Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Making Extra Cash on eBay

My mission lately has been to cut down on the amount of stuff we have around our house. Maybe I’ve started seeing our home through the eyes of a mother to a soon-to-be mobile little boy. Maybe all this talk about saving money has me thinking about money that we’ve wasted in the past. Whatever the reason, I’ve spent the last few weeks on an eBay selling spree.

I've sold a video game console, clothes, DVDs, an mp3 player, and more. While my recent sales experience by no means qualifies me as an expert, I do have some tips to share with anyone considering turning to eBay to make a little cash. This will be a two-part series, with this first installment focusing on pricing.

1. Decide What Your Time is Worth
Don’t forget to pay yourself. By the time you list your item, package it after it sells, and take it to the post office, you’ll likely have invested a good amount of time. Remember to take that into account when you set the price.

I value my time at next to nothing. It takes just a few minutes for me to package and address a DVD, and the post office is less than a block from where I work, so mailing something doesn't require a special out-of-the-way trip. If either of those things require significant effort on your part, you should pay yourself accordingly.

2. Offer Free Shipping
Many experienced sellers would probably disagree with this one, but it seems to work for me. I've sold enough things online to know approximately how much an item will cost to mail, so I take that into account when setting a price. Buyers are happy to see that little “Free Shipping” icon next to the item; they appreciate knowing that the price they see is all they’ll be paying.

3. Be Confident With Your Price
Price your item at an amount that you’re happy with. If it sells immediately at your Buy It Now price, you don’t want to be stuck wondering if you could have made more money. On the flip side, if you don’t want to price so high that the item doesn’t sell.

Really evaluate what the item is worth to you. Is it a movie you never even opened and wouldn’t be the least bit sad to say goodbye to? If so, you might be satisfied making only a dollar or two from the sale, just to get the item out of your house. Is it a wedding gift that’s sentimental to you, but you know you’ll never use? Perhaps you’ll set the price a little bit higher. Choose a price that you’re comfortable with and don’t second guess yourself.

Next time we'll discuss what happens after the sale, including inexpensive ways to package items and how to make sure the buyer is 100% happy.

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