After setting up an account on eBay and PayPal, you need to decide what you are going to sell. Selling your unwanted household items, your stock will eventually be depleted and selling your ex-husbands possessions is not a good idea.
You need to find your niche or market. Do you have an interesting hobby that could lead to sales on eBay? What do you have a knowledge of that people want? Is there a need that should be filled? Selling items that you are interested in or knowledgeable about helps but don’t limit your sales to these items. With a little research, you can become quite knowledgeable on any topic.
Obtaining merchandise to sell can come from many different sources. Most beginning eBay business owners don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in merchandise. Obviously, you need merchandise to sell to make money but you need money to buy merchandise to sell.
To start your business from the ground up with no capital takes imagination and ingenuity. How about sticking $50.00 in your pocket and hitting the garage sales early Saturday morning? You would be amazed at the items put out for sale under $5.00.
Look over the merchandise and keep in mind what will be valuable for resale. You don’t want to purchase large or bulky items (too expensive to ship), nor would you purchase any item that was illegal to ship. Remember to look at the merchandise with this in mind: ‘who would want to buy this item and what would they be willing to pay’? If it cost you $3.00 to buy and $4.00 for shipping & handling, what is the minimum profit you are willing to make? Don’t forget you have eBay fees that will have to be paid for the posting of this item for auction and depending upon payment type, you may have PayPal fees.
If making $3.00 profit is okay with you, then figure out what your eBay fees are and set the selling price. Remember you are trying to purchase items for quick resell to fund your business. You could reasonably visit 5 or more garage sales in one morning. The earlier you arrive at the garage sales, the better the selection.
Flea markets are another great avenue to visit for eBay merchandise. Once again you need to have an idea of what is marketable and what price you can place on the item. One good draw of the flea market is they will probably have a large quantity and may give you a discount if you buy in bulk. So if you find a great item for $4.00, you could ask for a discount if you purchase 10 or more. Always check the quality of the item and ask yourself, “Is there a market for this”.
Do not think you can buy high end, name brand merchandise for just pennies on the dollar. If someone at a flea market is selling Chanel No. 5 for $15.00 an ounce, walk away from the dealer and do not look back. He isn’t selling the real Chanel and you don’t want to do business with a fraud. You never want to promote any item on eBay as a brand name that isn’t genuine. Your reputation as an honest business owner is at stake and there may be legal issues involved as well. Buy from honest sources and remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
Stores that have “going out of business sales” are a good place to look for merchandise for eBay sales. Once again you need to know what is hot on the market and what price people will pay. If you find a store that specializes in Christmas items going out of business in August, hurry on in. Good quality Christmas cards, lights, decorations and figurines bought cheaply can be resold for a nice profit.
Just remember, offering people good holiday merchandise at a low price before the holiday season is smart business. Depending on sales and promotions, you may be able to pick up some real bargains at Kmart, Wal-Mart, Costco or Sam’s Club. Each of these stores buys in volume and always has some price breaker offerings. These price breaker items are often called loss leaders (they are sold below cost) and they are used to generate sales for higher ticket items.
This is a common practice in most retail stores today, especially the big box stores. If you spot a great deal on a loss leader, buy as many as you can afford and resell for a few dollars less than the other eBay seller. Once your eBay business has started making money, you can snatch up good buys and sit on them until the demand rises.
Example: You are able to purchase 1000 small American Flags for $50.00 during a February sale. You buy the flags and hold onto them until the 4th of July and sell them for 50 cents each. You’ve made a nice profit for yourself with very little work. The flags were easily stored and you only tied up a small amount of money for the 5 months you held the flags. Always think ahead and plan for the next big sale.
Buying in bulk as stated earlier can be profitable. You need to have storage space for the merchandise where it will be kept clean, dust free and easily accessible. Also if you buy good quality merchandise, it may be stored for months or years until the demand is up for your item. If you purchase 100 Christmas placemats, don’t worry if they don’t all sell this year. You can always store the placemats until next year and market them a little earlier than other eBayer’s market their Christmas wares. Any item can be recycled for sell as long as there isn’t an expiration date.
There are many “Wholesale Warehouses” that sells merchandise in bulk. You need to do a lot of investigation before signing up with these wholesale distributors. These wholesale companies may be located in the US or may be located overseas. Ask questions before signing on the dotted line. You certainly don’t want 1000 coffee makers arriving every other month on your door step.
Know what type of merchandise you are ordering and when and how it is shipped. With some of the wholesalers, they keep the stock in their warehouse and direct ship it to your customer (for a charge) when you make the sale. This is pretty convenient for you as the business owner. Buying from wholesalers is not for the start-up eBay business but you do need to keep this in mind as your sales increase and you have some capital to invest in more merchandise.
When you are first starting out selling on eBay, the items you sell may be inexpensive (you can’t afford to stock the higher ticket items) which means you will have to sell more items to earn $100 a day. After a few weeks in business with more capital in your pocket, you may be in a position to sell more expensive items which equates to fewer sales to maintain your earnings goal of $100 per day.
There are other ways of earning money on eBay besides selling merchandise. Do you have a service that can be offered on eBay? How about ghost writing (no, I am not referring to Alfred Hitchcock) or offering a “How To” e-book on a subject in which you are proficient or have an interest in. If you could write an e-book on an interesting topic and sell it for $9.99, you would only need to sell 10 books to earn $99.90 for a day.
There would be no trips to the Post Office and no worry about replenishing products as they sell. Material for an e-book could be obtained from doing web searches on a chosen topic and then compiling your information. Remember you are not re-inventing the wheel; just presenting it with a new cover. Another opportunity for earning money selling on eBay is selling other peoples wares. This can be profitable for the experienced eBay seller.
Note, I said “experienced” seller. I do not suggest a beginner using this method as there are many pitfalls which a newbie might encounter. If a beginner thinks he wants to venture in this direction, I suggest you read, “Don’t Get Burned on eBay” by Shauna Wright. Okay, we’ve discussed obtaining the merchandise to sell. Now we need to proceed to the next important step. How do you market your wares?
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