What do you sell on e-bay?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by paulat333, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. paulat333

    paulat333 Member

    Oct 21, 2004
    I was just reading the thread regarding making an income on 10 acres and a couple of people mentioned they sell on e-bay or have e-bay stores. I'm just wondering what kinds of things people here sell on e-bay? Do you buy items and resell or crafts that you make? I do knit and crochet and I wonder if there's potential to make some extra pocket money selling hand-knit items on e-bay. With kids and currently working full-time, I don't have the time to do craft fairs on weekends, so I'm wondering if this is a viable alternative.

  2. motivated

    motivated Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2004
    In considering a move in the future, we decided to sell some of my "extra" books on ebay. They are easy and not difficult to package. The customers bid on a book and they pay for media mail or priority mail. I also charge 1.50 per book for handling (the envelopes cost about .35 each and I have to drive to the post office). In the past month I sold about $200 of books mainly 1-5 dollars each.
    I would recommend getting a pay pal account. I am thinking about branching out and selling other household items that we do not need anymore, just wanted to start out slow and see how it went first. You can check out the type of items you want to sell and see what they are going for before you sign up.
    Good luck.

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    Don't sell on ebay (not yet anyhow), but I wanted to say something about knit and crochet items. I know some ladies that do beautiful work, BUT, they will NOT use anything but the cheap acrylic yarn and so they can barely give away their work. They have done a steady round of craft shows and are lucky to recoop costs. So if you (or anybody else) are going to do needle craft, do use the best quality materials so you can obtain a price high enough to pay for your labor.
  4. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

    Aug 25, 2002
    Southern Ontario CANADA
    Although I only do it a few times a year... I sell industrial type stuff from local auctions. Machine tools, specialty tools, excess stock, etc. Stuff small enough to ship and with values high enough that they're worth my time.

  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    May 11, 2002
    I primarily sell blacksmithing-related tools I make. However, I also buy for resale when the opportunity presents itself. For example, I bought about a dozen assorted hammer heads without handles, put in a $.65 flea market handle and resold them for about three times what I paid. I also look for mistake auctions where they have spelled something wrong (e.g., black smith vs blacksmith*) and thus it doesn't draw what it should. Have bought some items simply because I knew what they were (lister didn't) and resold them for what they were. I have bought collections and reoffered them as individual items. I have purchased stock/material for my shop use and offer some of it on eBay at 2X my cost and sell it.

    *Do a search on dymond sometime.

    I paid $2.00 for an old pressure canner at a thrift store and sold it for $6.50. After eBay/PayPal expenses I cleared about $5.00. Not much, but a little here and a little there adds up. I use the analogy: Start with $1.00 and do something to double it in one day. Put the $1.00 profit in the bank and use the same $1.00 the second day, etc. each day earning $1.00 profit on your $1.00 investment. What is the return on investment of $365/$1 in one year?

    I no longer go to estate auctions looking for eBay material as just about everyone seems to be doing so now and the prices have really been driven up beyond reason.

    When I buy for resale I use a 100% markup criteria. If I don't reasonably expect to be able to fairly quickly resell it for twice or more what I paid, then I let it go. My doing better than 100% far outnumber the dogs.

    Do a search on eBay to see what homemade knitted products sell for.

    Use your imagination. Say you specialize in school uniform skirts in a particular pattern and can undersell retail stores even when shipping cost is considered.

    Ken Scharabok
  6. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 29, 2004
    I sell police shoulder patches, which thousands of people collect. I have a supplier that sells them at a fixed price and I try to get double what I pay. The buyer pays the S&H, which covers most of the listing fees, electronic payment fees, supplies and postage.

    I have done better in past years, but this year with all my expenses (inventory, internet fees, other fees, taxes, etc,) and with a conservative estimate that I am spending about two hours a day online, I estimate I made an average of about $1.66, an hour.

    Two ways to look at this. One, it's a horrible waste of time! Two, if I wasn't doing this, I would probably be online anyway without making any cash!

    The biggest concerns I see with selling on eBay are 1) finding things are in demand, and 2) the hassle with packaging and sending the items, and 3) doing it all at a price and time spent where you can actually turn a profit that's worth your while.
  7. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

    Aug 28, 2004
    NC Arkansas
    In my efforts to downsize over the last two years, I have sold anything you can imagine... from an army cookstove, to books, to southwestern motif stuff from my former southwestern room. Almost everything I've listed has sold. It's true that one man's trash is another man's treasure!
  8. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 6, 2003
    DH sells motorcycle parts, but only dabbles in it. Our friend is able to keep his voracious motorcycle lust paid for by eBaying! We also sell stuff leftover from Jeep rebuilds, welding projects, cool stuff we find at flea markets or garage sales.

    Things that I've noticed DON'T sell all that great are some collectibles: For instance, the times I've checked, I have not seen Precious Moments get anywhere near collector book value. But we can sell old GI Joes for an obscene amount of money.

    Like Ken said, you can glean some great items by looking for misspellllings <G> or poorly categorized materials. And some folk do not know the value of their items: DH bought a collectible motorcycle gas tank from a fellow who thought it was just a basic peanut tank. Turned around and traded it for some seriously good parts and some tools.

