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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Really useful info here – could you elaborate a bit more on scaling it up and dealing in wholesale goods?
All that + many more you’ll find in my EAB video course.
Like many on here I am doing research prior to starting a business buying and selling on Ebay and despite research and having no special knowledge of any one product I am struggling to find what the best thing is for a beginner to sell just to get my feet in the water.
With used goods concept, you can start with almost any product that has decent demand on eBay.
Pick something you’re already familiar with, so you can make the market research, find selling prices easier and make your first deal.
IN general, for this concept, these are the most obvious product groups you can start with:
* Video games, consoles
* Mobile phones
* MP3 players
* DVDs, Blu Rays
im a 16 year old who just wants to be making about as much as possible weekly selling on ebay, just roughly what do you reccomend i buy to be making the money, i have a current budget of £45 and a hell of alot of time on my hands. any thing will help.
As said in the guide, these are product groups that are perfect for this concept:
* Video games, consoles (all gens).
* DVDs, Blu Ray’s, audio CDs
* Small electronics (MP3/MP4 players, smart phones etc.)
Just pick one product group you know most about and just get started by researching and buying your first item!
adding you to my favorite page!!!
Thanks again for all of the valuable info I keep finding!!!
I’m glad I ran across your website. You have so much information which is very easy to follow and well laid out! yeah!!! Any way I am just average seller but I do want to make a profit and so I always research product I am selling. You have lots of great ideas and website tools. I used to sell on ebay a few years back, okay several, and things have changed a lot. Different times call for new strategies, which you did touch base on,.My question has to do with shipping ,I see that ebay is charging a percentage for shipping also, which I understand why, but I have read where there are incentives to add d free shipping and bump the item price up. Back in the day I used to start items at low bidding. I don’t want to put reserves, or bin I like auction style. but I don’t want to get burned or my auction by starting low and gosh forbid no bids lol.. or overlooked if I start high and even higher with free shipping.. I also need to see what paypal is charging these days.
I have also and still do go to completed items? I will check out some websites you listed and continue investigating. sorry this is long , an not the best punctuation. . it will get real good after I or 2 listings. Anyway thanks for all off your great info.
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, indeed – lots of things have changed over the years on eBay and if you haven’t sold on eBay recently, you’ll need to do some research.
One important thing you want to read about is Top Rated Seller status and how it affects eBay nowadays.
Hi Andrrew. There are some really useful points on here but so much information to take in and absorb. Looking at your other post about becoming a TRS in 30 days…us it worthwhile following that plan ie registering business account etc if starting on a smaller scale as per this post?
Sorry, what exactly you’re asking?
Please clarify your question…
Sorry if it wasn’t clear. I am looking to follow this idea (start with relatively cheap used stock) together with some cheaper new items too. I have also read your post about getting TRS status in 30 days. Is it worthwhile/possible to combine the two principles. Reason I am unsure is due to the added costs of selling on a business acvount and/or having a shop subscription.
Another concern is if I am selling a wider range of goods for instance DVDs, phone accessories and clothes. Will that look bad to potential customers or should I be setting up individual accounts/shops for each product type?
Thanks for clarifying that.
1) You can definitely do that! These both concepts actually work great together and while you’ll selling used items, together with new stuff you’ll reach TRS in no time and then you can expand more in new goods. You don’t need shop subscription in the beginning but to get TRS, yes, you’ll need to upgrade your account to business.
2) If you’re just starting out on eBay, keep it real simple! Sell everything from one account and if at one stage you decide to go into a specific niche market, then open a separate eBay account/shop for that niche.
Hope this helps!
It does help a lot. Thanks Andrew
I have to tell you that you are by far one of the best and most reliable sources for ebay begginers and QA’s on the various issues. i love reading your stuff. very high quality and i appreciate it.
In regards to your recommendation above to stard a sell as a bid- i have a feeling this would be a good strategy for me as i sell msotly vintage and antiques and second hand, but i have always stuck to buy it now for fear that i might have to undersell the items if thehighiest bidder bids for less than the products worth.
how can i avoid this risk?
i know that i can state a reserved price, but is that enough or is there something else i am missing in this tactic?
thanks in advance for your input.
Thanks for your comment, it’s great to hear you find my blog valuable!
To minimize risks of underselling your items via auctions, do research first. Either via Terapeak or eBay’s Advanced Search > Completed Listings Only, see for what kind of prices this particular item has been sold recently. And is there enough demand for it?
If there are at least few recent sales, especially auctions that ended with your target price or higher, using Auction format is pretty safe.
