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When I first started looking into different ways I could make money online, selling things on ebay wasn’t even in my radar. It wasn’t until I saw a course on Udemy about this concept of reselling on ebay. Until that moment, I thought that people only bought collectibles like video games or rare antiques on there, but it turns out that people buy clothes, shoes, toys and more! And if people are buying them that means people can sell them.
So what does it mean to be a reseller on ebay and how do they make money?
An ebay reseller is someone that buys items (typically used ones from places like thrift stores and yard sales) and sells them for a profit on ebay.
While anyone can sell old items they’re getting rid of for some extra cash, the big difference is that ebay resellers intentionally go out and buy (aka source) items with the intention of reselling them.
But this still didn’t answer the question of how someone would make this a business.
What does it look like to have a reselling business?
When you have an ebay business, you have taken your ebay selling beyond that of hobby selling (i.e. putting items for sale randomly as you come across them). This means you are:
1. Setting Revenue Goals
Just like with any other business, as an ebay business owner you should have a revenue goal (i.e. how much money do you want to bring in each month?)
You might be wondering how you’d even begin to know how many items you’d sell. I mean it’s dependent on someone out there in the world needing or wanting to buy your item. How can you predict that?
The general rule I’ve found is that after your store has at least 100 items in it, you will sell as many as you list. So if you list 10 items in a week, you’ll sell about 10 items that week give or take some.
This comes in handy when you’re trying to figure out your revenue goals. Once you have an idea of the average selling price of your items, then you can use that to predict the approximate revenue you can expect when you sell a certain number of items.
Let’s break that down a bit. So if you’re wanting to sell approximately $5000 a month, then the first thing you’d do is look at your average sales price. If yours is $25, then you can take $5000 / $25 and that will give you the number of items you need to sell in a month. In this case, it would be 200. Divide that up by 4 weeks to give you 50, which is the number of items you should list each week.
Of course there are a lot of factors that go into this, such as the quality of items you’re listing, your listing quality, etc, but in general, this has been a general concept that I’ve found to be true. As with anything, you should test it out for yourself. That’s part of being a business owner, right? See which system works for you and creates predictable sales. Bottom line with this one: as a business owner, you will set revenue goals which encompasses listing goals.
2. Running an ebay store
Technically, to sell on ebay, you don’t have to open an ebay store, but if you’re a serious seller (aka you’ve got a business), then having an ebay store makes a lot of sense. There are multiple tiers of ebay store subscriptions so you can choose the one that’s right for you. I started with the basic store and then went to premium as my store grew.
While having an ebay store does cost money, it will likely cost you more to pay the listing fees outside of having a store. It all depends on how many items you have listed. See their chart to help you decide which store subscription makes sense and when you should upgrade.
Other perks of having an ebay store that I find really useful are: markdown manager (i.e. allows you to create sales) and quarterly ebay shipping supplies voucher.
3. Sourcing items weekly
This goes in hand with your revenue and listing goals. In order to meet those, you’ll have to source quality items regularly. What this often looks like is going to thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales, etc multiple times a week to find new inventory for your ebay store. Some sellers will buy items in bulk, like pallet returns, but most of the time it’s just buying individual items.
4. Working with systems
If you’re running a business, then you’ve got to treat it like one even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes because reselling on ebay can be a lot of fun. (Where did we get this thought that work can’t be fun?)
As a store, you have inventory to manage. You’re buying new items that need to be processed (aka cleaned, prepped in some way), photographed, listed and then shipped when they sell.
All of these steps require systems. Even though you’re selling used items on the internet, you’re still a retail store and retail stores have systems in place to help them run efficiently.
Think of a place like Walmart. They know exactly where their items are, how many they have, what they paid for them, and when they should order more. If they sell items on their website, those items are in a specific location that is labeled so they can easily find it and ship it out.
As an ebay reseller, you should do the same. You can fumble your way through it without having systems in place but that will only last for a little bit.
Trust me. I’ve made that mistake.
Without systems, you’ll waste tons of time and constantly lose items because you can’t remember where you stored it. Business is better when you’ve got systems in place.
5. Constantly learning how to improve
Once you know how to resell on ebay, this is just the beginning. From here, you’re going to have to be willing to constantly improve your business.
An important area you’ll want to be improving is your knowledge of what’s selling and what’s not.
You can do this by doing research on ebay to see what’s selling or you can follow other resellers on Youtube and Instagram to see what they’re selling. As your business grows, pay attention to what’s working and what’s not in every aspect from the way you source to the way your listing process works. As a business owner, ebay resellers are constantly improving their business wherever they can.
Final ThoughtsWhile reselling on ebay may not sound like a legit business at first, it definitely can be. Resellers will spend most of their time seeking out gently used items to buy and then photographing and listings those items for sell on ebay. To really turn this into a business, ebay sellers will:
- set goals,
- open an ebay store,
- source items weekly,
- create systems in their business,
- and constantly improve.