Hey guys, so, today I’m hitting you with some information on how to sell your old stuff and earn cash on eBay.
If you’re reading this post, you’re either trying to get rid of those heels and pants you haven’t worn for the past three years, or you want to earn some extra cash on the side.
Or maybe both!
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How I Started Earning Cash on eBay
I learned the power of selling on eBay three years ago. I was laid off from my comfy communications job in 2015. It was especially hurtful since I worked at this company for the last 9 and a half years (since I was eighteen years old).
I wasn’t ready to jump back into the corporate field again after that experience. So, I decided to take some time before committing to a new job while I got to know myself a little better. However, I knew I had to make some extra cash to offset the loss of income that wasn’t covered by the lump sum severance I received.
I contemplated selling a bunch of my old stuff – yardsale style. But, I also did not want to see my beloved clothing items I had bought and taken such great care of getting sold for a measly $5 or less (by relentless yard sale shoppers that are unwilling to spend even a dollar more on mint condition Steve Madden and Vince Camuto heels).
One day, I was perusing eBay looking at some items I had been ‘watching’ and it dawned on me. The answer I had been looking for was staring me right in the face.
Immediately, I went to my closet and grabbed about 15 to 20 pairs of shoes I hadn’t worn in the last year (some of them not worn in the last five or six years!) along with several fancy dresses, pants, and other accessories. I even had a TON of brand new, never opened, high-end skincare items I could unload – from my time as a failed network marketing agent (that’s a post in of itself – I’ll save it for another time).
I didn’t do a lot of research. And because of that, my first couple of months as an eBay seller were super slow. If I were to do it again, I would have spent more time reading about how best to list items as a beginner eBay seller. But, good for you – you’re in the right place so you don’t have to repeat the same mistakes I did.
So listen up because I’m going to walk you through the steps and details of how I list my items on eBay – start to finish.
How to Earn Cash with eBay: Step-by-Step
(This post contains affiliate links that I could make commission off of. All opinions are my own 😃)
1 | Clear Pictures Sell Items
Pictures will tell a lot about your items and, thus, it will translate into how fast they will sell.
Even if you have brand new items, people will not purchase if the product images are fuzzy, out of focus or discolored. Simply put, if they can’t see the details, they won’t be confident enough to know what they’re purchasing.
Now, I don’t expect you to get a DSLR, white backdrop and lighting equipment in order to get great eBay listing pictures.
My listing pictures are in NO WAY professional and it is apparent I am an at-home seller. But, I’ll tell you it has NEVER stopped me from selling any of my items. Those looking in eBay are typically bargain shoppers anyway, so they expect this.
The most important thing is to showcase the actual condition of the item so the buyer has confidence in what they will be getting. In reality, you just need a smartphone, natural light from a nearby window and a flat-ish surface.
WHERE TO TAKE PICTURES?
The first thing I do is take pictures of my items either on the floor of my bedroom which has laminate flooring. Or I’ll even use my bed as a surface with my white sheets as the background.
You’ll have to play around with the best place in your home to do this. Grab one item, and photograph it in various areas of your house and compare. Maybe a kitchen table, an office desk or outside on a clean surface is a better option for you. And depending on the item and how large it is may also affect the location.
ORIENTATION + HOW MANY PICTURES?
Once you’ve decided the best location, you will want to place your item in different positions so buyers can see each angle of the item – front, back, sides, and perhaps even at an angle.
I don’t have an exact number of images I take as it depends on the item. But, let’s say for a pair of shoes, I’ll probably have 8 to 10 images. I might take more pictures if there are any defects or details I want the buyers to know about.
If your item has any defects or wear and tear it is super important to get a detailed picture of it so there is absolutely no misunderstanding concerning the condition. Honesty goes a long way!
It is best practice to be upfront with your listings when there is even the smallest defect. This will also help to avoid additional questions from buyers if you address these issues up front in the listing details (I’ll explain further down).
STOCK PHOTOS OF YOUR ITEMS
After I’ve taken photos of the actual item, I’ll do a quick internet search to see if I can find any images from when it was sold online as a new item.
Trust me, you will get a heck of a lot more people clicking through to see the item details if you have a professional looking photo as the first photo they see. Most of my listings are name brand shoes and clothing, so I can usually find stock photos 90% of the time.
Of course, you may not always be able to find the professional stock photo, so you’ll just have to do with one of the pictures you take if you can’t find the exact brand and product item you’re selling.
Make sure the stock photo is large enough to fit eBay’s image requirements (500 pixels for the longest side). However, eBay recommends 800 to 1600 pixels on the longest side for the best quality and size. Click here for additional tips on eBay pictures and recommendations.
2 | It’s all in the Details
After you’re done with the pictures, it’s time to tackle the title and item description.
If you don’t have an eBay account, you’ll have to register and then set up a seller account. Click here for step by step details on how to set up an eBay seller account.
After registering, go to the site and click on ‘SELL’ which is near the upper right-hand corner of the page next to ‘My eBay’.
This is where you’ll choose the title for your eBay item. You’ll also see any drafts that weren’t completed from the previous 30 days.
NOTE: If you save a draft, make sure to complete the listing within 30 days. After that time, eBay will automatically delete your draft! I’ve made this mistake in the past – so make yourself a reminder so you don’t forget and lose all your hard work!
Of course, like images, the title is another important aspect of how quickly the item will sell. You want to utilize the best and most relevant keywords so you have more people that can search and find your listing.
I recommend starting with the item’s brand and item name or model number. This will help when there are buyers looking for that specific product.
