From origami to blogging, Ricky Willis aka 'SkintDad' suggests some cheap and...
The newbie’s guide to selling stuff online
Confession time, folks: I’ve been buying stuff online for years but I’ve never actually tried selling stuff.
I really do enjoy grabbing a great bargain – especially if it’s on new clothes and trainers – but I’ve always been a bit torn over whether selling stuff online is worth the time and effort.
After a January that took about 93 years to get to payday, my poor bank balance was looking a bit worse for wear. Plus, everyone’s been talking lately about a Japanese cleaning expert called Marie Kondo, specifically her mantra about getting rid of the items in our lives that ‘no longer spark joy’.
With that in mind, what did I have to lose…or rather, to sell on eBay?
The life-changing magic of selling my clutter online
I’d been weighing up selling stuff on eBay for a while and it was the last week before payday when I finally took the plunge.
I learned early on that if you price something right, you can sell pretty much anything online. No joke. Here are some of the odd items I’ve seen people successfully sell:
- Toilet roll cylinders
- Egg cartons
- Wine bottles and corks
- Power cords
- Remote controls
- Broken appliances
One fortunate thing about being late to the online selling party is that I get to learn from other people’s mistakes. Go me!
Here are the tips I found most useful:
- Do your research before listing your item – rarer items will always fetch a higher price. That said, even if you’re selling something more commonplace, check it against similar items to see what price range gets the most interest.
- Be upfront about the item you’re selling – People who buy stuff online appreciate transparency. On the flipside of that, if you don’t give up many details, they may think you’ve got something to hide. Is the item slightly damaged? Are there signs of wear and tear? Be honest or risk the headache of dealing with returns and refunds.
- Take plenty of great pictures of the item. The more pictures the better.
- Always check your spelling – misspelled items will always sell for less as they will not get the visibility on searches (with that said, if you looking to buy always check for common misspellings to see if you can grab a bargain)
- Always check your posting / auction end times – Ideally, you want an item to end on either a Saturday or Sunday during the day. People often browse online auction sites when they’re bored on the weekend, so they’re more likely to see your auction ending and try to grab a quick bargain.
- Set up a PayPal account – this tends to be the preferred payment method when buying stuff online. It also offers you extra protection as they offer both buyer and seller assurance.
Show me the money (for my clutter!)
Right, so now you’re well-versed in selling online 101, here are my top tips based on my own experiences as a newbie to this whole thing. With this, keep in mind that your results may vary.
- When selling items, I only list when ebay offers £1 listings ( ebay will only charge a quid to list and not take a cut of any money you make from selling your items)
- I only post using the ‘buy now’ style listings. If a good offer comes in, I’ll definitely consider it, but always price my item slightly higher than my desired sale price. That way, people feel like they’re getting a deal
- The other advantage of Buy Now is that you can extend your listing to 30 days – granted, it’s not the quickest method of selling. However, if you’re not in a rush to get your money I have found this is the most likely way to make a larger return
- I don’t sell anything over 2kg. I’ve found that postage and package costs dramatically increase if the item’s too heavy!
- It’s definitely worth shopping around for good postage prices. Personally, I’ve found the post office to be the most expensive way of posting my items, so I use parcel2go. I can like it with my eBay account so pulls through buyer addresses and compares multiple delivery services for get the best cost. I also use myhermes as I can drop the items of at Morrison’s for convenience
- Selling old tech has proved pretty fruitful! Lots of people on eBay will buy broken technology for spare parts / repairs, and old phones are a gold mine.
Motivation and inspiration
I have really enjoyed de-cluttering and have made very good returns on items that might otherwise be collecting dust in my room. I’ve made £500 since October and have no plans to stop!
Ebay is an auction based platform and they charge for their services – fees are payable on a monthly basis based on posting costs and volume of sales (fixed percentage of sale values) – always remember to keep some money aside to cover these costs