Can you really start a profitable eBay business with less than £50? Yes, you can and in today’s blog post I’ll guide you through the exact system you can use to create a real business on eBay with a tiny starting budget!
Quite often I get emails from people who want to start selling on eBay but they’re out of cash. Literally. People who have lost their jobs or students who are simply students! I almost always recommend that they start with the Used Goods concept as that’s the only business model on eBay where you can turn a decent profit WITHOUT investing huge amounts of money buying wholesale stock.
If your budget is at least £500, I recommend you check out these two concepts instead:
But if your budget is smaller than that, stick with me as in this guide you’ll learn exactly how to start selling on eBay and more importantly – make profit from day one!
We’ll get into more detail on how this concept works in a minute, but for now let’s just get clear on what you’ll need to run this system:
- An eBay account
- A PayPal account (if you haven’t done so already, you need to upgrade to a Premier account)
- £50 (you can start with less, but £50-£100 is ideal)
- 1-2 hours a day to spend on this project (or more if you like!)
Basically that’s all you need to make this work!
If you’re totally new to eBay and your account has no feedback, I recommend you get some feedback before you start selling anything. People are very wary of buying anything from an account with 0 feedback! It’s really not worth it to start selling with 0 feedbacks when you can easily get 5-10 feedbacks in a few hours’ time.
The easiest way to get this done is by buying some cheap stuff on eBay in the first place. I’m talking about £0.99 items with free shipping. Just make 5-10 purchases and get your first 5-10 feedbacks.
You can purchase some presents, household goods OR even stuff you’ll need for your business. For example: paper, shipping labels, envelopes or jiffy bags – all in small quantities just to get you going. I’d say 5 feedbacks is the minimum to start selling but if you can stretch it to 10, that would be much better.
Many sellers will leave automated feedback when you make payment OR when you leave positive feedback for the seller. So what you want to do is simply buy the item, make payment and leave positive feedback straight away. In the vast majority of cases you’ll get positive feedback automatically.
On the rare occasions that this doesn’t happen, simply contact the seller and ask them to leave feedback for you. Here is a sample message that you can use for this:
I recently purchased this item from you and have left you positive feedback. I would be most grateful if you could do the same for me.
You don’t need anything more complicated than that!
Sell off unwanted items from your house!
Once you have 5-10 feedbacks from buying cheap items from other sellers, you’re ready to start selling yourself! You’ll have to upgrade your eBay account to a Seller’s account (free) if you haven’t done so already. eBay will simply ask you to verify your identity, ask how you’ll pay your eBay fees and what payment methods you’ll accept. This process will take just a few minutes in total.
When you’re done, it’s time to start listing your first items! But before you do, there’s one more task you need to take care of – you have to learn how to create listings that sell! Don’t be put off by how daunting this sounds – there’s no magic involved here and listing creation is something that anyone can do. I have actually put together a complete guide to walk you through the process, which you’ll find here: Anatomy of a Perfect eBay Listing.
Listing creation skills will be crucial to your success with this system, so don’t skip this step! Learn how to create good looking listings – it won’t take you more than an hour or so. Once you create your first listing, then you can simply duplicate that listing for all the other items you sell.
If you take decent product pictures, use eBay listing template from Spicy Auction Templates & format it following my guide, you simply can’t go wrong here. It’s a simple copy and paste process.
Speaking of product images – don’t be too concerned here about image quality. Sure, it goes without saying that you want GREAT images BUT you don’t need professional equipment to make it happen. Even a decent, modern smartphone with a good camera is okay to use. Product photography is very important for all eBay sellers, especially if you’re selling used goods (people are less sure about the condition) so I’ve written an extensive guide on every aspect of product photography which you can find here: Product Photography Guides
But remember, you’re selling USED products in this system, so no one expects PRO quality images! Most importantly – I DO NOT recommend using any stock images (images from Google etc.) with this system! You want your customers to see the EXACT item that’s for sale. Not some fancy stock images!
Okay, so once you have mastered the art of creating listings that sell, you can actually start selling! To get some practice, start with unwanted items you can find around your house. Stuff like:
Anything that is gathering dust on your shelves will be perfect for this task! The main idea here is to get you some experience before you move onto selling money making items.
PLEASE NOTE! If you’re already selling on eBay or have done it before, there’s no need to execute this step. You can start off directly with money making items.
The main goal for this step is to:
- Improve your listing creation skills;
- Earn more feedbacks.
But if you already have an established account with at least 30-50 feedbacks AND know how to take good pictures and create listings, you can skip this step completely and move onto…
The idea behind the Used Goods Concept is very simple – you buy undervalued used items on eBay and sell them back on eBay for a healthy profit.
First, you have to understand what an undervalued item is.
eBay is a massive marketplace where millions of people buy and sell on a daily basis. A large number of the sellers are professionals (like you and me), but most of them are actually “normal people” who use eBay to get rid of their old stuff – unwanted games or a movie they only watched once. They’re the people and listings we’ll target in this eBay business concept.
To make this more visual, let’s take a real life example and go through the steps you need to take to make this system work. Let’s imagine you have £50 you can invest in this business. For that money, these are the kind of items you’re looking for:
- Video Games
- Blu-rays, DVDs
- Mobile Phones
- Handbags, accessories
- Sports Equipment
- Other similar items
In a word – you’re looking for used items that can be purchased for less than £50. If you’re good at or have knowledge about a specific category of goods, choose that! It’s always easier to work with items you know a lot about, and it will make the buying/selling experience much easier. But even if you don’t have “expert status” in any of these categories, you can still make this work with simple goods such as video games, movies or toys.
For our example, let’s pick video games – one of the most suitable category of goods for this system. First of all, this market is massive. Secondly, new games/versions come out on a regular basis and many people just put their used games up for sale on eBay.
What you do is simply check Amazon or any other large online video game shop and pick one popular game to start your research. It can be any console and any game, not just the latest releases.
I picked Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4 for this example.
Now, my task is to determine the TRUE market value for this used game. The first step in this process is to get some invaluable data for our item using…
What is Terapeak you may ask? It’s the world’s most popular and feature-rich eBay research tool. With the help of Terapeak you can easily check a product’s price, competition, total sales, best listing format and much more!
If you’re serious about starting an eBay business, even if it’s just a hobby for you, I strongly recommend you get a Terapeak subscription as without it, you’ll simply be wild-guessing about the potential of ANY product and this basically means gambling with your money on products you have no real idea about at all.
So if you haven’t done so already, sign-up for Terapeak (a 7 day free trial is available) and check out some of my tutorials so that you can use it to its full capabilities.
Okay, now back to our system:
Login in to your Terapeak account and do a search for the game you’re interested in, in this example: Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4.
In Terapeak, make sure you have:
- Enabled the USED filter (so that results are displayed only for used games)
- Narrowed down results to the most suitable category (in this case Video Games & Consoles > Games)
Click the magic GO button and wait for the results!
What we’re looking for here are:
- Average Price (in my example it shows £25.96)
- Sell-Through Rate (in my example it shows 91.30%)
- Total Sales (in my example it shows £5605)
IF the sell-through rate is below 50%-60%, drop this item and look for a different one as it’s quite difficult to sell an item with a sell-through rate of less than 50%. Ideally this number should be in 60%-80%+ range.
The sell-through rate is VERY IMPORTANT as it tells us how much demand there is for this item on eBay. A 90% sell-through rate means that 9 out of 10 listings for this item end in a sale. You really need products with a high sell-through rate to make this work.
Average price shows the average price that this kind of used game is being sold for on eBay and, in most cases, that’s the price you can EXCEED IF you create good looking listings and use proper listing techniques.
Total Sales – this shows the market size for that particular item or to put it simply, how much money was made in sales for this item over the last 30 days. This number should be at least £1000 in most cases but sometimes it can be lower, if you’re researching rarer items with small demand (they can still be very profitable, but more on that later).
While Terapeak does give very accurate numbers for total sales, the amount of competition and the sell through-rate, we want to manually check the REAL target price we can expect to achieve selling this item.
Because the average price in Terapeak is exactly that – an AVERAGE! It takes into account ALL listings for that item, bad & good, and gives you an average price. With this system we want to sell items at an above average price so it’s essential to proceed to:
eBay’s ADVANCED Search
Many people are not aware of this handy eBay feature! To access this tool, simply click on the ADVANCED button, located next to the main search box.
Then enter the product’s name – in my case: Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4
And make sure to:
- Check the Used Only box
- Check the Completed Listings box
Then you can quickly browse through the latest listings for this item that have already ended. You don’t have to make any specific calculations here – just observe the numbers and figure out what the average price is. Go through the first 3 pages to make sure you’re getting this number right:
In our example, eBay’s advanced search results show that we can easily achieve £28 – £30 for this game as there are many recent listings that sold for £28 and even £30.
But to keep things simple and realistic, let’s use £29 as our guide price.
Just to remind you, Terapeak gave us an average price of £25.96. This is why it’s important to do a manual check on eBay too as usually your real target price will be higher than the average price Terapeak gives – which makes sense when you think about it.
Setting Your Profit
Next step is to determine your profit goal. Now you know that the game will sell for £29, that’s your starting point. You’ll want to list it with FREE shipping to get higher in search results, so that’s roughly £2.50 (1st class tracked + packaging) off that number, leaving you with £26.50. Then there will be the eBay Listing Fee, Final Value Fee and the PayPal fee.
I like to keep things SIMPLE! I just take roughly 15% to cover eBay and PayPal fees. In most cases this will be fairly accurate plus it’s not like you need to get this right down to the last penny.
You want to subtract that 15% from the selling price (in our example £29).
What you do is calculate 15% of 29 and then take it away. Example:
15% x £29 = £4.35
£29 – £4.35 = £24.65
Then you need to take shipping and packaging costs away from this number:
£24.65 – £2.50 = £22.15
So, roughly £22. That’s our BREAK EVEN point. If we buy a used game for 22 quid and resell it on eBay for £29, we will not make any profit or loss. If you can buy this game for less than £22, you’ll start making a profit.
I have put together a special EXCEL spreadsheet for people who hate doing maths like this. You can download it by clicking on the image below:
To run this spreadsheet you’ll need Excel or Open Office (FREE) software installed on your PC.
How much profit to aim for?
It depends on the niche, the item and your ability to create the best listings possible. In this example, I’d say £2 – £3 profit per item would be a good deal! This means you would buy an item for £19 to make £3 pounds NET profit. That’s a roughly 15% ROI, which is very good for such small, cheap, one-off items and for people who are starting on eBay with a very limited budget.
With bundles, which we’ll cover later on, you can easily achieve a much higher ROI – even 100%-200% is not unusual. But for now let’s just stick with individual items.
What we’ve done so far:
1) We picked an item suitable for this business model (a used video game – Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4)
2) We researched the average selling price (MARKET VALUE) for this game – £29
3) We made calculations to get our BREAK EVEN point – £22
4) We decided that we want to make £3 NET profit on this transaction
5) By doing this, we got our target buying price – £19 or less
So far so good, right? Excellent.
The next step is actually the most important one in this whole system. Why?
Because the money is actually made at the time you purchase the item, not when you sell it.
IF you buy an item at the wrong price, you won’t be able to make your desired profit. If you buy an item in bad condition, again, you won’t be able to sell it back on eBay for the calculated selling price.
Buying Your First Item
You may now be wondering – how can this even work at all? If Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4 games are being sold for an average price of £25 (Terapeak number), how can I get it for £19?
You can, because that’s the average price.
There will be listings that sell the same item for £30, and there will be £0.99 listings that end with no bids whatsoever!
The thing is – eBay is full of both professional and amateur sellers. Used goods in general attract more amateur selling – ordinary people who use eBay just to get rid of old stuff. And with this business model you can take advantage of them! As they:
1) Don’t know how to list an item properly (poor pictures, no descriptions, awkward listing end times, etc.).
2) Don’t know the true value of their item, that’s why most are being listed as £0.99 auctions (MANY without a reserve!!!).
3) Don’t care much about the final selling price as long as it sells. It’s not their business! They’re happy for any extra money they can bring in this way.
These 3 points make these sellers vulnerable and an easy target for business minded people like you and me.
Okay, so now you have to start looking on eBay for a used item that meets your set criteria (maximum purchasing price). You can do this in various ways:
1) Manually browsing eBay directly.
Simply go to eBay and search for the item you’re interested in. Use filters wisely! Apply the used items filter and sort all results by lowest price first. See whether there are any listings that meet your buying criteria. Look for low price BIN and Best Offer listings first. If the BIN price is below your target price, purchase the item.
If there is a Best Offer option, offer your target buying price as the offer. You’ll be amazed how often people are happy to make a quick sale, even if the price you offer is below the market’s average value. The Best Offer strategy works best with newly created listings, so for this, sort all listings by creation date to see which were added most recently.
The majority of listings will be auctions. Just put your maximum bid in (that will be your target buying price) and let eBay manage the bid for you. It will increase your bid up to your maximum setting each time someone else bids on that item.
The manual eBay method takes more time but doesn’t cost you a thing. Plus this way you can get a better feeling for what’s going on in your particular niche.
2) Using Auction Snipers.
This is THE BEST and basically ONLY way to make this system work properly.
What is an Auction Sniper?
It’s an online service/website where you register and set automatic bids on any specific listings. An automatic bid means that the auction sniper will place bids for you, in an automated and rather smart way – by placing your bids at the very end of the auction, before it ends, so that no one can out-bid you.
This is the most efficient way of getting the best prices possible on auctions, period.
You can read more about how this works in my Auction Sniper reviews guide:
3) Using Stuff Alert.
Another great and FREE tool you can use when working with this eBay business model. Stuff Alert will send you daily emails based on search criteria you have specified.
For our example, Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4, you can set up an alert in Stuff Alert so that it sends you an email when new listings are posted. This way you can set up hundreds of alerts based on your search criteria and you don’t have to do a manual search on eBay every day to find listings that are of interest to you.
IMPORTANT! As we’re dealing with used goods here, always make sure to read the listing description properly! Look for any signs of faults/damage, etc. Ideally, stick with items that are described as new or slightly used. I wouldn’t purchase any faulty or defective items, even if the price is extremely low, as it will be very difficult for you to sell the item on.
When you combine manual eBay browsing with the Auction Sniper + Stuff Alert service, you create an AUTOMATED system which will allow you to set-up dozens, if not hundreds, of bidding/buying requests in a relatively short period of time. This is CRUCIAL to make this system work as you want to automate as many tasks as possible.
The pot of gold with this concept actually lies not in single items, but BUNDLES! Yes, you can make a phenomenal profit by applying the same system to bundles.
Take a look at this bundle listing:
30 Blu-ray movies sold for less than 25 quid. That’s less than £1 per Blu-ray movie. Most of these movies can be sold back on eBay for £3-£7 each. And this is not even the best example – search eBay for the phrase “Blu ray bundle” and you’ll find auctions with 20, 30 and 50 movies, all selling for an average price of 1-3 quid per movie.
All you do is purchase such a bundle and list each item separately to get the maximum market value.
Most of the time people who list bundles simply don’t have time to list each item individually and they don’t know exactly how much the whole bundle is worth.
So if you see Best Offer on such listings, don’t be afraid to offer half the money that’s being asked for on BIN. If it gets refused, increase your bid a little and make another Best Offer. Do this until you have reached your maximum buying price.
Here’s another great example:
A HUGE bundle of genuine toys sold for just £80! There are more than 100 items in this bundle, some of which are selling for 10 quid alone on eBay. There’s no way you couldn’t make money with this bundle as your cost price per item would be less than 80p.
Toys, Blu-rays, DVDs, video games, clothing – these are all perfect items for bundle hunting and there are thousands of these listings available on eBay, each and every day!
IMPORTANT! When you deal with bundles, ALWAYS make sure the seller has listed each and every item in the listing so that you can calculate each item’s average market value. Don’t gamble, don’t just hope that this bundle looks great and you’ll make tons of money! Quite often a bundle looks great, but when you actually calculate the average market price for each item, the total value is actually not that high.
Additional Buying Channels
When looking for items to sell on eBay, you don’t have to limit your product sourcing channels to eBay alone, not at all! In fact, using the methods listed below you can get even better deals:
Gumtree – this is a superb source for getting cheap stuff locally to resell on eBay. Who posts on Gumtree? People who are too lazy to put a listing together for eBay. Or people who simply don’t know how to use eBay. Or people who hate eBay.
Whatever! The good news is that when buying locally, via ads on Gumtree, you can always negotiate the price down to ridiculously low amounts. Especially if you buy bundles of bulky items or heavily-used items.
Also use this opportunity to source more goods – for example, you pick an ad for 3 used Blu-rays. You go and meet the seller to buy these films. On the spot you ask whether the person has any other used items for sale (like video games). In most cases the answer will be – “yes, sure!” When this happens, you’re in charge! You give your offer price and most people will be happy to get some extra cash, right on the spot.
Charity Shops – another great way to find bargains for resale on eBay.
Friends – yes, why not? Ask your friends, work colleagues or neighbours whether they have any unwanted items they would love to get rid of. MOST people will be happy for the opportunity to make some ready cash for basically nothing.
Local Ads – check your local newspaper for the classified ads section. An even better way of doing this is by putting up your own ad, something along these lines: “We Pay CASH for your JUNK! Call John on 01 7777 6666”, along with some descriptive text about what exactly you’re offering.
