eBay Seller Business Idea

Starting an ebay business

antion 3/14/2008

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Business Summary:

As an eBay Seller, you’ll list items for sale on eBay, the world-renowned online person-to-person trading community. Since its inception in 1995, eBay has grown into a multibillion dollar cyber-forum for selling more than 50,000 categories of merchandise -- from Beanie Babies to fine antiques -- hosting about 500,000 online stores worldwide. eBay, which generates revenue through listing and selling fees and through advertising, boasts more than 275 million registered users.

Although eBay was originally founded to provide a venue for the sale of used items online, it has evolved over the years into a highly sophisticated platform from which individuals, small businesses and large corporations sell and ship millions of items including collectibles, new and used merchandise, liquidated inventories, automobiles, services, and almost anything that can be sold and delivered.

Most eBay Sellers start out by selling their own household items or collectibles so that they can get used to navigating the site and learning how the eBay system works. After Sellers have maximized the sale of their own items, they then begin to look at other ways to get items to sell. Some advertise locally to sell other people’s items and charge a consignment fee and a portion of the selling price; others look for wholesale or distributorship opportunities and list their inventory in an eBay store.

The advantages to being an eBay Seller are that you can work from home, you can begin your business with very low overhead and start-up costs, you can work flexible hours, you can become an expert in a particular category of items and specialize in selling something you have a passion for, and there are no barriers to growth for your eBay business. You may decide to limit your sales to customers in the United States, or ship items all over the world. It’s totally up to you!

Start Up Cost: Varies – $5,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

You’ll need good internet skills and the desire to provide excellent customer service. It’ll be helpful if you can write detailed and interesting descriptions of the items you sell, because the product description and picture you provide will be the determining factor of whether people will buy your item. It’s important to have good follow through, to ship out items as soon as possible after they sell, and to respond to customer questions via email promptly.

How Much Can You Earn:

The money you can make as an eBay Seller depends on what you decide to sell, the online popularity of the items you are selling, the quantity of sales you complete, and the net profit on each item after you have deducted the fees that eBay charges.

As of February 2008, eBay charges an insertion fee to list an item for sale. This fee ranges from $.10 for inexpensive items to $4.00 on items selling for $500 or more. If the item sells, eBay will charge you a final value fee depending on the sales price. This fee normally ranges from 8.75% for items selling for under $25 to approximately 12% on items selling for $1000 or more. One way to grow your eBay business is to do market research on eBay to see what types of items are most in demand, and to find sources for those items so that you can sell them. Another successful method is to choose a hobby or subject that you are passionate about, and to niche market collectibles, supplies or equipment in your specialty focus.

The average eBay Seller working part-time can easily make a profit of $500-$1000 per month. A Seller working full-time or a brick-and-mortar business that puts its inventory in an eBay store, can exceed a monthly income of $2000. Over 500,000 people make a part-time or full-time income from selling on eBay. Approximately 25,000 of them are PowerSellers, an eBay designation for those who sell at least $1500 per month for at least 3 months in a row. Many make a comfortable living being an eBay Seller, and a few have even become millionaires in the process. The sky’s the limit!

Understanding Customers:

Customers who buy on eBay are usually either looking for unique items they can’t find elsewhere, or they are looking for a great price on products that they can buy elsewhere. Successful eBay Sellers will need to be competitive on price, shipping charges and delivery time.

Marketing Strategy:

eBay provides different options for eBay Sellers to highlight their products listed on the site. There is also an option of opening an online store on eBay for a nominal monthly fee. eBay users can search by category on eBay’s home page, and your item will be listed (along with others) as available for sale. The best sales tool is an accurate description and sharp digital photo of the item. If you open an eBay Store, you can also link to the store from other web locations that you set up such as your website or MySpace page.


If you plan to become a regular eBay Seller, you’ll probably need a business license from your city, county or state.

To set up your eBay business and get going, you’ll need:

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