I don’t like Reserve function as it somehow devalues purpose of auction. What you can do instead is start the auction at your absolute minimum price. This means, the first bidder will reach your minimum price and you’re essentially protecting yourself from potential loses.
Hope this helps!
Excellent info and advice which has been very helpful to me.
I have been looking at esources.co.uk as a supplier of wholesalers and info on eBay sales similar to Terapeak and was wondering if you have used their services or know anything about them?
Thanks for your comment.
I won’t comment about them as last time when I did publish my opinion about them, they wanted to take legal action against me (bluffing of course). Anyway, if you do some search on Google for “esources scam”, you’ll find plenty of resources on this topic.
You can make your own conclusions based on this information now.
I have a question that I have been trying to find an answer to and it is starting to hurt my brain. I have been researching profit margins and markups and still no viable answer as yet. Maybe you can help me with this riddle.
If you start with £50 and then you buy two items for £15 as in your original example, and sell them for £26 each netting you a £5 profit each. that all sounds well and good. However, and this is my dilemma, you now only have £10 profit to reinvest into the next item. Its not enough profit to buy two more £15 pound items. To me it sounds like diminishing returns.
This £10 profit doesn’t even cover my time for sourcing, selling and shipping the items because in order to make any more money I will then need to reinvest that £10 into more stock which is going to only provide say £3 profit. And so on.
How do you actually make any money if your profit keeps getting smaller and smaller each time you re-invest it into more stock?
I am completely confused or maybe just missing a critical piece of the picture.
Please disregard my previous question. I just figured it out. I feel like such a numpty!
When I sell the items for £26 each I will have received my original investment back, plus £10 extra. So I could buy two more £15 items plus a £10 item and the whole process starts again.
I knew I was missing a critical bit of information, it just happened to be my brain!
You answered your own question.
Let me know if you need help with anything else.
I am looking to start small budget business on ebay. I’m done thinking what I’m gonna selling on ebay but there is one problem that seems quite intimidating, the postage. Because mostly the items I want to sell they’re prices under 15 pounds, some of them are under 10 and few under 5. So if the actual item cost 1.99 then how can I find the postage cheaper than the product price. I will really appreciate your response.
Postage costs what it costs – not much we can do about it!
For small/cheap items you’ll want to use Royal Mail and you can check prices out on their website here.
Very informative and like most before it has given me confidence to start up in the preowned games section, my question is or rather could you tell me if there is a dedicated Uk chart site for pre owned games? I came across one I think ? But that was for the US market.
What exactly you mean by “chart site for pre owned games”?
Let me know.
Sorry didn’t make my self clear ,
Like the top 20 brand new chart for music, dvd etc but for preowned games if one exists?
Ps done my turbo lister templates with help from your video
hmmm, not sure there’s such a chart….
My guess though is that current/new releases chart is pretty much same as with used ones. As whenever a game comes out, just few days after the releases demand for used game is there.
So you can use top seller charts on Amazon/Play and other sites to get idea on what titles are top right now.
Hi Andrew, great article! You’ve certainly given me fresh enthusiasm and motivation to be successful at this. I’ve been trying for a good week to buy used products at my target price but am not having any luck at the moment. Do I need to be patient or start looking at other ideas with a greater range of final sale prices??
All the best,
Thanks for stopping by.
Most likely you have picked wrong products? Also, how do you monitor prices/auctions? Do you use a sniper tool or something similar?
As that’s the only way to catch those auctions at low prices.
The process and tips above are fantastic, thank you so much for sharing.
I had a quick question on the final selling step, do you only recommend selling items through BIN listings? Otherwise how would you ensure that the break even price is achieved?
Thank you in advance,
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, in most cases I recommend using BIN format, especially if you’re a TRS – then only use BINs as they guarantee you your target price.
But while you’re working towards TRS status OR dealing with items with severe competition, you can also use Auction listings as they get featured higher in search results. What you do is use auctions and set the starting price same or close to your target price. This means – the first bidder will actually reach your target price and even if no one else bids, you still arrive in profit.
Hope this helps!
Thank you Andrew, that makes perfect sense.
I had one more question regarding postage costs when BUYING items as they can vary greatly (i.e. some Blu-Rays will be advertised with £1.20 postage and some with £4.50)
Do I need to take the postage costs away from my max buying price to ensure I am hitting to intended profit level?
Thanks again for all of your wisdom!
no, you need to include shipping costs in your buying price, otherwise you won’t get accurate numbers.
Hi Andrew, This is one of the best site I’ve found on eBay Selling. I am from Srilanka, do you think this model is viable for us too?
Thanks for your comment.
Not sure really about Srilanka… you’re so far away from USA/UK or any other active eBay marketplaces and probably shipping would kill all potential profits.
