Side Hustles

How to Make Money on eBay

Ever wanted to buy something but didn’t have the extra cash? Ever want to save some money to take that long overdue vacation? Or, maybe you just want to have extra money for no reason at all.

I get it. I’ve been there. I remember feeling scared because I was one accident away from a financial crisis. The stress over money lead me to an easy solution.

I joined the 25 million other active sellers making money, on their own terms, using eBay.

Yes, eBay. After more than 20 years, it is still the go-to site for buying and selling new or used items and for making big bucks.

You can realize success too. Keep reading to learn the specific steps I took to start a winning side hustle on eBay. Following these steps can help you make any amount of money you desire, whether it’s a few extra dollars or enough to help you quit your day job.

How to Make Money on eBay Intro

How to Make Money on eBay

One of the many advantages to making money on eBay is that you can do so with access to eBay’s website, a camera, and a little bit of time.

Let’s get started.

Set Up an eBay Account

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get registered with eBay. The process is simple and takes only a few minutes. Once you are on eBay’s webpage, click to register an account. You will be asked to enter your name and contact information.

You will then be asked to choose a password. That’s it. You can now log in to your account.

As both a buyer and seller on eBay, you will need to connect your account with PayPal, which you can use to purchase items on eBay and receive payments for items you have sold. PayPal is the safest and easiest way to complete transactions.

How to Make Money on eBay - Create An Account

Don’t forget to download the mobile app for eBay so you can buy, sell and list while on the go. 

Once you have completed these steps, it’s time to get to know eBay a little better.

Be A Buyer First

One of the best ways to start selling on eBay is to first become a buyer. To date there are over 180 million active buyers on eBay. 

Becoming a buyer teaches you each step of the process that your future customers will experience. This can help you when listing your items and in providing great customer service.

It can also help you understand the importance of positive reviews for both the seller and the buyer.

While not all buyers care about the reviews of a seller, there are many who will forgo a purchase if they see you have negative comments. Therefore, pleasing the customer is a must.

Make Customer Service a Priority

Customer service means implementing strategies that help you prove you want to make your customers satisfied.

Strategies include:

  • providing as much information as you can about the item you are selling
  • providing clear photos of your item
  • provide the best care of the item when packaging and shipping. With over 1.5 million packages being sent out daily by eBay users, this step is extremely important.
  • responding to customer emails immediately, if possible. If not immediately, then within a few hours of the time you received the message
  • accepting returns within a limited time period
  • leaving specific, positive reviews once your transaction is completed
  • refunding money quickly. 

Finally, find the items that attract great customers. Millions of eBay buyers are just waiting to find that cool item that gets them excited to enter an auction and start bidding. And if they really want it, they may use the “buy it now” button and pay a higher price to ensure they get your item.

How to Make Money on eBay - Customer Service

Finding Items to Sell

In the beginning, it’s okay to list items you find around your house. You need the practice in the beginning and by selling stuff you no longer want or need is the easiest way. Plus, you know about the items, which helps in writing a description.

Check your attic, basement, garage, and closet for items you can sell. The more listings, the more practice, the better.

While searching, keep in mind that almost anything can sell on eBay. Even if you think something is junk, there is an eBay buyer out there that has a collection of it and wants more. So, if you don’t want it, list it.

How to Make Money on eBay - Items

Listing Your Item

eBay has made it so easy for you to list your items for sale. They walk you through every step. The first will be to select a category for your item from a list they have created, or create a new category for your item. 

How to Make Money on eBay - Item Category

You will then be asked to write a description and upload photos. In both these sections, the more you can provide the better. eBay allows twelve photos. Taking pictures of different angles of your item can help you give your viewers more photos.

How to Make Money on eBay - Product Description

In the description, give a lot of details. Include size, color, defects, weight, and measurements. This will reduce the number of emails you receive from potential buyers wanting more information.

How to Make Money on eBay - Item Description

Some eBay sellers include packaging costs, as well as shipping fees, into their list price. What I have found is that buyers are usually more attracted to an item that does not include packaging or handling costs and have free shipping.

How to Make Money on eBay - Shipping Cost

To recoup these costs, you can raise the price of your product. Or, you can set shipping costs to be determined based on the location of the buyer.

Another tip I found useful is to price an item at a few cents below what I want to receive. Instead of listing an item for $5, list it for $4.99. This can make the buyer feel they are getting the item for less.

Pricing will vary per item and can be based on the amount with which you are most comfortable. The buy it now price will need to be at least 30 percent higher than your auction price. I like to think of this price as my dream price, the number that would make me smile, maybe even do a little dance.

Useful Research

To help you learn more about items and how to list them, check out similar listings on eBay. I promise, there is a similar listing. See which ones have sold or have current bids. You can also check out which items are trending on eBay.

How to Make Money on eBay - Trends

eBay rocks it when it comes to helping sellers. They have created a trending category on their homepage that tells you exactly what people are seeking and buying, and for what cost.

How to Make Money on eBay - Trending Items

Once you run out of your own household items to sell, you will need to find other places to get “treasures”.

The key to success on eBay is profit margins. You want to have large profit margins. Meaning, you must find popular items at a low cost so you can resell them at a high rate. This allows you to make money on the sale of your item.

Where to Find The Good Stuff

Some of the best places to find good items for cheap is at yard sales, estate sales, auctions, clearance racks, thrift stores, and by asking friends and family members to let you rummage through the boxes filled with stuff they haven’t used in years.

There is a story of a fifteen year-old eBayer from Pennsylvania who picked up a Ray Ban eyeglass case for 25 cents at a yard sale. Inside the case was a pair of eyeglasses with a small imprint that read “Bausch and Laumb” and “Ray Ban”. They were vintage eyeglass frames. Meaning, they were sort of ugly. He listed the glasses on eBay and within 30 minutes someone paid his buy it now price of $100.

Stories better than this happen every single day. Just keep your mind open to what you can sell.

You can even buy items that are on sale at Amazon and Walmart and flip them for a profit. If you find one product is hot and demand is high, you can purchase that item in bulk at discounted prices from an overseas vendor and sell them on eBay quickly for a profit.

Over time, you will start to find your eBay groove.

Find Your Groove

Your groove is the niche or niches that benefit you the most. A niche may be jewelry, pet related products, electronics, or coffee mugs from the 1980s. Some people stick with one niche, while others pick their top five.

Finding your groove can help you when out shopping for items. It narrows your search and saves you time. 

The best way to find your groove is to pick items that make you happy when buying and selling. Choose items for which you already have an interest. For example, if you are into technology, selling used cell phones or computer parts may be a good fit. 

Or, if you have young kids, sell their clothing, shoes and toys.

By the way, shoes and handbags sell every few seconds on eBay. Just something to remember when item hunting. Look for name brands in excellent shape.

Check out this example of a great listing from a seller flipping a pair of LeBron sneakers.

How to Make Money on eBay - Product Example
How to Make Money on eBay - Product Example Description

Once you find your niche, you can set your own eBay pace. You may choose to list one or two items a week to earn a few extra dollars. Or, you may choose to list 1,000 items a week to help fund your retirement account.

Go for It!

You can start today using the same steps I used to build a money-making side hustle with eBay. 

You don’t have to pass by that special item in the store because you can’t afford it. You can book your next vacation. You can even start building a savings account that can help you reach some bigger dreams.

And when your jealous friends want to learn your secret, you can teach them how to make money on eBay.

Kevin Martin

Kevin is an ambitious entrepreneur that is obsessed with all things related to finance. From a young age, Kevin has always been involved with side hustles ranging from online selling to freelance work. Over the years, Kevin graduated from side hustles and started launching multiple online and offline businesses. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur who loves starting new businesses and exploring all things related to business and finance. He is constantly looking for new ways to save money, invest money, and create income streams.

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