Sell Your Stuff on Ebay for the First Time with this Easy Tutorial

Have some stuff around your house that you need to get rid of, and you’d like want to make some cash? Selling it on Ebay is easy, quick, and profitable. This tutorial will walk you through step by step how to sell on Ebay for the first time, with photos, tips, and links to other tutorials to get you started. Don’t be intimidated if you haven’t sold on Ebay, it’s a simple process that can yield excellent results time and again.

Register for Your Ebay Account

Head to Ebay.com and register for your account. If you haven’t purchased anything from Ebay before or sold, setting up an account will only take a few minutes.

  1. Click “register” at the top of the Ebay home page.
  2. Fill in the Ebay contact information and fill in all of the fields.
  3. Choose your Ebay seller ID (choose something that will reflect what you sell for best results).
  4. Choose your password (make it something no one will ever guess, like random numbers and letters, including dollar signs, pound signs, upper case and lower case letters).
  5. Enter the captcha code in the box to make sure you aren’t a robot.
  6. Confirm your account by checking the email account that you entered into the registration.
  7. Click through the email message to confirm.
  8. Now your account is active!

What You’ll Need

Selling on Ebay will require a few small things.

  1. A PayPal account.
  2. A physical address and credit card or bank account that fees can be billed to.
  3. Some supplies to ship out your items once they sell.
  4. A digital camera to take photos of your items.
  5. A PayPal account will only take a few minutes to set up. PayPal will protect both the buyer and seller’s sensitive information like credit card numbers and bank account numbers. PayPal will also take approximately 3% of your total item price (including shipping), which is about the norm with credit card transaction fees.

Researching Completed Ebay Auctions

So you have your digital camera or phone, your PayPal and Ebay accounts are set up, you have your shipping supplies, and you’re ready to go.

First, you’ll want to see what the item is selling for on Ebay to see if the item is currently selling for a price you’ll be happy with. Simply type the name of the item into the search box, then check off ”completed items” in the left sidebar. The completed items list will display items that have already sold (auctions that have ended). Include a brand name if applicable, model number, or color to refine the results further. Items in green are items that have sold, along with the final bid price. Prices in red mean the item did not sell. Study the auctions that have sold, and see what you like about their auctions.

Taking Photos of Your Ebay Items

Taking photos for Ebay items is a critical step to get attention, traffic and buyers to your item. The higher the worth of the item, the more pictures you’ll want to have in the auction. You can use Ebay’s upload system, but they’ll charge for each additional picture. Upload one picture through Ebay as your gallery photo, which will be a thumbnail in the search results (don’t skip this step, it’s crucial!).

Ebay includes up to twelve photos per item. These should be used. However, if you’d like to include additional ones, you’ll have to host them on your own and paste the code into the HTML of the auction.

What to Take Photos Of:

  • Tags
  • Condition (any scuffs, marks, flaws)
  • The inside of the item (if possible)
  • Any special features (a hidden zipper, a special edition, anything that makes the item unique)
  • The packaging
  • Authenticity certificates, serial numbers, or included pamphlets, literature, or manuals
  • Close up details to emphasize the quality
  • Photos from all angles, including any defects, flaws, or special attributes

Describing Your Item

The description of your item is something new sellers tend to skip over when starting out. Your buyer is looking to find out as much as possible about item through words and photos, so you need to provide them with the information necessary, no matter how small the item, or how insignificant you think that it is.

Things to Describe:

  • Condition
  • Color
  • Any items included like tags, receipts, etc.
  • Height, width, length
  • Measure specific parts of the item (like inseam on pants, inches across on a monitor)
  • Tell them how they can find out more about the item (as in a website that might have information on parts, warranties, repair, directions, downloads, etc.)

You’ll Also Want to Include:

  • Your terms — whether you accept returns (make them feel confident to buy from you)
  • What shipping service you use
  • When you ship the item, and if/when tracking is provided
  • How to contact you

You can also make your auction stand out more and look more professional using:

  • Bold, italics, and underline in moderation
  • Larger size fonts, center align the text
  • Auction templates which make your auction more attractive
  • Bullets and numbers to organize text

Choosing the Run Time for Your Auction

You can choose 1 day, 3 day, 5 day, or 7 day auctions for most categories on Ebay, as well as 10 day. The 10 day auction format is best used for expensive items. Time your auctions to end at a time when you think buyers will be at their computers. Sunday night is a popular night on Ebay, but Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are also high traffic. During the midday of a work week is also high traffic for certain items. You can schedule your auctions to end using the options right in your listing. These are in Pacific time (PST).

Setting Your Shipping Price

Your shipping price should be fair and cover your own shipping costs. As time goes on, buyers are looking for free shipping to be included more and more in their auctions. If the item is very expensive and lightweight, this might be a profitable option for you. If the item is cheap, but heavy to ship, you may want to group it together with similar items so buyers can save on shipping.

Buying a scale is a good investment if you plan on selling long term on Ebay. Any office supply store will have a scale, while USPS offers scales that can be used in addition to their “Click N Ship” program, which allows you to print labels in your own home. It’s important to get a good estimate of shipping costs before listing your item, so purchase a scale and head to USPS.com or UPS.com to calculate shipping. USPS offers flat rate boxes to ship anywhere in the United States for a flat fee. You can order them through their website and they’ll be delivered for free to your home, or you can pick them at your local post office. As a general guideline, USPS has lower rates and ships quicker on lightweight items, while UPS offers reasonable rates on heavy items, especially when shipped long distances (as well as free tracking). UPS also offers convenient pickup service for businesses (this could include you, as a frequent shipper).

Shipping is easy once you learn how. You can learn how to ship Ebay items here. The shipping process is key, so be sure to read the tutorial to ensure your packages get there in one piece.

When shipping your items, every item will need:

  • Delivery confirmation/tracking
  • To be securely packed
  • Signature confirmation and/or insurance for high worth items
  • Keep your receipts and tracking for your own records. Buyers usually want to know when their item was shipped and when it will arrive, so having tracking handy (and even emailing the tracking to them before they ask) is a good idea.

Buyer Feedback and Seller Ratings

Feedback is what determines your reputation as a seller, and it’s essential that you keep it spotless. As long as you ship quickly, charge reasonable shipping rates, describe your item properly, and are willing to work through any possible problems buyers might have, your feedback should remain good. Buyers will also be able to rate you on one to five scale for shipping time, shipping rates, communication, and if the item was as described.

You can also leave feedback for the buyer, but only positive. Any negatives that you receive can directly impact your score, and your business. Keep it high by telling yourself “the customer is always right!” In the long run, this will help you more than hurt you in getting positive feedbacks on Ebay.

Sell in Quantity and Get More Bids

When you sell multiple items at once and have many auctions running at the same time (as long as the items are all different), all of your auctions will generally receive more traffic and bids. As buyers view your items, they might see what else you have for sale. Here are a few ideas to get traffic flowing between items, and increasing bids:

  • Link items together, and link to all of your auction items. Ebay has a link tool inside the auction that makes it easy.
  • Offer combined shipping rates for buying more than one item. Those flat rate boxes USPS offers come in handy at this point.
  • Don’t have the same item ending back to back with an identical item. Space them out by hours or days.
  • Have similar items ending close together to encourage multiple bids and buys.

Some Things to Avoid When Selling for the First Time on Ebay

When your first starting out selling, you’ll might be eager to get a big jumpstart, but starting slow can make the most financial sense, and will help build your reputation. As you sell more, you’ll learn more, get better at selling, and learn what your buyers want.

Try to avoid:

  • Opening a store right away. Sell at least a few dozen items before you commit to opening a store. Stores make sense only if you plan on selling on Ebay long termover years.
  • Drop shipping. This sounds tempting, but it’s almost always too good to be true.
  • Investing in high priced items to resell. Sell off your old used clothing, sell off your friends, family and neighbors stuff (while you take a cut), or sell handmade items to start out. Investing capital can stop you right in your tracks.
  • Using a reserve price. These never work.
  • Setting the price far too low on an item that’s worth a lot of money. Start the auction at a price you’re happy with selling in case the item only gets one bid.

Now that you’ve learned the ropes, try it out! Let us know how you’ve succeeded so far at Ebay, or if there have been any roadblocks on your journey. Be sure to read our other Ebay guides to get you started!