Probably you could try importing some stuff and sell locally?
Hi Andrew I wish I would have found your site before as I think I may have made a mistake. I recently thought about selling products on ebay, I sourced wholesalers & purchased a few new items (small household goods). I was advised by a member of ebay staff to open an “ebay shop” which I decided on & went for the “basic” one which works out at £20 per month. Upon reading some of your posts I’ve read about going from an ebay account to a seller account which you state is free. Is this something that I should have done? I’m looking into doing this full time. Thank you in advance
Thanks for your comment.
You haven’t done anything wrong really – if you have a shop’s subscription, it means you already have seller’s account.
Hi again Andrew i purchased your EAB video course which i am half way through
which is superb covers every base
just got 1 question right now just selling dvd’s mainly at the moment , do you think its better to do auctions or BIN listings ??? or both??
Thanks for your EAB purchase!
Are you selling brand new or used DVDs? And are you a Top Rated Seller?
Let me know.
Hi Andrew thanks for getting back to me !!
i am selling more used dvd’s but i am selling some brand new one’s as well
but long term i am looking to sell brand new one’s
just having a clear out of my dvd’s to raise more cash towards to my new business
no i am not a top rated seller , only just started selling of late
If you sell used DVDs, it’s best to use auction type listings for them. This way you’ll get rid of them quicker and will achieve market’s average price +/- if your listings look all good. For rare titles you can use 30 day BINs (they won’t attract that many bidders).
New DVDs – when you’re a TRS, list them as BINs and if hold multiple of same title, use Good Till Cancel listings.
While you’re working towards TRS, still auctions will be better as you’ll get way more views.
What is the BIN listings ?
Thanks for your comment.
BIN stands for Buy It Now listing.
There are 2 types of listings on eBay:
1) Auction Style listings
2) Buy It Now listings
Thank you Andrew :
I have many questions either :
1- When I make auction style listing ,Can i determine the slowest number I need ?
2- When I bay a product ,how i can guaranty that is the product is like the description ?
3- When i add listing in ebay, will be the first result in the search ?
Hello. I am interested in doing this method with video games/DVDs but not with the ambition to be earning a big amount of money from it. Say £25-£50 a month just to help with bills etc. My main question is as I’m not going to be making a lot of money doing this do I really need to go through the self employed route? as I’ve done this before and it can be very tedious.
Also I have read on money savings expert that if you are selling used goods then its not taxable. Its only taxable if your are selling brand new and boxed goods. is this correct?
Thanks for your comment.
Technically, by law, it would still mean you’re doing a business, so yes – unfortunately you will have to register as a sole trader. You shouldn’t pay any tax on such small scale anyway, due to tax allowance but I’m not an accountant so can’t tell for sure.
You should get a consultation from a professional accountant who will tell you best way to do this.
Thanks for getting back. I will seek advice about the tax but if it involves having to become self employed again I think will give it a miss. Have done this before and it turned out to be a far from simple process. Perhaps i just had a bad first experience?
I was wondering about this as well and just wanted to know if went and spoke to an accountant etc? And what they told you.
Check out my business registration & tax guide.
All you have to do really is keep records of all sales and expenses (can be in a simple Excel format) and once a year do your tax return. If you plan on doing this on small scale, accounting really shouldn’t be the problem here.
And most likely you won’t pay any tax either due to your existing tax allowance.
Plus if you want to make it even simpler, you can always use online accounting software like Kashflow.
It can get expensive though if you plan on selling just few items a month. But as I said, you can use Google Drive/Excel too and simply organize your sales and expenses there.
Hello, I am interested in selling used mobile phones on eBay. I cannot find anyone to sell me product liability insurance due to being “used items”. If I am careful, should I be ok? Or is it too risky not to have insurance? And should I avoid repairing a phone (screen) that I then sell on as it would be “tampering” with its original state? Thank you
Hie Gary saw your post was just wondering if you still interested in the business of selling second hand phones or you are already doing it,I’m looking for a supplier be it company or individual would like to start similar business of buying and selling,but I’m in South Africa not sure how much support I can get from anybody either in UK or states or any country abroad..and yes thank you very much Andrew you really pushed a lot of people to make something out of their lives!!
Thanks for your question.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know how this works with used mobile phones, whatever you need liability insurance or not. From legal point of view you probably need it but if no insurer offers such package? How many companies you contacted about this? Maybe you should try some more.
Sorry, not much of a help, I know.
[…] you’re considering starting an eBay business, Terapeak is the ONE tool you need for market research. I won’t go into detail on how exactly to […]
Great informative article thanks!
