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Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #41

October 8, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments
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questions-answers-41No, I’m afraid it’s NOT Friday yet! 🙂

Just a slight change this week as I’m taking a small weekend break with my family, so this week’s Questions and Answers post is a bit earlier than usual.

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • How to determine a price when selling your eBay business?
  • When is it a good time to open an eBay Shop?
  • Do VAT & import duty apply to imports from the USA?
  • Can you claim import duty back?
  • How much does insurance cost when importing via sea freight?
  • Do you need a registered business to start buying from Alibaba?
  • What to do with broken rental Blu-rays planned for re-sale?
  • Is it okay to buy and re-sell Sky remote controllers on eBay?
  • How to find out which type/design/style of product sells best?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I have an unusual question.

I have a small eBay business and am wondering, if I want to sell it, how do I determine the selling price?

Based on turnover, profit?

It is nothing huge, but has been bringing in regular revenue every month for 2 years now.

Thanks in advance.

Hi Richard,

First thing you should do is research similar business that have been sold on Flippa.com so you can get a better idea of what kind of price to expect.

eBay businesses in general are very risky sales so you can’t expect much. A normal price would be in the region of 10-12 months’ net profit, best case would be 20-24 months’ net profit. So for example, if you make £1000 net profit per month, the selling price of the business could be anything between £10k-£24k.

These figures are approximate of course and you can often get higher than that if you sell your business locally or to someone you know personally.

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for your previous email, the information was useful.

I just have a few questions on listings and eBay fees….

Initially I am looking to sell one product in a variety of sizes. So I envisage listing the product and it has a drop down menu so the size can be selected. Would this be classed as 1 listing and when a size has been selected and bought, would my advert remain live on eBay or would I have to list again?

What I am trying to work out is whether it is best for me to pay the 26p insertion fee and 10% final value fee or whether I pay £17.38/month to have a Basic store and the 10% final value fee?

Can you advise please?

If I had the Basic store and fell short of the listing requirements, what would happen?

I have only done simple home selling on eBay before and I just want to be clued up on what is likely to be the most cost effective and professional route for me to operate a small online business?

Any advice or tips would be very useful. Thank you in advance.


Hi Nichola,

Yes, if you’re selling one item that comes in various sizes, you want to list it in ONE listing with variations (variations for sizes). You can read more about how variations work here:


For example, if someone buys one size from you, all remaining sizes will still be available for purchase and the listing of course remains live/active.

If you have just one item to sell now, you probably don’t want to subscribe for a shop BUT if you have multiple products, you should get a shop as only shop owners can use the Good ‘Til Cancelled listing format, which is basically a necessity if you want to build a long term business on eBay.

There are no listing requirements as such to have an eBay shop, so nothing to worry about there.

In the EAB course I talk about this, so please re-watch it if needed.

Hi Andrew,

I’m looking to start importing goods on a monthly basis from the US and I’d be very grateful for any help or consultancy you could guide me with.

1) Do I pay VAT on goods imported from the US? If so who to?

2) I’m importing a drink which contains Omega 3, therefore the duty for Omega 3 imports from the US is 9.6%, is this correct or will it fall under a different category? I.e non-alcoholic soft drink?

3) Can I claim the duty tax back?

4) How much does insurance usually cost for a container with a goods value of around £15,000?

5) As an importer are there any other hidden costs I should be aware of?

I’m more than happy to pop in for a consulting session if you think that’ll be better.

Look forward to hearing from you,

All the best,

Hi Marcus,

1) Yes, you have to pay VAT and import duty on goods imported from the US, in the exact same way as when importing from China.

2) It will probably be taxed as a soft drink and not an Omega 3 product. But you should call HMRC and get a definite answer to this.

3) No, you can’t claim it back.

4) This totally depends on the product and freight company you’re using so I’m afraid I can’t give you an exact figure.

5) There will be shipping costs, VAT/import duty and customs clearance fees + port fees, warehouse storage fees and some other fees. You should ask your freight forwarder to give you a door to door quote so you know exactly how much you’ll need to pay in total for everything.

Hope this helps!

Hi Andrew,

I have been doing a bit of research about buying from china and selling on eBay, Amazon etc..

I’ve found a wholesale site called Alibaba. I know what I want to buy and sell having done a lot of research on this. I’m just a bit confused where to start – do I have to be a registered business or can I just contact the wholesales and buy from them and sell here.

