Selling on eBay can be a great way to earn some extra money, clear out unwanted items, and even start a side business. But, in reality, how hard is it to sell on eBay? The truth is, it can be both easy and challenging, depending on your skills and what you consider hard.
Let’s dive in!
How Hard Is It to Sell on Ebay?
If you’re looking for a quick answer, it’s a bit of both, but mostly, it leans towards ‘no’ — especially once you get the hang of it.
Getting set up on eBay is pretty easy if you’ve registered for any website or social media platform. Listing an item can feel overwhelming at first, but don’t let that scare you off. There are a lot of fields to fill out, but if you take it one step at a time, it’s totally doable and will get easier after just a few items.
Shipping scares most people, but that, too is pretty simple once you’ve done it a few times. There is a learning curve, but I definitely wouldn’t say it’s hard.
The hard part? Your success really hinges on your inventory. The actual items you’re selling as well as the price you’re able to get it at. Some people think you can throw just anything on eBay and it’ll sell, and that’s not true at all.
Finding items that are in demand and will sell quickly is the real challenge. If you can master the art of sourcing hot-selling items, then selling on eBay is easy. However, getting to that point? That’s not easy! It takes time for you to build your skillset and knowledge.
In short, the actual act of listing and shipping items isn’t hard at all. The hard part is making sure that you’re selling inventory people actually want for enough money that it makes you a profit.
But don’t let me scare you! Let’s talk about selling on eBay, and I’ll be sure to throw in tips I’ve learned over the 10+ years I’ve been selling to help you out.
Are you a total beginner? Sign up for my free eBay for beginners training!
Setting Up Your eBay Seller Account
Selling on eBay requires a seller account. If you already have an eBay account you’ve been using to buy items, that’s perfect. Use that! You don’t need a whole new account. In fact, if you have feedback on your account, that’s even better.
If not, you’ll need to create an account.
The first step to start selling on eBay is to create a seller account. This can be done by visiting the eBay homepage and following the steps.
When you sign up, it may ask if you want to sign up for a personal or business account. I have yet to find any huge differences in this. The main difference I’ve noticed in the past is that a Business account allows you to put a name other than your first and last name for the return address. Like a business name, for example. Other than that, it honestly doesn’t matter, and I honestly can’t remember what I selected when I signed up.
When creating your account, you will need to provide some basic information, such as your name, address, and phone number. You will also need to choose a username and password that you will use to log in to your account.
Setting Payment Methods
Once your seller account is set up, the next step is to set up your payment methods. eBay provides a payment option known as eBay Managed Payments, which allows buyers to pay for their purchases directly on eBay using a variety of payment methods.
eBay will walk you through getting everything set up and you will need to link your bank account so that you can get payments from eBay once your items have sold. eBay will hold the funds from your sales and make them available to you a couple of days after the order is placed. You can select to have payments deposited into your bank account daily or weekly.
Listing Your Items Effectively
When selling on eBay, listing your items effectively is so important. A good, well-thought-out listing attracts buyers and increases your chances of making a sale. Here are some tips for creating effective listings:
Keyword Optimized Titles
When you create the title for your listing, make sure you think like a buyer. What would you put in the search bar to look for this exact item? If it’s a piece of clothing then brand, color, style, size, gender, etc. are all important things to include.
Feeling stumped? Search for your item and see what words others use in their titles. Make sure only to use keywords that are relevant to your item.
Photography and Presentation
Clear photos are essential for attracting buyers. Make sure your photos are well-lit, showing the product from multiple angles. Use a neutral background and avoid any distracting elements.
But your photos aren’t just about the photography itself. The presentation of the item in the photo is important. Ensure it looks good. Lint roll, sweater shave, steam, etc. items to make sure they look good in the photos.
In my opinion, descriptions should be short and sweet. Many people will scan, not read. It should be accurate, providing potential buyers with all the information they need to make an informed decision. Use bullet points or numbered lists to make it easier to read and understand.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to price your items correctly. Research similar items on eBay to get an idea of what they have previously sold for. I usually aim for the lower end of competitive for most items that have a lot of competition. If you have a rare item, you can price it a little higher.
Think of it this way: if there are 100 of the same item you’re selling, and they all have decent photos, why will a buyer pick yours? Being competitive in pricing makes a huge difference in whether you make a sale quickly or you sit on an item for months (or years) before it sells.
Finding Profitable Inventory to Sell
Good, profitable inventory is the most important aspect of selling on eBay. There are two main ways to source inventory: selling stuff around the house and buying inventory to resell.
Selling Stuff Around the House
One of the easiest ways to start selling on eBay is by selling items around the house that you no longer need or want. This is how I started in 2016 after taking a 10-year break from selling online. I simply decluttered, listed stuff on eBay, and then reinvested that money into new inventory.
Go through your clothing, electronics, books, home decor, and more to see if you’d consider selling anything. Research what that item has sold for and see if it’s worth it for you to sell it.
Buying Inventory to Resell
If you don’t have much around the house or want to take this a bit more seriously right off the bat, you can start buying items to resell. One way to source inventory is at garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. Another option is to purchase inventory from liquidation companies or wholesale companies. Although, I don’t recommend going that route as a beginner.
When buying inventory to resell, it’s important to research to ensure that there is demand for the product you’re thinking of investing in. Because even if it’s just $5 or $10, it’s still an investment and that money will be tied up until it sells. It’s also important to consider the cost of shipping and fees to make sure there will be a profit after everything.
The biggest tip I have here? Be picky. If you’re not sure, leave it behind. If you’re a beginner, you want to avoid too many bad buys at first. Easy yes items that you know will sell for a good profit, and quickly, are the safest bet when selling on eBay.
Shipping and Customer Service
Selling on eBay requires more than just buying and listing products. It also means shipping and customer service.
If you want happy customers and good feedback, make sure your items are delivered on time and in good condition. EBay’s shipping process is self-explanatory because you can print shipping directly on eBay. All you need is a shipping scale so you can make sure you’re buying a label for the correct weight and a printer to print the labels, and you’re good to go.
Dealing with Customers
Customer inquiries are an inevitable part of selling on eBay. It’s important to respond to these inquiries promptly and professionally, even if you come across someone who is less than professional. Another thing to note is to never give out personal information or agree to make a deal off of eBays platform because you can get scammed or kicked off eBay.
Feedback is crucial for building a good reputation on eBay, but as long as you have a handful of positive feedback, that’s all you really need to get started. If you need to build up your feedback, you can use eBay to purchase items from sellers with very high feedback numbers. They will often automatically leave feedback after payment is made.
If you do get negative feedback, make sure that it’s valid, and if it’s not you can contact eBay and ask about having it removed.
So, is it hard to sell on eBay? I’d say no, it’s not hard. But it isn’t easy either. The concept is simple, but you do need to be able to strategically find good inventory that will sell, at a price that still allows profit. And while the listing and shipping is pretty straightforward, it is time consuming!
Selling on eBay is a great way to make a side income, or even grow it into a full time income if that’s your goal, but I will say that it does take hard work to make it profitable!