What about if I buy something for £15, starting bid is 0.99p and I only get that bid. How do I deal with. Can I cancel the sale. What should I do? Thank you very much.
Thanks for your question.
You can do nothing – you can’t cancel the sale if the auction has ended (you can cancel it hough before it ends).
But if you don’t want to risk that much, set a reserve price or even better – use BIN listings only (can do Best Offer on these too).
I am from Egypt and want to use Ebay to sell products….but i don’t know how can i receive my money as paypal doesn’t work with Egypt….Do you have a solution for my problem
Thanks for your question.
There’s no real solution to this problem as 99% of people on eBay prefer to use PayPal…
eBay does allow you to use alternative payment methods though.
Firstly, many thanks for the brilliant insights and guidelines you provided above. At last I can say I have a clear strategy on how and where to start out on ebay business – an idea I have kept postponing for various reasons.
You did mention that one should offer a “no question asked return policy” and I perfectly agree with this. However, how do you deal with the return postage costs? Do you absord the cost at your own expense or make it clear in the listing that cost of returns are to the borne by the buyer? From my experience as a buyer, the later do definitely put me off from buying an item, so I do wonder how sellers cope with such costs especially when they have to fund it.
I believe it would make sense to accept return at full cost for a poor quality or damanged product that was inadvertently put up for sale in the first place, but when someone just decides to return an item becasue they changed their mind, then such customers should at least meet part of cost of return.
Please what do you advise as the best strategy for a seller in this space (i.e. used goods/items).
Thanks for your comment.
You already answered your question in your comment – IF buyer just wants to return item for no reason, buyer should also cover return postage costs.
IF there’s a problem with an item, you – as a seller – cover all shipping charges.
This is the model most eBay sellers and online sellers in general use.
One more thing please. To set up a business account in ebay, must one have a registered company? I was just checking the steps to set up a business account in ebay and it seem that a registered business is required.
They only ask for a business name on eBay when you upgrade your account.
So you can be a sole trader or even an individual with a registered business name and still register a business account on eBay.
I don’t believe they check this information anyway, unless you provide a VAT number.
Great articles on this site. Thank you for sharing.
I am a Special Interest wildlife documentary film maker and I make most of my income from DVD sales of the films I produce. I am looking at ways to increase sales using more channels. I have had an Advantage account with Amazon for 4 years selling the first title successfully to Amazon at a trade price. Potentially I can increase the margin substantially by selling directly to the public and eBay is an obvious channel to try but so far I have had very little success, even when I list at the cheapest price for the same title ‘New’ on eBayUK.
Is this because it looks odd that I only sell one DVD title ? If I presented myself as the film-maker self-distributing would anybody trust and understand me better ? Should I list other titles just to look more like a normal DVD shop ? Or perhaps I should set up as a specialist seller of a niche subject titles that I review (because I am an expert on them) and recommend ?
Thanks for your comment.
The biggest problem probably lies in the fact that not that many people on eBay actually looks for such DVDs…. I haven’t checked the data but chances are this niche is very small on eBay.
On Amazon it should be bigger as it’s a well known place where people go to buy all kinds of niche DVDs.
If you already sell on Amazon, I would probably try to work more on your website – it currently looks quite basic and out-dated. Turn it into a blog with new/fresh content, put a story behind your DVD, launch an affiliate program and try to promote your website on related blogs and forum.
Price wise you should keep it same as on Amazon though to not let your customers down.
Hope this helps!
Thanks very much Andrew – really helpful advice. I might as well try a perfect eBay page, using your excellent guide, to test the eBay market more thoroughly.
Re. revamping my website – what would the affiliate program be (roughly) in this case ? I’m sure you mean more than a simple referral click-through to the product on Amazon but I can’t quite put my finger on what else.
Yes, what I mean is you should start selling your DVDs directly on your website. Use PayPal as a payment option and install a special software to manage and track affiliate sales. Here’s one popular, affordable solution: iDevDirect
I’m also using this software for some of my products and it works great.
P.S. By the way – if you’re not already doing it, check out Kunaki for DVD printing/distribution on demand service.
I’m posting this mainly as a warning to others thinking of setting up an ebay business.
After trading on ebay for over a year selling unbranded products imported from China, I had slowly built up a nice extra income of £1500-2000 a month. I have excellent feedback and always did my best for customers.
Then on Christmas day I get an email saying my account is suspended for suspected fraudulent activity. At first I think “this is just a mistake, I’m sure I can sort it out with ebay”.
Several phone calls and emails later I realise that not only am I permanently banned, but they are not going to tell me why or even discuss the matter.
I had previously read loads of the “ebay sucks” type stuff on the web, and had assumed it was all people who were doing bad stuff like selling fake goods. Now I am definitely in the “ebay sucks” crowd.
