How To Sell On eBay For Beginners

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How To Sell On eBay

It’s time to learn how to sell on eBay and this beginner’s guide will teach you exactly how to list your first items.

A lot of people, especially those that are not all the tech-savvy are intimidated by selling on eBay.  Really, it’s pretty easy and I will show you exactly what you want to do to get started selling on eBay.

If you are a reseller like I am eBay is going to be one site you’re going to have to master. There are not a lot of limitations on eBay for what you can’t list. True, you can’t sell your kidney, drugs, firearms, SSN’s, family, etc (more on information restricted items).

But, you can sell a lot of things that people will pay good money for! For example, I have sold a vintage toaster for over $100, multiple CD changers for $160+, computers, and accessories, etc.

eBay is literally the biggest garage sale, thrift shop, etc. online. I’m going to show you exactly what you should do to list your first couple of items.

Don’t get me wrong it might seem overwhelming at first, but once you practice at it you can easily list anything on eBay.

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Sign up for eBay and PayPal

The first thing you want to do is sign up for an eBay account (only takes about 10-15 minutes).

Also, you want to sign up with a PayPal account (only takes about 10-15 minutes).  You can sign up with a personal account or business account.  A lot of people start with a personal account before switching over to a business account.

You’re going to use eBay to sell your stuff and PayPal to accept money. You can easily link your PayPal to your checking account. It Doesn’t cost you anything to sign up for either eBay or PayPal.

The reason I like people to start with eBay is because it’s the second-largest e-commerce site (right below Amazon) and is relatively easy to use. It gets a decent amount of traffic and they do billions of dollars in transactions a year.

You can literally list anything you want and there are hardly any restrictions.  With Amazon, there are restrictions on what you can sell and the learning curve is a little harder.  So this beginner’s guide to eBay will show you how to list your first item on eBay.

Get A Postage Scale

Digital Scale eBayI highly recommend that you purchase a postage scale.  You can’t be an eBay seller without a scale. This is something you’re really going to need a lot.  You don’t want to have to run up to the post office every time you want to know how much your package weighs.

Postal scales are very easy to use and you have to have something that is big enough to weigh any package you put on it.  I like ones that you can connect to the wall and also put batteries in.

I would highly recommend getting this one ACCUTECK All-in-1 Series.

You can get it on eBay or Amazon.

Find 10 Items To Sell On eBay

Next, you are going to want to find 10 things in your house that you no longer want.  Don’t sell your dirty underwear, dirty socks, etc. You will be posting these on eBay. Keep in mind they should be somewhat small things that don’t weigh more than 1 pound. You might want to sell old kids toys, little nicknacks, or old dishes that you don’t want.  Better yet, old clothing is a good way to start listing items on eBay.

The goal with this is not really to make a lot of money it’s really just to get the process down. In fact, you might actually lose a little bit of money but you will learn as you list stuff on eBay.

Here is a video on selling items on eBay that I do suggest you watch:

Listing Items On eBay

The first thing you’re gonna want to do is go to eBay and just search for whatever you’re selling. For my example, I am selling a Buckle button-down shirt I no longer want.

For me, I typed in “blue plaid buckle button down shirt”. There are tons of Buckle shirts listed on eBay.  Make sure you sort by “completed items” and “sold items”.

You can scroll down and in the left sidebar, you will find lots of filters you can sort the listings by.

I scrolled through a lot of them and eventually found one that was close.  Ok, actually it’s the exact one I am selling.  If not find one that is kind of similar.  This will save you time when listing your item.  You will be editing the listing later.

You should be able to find something similar and look for a “sell similar” button under the listing.  Again, keep in mind you’re going to want to filter by the items that have sold.  Later, after you have gotten the process down I show you exactly how to find items in thrift stores where you can check how much they actually sell for.  I have written about it here.

The one I found was exactly like the Buckle shirt I am selling.  All you do is click on the listing.

Price Buckle Shirt eBay

Notice the price that it sold for.  This shirt sold for $12.99 + $5.30 shipping.  That is a total of $18.29.

Sold Buckle Shirt eBay

Now, click on “sell similar” this makes it easier for you (it should be right under the product images in the eBay listing).   This will help auto-populate some data that we can enter our own information in.  A lot of people think that you have to click on “create listing”, but this starts you from square one and will take you a lot more time to list your item on eBay.  I do NOT recommend listing from “create listing”, especially for complete eBay newbies.

Again, always find similar listings and click ” sell similar” when you find one that is close to what you are selling.  Don’t worry if it’s not exactly the same.  You will be editing it.

Editing Your Listing On eBay

eBay Title Field

eBay Title

I would use the same title they use, but you can edit it to your liking.  Make sure you have the right size of the shirt.  For example, my Buckle button-down shirt is a medium.  The one I found that was similar was a large shirt.  I just backspace the large and put the medium in its place.

Leave the “subtitle” blank and “custom label” blank.  We will not need these.  Subtitles do cost extra money on eBay and a custom label is an SKU, which we don’t need right now.