This method alone can be a real goldmine! You can put an ad in the local newspaper, create a Facebook page or get some business cards done so you can leave them with your customers. Even a promotional flyer in the local community can work brilliantly for this concept. You can target your Facebook ads down to street level – the opportunities are endless here!
When making any purchases away from home, always be sure to check what the average selling price is for that particular item on eBay. For this, you’ll need a laptop, iPad or a smartphone, so you can check the prices on eBay on the spot. You can even use Terapeak in this way.
Last Step – Selling
Once you have purchased your first item or a bundle, you have to sell it back on eBay, that’s the main idea here, right? Yes, exactly! And for you to be able to reach your target selling price, you have to create perfect eBay listings that really sell your item!
You have to master these 3 things:
1) Product pictures
3) Listing creation/formatting
As for the product pictures – this is really easy. As you’re working with used goods here, no one expects stock quality images. Even more – people want to see REAL images of the item, taken by you!
NEVER use stock pictures when selling a used item! Nowadays, it’s even against eBay’s rules.
Take your own pictures, several of them. Ideally 3-4 images per listing. If there are any defects or scratches make sure you take photos so that these defects can be seen. Otherwise you’ll end up with dissatisfied customers and bad feedback.
Next – descriptions. Again, this one is very easy with used goods. All you have to do is say what the item is AND perfectly describe its condition. Be honest here, don’t try to make it look better than it is, people will notice anyway and in the long run it won’t do any good for your business.
Product Pictures + Description + Nicely Formatted Listings
These are the keys to success with this system!
As for the best listing time and format. I would definitely recommend using BIN listings when you list your item for the first time (first 7 days). With BIN listings, you can target your profit precisely and if you set your BIN price based on the market’s average value, with your great looking listings there shouldn’t be any problems closing the deal and making that sale.
Best listing end times – they vary from item to item and you would need to use Terapeak to find out the best selling time for your particular item. BUT in general a good guideline is to end your listings on weekdays, between 7-11PM. That’s when most people are back from work and spending time online.
There will be exceptions, of course – for example, baby toys. These you would probably list to end during the day as most mothers will be staying home to take care of their babies and maybe they only have a spare minute to check eBay at 11AM. Again, Terapeak is a great help in finding the best listing times.
REMEMBER! If you sign up for Selling Manager Pro (5 quid a month), you won’t have to pay any listing scheduling fees and you get access to all other SMP features, such as automated feedback and emails.
If 7 days pass without the item selling, simply re-list it at a slightly lower price. If the same thing happens for a second week in a row (very unlikely) you should just reduce the price to your break-even point and re-list it for a third time. At this point you just want to get rid of the item without losing money and without wasting any more time.
Please make sure you learn from every such situation. What did you do wrong? Was your pricing correct? Maybe you should stay out of this particular niche/product group?
Always try to dispatch goods within 24 hours of purchase, Monday – Friday.
If possible, use free shipping (add the shipping cost to your final selling price) as this gets your listings featured higher in search results.
Always pack items in suitable packaging materials – cardboard boxes, mailing bags, jiffy envelopes. You can get all of these materials cheaply right on eBay itself. If you’re just starting out you can buy packaging materials to build up your feedback to 10 or so.
And basically, that’s it!
BUY > SELL > DISPATCH
Rinse and Repeat!
The good thing about this system is that IF you follow my guidelines, do your research properly AND set the right buying price point, it’s actually very difficult to lose any money at all. As I said, in the worst case scenario you’ll simply get your investment back but you won’t lose any money.
While I have used a PS4 game as an example throughout this post, video games actually do not represent the best ROI for this system. Why? Because they’re too popular, with too many listings, and too many interested buyers and sellers involved.
In a lively marketplace like this the final selling price is usually not as flexible as with other products. You see – a video game is a video game – there are no variations for it, no different makes/models etc. Everyone knows that a new game sells for X amount on Amazon and then there’s the average selling price on eBay for that game. There’s not much room for variation.
For this reason, I highly recommend that you look into OTHER products! Products that are not as obvious as video games or Blu-rays. Just to give you a few good examples:
- Sports equipment
- Hobby equipment/supplies
- Home decor
- High end hand-bags
- Baby products/equipment
- Musical instruments
With items like these, you’ll see a much HIGHER difference in prices on eBay, which gives you the opportunity to buy for LESS and sell for MORE.
Sports equipment is a very good niche to research. We all know that person who gets really into a new sport and buys all the equipment, just to get bored after a few weeks and list it all on eBay.
This is a perfect opportunity for people like you – to become an expert in that niche/product category and start dealing with such used sports equipment. You can even create a full time business in a niche as popular as this.
Hobby type products are perfect for this too. Just like with sports equipment, many people get excited about new hobbies and purchase all kinds of tools, materials and equipment just to realise few weeks later that this is not for them. Again, a typical situation and opportunity for business savvy people.
The more expensive the items are, the more people look for second-hand versions. Take for example the PRINTING industry. There are dozens of companies in the UK who deal with used guillotines, presses, printers, digital printers etc. As not everyone can afford to buy brand new equipment, these companies act as middle men and make thousands in a single sale.
Obviously, this system is all about starting an eBay business on a budget so you won’t be able to deal with high ticket items. Still – there are plenty of opportunities, you just have to look for them.
For tech savvy people I can even recommend taking this one step further – if you’re good with repairs, you can actually buy items on eBay that are faulty, fix them and sell them as fully working for a great profit! You can buy broken/faulty items very cheaply as no one really wants to deal with them. If you go down this route, you can also check out clearance companies who sell pallet loads of broken items (mostly catalogue returns etc.) for very good prices.
So be creative and don’t just pick the quickest/easiest route here. If you put some time & energy into researching a specific niche (product category), you’ll quickly become an expert on those products and will easily locate the best deals, write great product descriptions and achieve good profit margins.