My advice is do NOT rely on ebay for your income. Ever. Full stop.
Luckily for me I have another income, so it’s more annoying than disastrous. But if I was depending on this business to pay the mortgage…
I had not realised how easily this can happen to ANY ebay seller. I feel experienced traders should give big, load and clear warnings to newbies.
All the best, Patrick
Many Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story with us.
eBay can sometimes be real nightmare to deal with, especially when their automated systems flag solid accounts. Sorry to hear it happened to you Patrick.
And you’r right – people should never put all eggs in one basket and relay on one income stream or selling platform. I have always recommended expanding asap to Amazon and own online shop once eBay is set-up. This way we can diversify risks if worse happens.
Great advice/info. Thanks Andrew. I home – school one of my sons right now so struggle work wise and have done quite well with ebay over the years – but can hopefully takeit to the next level with your help in this article. I only need to earn a few hundred a month to supplement my wifes income which I now feel is in reach – I also have one of the biggest car boots in England on my doorstep and dozens of charity shops etc so will give it a real blast in 2014!
Thanks again for a brilliant ( and understandable!) article.
Great article! What time of year do you think is best for buying/selling the video games?
Thanks for stopping by.
Video games is a massive market where you can find good deals all year round so it really doesn’t matter that much….
Obviously, in January there will be increased supply for all the un-wanted games/gifts and ones that were gifted and already played for good. And demand in January is usually less so it’s a good time to buy un-wanted stuff from other people to re-sale it later on for profit.
this very informative article,
thanks a lot for this precious sharing.
So great to hear you’re enjoying my posts! 🙂
[…] Hot Media. If you want to sell media items such as DVDs, Blu-rays, video games, audio CDs or books, this is a MUST HAVE function! It will show you the current best-selling media items on eBay with sell-through numbers (which are very important when dealing with media items). This function can also be used if you start your eBay business following my Used Goods concept. […]
Some super learnings! Wondering if you have any tips on safe packaging and dispatching? especially items that need handlikng with care.
Thanks for your comment.
What kind of products you’re selling?
In most cases you can use bubble wrap, foam to secure fragile items. cardboard boxes in such situations work best (compared to jiffy bags).
Great informative article thanks! I have one question though:
You mention having one account for buying and another for selling – I assume both these would be new business accounts and then are there any complications or extra fees incurred by doing this? In your experience do people check back to see if you’re selling on items you bought? Cheers!
Thanks for your comment.
The buying account can be personal one, as long as you’re a sole trader/self employed and not a Ltd. company. On eBay you can have as many accounts as you want, so no – there are no complications with this.
Hard to tell how many people would check feedback and how many of them would be disappointed to see the reality – I guess not that many. Plus it’s not like the feedback for item you sell will be in first position, it could be 2nd or 3rd page.
So if you want to keep things simple, you can still probably do ok with just one account for both buying and selling.
You said anyone can have any no of ebay accounts. How is this practically possible? Can we have more than one ebay account with one email address and one paypal? ….
Yes, you can have multiple eBay accounts.
You just need to use a different email address to open new one.
Thinking about it I would probably prefer one account for buying and one for selling just to be safe and it would probably be easier when coming to do the books!
The buying one can definitely be a personal one? Ebay wouldn’t have an issue with that would they? Sorry for the delay 😉
eBay rules state that you can have un-limited number of accounts so no – there won’t be any problems using one account just for buying stuff.
I know you can have multiple accounts but what I was meaning is can the buying account be a personal account?
Or would ebay like it to be a business account because I am buying to sell?
Yes, you can have it as a personal account. eBay really doesn’t care whatever you use business or personal account for buying stuff.
I have a few questions for you, if you would be so kind.
1. When selling an item, should I use an auction format or BIN?
2. If using an auction style, should I have a reserve price?
3. Should I use just the cheapest listing I can?
Thanks for your time!
Thanks for stopping by.
1) Depends on whatever you’re a TRS or not, how many items you have on hand etc. It really varies based on your account status and goals.
2) In my opinion, no. I never bid on auctions that has a reserve price (what’s the point wasting time?) Obviously, if you sell something highly valuable, you might use it but then again why not better simply use BIN?
3) Not sure what you mean by that.,,
[…] If you have next to no money, use this business concept of buying and selling used goods on eBay. This is the easiest way to get started on eBay and make […]
Do I need to upgrade my account to business to sell items on ebay if I’m buying for resell?
Thanks for stopping by.
No, you don’t have to upgrade to PayPal business account to sell on eBay in volume. You can still do it with Premier account.
