How to Organize Your eBay Home Office

Your success depends on positive interactions with each customer you serve and requires a “personal” approach. Whether face-to-face, on the telephone or via e-mail, every connection you make must give a customer confidence that you are a professional and are working for his/her success and satisfaction, as well as your own.

1. Find a spot in your home

Whether you have chosen to set up your home office in a bedroom, a large closet, alcove, or garage, every home office for an eBay business must have areas to store and manage merchandise, to take photos, and to prepare merchandise for shipping.

2. Create a place to sit down and work

One of the advantages of an eBay business is that you don’t need a huge office loaded with equipment and supplies. All you need is a desk or worktable, chair, and a couple of shelves for storing records, supplies and merchandise.

Make sure your home office is set up to be comfortable. If you're not comfortable at your desk or in your chair, you're going to feel it in your shoulders and back, and that will affect your efficiency and bottom line before you even get into the full swing of your business. You can get an office set up at Office Depot or Staples for less than $200.

3. Create an area to take photos

Setting up a permanent photo studio in your home office will increase your efficiency and you’ll always be ready to add photos to your listings and optimize the opportunity for selling. See How to Set Up a Photo Studio.

4. Create a shipping area

If you have a small area in your home office dedicated to packing and shipping, it will save you time from looking for your supplies.

5. Establish a storage area

Your home office set will need some space to store information pertaining to your business. A set of shelves, a filing cabinet or some boxes will do the trick. This is the type of equipment that you might be able to find in your home which would require no additional investment.

It’s important to organize and keep track of the merchandise you’re selling. Doing so will speed up the listing process and prevent mistakes. The busier you get, the more merchandise you’ll need to store. If the merchandise is in your possession, it’s critical that you keep it in the exact same condition in which you received it.

Your storage strategy will help you manage your business as it grows. It’s best to start off with good storage habits. You don’t need much space for storage if you stack your items. Try these storage solutions:

Plastic Bags

  • Plastic bags of all sizes are great for storage.
  • Your merchandise won’t pick up any smell or become musty before you sell it.
  • The plastic also protects items from touching each other and causing possible damage.
  • If you package one item into each bag you can put it directly into a shipping box once the auction is over.
  • Your bags of items can go into boxes for storage (on shelves or on the floor).

Boxes

  • Label the boxes alphabetically so you can store the merchandise by its title.
  • Have an assortment of boxes, including clear plastic ones so you can see what is inside.

6. Purchase computer equipment

Most of the computers on the market will most likely work for a home office. It does help, however, if your computer has a reasonable amount of memory (256MB or more) to allow for faster Internet browsing. You may also need a “basic” multi-function printer that will let you print, scan and copy. If you don’t already own this equipment, you can buy the whole home office set up at Dell for as little as $1,000.

7. Get a fast internet connection

An always-on broadband connection (cable or DSL) is vital for any home office. The faster your Internet access, the more time you’ll save. Broadband internet connections can be purchased from your phone or cable company. You’ll spend about $50 per month for broadband internet access.

8. Purchase a digital camera

When it comes to digital cameras, you’ll hear about “resolution” and “mega pixels.” For your use, all you need is a 1.5 mega pixel camera, because computer monitors are incapable of taking advantage of anything higher. In fact, with more than 1.5 mega pixels, all you’ll do is produce a picture that takes a long time to show up on eBay.

If you’re looking for an easy camera that already has an eBay setting, you can buy the Casio EX Z850 on Amazon which features an "eBay Best Shot" shooting mode for about $225.

9. Have a scale

You’ll need to weigh your merchandise to know what to charge for shipping. To do so, all you need is a bathroom scale to weigh each item and its box.

10. Have a good telephone solution

You can use your home or cell phone to start. As your business grows, you might consider getting a virtual phone system at Ring Central that will enable you to have a separate phone number with a voicemail system, allow you to forward your calls, and will offer you other functions that larger businesses have access to. A subscription to one of these services can cost less than $15 per month.

Tips

  • If you don't have a separate room available, use devices like screens, bookcases and directed lighting to create the necessary separation between home space and office space.
  • Label each item with an ID; this is how you can refer to the item throughout the listing and shipping process.
  • Keep your home office as neat as possible. A messy work environment often will divert your attention.
  • The purchases for your home office maybe a potential write off, check with your tax advisor.

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