There are really no excuses anymore! Anyone can follow this system and make money on eBay without investing huge amounts of money in wholesale stock. Yes, this system is time consuming (the buying part) but the pay-off is not too bad either. Also, when you get experience and become good at this, you’ll see that you can spot deals in a few minutes, just like that.
To make your life easier, use all the automated tools available to you:
If you automate the process from A-Z, it won’t take you more than an hour each day to process 2-3 items, maybe even more. If you can dedicate more time to this, you can actually achieve a full-time income using this business model. Why not?
Remember, this is all about VOLUME! You can’t just find one item, put one bid and expect to get the item at your desired price.
You want to research as many items as you can and then bid on multiple listings using Auction Snipers! It’s a numbers game! You will win only a small percentage of auctions but when you do, profit is almost guaranteed.
If you plan to do this on a serious level, ideally you will need two eBay accounts – one for buying and one for selling. Just so that buyers can’t see from your feedback where you bought these items from and most importantly, how much for!
Of course, this is not a sustainable business; it’s more like a part-time job – but one that pays well and allows you to stay at home or earn extra money while you have a full-time job.
The main purpose of this system is to give you the ability to start with limited funds (20-50 quid is all you need) and build it up from there! By reinvesting the money you make from this business, you will have at least £1K in your bank account within a few short months. And then you can start looking for the best products to sell on eBay by importing them from China!
With that being said, even this used goods business model can be turned into a full-time venture, with an office, warehouse and staff to do the hard work for you. There will always be used stuff people want to get rid of and there will always be buyers on the other side who are happy to get a real bargain.
This will never end.
So if you really put some hard work and energy into this, scale the business, get repeat customers (buy locally, advertise), I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t make a full-time income based on this model alone.
Sure, you’ll face problems from time to time – like buying broken items or buying items that can’t be resold but show me any business which is stress and problem free. There are NONE! Make sure you have a quality control system in place AND make customer support your priority; this is crucial when you sell used items on eBay. You should have a no questions asked returns policy to minimise the risk of getting bad feedback based on the condition of goods.
Obviously, I could go on for hours and hours about this topic, the best selling practices and so on, but I hope the quick overview I gave you in this post is good enough for you to get started.
If you need more help with:
- Product sourcing
- Listing creation
- Product pictures
- Selling tactics/formats
Then I recommend you check out my Easy Auction Business video course. It will teach you how to take this concept to the next level and in more than 15 hours of videos you’ll learn all aspects of starting a profitable eBay business.
ALSO you will get FREE access (for life!) to my SpicyAuctionTemplates.com – where you can get hundreds of pre-made eBay listing templates and apply them to your listings to make them look really professional.
Lastly, you’ll also get access to our EAB members-only forum and a 1 hour chat session with me! Yes, you’ll get ONE HOUR to chat with me personally where we can discuss your situation and business plan in more detail and create a solid action plan for you to follow, and yes, this is 100% FREE!
If you have any further questions, feel free to leave them below this post in the comments block & I’ll personally reply to all of them within 24 hours, Monday-Friday.
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Fantastic read, many thanks. I’ve been selling on eBay a year or so now but they will only allow me to sell 10 items per month & I’ve tried & failed to increase my selling capacity despite only 1 negative feedback 10 months ago. Any ideas on how to up my limit please?
You need to call eBay – for as many times as it takes to get them to increase your limit.
So just keep calling them.
Hello Andrew,very impressed with all the info and all the advice within the article above as I’m away to start buying and selling online as a side project/part to e basis and see how I get on with it! What I’m wondering is iv had an eBay account iv used 10/15 times to buy stuff over the last 6/7 years,shud I jst use this account for my buying side of things and set up a separate one to sell all my stuff?? But was wondering how would I gain positive feedback/comments on a new selling account jst set up on eBay then which will b the most important end….the selling part where the profit is made is then?? Sorry for asking such basic stupid questions but I just want to make sure I start off on the right foot n dontmakeany major schoolboy errors to begin with which could ruin things b4 they start.
Thanks for your comment.
No, you should use your existing account for this new venture as you already have feedback on it!
Then, in future, if you want you can open up a new account for BUYING any time you want.
just wanted to ask you via private message about selling some stuff on ebay.
is there any chance you could send me email to my email address please so I could see your email? thank you
You can contact me directly via my help desk:
Really interesting and well written article, from someone who obviously has tonnes of experience.
I am a single stay at home parent at the moment, looking for a way to make a bit of extra income, and possibly build something that I can turn in to a full time business in the future. I think this article is pretty old, but you still seem to be answering questions recently. Is all of the info in here still relevant ? I know things change quickly, is there anything new I should be aware of, changes that need adjusting to etc etc?
Thanks for your time,
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, this concept still does work! There could be small changes here and there in technical details, fees but the concept as such works and is perfect for someone on a small budget, looking to make extra money on eBay.
Hi Andrew, love the site.
Just a quick question, I’m completely new to this so would need to start selling household objects first ect. Would you advise setting up a personal account first or straight to a business account?
Start with the personal account, yes, as then you get free listings plus you can have more flexible returns policy compared to Business sellers.
Andrew, you are a legend! Thanks for sharing this information online. You have helped me understand and made me alot more confident in buying and selling used goods. You did an excellent job at explaining and going through everything, step by step. I will use this knowledge to make some good money. Again, Thank you ?
Great to hear that Asim! 🙂
I am new to ebay and am considering taking your EAB course…..
I will be based in the republic of Ireland and am wondering if your business model is still viable here? also will the business model be adversely affected by the different shipping rates in the ROI versus the UK?
Thanks in advance
Thanks for your comment.
