calling all ebay store owners and sellers need your input

hey guys looking for a little bit of insight, for a while now i’ve been thinking of getting all of my necessary permits and papers to be able to do business online through ebay but i’ve always kind of pushed it to the side. I’m a machinist at my day job and we switched inventory systems which caused all sorts of problems so we went on basically unlimited overtime and it was great since i’ve been making the push to clear whatever consumer debt i have left off, i had the ball rolling really well until just last week OT ended and with that it re ignited the idea of starting the ebay store. so here i sit wondering is this a stupid idea due to the fact that i will be starting with very little and will most likely be selling low profit margin items until i’m able to invest more money once cash flow frees up? ultimately i want this to work an an alternate source of income to continue helping pay off my debt and carry through to build wealth and help me buy some shop space and machinery and start my own machine shop down the road. im excited to give it a try but i just dont want to be that guy who end up being worse off because i jumped in guns blazing and not slowing down to think things through!

Start slow like 20 items and let it take you where it will. You’ll learn a lot and find the best path for you.
Good luck with it as well as your dream to own your own machinist shop:)

I’ve heard that’s a great strategy! :stuck_out_tongue:

thank you, i appreciate it! ok i can definitely do, i was just kind of nervous that might not have been a good idea, i see all of these stores with pages upon pages of product (although i know they’ve most likely been selling for quite a while) it just made me wonder if that was a justifiable way to start or if i should have waited until i had more to make it more worth while.

I know a warehouse in vegas where we can hit for good items.

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Are you asking if you should get a subscription for one of eBay’s stores? If so, no. Not if you’re selling at a low volume and low priced items. You can sell on eBay without the subscription.

I like @garyis2000’s advice on starting slow. I’ll throw in the advice I got from Rusty when I was starting; don’t be afraid to price your items for what you want to sell for and not what the market goes for.

If you’re only selling what you have, you won’t lose any money, unless you’re not calculating your fees/shipping charges properly. If you’re looking to buy and sell, it’s a lot more challenging, but if you’re confident that you understand the market it’s doable. Good luck in whatever choice you make.

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That’s great to know! Thanks for the heads up because i very well may have gotten the sub for the store if i didn’t know otherwise. ill be sure to hold off until i get bigger! and you would be correct in assuming that for right now it will be things of my own (mainly pokemon cards), although i do have enough in my budget to be able to spend some money during the month to source more items, my idea was to maybe start scouring local flea markets, discount stores etc for things that i have the most knowledge of. you speak of calculating charges and expenses and what not, do you have any advice on keeping tabs of income/expenses? should i maybe think of some sort of software or with starting small would just keeping a running list of receipts be sufficient?

You can use a simple spreadsheet, some basic formulas that can be learned in a beginners tutorial would be sufficient. If you want to get more advanced software you can. I’ve never gone past my spreadsheet system though.

awesome! thanks for the advice!

Very good advice.

I’m just getting started myself. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m not really running a business though, just parting with extra stuff that’s not part of my collection and whatnot

OP, the first step will be building a reputation on ebay. That will take a little while so start slow as others have stated. There’s no need to stockpile a year’s worth of inventory. I’m assuming you never sold there, but what’s your feedback?

Also if you don’t go for high volume, you need a healthy margin on items you sell. Don’t buy anything you can’t move for double what you paid, except if you decide to sell higher end items.

If you sell high volume, it’s a different story. Some sellers are ok with razor thin margins, but they move so much product that even $1 or less adds up nicely.

Good luck. :blush:

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Set a budget as with anything else. Put $1,000 in a paypal account and use that as a seed. ($1,000 can be $100 or $100,000, any amount really, whatever you have and are willing to invest in to your side business).

As you buy it goes down. As you sell it goes back up. All business expenses are paid out of it. You can only buy things that you have the balance for. This keeps you from charging credit cards and sinking more and more into inventory and never catching up making any money. It keeps you from improperly accounting for fees or anything silly and from actually losing money when you think you are making money. See where you are at after a couple months and again at a year. See how you like it all. This is how I started back in high school. Actually my seed money was generated at the time selling old video games and other junk I didn’t use anymore. I’ve worked this way for most of my time on eBay. I’ve never really taken a salary from it because I have been lucky to not need it, but I have also only a few times put a small amount more money into it. I haven’t profited in cash per se but most of my inventory was acquired at no cost to me more than my time accumulated working on this since high school. (thousands of hours)


Unless you have hundreds of higher valued items, I wouldn’t use an Ebay shop.
The regular Ebay listings will do just fine.