Your eBay titles are so important.  This is why I use the ones that have already sold.  If it’s sold in the past and we use the same one it will sell again as long as it’s priced reasonabilty.  Remember to put your keywords towards the front that people search for.  Meaning, the brand, button down shirt, etc.  This will increase the chances of people finding it on eBay.

eBay Category

eBay Catagory

The listing should be in the correct category.  If not you can click on the “change category”.  You don’t want to add a second category because it will cost you money to do.  Also, disregard the “store category”, which probably won’t show up on your eBay listing.  I have a store so this shouldn’t be an option with your eBay account.

Most people don’t search through categories on eBay though.  They just type in what they are looking for.

Condition

eBay Condition

Make sure you mark it as “pre-owned”.  It should be, but it’s just good to double-check.  You don’t want to tell someone that the shirt is new when it’s really not new.  They will more than likely get mad if you do.

Condition Description

eBay Condition Description

Make sure you fill your condition description out.  You just want to put a couple of short sentences here.  It’s like an overview of your listing.  Point out any defects.  But, keep it short and sweet.  You can type up to 1,000 characters here.

eBay Photos

eBay Pictures

Next, take some quality pictures of your item. eBay does allow you to attached 12 pictures per listing without paying anything. I would recommend using a white or neutral background.  Don’t worry you can use your smartphone (like your iPhone) or even your iPad to take the pictures.  I will talk more about taking pictures for listings later though.

Above, is my picture.  See how I didn’t just wad it up and take a picture of it.  It almost looks like a female folded the shirt.  Maybe, they did.  Put your best looking picture first.  You can flip them, crop, adjust them, etc. right on eBay.  I highly recommend increasing the brightness and contrast to make your first picture pop, though.  Just make sure they are good quality pictures.

Item Specifics

eBay Specifics

This is going to be different from listing to listing.  This should be filled out for you since you clicked “sell similar”.  However, it’s going to have fields like:

  • Brand.
  • Size Type.
  • Size.
  • Sleeve Length.
  • Color.
  • Style.
  • Pattern.
  • Material.
  • Fit.

There will be some checkboxes which are some features that apply to the item you are selling.  Make sure you check the ones that fit your listing.  All of these “item specifics” helps people find whatever they are searching for.  Having these in your listing helps boost the likelihood of someone finding your eBay listing.

If you did find an item that is similar make sure you change the data in these fields.  For instance, if you found the same shirt and it was green; change the color here.

Item Description

eBay Product Description

It’s so important to have an eBay item description.  Don’t just write one sentence here.  Take some time to fill it out.  What I do is cut and paste my title here.  Then I center it.  Make it bigger, too.  Then just tell about the item.  The color, size, list any defects.  You don’t have to write a 4-page essay here.  Most people just skim through the eBay description anyway.  They just want to make sure there are no cigarette burns, massive holes, poop stains, etc. on the shirt.  Yes, there can be poop stains on a shirt.  Again, just put your title (centered) and a paragraph will be fine.

It works much like a word processor on eBay.  However, it’s kind of clunky.  You can click on “advanced editing” and edit it like you would in Word.

However, you can use:  https://html-online.com/editor/

You can get your listing looking all nice without having to know any HTML or anything.  Then you just cut and paste your HTML code from the source over to the HTML tab on eBay.  Then click back on the “standard” tab on eBay to make sure it looks alright.

Your descriptions don’t have to be perfect for your first eBay listings.  You should see some of mine back in the day.  I would throw up in my mouth if I did them as I did back in the day.

Format

eBay Format

We are going to do an auction.  Auctions are just to get you started on eBay.  You’re going to want to do “fixed price” after you get your first 5 auctions out of the way on eBay.  If you are comfortable listing stuff on eBay you can do it after 3-5 sales.  It’s not like I am going to watch over you and make sure you do 5 or so auctions first, but wouldn’t it be creepy if I did?

Remember that with auctions people are looking for deals.  Meaning, they want the item for the cheapest price.  You won’t get the most money out of your auctions.

Again, you can do “fixed listings”.  This means that they can buy the product at any time and don’t have to wait until the auction ends to pay for it.  It’s how I do 99% of my listings.  Listing your items as “fixed listings” is how you should be doing it once you get more comfortable listing on eBay.  Once you have lots of listings you will start to notice sales.  eBay does reward you by frequent activity.  So, I recommend taking a day to list 5-10 items and save them as a draft.  Then go and list them throughout the week.

Don’t get discouraged if you post 10-20 listings and don’t have a sale yet.  Sometimes it takes times and you need to just keep listing stuff.

Duration

eBay Duration

Do a 7-day auction.  I like to start them between 6-9 P.M.on Sunday (this is when most people are on eBay).  However, you can do between 6-9 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.  Remember the times are Pacific time on eBay.  Therefore you will have to adjust your listing based on the Pacific time zone.

Remember when you list your item that is the time it ends within 7 days.

Fixed listings, on the other hand, will go for 30 days and then repost if the item doesn’t sell.

