December 20, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #15

questions-answers-15This is it – the last Questions & Answers post of the year! I’ll be taking a break from writing starting next week (after the winners of my readers’ contest are announced) and will return on the 5th January (hopefully at least!).

I’m sure over the next 3 weeks I will receive tons of new questions from you so we’ll most likely start the new year with a MASSIVE Q&A post!

But for now, let’s cover some of the questions you sent in over the last 2 weeks:

  • Where to get stock Blu-Ray images?
  • What’s the best & quickest way to send a 100kg package from China?
  • Where to get small quantity children’s party dresses/costumes in the UK?
  • How to outsource your eBay tasks?
  • Best way to import giftware from China?
  • Do prices on Alibaba fluctuate based on season?
  • Can I use a Polish eBay account to sell on eBay UK?
  • What are your thoughts on using sourcing agents in China?
  • How to work with 3 eBay accounts at the same time from just one PC?
  • How to pay import taxes on a shipment from China?
  • Does Easy Auction Business come on a physical DVD disc?
  • Where to find good dropshippers in Greece?
  • Do I have to pay import tax on small shipments from China?
  • How does Ali Express’ escrow service work?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

You said to use Amazon for stock images of Blu-ray film covers, which is fine, but how are you lifting them – simply right click, copy then paste? Or are you saving the image first on to a computer and then loading it up to a template on turbo lister or directly to an eBay auction template?

Thanks,
Graham

Hi Graham,

Yes, what you do is you go to the Amazon listing for the Blu-ray you’re interested in; right click; open image in a new tab (this may differ slightly based on what browser you’re using) and simply download that image to your computer.

Mind you, these will usually be very large, high resolution images so before you upload it to your hosting account, you want to re-size it to something more suitable which you can do by simply following the steps in my image editing guide.

If you want to upload these images directly to eBay (gallery images), you make them square, 1600 x 1600 pixels IF the Amazon image is larger than that. If it’s smaller, make it smaller but still use square proportions, at least for the main gallery image.

For example – if the image downloaded from Amazon is 1000 x 1600 pixels, re-size it to 1000 x 1000 pixels (make sure you use the cropping tool to maintain the image’s aspect ratio). So basically you just use the shortest side of your image as a guide for how big it should be.

Hi Andrew,

I need to get a shipment of clothes delivered to me in the UK from China. The weight is 100kg and it’s about 30 cubic feet overall. Could you please advise me on the best service to use considering that I need to get them within a week?

Helen

Hi Helen,

100kg and 30 cubic feet – that’s a size of several pallets I’m afraid there’s no way to get such a large shipment over from China to the UK in just a week. Well, unless you want to use a courier service? But that will be very, very expensive! I’m talking super expensive; i.e. something many times more than what you paid for the actual goods.

The only cost effective way to send such pallets from China to the UK is by using sea freight, as explained in my Importing from China guide. That’s the cheapest way to get this done but the downside is shipping time, which would be roughly 30-45 days including time for customs clearance within the UK.

You could use air freight which takes just 5-10 days but it will still be very expensive and for clothes, it won’t make any sense as air freight is only really suitable for high value items that you need very quickly.

Hello Andrew,

I was hoping for your advice – I have just started selling children’s party dresses on eBay but have limited capital – when I research other eBay shops it’s apparent they are selling the same stuff but with a huge selection! But as they’re offering one day shipping it’s not coming from China but is stocked within the UK – so do you know of any companies that offer dropshipping of clothes from China, but with the stock held here?

Any advice is gratefully received – am loving your very informative website!

Thanks,
Sally

Hi Sally,

No, I don’t know any such Chinese companies who dropship from the UK. That doesn’t mean there aren’t, just that I haven’t personally come across them.

You have to understand that the biggest party dress suppliers on eBay will buy in bulk directly from China and hold stock in the UK, so they’re able to ship directly to their customers via next day delivery. This is the most commonly used model for all major eBay sellers, in any niche.

There are UK based companies who wholesale and dropship party dresses and you can quickly find them via a Google search. Prices of course will be higher compared to China but if you can’t yet import directly in bulk, this may be the best option for you for now.

