Monday, 28 February 2011

Money for old rope - Ebay selling tips!

I do love a bit of 'money for old rope' - in fact, its something that Michael and I have always done when we are raising funds for something. We did a car boot sale before we moved into our house years ago, and made enough money to buy our sofas with (store seconds, of course!), we did another one last summer and re-landscaped our back garden with the profits, and we save all our low value coins in an old whisky bottle - (1p, 2p, 5p) and use the money we accumulate to buy summer plants in summer, and a Christmas tree in December.
We also sell our old stuff on Ebay to pay for other things, as and when we have something in mind. So, the current challenge is to raise money for our holiday spending money, using just our old stuff!
I'm really pleased to say that in 3 weeks, we have made just over £450, which gives us approx $680 so far! Yippee!
This has just been the result of clearing out our wardrobes, and cupboards, and selling it all on Ebay in auction format. I am actually really suprised at what people will pay for 2nd hand stuff! Most of what I have been selling (which was mostly second hand stuff anyway) has gone for far more that what I payed for it, result! It does take time and a bit of effort to maximise your sales of your old junk however, but its worth it - so here are my top tips for Ebay selling;

1. Only sell something that is in good, clean condition. If its clothing - make sure its washed and has no stains, holes etc. If its something like a bag, or homeware, make sure its dusted, emptied and wiped over. My friend once bought a vintage bag off ebay. It arrived covered in dust, finger marks in the dust from the seller, and toothpicks and a used tissue inside....nice!

2. Take good photos. Do not snap a photo from 10 metres away, with your phone and 'upload straight to Ebay'. It looks rubbish and you will probably not sell it! You dont need a fantastic camera, just a bit of care and attention. Make sure the photos are in focus (use the MACRO option for close ups) and take photos in natural light. Flash distorts colours and does not show the item off properly. Also take it on a neutral background where possible so you don't detract from your item, and get a few different angles or a standard and a close up shot of the item. Then crop or lighten the photos as needed. I use Photoshop, but you can download free, easy to use photo edit softwear off the internet, like Picassa, or use the software that came with your camera.

3. Put as much information on the listing as possible. If its clothing, put the size then add at least a pit to pit meaurement and a centre back measurement on there. The first item you list is always the most time consuming, but once you have done that one, you can 'sell similar' on your next listing and just change the relevant bit of the text. Make sure you are clear about payment terms (ie paypal only, payment required in 4 days etc.) and your return policy (if you accept returns.)

4. Consider offering international postage. I sell about 70% of everything to overseas buyers. If you don't offer to sell to everywhere, you are missing out on pontential customers (and a better selling price).

5. Get some scales. I just use some basic kitchen ones so I can weigh the items and give an accurate postage cost. Make sure to add a bit on for packing materials and to cover your Ebay fee. Don't overcharge postage. It puts people off buying, and you will get complaints about it.

6. Respond to all questions asap. If you have put lots of info on the listing, you most probably wont get any/many questions anyway.

7. When the item sells, make sure you post out promptly. Pack items securely, and get a 'proof of posting' from the post office to cover you should something go missing.

8. To save even more money on your listings - look out for 'free listing' weekends on Ebay. They run them (in the UK anyway) at least once or twice a month. All insertion fees are free, regardless of start price. This is not available to business sellers (like me), so we sell our old junk on Michael's account to get the benefit :)

9. Save up your cash in your Paypal account until you have sold everything, and paid your seller fees then draw it out and spend your 'old rope' on something fun :))

So they are my handy tips for making the best of your Ebay sales....hope you find it useful!


  1. Good tips! I need to get selling more I still have so much stuff to sell really!

  2. Great post - must admit I agree wholeheartedly. When I get a bit of money next I'm going to buy a mannequin for clothes selling. Helps the presentation along nicely

  3. Hopefully all sellers read this!

  4. super great tips!
    I only sale on list free days too.