Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #41

questions-answers-41No, I’m afraid it’s NOT Friday yet! :-)

Just a slight change this week as I’m taking a small weekend break with my family, so this week’s Questions and Answers post is a bit earlier than usual.

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • How to determine a price when selling your eBay business?
  • When is it a good time to open an eBay Shop?
  • Do VAT & import duty apply to imports from the USA?
  • Can you claim import duty back?
  • How much does insurance cost when importing via sea freight?
  • Do you need a registered business to start buying from Alibaba?
  • What to do with broken rental Blu-rays planned for re-sale?
  • Is it okay to buy and re-sell Sky remote controllers on eBay?
  • How to find out which type/design/style of product sells best?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I have an unusual question.

I have a small eBay business and am wondering, if I want to sell it, how do I determine the selling price?

Based on turnover, profit?

It is nothing huge, but has been bringing in regular revenue every month for 2 years now.

Thanks in advance.

Hi Richard,

First thing you should do is research similar business that have been sold on Flippa.com so you can get a better idea of what kind of price to expect.

eBay businesses in general are very risky sales so you can’t expect much. A normal price would be in the region of 10-12 months’ net profit, best case would be 20-24 months’ net profit. So for example, if you make £1000 net profit per month, the selling price of the business could be anything between £10k-£24k. [Read more…]


Turbo Lister’s Hosted Image Problem SOLVED!

turbo-lister-errorI talk a lot on this blog about self-hosted images and why you should use them for your eBay listings rather than just relying on eBay’s gallery images. This is mainly due to the features and flexibility self-hosted images offer you over using eBay, but I won’t go into all of that again, as I’ve previously covered the topic in-depth here:


Another topic that I’m fond of talking about is listing creation, which isn’t really news to any of you, as you know how important I view design and presentation when trying to create a real business on eBay.

A few times in the past when asked about the best listing creation tool, I’ve recommended Turbo Lister, as I believe it to be the easiest way to create professional listings to use on eBay, for free.

But recently Turbo Lister has started to display a glitch! In essence this error that’s developed means you CANNOT add multiple gallery images if you have the self-hosted image setting enabled. It only allows you to upload one, the first image URL that you specify within the listing settings.

I honestly don’t know if this is something Turbo Lister have done on purpose or if it really is just a glitch. What I do know is that I’ve received a huge amount of emails from people facing this problem and asking me how to fix it, so it’s definitely not an isolated incident or something specific to me.

In a way it’s actually good timing with this problem, as it allows me to update the self-hosted vs eBay images point, which I’ve been meaning to do for some time now – ever since eBay started offering FREE image hosting with every listing. [Read more…]



best-ebay-sniperToday we have a slightly different, and I hope very interesting post, all about eBay Snipers!

For those of you who have never come across the term before, what exactly are “snipers”? No, it’s nothing to do with war or police – snipers are tools that allow you to bid on eBay auctions, at the very last possible moment.

And that’s actually where the term “sniping” comes from, when you steal an item with a last second bid.

The process is extremely simple, once you’ve registered an account with one of the many eBay snipers online all you have to do is enter the item number of the auction you’re interested in, set your maximum bid and the sniper will take care of the rest! It really couldn’t be easier.

“But why!?” I hear you asking… Isn’t is easier to just set your bid and leave it – after all that is the whole point of how auctions work on eBay.

