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How to Start an eBay Business

Author: Bill Henthorn

eBay has become a great way to sell all kind of merchandise on the web. A person can start out by selling personal items they wish to get rid of and graduate to selling merchandise that they find or contract for. An eBay business can become a full time business and for some be a very profitable enterprise.

How to get started on eBay

eBay has a website that can be found on the Net that describes exactly what a potential seller on eBay needs to do. There are many other sites that offer to help and or teach you how to be successful on eBay. There is obviously no lack of information and websites that are willing to help you get started.

This information will help any new eBay seller get started and hopefully reduce the learning curve toward success. There are many missteps that can make getting started filled with potential errors. All new enterprises are learning situations and eBay is no exception.

What to sell

There is an alternative to selling your own merchandise on eBay. Drop off eBay stores have become a creative way to enter the eBay business. These stores advertise that they will help sell items for you on eBay. The reason this works is people do not know how to use eBay or they are too busy to try selling anything in this way. The customer with something to sell is willing to pay a fee for help in selling whatever the item is. This has big advantages to the storeowner. They have a constant flow of new items to sell and they do not have to spend any money buying the items they then sell. New inventory keeps buyers coming back to their listings on eBay.

If you do not want to sell other people's items, you can buy items and sell them for yourself. College auctions of equipment, state and city auctions are excellent sources for merchandise that can be purchased for a song and sold for a decent amount. A fellow I knew bought a palette of Hulk Hogan VCR tapes and sold them all on eBay for $5 each. His cost per tape was about 5 cents each. How he knew he could make money on them is a mystery. It may have been that he could buy them so cheap he figured he could not lose. Stories like this are common for people who go to these auctions. When the equipment that is owned by the military comes up for auction there will be some real bargains. Items like this will be very profitably sold on eBay.

Specialization Selling

The success stories on eBay seem to have one common factor for those that sell merchandise. They specialize in a very specific area of items they sell. It could be clothes, toys, diamonds, cutlery, art pieces or anything you can think of selling. It is possible on eBay to build a reputation for selling things that are always in a similar category. If you want to branch out, there is no reason that you cannot start a new company and list the new products under that name.

If you enjoy a solid eBay reputation, your reputation will help get you business. The reputation is made up from timely service and fair treatment of the customer. The delivered merchandise is what it was claimed to be. All three of these elements are critical to a good eBay reputation.

Learn by reading

There are many books about selling on eBay in a successful way. Reading these books will speed up the learning curve and prevent common mistakes. Some very successful eBay business people have seminars that will enhance what you have read. Websites on the Net are also available for free and at modest prices to learn the ins and outs of eBay. Knowing what to do and how to do it is worth time and money. Emulating pros is not a bad way to learn what to do and how to do it. Ebay pros are willing to give solid advice in books, websites and seminars. There is no better group to learn from in the eBay business.

Finding things to sell

Finding things to sell other than through auctions takes some work. You can locate companies that offer items to sell and you can go to garage sales, pawnshops and thrift shops. You could specialize in estate sale items such as antiques. The smaller the niche is the better you might become at finding great buys that can then be sold on eBay at a better than average profit. When you are an expert in certain areas it is easy to recognize when you are offered a bargain priced item. These can then be turned around and sold on eBay.

Payment for eBay purchases

Many sellers on eBay take credit cards or PayPal for payment. Others will take money orders or bank drafts. Very few will take a personal check, or if they do, shipment is not made until the check clears the bank. PayPal and credit cards are the most popular forms of payment. The reasons are pretty clear. The payment is almost instantaneous and will be good funds. Once the payment is made, the seller has the obligation to deliver the purchased item.

Keeping your record clean and clear

It is difficult to sell anything and not at some time have a dispute with the customer. The secret is to settle the matter as quickly as possible and as fairly as possible. Keep your eBay record clean and the customers will rate you better.

A good eBay rating by customers will lead to more sales. Lack of problems is good; solving the few problems that happen is critical.


An eBay business is easy to start and does not take a lot of money to get up and running. A person could start by selling items they already own and slowly buy and sell other items. If the profits were put back into the business this would help grow the business. A growing eBay business can be sustained over time by having items to sell that people want. Finding these items is the area that will take work to find. Products that are wanted will sell, finding them is the job of the eBay business owner. Think outside of the box and find unique items that are not commonly seen. Find useful and helpful items. These will sell also and help the company turn a profit. The items need to be purchased right so they can be sold at an attractive price and still make a profit.

A person should study the successful eBay companies and what they do to remain successful. These business people have found ways to be successful and their techniques should be studied.

Read everything that eBay puts out for information. Sure some of it will be promotional, but some of it is very helpful. Read and decide for yourself what is true and important. The more you read and study, the better you will be prepared to make good decisions.

Copyright Bill Henthorn


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