Can you make money with ebay?
eBay has been online since 1995 when Pierre Omidyar built an addition to his personal website to sell a few unwanted items he had.
The first item sold on auction was a broken laser pointer and Pierre contacted the winning bidder asking him why he had bought a broken pointer.
The winner plainly said he collected them which drove Pierre on to expand his listings and offered the ability for others to sell items also.
It was simply a hobby site until his service provider told him he needed to upgrade because of the surge in traffic.
This then prompted Pierre to charge fees for listing and so eBay as we know it was born although the domain name ebay.com was not purchased until September 1997.
So there you have a little history on the company and now let’s discuss a question I often get asked, “can you make money with eBay?”
The simple answer is yes, without a doubt you can make money with eBay in fact you can make a lot of money with eBay if you are prepared to put in some effort and work at it.
I have been selling on eBay since 2006 and have made a good passive income from it.
During this time I have set up eBay stores for several companies who have used it to sell off discontinued and slightly damaged items as well as full retail items.
This we will go into later but first, let’s look at eBay and what you can sell on there.
What sort of things can you sell on eBay?
eBay has many categories and you can sell basically anything as long as it does not appear on their prohibited and restricted list.
For instance firearms, weapons and knives are not allowed. As eBay is operating in many countries you need to check those individually to ensure you are not breaking any policy before sending.
As a rule, I stay away from anything on that list so not to mistakenly break a policy that can get my account blocked.
Items to consider for selling on eBay.
- Second-hand items, toys, tools, etc.
- Homemade items, arts and crafts.
- Unwanted items, old furniture, table lamps, etc
- Reselling items, new unopened, unused, not required.
- Retail items bought under trade accounts.
From this list, you can see there are many things that can be sold for some profit or revenue from items lying around the house.
For instance, you are a handy person and make your own picture frames from wood and other materials.
Why not do up a range of what you make and put them up in an eBay store and sell them to the public.
You can then make some money from your hobby. If you do a search on eBay for decorative frames you will see items already listed by others so there is a demand already.
Or you are a keen knitter and knit woolen apparel for your friends and family. Why not take it further and put your items on eBay and see them sell.
Homemade items are always more comfortable than store-bought and if you put that in the description you will get views and no doubt sales.
What about books you have purchased, read and now sit on a shelf collecting dust. Why not list them on eBay and get a few bucks back on them.
The money you can use to buy more and continue the cycle in so doing your sales are paying for your hobby.
What about that jumper you got for Christmas from your aunt that is two sizes too small. Why not stick it up and get something for it.
You will be surprised by what sells on eBay. Having a clear-out and throwing out items no longer wanted why not sort it out to see what is still in relative good condition and sell it rather than throw it out and get nothing.
So you get the picture you can sell just about anything on eBay providing you build a decent descriptive listing and get views.
What about items to start a business and make real money?
We have discussed home items for selling as an individual looking to make a few extra bucks but what about turning it into a real business, one you can make a living from.
To do that you need to source suppliers who will deal with you as a working from home eBay seller.
Some suppliers will not work with you if you don’t own a brick and mortar business, therefore, keeping their brands in the high street and quality levels high.
This trend is changing though as these suppliers can see the benefit of working with more and more online sellers who work hard to promote their items and sell throughout the world which is a much larger marketplace than the high street or mall.
There are many suppliers out there who will work with you and doing a search in Google for, “wholesalers of dog beds”, for instance, will produce a list of companies.
Now you need to do a bit of research into these companies as to the quality of their goods and terms and conditions etc. Also, try and find out reviews on how they work with other sellers.
When you find one you think will be a good fit for you send them an email or better still give them a telephone call and explain your intentions and how you would like to work with them as its much harder to turn you down when talking to you than it is in an email.
You will find that you need to buy your goods upfront first but after a period of time, you may be able to open a trade 30-day account where you get a bit of time to gather up the money from sales to pay for the items.
If you keep within these terms and do well in sales you can negotiate discounts and deals like buy 6 get 1 FREE etc. The more you sell the better the deals.
Other ways to sell on eBay is to buy discontinued stock for suppliers or get liquidated stock wholesale.
There are many deals out there and you can buy a pallet of goods at a great price to resell in an eBay store. I have not done this myself but I know of many who have made a good living from buying liquidated stock and reselling.
The only real drawback for this is you need to have somewhere to store the products and you need to pay upfront for your goods so if you are strapped for cash this may not be for you.
Another method and has grown in popularity is dropshipping. This is where you get a supplier who is willing to ship directly to your customers.
There are many positives to this method including no posting or packaging worries from you, the supplier will deal with warranty issues and lost shipping.
All you need to do is set up the listings and promote the items for selling. Your emails coming from eBay can be forwarded to the supplier who will ship the items required and bill you the costs.
One downside to this method is dropshipping suppliers will work with anybody and you can find the market saturated with like-minded sellers who have cut the margin out of the item making it impossible to sell for any decent profit.