Hi Andrew,

All your previous replies to questions have been really helpful and I want to take the time to read all the information you have published on your site however it’s very hard, being so busy on eBay.

Of course it’s great to be busy on eBay and that’s what I want, provided you’re able to manage it well and this is really the main area that I am looking for some help with.

To put it simply, can we hire someone (a freelancer or company) to do certain jobs on our behalf, like reply to emails, inventory management, graphic design etc.? As it is quite difficult to be able to afford someone from the UK right now… do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Affan

Hi Affan,

Yes, absolutely! You can and you should do it if your business has outgrown your own work capacity. Outsourcing is actually what helped me to grow my business to the stage it’s at now as one person simply can’t do EVERYTHING! And nowadays, when we have Elance, ODesk and other freelancer hiring websites available, there are no excuses for not outsourcing.

You just have to be careful about what tasks you outsource as when you hand over a task to someone else, you lose some control over it – no matter how well you manage your outsourcer.

For example, customer support is the last thing I would recommend you outsource for an eBay business particularly, as we all know what high expectations eBay customers have – one mistake in a reply could result in negative feedback for you.

What I recommend is that you start with technical tasks, like:

  • Product pictures
  • Product image photoshopping
  • Listing creation
  • Product descriptions

These are all very time consuming tasks that can be cheaply outsourced without much worry as they won’t directly affect your eBay customer experience.

Check out my guides on outsourcing to read more about how to do this properly:

Lastly, talking about customer support tasks – check out my guide on how to reduce your eBay customer support requests to a minimum and how to properly optimise your customer support workflow, to reduce the amount of time you have to spend on this, without comprising on your customer service.

Hi Andrew,

Just wanted to thank you very much for the information you put out there for free. It’s really fantastic and I appreciate the fact that you seem to want to genuinely help people.

I’m new to all of this, having worked in banks as a cog in the machine for the last few years, but now I have a mortgage and am getting that bit older I am trying to get something started that will help us move onto the next level, so to speak.

If you could give me some advice on Alibaba I’d really appreciate it.

I’m currently looking for a supplier for small gift items from the Far East and I have a few questions (I’m not sure how much you know about this but I figured I’d ask anyway):

– Starting out, what is the best way to arrange shipping, bearing in mind that I have no experience with this. It seems the supplier I am talking to is quoting EXW price. They say they can ship by FedEx but I’d imagine that is an extremely expensive way of doing it and might very well cut into all of my profit. How can I learn the reigns of this and arrange the most efficient but cheap way of doing it?

-Do I need to arrange some sort of insurance for this?

-Do I need a lot of knowledge of regulations and filling out of forms to do this?

-If I do use FedEx I guess they will handle the customs details and I won’t need to fill out the relevant forms myself?

I guess I just need a bit of direction on which way to do this, having no experience myself.

Is this stuff covered if I end up buying your auction DVD?

Thank you and God bless!

Numan

Hi Numan,

For low value items, like giftware, your best and cheapest option is to use sea freight, at least if your order is one pallet or more. In some cases even half a pallet is enough but it depends on how valuable the goods are.

FedEx and other courier companies are only good for small or high value orders, not bulky or cheap items. You can of course use it but the price you pay for shipping will most likely eat up all your potential profit.

So just go with the sea freight and ask your supplier for FOB prices. FOB (freight on board) means that the price will include delivery to your supplier’s nearest port in China. From there, you either organise shipping yourself, ask your supplier to get a shipping quote for you OR simply use a freight forwarding company (this is the best way).

Freight forwarding companies will handle the whole process, including shipping from China, customs clearance and delivery of the goods from the port to your address. This is very handy and effectively the cheapest way to get this done plus you’ll know exactly how much the whole process will cost you before you even place the order.

If you’re based in the UK, my recommendation for a freight forwarding company is Woodland Global. Before you contact them for a quote, get the order dimensions (size, weight) from your supplier and their address. Then WG will provide you with a fixed door to door quote for your shipment.

And yes, all these questions are covered in high detail in my Easy Auction Business video course.

Hi Andrew

Thanks for your blog, it’s very useful. I’ve done the Terapeak research and am now on Alibaba but I wonder; do the prices vary based on the date, e.g. are they cheaper in January than before Xmas?

