With many people looking for some extra cash you would be surprised what you can get for some of your old items that are no longer used. I mean serious cash. I myself have sold over £10,000 worth of items on eBay and you can easily too. But to get the most cash for your items you need to understand how eBay works and some shortcuts to get you there. This guide will give you 17 selling tips for eBay UK and a crash course on being successful on here or other marketplaces. Who knows you could make it a full time income!
Give yourself a goal!
Perhaps you’re saving up for a nice holiday or for a deposit on a place to call your own. Setting a goal will help you to work harder and give you motivation each time you get that little bit closer.
Your goal doesn’t have to be wild. It might be to have £500 to put into a savings account for christmas. Being realistic in your expectations from the beginning is wise. It’s also ok for those goals to change as you sell more. You might want to start turning it into a side hustle for some more regular money. Perhaps you hit the goal quicker than expected and you now want to give yourself a bigger challenge.
eBay and selling in general can become highly addictive and its best to create a spreadsheet to record your sales. This way you know exactly how you’re doing.
Start with items in your home
Looking around your home for items to sell is a great place to start as it can declutter your home while putting some extra cash in your pocket. It’s also great for the environment as people are reusing your items, stopping them going to landfill.
I have a rule when we sell in our house. If we haven’t used it for between 6 months to a year, get rid of it. You don’t care enough for it otherwise you would have been using it not letting it collect dust in the corner! Chances are you might be reluctant to sell it once pushed but be honest with yourself and realise you didn’t even look at it for a year! If it’s sentimental or is an heirloom then of course you don’t need to sell it. They are your items at the end of the day so use your judgement.
Quick Tips! Don’t forget to check your shed and attic. Old power tools, vintage toys and games consoles sell very well on eBay. Even if they are broken!
Some of the best sellers on eBay are:
Brand New/ Used Media – DVD’s, Video Games, Blu-Rays and even old video cassettes are in high demand.
Power Tools – Tools are always popular as big brands are expensive but last for many years. DeWalt, Black and Decker or Makita sell well. Other brands sell well too so be sure to check your items on eBay to see past sale prices.
Fishing items – Fishing items are consecutively one of the biggest selling categories on eBay year on year. Many people have started selling in this category going on to be successful business’ today.
Football shirts – Another very popular item. Just be sure that your photos are of a high quality that can prove the item is genuine. There are a lot of fakes out there and while yours is genuine it still makes buyers weary.
Collectables – Have some old Pokemon cards lying around? Perhaps some POGS (remember those?). Collectables are a sure fire way to bolster the cash pile as many a collector goes to eBay in search of a bargain.
LEGO – This is probably one of the most popular and common places that most sellers start. While selling your own LEGO for a decent price will be a breeze, be prepared if you want to start reselling LEGO as a business. The competition is fierce with some sellers amassing several hundred Kilos of LEGO each month for their business. There are multiple ways to sell the little bricks on eBay but the most popular is selling by Kilo. You can sell 1KG for between £15 and £20. You can separate the Minifigs and any rare parts to sell separately. I will do a guide to selling LEGO on eBay in the future!
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure
Stop right there! Don’t think about binning that broken Gameboy! Faulty items can sell for surprising amounts of money.
There are engineers and tinkerers who are able to fix those items and resell them for a profit. I have done this in the past with Nintendo products as they have basic circuitry and are always collectable.
Download the eBay app and scan
If your items have a barcode then the easiest way to find out how much your items are currently selling for is to grab the eBay app and scan. You will be presented with all the listings of the same item. Filter to sell listings and look at the most recent sales. Compare the condition and description to yours to get a ballpark figure.
If the item doesn’t have a barcode then you can still take a photo and the app will try to match your photo to similar items.
Look for ‘collect in person’ listings
A lot of larger items are too big to post and must be collected by the buyer. There are some bargains to be had if you have the means to collect.
Collect in person listings tend to receive a lot less bids and interest because of this. Add any you’re interested to your watchlist to try snipe it at the last minute.
This tip works well for buyers looking for a specific items and have the means to collect.
Buy first Sell later
EBay is not without its scammers and those who will fraudulently take your items AND your money. While you are an upstanding person who would never do such a thing these people ruin it for everyone.
