EBaying the Rules
My advice for selling on eBay is roughly the same as my advice for having a car boot sale - if you decide to get rid, get rid. The price is almost inconsequential... but there are a few things to bear in mind..
Personally, I would never stick a ‘no reserve’ tag on an item or even a first bid of 99p because in all likelihood, it will go for 99p and cost you more to post than you’ll have gained. When calculating profit, the entrepreneur needs to factor in the amount of petrol/shoe leather it costs to take it to the Post Office. In my case, once I have walked down to save on fuel, I normally find myself in the need of a vanilla latte and a bun. In real terms, this means that I have gained calories and operated at a pecuniary loss. Beware, dear reader, if not from my experience then from the size of my hips.
Adopt the 3 strikes and out rule. If it doesn’t sell after a week, relist it. It just takes 1 click and often all you need is to be in the right place at the right time. eBay often hosts weekends where they list items for free and if, after 3 weeks, it hasn’t sold then give it to a charity shop. Do remember that both eBay and PayPal (the preferred method for payment through the site) take a cut of the final value. There are links to PayPal on the eBay website
I always find that in selling, it’s best to have a final goal in mind. I once allowed myself a week’s holiday in San Francisco house-sitting if I managed to ‘eBay’ the fare together. This brings me to my next point; don’t spend the money accrued in the account by bidding on other ‘stuff’! You really don’t need it, whatever it is!! Again (and it’s the same for car boot sales) don’t sell your old horse-hair wigs in order to bring home someone else’s hot water bottle! It’s my gambling rule... Have the money you are prepared to lose in one pocket and put all the winnings in the other pocket. Never confuse the pockets as it’ll end with you scratching your head, saying “I am sure I had it a minute ago” whilst the love of your life disappears round the corner with someone who has accrued the air fare to San Francisco.
ALWAYS but always describe the item correctly-even down to that last missing button or faint scratch on the casing. Your Ebay status depends on your getting positive feedback from your customers and although they might buy ‘imperfect’ if they know of it beforehand, something arriving through the post that was not as it was described, will land you in eBay negativity. Everyone can see (through the star and percentage rating system) who has tried to pull a fast one. I avoid buying from anyone with a feedback score of below 97.5%. Do not bill PVC bomber jackets as Italian leather lest you wake to find a horse’s head in your inbox. Display 3 clear photos of your item wherever possible as it proves that you are hiding nothing. The site makes it very easy for anyone who can download photos to their computer, to start selling. It guides you through each short step.
When selling large items, such as furniture, it’s always best to make absolutely clear in the item description that it’s ‘Local Pick Up Only’. This is eBay speak for ‘Fetch it yourself’. There are two reasons for this; first of all the cost of delivery makes it prohibitively expensive to buy (and you need to give postage costs in advance) and secondly, if you don’t then people assume you’ll post it to them for free. Indeed, unless you state otherwise, they may have a case.
The ‘Buy It Now’ and ‘Best Offer’ facilities are both useful in their place but bear in mind there is an extra charge for this too.
Finally, eBay can bring people together-:
Each of my children had grown up around my dining room table; they learned how to manage cutlery whilst seated at it, stuck-and-glued upon it and blew out birthday candles round it. When I sold it, the young couple who bought it on eBay simply walked round from the next street and carried it home, one at either end, where our farmhouse table will see another young family through their rites of passage. I find that a comforting thought.