Okay, I admit it’s not all that easy, but I have a couple of friends that make it look easy. They have been eBaying for almost a decade and for them eBay is a really nice living income. I asked them some of the secrets to their prosperity and they were happy to share the story of their success with me.
They treat it like it’s a real job. I think this is the most important part of their process to share too. In many respects, it truly is a real job and if you want to be as successful as they have been, you must treat it like one. When they are asked what they do for a living they don’t just say they sell stuff on eBay, they tell people they’re in sales, because they are. They set aside times in their busy schedules for several different duties involved in putting up an auction item on eBay. They treat this time like you would treat any regular job. They take breaks, but rarely take personal phone calls while they are entering the data for their sales. Some days they put in eight hours just getting the items up on their site for sale. On a good day, they can list up to fifty items for auction.
But there’s more to it than just entering the items.
They have props.
They invested profits back into their eBay businesses by purchasing store mannequins they can drape and hang their clothing items on to photograph. They also have studio quality backdrops for their pictures, giving the look and feel of their auctions a more professional appeal. Each of them spend the time necessary to create and edit the pictures they use in the auctions.
They give attention to the clothing they’re selling. If it needs a stitch or two repair job, they do it. They replace missing buttons and wax ornery zippers. They also remove any minor stains. If a stain is too stubborn to be removed, they won’t post the item for auction. The items are ironed, or steamed, before being hung properly on a hanger or on the mannequin and photographed.
Each item is also measured. The sleeves, inseams, waist, shoulders, length, width and girth are all measured, recorded and added to each auction. This way the customer can check to make sure the item will fit them properly, before they place a bid.
The whole eBay idea got started when one of them had their first child. She had received a bounty of extra baby clothing. She decided to sell them on eBay and was surprised, not only by her success, but by how easy the whole process was. Since then she has parlayed her crackerjack work ethic into an eBay site that features upscale clothing that is flawless.
Where do these items come from?
These ladies shop! How much fun could that be? Okay, it’s sort of fun, but there is a whole lot of expertise involved. They branch out to the numerous secondhand stores in the area for new items. I’m sure they keep a record of which stores are shopped and when, and also how lucrative the purchases were. That would make a lot of sense and save them valuable time and gas money. Once inside the store, they meticulously scour each and every rack and gather items they think might sell. Over the years a list of designer names that tend to sell very well has been generated and they use this as a guideline. If they come across an item that looks high-end, but they haven’t heard of the designer before, they Google it and do their research before purchasing it. One of my friends just has a real knack for knowing what will sell, and what won’t.
Every purchased item is checked thoroughly before going to the cashier, and then checked out again once they get home. The items are cleaned, repaired and straightened, inventoried and then recorded, so they can keep track of their profits.
Once it’s cleaned, hung, and had it’s close up, it’s time to say something eye-catching about it. For most people this will be the hardest part of the entire development. What in the world can you say about a dress? That’s where they are savviest! They do their homework in reading other ads and auctions that are about the same thing they are trying to sell. They make their lead-ins captivating. You want to go and look at their stuff because it looks legitimate! Their auctions are also complete, like I said, with measurements, close-up pictures so you can see the fabric and details about the whole enchilada!
But how do they price things?
Usually they price everything for 99 cents and allow the eBay customers to battle it out in bids. An experienced eBayer knows what something is worth. If they aren’t using the 99 cents starting bid, they might price items at $19.99. Keep in mind their eBay site is frequented by buyers because they’ve been doing this for a very long time. If this is not something you would feel comfortable doing, eBay will now give you a suggested starting price you can use.
When an item has passed through the whole process of getting it up and online for sale, you have to consider shipping. They don’t take this lightly either. They realized it made sense to purchase plastic envelopes, tape and some cardboard boxes, in bulk. They use a postal scale to weigh each item and the customer pays exact weight, including a small charge for the shipping materials. They also “walk” their sold and boxed items in person to the post office, check them in with a clerk and keep a receipt, with tracking, for every single purchase they ship.
Just because you hear the ding, ding, ding of bidders doesn’t mean you can just sit back until the auction closes. Often bidders have questions and you must be prepared to answer them in a timely manner, or lose a possible bid.
So here is a foolproof eBay formula for success:
- Inspect and Inventory
- Repair and clean
- Write good ad copy
- Cash in!
So…not that easy, however when you weigh this against being broke, or constantly perusing the classifieds for jobs you might not be qualified to do, or suffering through job interview after awkward job interview and never getting hired…eBay starts to sound like a lovely idea, doesn’t it?