December 21, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 23 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #50

questions-answers-50Welcome Back!

This is it – our last Questions & Answers blog post for this year! 🙂

Over the course of 2015 you have sent in more than 300 questions and at least half of them have been published in the 35 instalments of our Questions & Answers blog posts.

If you didn’t already know – you can find links to ALL previous Q&A posts on my blog’s archive page here. There you’ll also find links to ALL posts that have ever been published on this blog (250+ and counting).

I’m so happy that I stuck to my goal of reaching 50 Q&A posts this year and even though everyone is busy with Christmas, I still received a few questions over the last week to cover in today’s post:

  • How to make good profit on eBay selling cheap items?
  • Do you do paid reviews Andrew?
  • Is the flat rate VAT scheme best for eBay sellers?
  • How to add your physical shop to Google Maps?
  • How to put text right next to the product image in eBay listings?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I’ve been reading a lot of articles on your blog, and really felt that I could make something of a small business. I have barely any spare money so I was hoping that selling some small items for a few months would enable me to get a little bit more money to put back into the business.

As it is, I’m actually losing money on the first ‘stock’ item I’m listing! I’m crushed. I was working towards TSR status as you said – and I was willing to ‘pay’ for this by not making much on items at first, but with eBay fees, PayPal fees, postage and packaging, and original product price, I’m making 68p. Not even including the domain I have for £8 a month for the business email.

The breakdown of the product I have atm is as follows:

Buy for: 99p
Sell for: £3.50 (the going rate) +free P+P (as advised)
P+P: 39p (packaging) + 50p (post)
eBay list fee: 26p
eBay final value fee: 32p
PayPal fees: 32p

Profit = 72p.

Yes I could reduce the packaging cost by using different jiffy bags, but that’s still a profit of about 90p on each item. I cannot foresee snowballing a business in this way. Do you have any advice, or should I just pack it in?


Hi Sarai,

You may not realise it but you’re actually doing very well! Making 72p profit on an item you sell for just £3.50 on eBay – that’s actually considered a very good profit margin. (more…)

December 11, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #49

questions-answers-49Happy Friday everyone!

We actually had an important “event” on our blog this week, which was the guest post by Dr Frazer Bye on how to register a trademark. I have been considering including some guest posts for a while now, so that I can get experts to share their knowledge with all of you! So if you have any feedback on that article, please feel free to either post in the comments section or send it to me directly, as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Today of course is Friday, which means time for another Q&A session. This is the 49th post in this series and I am super excited to reach the big 50 next week!

Let’s take a look at what sort of questions I’ll be covering today:

  • How to deal with a miscalculated shipping fee in sold listings?
  • How to increase selling limits on a brand new eBay account?
  • Do you need a sales agreement to order product samples from China?
  • Do you need a courier account to order products from China?
  • What’s the correct way of calculating ROI on eBay?
  • How to compete with Chinese sellers on eBay in 2016?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I got ahead of myself and listed a bunch of items before I fine-tuned my settings and there are 4 items that are now sold and paid for which I need to ship, BUT the postage is going to cost me more than I thought.

How do I add other shipping services to a sale that’s completed and paid for and now awaiting shipment?

I only specified shipping via USPS but I can definitely find a better deal, so please give me step by step instructions on how to fix this.


Hi Sela,

I’m afraid there’s no way to fix this or add shipping methods AFTER the sale has been already made.

You could of course contact your customers and explain to them that you have made a mistake with the shipping costs and ask for additional payment BUT this will most likely lead to negative feedback, something you definitely don’t want. (more…)

December 4, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #48

questions-answers-48Welcome Back!

We’re now right in the most super crazy, super busy time of the year! I guess it’s all good with Christmas just around the corner but for me and other business owners, this means long, long work hours and very little free time for rest.

With all that, I’m still managing to find some time for your weekly blog posts. This Monday we started with a quick post about niche size followed up by a very interesting and valuable guide on becoming your own manufacturer.

As it’s Friday, we have our weekly Questions & Answers post! There are just two left this year (49th & 50th) so if you want your question to be featured, send it in via my Helpdesk here.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Can you use HostGator in the UK?
  • Do couriers cover taxes for imports from China?
  • Do you have to pay any taxes for shipments within the EU?
  • Do you have to pay import taxes when buying from Ali Express?
  • What is the best way to process 300 eBay orders a day?
  • How to deal with unfair eBay feedback?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

Please can you advise me if I can use HostGator, as I live in England?

Also, can you design your own website and email address through HostGator?

Do people from eBay have access to your website? If so does that mean it needs to be kept up to date with what’s for sale so that people can contact me to try and place orders direct and not through eBay?

