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Selling on Auction Sites
By Stephen Bucaro
It seems like just about everyone on earth has purchased
something at, or at least visited, eBay. There must be a
hundred books out there titled something like, "How to
Get Rich Selling Useless Trash on eBay". Well, if you
believe that, I have a bridge that Iíd like to sell you.
The people that I know who sell on eBay spend many hours
tracking down items to sell. Then they have to spend time
entering auction information, reviewing the status of
their auctions, communicating with buyers, and packaging
and shipping the item. If they counted the number of hours
used relative to the revenue earned, Iím sure they are
working for less than minimum wage.
Many people are asking the question, "What sells best on
eBay?" The answer is antiques, collectibles, and
memorabilia. If you donít have a continuous supply of this
type of material, it is difficult to make money on eBay.
Lately, there has been a market for "garage sale" type
items such as used baby clothes and children's toys. But
who has a continuous supply of these?
Along with the time invested in locating items to sell,
they have to pay $1.00 to list the item (whether it sells
or not). If it sells, they pay an additional $1.25 and
2.5% of the selling price. If the buyer pays through an
electronic payment service like Paypal or Billpoint, then
they pay an additional $0.30 plus 3% of the selling price.
Who pays the shipping charges? The seller may think that
the buyer is paying shipping charges. But because the
buyer considers it when evaluating the purchase, in effect,
the seller pays the shipping.
Why do people keep working eBay if they are not making
money? The fact is that these people just love scouting
out antiques, collectibles, and memorabilia, or used baby
clothes and children's toys at garage sales and swap meets.
They get excited about posting it on eBay and watching the
bids come in. Hey, everybody needs a hobby.
To sell on eBay, you have to register by providing your
name, email address, and a credit card number (for paying
auction fees). Then, with your user ID and password, you
can log in. To list your item for auction, click the "Sell"
link on the "Welcome" screen. This takes you to a very
The first thing you have to do is choose a category and
sub-category for your item. Choosing the correct category
is essential. When choosing a category consider your
Next, enter a title for your item (45 characters max).
Your title should consist of carefully selected keywords.
Buyers use keywords to search eBay. At the end of your
title, you might want to enter the letters "NR". This
stands for "No Reserve" and means that you are actually
willing to sell your item at the price you enter as the
Next, enter a description of your item. Fraud is a concern
on all auction sites, so make bidders feel at ease by
giving as much information as possible. Then enter your
City and State.
Next enter a "Minimum bid". This is the lowest amount you
are willing to accept for the item and the amount you
require to make the minimum acceptable profit. Then set
the "Auction duration", the number of days that you want
your auction to run. For best results, your auction should
end on a Sunday.
If you donít want to actually sell your item at the
minimum bid amount, then enter a "Reserve Price". This is
a price higher than the minimum bid, at which you are
actually willing to sell your item. Buyers canít see your
reserve price, they only know there is a reserve on your
item. Buyers donít like reserve price auctions, so you
might want to leave this entry blank.
Next, you can select many optional features for your
auction, such as prime product placement, double category
placement, a small picture in eBayís Picture Gallery, and
so on. But these options are costly.
Next, set checkboxes to select the types of payment you
will accept; checks, money order, etc. Then enter any
shipping, handling, insurance, and sales tax charges.
Next, enter your return policy. If you donít want to have
to refund money to a buyer, enter "No Returns". Then set
the radio button for "I will not accept escrow." For an
expensive item, you might accept an escrow. Escrow is when
a third party holds the buyerís money until he receives
the item. Then, if the item is acceptable, he gives the
escrow company permission to release the funds to you.
Next, unless you want to ship overseas, set the radio
button for "Will ship to United States only". Then select
the checkbox for the shipping payment method; "seller pays
shipping", "buyer pays actual shipping cost", or "buyer
pays fixed amount".
This is a lot of information to provide on a form. If you
sell many similar items, you can set a checkbox for eBay
to remember your preferences so that you donít have to
fill out the entire form each time.
Next, click the "Continue" button. You are then given an
opportunity to review your listing and correct any errors
before submitting. After reviewing your listing, click
the "Submit" button. Your item will be posted for auction.
Now that your item is listed, you can login to eBay at any
time and click on the "my eBay" link to get the status of
your auction. If your item is sold, you will be charged
$1.25 plus 2.5% of the final sale price. If the final sale
price is $25.00 or less, the fee is 5.0% of the final sale
Thatís the basics of selling on eBay. If you feel you need
to pay good money for a book titled "How to Get Rich
Selling Useless Trash on eBay", then meet me on eBay, in
the "Bridges" section.
Copyright(C)2002 Bucaro TecHelp. To learn how to maintain
your computer and use it more effectively to design a Web
site and make money on the Web visit:
To subscribe to Bucaro TecHelp Newsletter Send a blank
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Stephen Bucaro is the webmaster at bucarotechelp.com
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