3 simple questions to ask yourself before selling on eBay

Technically, you can buy and sell anything on eBay, from the elastic band that goes underneath a pressure-cooker hood to a genuine Banksy. However most people who get carried away selling junk away from their house soon realise that they lost more in form of PayPal charges than the sales price.

As you want more bang for your buck you also want to focus on those things which bring you greater return on your time and effort.

Here are our top tips on how to sort things to sell on EBay from those which are better dropped off to a charity shop or recycling centre.

1.  First ask the question ‘Will someone buy this?’

If believing ‘you never know what will hit a jackpot’, you put your burnt oven mitts for sale, then you most probably are wasting your eBay listing fees. Before you lift your camera to take a picture to upload on eBay, step back and ask yourself – will I buy this it in this condition? If no, then most likely no one else will too.

But just to be sure run a quick search on eBay to see if others are selling similar products. If yes than it is a green light to go ahead.

2.  Than consider ‘How much will I pay for this?’

You may fall into the trap thinking ‘Well, someone else might want it for something I have no use of.’

This could be the case if you are getting rid of broken down Iphone or other electric equipment where parts might have some value to a repair shop ’ but in general pricing is hugely competitive online. While there are some tricks you can use to improve the price. Most of the time you just have to take the market price of similar products.

To illustrate this, consider a brief clothing example. Because there are hundreds of sellers offering Primark t-shirts, while only a handful buying them online ( as most will have access to Primark or similar clothing retailer), the price for such an item will be as less as 99 pence  + shipping.

If it is clothing from a brand whose sale item sells for in excess of £ 150 for instance, then, since very few people can afford to dispose of this amount to purchase a new item you can easily do without, the number of people who can then post such an item for sale at any given time will be even lesser. Since it is a desirable item (which is why the retailer can charge higher price for it), buyers will have to bid higher to attain it than when they were buying the Primark tee.

By similar reasoning, a Chanel dress will have fewer sellers and while of course a high number of people will want to own a clothing item from Chanel and this will be evident with the number of unique bidders, if such an item is listed for 99 pence, the person who eventually walks away with the item is the one who is willing to pay highest for it (obv!), leading to a much higher selling price than the Primark tee and silk blouse.

3.  And finally: Is it really worth selling?

In general, the formula for calculating how much you owe to eBay is:

Total cost of selling item = Insertion fee + Final value fee + Feature fees (if any) + postage/ collection

Although, the full list of charges for selling on eBay can be found on the link http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/sell/fees.html#fees, here is a brief explanation of the type of fees applicable:

Please also consider the element of time, hassle and the value of the item to you.

I once sold an unused lawn strimmer for £ 10, which was originally bought for £ 80. I do not regret the loss as really we were glad to have gotten rid of something for which we would have to otherwise drop at a recycle centre.

A friend listed her barely used gorgeous Prada skirt for £ 100 in an effort to de-clutter. It didn’t sell, so she reduced it to £ 50 as there were a few Prada skirts on sale at the time for as little as £ 15. When it still didn’t sell, she took off the listing as she said any less and she would rather enjoy it than regret selling for less than what it was worth to her.

Another friend sold off her entire CD collection, only to find not only did it not make her much money, but also, she was met with a very unpleasant buyer. After this incident, she decided small value items were not worth the hassle it takes to dispose off via eBay and would rather drop her bag of unwanted stuff at the BHF.

Separating the price from value of goods can be more tricky than you anticipate as very often selling can get addictive and one gets swayed with ‘you never know until you list’.

Do you have any experience good or bad of selling on EBay? Pls. let us know by commenting below.

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Written by Rajkanwar batra