How to get an eBay auction off and running
There are a few things you need to do prior to getting your items ready for their auction. And as we all know, auctions make money. What a great opportunity to declutter, clear out, spring clean, recycle for future use or obtain moneys for items we no longer use.
Designate an area to set up shop: table, lighting, chair, ruler or measuring tape, boxing tape, scissors, potential boxes, packing materials (bubble wrap or paper), camera including necessary cables, and of course your computer. I used a laptop so I can take the computer to the area where I want to focus on at the time and get into my zone. Now that you have your area ready to go – let get you started.
First things first – determine what items you no longer need as a part of your life. Place these items in a space you have designated as your eBay area. This area is important to maintain and not let get over cluttered or forgotten about leading to an extra pile of unwanted clutter. To maintain the area, grab a box – something like you might use for a garage sale. In fact, you may want three boxes so you can organize someone else’s future belongings. Mark one box “eBay”, another “not sure” and the other “garage sale” – cause some items are not worth your time or energy to list on eBay, but would be great as a garage sale item. As for the “not sure” box, well to make money you need to figure out what item is worth. Perhaps, what you may think might be worth $50 is really worth $5 on eBay, so is it worth your time and energy. The item might now become an item to go into the “garage sale” box. I have to put this little side note in here – once into the garage for the “sale” – never back into your home. After a garage sale, you can still make money with the unwanted items. Can I say tax write-off, yes donate the items to salavation army or good will. Both companies should have a local store, you can get a tax form emailed to you in most places and e-file it in your tax folder for upcoming tax time. You get rid of the unwanted items and an increased refund come tax time (hence the extra money).
Research, research and research – for example I had thousands of comics I had collected over the years. How do you know what the value of these comics are valued at the moment you place your auction. You have to see what the current market will bear to make the correct decision. I had a comic book which I really had no personal value. However, I searched for the comic and low and behold I saw prices greater than what I would have expected. I immediately set the auction up and made $124 on one comic and $187 on the other thirteen in the set. Ok I give you one of my better examples but the potential is in some items you may not think about having monetary value. The flip side to this situation is having items worth close to nothing on eBay. You can either look on craiglist, place them into your “garage sell” box or take them to the local shops to sell them back – CD’s, books, and some clothes.
Ebay has a system in place to help you list your items. You can setup templates for future auctions with eBay or you can create your own template. I created my own template and would seriously recommend you do the same. A created template has a personal touch, gives the auction more feeling and more feelings bring more money. I have included our template and I welcome you to use it. You may want to change parts of it up for your own personal touch and that way when someone asks you about traveling around the world you can actually answer them with the answer you would truly answer. You have to have certain labels or tagged areas: Greetings, Auction Item, About Us, Shipping, Terms of Sale: Refunds and / or Returns (or no to both), Other auctions, Contact Us and Thank you.
Each of these areas have a purpose and you can include them or exclude them, however I have found you get the best results – higher bids and more pleasant transactions. Think about going into a local shop or vendor either in a mall or stand alone building. What might be some of the experiences you may encounter. You may be greeted – which makes me feel better already. Asked if you would like some help finding an item or about the item. If you ask, you might be given the history of the business, why they provide the service, what other shops or locations they have and where to find their other places of business. If you find what you are looking for then you have to have a way to pay and sometimes ship the items back home if you’re away from home. Most times while at the checkout counter, you will find a business card or a way to contact the seller in the future (ie receipt). And last but not least – thank you for shopping at our business. So do you have to include all these areas on your auction, of course not but I believe you will have great success. So take the template, use it, modify it, create better one and share it with us so our experience is one of your achievements.
Taking the right picture and taking lots of them will give more information and as we know information is power. Give the buyer the power to make the right decision and that’s to buy your item. eBay will allow you to upload 12 picture, take full advantage of this option. Take pictures of the top, sides, back, insides wherever the lens will take the picture. A picture is worth a thousand words, then let the pictures tell the story. Plus it gives the buyer the opportunity to feel comfortable with what you have and take possession of it and bid higher. Once you have the pictures taken, edit them by cropping the edges, rotating them so people can see the item without having to twist their heads around and if you have to retake some if not all of the pictures. Ask the question, are my pictures dark or underexposed? If yes, change you lighting to display your auction in better light. Create a lighting box or trying changing the angle of the item and then crop and square up the image later if the picture angle is off. After you have a few auctions setup and maybe hundred pictures taken you will get into rhythm and start taking better picture hence creating better auctions and yes making more money.
Now we have pictures uploaded, template in place, value of the auction determined from our research, we need to figure out shipping. You will need the correct box to insure safe shipping of the auction item. Place the item into the box with the correct packing materials – ie bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, packing paper, whatever you need or have for safe shipping with the least weight. Mark the inside lip of the box with the item and weight. Believe it or not but your auction is ready for shipping prior to you even listing it for buyers. Take the weight and size of the box and enter this information into a mailing service like UPS. I used USPS because I had a branch right down the street from me and the rates were competitive and it was easy for me to print the shipping label from home and either arrange for a pickup and just drop if off at the local branch.
At this point, you are pretty much ready to list your item. There might be a few questions like; should I list it as a buy it now? Or do we want to offer a return policy? These questions are personal preferences and once you have a few auction sold, shipped and other recreated you will have a personal feeling of what suits your needs as seller. The only thing really left to do is review your auction. By all means, please review each auction cause you never know when you are getting just a bit to fast and you have pictures showing for a listing of another item – not good. After review of the listing, place the item up for bidding and good luck to you.
Communication is a key fact in successful auctions. Respond to questions, send tracking numbers, send a thank you note to each buyer and ask for positive feedback. Positive feedback is one of the things that runs eBay, if you have great feedback the people will be more inclined to view what you have up for auction.
I truly hope with all of my heart this information has given you some direction, guidance, or motivation to start cleaning out the unwanted items you have around your home, make some money and pursue your desires. I know this system helped us make thousands of dollar, downsize the materialistic inventory of our lives and free up both time and space for our dreams. Thank you and may you have blessed success.
Give credit where credit is due:
Warren and Betsy Talbot “Getting Rid of It”
Karen Kingston “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui”
Thank you for helping me “declutter” and inspire me for greater dreams!!!