Monday, September 26, 2005

An adventure on Ebay

Recently I quit my part time job which meant I needed to find another way to make some extra money working at home. I thought "well I've always wanted to try Ebay but what on earth would I sell?". Now for some odd reason I am the owner of a few thousand golf balls, so I thought "hmm why not?", so I did. Start selling golf balls I mean.
Ebay isn't exactly hard but it does have some quirks and I was lucky enough to find a great mentor who has been patiently answering all my weird questions and working with ebay does mean you will have weird questions.
It seems like a fairly easy concept, list an item, get payment, ship it out and call it good. That isn't exactly what happens though.
First you need to make sure that your listing title includes the keywords people will search for. I didn't realize this one until last week when I listed a particular golf ball and couldn't figure out why it wasn't showing up on the particular page that I thought it should. After an hour of research I finally figured out this simple idea and had to go back and spend an hour changing ALL of my listings.
Second you need a good description. Your description should include everything good and bad about your item. You should also include any disclaimers about anything you might have missed.
Third you have to figure out how much you expect and want for your item. If you paid $100 for an item and are trying to sell it, are you really willing to let it go for 99 cents? You can put a reserve on your item but that means some people might not bid because they don't want to have to guess at what that reserve is. You can put a starting price on it but if it is too high you won't get many bidders, and if you put it too low you will not be happy. You have to decide for yourself which way is going to work best for you.
Fourth, you have to figure out your shipping costs. I have mostly been using flat rate boxes for items and that makes it pretty easy for me to know what to charge for shipping. If you aren't using the flat rate mailers though and you estimate that something will cost you $3 to ship and get to the post office and find out it costs $5 you are cutting into your profit. A scale works good for this my mentor has said but I don't have one yet so I am still using the flat rate boxes for the heavy shipments of golf balls and so far it is working out.
Fifth, you need to get your items to the post office and send them out and in a timely manner. Some people set aside a couple days a week for shipping. I end all my auctions on the weekend and ship on Monday. However this week I have been thinking of listing a LOT of items, I want to get up to 50 a week. Then I got to thinking: How on earth would I get twenty boxes into the post office? This question has been bugging me for days and then last night "List and ship throughout the week! Duh.." so that is what I am trying this week. Now there are probably some of you with experience reading this and saying, "yeah right, just you wait!" :)
Sixth, leave feedback. Whenever you buy or sell something, leave feedback so others know what to expect.
Seventh, start all over!
I am sure that I haven't figured it all out yet and as I learn more I will write about it. Right now though, I need to go package, address and get ready for shipping day!


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