Since zillions of people buy and sell on Ebay there must be plenty of satisfied sellers and satisfied buyers. Ebay clearly connects many buyers and sellers in a very effective online marketplace.
Since the financial crisis hit, many people are looking for ways to replace lost income or supplement a reduced income. Ebay’s one possibility to consider. Many people must be asking themselves how to make money using Ebay.
I thought about this the other day when I read an Associated Content article by Amy Faatz. In Is It Worth It To Sell My Stuff On Ebay?Faatz describes in detail her experience of trying to make money online by selling on Ebay. She details the work and the costs involved for the seller as well as the transaction process of listing your goods, dispatching them and accepting payment.
Her conclusion is that it’s mainly worth selling through Ebay if you have reasonably high-priced goods for sale and there aren’t too many other people selling the same item. Otherwise, you end up doing a lot of work for little return.
The online selling experience Faatz outlines tallies with the experience of a friend of mine. Lesley lives here in the south of France and has two kids. Her husband, José, is a skilled artisan but it’s tough in rural Provence trying to support family of four on one income. Lesley is really into clothes and decided to try her hand at making money online by selling clothes from the 1980s on Ebay. Apparently there is a market for them and she decided it was better to have a selling niche on the site rather than trying to sell clothes in general.
After months of selling online she described the process like this. Firstly, the work involved was substantial. In her case, she needed to go round to vide greniers, a bit like British ‘car boot’ sales, or garage sales, except that people sell on little stalls throughout their village for the day. Sometimes she’d make great finds and buy clothes at bargain prices; other times she’d find nothing worth buying or selling. Either way, she had to factor in the cost of petrol and the time spent bargain hunting.
Once she’d made her purchases, she either washed the items or had them dry-cleaned and then priced them. As well as that, she needed to find out how much packing and posting would cost when she needed to dispatch the sale goods to a buyer. That often entailed weighing dresses, coats, shoes and other clothes and figuring out what packing she’d use, at what price. It also meant checking the postal charges for the relevant box sizes and weights. If you get any of those calculations wrong you can end up losing money when you sell on Ebay. Lesley also had to photograph the clothes and post them to Ebay with their descriptions.
After that, if she got a sale she needed to pack the goods and get them to the post office. That took more time and used more petrol. And she’d need to check payment came through and deal with any payment issues or post-sale problems.
Her conlusion after giving Ebay a good try for many months was that the income generated online was just too little for all the work involved.
The last time I saw her I asked how she was earning these days? She’d found a much simpler way to contribute to the household expenses. A whopping new Ikea store opened at Vedene in October 2010, not far from Avignon, and she took a part-time job there. Apparently the pay is reasonable, the work is pleasant and Ikea staff eat really well in the staff canteen for hardly more than a few cents. It’s not her ideal job any more than selling on Ebay was her ideal job. But it seems it’s a whole lot less hassle for a reasonable and reliable supplementary income.
Read Amy Faatz’s article here: