Author Topic: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?  (Read 2718 times)

mousebandit

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 316
Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:04:49 PM »
is anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle income?  I used to sell on there regularly, but they made a lot of changes a few years ago, and I just faded away.  Then amazon stores seemed to come up, and etsy, and I haven't paid much attention to ebay in ages.

Wondering how it's going these days, and if it's worth getting back into. 

Thanks! 

MouseBAndit

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2016, 06:16:29 AM »
ebay takes way too much in fees i buy and sell on CL much easier and really easy to find people selling good things cheap and then resell for more. 

mousebandit

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 316
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2016, 11:00:50 AM »
That's how I was feeling when we quit messing with it, but now that we're living so far out (40 miles from nowhere, LOL), craigslist isn't a great option for us for selling. 

Thanks!
MouseBandit

Tris Prior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2791
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2016, 11:17:29 AM »
Oh man.... I remember when I used to sell on ebay in the late 90s/early 2000s. You could list ANYTHING on there and people would buy it. At the time I worked a job where we'd receive review copies of books, that we were allowed to keep. I'd flip those on ebay all the time. Made a couple grand one year just doing that.

I once put up some brass candlesticks from Pier 1 that we'd received as an unwanted wedding gift and they set off a bidding war and sold for something like $125 (retail was WAY less than that; probably around $30 for the pair). I remember making my (now ex) husband come over and read the listing to tell me what I had misrepresented in order to make the bids go that high! Nothing; people just got excited about the thrill of the chase, and the ultimate winner was very happy with her purchase.

Those were the days. Now, the fees are insane and the policies are very much stacked in favor of the buyer, so it's easy to be scammed if you're a seller. I haven't put anything up there in a couple of years because it's just not worth it any more.

Mother Fussbudget

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 828
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Indianapolis, IN
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2016, 02:58:01 PM »
I'll echo previous responses.  I sold mostly DVD's on eBay back-in-the-day.  Today I mostly use CL, or sell on Amazon.  Local and unique items, all on CL.  For Amazon, I've been shipping to their storage facilities, and having Amazon ship directly to the customer.  I look for medium to high volume items that can stand a moderate markup - ex:  Zatarain's New Orleans style boxed rice products are $1.54 locally, and sell for upwards of $4 on Amazon.  But I don't do this on a regular basis.

abiteveryday

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 130
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2016, 03:09:20 PM »
I have sold a bunch on eBay more recently, though not in a few months for outside reasons.    I found that i could make a pretty low effort couple thousand dollars a quarter flipping stuff found in thrift stores.    There are scammers out there, but I find that by avoiding categories disproportionately likely to have the buyer be a 19yo male* (video games, beats headphones, laptops) I mostly avoid problems there.    Anything I'm worried about being scammed on I just sell locally, with the understanding i might not get as much for it, but once I have cash in hand I can stop worrying.

*I know, stereotypes are bad.   You go ahead and sell those items, I'll just be content to miss out.

mousebandit

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 316
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2016, 04:08:58 PM »
Hmmm, maybe I will check it out and re-familiarize myself with the rules and fees.  I used to sell used homeschool curriculums on there, and we did very well with that for a few years.  Not sure what my products would be, but I love buying low / selling high, LOL! 

MouseBandit

Cwadda

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2182
  • Age: 25
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2016, 04:45:43 PM »
I've been doing Amazon for the past year. Am currently working on a selling guide. There are fees but I think they're worth it for the sheer ease. I've sold 45 items and haven't had a single return or scam.

rocklebock

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 247
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2016, 04:49:49 PM »
I do. It works well for me, but you have to have a strategy because it is a lot of work, and expenses are higher than I think most people account for, so it's easy to make almost $0 even if your sales say you're making hundreds or thousands of dollars. I also started in the early 2000s when you could basically sell pocket lint and make money. It's totally different now, and I just expect change to be a constant.

I did Etsy for a while - I like it, and I think it works well for certain types of things, but it's A LOT lower traffic. I get more views on Ebay in one day than I get on Etsy in a whole month.

I don't know much about selling on Amazon, but the Scavengerlife podcast people started doing Amazon in addition to Ebay, and they have good comparisons of the two.

Gondolin

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 571
  • Location: Northern VA
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2016, 05:04:54 PM »
Ditto on what previous posters have said. Back in 2010-2012 (which is not even the "wild West" days) I was doing ~1.5k a year in small items. However, fees crept up and eBay as continued to cater to both the buyer and large scale selling operations it became less lucrative and more annoying.

I stopped listing the week that 3/5 buyers demanded a refund despite the no refund policy. They all opened arbitration tickets with rationales like "i didn't liek it". Despite my considerably more eloquent pleas eBay ruled in their favor for each case and auto refunded them out of my PayPal. 2 items I got back, 1 went missing. Really, I wanted none of these items. All were <$15 so the time spent missing around with the returns was not worth the effort even if I had won.

