Everyone has stuff laying around their house that they either don’t want, don’t need, or it has out-lived it’s novelty and is just gathering dust and taking up precious space. But is it worth it to sell my stuff on ebay?
I tried having a yard sale and decided that it just isn’t my idea of a good day. I guess one attempt at a yard sale endeavor is really not enough experience to throw in the towel and not try again. However, I wasn’t prepared for all that a yard sale entailed and as a result the net earnings of our 8 hour day was under $100.
I decided to see if it was worth it to sell my stuff on ebay and I started with my hundreds of books. I once thought I would treasure and keep these books forever but three children, 15 years, and three moves later, my priorities had changed. I had read most of them twice already and the time spent dusting them would be better spent enjoying time with my family.
I already had an ebay account set up to bid and purchase items and had used it many times for that purpose. It didn’t take long to set up the selling account part of it. I was very nervous the first time I listed an item for sale, worrying mostly about receiving payment through PayPal and having charged enough for shipping the item. Everything went smoothly and the nervousness faded away after my first few sales.
But as with the yard sale, the monetary aspect was a disappointment to me. As it turns out, selling books is highly competitive and bidding is very low for them. Since I did not want to pay a listing fee if my items did not sell I priced each book at .99. Ebay allows 100 free listings per month for items listed at .99 and below so I made sure I did not go over this limit each month.
I needed to take a picture of each item and upload the image on the ebay selling page. The e-bay selling page consists of the item category, title, photo, condition, additional details, description, starting bid price, listing duration, listing start date, the buy it now option, shipping service, shipping cost, your handling time after receiving payment and whether you will accept returns.
It took me 5 to 15 minutes to list an item, depending on whether I had to take my own photo and type out a detailed description or if ebay had the stock photo and item description available to use. Either way it is still a slow, tedious process. I can’t imagine how much longer it would take if I didn’t know how to type.
I was lucky enough to sell several books but none of them ended the bidding for more than .99 each. So for each item sold I collected .99 for the item and I charged 3.99 for shipping bringing my total payment to $4.98.
The lowest price for packing supplies I could find was a two-pack of bubble mailers at the dollar store for a total cost of .50 per envelope. The least expensive way to mail the item was through the USPS and the cost was still over $3.00 per book. Assuming that I only paid $3.00 on postage, my net profit was 1.48.
There was no listing fee but ebay charges a final sale fee of 9% of the final bidding price with a maximum charge of $50.00. In my case the fee was .09, bringing my net profit down to 1.39.
I only receive payment through PayPal and their fee for receiving payments on purchased items is 2.9% of the total payment plus .30 per transaction. This includes not only the item cost but the shipping cost as well. Based on my total payment of $4.98 my PayPal fee for this transaction is .44, making the final net profit a whopping .95.
I also have to consider that I spent a minimum of 5 minutes to create my listing as well as time and gas to purchase supplies and mail the package. Most people don’t think about their time having any worth but if you think of it in terms of an hourly wage at a normal job, 15 minutes would equate to $2.50 at $10 per hour.
I’m sure I spent at least 15 minutes overall from the moment I started the listing procedure to the moment the item left my hands for good. And that means a loss of $1.55 for one item. Is it worth it to sell my stuff on ebay? I think now my yard sale experience is not looking so bad after all!
There must be scores of people who have found it is worth it to sell their stuff on ebay because there are millions of products you can find to bid on every day. The secret is to find products that have a great demand and low competition. For an item that sells for less than a dollar the costs out weigh the benefits.
However, if you are listing any items with a starting bid price at $1.00 or greater there are listing fees involved. Other fees are also charged for posting more than one photo and having a “buy it now” cost. The final sale fee can also increase to as much as 15% depending on the category of your item.
The benefits of selling on ebay are considerable. You have 24/7 exposure on a trusted site that virtually everyone has heard of. Depending on the preferences you set up for your selling account, you can also choose to sell globally, reaching any person having access to the Internet. You are notified via e-mail and messages on your e-bay account when your item is sold, payment is received, and shipment needs to be made.
Is it worth it to sell my stuff on ebay? In my case I didn’t benefit financially but I have money in my pocket that I didn’t have before for items that were laying around gathering dust at home. I don’t have to dust them or move them again and someone else is enjoying them that has a need for them.