    Best deal I've ever done on eBay was selling some Jeepster hubcaps I picked up for dirt cheap at a motorcycle swap: cleaned 'em up with good ol' Flitz, posted 'em, and got three times my initial investment. :)

    If you're going to sell books, however, I recommend Amazon. You don't pay any fees unless you sell, and you can leave the books up there for 60 days.
  9. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2003
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    I sell general salvage.

    I havent dug up anything lately... my sister (she has different ID's for different type so stuff I dont know why she says its a marketing method and she seems to be always shipping stuff somewhere so she might be on to something).

    that reminds me I have some stuff i should list...
    maybe tomorrow.
  10. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

    Nov 15, 2004
    Upstate NY
    My favorite subject! Ebay! I sold a SunMar composting toilet that I bought five years ago, used, for $200. We used it for five years and I listed it on eBay for $99.99 in an auction, and it went for $493.00 and no shipping charges, as I listed it as a pick up only! I now have an eBay store and that is how we live. Some days I sell over $100. and some days more and some less. I haven't bought anything yet to sell. I am trying to clean out our house of all that extra stuff that we don't use or need anymore. If you spend time writing your copy to attract the buyer your items should sell. I have sold a Janis Joplin paperback book that was worn looking for $31. and a motorcycle magazine $22.50. It's amazing the way things sell on there. My husband says "it's a pay day every day" and it is, usually.
  11. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    I spent several months selling children's books on ebay. I picked them up and library sales and yard sales- it's amazing what you can find for a quarter when people don't know what they have!

    If you want to sell on ebay, (as others have said) do your research! I second what Cyngbaeld said about using quality yarn if you're going to make knitted or crocheted items to sell. It makes a huge difference in your final selling price (and often, even IF your item will sell at all) if you can put "handmade with quality 100% merino wool" or something like that on your item listing, than if you just put "handmade".

    I have some friends who make a living selling all sorts of big-ticket items on ebay... from lundenberger (sp? lol!) baskets to exercise equipment. I sold a metal detector on there once. It can be done, and if you get yourself really organized, it doesn't have to take a WhOLE lot of extra time.
  12. countrygurl

    countrygurl Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    southwest mississippi
    saw your post on ebay selling in general chat, i am looking for a scale master classic .
    if you have one for sale email me countrygurl601@aol.com
  13. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

    Sep 22, 2004
    I buy deer antlers that noone seems to want. You know the little small spikes fork horns etc etc. It all started one day when I was looking for hunting related items on ebay and noticed small antlers selling like crazy. I had about twenty or so small racks I had from earlier harvested deer from my farm. The lowest price I got was for a set of spike antlers. They were about 4 inchs long and I got 11 bucks for them. The highest was for a medium sized 9 point that went for 121 bucks!!! I was hooked then right there lol. I had overlooked the craft makers needs for antlers for knife handles, chandoliers etc etc. Most of the time I get the small racks for free from a local processing place. My largest sale to date was for a old mount that was in desperate need of a cleaning. It was about thrity years old and was a nice 12 pointer. I bought it for 35 dollars at an estate sale and it was listed for 7 days. On the seventh day the bidding was still going strong and it closed at 505 dollars!!! I sometimes wonder what it would have pulled if I had listed it longer. I wont say just how much I make but lets just say I can usually make enough without trying too hard that will pay for at least two guided hunts that require a float plane and all the supplies needed to do same.

    Another big seller seems to be old collars harness etc.
  14. amarillo

    amarillo Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    I have no idea how selling on ebay works. Are there safeguards in place so that no one gets cheated for an item they are selling?

    I have a Voightlander camera with various 28mm and 35mm lenses. I also have some estate jewelry that I will be getting soon that I would like to sell.

    How much does ebay end up getting and how does a paypal account work?
  15. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    May 11, 2002
    Between eBay and PayPal expect to pay about 10% in listing fees and commissions. More on small dollar items and less on high dollar items.

    PayPal is an electronic funds transfer system. You have an account, much like a checking account, and can have payments made to it or send money to others with a PayPal account. You do have to have either a checking account or credit card though.

    eBay and PayPal do make an effort to put in safeguards. However, they do millions of transactions a day and there are always those out to scam the system or others.

    Books literally have been written on eBay selling. As noted above, it is presentation, presentation, presentation.

    Also as noted above, eBay has really driven down the price of some 'collectibles' as it has so greatly increased the supply of them. Make 'price guides' look foolish when they list an item as having a value of say $500 and they are selling on eBay for say $50. eBay's complete auction searches are about the best price guide around for most items. Something is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it!

    eBay has also driven down the price of some collectibles in making it so easy to sell reproductions. Take arrowheads. I have seen estimates as high as 80% of those offered on eBay are recent reproductions.

    If you are a bidder, always take into consideration shipping and handling cost. Some sellers make their profit not on the item, but the S&H costs. My personal technique is to determine the absolute most I'm willing to pay delivered to me. I then subtract out S&H and that is my bid amount. Yesterday I lost an auction from being outbid by $.07. That's fine with me. It wasn't worth the extra $.07 to me.

