Aug 142013

There are lots of successful eBay sellers. You probably have a friend or two that has made extra money selling their stuff online. Maybe you want to give it a try. In this article we’re going to show you how to sell your stuff on eBay and make some extra money online. And who knows, once you get the hang of it maybe you can turn it into a regular second income. Some people (like me) eventually turn into their only job. If you’re serious, it can be done. But it will take time, a lot of work, and some people skills.

I am going to cover all of the basics.  But I am also going to go more in depth about things that eBay doesn’t tell you from the perspective of someone who’s been there and had figure it out how to sell on eBay on their own.

I’m going to assume you already have some stuff that you want to sell. I’m going to focus on how to sell your stuff on eBay. It breaks down into 3 basic stages. There is the signup process, creating your first listings, and becoming a Powerseller. I will to include tons of links to articles and video tutorials along the way that you can look at if you need an in depth explanation on something.

Stage #1 eBay Signup and Registration

You will need to have the following things before you sign up to sell your stuff on eBay.

  • A reliable email address.
  • A phone.
  • A bank account.
  • A Paypal account.

Most of you have an email address but you really need to have one that is reliable, accessible, and secure.  The ability to search your past messages is also an absolute must. I use Outlook Mail, formerly known as Hotmail. Also take if from someone who learned the hard way. Do not use Yahoo Mail. Anyone with a 7th grade education can hack a Yahoo account.

A phone is required during the registration process. eBay will call you and give you a pin number that they will use to verify the phone number. They do this so they will have a reliable number if they need to contact you. Your number will not be displayed anywhere on the site but it can be obtained by a buyer if they file a user information request.

A bank account is required in order to get a Paypal account. You’ll need Paypal to accept payments from your customers and Paypal will need a place to deposit that money into. You can also use your Paypal account to pay your eBay bill. You’ll be charged fees every month to sell you stuff on eBay (more on that later). Go to this link and click on “sign up” to get your Paypal account. If this is a really new concept for you I recommend you watch this Paypal Signup Video.

Once you have all of those things you’re ready to register as an eBay seller. At the end of eBay’s registration process you will be prompted to make your first listing. When you get to that point come back here and read the next section on listing your item before you do it. If you’re ready, follow this link to start your eBay Seller’s Account. If you need a little visual assistance then watch this eBay Signup Video.

Screen capture of the eBay's website showing how to list an item for sale.Stage #2 How to List Items on Ebay and Start Selling

There are 5 things you really need to know about selling on eBay before listing your item that they do not explain very well.

  • eBay and Paypal fees.
  • Shipping costs.
  • Photography requirements.
  • Feedback and seller reputation requirements.
  • In the beginning your account will be restricted.

You are going to be charged 10% of your selling price by eBay and you are going to be charged another 2.9% of your selling price plus a 30 cent transaction fee by Payal.  If you sell an item for $100 your fees will be $13.20!!! If you want a quick way to calculate what your fees will be on an item use our eBay Calculator.

You will have to offer free shipping on your item unless it is extremely heavy. Not fair? The truth is the majority of sellers on eBay have already adopted this shipping policy and if you don’t do it too you won’t get any sales. This means if you have a $10 item that will cost $3.50 to ship then you need to sell that item for $13.50 with free shipping. For help with calculating what your shipping cost will be go here. And don’t forget about the cost of your shipping materials. To reduce those costs read this article on how to get free boxes.

eBay has some “minimum” photo requirements. Ignore them. From the very start maximize your photos because listings with lots of big photos sell better than listings with one little photo. You should also be aware that when someone searches for an item on eBay that their search engine generally shows items with better photos first. Don’t use the camera on your phone. Buy or borrow a real camera. Bottom line, make sure you have at least 4 good photos in your listing and make sure they are 1600 pixels or more on the shortest side. Don’t know your photo size? Go to the folder the photo is in, right click on it, and then click on details and it will tell you. Need to re-size or edit a photo? You can do it online for free right in your web browser at Pixlr. If you need to you can go here to see all of eBay’s Photo Requirements.

You earn feedback on eBay for completing a sale and getting a positive review from your customer. Problem is, you start with zero feedback and nobody buys from a seller with zero feedback. In order to overcome this you can do one of two things. Sell your first item to a friend of yours who is sure to leave you positive feedback or sell your first item for a really low price.

For the first 90 days that you are a seller you will be restricted to how many items you can sell at one time. This amount varies by account, category and item but generally your limit will be 10 items per month during this period. However, you can apply to have this limit raised early once you have some successful sales and some positive feedback. You can apply here.

Now that you know what to look out for you can start that listing and sell your stuff on eBay. There are several things you need to do here.

