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How to get started selling on eBay

How to get started selling on eBay
Image source: Getty Images.

Whether you have some excess stuff to sell or you want a second income, doing research on how to get started selling on eBay is a good place to start.

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Using eBay has a number of advantages. With access to more than 168 million active buyers, eBay is one of the largest marketplaces worldwide. You will therefore have access to a worldwide audience on a tried and trusted website.

With eBay you can select an auction listing if product demand is high. This will give you the option to further increase your profits. In addition, the fees charged by eBay are competitively low, which is worth knowing if you intend to sell items regularly.

Opening an account

If you want to get started selling on eBay, you will need to open an account. This is a relatively easy process, but there are some points worth considering. You need to decide on what kind of seller you want to be. You can choose between a private seller account or a business account.

If you are a casual seller or are just starting out then you can open a private seller account. You will need an email address and a new password. It’s worth opening a separate email address if you intend to use eBay regularly. It’s also advisable to open a PayPal account. This is the safest and easiest way to get paid for items and to pay for eBay fees.

You can start a business using eBay with a private seller account if you would prefer, but you also have the option to open a business account.

If you want to open a eBay business account and you live in the UK then it might be worth considering registering your business with the UK government. You will therefore need a business address and need to classify yourself either as a sole trader, limited company or partnership.

Creating a listing

Once you have an account you can get started selling on eBay by advertising your products for sale. You do this by creating a listing for each individual product. The listing should include a detailed description, accompanying photographs and price.

When writing the description, think about all the details you would want to know if you were a buyer. For example, the brand, model number and version are important if you are selling electronic equipment, whereas dimensions are important if you are selling furniture. Take photographs that are clear and well lit so the buyer can clearly see the product for sale.

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You will need to decide between a fixed price or auction-style listing. If you choose a fixed-price listing, eBay can recommend a price based on similar items recently sold.

Fees and charges

You may be charged two main types of fee. They are the listing fee (also known as the insertion fee) and the final value fee.

All sellers can list 1,000 items for free in a given month. Private sellers that list more than 1,000 items per month will be charged 35p for each new listing in excess of 1,000.

The final value fee is paid only when an item is sold. This amounts to 10% of the final transaction value including postage. Final value fees have a cap of £250 so you will never pay more than this for a single item. If a buyer and seller exchange details with the intention of buying and selling away from the website, then eBay will charge a final value fee for the introduction.

Opening an eBay store

An eBay store can be opened by a private seller or a business seller. This will allow you to create a unique shopfront that gives your business its own identity and brand.

There is a monthly charge of £25, £69 or £399 depending on the subscription type. Each month you will receive credit to spend on listing and promotion and a voucher to spend on eBay-branded packaging supplies. You will also have access to marketing tools such as seller hub promotions which attract more customers.

Final points

If you are thinking about how to get started selling on eBay, it’s important to check the eBay Seller centre before you start. This will help you to make some important decisions before you make a financial commitment.

Its also important to double check eBay’s terms and conditions including a list of products that you are not allowed to sell.

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