How to Start An eBay Business

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Image of the eBay sign

Quick Overview of An eBay Business

Today you can buy almost anything on the Internet. Many retailers now have a business website that complements their physical storefronts.

E-commerce sites that sell strictly on the Web are growing and for promising entrepreneurs, who want to sell off their treasures, there are sites such as eBay’s well-know auction site.

eBay has allowed millions of people to go into business who previously wouldn’t have considered it while growing numbers are making healthy second incomes by buying items and selling them online for profit.

The simplicity of setting up is a big attraction for many people. Plus one of the great things about is that you can run it from home. Another great thing about it is that if you pick the right item and learn how to sell on eBay effectively, you can build a strong stream of revenue.

This is a great opportunity to take hold of your own financial future and secure your own prosperity. eBay is an exciting community that sells a wide variety of items and has an unbelievable customer base. There is no limit to what you can sell and how much you can make with the right amount of hard work and dedication.

Skill Set:
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:

Common staff positions needed to run some businesses

Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

This is a 24/7, operation, 365 days per year unless you specifically say that you will be gone for a period of time and not available (such as on vacation). Keep in mind auctions continue all hours of the day, so you don’t have to be near your computer every second of the day.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
  • Postal scale/meter
  • Shipping supplies
  • Photo imaging/enhancing software
  • A vehicle for item pickup service
  • Storage facility for items
  • Good lighting/studio area for photographing
  • Digital camera
  • Camera lenses for photographing small items in detail
  • Photographer’s loupe (for viewing small items to assess markings on items)
  • Essential office Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:
Licenses:
  • Before you start, you should obtain the business licenses and permits required by your state, county, and city. You will need these documents in order to avoid paying sales tax when purchasing goods for resale and to properly file your business taxes at the end of the year. See eBay Tax Issues for more information on tax issues relating to eBay.
  • See Our Page on Licenses and Permits
Approximate Minimum Startup:

Bare essential – The average startup cost may vary from a couple hundred dollars, if you already have a lot of items to sell, to thousands of dollars if you want to buy top-of-the-line products from wholesalers. You can start off small and expand your operation as you grow.

Tips & Considerations:
  • You can choose any name you like, but you may want to check if the domain name and eBay ID is available. It is surprising how many names have already been taken. You can check the availability of a domain name at www.godaddy.com. Go Daddy helpfully gives you a list of alternative domain names if the one you want is already taken. To check the availability of an eBay ID, use the eBay Registration page.
  • One of the first things that you can do is to clean out your garage, basement, or attic. Not only will this help you clear out some unused items, but it will also give you some experience selling items. You should really have some experience before you start purchasing inventory in bulk.
  • Start out by selling items such as small appliances, used items, old books, clothes, and gifts that you never used. If you have a lot of clothing but none of it is particularly fashionable or designer, then consider selling it in a lot: put five to 10 items together and list as one item.
  • One of the first things that you will learn is that people like thinking that they are getting a great deal on items, and many people use eBay to stock their own inventory. Lots of clothing is good for buyers who own thrift stores or consignment stores.
  • You should then take a look at your hobbies, as well as things that you are interested in. A lot of sellers, when starting an eBay business, think that they should only sell those items that are trendy and hot selling. The problem with this idea is that most other sellers have the same idea. If you are a new seller, then working your way up to this can be a good idea.
  • DO set up a Paypal account. A Paypal account processes credit cards and bank funds and can help you keep your personal finances separate from your eBay income.
  • Choose your niche wisely before you join. This is crucial to building and establishing a profitable client base. Do your research to find out what items are selling the best that are related to your passion. Then choose your name to reflect your niche. It’s very important that you are looked at as an expert in your niche.
  • Many eBay sellers swear by having an eBay storefront (virtual/online). Fees vary according to how much you sell per month and what type of exposure you want on eBay’s promotional pages. If you don’t want to start right off with a fee-based store, you should make sure you have a very well-done “About Me” page at the very least.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • Easy and low-cost to start
  • You have the advantage of being your own boss and setting your own hours
  • You get to stay on top of best-selling products and trends
  • There is a good market
  • Completely Expandable
  • Seller’s fees can have “low-cost” listing days on special by eBay
  • Easy to work from home

The Cons:

  • eBay seller’s fees can go up, affecting your bottom line
  • It can be difficult to determine the price for many types of items. Antiques may require paid appraisals
  • There is a lot of trial and error before you can count on a good monthly income
  • There can be non-paying buyers you have to deal with (don’t ship without payment first)
  • People can leave bad feedback on you that may be unfair but still affects your rating which, in turn, can deter potential buyers if your rating gets too low (generally lower than 96%)
  • You have to stay on top of eBay’s ever-changing rules
  • If your shipping costs are not accurate, you can lose money
  • Very competitive
Statistics:

See eBay’s real-time research and trends at Terapeak for eBay

Resources:

Related Sites:

eBay: Seller Information Center

eBay: Reviews and Guides

Courses:

Starting a Successful eBay Business (Video Training)

Andrew Minalto’s Easy Auction Business DVD Video Course

Equipment and Supplies:

DHGate

Doba

USPS

Stamps.com

Forums:

eBay Discussion Boards

Books and E-Books:

eBay Fortune eBook by an eBay Powerseller

Starting an eBay Business for Dummies

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting an eBay Business

Palo Alto Software (US)

Software:

eBay-Endorsed Various Software

Top-Rated and Reviewed eBay Software

Activa

Hammertap