Hope this makes sense, thanks for your time!


Hi Shane,

You can definitely start importing from China/Alibaba as an individual. Most people start out this way and you don’t have to be a registered business to do this.

Of course, if you do start reselling these items then by UK law you need to register your business (as a sole trader), but at the importing stage itself there is nothing to stop you from going ahead as an individual.

Hi Andrew,

I followed your advice on how to become a top-rated seller on eBay and purchased a bundle of 73 Blu-rays.

But I don’t really have any experience with Blu-rays and need some advice from you – when I got the bundle I tested the discs and found that 22 of them failed to play. Also the bundle includes discs which are marked “Rental Copy” and most of these didn’t play.

Is it usual for these discs to not play on some players or does this happen all the time? Also do buyers care if a disc is a “rental copy” or not?

Or should I be asking for a partial refund?


Hi JJ,

You should definitely ask for a refund if almost a third of your purchased discs don’t play. If the seller has a refund/return policy in place, I would simply send it all back and get a full refund.

Why? Because you’ll get lots of un-happy customers if you sell ex-rental copies, which are usually in very bad condition.

For the TRS strategy I always recommend buying from private sellers who are selling their own Blu-ray collections/job lots, as these are usually in mint condition, and NOT from wholesalers/re-sellers who buy ex-rentals in bulk and then re-sell them in smaller lots on eBay.

Hi Andrew,

Just a quick question – is it against the law to buy wholesale sky controllers and sell them on eBay?

Thanks for your time


Hi Shane,

As far as I’m aware, it’s perfectly fine to do so, yes.

The only thing you have to worry about is if they are imported from China, as that means that they are compatible remotes, not Sky originals, so they can’t carry any logos on them.

If you buy them from a UK based wholesaler who deals with GENUINE SKY replacement remotes, then of course they should have a logo.

Hello Andrew!

I was looking to start a business selling phone accessories. I want to start small with phone cases for the leading brands, Samsung and iPhone. I have read many guides and am familiar with the majority of things involved with starting up a business.

However, people don’t usually want to share what particular cases sell well. For example, do the simple designs sell more than the bold ones? Is the market bigger for plastic phone cases or wallet-style leather cases?

With competitors not looking to give out this information to potential competition, how am I to know which is the best product to invest in?

I have someone who specialises in computer web design and so creating a professional feel is not a problem. I’m looking to place a small order of 50 pieces at first but want to first find out which type of phone cases sell the best.

Any help is appreciated 🙂

Hi Halima,

You have to start off by doing proper market research to find out WHICH type of cases sell best. I have published several guides on this process so check them out here:


You can do all kinds of research tasks using Terapeak and can get exact sales data for various things. For example, you can search for leather cases and silicone cases and then compare the sales numbers. You can also get in-depth info on the competition using the special competitor research function which will show you your competitor’s best selling lines and how much they make in sales for each product.

Then, to go even further, you can check the listings for top selling items manually on eBay – just go to SOLD HISTORY which shows the last 100 purchases. There you can count the sales and do some simple maths to work out what percentage of sales comes from each style/design. This way you will know which products are most popular before placing an order.


Okay, that’s it for today!

I’m leaving the office now and will be back on Monday! If it’s not an urgent matter, please hold off until then to email me, otherwise my inbox will be overloaded by the time I get back! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend everyone!


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  1. Hi Andrew,

    I’ve been reading your blog and very well teaching and perfect info I ‘ve got some.

    I changed Paypal micro payment into my business and that’s very helpful for small payment.
    I have to say Thanks million to you for you guidelines.

    Today, My Question is How to Fix Gallery Image?
    I upload new Picture to my Good till Cancel format with Multiple Variation Listing .
    then fails to update the image shown in the search results.
    I tried to change picture and revise listing thousand times but it will still show the old image in search result.
    I don’t want to delete my listing and relist with new pic because i have quite good sale history in this listing.
    If you don’t mind, Please Help me to sort it out with this old pic in search result problem,

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Kyaw,

      Did you clear browser cache or at least refreshed your browser?

      As it needs to be cleared for the new image to show up.

      Also, some times it can take a good while while eBay updates it in search results, even a day!!! So check it out now, refresh browser and see if it changed.


      1. Hi Andrew,
        I clear all of my cookie and refresh browser and revise listing a week ago.
        but still showing old pic.
        I don’t know what to do next.
        Thanks anyway.

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Still same thing?

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