Yes technically that is true but in practice there are some clear disadvantages to bidding for items in the conventional way:

  • If an auction has no bids you don’t want to be the first! Herd/sheep mentality is strong on eBay so an auction with no bids makes people think something is wrong. It’s best to leave it like that and swoop in at the last second when there’s no competition for the item.
  • Many people DO NOT set a maximum bid as you’d expect! Instead they bid a certain amount and see if they’re beaten, and then they might bid more. This sniping method doesn’t give them the chance to do so, meaning you win more auctions and at cheaper prices.
  • Bidding wars! Bidding wars are great when you’re selling an item, but not when you’re buying! Once again the sniping method removes this worry as there simply isn’t time for other bidders to react.
  • Human error! How many times have you added an item to your watch list with the intention of bidding on it but then completely missed the end of the auction? And how annoying is it when you later check and see that the item went for peanuts, and you’ve now lost out on some easy profit…? Or how many times have you set a max price and then bid more than that so you can win the item (the bidding war syndrome that I just mentioned). Sniping removes all of these human errors by automating the bidding process and that by itself would probably make it worthwhile for most people.
  • Shill biding! This is a much more specific benefit, and not something that I consider to be widespread on eBay, but snipers do also stop shill biding. This is when the seller (through another/a friend’s account) bids on an item until they’re the high bid, therefore knowing what your max is, then retract those bids and then use yet another account to bid on the item again so that it reaches your maximum bid amount. With snipers they can’t do this of course, as your bid isn’t placed until seconds before the end of the auction.

So now that we’ve covered what eBay snipers are and the main benefits of using one, who exactly are they for? Well the main groups that come to mind are: [Read more…]


RULES on Importing Toys to the UK from China!

importing-toys-from-chinaFollowing on from last week’s post about importing children’s clothing to the UK, today I want to cover the specific rules for importing toys.

Toys is another hugely popular niche for new online sellers, and that’s not really surprising. After all, we’ve all seen the toy sensations that just fly off the shelves; pretty much everything Frozen related in the last few years is a great example!

And that’s exactly why I wanted to bring this up, before we get to the actual point of today’s post – you cannot buy licensed toys from China!

Please don’t ignore this point! Any toys, be they plush, figures, cars etc., which feature trademarked characters or names, are illegal to buy and resell!

It doesn’t matter if it’s a different design to the doll that Disney sell in their own stores! It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t have a Disney logo visible on the label! These toys are illegal – and that’s that.

Of course this goes for all trademarked characters, not just Disney. I just used them as an example as the vast majority of toys being sold illegally are something to do with Disney.

I don’t want to delve any further in to this now, as I’ve actually covered it on this blog before. You can take a look at that post here if there’s anything you’re unsure about: Wholesale Disney Character Items from China!

Okay, now that we’ve got that point out of the way, let’s get to what today’s post is all about – importing toys from China to sell in the UK.

As an importer of toys intended for children, you must comply with the 2011 Toys (Safety) Regulations, which basically introduced the European Toy Safety Directive into UK law.

The overall requirements of this directive are that toys must: [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #40

questions-answers-40Happy Friday everyone!

It’s the 40th time a Questions & Answers post has gone live on this blog! We’re only 10 short of my goal for this year – 50 – and with 3 months left before Xmas, I’m sure we’ll reach it!

Thanks for all the questions you have sent in and please – keep them coming! All you have to do is send your message via my contact form on this page and I’ll get back to you within 24h max, Monday-Friday.

Okay, today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to spot a scam once you’ve placed an order?
  • Can you import patented un-branded products from China?
  • How to deliver imported goods from the port to your address?
  • How to connect all your email addresses to one Gmail account?
  • How can eBay sellers make any profit selling £0.99 items with FREE P&P?
  • What’s the best way to register an eBay business when in a full time job?
  • Can you start importing with just £1000?

Let’s get to it!

Hi Andrew,

I placed an order with a Chinese supplier from the website unite-elec.com. He seemed very professional and legitimate and provided pictures of all the products. However since the order the costs keep pilling up!

First customs clearance on his side, which I thought was unusual, and then having to pay insurance before it can be cleared through customs and now brand taxes. In total these charges have been in excess of £800.

What should I do? I have refused as yet to pay the brand tax as I now feel like I am getting scammed. I initially used bank transfer and then western union for the most recent payment.


Hi Josh,

Unfortunately you have been scammed, 100% – no doubt about it! You’ll NEVER see any of the products you ordered or your money again. Sorry to bring you this sad news but that’s how it is.