Thank you

Kind regards,

Hi Jess,

Yes, of course you can use HostGator if you live in England (it doesn’t really matter where you live as it works worldwide).

Yes, you can create/set-up email addresses via HostGator but for a website/online shop you’ll need to use special shopping cart software (not HostGator). Please read my guides on shopping carts for more information: (more…)

November 27, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #47

questions-answers-47Happy BLACK Friday everyone!

With December just around the corner, it’s time for our 47th Questions & Answers blog post. There are still 3 left to do this year if we’re going to reach my lofty target of 50, so please don’t stop sending your questions in via the contact form on this page.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • What’s the difference between DHgate and Alibaba?
  • Is it possible to collect imports directly from the port?
  • Does HMRC keeps a black list of undervalued shipment recipients?
  • Is it normal that electronic suppliers in China don’t accept PayPal?
  • How to buy children’s toys in wholesale from China?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

What’s the difference between DHgate and Alibaba? I find it a little hard to find suppliers on Alibaba.



There’s a massive difference between DHgate and the main Alibaba website. DHgate is basically an online retailer where you can buy in quantities as low as 1 per product, though it is also okay for small wholesale orders to test new products etc. Most sellers on DHgate are trading companies or individuals who simply buy goods from factories to re-sell on there.

Alibaba on the other hand is the world’s largest B2B marketplace, where the majority of companies listed are actual manufacturers. The minimum order requirements are completely different compared to Dhgate (much higher!) and of course prices will be significantly lower as a result. (more…)

November 20, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #46

questions-answers-46Welcome Back!

What a week it’s been…

On Monday we started with the Trademark Scam warning article and I’m really happy that I published it, even though I did already post a similar one earlier this year, during the summer. I have received many emails from my blog readers with the info that they have also received the same letters from the same companies!

The most worrying thing is that many of those people said that they almost PAID THEM!!! YES! Luckily they had that small doubt in their head and decided to search for these companies online which led them to the article on my blog.

It’s a good feeling to know that the post saved people literally thousands of pounds! I really hope that this blog post ends up ranking no.1 on Google so that everyone sees it!

On Wednesday I published an interesting guide on how to spot genuine Chinese brand products and what the difference is between Chinese brands and “Western brands”.

It’s now Friday, which means it’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers blog post! If you want your question to be featured in one of these posts, all you have to do is contact me via my help desk here. As easy as that!

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Samsung batteries in Chinese electronics – are they legit?
  • Do you have to pay anything extra when using couriers for shipments from China?
  • Are freight forwarders’ fees all the same?
  • How much more complicated is it to use a freight forwarder vs a courier?
  • What additional costs will you face when importing children’s clothing from China?
  • Do you have to find a NICHE on eBay?

Let’s get started! (more…)

November 13, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #45

questions-answers-45Happy Friday!

Friday the 13th.

Another week has gone by and it’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers post!

It’s getting busier and busier as Christmas approaches fast so I didn’t have time to do the Chinese Brands article but it will be published next week.

Also, Trademark Scams are turning into a nightmare for all new trademark applicants. On Monday I will publish an update on this with more scam examples and photos of letters you may receive when registering a trademark.

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • How to automatically track stock across Amazon & eBay?
  • Can you sell licensed products sourced from China?
  • Do you have to find a niche with great Terapeak numbers for ALL products?
  • How to get your first sale on Amazon’s Marketplace?
  • How to reduce abandoned carts in an online shop?
  • What’s the benefit of a NICHE BRANDED business VS a general eBay shop?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

I am a very big fan of yours and I visit your blog every day. I want to ask you how you handle stock tracking, in terms of any changes in quantity or price as I have had a few situations where I was “forced” to sell a product at a loss rather than cancel the order.

I also want to ask you how I can handle situations when I sell a large quantity of one item (which I sourced from Amazon) and then they don’t let me purchase any more that week so I’m stuck until next week. I’ve always wondered how other sellers are overcoming this as I’ve seen them sell 100s of one item and they bought it from Amazon for sure.

Thank you in advance.

Looking forward to hear from you,


Hi Ivan,

If you sell on eBay & Amazon (using the same stock) and possibly your own online shop, you can’t effectively manage stock without using some sort of multi-channel software like Linnworks: (more…)

November 6, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #44

questions-answers-44Welcome Back!

After a quick break last Friday when we didn’t have our usual Q&A blog post, today I’m back with no. 44! There are seven Fridays left this year, and we need six more Q&A posts to reach my goal of 50 – it’s gonna be tight but I think we can make it!

On a side note, this week I went to the cinema with my wife and we watched “The Martian”. I must say I was very impressed with this movie, it was excellent and we both really enjoyed it! How realistic it was (growing potatoes etc.) is a different story but the movie as a whole was very good.

