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eBay is one of the world's largest market places with over 35 million visitors per day. That first sentence is worth repeating because I want you to realize that eBay gives you the ability to reach a customer base of millions and millions of people which is beneficial to you. Say Goodbye to garage sales and hello to eBay.
You don't have to become a major power-seller or wholesaler to take advantage of eBay and what this mega marketplace can do for you. All you need is a computer with Internet access so you can setup auctions for all that stuff laying around the house you've been wanting to get rid of by selling it or giving it away, so why not eBay it?
eBay auction VS garage sale
First lets talk about garage sales. Holding a garage sale consists of getting all of your items ready to sell and placing them on display in front of your house or on your driveway for neighbors and lookers to purchase. You or someone you know and trust needs to be physically present at all times to sell the items as your front yard has now become a small storefront. In other words you have to sit at home all day after getting everything together and promoting your garage sale which is a lot of work especially considering what you can accomplish with less time and effort on eBay.
Time & Money
Just about everybody is looking to save time and money which is exactly what eBay does for you. eBay is a much larger market and can attract many more potential buyers than a garage sale can. The very reason that there are more potential buyers creates more of a demand for your product, toy or whatever you are trying to sell. eBay commands more dollar for your product than a garage sale for this very reason.
eBay also saves you time because once you have setup your auction it does most of the work for you. You don't have to be present to sell the item, you don't have to be home to get paid electronically and you don't have to be there for somebody to see your auction because your potential buyers can look at your item for sale from the convenience of their own computer which saves you precious time.
eBay also gives you the ability to accept different payment methods such as PayPal, money order, check or cash it is up to you what payment methods you wish to accept. Garage sales simply do not offer this sort of flexibility with time and money.
Shipping can be a hard one to get used to - so make sure that you either A. get a postal scale (about $20 at Office Depot) or B. have the post office weigh the packages before you list. Take it from me because I have lost so much money on shipping because I would just 'guesstimate' and that simply does not work. I would recommend always making the buyer purchase Insurance and tracking. I had an issue where a customer said she never got her package and I didn't insure it. We decided to wait a couple of weeks then figure it out, she actually wanted me to refund everything to her, which I didn't feel was fair but was willing to do it because I believe in customer satisfaction. Fortunately the package finally showed up after three and half weeks (and I sent it Priority Mail).
You want to only send to the buyers address if it is registered with eBay. A couple of years ago a gentlemen contacted me to buy a $250 wireless antenna, he said he was traveling and asked me to send it to his satellite office. He paid me through PayPal, I always thought that was safe and would automatically include coverage. Two months went by and then all of the sudden Paypal took $250 out of our account without warning or explanation, when we called them they said that one of our eBay transactions was fraudulent! It turns out the man used a stolen credit card, PayPal told us we were out of luck since we did not send to his confirmed address. Lesson learned.
Always state the terms of your auctions, it is good to come up with your terms to use at the end of every auction that states your policies, if you combine shipping, the payment methods you accept, etc. Also, think of a refund policy. I give a full refund, or for instance my sister-in-law gives purchase amount back but not shipping, those sort of policies are up to you as a seller.
I use Turbo Lister, a free software program, that makes it so much easier to get multiple auctions setup simultaneously. If you do it directly from eBay it seems like it takes forever to enter each one. Turbo Lister is a free download and is available in Seller Tools at eBay.
A way to save money; I always use the free template from eBay. It's not really anything fancy. You can choose to get those cute little borders and clipart on each auction but it costs more money. It's proven that ultimately it doesn't matter to people, they want what you are selling. Your first picture is free after that they are .15 cents for additional ones. So I always try, when possible, to use only one picture. Sometimes if it is a big clothing lot or a large dollar item I will only use more pictures. I also make sure to try and write a great description so potential buyers know what they are getting and are excited for their purchase.
Something that works; I will sometimes utilize the 'Buy It Now' features (they cost extra) but I put the BIN price higher than I would normally expect to get and when somebody really wants an item, they would rather pay the higher price than risk missing the auction end without winning the item. There are many times where this has benefited both myself and the buy it now bidder.
If you are doing a local pickup or have special instructions for your auction make sure you include those instructions ALL OVER your auctions. The mistake I made one time was only putting local pickup only on just the shipping description and the winning bidder did not notice that. Now I plaster special instructions like that everywhere.
Remember that people love fast shipping so when you do sell try to ship the item out as soon as possible after auction ending. Your customers will love fast shipping. I also include a note thanking them and sometimes I include a bonus item. That's just some of the fun and benefits of selling on eBay.
Lori Osenbaugh sells on eBay in addition to being a licensed Realtor® and Pampered Chef Consultant. You can custom search for Colorado homes at PreferredDenverHomes or search Lori's Pampered Chef Online