Thursday, February 4, 2010

To Ebay or not to Ebay... That is the Question

I have used Ebay occasionally over the years to purchase various items, and have had great experiences most of the time, but I've never tried selling before. I finally worked up the nerve and posted some items for sale last week. The good news is that I sold 3 items! The bad news... I didn't make very much money. I find myself wondering whether selling items on Ebay is worth it.

Not that I am trying to make a big profit, but I do want it to be at least somewhat financially worthwhile to count towards my challenge. The thought of profit helps especially when I have to go to the post office with two kids in tow. (They were very helpful and liked sliding the packages through the slot... they liked it so much they started trying to 'mail' everything in the room that wasn't nailed to the floor. Very exciting!)

The entire process of listing items on Ebay takes some getting used to. There are many decisions to make and many added features to decline so that you don't pay more for listing and shipping than you need to. I feel like I am wandering through the dark sometimes, unsure exactly what I need to do next, but ultimately I've been able to figure everything out in time. These first listings were guinea pigs; I wasn't really expecting them to do amazingly well. They did fine for practice purposes.

My hope is that I will become comfortable with the selling process so that whenever I accumulate a small pile of items to sell, I can list them without all the deliberation that I'm going through right now, and process the transactions more quickly. If I can get to this place (and make some profit!) I will be sure to let you know. Right now, I'm just not sure.

What I do know is that I am only going to sell items on Ebay when it seems to make sense. If I have an item that has particular value, is hard to find in stores (or no longer sold), is easy to ship, and is in demand for a hard-to-reach group of people who shop on Ebay, I will attempt to sell the item.

The perfect example of items that meet these criteria are our cloth diapers. Most are in nice condition, cannot be found in stores, will be easy to ship (stuff in box and go!), and I can reach a larger portion of the cloth diapering demographic on Ebay than say, at a yard sale. The yard sale would be a better location to sell, for example, a used baby toy that is available all over town. That sort of item is probably not worth shipping.

The one area that I feel like I am on top of the process for selling online is packaging!

This is my packaging material and envelope stockpile. Hopefully I'll be putting these items to good use in the new few months. I'll check in periodically and report how things are going. My decluttering/selling results for January are posted here.


Snarky Mom said...

I sold on ebay for many years and finally gave it up when it became too much of a hassle with all the rule changes and increased fees. I know that many sellers have had a lot of trouble with ebay removing their listings for used cloth diapers. The sellers get no warning, their listing is just removed and if it's not their first offense- they don't get their listing fees back. Just a heads up from a mom who has been screwed by ebay in the past. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Please post an update on the cloth diapers. I want to sell mine as well. I'm guessing they are in good but not perfect condition like mine. Regina

Michelle said...

Michelle here-
Thanks for sharing! I am intrigued by the disappearing diaper listings. I will look into it and post an update soon on my findings and experiences.