This week on the blog we started with the flyer advertising article, which clearly illustrates how in-effective direct mail campaigns are for eBay businesses, and then on Wednesday we had a guide on how to make the most out of top selling products for Christmas & beyond.

Going back to the questions you have sent in, today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Do you have to look at the shipping price when doing Terapeak research?
  • How to sell your first item on eBay?
  • How to remove the Turbo Lister logo from listings?
  • How to remove related videos from embedded YouTube videos?
  • How to react when the cost price of an item increases?
  • What are all these extra charges in addition to the actual product price when ordering from China!?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

When looking at the average price for an item do I need to be looking at the average shipping cost as well? For instance an item I’m looking at has an average selling price of £4.00 and shipping of £2.00. Does this mean the figure I should be thinking about is £6 or am I just focusing on the £4 and trying to price my product in and around that range?


Hi Christian,

No, I usually ignore the shipping price/number in Terapeak as in most cases, if you want to get a decent position in search, you’ll have to offer free P&P. And the data Terapeak gets for shipping price is taken from listings that charge a separate amount for P&P and won’t be found at the top of the search rankings on eBay. (more…)

October 23, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #43

questions-answers-43Welcome back!

It’s only 2 months until Christmas & I can definitely feel it already! Traffic to my websites and my eBay sales are both picking up very steadily and once again, I can clearly see yearly trends taking shape.

This week I covered a very interesting topic of gift wrapping to increase your eBay margins. I really hope you didn’t just read and forget about it as this is one of the easiest and simplest ways to increase your margins, and it can be applied to both eBay and your own online shop.

As it’s Friday, it’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers session.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How do DEFECTS affect your chances of getting TRS status?
  • Can you dropship directly from a supplier to your customer?
  • What is the best way to remove un-fair defects on eBay?
  • Can I achieve high search rankings for one-off, used games?
  • How to successfully sell on eBay UK from Ireland?
  • How to deal with double refunds on eBay?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Love your blogs and your EAB course.

I want to follow your TRS for £200 method but I have 2 defects on my account from at least 6 months ago.

How would that affect me becoming a TRS? And what can I do to get around this? The defects are for cancelled transactions.

I appreciate your time – I know you are a busy guy and probably get overloaded with emails, but thank you and keep up the hard work.


Hi Kelvin,

These 2 defects won’t affect you becoming a TRS in any way! That is as long as you don’t get any more defects.

The maximum defect rate for TRS accounts is 2% BUT it only starts counting when you get 5 defects, so 2 is not a problem. If you get 3 more defects AND the overall defect percentage is more than 2% of your transactions, then yes, you wouldn’t qualify for a TRS account. (more…)

October 16, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #42

questions-answers-42Happy Friday everyone!

Which means it’s time to publish all the questions you have sent in during the past week. Remember, all you have to do to get your question featured in our weekly Questions & Answers blog post series is SUBMIT it via the contact form on this page.

Even if your question isn’t selected for our weekly post, I’ll still send you a personal answer directly.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Should you use PayPal instead of Alibaba Trade Assurance?
  • How much tax do you pay on imports from the USA?
  • What is the cheapest shipping method from China?
  • Should you do a factory inspection BEFORE ordering samples?
  • How can you purchase GENUINE licensed goods from China?
  • How to create custom pages for your eBay shop?
  • Is there a tool to get keyword search numbers on eBay?
  • Can you buy and re-sell DVDs on eBay marked as “Not for Rental”?
  • Can you edit LIVE Good ‘Til Cancelled listings?
  • What is best listing format to sell unique, one-off items?
  • How to import goods WITHOUT getting them taxed at customs?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

First I would like to say thanks a lot for your blog, I have gained lots of valuable information from it.

I am getting ready to place an order worth £1000 from my supplier. I have ordered a small quantity from them before with no problems, paying with PayPal, and I wanted to know if it would a good idea to use PayPal again for an order like this or should I use Trade Assurance?

The supplier is legit but the PayPal address doesn’t have the company name (then again all suppliers I have ordered from so far have personal looking or unrelated PayPal addresses for some reason). Apart from that everything about the supplier checks out so what do you think?

Thanks for your time!

Hi Mwamba,

For a £1000 order I would still go with the PayPal option, if your supplier accepts it. PayPal essentially is the safest payment option – and suppliers know this – as if everything goes completely wrong, you can always initiate a charge back with your credit card company and in 99% of cases you would get your money back.

Suppliers know this well so very, very rarely will they try to scam someone using PayPal. (more…)

October 8, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

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 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. (more…)