Good to hear from you – I used to live in Ireland, for 4 years many moons ago! 🙂 (Newbridge, Co. Kildare)
EAB course works in Ireland too, yes. I have many customers there and you can either sell on eBay.ie (which is obviously not as busy as the eBay UK marketplace) or you can sell on eBay UK. If you sell in the UK, you should pick more valuable items so that shipping costs does not make that much of a difference OR very small products which you can send in a normal letter OR simply use a FFH in the UK which opens doors to many opportunities. Amazon FBA is also perfect for people based outside the UK.
I have had below average seller performance due to saying 6 items were out of stock back in December. Is there any point in continuing this method since I am so low on search results?
You should get your account in better shape as with Below Average account it will be very difficult to get items ranked well…
I am selling blank media products on ebay and recently made the listings templates HTML and responsive as I read that 30% of ebay users search and buy using their mobile and sales have picked up since but is there any tips you can give for me to increase sales. I have my very own e-commerce website but ebay is best for traffic as I don’t know much about SEO so relying on Ebay.
Look forward to receiving any comments or tips
Thank you in advance
Start by reading my blog! 🙂 There are hundreds of posts available, many of them will help you with marketing, increasing sales etc.
Check out posts archive here:
Thank you will have a look. I have made some changes like responsive listings, adding contact info as well as a link on each ebay listing to the whole list of the items I am selling on Ebay as well as I have created a Facebook page and pinned the link to the items I am selling and will also post individual products on the Facebook page and see if can get some likes and shares
Good stuff! 🙂
I’ve stumbled across your site and think it is so informative.
I’m just starting out and would like to sell on Ebay and Amazon the products that have been supplied from ASIA, but the EAN numbers are so confusing and complicated for me.
I have read your section on EAN numbers but I am still not clear how these are generated? Do I just go to the supplier and say here are 13 random numbers can you code these according to the products which are scarves. There are 4 different colours of the same product but intend to order 300 (75 of each) and if this is the case what information will need to come up once scanned.
I am just starting out…. I have just created an online shop/website?
I am totally stuck so any help you provide will be appreciated.
No, you can’t just “generate” EAN numbers. You need to register with GS1 to get them.
Check out this guide for more info:
Hi, Andrew I must say you sir are a Goldmine with so much info and it shows you certainly have grasped firmly this Ebay business.
I am humbled by all this knowledge and glad I found this site…. Now it’s time to learn on we Go!
Good to hear that Geo! 🙂
If I become an Ebay millionaire because of your advise then I will be sending your share!
Great advise and can’t wait to put into practice.
Thanks Tony! 🙂
I’m very interested an have a good few thousand pounds to play with. I have a feeling that if I can find the right products to sell then I could easily sell them on eBay. I have previously sold cars on eBay, gumtree, auto trader and motors to make a living along side running my Italian restaurant. I’ve posted multiple car ads per day, valuing the vehicles and taking pictures of them so this should be no problem and not too much different. Wouldn’t mind if you could advise me if this is worth me putting time and money into and where I go from here?
I’ll look forward to speaking to you when you have time.
Thanks for your comment.
It really comes down to you – IF this, having an eCommerce business, is what you really want, you should go for it! 🙂 Your previous experience will definitely help you!
So just get started and work through it step by step – you can find lots of valuable guides/articles on my blog here or just get the EAB course for complete training material:
Andrew! Many thanks for putting this advice out there, explained everything brilliantly!
You’re welcome Imran! 🙂
When sourcing your products on eBay using the ebay search engine advanced filter / technique why do you click “completed items” instead of “sold items”. Does that mean that you are taking an average of items that have not sold? does this not distort the result as some items have not generated cash? Also, do you include the postage costs when taking an average of the completed sales on the first three pages.
You can do it both ways but “completed items” will show ALL listings so you can see approximately what’s the sell through rate is.
Postage costs should be taken into account, yes, but in most cases it will be free shipping for most items so it does not affect numbers that much, especially for small/cheap items.
Holy sheeet! this is one of the best websites i’ve ever encountered. I mean, what an excellent teacher and so many well written articles, wow.
THX so much Andrew for helping all of us noobs, really appreciate it! 😀
You’re welcome Kobe! 🙂
I am currently using you excellent! excel spreadsheet to work out how much i need to spend on an item in order to make any money. however how to i repeat the formula past 10 columns??
i have tried to pull down the little tab in the first row for example D15 ,but once i extend this past row 10 the formula just does not work, i have search over google and all the information i can find is basically what i have been doing. any help would be very much appriciated
You should be able to expand it that way…
But if that doesn’t work, you can simply duplicate it in 2nd tab (3rd, 4th etc.) and make as many sheets as you want.
Feel like I am taking a risk going self employed vs employed full time but I long for the day when I could be my own boss so what the heck – here I go.
Just a quick question regarding products, if the stock is stuff you have bought a while back and not from Ebay, do you still need to include this into the sales and purchase ledger? I.e. from the date you formed the business, (not stock which you have recently brought from ebay to re-sell on?)
Yes, you would still have to include it in your books.
Thank you Andrew for such informative post
I have a question regarding the delivery (packing ):
– Once I have an item I have to send to customer do i need to pack it by myself and send it through the local post office (by myself )?
Or maybe exist other way
You’re welcome! 🙂
Yes, you would pack goods and send out via mail or courier.
Alternatively, there are fulfilment houses that can do this task for you:
Firstly i would like to thank you very much for making this easy and understandable. I really found it very helpful. I am thinking of starting a small business by selling on eBay getting products/items from wholeseller’s around me and once again you made it clear so that I can go a few steps forward and I would appreciate if you help me in case of difficulties. Thank You!
You’re welcome Abel!
As far as buying from China or America like you suggest and buying in bullk, what are products you suggest to sell that have a decent profit margin for somebody who has a decent start up capital?
Please check out this guide:
Hi, this was a great read! I just tried using the Advanced search feature on ebay following your instructions – but I’m not clear, when the results come up, is it showing only items that finished with a purchase? Or is it showing completed listings because perhaps the seller gave up and ended the auction? I see some items with their price in green, some with prices in green with a green line through, and others in black and it says no bids. I am assuming therefore that not all the listings it shows actually sold? And what does a green line through the price mean?