Gill

Hi Gill,

I haven’t personally noticed this so I don’t think there’s an overall trend across all suppliers. Sure, there will be suppliers who may want to get rid of over-stock after the new year but in general – manufacturers in China make each order on demand e.g. they start production only when an order comes in so very rarely will they have large amounts of overstock to sell at reduced prices.

Sometimes it happens, yes, for example when an order is cancelled by the buyer and the manufacturer ends up with stock that has nowhere to go, but it’s not a very common situation and certainly not something you can predict.

Hello Andrew,

I have just started my own business journey and have set up an eBay account and starting creating my first listings but I’ve just realised that eBay charge quite high fees!

But the costs for auctions on eBay.pl are completely different, only 1.7% (not 10%).

Is it possible to use my UK eBay account to sell items in the UK, but list via eBay.pl and pay the lower fees? Or will eBay charge me 10% because I have a UK account?

Please let me know.

Regards
Tom

Hi Tom,

You can definitely use your eBay account to list on another regional eBay site BUT you pay the same fees as sellers from that country. So for example, if you’re selling to the UK you’ll always pay the same fees as UK sellers so the trick you’ve described won’t work.

Hi Andrew

I notice you’re very informed on importing and wanted to know your thoughts on these “helpers” available in china.

I have received several emails/messages on Alibaba about a person in China who helps source goods, tests goods and ensures the goods are shipped, for a cost of course.

Please let me know your thoughts on this.

Kalvin

Hi Kalvin,

Yes, these are so called Sourcing Agents.

If you ask me, I wouldn’t recommend using them UNLESS there’s a sourcing agent someone has personally recommended to you after trying and testing them.

Many of these services are simply too un-reliable to deal with. I have personally worked with 3 agents in the past and in all 3 instances, it didn’t end up well. Too many mistakes were made, shipments were delayed, defective stock delivered and so on.

I’m sure there are genuine sourcing services out there but as I said, it’s too risky to simply blindly pick such a service and trust them with your hard earned money.

So I have personally stopped using sourcing services as such.

What I do is simply source products on my own, using Alibaba, Made-In-China.com, GlobalSources.com etc. and if I need in-depth supplier verification done or a pre-shipment inspection done, I simply hire a 3rd party agent to do this for me from Alibaba’s Inspection portal.

Cost wise this is actually much cheaper plus I get much more control over the entire process.

Hi Andrew,

I am emailing you from Australia.

I have three eBay accounts and am wondering if there is a way to display the three accounts simultaneously on one device?

At the moment I have my desktop, notebook and Samsung tablet sitting next to each other.

Is there a software application that can make it easier or does my study have to keep looking like a NASA launch centre?

Thanks,
Ean

Hi Ean,

Yes, this is quite a common problem for many eBay sellers and the solution is actually a very simple one!

You don’t need 3 computers to do this! 🙂

All you do is install 3 browsers on your computer, if you don’t have them installed already. For example:

  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Chrome

Or if you’re on a MAC, one will be your default Safari (which can also be installed on Windows machines).

So once you have 3 browsers installed, you just use each browser for each eBay account you have and that way you can work on all of them at the same time without having to constantly log in and out and without having to use several computers.

Hi Andrew,

I read your article about importing from China and it was actually very reassuring because I recently ordered some watches from China (only 15 to start with as a test) and I did pretty much everything you said a good importer should do.

But anyway, my burning query is regarding this whole tax malarkey. The order is currently being processed by the supplier (who I found on Alibaba.com) so will I have to pay tax on these once they arrive in the UK via DHL?

Adam

Hi Adam,

Yes, you’ll need to pay import duty and VAT when the goods arrive in the UK.

As you’re using a courier service for this shipment (DHL), you won’t have to lift a finger! DHL will do the customs clearance for you and simply send you an invoice for the taxes and their clearance fee.

Hi,

Does your eBay course include physical DVDs or are the video lessons available only by downloading?

Many thanks,
Fret

Hi Fret,

No, I don’t ship a physical version of the course anymore. I used to do this, years ago, but then more and more people started to ask for an online version so eventually I just decided to make all the content online.

Not only does this reduce the upfront costs to you, it also means that you get INSTANT access to the entire course right upon payment, regardless of where you are in the world.

