Here is how to sell on eBay full-time, including the 3 best types of items to sell for a profit.
How to Sell on eBay Full-Time: 3 Best Items to Sell for a Profit
With increasing your income, you can do it two ways: 1) without working more (savings accounts, promotions, etc.) or 2) putting in hard work to develop a side hustle.
In America, we live in a world of abundance. People are buying new things so frequently that they run out of room in their houses and end up needing to get rid of their slightly-used items.
They’ll either have a yard sale to clean out their clutter, donate the junk to a thrift store, or just throw it in the trash. Most of them don’t even think to do what I’m going to talk to you about today and you can use this hack to make a lot of extra money. I’ve even seen people flip scrap metal for profit. You actually can find scrap metal everywhere for free.
There’s this little website called eBay, that’s been around since the 90’s. eBay is a place where you can sell anything you want to get rid of. You can charge a much higher price than you could at a yard sale or thrift store because the market is so much bigger. At a yard sale, you’ll be doing good to have a hundred customers in a day. A thrift store might get a couple hundred.
On eBay, you have 171 million potential customers. Your items also show up in Google search results which means you could potentially have billions of customers.
For me, I continue to monitor my cash flow on Personal Capital and see how I can increase my income to invest faster.
Is it possible to make a living on eBay?
Ride the wave of junk into wealth. This post isn’t about selling a few things out of your closet to make $10. There’s a ton of stuff out there that you can flip. I’m going to be going over how you can take large quantities of this stuff and turn it into a full-time business. Selling on eBay isn’t passive income or a way to get rich quickly. If you put in the time and effort, you can eventually turn your eBay business into a full-time source of income though.
There are a lot of people out there that sell on eBay as their main source of income. It isn’t for everybody, but if you’ve got a bit of an entrepreneurial mind and like to work hard, you could quit your job and become a full-time seller.
How much money can you make selling on eBay?
If you have a plan, your potential earnings are limitless. I’ve seen plenty of people make an entire living just by selling products on eBay. If you work hard and have a formula, you can easily replace your full-time income just from selling on eBay.
How to Get Started Selling on eBay Full-Time
First, you’re going to need these things to start selling on eBay.
- Items to sell.
- A computer or smartphone and printer.
- An eBay and PayPal account.
- Something to ship the items in (boxes, envelopes, poly mailers.)
- Packing tape.
- A scale to weigh your items.
- Stuff to put in the boxes to protect your items in shipping (bubble wrap or newspaper.)
- A place to store all of your items.
If you’ve got all of these things, you’re ready to start listing. There are many ways to go about selling on eBay. In this post, I’ll be going through my process and the things I’ve found that have worked for me. The great thing about selling on eBay is, you can start out slow and build your business over time. Just start listing what you have to list and sell some items. You’ll learn what works as you go and sometimes we have to learn from mistakes.
Another thing to do when setting up your eBay account is to select a store subscription. You can start out with the starter store subscription and upgrade as your inventory grows. Each time you upgrade, you get more free item listings. That’s why a store subscription is worth it if you have a lot of items in your inventory. Without a store subscription, you’ll pay a lot more in eBay fees.
Where to find items to sell on eBay for a profit
The good thing about America’s materialist ways is that you can find good things to sell everywhere. High-quality items are sitting around, forgotten about and needing a new home. It’s our job to take these items and find people who will see the value in them.
These are the most common places to find things to sell:
- Yard sales.
- Thrift stores.
- Estate sales.
- The trash.
- Facebook Marketplace.
- You can even find things on eBay that are being sold at a lower price than you could get for it.
What items should you purchase to sell on eBay
When I first started selling on eBay, I had a hard time figuring out what to look for. You have to just wing it at first and focus on buying things as cheap as you can. The good thing is, you can get things for super cheap at the places listed above. If you’re only spending a dollar on something, you aren’t going to lose a lot of money if it doesn’t sell. I just sold an item this week for $50 that I paid $1 for. That’s what you want to shoot for.
You might go out and buy 50 things for $50 and only two of those items be worth anything. It’s a learn as you go process, but the more you do it, the easier it gets to spot valuable items. I’ll buy anything I think I can make a decent profit on. One hot item that people are profiting immensely from is sneakers. Here is how to become a sneaker reseller. Or, you can flip phones which are always in demand.
The variety of things you can sell on eBay is endless and that’s a good thing. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you could have a store that only sells Star Trek items if you want. I try to buy in as broad of categories as I can though. The more variety you sell, the bigger customer base you will have.
I like to sell weird, vintage things that you can’t find at normal retail stores. The competition for selling these items is a lot lower. A lot of times, I can’t find another thing like the one I’m selling anywhere else on the internet. That means when a buyer comes across that item, they’ll be willing to pay more for it because they can’t find it anywhere else. It takes a while to sell weird things though so that’s why I’ll buy anything I can make a profit on.
Here’s a tip for finding the value of items. When you’re out shopping for stuff, you can do a search for the item on eBay and set the search filter to only show items that have sold. You’ll be able to see what the item has sold for recently and determine if you can make a profit on it.
