May 8, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #26

questions-answers-26Welcome back!

After a short break we’re back today with another blog post in our Questions and Answers series.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Do you need a special export license to sell from the UK to USA?
  • How to automatically manage inventory levels on eBay and Amazon?
  • Can Turbo Lister handle 500,000 listings?
  • Which business registration form is most suitable for eBay traders?
  • How important are COMPLAINTS on a supplier’s Alibaba profile?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I have read a lot of info on your blog that has been very helpful, so thank you for your common sense approach! I wonder if you can help me…I sell on Etsy (I’m in the UK but sell to the US mostly) and I have recently had a large order for goods from a shop based in St Louis. I am completely miffed as to whether I will be liable for any taxes or have to register as an ‘exporter’ in any way and there is so much confusing information that I am overwhelmed!

Obviously I want a big sale but not if I am going to get hit with US taxes!

Can you help?

Kind Regards,
Shelley

Hi Shelley,

First of all, you don’t have to register as an “exporter” in any way. There’s no such thing as registering to export in the UK, and you don’t need any special permission to sell your products to customers in the US.

Also, any taxes your customers have to pay in USA, are again, not related to you. Their import duty is their responsibility and if they’re importing from abroad on a regular basis, they will already know about any taxes that they need to pay. But either way, it’s not something that you are liable for.

So basically, if you’re currently registered as a sole trader or run a limited company, there’s nothing you need to do. If you don’t have a registered business yet, it would be a good idea to register as a sole trader now as you’re starting to make some decent money. You can read more about how to do so in my guide here:

https://andrewminalto.com/ebay-tax-registration/

And don’t worry, you can do this after the deal goes through (so there’s no need to delay it).

Hello Andrew,

I was wondering if you’d be able to help me. I have two questions:

1: I am considering selling on Amazon in the future if/when my eBay business becomes more successful. However, there would be the problem of inventory management across the two sites. I’d need a solution – some kind of software, perhaps, that would update the stock levels so that when a purchase is made on eBay, the quantity remaining on Amazon would decrease by 1 as well.

2: I see many sellers with approximately 500,000 eBay listings, presumably dropshippers. They must have some way to automate the listing process. I’ve heard of something called CSV files – are these how it is done? I’m currently manually listing each of my items and I would like to be able to do this faster. I know there is something called Turbo Lister – is it extremely quick to upload a lot of listings?

I really appreciate you reading this message and hope that you can help me.

Thanks,
Danny

Hi Danny,

1. Yes, when you sell on multiple platforms, it’s CRUCIAL to have an automated stock control system that will keep track of inventory across all channels. Manually managing stock is simply not an option and sooner or later you’ll run into a situation where someone buys an item from you which you don’t have in stock anymore.

The best way to handle this is by using specialist services/online tools that connect your stock levels from all marketplaces and adjusts quantities automatically once you make a sale. Some of the most popular options are:

http://linnworks.com
https://www.brightpearl.com
http://www.sellbrite.com

And there are a few others that you’ll find if you research this online.

These services also do so much more than just stock management. When using multi-channel software, you can process all orders in one place, print out invoices, packing slips, shipping labels and much more.

2. A CSV file is simply a data file where all of an item’s specifics (name, price, category etc.) are listed in a format many software applications can understand. So you would get a CSV file from your supplier and then import it into your listing tool or online shop to automatically populate product listings or pages.

The same multi-channel software listed above will be able to do this.

Turbo Lister won’t work with so many listings, as it’s not supposed to be used with tens of thousands of listings.

Hope this helps!

Hi Andrew,

Been reading through most of your blog posts regarding starting an eBay business; some really interesting stuff and it has definitely inspired me. I’m in the early stages, just trying to boost my sales on eBay to help get that all important TRS status.

I plan to simply start by buying and selling bundles from eBay such as games, DVDs, Blu-rays, and toys using Terapeak to help me ensure all bundles are profitable. I’m currently working on producing a long list as well to try and establish some possible wholesale items I could purchase once I have gained some profit to reinvest. I plan to start out using UK/EU wholesalers to get a feel for it before taking the leap to importing, but that is a while away yet.

Anyway, my question is: which would you recommend when starting an eBay business, becoming a sole trader or a limited company?

As a side note, I currently own a limited company with a couple of friends from a previous venture that unfortunately never took off. This has yet to be shut down, just wondering if this will affect anything?

Thanks for your help and look forward to hearing back from you.

Matt

Hi Matt,

Usually I recommend starting out as a sole trader simply because the accounting side of things is so much easier when compared to a Ltd. company. But you also would have to keep in mind your personal allowance and current salary, if you’re employed full time. As there’s no sense in paying 40% tax on profit if you go above a certain limit. You can check my business registration and tax guide for eBay sellers here for more information:

https://andrewminalto.com/ebay-tax-registration/

But as you already have a Ltd. company, it may be beneficial for you to use that for your new business AS LONG AS it’s not VAT registered. If it is, you would want to de-register that business, as paying VAT when you’re just starting out on eBay will seriously affect your margins and growth potential. The only thing you have to worry about is accounting really – do you have an accountant who can do this for you and how much will that cost you?

So these are two things you have to carefully consider before making a decision.

Hi Andrew,

I came across your blog about Alibaba scams and I thought you might be able to help me a little bit. I’m in the process of buying wholesale centerpieces and I came across a company I liked titled PERFECT COLLECTION INDIA (http://pcmetalindia.trustpass.alibaba.com).

Would you be able to give me your advice on this company? They have been a Gold Supplier for 8 years and are verified. I do however see that they have 2 complaints within the last 90 day period. I tried getting some assistance from the “Professional Team” at Alibaba to see if they could help me but all they could tell me is that their records did indicate that they had complaints against them. That’s all the “Professional Team” could tell me.

I am new to this business and am only looking to purchase centerpieces for my wedding at a great price and nothing else. I will probably never use this company again since I don’t have the need for it but I certainly don’t want to get scammed when I have so many other important things going on!

Any advice would greatly be appreciated. I would even be willing to compensate you for your time.

Thanks again,
Ariadne

Hi Ariadne,

If they do have 2 complaints within the last 90 days, you should definitely stay away from them. It’s simply not worth risking it when you’re sourcing products that are available from many other suppliers on Alibaba. Just think about it – 2 official complains in the last 90 days is a lot as we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. There could be many more customers who have had problems and just haven’t filled an official complaint.

Overall, unless it’s a very particular product and there aren’t many options, I will stay away from companies that have had complaints as it’s simply not worth the extra risk.

Keep looking for other companies that sell the products you’re after and I’m sure you’ll be able to find better and safer suppliers.

***

Alright, that’s all for now!

Keep me busy and send in your questions using the contact form on this page and chances are they will be featured in future Questions & Answers posts. Remember, in any case, all your questions will be answered personally by me via email so even if I don’t publish your question, you’ll still receive my advice, FOR FREE!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Andrew

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