This is not the case in all categories and if you do your homework beforehand you can come up with a niche marketplace that no-one or few are working in.
The fact is there are new products going into production and supply every day and if you can get in early you can make a good profit before the market gets saturated and you have to move on.
Another method is to create a product that no one else is selling using a company/supplier who is willing to produce the product with your unique branding on it.
That way you can control who gets to sell your product and keep control of the margins and profits.
There is a process to go through to do this and I will talk about that in another post but there are loads of ways you can make money with eBay all it takes is a bit of elbow grease.
Another way to make money that doesn’t involve eBay!
I want to also tell you about an alternative method of making money online. If we use the craft example of making picture frames mentioned earlier what we can do is build a website where we can list those frames and sell them directly ourselves.
This would save on eBay fees, a whopping 10% from our sales plus other shop and listing fees, and allow us to organize and sell what we want.
You may think your not technical and couldn’t build a website to promote and sell items but believe me it is a lot simpler today with the introduction of WordPress and Joomla content management systems which do all the hard work for you.
In fact there are themes for those that are built directly for e-commerce (selling online) and installing them into a WordPress website make a few configurations add a Paypal account and start listing items.
In fact, it can all be done fairly easily if you are prepared to do a bit of work for yourself. Here is a community that gives you 2 FREE websites to start with.
Check out my Wealthy Affiliate review for more details or search for a domain now here.
How to Sell Items on eBay – 4 Tips for Higher Sales
Building Positive Feedback on eBay – Gain Customer Confidence
Top Ten Tips for Selling on eBay!
Hey Ty, I know what you mean. Getting a good supplier to drop ship your sales items in a professional timely manner can be a real head ache.
It really depends on what niche you are into but I have found a wholesale directory list that has loads of helpful tips and stats.
There is a community of powersellers and real life sellers on there who give reviews on companies they have negotiated with. The reviews give dispatch time scales, discount margins and helpfulness etc. It comes with a price however, $67 which to someone starting out may seem a lot to pay but that is a years subscription which works out at 18 cents per day.
The time it would take you to search out a supplier, telephone them or email them, then wait for a response and negotiate deals I’m sure it would take a few hours. For me 18 cents a day is a real steal.
They have suppliers of all types on there from wholesalers to drop shippers so you can decide if you want to buy some stock and deal with shipping yourself or let them handle it.
There is benefits to both cases I my self prefer to handle shipping myself so I know the item has been dispatched in a timely manner but it does eat up my time which I could use in promoting products.
The great thing about buying stock up front is you can negotiate a good price before you buy and make better profit from your sales, however this does mean you have to invest before you get it back and for some starting out this may not be doable.
This should be very handy, especially the group of pros that you can talk to. My next question is do you have a tutorial on how to use EBay? I have honestly always found their site difficult to navigate and figure out, of course I was a lot newer to the internet back then but still a tutorial would be great just to make sure I don’t miss anything.
Ty I have been working on an overview of how eBay works you can find the post here and I will be working on new material over the next weeks and months including tutorial videos etc which should make setting up an eBay store a bit easier for the newbie.
eBay selling is mostly physical products but you are allowed to sell computer software in downloadable options plus there are more and more sellers selling websites, logos, templates and themes etc. There are also e-books and audio books ready for download so you could set up with an affiliate program like clickbank and promote products then sell them through eBay I presume. Its not something I have tried up to now but I will look into it further.
OK update on the downloadable options. It is possible to work with Clickbank products and promote them using a cheap offer say, an ebook you have wrote or a review on a product within Clickbank along with some FREE software or ebooks for 99p then when they buy you send them a link to your sales page and the downloadable items. If you have done a decent job of reviewing or promoting the product there is a good chance the buyer will continue to buy the product from Clickbank also. The benefit is there is loads of traffic going through eBay and you can cross promote products in an eBay store etc. The possibilities are huge. Something I may look into going forward.
Hey Colm yes it used to be but now there are many companies in the UK who drop ship also.
In fact I found one today that gives you a full working website for a monthly fee any item you sell they drop ship. The difference between the trade price plus shipping and your retail price is profit and goes into your account.
That means all you need to do is promote the products through reviews and articles and you could make a tidy income without the physical hassle of shipping, stocking and dealing with products. Seems too good to be true.
I will have to investigate further. 🙂
Wow Mark, that sounds like a very good deal indeed 🙂
I’d be interested to hear how you get on and if you can point me in the direction of some good UK drop shipping companies that would be cool too.
I looked into drop shipping some time back but, as I mentioned, at the time there seemed to be hardly any in the UK. It’s great to hear there are more options now. I like the idea of the business model so would like to investigate it further.
The problem I have run into in the past is sourcing products. Is there any good way to find drop shippers or do you just have to know someone? Any help in this area would be appreciated.
Thanks, Ty J