You should really have spent more time researching typical scams to avoid a situation like this. [Read more…]


Importing Children’s Clothing from China!

childrens-clothing-from-chinaClothing is a niche that I receive a LOT of emails about, and it’s not hard to understand why – the margins are amazing!

It’s not uncommon to achieve 80%+ margins on clothing (selling your own brand of course – you won’t make anything near that re-selling designer brands!) which is something that most other industries can only dream of.

But really that 80% margin is only part of the story and when you delve deeper there are a lot of issues with selling clothing online, particularly designer brands.

I have actually covered this topic in the past, and outlined my reasons for staying away from this supposedly very lucrative niche. You can take a look at that post here if you missed it:


But despite my personal reservations, today’s post is all about importing clothing to the UK, and specifically, children’s clothing.

I recently received an email from a blog reader who had big problems with a fairly large order of children’s clothing and shoes from China, and he ended up losing a lot of money sending the whole shipment back, as it didn’t conform to the necessary standards and regulations.

So to try and help you avoid any costly mistakes like that in the future, I want to cover exactly what you need to do when importing children’s clothing the UK from China.

Let’s get to it!

The first things I want to cover apply to all clothing and footwear in general, as there are safety regulations that you need to meet in order to sell imported clothes in the UK.

This should really be obvious to everyone – after all, clothing is a product for which the materials and quality are extremely important. These are items that are worn in contact with the skin for hours at a time so it’s not just a simple matter of the product merely not working if it’s badly made – the consequences can be much more severe. [Read more…]


BIG Changes Coming at eBay – Are you READY?

ebay-autumn-updateAs most of you will already be aware, eBay have recently released their Autumn 2015 Seller News update. And for once, there are some pretty big changes announced.

The reason for this is simple – eBay and PayPal split up in to two separate companies earlier this year, which means eBay can no longer hide behind the performance and results of PayPal.

And so far eBay are struggling! If you take a look at the recent August Same Store Sales (SSS) graphs on Channel Advisor, you’ll see that August was a bad month for eBay, especially in comparison to Amazon:

ebay-performanceTo me, this is the main reason why we’re seeing some fairly substantial changes being announced, as eBay really do have to take action now.

And overall, this is a good thing! A lot of the changes are in areas that people constantly ask for (and things that I receive a lot of emails about).

Probably the most important changes are to do with eBay’s Defect Rate, the current seller performance measurement, which you can read more about here: eBay’s New Seller Standard – The Defect Rate.

We’ll delve in further to the exact changes a bit later on, as for now I want to give a quick overview of everything that’s been announced, which can really be grouped in to four main areas: [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #39

questions-answers-39Welcome to yet another instalment of our hugely popular Questions & Answers blog post series!

This week we only had one other article, rather than the usual two. This is because I’m preparing a post on the recent eBay Seller Update and it has turned out to be very long, over 3000 words! Look out for that on Monday as it contains some very important stuff!

Anyway, back to business and let’s take a look at some of the questions you sent in during the past week.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • The best way to list items – BIN VS Auctions?
  • Can you revert back from a business account to a private one?
  • Is this iPhone seller on Alibaba a SCAM?
  • Is it okay to deal with a trading company instead of a manufacturer?
  • How much does a pre-shipment inspection cost?
  • Do Chinese suppliers provide any product warranty?
  • Achieving TRS status on European eBay sites!

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

First of all congrats on the blog in general and the great advice contained within.

A couple of questions:

1. I’ve decided to follow your strategy of reselling Blu-rays to reach the 100 transactions required to get to TRS status. My question is what is the best way to list these items when selling them? I.e. Auction vs BIN, free postage vs postage at £1.26 etc. Looking at completed and sold listings there is a bit of uncertainty as to which is the best method.

