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The Very Basics of Ebay - Getting Started

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/20/2006 | Home Based Business
So you want to sell stuff on eBay, but you have two minor problems: you don't know how and you don't have stuff. Not a problem. Keep reading for some tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

Before you begin youll need some basic equipment: Computer, Internet access, digital camera, and some space to put your stuff. Thats really all youll need to get started. Youll also need shipping and packing supplies but that is addressed later.

Next youll need to learn how to list auctions. Go to the eBay sellers overview: http://pages.ebay.com/education/sellingtips/index.html. This will be your lifeline. There is a plethora of information there on everything you always wanted to know and more. Dont be overwhelmed; just take it one step at a time. Youll see there is information on listings, on bidding, on photos, on feedback its all there.

Next youll need to figure out what to sell. Before you zero in on a particular niche you need some experience and some feedback. Buyers are generally leery of buying from someone who is brand new and has a feedback rating of less than 10 evaluations. While you are getting your feet wet, look around your own house first. Youd be amazed at what people buy. You could list outgrown clothing, magazines, candle holders, CD, books, flannel sheets, recipes, the ugly old lamp that was Aunt Mildreds, all those goofy Christmas gifts sitting in your basement, that old baby gate with a stain on it. Get the idea? You never know what someone will want.

Although you need experience, you dont want to list something that isnt likely to sell. Do your research first before you invest the time in putting together a listing. An easy method to use is do a search on eBay, then look up COMPLETED ITEMS, then sort by HIGHEST price. Then youll see if your Tommy Bahama shirt is really worth anything. Or youll see that your old baseball cards had 23 listings and not one of them sold.

Pricing is another challenge. Again, youll need to do your research. See what theyre going for. Dont have overly high expectations. You know how you feel when you go to a garage sale and you see a pair of jeans for 15 or books for 4 each. Many people come to eBay to look for a bargain. Consider how much you have into the item. If you have an item from around the house, you may consider that something is better than nothing, so you may be inclined to start the bidding quite low. If you bought it with the specific intention to resell, you will, at the very minimum, want to break even, so take the price you paid for it and consider other costs, i.e. listing fees, final value fees (all explained in your lifeline eBay seller overview above). People are much more apt to bid if the bidding starts LOW. Sometimes though, you will have collectibles that are worth a chunk of money. Dont give away that vintage postcard that is worth 56! Do your homework.

The next big question is how do you get paid? You determine what you would accept. Online payments such as PayPal (paypal.com) are very convenient. You can also decide that youll accept money orders or personal checks. The more options you leave your buyers, the more likelihood youll get more bids.

You also need to decide how you want to ship your items to the winners. Many sellers use USPS, others prefer UPS. If you use USPS and ship via Priority Mail, you can get your envelopes and boxes free from USPS. If you ship First Class or Parcel Post or UPS, youll have to shop around for deals on boxes or envelopes and bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

Overwhelmed yet? Yes there is a lot to learn, but its not nuclear science. Just take it one step at a time. Its a learning process. Some yahoo groups (or MSN or AOL, or whatever your preference) are great sources for support and camaraderie with others who are doing the same.

So in summary, if you want to just start pushing buttons and learn on your own, YOU CAN DO IT. If you do better chatting with others, those resources are available too. Use what is available.
So you want to sell stuff on eBay, but you have two minor problems: you don't know how and you don't have stuff. Not a problem. Keep reading for some tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

Before you begin youll need some basic equipment: Computer, Internet access, digital camera, and some space to put your stuff. Thats really all youll need to get started. Youll also need shipping and packing supplies but that is addressed later.

Next youll need to learn how to list auctions. Go to the eBay sellers overview: http://pages.ebay.com/education/sellingtips/index.html. This will be your lifeline. There is a plethora of information there on everything you always wanted to know and more. Dont be overwhelmed; just take it one step at a time. Youll see there is information on listings, on bidding, on photos, on feedback its all there.

Next youll need to figure out what to sell. Before you zero in on a particular niche you need some experience and some feedback. Buyers are generally leery of buying from someone who is brand new and has a feedback rating of less than 10 evaluations. While you are getting your feet wet, look around your own house first. Youd be amazed at what people buy. You could list outgrown clothing, magazines, candle holders, CD, books, flannel sheets, recipes, the ugly old lamp that was Aunt Mildreds, all those goofy Christmas gifts sitting in your basement, that old baby gate with a stain on it. Get the idea? You never know what someone will want.

Although you need experience, you dont want to list something that isnt likely to sell. Do your research first before you invest the time in putting together a listing. An easy method to use is do a search on eBay, then look up COMPLETED ITEMS, then sort by HIGHEST price. Then youll see if your Tommy Bahama shirt is really worth anything. Or youll see that your old baseball cards had 23 listings and not one of them sold.

Pricing is another challenge. Again, youll need to do your research. See what theyre going for. Dont have overly high expectations. You know how you feel when you go to a garage sale and you see a pair of jeans for 15 or books for 4 each. Many people come to eBay to look for a bargain. Consider how much you have into the item. If you have an item from around the house, you may consider that something is better than nothing, so you may be inclined to start the bidding quite low. If you bought it with the specific intention to resell, you will, at the very minimum, want to break even, so take the price you paid for it and consider other costs, i.e. listing fees, final value fees (all explained in your lifeline eBay seller overview above). People are much more apt to bid if the bidding starts LOW. Sometimes though, you will have collectibles that are worth a chunk of money. Dont give away that vintage postcard that is worth 56! Do your homework.

The next big question is how do you get paid? You determine what you would accept. Online payments such as PayPal (paypal.com) are very convenient. You can also decide that youll accept money orders or personal checks. The more options you leave your buyers, the more likelihood youll get more bids.

You also need to decide how you want to ship your items to the winners. Many sellers use USPS, others prefer UPS. If you use USPS and ship via Priority Mail, you can get your envelopes and boxes free from USPS. If you ship First Class or Parcel Post or UPS, youll have to shop around for deals on boxes or envelopes and bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

Overwhelmed yet? Yes there is a lot to learn, but its not nuclear science. Just take it one step at a time. Its a learning process. Some yahoo groups (or MSN or AOL, or whatever your preference) are great sources for support and camaraderie with others who are doing the same.

So in summary, if you want to just start pushing buttons and learn on your own, YOU CAN DO IT. If you do better chatting with others, those resources are available too. Use what is available.