Start slow, get comfortable dealing with money and get to know the market. I started buying small lots of maybe 50-100 dollar when I first started. I turned that 100 dollar in maybe 150 dollar and made quite a few deals in these price ranges. When I felt confident enough about the market I started doing higher numbers and even increasing my profit margins on most cards and deals.

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This handy tool can help you down the line as you grow in sales to estimate when it makes a good idea to obtain a store subscription and further when it makes a good idea to increase the tier level of your store. As others have said start without a store and use up all the promotional listings you get. It really doesn’t make sense to have a store until you are listing 100 plus items a month and/or are selling $2.5k+ individual items. One of the largest benefits for an eBay store is that at high end sales your FVF is capped at $250 instead of $750.

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I’m not sure if all store levels get the same amount but I get $50 per quarter to spend on shipping supplies. It is all eBay branded shipping supplies but I haven’t had to buy bubble mailers since they started this. I get 200 per quarter and they are the nice poly ones. For this reason alone isn’t enough to justify having a store but it is definitely a nice perk eBay added.


Here are some pointers that may help you out!

  1. I am assuming you’re residing in the United States, because be very aware of shipping costs when shipping to other countries. Remember that you must ship with tracking or else buyers will always win if they send a request for delivery not received. You can take risks and ship letter mail for low cost products, as it will cost less in the long run, but that is a risk-reward situation.

  2. Gain some feedback first, especially if you are selling expensive items. Selling expensive items with very low feedback increases your chances of scammers, have less people interested in your listing and ebay will prioritize you less.

  3. Make sure this is worth your time. Remember that it takes a lot of time to manage your business finances, time to list and post products, time to package product, and time to ship the product. All these take a while, and if your margins are razor thin this may not be worth your spare time. Don’t forget also that ebay is sort of a hybrid of a variable and fixed cost model, the more you sell, the more time you are spending and eventually you cannot do this all by yourself if you plan to sell in terms of economies of scale. I.e., don’t buy like 1000 products and try to move them all as soon as possible. Take things slowly so you do not get overwhelmed.

  4. Not sure if it’s relevant, but there’s a delay between Paypal funds and funds depositing in your account. Do not expect to have the paypal money instantly teleport to your main bank account so that you can pay off your loans/credit cards. It takes a while, which may be important to you in the future.

5.Just because someone bought the item, does not mean they will pay for it. They may ask you to cancel a transaction.

  1. Even if you think the buyer is BSing, at the beginning, you cannot really take a negative feedback hit. Think about it; do you buy from an ebayer less than 97-100%? Probably not. Even if 1 transaction goes bad out of 40, your rating drops to 97.5% at that point, some buyers may be wary at purchasing your products.

  2. Don’t forget to calculate ebay fees, paypal fees, shipping cost, packaging cost, product cost, gas cost and your time value cost!

8.Sell locally first before taking care of international customers. You may minimize your customer base, but international orders are more challenging to handle due to increase likelihood of scammers and packages being lost in transit.

  1. Try to minimize your variety and specialize in category. What I did when I was in my teens is that I specialized in Yugioh cards and understood the meta, so I can predict beforehand the cards value and buy and sold accordingly. Cards that may be worth 30$ last week can jump to $80 due to playability, so it was easy money as a teen.

  2. Try shipping smaller stuff. The bigger the item, the more of a pain to ship and the increase in costs. Smaller = easier = better = higher margins


Holy cow I just wanna thank you all for all of the amazing info! Not only is this a huge help but you guys are really getting me excited to start selling!

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Don’t worry I’ll be using you guys a lot as I start my venture!

I have in fact sold on ebay, that is part of the reason figured I might try getting serious with it to actually profit because I realized how easy it makes selling things! I havnt sold alot but so far I do maintain a 100% feedback rating! I notice the common theme you guys all illude to is start slow and that’s what I’ll definitely stick to. I’ll just continue to do it as I have been an just slowly sell more as I feel I can achieve while keeping everything balanced!

I really like this idea and I think it’s gonna be the route I go as a way to keep my buying/selling in check. I also think I may start fresh with new ebay account to keep it separate from my person account. Or should I just continue using the account I have since I do atleast have some established feedback?

I really like this idea and I think it’s gonna be the route I go as a way to keep my buying/selling in check. I also think I may start fresh with new ebay account to keep it separate from my person account. Or should I just continue using the account I have since I do atleast have some established feedback?