you want that new -20 down sleeping bag or that Thermarest pad? Go to some yard sales, pick up dirt cheap bargains, and sell them on EBay.
My wife and I would go to church rummage sales, library used book sales, and neighborhood yard sales. Since we had sold our own items, we already had a pretty good idea of what we could sell on EBay.
Back then, we’d find some guy at a yard sale selling video tapes for $1.00 per tape. We’d buy his whole table full of 100 tapes for like fifty bucks, and then sell a particular genre or set of tapes on EBay, in lot sizes of 5 or 10 tapes to an auction. We’d find Depression Glass bowls at yard sales for 50 cents and sell them for $10.00. Check out our seller volume and rating on EBay where we are shown as seller theshawsrus.
By learning a new skill, I brought in additional income to supplement what I was making from my regular job. So I urge you to learn some new skills, challenge yourself, and make some extra cash.
I wanted a new MSR Whisperlite Internationale camping stove. Guess what I listed on EBay? My old stove sold for $132.49 – more than the price of my new one (about $125.00). This doesn’t always happen, but sometimes you do get lucky.
Let’s get started.
First you will need to set up an EBay account. Go to www.ebay.com, and get started. As soon as you do that, you must have a Paypal account. PayPal is the safest way to send or receive money over the internet. It is tied to a credit card, simply because if your PayPal balance drops and you still want to buy something, you can. If you only sell on EBay, you are not actually using your credit card. It is a cushion which protects EBay from people who might buy something without wanting to pay.
Once you sell something on EBay, the money stays in your PayPal account. The idea is to let it build up. You are allowed to transfer $500.00 per month to your bank account. So again, you don’t need to use your credit card, but it must be in place as security for Ebay and PayPal.
Once you have some money in PayPal, you can get a PayPal credit card if you qualify. This gives you instant access to the money in your PayPal account. So, if you mail something at the post office, or buy stamps, or mailing supplies, you would use your PayPal card. I like to take EBay related expenses out of PayPal, rather than out of my personal account. It’s a cleaner way of knowing how much you are really making.
Here are some rules for being an EBay seller:
1. Keep your listed inventory separate, clean, and protected – maybe in the back of a closet. At our peak, we had a basement full of items listed on EBay.
2. Have boxes of all sizes on hand, all the time. In all our days of selling on EBay, we never purchased a box. Go to the grocery store on a weekday morning when they are putting out the stock. Take your pick of all the box sizes you can imagine. Break them down flat, and store them. Don’t make a fire hazard out of them, but have enough on hand so you can pack whatever is currently listed on EBay.
3. Buy a few rolls of clear packing tape (not brown tape), and a good tape dispenser. Get the kind with a handle, like a gun. You need to be proficient and comfortable, and quick. The faster you can seal up a box, the more pleasant the chore is.
4. You need a postage scale as well, that will weigh precisely. You can not make do with a bathroom scale, or you will lose money. Your scale must show pounds and ounces. Many items you ship weigh under 3 pounds, and a few ounces will make a huge difference in postage expenses for you. If you are selling anything over 10 pounds, you should not be selling it on EBay. No one wants to pay the postage on an item that heavy. Hold a yard sale.
5. When an item is sold, invoice it immediately. You should be watching your auctions, and as they are sold, you should be there at the computer to invoice the buyers. It is simple. The screen says item sold, and you click the button that says send invoice. Really hard work, right? If you don’t want to do this on weekends or at midnight, time your listings! Listings expire exactly 7 days after you activate them. So don’t list a bunch of stuff on Sunday night, unless the following Sunday night you want to be packing merchandise. You can do a 5 day listing or 10 day listing. That may help.
6. Pack your merchandise as soon as it is sold, and print a packing list for the buyer. Again easy. Click the button that says print packing list. Wait for the buyer to pay for the item. Sometimes it is immediate, because the buyer will win the item, and pay that moment. Other times, you will wait a few days for payment. Maybe the buyer is waiting for one of his auctions to sell, so he has money in PayPal!
7. The second you are paid, ship your item. You can go to the post office and wait in line. Or never wait in line, by printing your postage right from EBay. That’s what I do. Again, there is a button that allows you to buy postage, and print the postage/address label at home with tracking info on it. Always buy delivery confirmation service, or what I call tracking! It costs less than a quarter, and believe me, you want to know that you buyer received the item. Use that clear tape to attach the label to the box (which is why you should not buy brown packing tape). If it is a Saturday morning, mail it same day. If it is a weeknight after hours, get it ready, and just drop all your boxes in the bin at the post office on your way to work the next morning. Most post offices have a bin for packages. This is the kind of service you expect when you buy from EBay, and your customers deserve the same. You don’t want bad feedback, either!
8. Super dynamite tip: Write a personal note on every packing list, saying something like “Jack – Thank you for your order. We hope you enjoy the hunting knife and whetstone. -The Shaws”
9. Leave good feedback for your customers after they leave good feedback for you. Good feedback is the most important thing you have on EBay. If someone is even the slightest bit dissatisfied, immediately offer a full or partial refund. I have found it easier to refund half the money, and let the person keep the item. If the item is very expensive, then you may want them to return it, and then you would issue a full refund. We have sold lower priced items in the 10 dollar range, refunded the full amount, and let the person keep the item anyway. It is too much hassle to take it back, re-list it, and try to sell it again.
10. You can sell brand new still-in-the-box (called NIB) items on EBay, if you buy something at an incredible discount. You have to be careful not to overpay, and you have to be sure that you don’t have competition on EBay. Once in a while there will be an amazing closeout on something. You can buy it, and immediately list it on EBay. Remember – don’t buy anything that’s over 7 pounds in weight. The postage will kill the deal. Skip that set of free dishes you got at the bank, or the free toolbox they gave you at work.
Bonus Tip: Be absolutely honest in your ads, and obey all of EBay’s guidelines. Here is a link to the EBAY Quick Start Guide: http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/howtosell/quickstartguide.html
Another Bonus Tip: If your item doesn’t sell, you can try listing it again with different expiration day or time. Keep in mind that people on the West Coast might be bidding later in the day, and you don’t want your listing to expire when they are all at work! After a second attempt without a sale, I give my items to charity. Take the tax write off.
More detail on how to do an EBay listing? Free pdf file here: EBay Basics
Well – now you know beyond a doubt whether you want to try it. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. this is one of the few real ways you can make money from your home, legitimately, and with enjoyment. As soon as you see one of your items shooting up in value, as a bidding war begins, you will realize how much fun you can have as well.
Good luck, and please leave feedback on the bottom of this page if you liked this article! Also, please share it with friends or relatives.