At the end of the day here are some of the best items to sell on eBay for a profit:
- Vintage and old items
- Items that need repair and renovation
- Unique and used Items
See why these are the best things to flip for a profit.
How many items do I need to have in my store?
To get your eBay earnings up high enough to make a living on, you’re going to need to sell a lot of items. There are a couple of different approaches you can take to get your sales up and it’s up to you to choose the route you want to go. Let’s get into some of my favorite methods to selling on eBay full-time.
The Churn and Burn Method
This is where you buy things that will sell for cheaper, but faster than long-tail items (items that take longer to sell). Your profit margins for each sale will be smaller, but you’ll sell more items. Since you sell items quicker, you won’t need as big of an inventory. This method requires more of your time because you will have to list a lot more items each week to keep your sales up.
The List It and Forget It Method
This is where you buy those weird items that are going to take a while to sell. If you have enough storage space, you can just list your items at a high price and forget about it until it sells. Items can literally take years to sell when you go this route, so you’ll have to keep that in mind. You don’t have to worry about listing as frequently though because each item sells at a higher price.
Should you list as auction or buy it now?
This is probably the most common/debated question in the eBay seller community. I like to list all my items at a high price and sell as buy it now or best offer. I’m more of a list it and forget it type of seller since I can fill my garage with things. Listing your items at a higher price with the best offer option is a good way to make more money on your items. You’ll have to be more patient about selling though.
The only time I list an item as an auction is if I want to test the waters and see if someone will pay more than I would expect it to sell for as buy it now. I set the starting bid at the price that I would if I listed it as buy it now and see if I get any bids. I usually don’t. Sometimes, you’ll have an awesome bidding war take place on an item but it’s pretty rare.
The beauty of selling on eBay is, you get to decide how you want to do things. If you want to list all your items as auctions, go for it.
How to take the leap into full time selling
Once you get your eBay business set up and running, it’s just a matter of selling enough items to support yourself financially. The more frugally you live, the easier it will be to quit your job and sell full time. I wouldn’t quit your job until you’re selling enough things to cover your expenses.
You won’t be able to do this overnight, but the quicker you get items listed, the quicker you can make the transition. I’d shoot for getting 500 items up as quickly as you can and see how things go. You may find that you hate doing it and would rather work a normal job. It isn’t for everyone.
Run the numbers on what it will take to sell on eBay full-time
You don’t have to be a spreadsheet wizard, but you will need to do some basic bookkeeping. I have a google spreadsheet for keeping track of my numbers. When I buy an item, I put in the spreadsheet how much I paid for it. When items sell, I use this calculator to see how much I actually profit. Here’s an example of my spreadsheet.
Having a spreadsheet with all of your numbers in it will make it easier for your accountant when it comes to tax time. And yes, you have to do taxes when you sell on eBay. If you sell on eBay full-time, you will need to know the difference between passive income and nonpassive income.
Why would you want to sell on eBay? Conclusion on Selling Full-Time on eBay
Selling on eBay is work. You can set your own hours though. As long as you’re listing and selling enough to pay the bills, you don’t have to work a regular job! You can own your time to a certain extent via hobby income.
Once you have a big enough inventory, you can take breaks from listing and still sell enough to make a living. I know some people that have several thousand items in their store and can take month long breaks whenever they want. The sales still come in while they’re gone. They just set their handling time to when they will be back from their trip and let the buyers know they’re out of town.
If you’re working a job you hate, eBay could be your escape. There are downsides like customer issues and returns. If you enjoy hunting for treasures in America’s waste stream, you might just find that becoming a full time seller is the perfect option for you. If you can find a way to automate this process, this can truly become passive income.
If you need more specifics on how to list items, you can check out this post.
Bio: Nathan is a personal finance blogger tracking his journey to financial independence at Millionaire Dojo. He’s focusing on building an eBay business to exit the rat race and own his time before he becomes financially independent.
Related Resources for Side Hustle Income
Here are a few other resources related to creating side hustle income:
- Tips for Investing in Wine: Alternative Wealth Creation
- Is Hobby Income Passive or Nonpassive Income?
- How to Make Money Drop Shipping
- 15 Online Jobs from Home That Require No Investment
- 5 Ways to Earn Passive Income with Cryptocurrencies
- How to Resell Tickets as a Side Hustle
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This was so enlightening! I have already started comparing facebook market place items with ebay.
Glad you thought so Robbie! I sell things like appliances on Facebook Marketplace and have had great success. I list all of my smaller thing on eBay though. It’s a lot less of a hassle to list things and ship them without having to meet a person and hope they’ll show up.
Not sure if I could do this for a living! Living minimally already having that much stuff around the house to earn a few bucks wouldn’t entice me. I’d rather just give it to someone that deal with eBay.
That’s understandable. I don’t own much stuff myself, but my garage is feeling up with things I’m selling. I think it would be cool to make a full time income from selling on eBay though and would be worth it to me to not be a minimalist. Selling on eBay is much simpler than my IT job, so it would be a simpler life than the one I live now.