Here are differences between Premier and Business accounts.
I will really appreciate some clarification regarding this as I’m now puzzled with all info on internet! Thanks
waiting for reply
It’s not difficult at all – IF you plan to do business on eBay, upgrade your account to business.
If you want to sell personal stuff from time to time, you can keep the personal account.
In the post I just explain that you need to get seller account first before you can sell anything at all.
Ok I get it….thanks very much for your help Andrew..
Thanks for quick reply but I’m afraid I haven’t explain myself properly sorry…my question is do I have to upgrade to ebay business account if I’m intending to buy things to resell them? Also thinking on making things to sell them on ebay and I understand that if I’m doing this two things(buying to resell ans making stuff to sell) I do need to subscribe to an ebay shop and basically upgrade from private to business seller.
I hope I have explained better this time..
Yes, you’ll need to upgrade your eBay account to Business account if you want to start such business. Personal accounts are really meant to be used just to sell un-wanted gifts, used items etc.
But no, you don’t need to sign-up for Shop if you don’t want to, that’s optional.
there is something I don’t understand, you have explain here very well how to start a business on eBay but you don’t mention at any time that we have to upgrade to business account till I have asked..and instead you tell us to just upgrade to seller account? Why? Is upgrading to business account free too? Is it not the same thing to sing up for shop and upgrading to business account?
Sorry I’m making so many questions, you seem to know a lot on the subject and I really appreciate your help!
If you have a TRS account, list them as BIN listings.
If you don’t have a TRS account, list them as auctions and/or auctions with BIN option. This way your listings will get a boost in search before they end.
As for profit margins – it’s really up to you Lewis. I wouldn’t look for anything less than 25% ROI (buy for 4 pounds, make 1 pound clear profit.)
50% ROI + should be your goal. Buy for say 4 pounds and sell off to make net profit of 2 pounds. (as an example).
Hi there Andrew,
All your help was put too good use, Hopefully at least!!!
Was just wondering whether you could check through some of my ebay listing see what you think.
I’m sorry to say that but your listing do not look good at all. Here are just some of the problems:
* Titles – they’re too short, boring and lack call to action.
* Images – very bad, blurry images.
* Listing itself – you’re not using images INSIDE the listing + in most listings you’re not using a template.
* Listing formatting itself is very un-professional.
Check out this guide to learn more about how to create and format good looking eBay listings.
After going back and checking all my listing i really understand what you mean!
I was just rushing and trying to get everything listed ASAP.
I’ve Revised a couple so far and if you wouldn’t mind taking a look at them i would really appreciate it.
Yep, looks much better now! 🙂
I was just wondering if you could give me some advice on the DVD market.
My plan is to buy bundles of Blu rays and sell them individually. I bought a set for £60 and estimate i will make between 100-150% profit. Im not sure how to approach the postage aspect of the sale. I am going to offer free postage but im not sure how to send them. Is it satisfactory to send them second class as a large letter for £0.69? Also to build up some money to invest further i am getting rid of a load of old dvds. Im selling them individually on facebook, gumtree and to friends. But eventually i will have to sell the bulk on ebay. Im just wondering whether their is really a market anymore for them. I want atleast £1 for all of them but with the 10% fee going to ebay, then 3.5% plus 20p going to paypal and the postage fee whether it would be worth my time.
Thanks for stopping by.
If you offer free shipping selling used stuff, 2nd class is usually ok. You can always add 1st class as a paid on option for people who want to get the item next day.
As for DVDs – YES, of course! Market is still massive for these! If those are popular titles (even old ones), you should be able to sell them off individually for £0.99 – £2.99 or so depending on the title and make your £1+ profit per each on average.
Best way to get rid of them fast is by simply listing them as 7-10 day auctions with a starting price of £0.99 – £1.99.
Okay thats great, very reassuring!
I wasn’t planning on setting up as an ebay business straight away as i thought i would sell a lot of my items and start up later, is this a good idea or would i be better off setting up an ebay shop straight away?
If i am not setting up an ebay shop right away how important is the listing and the template etc.
Thanks for you help
No, you don’t need shop from day one, you can sell these used items without having an eBay Shop.
Listings are still important of course – use a template, have good product pictures and description inside it. Also have clear payment, shipping, returns and contact information feature in your listings.
Okay that is all great information thanks. Sorry to ask another question but when selling the blu rays purchased from bundles would you recommend selling through buy it now or auction? Also what would you consider the minimum profit percentage necessary when purchasing a bundle of 10 or more blu rays? Just to give me a clearer picture of what is a good deal for me.
Great read, thanks alot for the information. Quick question – Do you know of any sites that
we could find wholesellers ?
