How to make extra money selling on eBay

Almost everyone wants two things – to get rid of their clutter and to make more money. Here are some quick tips to sell your unwanted items online, and scale up your selling into a business.

Most people have heard of eBay, and you may have bought something or sold on their marketplace already. For those that don’t know, eBay is an online auction and marketplace where you can list both new and used items to sell. You can sell them at a flat ‘buy now’ price, or put it up for auction and see what people are willing to spend on the item.

The great thing is anyone can use eBay, and with a little bit of knowledge, make some extra money on the side with a minimal starting budget – around £30 is all you need to get started.

To get started selling on eBay you need:

  • An eBay account.
  • A PayPal account.
  • Some start-up funds (£30-£75 is fine to begin with).
  • A few hours a week.

Build your eBay ratings

An important feature of selling on eBay is their feedback system. When you buy and sell goods, you can rate the other person in the transaction. Having good feedback is vital to validate what you’re selling, and encourage people to buy from you.

To get your feedback up to around ten good reviews, you can start by selling some small items from your house for just a few pounds. These will sell more easily if the price is low, and you’re just using them as a way to get your feedback to a good starting point.

The easiest way to get this done is by buying some cheap stuff on eBay in the first place. We’re talking about 99p items with free shipping. Just make 5-10 purchases and get your first 5-10 reviews. Make sure to send the item off in good time and take care of any customer questions quickly and professionally.

Start selling your unwanted clothes

You can now start moving up to selling goods that are worth more money. A great place to start is with clothes you don’t wear anymore.

Most people have beautiful pieces of clothing they’ve only worn once or twice, or haven’t worn in months or even years. Your cast-offs could well be just what someone else is looking for.

To help increase their desirability, makes sure you take good pictures – the more professional they look, the better. Here are some tips to help you take professional-looking photos with basic equipment:

  • Prepare your clothes – make sure your clothes are clean and ironed. If they’re bobbled, use a de-piller.
  • Choose your background – find a plain background to take your photos against (ideally a neutral wall).
  • Find your angle – take your photos straight on. If you have a small tripod for your camera or phone, use that.
  • Consider your lighting – natural daylight from a window is a perfectly adequate light. Or you can invest in a cheap lighting kit.
  • Prepare your clothes – if you have a mannequin dress your clothing on that so people can visualise themselves wearing it. If you don’t have a mannequin, ask a friend to model them and take photos from the shoulder down.
  • Take different angles – photograph your item from every angle.
  • Crop your photos – crop all your photos after taking them so they look similar.

Take your eBay business to the next level

For many people this will be enough. You’ll earn extra cash and have less clutter in your house. But if you want to take your eBay selling to the next level, you can start looking for wholesalers to buy items in bulk, and then sell for a profit.

You can get almost anything wholesalers these days. As an example, you can look at wholesale bandanas for everyone for wholesale hats and bandanas. The trick is to find an item that’s already selling, and that you know you can sell for a profit once you’ve taken postage and shipping fees off.

This guide explains how to find products and sell them for a profit in detail.

Shipping tips

Once you’ve sold your item, try to send it off to its new owner within 24 hours to help boost your rating from them. And remember to package it properly to protect it, and so it looks professional when your buyer receives it.

The guide we link to above recommends using free shipping to help your items rank higher in eBay’s search results.

Photo by Bundo Kim