2. I have been using eBay recreationally for a decade now, and have sold quite a few items around the house and have 100% positive feedback of around 250. This seems to me like a potential boost for an eBay business right from the start.

However, if I decide to go ahead with my eBay business idea it seems inevitable that I will have to switch to a business account. Is this something I should be concerned about, because it seems that there’s no going back to a private account once you do make the switch? What if in the future I decide to ditch my business and want to keep using eBay privately? I don’t want all my hard-earned feedback to go to waste. Would it be prudent to start a new eBay account specifically for business purposes?


Hi Tony,

1. There are no strict rules on this, and really you can use either method. I usually recommend using auctions IF you’re in a rush and need to get some sales in ASAP, as with £0.99 auctions you’re basically guaranteed to sell every item within 7 days (or even 3-5 days, if they’re popular titles). The downside is that you of course have less control over the price and may not get the exact amount that you want, in comparison to BIN listings.

If you don’t need to rush this, you should probably go with BIN listings. You may want to price your listings a bit below the market’s average to get sales in quicker OR you can go with market price and just be more patient.

In both scenarios, I would definitely recommend using free shipping as that helps greatly with your listings’ search positions. [Read more…]


Duplicate Listings = Reduced Search Rankings!


Last week eBay announced the latest Seller Update which I’ll cover in a separate post on Wednesday. But earlier this year, eBay made an announcement about duplicate listings that many people seem to have missed. And this is some SUPER IMPORTANT stuff any seller should be aware of!

What are duplicate listings?

Put simply, listings are considered duplicate if they are for items that have no significant difference between them.

For example, let’s say I have a bulk lot of identical micro USB chargers that I want to sell. These chargers are generic and will work on any phone or tablet that uses micro USB.

I want to sell them quickly so create 10 different buy it now listings, with these titles:

  • Micro USB Charger for Samsung Galaxy Phones
  • Micro USB Charger for Google Nexus Phones
  • Micro USB Charger for Samsung Galaxy Tablets
  • Etc. etc.!

This is not allowed and they would be considered duplicate listings because they are the same, generic product – there is nothing about the charger in listing no. 1 that makes it different from the product in listing no.3 or that means it will only work on Samsung Galaxy phones.

I would instead have to list them all together in one multi-quantity fixed price listing.

With AUCTION style listings (with NO BIN option), the rules are different – you can create un-limited number of auction-style listings, however only one auction with no bids will be shown at any one time. That means that if I list say 10 in one go, only the first one will show. Then once that receives a bid, a second listing will also show, etc. [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #38

questions-answers-38Welcome back!

Another week has passed by and it’s Friday – time for our Questions & Answers session.

This week has been rather difficult for me – last weekend I was attending a party and seemed to have picked up some kind of nasty virus. My whole family has got it, including our kids, which is never nice!

I just hope it wasn’t because of this:

tatooThe lady who did this to me said it won’t last more than 2 weeks, and fingers crossed she was telling the truth as it’s getting hard to hide!

Anyway, so on Tuesday morning we basically all woke up with scratchy throats, mild headaches and all the rest. The kids don’t actually seem to mind as it means a sort of holiday for them.

But what do I have to do when I’m sick? Head to the office and work as normal, right? That’s exactly what I’ve been doing as there’s just no rest when you’re a business owner. But I at least kept my days short and tried to get some rest when back home. By rest I mean watch TV of course (I know, I know – not the ideal way to recharge your body!).

So I used this time to watch the whole first series of Narcos, a Netflix original show.

And it was awesome!

narcosI’m now adding this to my “can’t wait for next season” list, which includes:

  • House of Cards
  • Returned (even though I heard there won’t be a season 2 for this)
  • Orange is the New Black (don’t judge, please)
  • Better call Saul
  • Bloodline
  • Prison Break

So if you have a Netflix subscription and like gangster movies, I highly recommend you check out Narcos – you won’t be disappointed. [Read more…]

Who Wants a £100k a Year eBay Business?Show Me How!