Buy Low, Sell High (if you Can)

I have been selling on eBay since 1999. Folks have purchased more than a thousand vintage devices from me. It has been a nice source of extra income and fun for me. I get to find, restore, enjoy and then resell some great old gear. I have also lost my shirt on some things.

If you just want to have fun, and money is not a factor, eBay can be a wonderland. So is Las Vegas. You need to realize that eBay can be just like Vegas without the free drinks.

If you want to sell on eBay but need to keep your finances in order, here are some hard-learned lessons:

  • Buy and resell only items that you know and like. Know their audience as well.
  • Know the real value of items you plan to sell. Just because another seller offers something for $100 doesn't mean you can get that much for a similar item. Check the actual SOLD listings rather than basing prices on Active and Ended listings. Also, sometimes items that have sold are never paid for. So, that $100 radio might have sold, and found itself back on the market, eventually selling for less.
  • Condition is everything for many collectors, so if you buy things to restore and resell, be sure the problems with an item can be resolved. If you are handy, it's easy to recap a radio. But repairing a radio case with a huge missing plastic chunk or deeply scratched dial face might be another matter.
  • Run a mix of auctions and Buy it Now listings. The auctions drive traffic to your Buy it Now items. The right Buy it Now items can be your bread and butter.
  • Consider a store like Childhoodradio store. It's costly, but helps buyers find what they want if you organize the store into helpful categories.
  • Be sure you understand all of the fees that you will pay. They can be in the neighborhood of 25-50% of an item's selling price when you include listing fees, final value fees, promotional fees, PayPal fees, postage (if you offer free shipping), and much more!
  • Keep good records. You will find that eBay intentionally makes this difficult to do. Some of the reports you can download disappear after 90-days, for example.
  • Learn how to pack and ship safely, quickly and economically. Read the many tips you canGoogle.
  • Cherish your reputation. Strive for 100% positive feedback. Get it by shipping promptly,. Don't gouge buyers on shipping costs. Reveal flaws in photos and in descriptions. Give fair, honest feedback about buyers who were have done their part to make eBay fun and profitable.
  • The buyer is always right, at least in eBay's eyes. Expect to eat a few sales and shipping dollars thanks to picky or even dishonest buyers. You will find that the odds are stacked against sellers when a dispute occurs. And they do happen.


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