21runner

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 99
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Nashville
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2016, 12:57:04 PM »
I've made around $1,500.00 after fees and shipping over the last year by selling some of my old things on Ebay. The high fees are very annoying though. And also the fact that I have to open unpaid item cases much more often than I would like.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1681
  • Location: SE PA
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2016, 01:13:16 PM »
The fees are high-ish, but it is way easier for me to list something on ebay than it is to post of fb or craigslist and have to field responses and arrange meets.  So for anything that can be shipped easily, I will still use ebay.  For bulky things, I'll use a local fb yard sale site.

I don't think the fees are horrible, though- ebay takes 10%, paypal takes $0.30 + 2.9%.  I just have to make sure I charge enough for shipping, and I'm usually happy enough with my take.

I just sell random stuff I'm getting rid of, it isn't a "real" side hustle where I work to procure inventory to sell.  Most of the time.

BrickByBrick

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 118
Re: Anyone doing E-Bay for side hustle?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2016, 10:09:49 PM »
I've found it to be worthwhile so long as you stick to a general strategy.  I go to a lot of thrift stores/flea markets/etc.  I figured since I'm going to go to them anyway looking for cheap alternatives to retail products I need/want, I might as well keep an eye out for things that I can turn a profit on.  The more I've done it the more I've refined my strategy and found out some things:

1) I tend to stick to vintage/unique items.  Reasons: because they are vintage/unique people tend to expect or not notice flaws on these items, because it is understood they are secondhand and old...so I get few requests for returns/refunds.  I just try to be as honest as possible on the listing.  Despite being vintage there tends to be enough of a sales history on ebay on similar items that it's easy to copy similar listings (other people have already done the research).  At the same time, they tend to not be common enough that if that right person stumbles across your listing they'll buy it.

2) Take care listing anything related to electronics, as well as popular collectibles.  That's where the scammers seem to focus.  More than anything else its other ebay sellers using disposable ebay accounts to 'purchase' or otherwise bid up (and out) the competition.  You're facing a lot of sellers who do this for a living and at least a few of them are not above such tactics.  Go into your account settings and you can block accounts with (0) feedback from bidding on your items, doesn't stop them all but it helps.

3) Do your best to streamline/automate/reduce costs.  For example, as soon as I get an item I want to sell on ebay I take photos of it on my phone and it immediately forwards them to my email.  I set a side a few hours post-yard sales to research, list, and allocate a box/padded envelope for the item.  Whenever a bid is placed (if using an auction) I go ahead and pack up the item.  I bought printer labels in bulk (for roughly $0.02 per label) so that I don't have to print/cut/tape shipping labels.  I've bought most of my supplies from ebay itself (scale, labels, packing tape - also in bulk).  You should be able to find/get plenty of boxes for free (re-use Amazon boxes, Priority boxes from the USPS if your shipping priority anyway).  The most annoying thing for me is trying to find enough packing fill (bubblewrap, peanuts, etc.) for free or nearly free.  Try not to spend too much of your valuable time on any of these activities.  I've recently begun incorporating a $1 shipping charge on all my items to make sure I'm getting my shipping supplies paid for by the buyer - it's small enough that I haven't had any complaints yet.

4) If you get a message stating that the item is broken, immediately ask for them to send a picture (ebay makes it easy to attach a photo to internal messages) to verify.  If you get a message stating that the item is missing pieces/components/etc. upon their receiving it and they are demanding a refund, ask if they would be willing to return the "defective" item.  It's perfectly reasonable for you to request even a "defective" item back before sending them a refund.  In my experience this eliminates more than half of the refund requests (I state I don't accept returns btw), as I assume they are trying to scam me.  If I do get a picture of a broken item, or a return of a defective item, I refund them.  The point is to weed out scammers.

5) Smalls are your friend.  Whenever possible, look for profitable items that are physically small.  Small items just make everything easier.

6) If you sell something very expensive (with a huge profit to you), you may want to cough up the money to ship UPS.  The majority of the time USPS works but if they lose something, even if its insured, they don't give a flying **** about you or the buyers insurance claim.  The buyer isn't going to bother with that and will demand a refund.  So far it's been far easier to just eat it and give the refund.


I know ebay does seem to be going down hill for small sellers.  Fees are increasing and ebay tends to assume the seller is guilty of crimes against humanity, but so far, as a side hustle, it has worked out.  I have not given Amazon a try yet for selling but plan to soon.  I think the key is just to find ways to reduce your time commitment to selling, so as to maximize your $/hr and making the hassle worth your while.

For anyone who sources from yard sales/flea markets like I do, one additional thing I do is also buy items that I can flip at more upscale flea markets but are otherwise not good enough (low margin) for ebay.  Ex: buy an interesting picture/art piece for $1 and sell for $5.  Once I get a shed full of these items I go to a local big/huge flea market on a Saturday morning and sell nearly everything.  By my rough estimates it pays for my COGS.

*Edited to add that anything you don't sell or turns out to be crap - just donate to Goodwill and take the writeoff.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 10:17:49 PM by BrickByBrick »