Anyone can learn how to start a profitable ebay business very cheaply. All you need is an ebay and a Paypal account. If you’ve already used ebay to buy and sell, or even just to buy, you’re way ahead already. The concept of this ‘system’ is simply to find items on ebay which are selling for less than their worth. You then resell them with a better listing. That’s the overview but we will be going into more detail in this article.
How To Start A Profitable Ebay Business
How to start a profitable ebay business? In this article we are going to find out! The great thing about this concept is that you can start from as little as £30. You don’t need much capital. You will need an ebay account, an internet connection and a Paypal account. If you’re new to ebay you should build up some feedback on your account. No one will want to buy from you if you have no feedback. You can start building up your feedback simply by purchasing a few items from ebay itself.
Some sellers are wary of new members who have zero feedback so start with low valued items which you will be using in your ebay business: jiffy bags, notepaper, envelopes etc. Purchasing some low value items means you can start to build up feedback on your account. If you don’t get feedback automatically you can request the seller leave you some.
You can also build up feedback by selling items from your home which you don’t want anymore. Once you have your feedback and your account set up and ready we can move on: how to start a profitable ebay business.
Finding The ‘Gold Nuggets’
Depending on your budget you can target items from £5 to £5000+, however it’s probably better to start where you are comfortable. Start with something small ideally which you know something about. You can search through ebay directly looking through the listings manually or you can use a number of tools which will make your bargain finding much quicker! Here are a few search tools which will enable you to find low priced items on ebay which you can then resell at a profit. Finding the ‘gold nuggets’ which are hidden from most ebay searches is the secret of how to start a profitable ebay business by using this strategy.
Advanced Search Tool
- Use the advanced search bar (located at the top of the page next to the main search bar on ebay. Scroll down and check the box for items ending in the next hour. This can bring up items which haven’t been seen and/or are selling for less then their worth.
- Use bargainchecker.com – This tool lets you find misspelled items which have been badly listed and as such gets fewer views and therefore fewer bids. Also check the box for auctions only to remove trade listed items.
- Use the advanced search bar to look for items by price. Click on the box for price and put in your maximum price you want to pay for an item and minimum price to narrow down your search.
- Use the advanced search bar to click on auction only items. This removes the classified ads and fixed price items which can help you find the bargains.
- Use the advanced tool and check the number of bids box. Enter number of bids from 0 -1 to narrow down the possibility of bidding wars and only find the least competitive items. Use this in conjunction with 1. (items ending within 1 hour) to find the least competitive items. You can also use auction only (number 4.) to eliminate fixed price items. This allows you to find the bargains more easily.
- Use the location check box to find heavier items which are local to you and which are for collection only. Use the collection only check box in advanced search to find items like these.
- Search for an item and then use the best match drop down menu to find the cheapest item.
- Set up an email search for misspelled items. Get emails when items like this one appear in the search results.
Researching Your Items Before Buying
Remember you are buying second hand items so you will need to know what condition they are in. Ask questions to the seller to determine the condition if the description doesn’t list any imperfections. When you relist your items you will need to be honest! You definitely don’t want negative feedback or to be taking returns either, although you can offer returns to increase your chances of selling.
To reduce the possibility of problems later on list a full description including any small imperfections and marks on your items. Full disclosure will help build buyer confidence and reduce the problems of negative feedback which will harm your business.
Advanced Search Tool For Research
You can also use the advanced search tool to research items you are thinking about buying. Although it’s not a totally perfect system, you can see what other similar items have recently sold for (or not sold for).
Click on search and you will be able to see listings of the item you have searched for. Green indicates that the item has sold. You can also see how much items sell for in any particular area. Of course the more specific your item the better it is for you to zone in on the most profitable niches.
Bidding On Your Item
Once you have found a suitable item to bid on make sure you check out what condition it is in. Compare this to other items which have sold on ebay too and make sure you can expect a good profit margin. Look for small items which have a high value. This gives you the best chance of a profit and keeps delivery costs down.
Before you rush in a bid on your item, use this software. Auction Sniper lets you place bids at the last minute up to your maximum bid. This is a vital tool if you are taking this business seriously. If you place your bid like anyone else would you also let other bidders see that you have done so. It therefore alerts them to your interest. If they want the item badly enough they are likely to bid against you, pushing up the price. In the worst case scenario this starts a bidding war and you push the price up beyond your ability to make a profit from it.
Why Bid Early?
