how do you make money on ebay?

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  1. #1
    Member hotdog's Avatar
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    how do you make money on ebay?

    or more appropriately, how do you sell an item for what it's worth without loosing money on ebay.

    i have been selling "thneeds" on ebay. and as we all know, a "thneed" is a fine something all people need. the problem is, in order to get what i feel the item is worth, I have to overprice it- or take a loss to sell it.

    I do not normally sell anything, but about a year ago i let my wife sell a collectors plate on my account. by the time the auction was over it cost me three dollars for her to sell this collectors plate???

    so i started selling recently, to offset some of my expenses. well to me, my thneed was worth about 8.00 profit. so i listed it for 10.00 plus 1.00 shipping. after all of my shipping and fees were done i ended up with 6.23?
    I thought that was a little bit much. I don't want to raise the price- in fact I wouldn't mind dropping it a buck to 10.00 shipped. but the fees just seems high, almost not worth the long trek to the post office.

    my question is, should i charge less for the item and more for shipping and handling? as a buyer i looked at "handling fees as a scam" but if i absorb those fees- i almost have to raise the price to get a decent amount for it.

    I would appreciate a point of view from an experienced seller, and a customer.
    Leonard Hofstadter: Once you open the box, it loses its value.

    Penny: Yeah, yeah. My mom gave me the same lecture about my virginity. Gotta tell you, it was a lot more fun taking it out and playing with it.


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  3. #2
    don't scam with the shipping fees. be an honest seller, is your integrity worth an extra 2 dollars? The item will sell, if you aren't getting as much as you want for your item then don't put it up for a fair auction. Put it up as a BIN for exactly what you want to sell it for.
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  4. #3
    Member whitedalek's Avatar
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    Don't scam yourself out of shipping. If shipping costs you $4 total (say $2.75 for shipping, $1 for packaging, and .25 for a label), then charge $4. If you still think you're not making enough money from your item after charging for shipping and the auction price, then raise your auction price to cover the difference.

    If you want a net profit of $10, then you'll need to raise your price to cover ebay and paypal fees. If you try to raise those fees via shipping charges, people tend to get a little nuts. (I get some people who get angry that I charge additional costs over the actual shipping costs. They don't care that I buy my boxes and packing material).

    Overall, one rule of thumb that I've always observed (and I've been selling on ebay for about a decade) is to never list an item for less than what you're willing to sell it for. If your minimum is $9.99, then list it for $9.99. If you don't mind selling an item at auction for 99 cents, then list it for 99 cents.
    Last edited by whitedalek; 06-02-2009 at 10:21 PM.

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  6. #4
    Member hotdog's Avatar
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    thanks guys, I guess my problem is the perception of shipping being too high. it does cost me a bit over 2.00 to ship. but I dont want to sell the item for 8.00 and 3.00 shipping. although the fees would be lessened somewhat, the perception to me is that's too high compared to the 8.00 purchase price. 10.00 BIN and 1.00 shipping (which is what i have been doing) just sounds like a better deal- but almost half the money disappears in fees when i do that.
    I guess I am not a good business person. well, i know I'm not. my boss used to always tell me that if i sold snickers bars, and they cost me .25 cents, I still had to sell them for .26 cents regardless of my competitiors selling them for .24 cents, i just had to make up the difference in service.
    he was a pretty good businessman. greedy, but really good.
    well, you guys gave me some good food for thought and i appreciate it. i will try to convince myself to price the actual shipping- or quit whining.
    Leonard Hofstadter: Once you open the box, it loses its value.

    Penny: Yeah, yeah. My mom gave me the same lecture about my virginity. Gotta tell you, it was a lot more fun taking it out and playing with it.


    Wants, My Collection, Customs, Project Skinny, my dog eating corn on the cob, my dog weasel, blowing up toys

  7. #5
    Member Super Sport's Avatar
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    Sell the item BIN for $9.99, and charge $2.00 to ship it. This will assure that you pocket at least $8.00 for the item.

    I sent you a PM outlining the math involved and fee calculator links. It's ridiculous, but it's absolutely necessary when dealing with Feebay.
    Last edited by Super Sport; 06-03-2009 at 03:29 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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  8. #6
    It is really hard to make any money on eBay unless you have hot items. The one time I actually made a decent profit it was because I set up a lot of auctions to end around the same time. Savvy buyers will pay more for one or two of your items if they can pick up a few cheapies with it. The others have already explained everything perfectly so I don't have anything to add really.

  9. #7
    Don't try to be a scalper by selling things you find at the store and think you can make a profit on. Mostly you'll lose money on those unless it is a super rare, ultra expensive item that sells at retail cheap.

    I personally sell things that are older mostly and thus it is not about making profit as it is about trying to sell them for what they are worth. If something it worth $3, try to sell it for $3 and then as the others have said, don't lose on shipping costs.

    Charge correctly for shipping (Postage, supplies and fees) and you won't go wrong. You cannot say that you charge extra for fees, but you can build it into your pricing. I tend to go with exact postage, plus $.50 to $1.00 on my shipping charge, which will cover paypal fees on the shipping, plus any envelopes/boxes I have to buy.

    Old joes sell decently well, but remember that right now is a buyers market on just about everything "common"



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  10. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by John Missal

    Old joes sell decently well, but remember that right now is a buyers market on just about everything "common"
    It's true, right now you can do pretty well for basic Joes as a buyer. I won a '91 Sci-fi complete and surely c-9 or better for $2.99 and no one else even bid.

  11. #9
    Classified CGC's Avatar
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    A small s/h markup is not only reasonable, but should be expected. The seller pays a fee to list, pays a fee when the item sells, & pays another fee when they get paid (now that e-payments are the only option). There is no reason the seller should be expected to ship at a loss as well - and exact shipping covers postage only without considering boxes, padding, labels, tape, time spent packing & taking to the post office, etc... As long as the mark up is within a decent limit, doubling the shipping cost to cover fees is not good policy unless you've found a way to ship for 50¢ or a buck.

  12. #10
    Member hotdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGC
    A small s/h markup is not only reasonable, but should be expected. The seller pays a fee to list, pays a fee when the item sells, & pays another fee when they get paid (now that e-payments are the only option). There is no reason the seller should be expected to ship at a loss as well - and exact shipping covers postage only without considering boxes, padding, labels, tape, time spent packing & taking to the post office, etc... As long as the mark up is within a decent limit, doubling the shipping cost to cover fees is not good policy unless you've found a way to ship for 50¢ or a buck.
    yeah, i get it. actually selling is quite an eye opening experience. firstly (as supersport pointed out) you must be a rocket scientist to figure out how the fees effect your pricing. secondly, 3.00 shipping really isn't a markup. the boxes, packing, actual postage, and the 10 minute drive each way to the post office make it actually seem reasonable. I am not sure if i will do 3.00 - 2.00 or somewhere in between. but it certainly has made me less upset about actually paying the shipping fees for auctions i win. It gives you a better perspective when you get an Idea of what the item is sold for, and what the seller will actually get for the item.
    as kronz said, he got a c-9 sci fi for 2.99. that means if the seller only posted 1 picture in a no frills auction he made less than 2.00 off that figure! ouch, man that sucks.
    Leonard Hofstadter: Once you open the box, it loses its value.

    Penny: Yeah, yeah. My mom gave me the same lecture about my virginity. Gotta tell you, it was a lot more fun taking it out and playing with it.


    Wants, My Collection, Customs, Project Skinny, my dog eating corn on the cob, my dog weasel, blowing up toys

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