  • Choose an auction or at a fixed price format.
  • Pick a category to sell your item in.
  • Give you Listing a Title
  • Upload your photos
  • Write the item description
  • Decide on your shipping terms
  • Decide on your returns policy

All of those things are pretty straight forward and well explained during the listing process. If you want to read a bit further on them here are eBay’s own tips. And here are some excellent advanced listing tips from another seller. If you’d prefer to watch a video you can watch this 15 minute eBay listing tutorial.

Once you’ve made your listings and an item sells here’s what you need to do next.

  • Communicate with your buyer
  • Package the item
  • Weigh your item
  • Print the postage
  • Take it to the Post Office
  • Leave feedback for your buyer

When you sell an item you nee to message your buyer and ship their item as soon as possible. eBay makes this easier by allowing you to print your postage at home. Full details here. For some packaging tips watch this video on how to ship eBay items. Finally, do not forget to leave feedback for your buyer!

Well, now you know how to sell your stuff on eBay. But that’s really just the beginning. You’ll make even more money as you establish yourself as a trusted seller. You’ll also become eligible for some serious discounts on your fees as time goes on. Here’s what you need to know to plan a long term strategy for selling on eBay.
eBay top rated and powerseller logos.

Step #3 How to Become a Powerseller and a Top Rated Seller

Once you’ve completed a dozen sales and you’ve gotten out of your probation period it’s time to really make some money. There are two immediate goals you should set for yourself. Becoming a Powerseller and a Top Rated Seller. The qualifications are nearly the same but each offers different rewards that are well worth getting. Sellers also recognize each of these qualifications and will be more likely to buy your items than somebody else’s.

If you become a Powerseller you will get unpaid item protection, USPS and UPS discounts, and monthly special promotional offers. You can become one by:

  • Having your account open for 90 days.
  • A feedback rating of at least 98%.
  • A minimum of 100 transactions and $1,000 in sales within the last year.
  • Maintaining very high Detailed Seller Ratings.
  • Following all eBay policies.

If you become a Top Rated Seller you will get a 20% discount on your eBay fees, a 30% discount on your USPS shipping labels, and you’ll get a boost in eBay’s search engine rankings. You can become one by:

  • Having your account open for 90 days.
  • A feedback rating of at least 98%.
  • A minimum of 100 transactions and $1,000 in sales within the last year.
  • Maintaining very high Detailed Seller Ratings.
  • Always uploading your shipment tracking information within 24 hours on at least 90% of your transactions.
  • Offering  a 14 day return policy
  • Offerering 1 day handling time.

Those are the official qualifications, now I’m going to give you my blunt advice on meeting them. The world is full of total jerks and many of them buy on eBay. About 1 out of every 100 sales is going to be a disaster for you. You will run into liars, cheats, and crooks. Expect it and brace yourself for it now. No matter how angry you get you must never challenge what a customer says.

It doesn’t matter if you are right. Your feedback ratings and your detailed seller ratings are 10,000 times more important than you being right. One single negative feedback can cost you thousands of dollars in lost sales and seller discounts over the course of your eBay career. If you’re going to loose $50 on a sale then suck it up and loose it. It happens. Don’t let your emotions ruin your future sales. Be nice to everyone at all costs. Nothing I can tell you is more important than that.

Final Thoughts About How to Sell Your Stuff on eBay

There are two last tips that I can give you that will help you make more money and increase your profits. First, there are several ways to lower your eBay fees that many people overlook. Things like setting up an eBay store and applying for a lower rate on your Paypal transactions. Check out this article on how to reduce your eBay fees. Second, if you know how to do it you can rank higher in eBay search than your competition. You’ll need to have top notch listings and a flawless seller profile. Go here to read more about ranking higher in eBay search.

That’s just about all you need to know about how to sell your stuff on eBay and become really successful. Time, work, and the ability to deal with stupid people is all it will take.

  8 Responses to “How to Sell on eBay – A Beginner’s Overview”

  1. I’ve been selling on eBay for quite some time. I have a feedback rating of 526 and 100% positive, yet this is the first time I’ve heard of applying for lower rate on PayPal transactions. How do I go about making this request. A speedy response will be greatly appreciated!

  2. You’re very welcome Mary. the situation at ebay continues to get progressively worse. They are now in the middle of another purge that Ina Steiner at dubbed “Ebay Seller Purge 2.0”

    • Interesting. How do I become a big seller if I am just starting out?

      • This information was Awesome! I always wondered how to become a Power Seller & Top Rated Seller. I am being trained by this company called DSD. The best training I’ve ever had. You guys should really check it out! It’s drop shipping on eBay to the 10th Power! Go to That’s for sharing this article!!

  3. Thank you this is good information!

  4. The day of the small seller is just about over at ebay. 15,000 sellers were blocked from listing in last week’s latest ebay purge. Ebay Guardrail or Quick Decline was the weapon of choice used to give these sellers the axe through the new implementation of yet another bad policy using the flawed DSR system. Suzanne Wells broke the news online and Ina Steiner has an excellent followup article about it on

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