Thanks for your comment.
You can change this in settings – on the Advanced search page.
You can set it so that it shows ONLY listings that ended with a sale OR all listings – ones that ended with a sale are in green.
Thanks for this article. I’ve been thinking of selling things in general and this really helped. I do have a fairly decent budget to start with and I was looking at buying games consoles (PS4/Xboxone) in bulk from alibaba either from the states or china but have no idea what it will cost me to get it over here as I don’t want any surprises. What’s the best way of doing this and also do you think this is a good road to go down as far as making a profit? If this is something that I can make happen I will definitely look into getting your system and having a chat with you to help me set i t up.
It is definitely NOT a good idea!
In general – there’s no profit to be made with game consoles. Secondly – you def. can’t get them from China! You’ll get scammed in no time.
I would recommend you check out my EAB course first – to learn how to start selling on eBay properly:
In the course you’ll learn how to find best products to sell on eBay, how and where to source them from plus many, many more related topics.
Very good topic
Really enjoyed this!
I was just thinking, are there any legal aspects to buying like this and selling it on straight away?
What you mean exactly by “legal aspects”?
It is perfectly legal. There are no laws that prohibit you from doing this.
Great article Andrew, very helpful.
Quick question: I’m portuguese and currently living in Portugal. Do you think the shipping costs might be way to big for a profitable business? Since my country is basically on the west-edge of europe….
(I’m assuming I should start in europe only)
Depends on what kind of shipping costs for International Airmail you can get from local post office.
You could start by selling to local customers in Portugal maybe?
Thanks for that article Andrew
Can some of what you have said above apply to private sellers – i.e. I am just clearing stuff out at the moment rather than starting up a Business – although if I make enough then I may well be looking into your eBay Business product – it looks good 🙂
Should I make the listings look nice – i.e. with HTML – but perhaps not get a logo as I’m only private. Hope that makes sense.
All help appreciated, would like to make some money on this stuff rather than being one of those many people that sells low 🙂
Sure, you can do that! And it will help to get more sales, higher prices.
You don’t need a logo obviously. Get some free templates from SAT and follow formatting principles to create good looking listings:
Thanks for the extremely informative post. I was just on the verge of selling my collection of PS3 games as a bundle for a rock bottom price (25 PS3 games for £30!) mainly due to laziness :’D
I shall do a bit more research and put in a bit more effort in selling these games to maximise the amount of profit I make.
Selling 25 games for £30 is insane!
You will get many times that value when selling each game separately.
Thought I’d let you know that I just sold 4 of my PS3 games on ebay for almost £25!! 🙂 It’s amazing how much people will pay for used products provided that they’re in good condition regardless of their age.
Good stuff! 🙂
Thanks for the post Andrew, found this really interesting.
I’ve taken a look through all your linked posts here (best snipers etc..) and going to give your method a try.
I’ll let you know how i get on!
You’re welcome Sam! 🙂
I have some question that are really private.
How to become EAB member so that I can chat with you.
Btw your article was so meaningful and encouraging.
Thanks for your comment and interest in my EAB course.
You can sign up for the program and get instant access to all materials here:
Hope this helps & let me know if you have any further questions.
What would your advice be to someone who had £500 to start up on eBay?
Thanks for your comment.
This concept can be used with £500 too. Alternatively, you can check out these concepts too:
Thank you for this informative article its answered all my questions in opening an eBay shop, not seen any sites explain this well.
I do have a question though, are there any legal implications in selling used goods and even new goods to resell for profit? As in is there any tax implications in selling goods online and do I need to declare to HMRC? I’m a bit of a dummy to understanding tax etc!
Yes, you have to as it is classed as business anyway.
Please read this guide for more info:
Hi, I’m 15 nearly 16 years old so I cant get my own eBay account, do you think its still possible to do this system?
Without an eBay account, you can’t.
But you can use someone else’s account (family member) with their permission:
I’m looking at making some extra money, and have a decent/good knowledge in a number of fields, including technology/gaming/sports. I am however not a regular ebay user, I have made 1 or two transactions on it within the past 5 years! I do however have a fairly decent budget to start with, so my question is, where would you recommend I start?
You can definitely start with this concept, gain some experience on listing creation, photos, general selling etc. and once you have made 20-30 sales, you can look into other business models, like Importing from China and others.
Take a look @ my video course which covers various concepts in great detail:
I’ve recently opened my Ebay shop. I’ve listed many things from Macbook cases to to Clothes but what I found sells the best are the older games I got from a misspelled bundle. I think tapping into the nostalgia of buyers is a a good tactic, I often see N64 cartage collections going for or close to the price of one game, for example 007 Goldeneye for the N64 will sell for £10 (condition depending), and many bundles of 10 games I’ve seen sell for £30 or less.
Yes, retro/old video games niche is VERY suitable for this strategy, especially if you go for bundles.
Lots of good bundles of older video game consoles/games, for very cheap prices can be bought via classified ads sites too, so make sure to check them out.
Hi Andrew. Thankyou so much. I’ve been looking at something I can get my teeth into after my baby is born as an extra earner. I never thought of bundle buying and separating that bundle for profit.
I’ve sold items before and never really researched properly. Again thank you
You’re welcome Carley!
I am a single mum of 4 and keen to get started. I list on eBay everyday in my job but am looking forward to starting my own business. Would love to import from China but do you think it’s possible to keep it simple by buying and selling in the the U.K. and earn a decent wage such as £1000 a month
What you mean by “keeping simple”?
Let me know.
Hi, when you highly recommend that i sell the following for better results;
or this reason, I highly recommend that you look into OTHER products! Products that are not as obvious as video games or Blu-rays. Just to give you a few good examples:
High end hand-bags
How do i know what to sell in these categories i have no clue where to start! i tried bluray but i have no clue what film to sell.
