Making money on eBay is possible if you treat it as a business. That means dedicating time not only to find things to sell, but time to list, time to do bookkeeping and time to do research. You can make some money selling on eBay, but if you want to make a lot of money, you must think of this as a business. This means setting up your account on eBay as a business account.

Business set-up

So, what does this mean, treat it like a business? The first thing you need to do is set up a bookkeeping system. You can get a ledger book or just a lined notepad, but you need to keep track of both your income and expenses. Make sure to keep your receipts. Even though you may not make over $10,000 which would generate a 1099-MISC tax form for you, you still are responsible for paying taxes on any earnings.

Another thing you need to do is keep your earnings separate from your personal money. The best way to do this is to set up a checking account for the business and have your payments sent directly to it.

What to sell

The next thing you need to decide is what you are going to sell. My suggestion is to find some things you no longer want at home and start by listing and selling them. This will give you an idea of how it works when you list an item and how to do some research. When you are researching a product to sell, check what the demand is for this product. To do that, search the product on eBay and find out how many of this product are for sell on the site. You may have to get pretty specific to find how many of your particular item is available. By this I mean if you just put in Nike sweatshirt, you’re going to get all types, hoodies, zip up, pullover, etc. If you have a hoodie, narrow it down and then see how many are available. Then go to the filter button on top right and highlight sold items and completed items and see number of results. If you divide the number sold by the number of listings, you will get a sell rate. You really want this to be over 50% to be worth listing.

Another you have to consider is what the fees are to sell on eBay. Generally, you can figure 14% on sale price. Some items such as clothing have different percentages so research on eBay before you decide to sell something to find out what the cost will be.

Listing product

Listing your product is one of the most important things you need to put some effort into. First, good photos will make a lot of difference. Make sure to show all sides of the product, photo measurements, and show any flaws. If you are up front about any problems with an item people will still buy it but will appreciate that you are honest with them. Always think good customer service.

A really good description of the product is also really important. I try to mention anything that I think people would like to know. An example would be if there is some really cool embroidery on the pockets of the jeans. Think of it as trying to sell the product to a prospective buyer and what you would like to know about it.


Next you need to decide on the price. Do you want to sell it as a fixed price or do an auction on it. You need to figure out the cost of listing, the cost of shipping and what your profit goal is. For instance, is your goal to make at least 40% profit. This is something to decide before you start listing.

Set your goals each month and then figure out how many items you need to sell to reach it. For example, if you want to make a profit of $1000 a month and your average profit is $15 per item then you would have to sell 134 items in a month. A good way to figure out profit is to figure that your profit will average about 50% of your selling price. So, in the above example, you would need to sell $2000 worth of product to get your $1000 in profit.

A few more things

List consistently. If you start getting too many listings and not enough sales, then revisit what’s not selling and research if you need to lower price, change description, etc.

Good customer service. This is one of the most important things for any business. Best practices for selling on eBay are ship on time and quicker if possible. If you set up that you ship within 3 days but can get it out next day, then the customer will be pleasantly surprised. Check messages at least once a day and answer questions quickly. If you don’t offer returns for your shop, but someone has a good reason to request a return, such as product was broken, then do the return. Thank customers for their purchase. Put a little note in package when you ship it or get business cards that thank them. This goes a long way for repeat business.


As you can see, if you treat your eBay store as a business, and follow good business practices, you will be able to make a profit selling on eBay. Just keep in mind that it probably won’t happen right away just because of some of the start-up costs you’ll incur such as shipping materials. But that’s with any business. You must be consistent and dedicated to this “job” and you’ll be making money soon! We hope to help everyone out there that wants to make money reselling and these are some basic tips to get you started. For more on reselling adventures, click here:

By Greg and Peggy

We are two people who love to go thrifting and then resell to people at great prices! We hope our blogs and videos help you to start or improve your reselling business!

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