The Pros and Cons of Selling on eBay from 5 Years’ Experience
How do you know if selling on eBay is a good fit for you? Well, there are definitely some pros and cons to consider.
I’ve been selling on eBay since 2013, and I give a lot of my credit to eBay because it really allowed me to get into this online world of making money on the internet. It led me to making money with a whole bunch of different online sources. But it does have its benefits and its drawbacks.
Pro: It’s a Low Investment
I think one of the big reasons why a lot of people get into eBay is because it’s a low investment. It doesn’t take a lot of money to get started with eBay. It’s actually free for the most part, though there are some listing fees and fees when you sell something. And if you get a store it can cost you a certain amount a month. (The eBay fee structure is something that does change from time to time, so go to the eBay website for the latest on fees).
But for the most part, getting started with eBay doesn’t cost a lot of money. In fact, most people have a couple thousand dollars of inventory just lying around the house. Maybe you have a tripod or some electronic device you are not using anymore. Most people have thousands of dollars of random electronics, clothes, or shoes around the house. It’s easy to list, say, up to 30 or so items and start making a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars. So the low investment and the low capital to start this business is very attractive to a lot of people.
Pro: Anybody Can Do It
Another thing that is really attractive when it comes to getting started selling on eBay is that anybody can do it. You don’t need to go to school for four years. You don’t have to go to college to sell on eBay. It’s actually pretty simple. You find an item in the back of your closet gathering dust. You take a couple pictures. You create a title and a description, and essentially it’s up for sale. When it sells, you just ship it to the customer.
It’s very easy to do. Obviously, there are a lot of ins and outs to it. But it’s not rocket science. And really, there are so many instructional videos out there. It’s really easy to get started.
Pro: It’s Actually Pretty Fun
Another thing that I’ve always loved about eBay is that it’s fun—really, really fun. OK, actually listing the items can be a grind, but going out and finding items is actually a really great time. You go to thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets—there are so many cool and creative ways to find items that are undervalued.
Pro: Working from Home
Another benefit is being able to work from home. I just love it. I love having the freedom. I love being able to work whenever I want. I don’t have to clock in. I don’t have to clock out. It’s that F word: freedom.
Pro: Fast Money
Of course you know you can make money on eBay, but the really great aspect of that is it’s quick cash for the most part. If you find something that is in demand, it can sell within a couple hours on eBay. Now, how can you determine if something is going to be a quick seller or if it has a market? There’s a functionality on eBay called the “Sold Items.” It’s this little box that you can click that will show you all the items of that type that have been sold and for what price. So that will give you a good idea of what items you should list and how much you are likely to get for a particular item.
Now let’s get into the things that aren’t so great about selling on eBay.
Con: It’s Time-Consuming
There are always drawbacks to any business, and eBay isn’t immune to them. Here’s one: It’s very time-consuming.
Going to thrift stores and garage sales to source your items takes a lot of time. If you’re the only one running your eBay business, it takes a good amount of time to get your item ready to photograph, take measurements, look up relevant information for your item description, write up the listing, etc.
If you want to make $100, $500, or maybe $2,000 to $3,000 a month, you could definitely do that on eBay by yourself fairly easily. But if you want to get to $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 a month profit, it will be very challenging to get there by yourself. And you’ve got to get creative. You’re definitely going to need a warehouse. You are going to need physical employees there. You can obviously hire some virtual assistants to run parts of your eBay business, but that is time-consuming in itself.
It’s an inevitable downside to any business. People will buy your item, decide they don’t want it, and send it back to you.
So as a seller, you are at a disadvantage in that way. And dealing with refunds can get annoying at times. But you just need to keep your cool, keep your emotions out of it, and deal with refunds. It can be rough at times, but you need to keep a positive mind- set when it comes to refunds.
Con: It’s Competitive
More and more people are learning about going to thrift stores and garage sales and selling online. So in general it’s getting more and more competitive. So if you don’t like to hustle, if you don’t like to go out there and grind, if you don’t want to deal with competition and be strategic, it’s definitely a downside.
Con: It Can Be Boring
It’s not always exciting. It is quite repetitive at times. Say you have 20 or 30 clothing items or 30 or 40 pieces of electronics. Maybe you’re selling parts. It can be very repetitive taking pictures, measuring, listing, taking additional pictures, measuring again, listing some more, shipping, more shipping, listing that other pile you have, shipping the ones that just sold, and, oh, going out sourcing—again. If you’re focused only on one niche, it can definitely get boring and repetitive.
Con: Your Friends and Family Might Not Understand
When you are sourcing from garage sales and thrift stores, you can start to accumulate a lot of junk. Maybe that junk is profitable. But your friends and family might not be able to see the profitable side and only see stacks and stacks of junks accumulating in the corner of the living room. And if you are sharing a house with parents or a partner, they might not be especially happy about all the inventory and shipping supplies that are piling up.
Take the Good; Deal with the Bad
So you have to decide for yourself if for you the pros outweigh the cons. And if you do decide to jump into selling on eBay, it’s helpful to be aware of the potential downsides you may face. Good luck to you, and I know you’ll do great!
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