Selling an item, especially an expensive tech item like an Iphone will be very difficult with 0 feedback. The best way to combat this is to buy some things that you need. Only buy them if you are genuinely in need of the item as wasting money for feedback is not really money savvy. We want to get and save money not spend it wrongly!
When buying things try to make sure you are purchasing from stores with thousands, even hundreds of thousands of feedback. These people do not have time to write individual feedback and so have set up an automated system to do it for them. On most occasions the moment you purchase an item a feedback will be left in your account. Great!
This helps to build your reputation as an actual user of eBay and others will feel more comfortable doing business with you.
Quick tips 2! Don’t forget to leave feedback to others. While it may seem trivial it really helps to keep buyers and sellers safe by warning people, which in turn saves money and stress for everyone. Be a part of the community!
Don’t get caught out. Know your fees!
As a private seller your fees are mostly straightforward. You will pay 10% of the item that is sold including postage. I very rarely sell an item with postage excluding. By showing free postage it entices buyers, despite actually just factoring in all costs to the total price anyway.
Remember that on top of your 10% to eBay there will be a payment processing fee from Paypal at 2.9% + 30p. Head on over to our calculator here to understand the fee structure. If you really want to understand the fees in-depth then our ultimate guide to eBay seller fees will teach you everything. Be prepared it’s a lengthy read but worth it for those who are thinking of moving into part-time trading.
Is eBay the best place for me to sell?
Sometimes eBay WILL NOT be the best place for you to sell your items. While this guide is for Selling tips for eBay UK; If your item is very popular like a games console, phone, TV etc then using Facebook marketplace or Shpock could be a better option. Plus you keep all the cash if you arrange a local pick up.
Important! If you’re going to meet someone face to face make sure to be safe. Take someone with you if possible and always meet in a public place that is well lit. Also if the person refuses to get out the car but wants to see the item, REFUSE. They can simply drive off. Its a shame but this is commonplace for those uninitiated. Remember safety first!
£1 selling fees – the best way to maximise profits
After spending time on eBay you will start to get £1 selling fee promotions in your inbox. This is single handedly the best way to maximise your profits. Selling a £100 item? Pay £1 fees excluding Paypal. That is already £9 extra in your pocket. Nice!
There are some exclusions and t&c’s that go with them and they change quite often so be sure to read them. In general you will be able to sell most items except for property and automobiles.
Use the right Keywords for better visibility in search rankings
Keywords allow you to be found by potential buyers on the hunt for your item. By using the right keywords you’re more likely to be found.
Make sure the spelling is correct. Especially if you’re using the auction function as if you’re not careful your item will go for much less because no one could find it!
Make use of the listing title for descriptive words. If your item is a Nintendo Switch then describe it as so:
Nintendo Switch Version 2 Red and Blue Joycon Boxed with papers
You can change it to suit your own item. But with this alone buyers could search
Red/ blue Joycons
Nintendo switch boxed with papers
The list is endless when coupled with all of eBays predetermined product details. This is just an example but the best way is to type your item into the search function, then click sold and see which ones sold for the price you want. Simply use their title if it fits.
Be very detailed in your description too. It is important that you be honest and explain any faults or scratches. If you don’t you can expect the item to be returned at your expense, this would be a ‘item not as described’ case.
Be honest and your buyers will be grateful for it. They won’t get any nasty surprises when they receive the item.
Quality photos sell your item
As someone who has sold over £10,000 of items on eBay as a side hustle I am a firm believer that my photos are what sells my items. I am extremely thorough and photograph from all angles. I make sure the backdrop is white and the lighting is natural. This gives the buyer the best chance to decide to buy or not.
It also is again being honest in our description. If you’re selling old DVDs or video games, give the disc a light clean, and make sure that one of the photos is of the disc to show the level of scratching.
You can upload a maximum of 12 photos for free on eBay and you should be using them all where possible!
‘Buy it now’ will almost always win…
Contrary to the fact that eBay is an auction site, in recent years auctions make up only a small percentage of sales. ‘Buy it now’ is king and is the best way to ensure you get the amount you want. I think auctions are risky and you can be easily disappointed when selling.
You also have to set a time for the auction and wait. I have uploaded items with the buy it now button for it to be sold and gone the next day. For a price I was happy with.
I have found that auctions also lead to a lot more people not paying or having buyers remorse. They bid, then sleep on it only to change their mind. In which case you can either try to offer it to the next lowest bidder or relist. As you can see the time before selling your item can increase dramatically.
There are times when auction style listings work though. If you have niche items, those that do not sell often or are from a joblot. Perhaps you have some nik naks and are happy for them to be bundled. This is a great way to sell them as you might get 2 people competing for what you see as junk.
Need to know! NEVER EVER bid on your own auctions. Your account will be instantly banned as this is shill bidding to increase the price. Besides it being dodgy and unfair practice you’re also going against eBay policy.
Avoid selling internationally
I am advising you to avoid selling internationally as there are many pitfalls which do not make it worthwhile. Especially if you’re just getting rid of your old household items. Here are some pros and cons for clarification.
- Reach a much wider range of buyers
- If your item is collectable or niche you have a higher chance of selling it
- The chances of your item being lost is much higher
- The chance of your item being stuck in customs
- With Coronavirus many packages are being opened and resealed. Most buyers will not be happy about this and send the item back. Which you will have to cover.
- Some countries are rife with scammers like Italy. If you look on most eBay business’s they will exclude specific countries for this very reason
- Some countries’ postal service is terrible and items are lost more than delivered. Remember that even if you post internationally via Royal Mail, the moment it leaves the country it is passed over to their partner courier in that country. It is not Royal Mail delivered anymore!
Honestly I struggle to see the attraction to sell internationally as I have always found a buyer right here in the UK.
Measure and package your item before listing
By measuring, packaging and weighing your item before you list you’re able to know exactly how much your postage costs will be. The last thing you want is going to post your item to be told it is a large parcel instead of a medium parcel, thus costing a lot more to post. This eats into the cash you were supposed to get! (I speak from experience!)
Quick Tips 3! I have always posted an item with a sign for delivery if the sale is over £20. This means that the buyer will have to sign for the item proving that it has arrived. One of the main scams on eBay is to claim an item did not arrive. This is almost completely eradicated by using a tracked service. eBay will always side with you if you have proof of delivery.
Refunds are a part of selling
Nobody likes to get a refund request but it does happen. I see around 1% of my items returned which is extremely low. This is because I follow all the advice I am giving to you here. Making sure my description is excellent as well as my photos being of high quality.
Even so I do get them and the easiest thing to do is accept and receive the item back. That way I am still offering good customer service and can hopefully still get feedback. There are times where you should stand your ground and refuse but know that almost always eBay sides with the buyer.
There are some categories which will have a higher return rate.
- Certain tech items like video game consoles and tv’s. It is imperative you heed the advice I have put in this guide as without properly describing and photographing them you can expect a higher return rate.
- Faulty items. While this may sound silly, it’s true. Even if you have listed the item as described, faulty with excellent clear photos some buyers will still send it back if they cannot fix it and claim a different fault. Unfortunately its part and parcel of selling on eBay. If you receive negative feedback here though you can contact eBay customer service who will go through the listing and remove it providing you mentioned it is faulty.
Tax or no tax?
If you’re selling your own unwanted items on eBay or other marketplaces you do not have to pay any tax.
But if you purchase items with the intention of selling them for profit you WILL have to pay tax.
Currently there is a tax free trading allowance of £1000, whereby you do not need to declare profits below this. Go over it and you are now classified as a business/ sole trader.
This is not financial or tax advice and it is best to visit HMRC and speak to an accountant for personal advice!
Send to eBay or Paypal even if the addresses are not exactly the same
By doing this you have fulfilled your obligation and met the criteria for the eBay Seller Protection Programme. More information can be found by clicking the link.
That’s it folks! If you managed to get to the end of this mammoth guide of selling tips for eBay UK then congratulations you one step closer to getting your items sold, for the best price!
I will be uploading more guides in the coming weeks so please keep visiting the website for more updates. If you have questions please feel free to use the contact form and I will try help if I can!