    Ken Scharabok
  16. amelia

    amelia Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2003
    Washington State
    I've bought a few times on e-Bay--mostly good experiences but one really bad one. I quickly learned that e-Bay's "protections" aren't all that good. They will cover fraud three times per member lifetime, which is fine for major purchases gone bad, but when it comes to the day-to-day small stuff, you're really on your own. Even tracking down the identity of a fraudulent seller can be almost impossible, and don't count on e-Bay to assist you.

    Trying to communicate with e-Bay with regard to a problem is like trying to communicate with the Pentagon. You'll end up homicidal if you actually expect to be able to reach a human being.

    In my experience, e-Bay doesn't do much to screen out even flagrantly fraudulent sellers. I had one very negative encounter with a large video dealer which was ripping people off right and left, and despite multiple e-mails and letters from scores of disgruntled buyers, e-Bay turned a blind eye. Kind of makes you wonder.

    E-Bay's rating system can provide valuable feedback about potential buyers and sellers based upon prior transactions, but I've noticed that it takes something really egregious to cause most members to give negative feedback. Even inexcusably long delays and complete failure to respond to correspondence about problems with transactions often result in nothing worse than a "neutral." When I first started messing around with e-Bay, I assumed that a 90% positive feedback score for a seller with over 10,000 prior transactions was probably pretty good. Wrong! In my experience, feedback that shows negatives with any degree of regularity should raise a red flag.

    I was also mistaken in thinking that it was safer to do business with the "big guy" than the "mom and pop" seller. My transactions with ordinary people have been wonderful. I obviously can't say the same for the one big dealer I dealt with.

    There are other protections aside from e-Bay itself that members can avail themselves of. PayPal is just one of them. There are also outfits that (for a fee) will escrow e-Bay transactions and assure that you're getting what you paid for before the money actually changes hands. I haven't used any of these, but it's something to consider.

    I'm anxious to try selling, but the maze of rules and procedures is somewhat daunting. I'd like to find a good book on this, and would be interested if anybody has a recommendation.
  17. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

    Aug 25, 2003
    Something to think about when selling on eBay. If you do set up a Pay Pal account using a bank account (checking, debit card) get a separate bank account for this. I've heard horror stories of people having their Pay Pal accounts frozen when there's a dispute by the buyer. So if your writing checks against it, they all bounce (think bounced check fees here). I read on one forum where a women selling almost lost her home (mortgage check bounced) this was her only source of income and she had to wait for Pay Pal to straighten the mess out, meanwhile the bank was ready to foreclose. This can take months to settle a dispute. So another account is a wise move. You can always transfer your funds from the eBay selling account to your personal checking account.

    I don't know how using a credit card for setting Pay Pal account would work, probably a charge on your card in the amount of dispute.

    Something to think about.

    Here's an interesting read............ http://www.paypalsucks.com/
  18. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

    May 9, 2004
    Zone 8a, AZ
    you all have convinced me! i have purchased many many things off of ebay, so now i will bite the bullet and sell something LOL
  19. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    CraftyDive, very good advice. I have two eBay accounts for different types of sales, one for personal use, and the other for business use. I have a seperate bank account that is linked to PayPal and eBay for the paying of fees and for transactions.

    I keep a dollar or less in that bank account up until I know I am putting a transaction through. Then I log into my online banking and transfer the required funds into that bank account from my primary bank account. When I transfer funds from PayPal into that bank account, as soon as they post, I move those funds immediately to my primary bank account.

    I have also instructed the bank not to allow overdraft protection on that bank account, so any fraudulent transactions will be denied and not be processed.

    Prior to removing the overdraft protection, I had a fraudulent transaction processed, along with the associated overdraft fee. This transaction was reported of course, the transaction reversed, and the fee cancelled, but had it not been for me checking my bank account balances and transactions daily, I may not have been able to stop the fraud before it had been too late.

    This fraudulent transaction was suprisingly not eBay related, but was PayPal related. I had made a telephone purchase from a company using my PayPal debit card, to use funds that were in my PayPal account from a recent sale. Three months later an employee at that company stole customer credit card information, put through a duplicate transaction using my PayPal debit card number, using the original transaction authorization number. PayPal processed the transaction since the authorization number was valid, even though it was old and already used before.

    The funds were transferred into the company bank account where the thief thought they could make a discreet withdrawal. My quick action prevented the plan from working. I alerted the company immediately, they put a lockdown on their bank account, and tried to find the culprit via the transaction records. I don't know if they ever did, but they did say that they found there were dozens of fraudulent transactions done in the same manner within the same timeframe.

  20. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

    Aug 25, 2003

    Your better off going to the bank and withdrawing any funds for transfer in person. When you give Pay Pal the bank tracking# to transfer funds they have you by the short hairs. They can freeze that account as well if they suspect fraud (they really don't need a reason). Read your Pay Pal Agreement that you agreed to when you started your Pay Pal account. Get a magnifing glass to really get the small print read. They cover their own azz, not yours.