Among online selling platforms, eBay has been around for longer than most. The online auction behemoth got its start way back in 1995 and has since survived a number of internet and economic crises. It’s no wonder, then, that so many resellers trust this platform for their online business.

The Basics of Selling on eBay

Whether you’re just looking to sell an item or two here and there, or you’re starting a full-time resale business, eBay makes the selling process easy. Just create an account, set up your product listings, make a few decisions on how you want to sell, and you’re in business. With 183 million active buyers on the site, you’ve got a built-in market for all your eBay goods.

Of course, since the eBay marketplace is so vast, competition can be steep, too. You’ll want to ensure you’re using best practices for creating eBay listings. You’ll want to decide ahead of time if you want to sell via auction or set a fixed price for your goods. And you’ll also need to figure out how you’ll ship your items and what you’ll charge for shipping and handling.

eBay Seller Pricing

Of course, selling on eBay isn’t free. There are several types of fees involved, and the pricing can be a little complicated if you’re not familiar with eBay’s terminology. But don’t worry — we’ll be happy to break it down for you.

The first thing you’ll need to consider is whether you want to set up an eBay Store or not. If you plan on selling more than just occasionally, it’s a good idea to go ahead and do this. A store on eBay can cost anywhere from $4.95 per month to nearly $3,000 per month, depending on the size of your store and what features you want to use as a seller.

Next, you’ll need to pay insertion fees. These are fees for each time you list an item on eBay. You’ll get a certain number of these fees waived each month, depending on the type of account you have. Basic accounts get up to 200 zero insertion fee listings, while store accounts get anywhere from 250-100,000 free listings. After your freebies are used up, you’ll be charged per listing and per category. Insertion fees run anywhere from $0.10 to $2.00 depending on the opening bid or reserve price of your auction, or the selling price of your fixed-price listing.

After that, there are several listing options you may choose to purchase for your product listings. These include things like subtitles or additional pictures, and they can be up to $4.00 each. Be careful when crafting your listing, as it’s easy to eat into your profits with paid listing options.

Finally, you’ll have to pay a final value fee if your item sells. This fee is a percentage of the final selling price for your listing and can range from 8% up to 15%, depending on the final price of each item, the category of the item, and whether your account meets certain minimum performance standards.

Selling on eBay: Pros

A Huge Buying Audience

As previously mentioned, eBay has been around for a long time and has a vast audience of active buyers on the site. This means your listing can reach a great number of buyers with little effort on your part.

Ability to Sell Just About Anything

Seriously. Anything. Want to sell a car? Check out eBay motors. There’s a marketplace for specialty services. You can even sell real estate on eBay if you so desire! For just about anything you might want to sell, there’s probably a category already set up and active on eBay.

Easy Set-Up

In just a few clicks, it’s simple to have your listings up and running on eBay. Of course, the more effort you put into your listings, the better chance you have of catching the attention of eBay’s millions of buyers. But even the most complex listings aren’t really that difficult to create.

Seller Protections

Unlike creating your own freestanding e-commerce store, when you sell on their platform, eBay has your back. They have a number of Seller Protections to help you out when buyers don’t behave ethically or something goes wrong in the selling process.

Minimal Up-Front Cost

For many platforms, there’s a pretty significant cost to pay before you ever actually earn anything. Not so with eBay. The bulk of their fees aren’t even calculated until your listing sells.

Selling on eBay: Cons

Seller Fees

As listed above, eBay has a habit of nickel-and-diming their sellers until the fees add up to be a lot more than you initially anticipated. Be sure to understand their fee structure completely before you list anything, and remember that part of what you’re paying for is their vast network of buyers.

Heavy Competition

Yes, eBay has a lot of buyers. But you know what else they have? A lot of sellers. This means that in popular product categories, there may be steep competition for sales. Do your homework, be careful with your pricing, and find ways to make sure your listings stand out.

Seller Performance Standards

Some sellers chafe at the idea of eBay’s minimum performance standards, but they’re in place to ensure the marketplace remains competitive with other online giants like Amazon. The basics include:

  • Prompt shipping
  • Quickly resolving any issues that come up
  • Keeping your store well-stocked
  • Fully disclosing shipping costs in your listing(s)
  • Responding to buyer questions
  • In general, running a customer-friendly web store

When you think about it, these are just good practices for selling online, so you probably want to adhere to them even if you choose to sell elsewhere.

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