Often times you also want to add descriptive keywords to the title for those other buyers that are searching with more general terms. For instance, last week I sold a pair of Vince Camuto heels. Not only did I include the brand, size and the heel name, but I also included the color, shape and shoe material in my title.
My final title ended up as “Vince Camuto ‘Kain’ Black Leather Pointed Toe Pumps Heels Size 7”.
If you’re struggling, search for the product in a search engine and see how other sites describe the product.
From there, choose a category for the item. I won’t get into any details as I think this is pretty self explanatory. 🙂
Obviously, this is the section where you’ll want to upload the images you had taken of the item beforehand.
I always take the pictures on my iPhone. So I save this part as the final step before I publish.
If you also prefer not to upload your pictures to your computer, save the listing as a draft and then jump on the eBay mobile app to upload them directly from your phone. From there, you can publish your listing. Much easier in my opinion, but do what works best for your process.
For product details and item specifics, you’ll have a bunch of drop-down lists that are relevant to your product category.
Product details are important to get as accurate as possible. This way, buyers can narrow the search results as precisely as they want. Hopefully, your listing will show up in the bunch!
If there isn’t an appropriate option for a particular ‘item-specific’, leave it blank or ‘enter your own’.
Often times novice eBay sellers will make a huge mistake with the item description portion of the selling process.
This is NOT the time to use a one or two sentence description. Don’t rely solely on the images and title to sell your items.
I drafted a visually-appealing item description template with pretty fonts to copy and paste into eBay so all of my listings are uniform. This way, my descriptions look more professional than your average home seller that only sells one or two items a year. In my template, I include the following:
- The exact same title (or similar title) as my eBay listing with a large, visually striking font.
- A paragraph style description of the item and its use.
- A bullet list of item measurements and further specifics.
- The condition of the item – New? New with tags? Preowned? Defects?
- A list of eBay shop policies that I’ve determined beforehand. This will include information about shipping, acceptable forms of payment and whether I accept returns on the item. (Note: Policies are also required in the Business Policies section. I prefer to include these details in the description as it’s easier for the buyers to find and read.)
You have two selling options: auction-style or fixed-price.
I’ll be honest, I rarely ever use the auction option. I’ve probably only used an auction a handful of times successfully out of hundreds of items I’ve sold. I will only auction for very expensive or very sought after items that I know I can get top dollar for through a bidding war. When I first started selling on eBay, I found out the hard way that most of my auction items would end unsold.
It is so much easier to use the fixed-price listing and select the ‘Good Til Canceled’ option. This avoids the need to relist the item again when it times out. But, again, you can play with how you sell and see what works best for YOU.
Ebay also provides a helpful disclaimer that will pop up if there are similar items that have sold recently. Essentially, the disclaimer will suggest a particular price to help your item sell quickly based off those other similar items.
But, you still have full reign over the price whether you’re selling as an auction or a fixed-price! Many times, I’ve sold above eBay’s recommendation.
If you absolutely don’t know, what price to use, use a smidgen over the eBay recommended price. If your item doesn’t sell for a week or two weeks (or you don’t have a lot of people viewing the item), you can always lower the price.
The last thing you’ll do is enter your shop policies and package weight and dimensions for shipping. Ebay will even calculate the shipping for you based on the package weight and dimensions, and which shipping service you select.
I ship most of my items as USPS Priority. The typical enroute timeframe is about 1-3 business days for domestic delivery.
In addition, I always have the buyer pay for the shipping costs. Their package destination will drastically change the shipping costs depending on how far their address is from your shipping location.
But, I know there are sellers that use flat rate boxes and include the shipping as part of the item price. This way, they can list the item as free shipping. For more info on USPS shipping services, go to their website.
Unfortunately, there just aren’t a ton of flat rate box sizes. So, I prefer to use inexpensive corrugated cardboard boxes from Wal-mart that fit my item better. If you choose this route, you will need a scale (preferably a digital scale) to capture the exact weight with the item (and any packing materials) already in the box.
If you have clothing, Amazon has various sizes of poly bags.
Another option is to reuse cardboard boxes from your own personal packages. I personally order from Amazon (a lot). So if there’s a box that fits my item, I’ll just tear off the shipping labels and tape the eBay label on top. Easy peasy.
3 | After It Sells
Woo hoo, so after your item actually sells, you’ll get an email notification. Make sure you have also received payment. DO NOT ship your item until the buyer has paid.
Once they pay, it’s always best to try and get the package in the mail within one business day. If it will be longer, try to message the buyer to let them know of any delay. This will help avoid a bad review. Bad reviews = a dramatic effect on who will buy from you in the future!
Most likely, I’ll drop off the package at my local post office. But, if you’re a busy guy or gal, you can also request your mail carrier to pick up the package when they drop off your personal mail. Requests can be made through USPS.
Great, your buyer has paid and you have shipped out your item! Feels good, am I right?!
Now, keep in mind eBay will still calculate the ‘Final Value Fee’. This fee is a percentage – usually 10% of the sold price for most items. However, eBay totals the Final Value Fees for the entire month.
Expect an invoice on the 15th or the last day of the month. Then, eBay they will debit the total amount from your account (or Paypal balance). More info on seller fees can be found here.
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Whew! That was a lot of information for a little side cash, huh?! Yes, there are many steps. But with each item you sell, it’ll become easier for you to earn that cash, I promise!
This was a high-level overview of the entire process. But I’m more than happy to share additional insightful tips as time goes on.
Please let me know if you want me to elaborate on any section. I want you to feel confident in your ability to earn cash by selling on eBay quickly and efficiently. Ebay is such an amazing platform to get rid of your old stuff and earn cash!
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