Thanks for your question.
Here are good free, UK based wholesale directories:
For China based suppliers, use these B2B platforms:
And for US based wholesalers, these directories:
Hope this helps!
Blu Rays tend to sell at a higher price than DvD’s
Is there a way to differentiate between Blu Ray and DvD when searching on Terapeak to find a more accurate average price?
When searching on terapeak i notice that some items such as computer games eg Fifa 14 even when categorized all the way down to games still have other items in the result list such as special features for the game which sell at £600, this affects the average price, is there a way to filter them out or do i just have to make a small mathematical equation and figure it out myself?
Thanks for your time
Thanks for your question.
On eBay DVDs and Blu Rays go under one category so in same style on Terapeak we can’t narrow down categories just to Blu Rays…
But on Terapeak, I usually search for “title + blu ray” and then narrow down to DVD/BR category.
Yes, there will be items that increase average price (like special editions etc.) – that’s why I usually manually go through first pages of results (in Terapeak) to see how many such expensive items are there.
And then use common sense to come up with a figure.
I actually don’t pay that much attention to average price Terapeak gives me – I just check first 3-5 pages of results to see what kind of price can be achieved with a TRS account and superb listings.
Hope this helps Dan!
Thanks for your advice, is terapeak worth the $29.99 a month i can find my price point through ebay itself for free. I know you have other advantages with terapeak but is it worth it at the beginning when starting up?
It’s def. worth it! Even if you use it for just one month and then cancel – you’ll be able to easily spy on your competition (see their top selling items), find best times to list your items + many more!
I can’t imagine my business without Terapeak!
Once a year (usually in December) they run a special deal on yearly packages. I got all regional sites for just $200 a year. That’s less than $17 per month for ALL countries.
Thanks for your Valuable info. Its an eye opener.
I have couple of doubts, hope you can clear that for me.
I am based in Singapore and my market focusing is either Singapore or India. Do you have any idea how can i source product to singapore and india, and then sell it globally. Or Do you suggest it sell it locally?
Thanks for your question.
In your situation I would probably concentrate on selling locally as shipping costs will be high to send goods to UK or USA.
Of course, you can also find some kind of niche items that are popular worldwide and being manufactured in Singapore – source them directly from factories in Singapore and sell Worldwide as then you should have decent margins.
Hi there, Very impressive answers and helpful information. Thank you for sharing.
Glad I can help Asad!
By far the best worded and laid out plan I’ve read! Has given me the confidence to start this up straight away! AWESOME!
Cheers Jon, Great to hear that! 🙂
am from Malawi how can I start an ebay business? Will I be able to ship products from Malawi to other countries ? (since it is expensive to to so here). and what kind of business can u advice me to start on eBay from Malawi? thank you
Thanks for your question.
I highly doubt you’ll be able to start an eBay business based in Malawi…. shipping costs will simply be too high + I’m sure your postal services aren’t that reliable either.
I would rather start importing something and try selling locally – offline and online in Malawi.
Sorry, not much of a help, I know…
[…] can’t expect to just start an online business and be rich within a few months. Sure, you can make instant profit on eBay following some simple concepts but I’m talking about a long term, sustainable business here. And that’s not something you can […]
is there a similar system for this great system that can work for us at Egypt , or another system
I already listed your best options in previous reply (see above).
thanks for this information but i have problems
1- i am from Egypt so i can not ship products from Egypt to any country it cost 25$ per kilogram it is very high cost so the final cost will be very high and,I want solution to this problem
to my mind i think the solution is to get wholesales from USA ,England and Canada to reduces the cost of product put i can not find trust wholesales
if you have any solution please tell me
Thanks for stopping by.
Yes, if you’re based in Egypt, this won’t be good for you…
Can you do any sort of tracing online in your country? I mean – you could do importing etc, and sell goods in Egypt, via an online shop.
I’m not a big fan of dropshiping, you’ll be better of long term by importing from China or buying in wholesale.
Alternatively, you could source products in Egypt, from factories directly and maybe sell on eBay.co.uk and eBay.com But then you will have to use a fulfilment house for stock storage and distribution to reduce your shipping fees.
Thanks!!!! i have been sourcing information on how to start an ebay business and THIS by far has been the best information I have found. it was like talking to a friend.
I’m a bored 16 yr old trying to put my spare time to use….
and you my friend, wrote the easiest to understand business model ever!
i have literally spent days looking for things to do, and now i have it…
Great to hear that Bailey! 🙂
Thanks very much Spencer!
I really appreciate your kind words and support.
