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Starting an eBay business

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by WaylonJennings, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. I've been thinking about trying to jump into the eBay business world as a way to make some more money now, but particularly once I return to graduate school in a year.

    Anyone had any luck with it? I don't even know where to start - I know there are a lot of good books out there on it. I'll probably pick one up.

    I was thinking sports cards and collectibles - since they take up very little space and are something I understand. But that being said, it seems like something that would be tough to make a profit on, since prices are well-known and deals difficult to strike.

    Actually, it feels like that with about any collectible!
  2. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    I'd approach it like any other business even though I guess Ebay has its own idiosyncracies.

    In addition to your product, you need to have a fully operational business structure in place, no matter how primitive it is.

    You'll need to have figured out your accounting system, investigate your shipping options, what you'll do about international shipping, how you're going to present your items online, how you'll handle complaints, your returns policy, etc.

    I'd make sure you had all that figured out before I posted a single thing.

    And not knowing squat about collectibles, I have no clue on that except I know there's a shitload of them out there.

  3. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Next door to my regular mechanic, someone has set up an eBay business where all he does (according to the mechanic) is box up stuff and FedEx it. Now that's enterpreneurialship.
  4. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    There was a great story on CBC a couple of years ago about a couple who worked at Pearson Airport and were robbing planes and trucks and selling the stuff on EBay.

    They made millions before they were caught and their entire house was one big shipping department. All they needed was a loading dock.
  5. Upper Tupper

    Upper Tupper Member

    Is very easy.

    Set up an account for yourself.

    Make a simple successful bid on one item and follow it to the end.

    While waiting for that transaction to end, read through one of those idiot guides for eBay.

    Then list one simple, easy to ship item and see what happens.

    I'm not gigantic eBayer, but I have completed around 500 transactions in 10 years so I know the basics.
  6. copperpot

    copperpot Well-Known Member

    I have an eBay business. We generally sell items for other people, but we have had some success with our own items. I think the key is you have to know what you're buying and what will sell. Our chief customer is a guy who's an expert on old cameras. He goes to shows and stores throughout the Northeast, and he can spot a deal a mile away. He knows the going rate for things; if he invests in a camera or equipment to resell, he knows he's going to get a nice return on it. He's got an eye for some other, quirky things, too; he bought a slot car set at a garage sale for $5 and sold one of the two cars for $100+.

    I can't duplicate that kind of success, try though I may have at garage sales and auctions. Where we have made out well is tickets. The year the Red Sox won the World Series, we got a pair of tickets for $300 and sold them for $800+. We got tickets (standing room only, no less) for the first game at Petco Park and turned a healthy profit.

    But that's not to say every pair of tickets we've bought has padded our pockets. We thought SF Giants tickets would be a good bet, as well as Simon and Garfunkel reunion tickets; we wound up eating both of those.

    I'd be happy to tell you more via PM. One note: Shipping can be very time consuming. I sold baseball cards for a friend, and those were easy enough to just stick in a padded envelope and send out; the camera products entail a lot of bubble wrap, tape and boxes.
  7. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Always offer delivery confirmation its like 60 cents and you make sure it gets there. That way you're buyer can't say they never received the item.

    Also sign up for a pay pal account. They make things really easy.
  8. copperpot

    copperpot Well-Known Member

    actually, I've twice had people tell me they didn't get their item despite the delivery confirmation showing it had arrived. One left bad feedback, and I went ballistic -- I told him that if the item was missing, it was his job to contact the police and report it stolen, not blame it on me.
  9. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    I think the worst thing about setting up a biz on Ebay would be the scumbags/sleazeballs/scam artists you have to deal with. Like Copper's example, where goods have been delivered and there's proof and they still try to rip you off.

    I bought an Ipod for my kid last Xmas and the guy I bought it from worked literally around the corner. We met at a Tim's so he could deliver it and we had a coffee and chatted for about half an hour.

    He said that even though he's done OK, some of the people you have to deal with are the dregs...he said he almost lost all faith in the inherent goodness of people .

    He compared it to a message board where money changes hands----nothing good can come of that.
  10. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    As a rule avoid shipping to Canada - the paper work you need to do is a nightmare. So much for NAFTA.
  11. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    My mom makes a small fortune on her eBay business. She goes around the local garage sales, dollar stores, etc., and looks for deals on books, mostly, and resells them online. The last I heard, she makes a couple grand a month. The last time I went to visit, she showed me a room -- my first bedroom, now a music room -- filled with books she had to send out to people. It was incredible.
  12. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    My advice is to be 100 percent clear on what you're selling. There are so many people who try to fuck you with ripoffs, intimidations, etc.
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