The time to bid early on an item is when no-one has already bid on it. The reason you would want to do this is simply to reserve the listing as it stands. If there are no bidders on an item, the owner has the chance to either remove the listing if it isn’t getting any views, or change the title in the case of a spelling mistake. By putting in a bid it stops the listing (title) from being changed and the owner cannot remove the listing. They are bound by the user agreement to fulfil the auction rules and sell to the highest bidder.
However, in most cases it makes no sense to bid early. You can push the price up and start a bidding war. Use Auction sniper to place your maximum bid – The most you are prepared to pay where you can still make a good enough profit for it to be worth your while.
How Auction Sniper Works
By placing your maximum bid into auction sniper it can help you avoid being drawn into a bidding war. You can determine how much you are prepared to spend before hand, rather than getting emotionally involved with an auction and spending more than you should. Remember we are here to make money, not just win auctions which won’t have a good mark up. Sometimes this means leaving an item if it becomes too expensive to bid. Auction sniper lets you do all this and then walk away from the auction.
The program will bid in increments against the current high bidder (if there is one), up to your maximum bid. It does this in the last few seconds of the auction. This means there is no time for reprisals from other bidders! By the time they have realised they have been outbid, there is no time to put in a counter bid, you have jumped in at the last second and sometimes will have won an auction by a tiny amount – (due to Auction snipers ability to bid by increment). This means you probably won’t pay your maximum price in many cases and will win the item for much less. Particularly if there are few bids on the item and it is badly listed.
There are of course other snipers out there so beware! There’s a few people using this strategy and you will get out-sniped from time to time. Just don’t take it personally! Stick to your price and let it go if you don’t win an item. There’s always another one. Remember we want to learn how to start a profitable ebay business, not how to win auctions for the sake of it.
Relisting Your Item
So you’ve won an item and it’s arrived safely. This next step is the crux of how to start a profitable ebay business. Unless you can sell the item you have just bought for a good profit, you will be wasting your time. Buying at the right price is vital but so is your listing. Make sure it’s in good condition and you clearly describe your item, including any imperfections. Remember you are finding badly listed items to sell on and make a profit. Your best chance of selling therefore is to create the best possible listing for your item. The single most important thing about your listing it its title. The keywords in your listing title will determine how many bidders you get on your auction.
Title and Description
Get as many keywords as possible in your listing title. Look for other similar products on ebay itself to find as many keywords as possible. Don’t just list the main keywords but use the entire space available. For example, someone might list an iphone as ipone and badly spell it. When you relist it make sure to use the full description. Take a look at the picture below.
I’m not saying these are exactly the same products but you can see how a listing including the full description will attract more buyers. Some people will search for “apple”, some are looking for “iphone” and some will also search by the colour or the specifications. Make sure you have it all to attract the maximum amount of bidders. The listing below has also used the keywords “smartphone”, “unlocked” “16GB” and “space grey”. This will attract many more bidders than the listing above it which only has “iphone 4s” in its title. One of the main keys of how to start a profitable ebay business is to get your listing found by as many people as possible.
Use the description also to get as many keywords in as possible. Some people will search for title and description to find items on ebay. The description also gives people reassurance about their purchase. If something isn’t specified in the description, people will look elsewhere rather than email the seller in many cases. So make sure you cover a good description of your product in your listing title and description.
Use as many photos as you can to showcase your products. Don’t use stock images unless you have a brand new item. People want to see what your product looks like and the less they have to guess, the more certain they will be of the product. Ideally you should have a well lit area to photograph your items as this will le people see them better. Dark, difficult to see items often put bidders off because they can’t properly see the item they are bidding on. This can be good when finding bargains but don’t make the same mistake.
Remember we are here to make a profit. It’s well worth putting a minimum profit target on everything you sell. Don’t ‘wing it’ if you don’t think you can sell something for a profit. Some items you might lose on too, some you will break even on. The more research you do before you buy something, the greater your chances of success. Use this strategy to learn how to start a profitable ebay business. It’s not just for kicks! We need to make a profit from our efforts! As you get better at this strategy it’s also worth choosing higher valued products to make the most of your time. Your buying price needs to be where you make your money and you should know when you win an item that you are going to profit from it, or are very likely to. If you’re unsure whether you will profit or not, you are gambling and it’s better not to take the risk.
You can weigh your items and charge an appropriate cost for postage or you can include postage free in the end auction price. Using free postage encourages people to put in a bid and this can encourage a bidding war which is what you want.