Price

I would start it at an auction at a very cheap starting price.  For instance, the one that was similar sold for $12 + 5.30.  So I am going to start my price at $12.97 + free shipping.  This is more than $5.00 cheaper than the similar one we found sold for.

I wouldn’t start it at .01, but you could go lower like $9.49, but make sure you would be comfortable selling it at the lowest price you list it as.

I wouldn’t start something at .01 because if 1 person bids on it you would be paying them to take your item, literally. 

Quantity

This will be 1 by default.  I don’t think I really need to explain this, do I?

Private Listing

Leave this unchecked.   This would only apply if you are selling something that people don’t want to be public.  Meaning, if you were selling adult toys or something that could be classified as a personal item.

Payment Options

Put in your email address for your PayPal.  You won’t have to type this every single time.  eBay is smart like that and remembers your PayPal email address.  Make sure PayPal is checked, too.

Sales Tax

Leave blank.  eBay automatically calculates it based on where the person purchased your item

Return Options

eBay Return

Make sure domestic returns are checked.  eBay has a policy where they can return the item within 30 days.  Even if you state no refunds.  I would make the return 30 days and make sure the buyer pays for the return.  You don’t want to have to pay for the return.

Automatically Relist

eBay Auto Relist

Make sure you check the box that says, “Automatically relist this item up to 8 times if it doesn’t sell. No insertion or optional listing upgrade fees for each relist.”  If you’re item does not sell it eBay will automatically relist it.  This will not apply to “fixed listings”.

Shipping Details

eBay Shipping Field

I would suggest using economy shipping and highly recommend you click free shipping. Just keep in mind you will be covering the shipping cost.  People love free shipping and you can cover it.  I have tested this time and time again; I always get more when adding free shipping.  There are some exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, I always use free shipping.

I have written an article on shipping which you can check out here.

Leave handling time at 1 day.  However, if you want you can do 1-3 days.  Just make sure you do what you tell people you are going to do, though.  Don’t make the mistake of waiting 5 days before you actually mail the product; people do not like that at all!

Check & Save Your eBay Listing

Next, I highly recommend that you save your listing as a draft when editing it.  That way you won’t have to redo it if something happens.  You can preview your listing and this will show you what your listing will look like.  It’s not live when you click on preview.  However, once you click “list item” eBay will list your item.

Shipping Through eBay

Next, you’re going to be shipping your product to the customer.

I like to use the eBay app which will alert me when something sells on eBay, get messages, etc.

I do recommend getting poly mailer bags. They are great for shipping clothing and lots of other things. They are much less costly than boxes. I use them for everything!  Remember if your item is under 16 ounces you should be shipping it first-class.

You should get an email as soon as your item sells.  What you want to do is click on that link.

You’re going to want to send your customer an invoice. You never want to ship your product before they pay. A lot of the times you really won’t have to send an invoice, but a lot of people will pay for the item right after purchasing it.  Therefore, you will find that you don’t have to send an invoice or anything.

Print Shipping eBay

But once they do pay print your shipping out through eBay. You do get a discount shipping through eBay.  There will be a printout box showing you all the different carriers that you can use and the price it will cost you to ship the item.  Make sure you put the correct weight and dimensions of the item.  Then, you press “Purchase postage”.  This will take the money out of your PayPal account.

You can use your regular standard inkjet printer until you get the hang of eBay.  Then you’re going to want to tape it on your box or poly mailer bag.  If you are shipping it USPS you can then put it in the mailbox to pick it up or take it to the post office.  Make sure that you actually have it ready for the postman and don’t have it sitting around your house for a few days.

Later on, you should get a thermal printer because you will never have to buy ink again and it’s the easiest way to ship stuff online.

Congratulations on selling your first eBay item!

Hopefully you made some money and didn’t lose anything but more importantly, you’ve gained experience selling on eBay.

It gets easier the more and more you do it.  I can literally do it in my sleep now. The process might take you a bit, in the beginning, but I promise it gets easier over time. Then I can show you how to list items on eBay using your mobile phone which is much faster.

Leave a comment if you have any questions down below on listing items on eBay.

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Reseller Dude

Dude.......I have been selling online since 2002. I know my stuff and show you how to do it the correct way. For more about me click here and find out why I started ResellerDude.com.

2 Responses

  1. Kind of new to eBay and I have only had 3 transactions as a seller.  I have purchased stuff on eBay for several years, though.  I do see eBay as a great way to make some extra side income, though.  It does take quite a while to list and item.  Selling the item as similar seems like a much better option than from square one.

    What do you think about cutting and pasting their description, too?  I know it’s the lazy approach, but do you think you risk getting your eBay account suspended if you cut and paste someone’s description?

    • Hey Jax,

      We were all new at selling stuff on eBay at one time.

      I do NOT recommend that you cut and paste the content that others are writing and putting it in your descriptions. You can actually have your eBay listing taken down if you do that. You can even have your eBay suspended if you keep doing it.

      Just write it in your own words. It’s not that hard. It doesn’t have to be a long description. Just make sure you have a paragraph or so.

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