Lastly, this also allows me to update the course more frequently WITHOUT having to ship another version to existing customers, and as a result ALL future updates are FREE and 100% included in the one-time fee of £67.

Hi Andrew,

I hope you are doing well.

I am searching for companies that can guarantee the items I buy from them will be in stock. Can you tell me what category of companies I should be looking for?

I am creating an e-shop with accessories and watches in Greece and I would like to be certain that the products that I am listing will be in stock when I sell them so I hope you can offer me some advice about this.

Thanks,
Adrian

Hi Adrian,

Unfortunately I can’t really offer any advice about this as I don’t deal with watches and don’t know of any reliable dropshippers in this market.

Hi Andrew,

I’ve just recently set up a business online selling stainless steel jewelry which I buy from Ali Express suppliers. My orders are usually under £100 and simply arrive in an envelope via my postman…

I of course pay my yearly taxes to the UK Government, but I’m unsure about the import tax and duties and whether I should be paying them? Is import tax different to normal yearly tax that I have to fill in a return for? Also as the parcels just arrive to my directly, how would I even go about paying the tax?

As previously when I’ve received parcels from the US, I have been billed by Royal Mail for the tax due but this doesn’t happen with my orders from Ali Express and I’m confused why?

Any information and guidance you can give would be gratefully appreciated.

Kind Regards,
George

Hi George,

Yes, you have to pay import duty and VAT on all of these shipments (from both the USA and China). The reason why you weren’t charged for shipments from China is probably because your supplier under-valued your order in the customs declaration.

Either way, if this happens, you have to contact Customs (HMRC) and report that you haven’t been charged taxes and they’ll let you know how to properly pay what’s due.

You want to do this whenever you receive a shipment and not when you do your yearly tax return (then it’s too late).

Hi Andrew,

Please take a look at this email I received after ordering an item on AliExpress. Each time I make an order I receive something like this (even though the orders are from multiple different stores). It seems as if AliExpress holds my money until I confirm I am happy with the product, is that right? And if so, that means I have nothing to worry about, provided AliExpress is legitimate?

Karen

Hi Karen,

Yes, that’s how it works as each and every order on Ali Express is protected by their Escrow system.

The way it works is that when you place an order on Ali Express, your money is held by Ali Express and released only when you have received and inspected your order OR 30 days have passed and you haven’t done anything (then they assume that the order went through just fine).

This makes ordering from Ali Express much safer compared to other similar sites.

Just don’t fall for a common scam when suppliers delay order dispatch beyond those 30 days, meaning the payment is released to them and there’s nothing you can then do about it. If you’re told that there’s a problem with your order, it’s delayed etc. then simply cancel it and get your money back.

But don’t confuse this with Alibaba.com, as on that site Escrow is not used by default and is only available as an extra if your supplier agrees to use it.

Hope this helps!

***

Ok, that’s it for today. This was our last Questions & Answers post for 2014!

But keep sending those questions in via my contact page here and we’ll resume where we left off right after the new year.

Next Monday I will publish the final blog post for this year – announcing the winner of my readers’ contest as well as sharing a few thoughts to finish 2014!

Best regards,
Andrew

2 Comments
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  1. Hi Andrew I’m really tempted to give it a shot making my own business on eBay but would I need a PC/laptop, as I usually just use my phone to fo sll my ebay
    and I go to the library every time I get a big parcel to deliver but for small I just use Royal Mail & if I was to start would I still be ok to use Royal Mail?

    Also do you need to have both programmes to start off on ebay (Terapeak & easy auction DVD )

    Regards Lewis

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Lewis,

      While you can theoretically sell on eBay using just your mobile phone, it won’t be very practical… same Turbo Lister, you can’t run it on your mobile, image editing – again, very hard to do on mobile. So yes, I would say that you will need at least a laptop to make this work.

      Royal Mail is still cheapest method for small items but you can read more on various shipping methods and how they compare to each other here:

      https://andrewminalto.com/ebay-shipping-guide/

      As for additional tools – you can sell on eBay WITHOUT using anything but of course, Terapeak & EAB course will greatly improve your chances of making it a success and will help you avoid many newbie mistakes which can lead to account closure.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

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