You can still make money on auction sites – here’s how

If you are looking to make some extra cash you could do worse than trying to sell some things on online auction sites like eBay or other online selling sites like Gumtree. You might think these sites are only for shifting your old or unwanted items, but there are many people out there who run online stores, or supplement their main income by selling new items on the site.

You don’t need to have warehouses full of stock and you also don’t need to pack in your full-time job to make this work – you just need to know what sells well and do the classic ‘buy cheap, sell high’ trick.

Here are some tips to get you started.

Buy cheap

Finding items to sell may be tricky but the best pieces of advice are

  • Find your niche
  • Buy in cheap

Selling online is the same with any business, reduce your overheads and sell your items and the best price possible to maximise your profits. Finding good items to sell on for a profit is not a difficult as it may seem. You could even use the same platform that you are using to sell on. So if you are choosing to go down the eBay route (which is a great place to start, there are over 162 million users worldwide), there are several tricks you can use to find the cheapest items:

  • Check for misspelled words or even the American spellings for words (‘color’ instead of ‘colour’). These items tend to have fewer bids, as people cannot find them!
  • Check the delivery charges, this could drive up the total price.
  • Shop around – don’t assume eBay is the cheapest place to buy. Check other auction sites like eBid.
  • Buy brand new – these command a higher price when you come to sell.

Sell high

So now you’ve got your bargainous stock in, you have to go ahead and sell it for a pretty penny.

  • Do some research – what have other similar items sold for? What keywords are used frequently?
  • Make sure your description is thorough – list exactly what the item is, say if it’s new in the original box and describe its general condition.
  • Think carefully about the list price – things with a high starting price don’t necessarily sell well (depending on the item).
  • Consider the time you want the auction to end. Try and make your auction end in the evenings or on the weekend so that people are at home and can get their final bids in. Sunday afternoon and Monday evenings tend to be the best time.
  • Have good, clear pictures. Try to make sure you have high quality pictures on a clear, clean, unfussy background.
  • Think like the buyer: Use words in the title that they would search for.

The absolute do’s and don’ts

Whilst there are not certainties that you will make your fortune via online selling, remembering these final tips might just make the difference between your item selling at top whack versus having to re-list it for the third or fourth time!

Do –

  • Be honest in your description and if there is any damage say so. You don’t want to have any buyer disputes.
  • Use Paypal – it offers you a safe way to receive payments.
  • Check your listing for typos, and that it’s in the right category.

Don’t –

  • Be tempted to overcharge for postage. It puts your buyers off.
  • Don’t use low-resolution photographs, and check your background is clean.
  • Don’t use a reserve fee (unless you really have to) – it frustrates your buyers.

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