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How to Resell on eBay: Making Money With Used Items in 8 Simple Steps

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If you want to start an online store but don’t know where to start, you can consider eBay.

It’s one of the safest and most popular online shopping websites, which for you means millions of potential customers willing to spend a pretty penny on your old stuff.

However, reselling on eBay isn’t as easy as you might think. That’s why we’ve created this article that explains the steps you need to know about how to resell on eBay.

Step 1: Set Up Your eBay Account

To start making extra money by reselling items, create an eBay seller account.

You can use your personal account to start selling, which is recommended if you’re only going to do this on a smaller scale.

But if you’re serious about your eBay business, you should start a business account.

Check out this 5-minute YouTube video that goes over the steps to registering an eBay store.

Once you have everything set up, the first thing you should do is read through all of eBay’s fees and selling policies.

Understanding eBay Fees

eBay’s selling fees might look rather complex at first glance but don’t worry.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a good understanding of how to price your items correctly and make a healthy profit margin.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the fees:

  • Insertion fees: These are charged per listing and per category. You get 250 free listings, and you’re charged each time you relist an item. After your free listings expire, it costs $0.35 per additional listing.
  • Final value fees: As the name implies, this fee applies whenever you sell an item. It’s $0.30 per order + a percentage that varies based on category and price. The percentage ranges from 0.5% to 15%.
  • Classified ad fees: These insertion fees are $9.95 per month, but you don’t have to pay a final value fee. The final sale is done outside of eBay, and it only works with certain categories like websites and specialty services.
  • Listing upgrade fees: If you want to promote your product by bolding it, adding a subtitle, or similar, you can pay an upgrade fee. This is excellent for seasonal items.
  • Dispute fee: If you don’t adhere to eBay’s selling policies and are found liable, you’ll pay $20.00 per dispute.
  • International fee: eBay’s international shipping costs an additional 1.65% of the sale.
  • Currency conversion fee: For sellers on the international eBay site, you may have to convert the currency the buyer used into your domestic currency. eBay charges a fee based on the currency conversion rate.

To learn more about the selling fees and how to calculate them, read the complete eBay selling fees article.

eBay’s Selling Policies

eBay’s selling policies protect both you and the buyer. However, the majority of the responsibilities fall onto the seller.

The key aspect of the policies is to be honest with your customers and leave nothing unsaid.

If the item you’re selling has a flaw or defect, mention it and take a picture. If you can’t ship to certain countries, exclude them from your shipping list.

If you offer returns and refunds, you must go through with them. Otherwise, you risk getting penalized or removed from eBay.

Conversely, if you don’t want to offer refunds, clearly state that on the listing.

We strongly suggest reading through the complete list of eBay’s selling policies before you start selling items.

Step 2: Select Your Niche

If you’ve decided to sell on eBay, it’s best to sell items that you’re familiar with.

For instance, if you’d like to sell guitars, you should know how to fix minor cosmetic defects, polish frets, identify and fix hardware issues, test pickups, etc.

You can opt to sell used or new items, or you can even do drop shipping.

If you’re not an expert in anything, don’t worry. If you can identify the product and quickly check prices on eBay before buying it, you’re on the right path.

Just make sure to check for any immediately apparent defects; you’ll become a professional in no time.

Step 3: Find High-Margin Products

Look for products that can be bought for low and sold for high within your chosen niche.

Alternatively, look for damaged items that you’re sure you can fix. Stuff like broken electronics and guitars can often be easily fixed and resold for a good profit.

The only downside is that you’ll have to spend time and potentially money to fix it.

The most profitable items are high-quality second-hand goods—items like vintage clothing, instruments, jewelry, car parts, and art.

Regularly attend garage sales, visit your local thrift stores, and attend your local flea market to find cheap items.

You should also check other platforms like the Facebook Marketplace.

There’s a good chance that an item listed on a different platform will be significantly cheaper than eBay, especially when it’s a local listing.

You should also analyze current trends and competition to see what’s popular and try to look for that.

However, don’t overpay for a trending item, as you might not be able to sell it later when the item inevitably falls out of fashion. More on setting the price later.

Step 4: Take Original Photos

In a sea of identical product listings, one of the few things that give room to creativity is the photo.

People typically look at the photo first and only then read the description; therefore, the emphasis should be on the product’s clear, original, high-quality photos.

Customers want to see what they’re getting for their money, especially when it’s a second-hand item that might have visible signs of wear.

The best part is that you don’t need to invest any money in fancy equipment or cameras to take good photos. All you need are the following:

  • Plenty of natural or neutral artificial light
  • Clean background without distractions (a white bed sheet will do)
  • Different angles of the product, including closeups
  • Highlighting unique features and damaged sections

The last part is especially important, as it allows you to build trust and helps avoid disputes.

Step 5: Write Compelling Product Titles and Descriptions

Most good eBay listings have keyword-optimized titles that help them rank above the competition.

In simple terms, relevant keywords are what customers typically type into the search bar when looking for a product.

It also tells search engines that your product should pop up when somebody types in the keyword.

Many keyword tools are available online, but one of the quickest ways to find the right keywords is to look at the top results in the category.

As for the product descriptions, they should include the relevant details you’d be interested in if you were the buyer.

Describe the item, key features, condition, color, dimensions, and alternative product names if applicable.

Step 6: Set the Right Price

eBay allows you to select between auction-style and fixed-price listings.

The auction-style selling is similar to a traditional auction where buyers bid on an item, and the highest bidder wins the item.

Auctions make sense if the product is in high demand or fairly unique. With enough interest, you can make a sizeable chunk of change.

But you should also be prepared to lose a ton of money if it goes south or opt for a reserve price.

Alternatively, use the fixed pricing style and set a price you’re comfortable with.

Aim for a 20–30% profit margin, and make sure to take eBay fees and shipping costs into account. If you offer free shipping, take the cost of shipping into account.

Larger items and longer distances significantly add to the cost.

You should also check the average market price for the item, if available, and undercut your competition by setting the lowest price. This will help you attract buyers.

Step 7: Provide Flawless Customer Service

Now that you’ve established your eBay store, it’s time to provide excellent customer service.

This will help you get positive feedback, improve your eBay seller rating, and attract potential buyers to your listings.

Timely respond to inquiries, use formal and professional language, and provide accurate and honest information about the product and shipping.

If you run into any issues with your customers, iron them out immediately, as any negative feedback will stay on your profile indefinitely.

Step 8: Maintain and Expand Your Product Listings

As your eBay business grows, it’s critical that you regularly update your product descriptions and ensure the items are in stock.

It’s essential to stay organized when you’re selling dozens of different items simultaneously, and you may need to hire a virtual assistant to help you keep track.

If you’re selling old stuff and something happens to it in the meantime, or you discover a flaw, update the product description as soon as you discover it.

With newer items, replenish your stock on time, especially hot seasonal items with a high sales volume.

Wrapping Up

Becoming an eBay reseller allows you to make extra cash on the side without having to sacrifice too much time.

That’s why if you’re good at spotting good deals and repairing broken stuff, you’ll be making money in no time.

Buying things at a yard sale and reselling them on eBay is highly profitable, and here’s our guide on flipping items on eBay to help you achieve success.

And if you’re interested in selling things but don’t want to use eBay, here’s our list of the best eBay alternatives. Best of luck with your online store!

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