eBay is being used by small businesses everywhere to reach a massive customer base. Many small businesses do the all, or the majority, of their business on eBay. There are no barriers to selling on eBay, meaning a business can start selling immediately, and the only limits are how much time and effort you are willing to put into your business.
How small businesses make money on eBay
eBay is easy to use, and it presents an opportunity for people to start their small businesses with virtually no start-up costs. All it requires is for someone to identify a niche they can fill, open a seller account on eBay, and start listing their products.
Some small businesses have brick and mortar stores and use eBay to help move their products, while others use eBay exclusively to sell their products. Whether you will use eBay as your sole source of moving products, or as an adjunct means of increasing sales, eBay is intuitive and easy to use, so it does not require an extensive learning curve to get started.
Tips for using eBay to make money
- Determine what to sell—The options are limitless. You can peruse estate sales, garage sales and resell stores, as well as your own home, for items to sell. You can also sell hand-crafted items if that is your specialty. The obvious objective is to pay less for an item than you can resell it for on eBay, which is quite easy to do.
- Set up your eBay account and link it to your Paypal account—Paypal is the only acceptable means to accept payment from buyers. You will have selling limits, but as soon as you get some positive feedback, the limits raise quickly.
- Put the eBay mobile app on your phone—The app is a necessary tool for sellers as it allows you to quickly research prices of similar items. The app also allows you to do business on eBay from any location at any time.
- Become a buyer first—It is easier to understand eBay from the buyers’ perspective by using it to buy items so that you understand what the buyer will see when perusing your products. It is challenging to start making sales on eBay with zero feedback, so building up some feedback as a buyer helps others feel more confident in you as a seller. Many experts recommend that you don’t start selling items until you have feedback of at least twenty.
- One of your only start-up costs will be a postage scale—a postage scale isn’t necessary, but it will pay for itself in helping you quickly and accurately calculate how much shipping will costs. eBay works with the USPS so that sellers can enter the weight of an item and the class of mail, and then the correct shipping charge will appear for the buyer as the browse items. Skipping the scale can mean under or overestimating weight, which can result in overcharges to the customer who will then leave negative feedback. If you undercharge the customer, you are losing money on the sale.
- Start by selling items in your home—Selling inexpensive items in your home will help you learn the ins and outs of eBay without investing in inventory. This also allows you to build up a favorable seller profile before venturing into reselling items you purchase to sell on eBay. As a bonus, you will be surprised at how much stuff you have cluttering your home.
- Become an expert on an item’s value—Learning how to decipher the value of an item will help you know what a good deal is and what isn’t when you are purchasing items for resale. It will also help you price your items competitively to drive more business your way. You will continue to develop pricing strategies as your business grows
- Order packaging and shipping supplies in bulk—Once you have established your small business of selling on eBay, you will want to save as much money as possible on supplies. Ordering these supplies in bulk quantities allows you to pay less per item shipped.
- Keep meticulous records—As with any business, you need to be able to generate a basic profit and loss statement, so keep records from the first sale. You also want to keep all receipts associated with the purchases you have made. These records will be crucial for managing taxes on your small business, but it will also help you decipher high-profit margin items from those with a