List your item at the lowest price possible. Start auctions at 0.01p. If you have listed your title and description correctly and added a full description you shouldn’t have any problems attraction buyers. By listing your item at the lowest possible price you will attract many more buyers. More people will bid because of the low price and this will encourage people to bid against each other. Don’t worry if your bids don’t come in straight away. Some people will wait until later in the auction to bid.
It’s up to you whether you offer returns on not. By listing several pictures and a full description the chance of getting a return item is reduced. Also you should be honest with any damage or marks on your item. This, again will reduce and problems with returns. Allowing people to return your item is a good idea overall as it builds customer confidence in you and this encourages more bids. You can specificy whether your customer pays the return postage costs and this can help discourage them while showing you are a considerate seller.
Misspell Search & Email Updates
Here are a few examples of how to start a profitable ebay business using this strategy. Using the Bargainchecker.com I typed laptop into the search bar and clicked through to ebay when it gave me the option. I also clicked on the auction only tab which you can see at the top of the page. You can see the listings for laptops which are missspelled. There are only 10 results.
Of course you really want to find a result like this with a very low starting price. Click on the ‘follow this search’ box and you will then get email updates whenever anyone lists a mispelling of a ‘laptop’. You can use this same strategy for any other keyword you can think of. Think of small and expensive: diamonds, rolex, omega, iphone, apple, imac, notebook, berghaus. There are literally thousands of designer names and items which you can search for.
Repair Damaged Or Broken Items
Here’s another idea which involved looking for broken items for repair. I repaired my own laptop screen fairly cheaply simply by finding a new screen and having it sent out. The repair only took a few minutes and it was as good as new. Some people sell their broken items on ebay because they don’t realise how easy a repair can be. I found these last minute laptops by doing a search for laptop and then clicking on the sort button and scrolling down to items ending soonest. However, you can search specifically for damaged or broken items (spares or repair) and fix them up to sell on. You can apply this to any item but electrical products tend to give the biggest markup and potential for repair. Other ideas are Iphones, laptops, Mp3 players, televisions, CD players, in car stereos.
Use Freecycle To Find Your Items
Here’s another great way how to start a profitable ebay business. You can use the website freecycle.org to source items for free and them list them on ebay. Sign up to Freecycle.org and see if there is one in your local area. You can also find cheap items in charity shops and car boot sales for rock bottom prices. Car boot sales are particularly good as you can knock the price down by haggling!
Finding Local Bargains
Local bargains tend to be heavy weight items like bicycles and weights benches. However, the competition is much less because people are not prepared to travel to collect them. You can find bargains like these for your own use or offer them up for sale. You can even offer to post them at the buyers expense to attract more buyers, or sell them on locally for collection only. Do a search for an item like weights bench or mens bicycle and click on advanced search at the top of the page. Then scroll down and click on “collection in person” and “Located”. Then enter your postcode and the distance you are prepared to travel for collection. There are lots of items which people don’t want to offer postage on: bicycles, weights machines, sofas, chairs, ladders, cars, stoves, tables and other furniture.
Last Minute Items
You can also do a search for items ending within the next hour with the advanced search tool mentioned above. If you also tick the box for items with 1-3 bids you can avoid the bidding wars and find the less competitive items which either haven’t been seen properly or are less wanted for some other reason. Some items simply slip through the net and for one reason or another don’t get the attention they deserve. Of course you should still check feedback and the full description of the item whenever you decide you are interested.
Here’s another strategy example of how to start a profitable ebay business:
You can find job lots by either using ‘job lot’ in the search description or using advanced search and ticking the ‘lots’ box. Also search for ‘wholesale’. You can then break down the lots and sell items individually.
How To Start A Proftable Ebay Business
So by now you should have a good idea about how to start a profitable ebay business. By starting with small value items and using this method, you can then build up your confidence and start bidding on more expensive items. There are literally millions of items on ebay which have been poorly listed, some of which which end up getting no bids at all. By finding these little ‘gold nuggets’ and using the tools mentioned in this article to bid on them and then relist them, you can build a nice side income, or even turn it into a full time business.
I hope you have enjoyed this article “how to start a profitable ebay business”. If you have any suggestions please comment below. If you are interested in how to start a profitable ebay business you may also be interested in starting your own internet based business. You can access a free video series and learn how here.
Ebay Business Model PDF – Ebay Ebook
You can also download this guide here as a pdf.