I started selling stuff on Ebay several years ago–but it’s always been an occasional thing for me: mainly, because it’s just not what I see myself doing day-in and day-out. But I know how to make money on Ebay–and typically, turn up my efforts each year around the holidays to make extra money for Christmas presents for my son.
This year, I’m selling a large selection of toys that I bought for 50-75 percent off during after-holiday sales last year. I’m also selling off a bunch of used audiobooks that I own–all in excellent condition–as well as the occasional “great deal” I’ve happened across at one of my local thrift stores.
Since many of you hard-working parents out there might be wondering how much profit you can really expect to make when selling items on Ebay, I thought I’d start a log of my Ebay sales, here–just to give you some food for thought. Of course, the amount of profit any given item brings in can vary tremendously based on a number of factors–one of which is luck, of course. But I firmly believe that you can put yourself in a position to “get lucky”–and to be able to take advantage of that luck when the iron strikes.
My Recent Ebay Sales and Profits
Violin – $70 profit
I found a Cremona Student Violin for sale at a local thrift store for $44 (including tax.) It sold on Ebay for approximately $153; after costs–which include shipping and handling costs, insurance, delivery confirmation, packaging, and Paypal and Ebay fees, which totaled about $41, I netted about $70. This, and I was able to give my customer an excellent violin for about half its retail cost; it’s a win-win situation.
List time: 3 weeks
Fisher Price Electronic Toy – Profit $16
Selling Price: about $53 (including shipping)
Costs: $10 item cost (clearance); $9 eBay/Paypal fees; shipping/packaging fees $18 (this item was heavy!)
List time: 3 months
Japanese Anime Soundtrack – Profit $12
Selling Price: $70
Costs: $44 item cost; $10 Ebay/ Paypal fees; shipping/packing fees $4 (first class postage)
List time: 6 months
I’ll keep adding to this list so that you’ll have more examples.
Ebay’s Final Value Fee for Auction-style listings is 9 percent (with a cap of $100). Paypal takes about another 3 percent. So when figuring out how much you need to charge for an item, make sure you’re accounting for the 13 percent Ebay and Paypal fees, plus whatever shipping and packing materials will cost you. Also, make sure you account for ALL COSTS associated with selling your item. How much tax did you pay on the item? Did you have to buy a shipping box? (These can be expensive.) Did you have to pay Ebay any listing fees? (Ebay frequently offers a free number of listings every month for qualified sellers.) Take everything into account, and you’ll know for sure how much you need to charge to make a profit.
A Word About Getting Greedy on Ebay
I believe in making a fair profit off everything you sell. And honestly, if I get an awesome deal when I purchase an item, I don’t mind making extra profit. But I also love giving my customers a good deal on what they’re buying at the same time. Not only does it feel “right” to give customers a reasonable deal, but it’s also a lot more likely to keep you your customers. And in the end, making your customers happy is the only way you’ll stay in business–even on Ebay.