[…] bog with great interest – loads of valuable information here! I have already followed your used goods business guide and made my first 40 pounds in profit! I will stick with used goods for now, but in the future I […]
I’ve always wanted to try something like this but the thing that worries me is taxes.
Do you have a page on what forms are required to be filled out etc
Can you tell me which ebay account is required to buy and resell used items to make a profit? Is this free to carry out? Will a standard ebay account be sufficient to be able buy and resell?
Yes, of course – standard/personal eBay account is fine for this process.
When you start out, the best way to go is register as self employed. You won’t have to pay any taxes up to certain limit and accounting is very easy too (once a year you do tax return, this can also be outsourced at low cost to an accountant).
You shouldn’t be afraid to start a business because of taxes. Call HMRC and ask any questions you have!
Hi mate….I have bought and sold many items on ebay but not for a big profit just more of the case in getting rid of the items…I was wondering what items are more prone to turn over a larger profit Eg: jewellery, gold etc….and is it illegal to sell fake items such as clothing but letting them know that its fake…thanks
Please check out these guides on how to find good, profitable items to sell on eBay:
Best Products to sell on eBay!
TOP 100 Products to sell on eBay!
And yes, it IS ILLEGAL to sell fake items, even if you say they’re fake.
But if you are planning to do this along side my full time job will this not alter what i register as?
Registering as Self Employed is still usually best way to go when you starting out, even if you have a full time job.
Thank you for shearing this strategy with us.I am trying it now. Have added 4 snipes with http://auctionsniper.com/, so waiting for them to end.
Will let you know about my progress .
Good Luck with those auctions.
just wondering if you have got a model to start the ebay business on a bigger scale than this the used item one, I have an investment of £700 and have always wanted to do ebaying but not sure where to get wholesale items to sell
Hi Andrew, I was very interested to read your article. I have recently left my job due to stress, I’m looking to start making a bit of cash at home I have an eBay account and sell retro games etc and do well with that however it is starting to get low at car boots for findings etc and am no thinking about venturing out and buying and selling from other websites and to buy from China to sell on, is there items or a shop you would reccomend to sell on eBay for profit? I have bought a few things from aliexpress in the past for myself but unsure of what customers want on eBay? Any advice would be greatly appreciated
You have to start by learning to do proper market research to find what products you could potentially sell.
I have published a number of useful guides on this topic here.
I can’t see an option to upgrade to Premier, it says Personal or Business, have they changed their policy recently?
Maybe you already have a Premier account?
Could you check this link out for me please and tell me whether or not it is safe to buy genuine PS4 consoles for this price from this supplier. If not could you please recommend a supplier that is not selling fake PS4’s or is a scammer on sites such as DHGATE AND ALIBABA please.
Also I was wondering, I have a debit card and I don’t really mind getting scammed as long as I can get a refund from the site.
Does alibaba/dhgate accept paypal?
If they accept debit card am I was entitled to a refund on any site I use if I am scammed?
NO, you can’t get genuine PS4 consoles from China, forget about it!!!! You’ll get scammed 100%! China is no good for branded electronics.
Plus there’s no profit to be made with new game consoles at all. Even if you would have millions to invest in stock, you would still make very tiny profit per console sold.
Most wholesalers are selling on ebay so when you buy from them you cannot beat there prices on ebay
This guide/post is really not about wholesalers…
In line with Peter asked, if there are other sellers selling the same product at much lower price, why should buyers buy other high priced items. THey also uses same Ebay search to find the product right. So when we buy the cheapest and try to sell it there will still be the other cheaper one for others to buy right ?
There are many, MANY reasons why buyers choose to buy one item over the other, even if it’s exactly same item but with a different price. Otherwise, only cheapest sellers would make any sales on eBay, but it’s obviously not the case – you can sometime wonder how many sales some listings get, which are much, much higher priced compared to say 1st 3 results on the same page.
I’m curious as to whether the used goods concept can turn into a decent full time job. Having lost my job and not being able to get work anywhere with the current state of the economy I’m giving this a go and hoping it could be an option to stick it out. I will be purchasing EAB from you but money is so tight at the moment I really can’t afford it.
Thanks for your question.
YES, absolutely! You can make a full-time income doing this, why not? It’s all about scaling up, nothing more. When you re-invest profits back into business, you can buy more and more items, more expensive items and your number of listings/sales increases.
It’s hard work but in my opinion the quickest way to make a full-time income on eBay with limited budget.
Yes, of course. I do cover wholesale, importing from China, re-branding and other, BIGGER scale business models in my EAB video course:
Hi I’m 17 years old and want to start buying and selling goods online do you have to be 18 for this?
Yes, as far as I know, you need to be 18 to sell on eBay.
Thanks for the info