You’ll basically just start with an eBay search for items like these to see WHICH types/models/styles are most popular. Then you look for used versions and run them through Terapeak.
Another way to get popular items in any niche is to take biggest sellers in that category on eBay and do Terapeak competitor research which will show you clearly which items are sold most:
Lastly, you can always check Amazon best seller lists in any product category to find even more idea on what products are popular in that niche.
I have been adding at least 100 bidding snipers on 5 different games over 3 days and haven’t won a single game because the bids beat my profit offer. I don’t think its possible to do this strategy on ebay buying low selling higher for profit!
As I explain in the guide, games is actually not the best example of this. At least not single, brand new game releases as margins are very smalll on them. If you want to deal with video games, you have to look for older games and most importantly – BUNDLES! Consoles + games and game bundles. That’s how you can make money with used video games.
Alternatively, look into other products which are not as competitive.
I am a 17 year old student and struggling at school mainly due to my lack of motivation, anyway not important, but reading this article has really excited me to think this is possible and I could potentially do this alongside my studies and make this a hobby to motivate me and get stuck into.
I currently buy PS4 games on eBay on release day and play them, complete them, then about two weeks later I sell them on, losing a bit of money but I still get to play the games on release. Until one time where I actually made a profit, and I was actually really happy, the thought that I had bought something and sold it for more almost gave me a thrill, and thought maybe I could take this further and learn more.
So I currently have 30 feedback all positive and really enjoy selling, and I know the games market pretty well I would say.
I guess I am writing this reply to ask is it worth a student getting involved with this method, as you said there isn’t much risk is there? And I have a little experience in selling and customer service and I understand its importance. Also my dad always tell me to sell internationally as it increases the size of the target market, but with this method is that advisable? Is it common to find games that have good ROI, or is it fairly rare. Should I be looking for new releases or older games, are new releases more lucrative, or are both as good as each other?
I understand this is a long response and if you have read this far I greatly appreciate it! It’s midnight and I have a politics exam at 8:30am in the morning but now all I can think about is this!
Thanks and any response would be appreciated.
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, of course – this is perfect for students, people who want a small part-time business to make some extra cash.
If you want to concentrate on video games market, I recommend you stick with older titles, yes and even retro games (even for older PS consoles). ROI wise older games will generate you much better profits, especially if you buy them as bundles.
i have an ebay basic shop do i need to register on ebay as a business account OR NOT
No, you don’t need business account to have Basic Shop on eBay UK.
This is the best straight talking site I’ve seen for a beginner to Ebay, well done!!
If I am based in Ireland will your model still work or should I register with Ebay(UK) and how may this impact on shipping etc.
Your advises is highly valued.
Many thanks in advance
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, this system works on ANY regional eBay site too.
But you can also buy/sell on eBay UK too, which is more popular – with your existing eBay.ie login details. You don’t have to open new account.
What a great article I have been buying off eBay for many years and always thought about one day selling I have bought numerous books etc on the subject but never got around to actually selling anything, it all seemed to long winded and complicated however after reading your article everything seems much clearer and simpler indeed your article cuts through the gobbledygook and gets straight to the important stuff, I shall follow your blog with interest .
Thanks again for a great article
Thanks for your comment Howard & good luck with selling!
[…] Firstly I want to say thank you for this wonderful resource you’ve created. I’ve always been interested in creating an eBay business and thanks to your blog finally took action earlier this year buying and selling used items on eBay. […]
What a great blog!
I have just started a little ebay business selling silicone moulds and baking cutters. Buy from aliexpress and sell on ebay.
The packages are only small but already selling very well. Please can you help me with info on what legalities I should have as I am unsure that I have all the right things in place.
Please take a look at this guide for business registration/tax procedures for eBay sellers.
Im already selling on ebay (regret havent read ur article ealier, as Ive made some mistakes). Anyway Im thinking about starting business and registering as self employed. What bothers me is tax return…What should I do if i buy stuff on car boot (no recipt) or sell them on shpock with collection (customer paying by cash). How can i keep a track of them? what do u do. thank you
Sole traders can be quite flexible with this – in cases like these, you can create self-serve invoices that documents the sale. You need to speak with an accountant to learn how to properly create such invoices.
Thanks for the article, I have found it very useful.
My questions are:
What is the best way to deal with tax?
Will I have to declare my earnings with HMRC
Will I have to register as a sole trader?
Is it best to get a business bank account?
Please check out these guides on tax/accounting issues:
* eBay Tax registration
* Accounting for eBay
Would you say it’s better to use the auction or BIN option for used goods. If the auction, what sort of price would you start at?
Depends on the item really BUT if you buy used goods to re-sell for guaranteed profit, then you should use BIN listings only – so you know exactly how much money you make once item sells.
I am located in Hungary. Do you think it would be reasonable to start selling globally from here?
It mostly depends on how cheap & reliable your postal system is? What prices you can get on EU Airmail shipments?
If they’re reasonably low, you could sell small, light weight items to EU, why not!
My name is Guillermo. I’m from Spain. I’m a student. I have some savings and I would like to start something to get some extra money. I have read your blog and it looks really interesting! I would like to know if the advices that you offer in “Easy Auction Business” are working for ebay.es and if “Terapeak” works in ebay.es? Also I would like to ask you, if you know some cheap european post delivery? So i could send item from Spai to the rest of europe.
Thanks very much!
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, my EAB course will also work for eBay.es
No, unfortunately Terapeak does not support eBay.es at this time.
For European Shipping – Airmail (via your national post) is the cheapest shipping method for anything up to 2kg.
I have found your site this very interesting thank.
I have started an ebay shop, i am based in uk, i’d like get wholesale products, Could you tell me what license i need, for an online toy collectible shop, and were to purchase the license from.
What exactly you mean by a “licence”? License for what?
You don’t need any special licenses to run an online shop/eBay business.