Tips for Running a Home-Based eBay Business This Holiday Season



The pre-Christmas period is the perfect time to sell on eBay. Guest author Robert Price dishes out some helpful advice. 


best time of year to sell on ebayHalloween 2012 is in the books, which means it’s time to look forward to the rapidly approaching holiday season. With a little bit of organization and ingenuity, you can take advantage of the increase in consumer spending to earn some spending money by opening an eBay business. Maximize your profits and minimize stress with these handy hints on how to sell on eBay.


Useful Tips

If you’re using the USPS, you can get free shipping boxes. They’ll even deliver them to your home for free. The drawback? You have to use them for priority mail or priority flate rate service, which is easy to set up through eBay. USPS address verification is a must as it instantly validates any address. The better prepared you are, the easier things become in your home operation. Prevent buyer issues by always checking USPS address verification before shipping to ensure prompt delivery of goods. Buyers are especially touchy about timely and accurate deliveries during the holiday season.


Don’t want to haul your outgoing packages into the post office just to stand in line to ship them? Have your carrier pick them up by using the USPS website to schedule a pickup. Offering shipping discounts for multiple items is a great way to encourage buyers to select multiple items from your store. Add a note in the listing to remind buyers to contact you in the event they are interested in multiple items so you can quote a fair shipping price.


Basic Considerations

The simplest way to sell is to put a “Buy it Now” price on your items, but it will be more expensive. Fees vary based on sale type, length of listing, merchandise category and add-on features like adding extra photos. Get familiar early on with the rules of selling, especially as they apply to the categories you’ll be listing in most often. With starting your own eBay business, an ounce of prevention is, as they say, worth a pound of cure.


Potential Pitfalls

Carefully calculate shipping costs before posting your item. You don’t want to lose money because you under quoted shipping expenses! Use the shipping calculator tool eBay has provided. If weight is a consideration try searching for the same or similar items online and using those shipping weights. If you ship a wide variety of items it might be worthwhile to invest in a postage scale (though a digital food scale will do the same thing).


No matter how crafty you are and how tempting it is to go to town on branding yourself, be careful about sinking too much time and or money on it. When I started selling on eBay I got sidetracked designing the perfect return address labels. They were awesome, but the impact they made on my business certainly wasn’t worth the time I spent on them.


Be careful not to spend too much on listing upgrades. The folks at eBay know you want your listing to stand out, so they will sell you all the upgrades they can. Use them thoughtfully!


Get Social

Leverage your social media presence to get the word out about your eBay business! Tell friends what your store name is and ask them to share on their social networks. For real life social networking, have simple business cards with your eBay store name and specialties available to hand out. If you have great merchandise and a a few extra hours a week, you could make a difference in your home by bringing in extra income with an online storefront.


If you have more tips, we’d love to hear them in the comments!


Guest writer Robert Price is a financial advisor who dabbles in commercial and residential real estate investments. He and his family enjoy water sports from their lakefront home in central Florida.


6 Responses to Tips for Running a Home-Based eBay Business This Holiday Season

  1. Great ideas! I will share with some of my friends who are looking for work they can do from home! Now they can run their own businesses! :)

  2. Of course they can! Thanks for dropping by Gladys.

  3. Great tips! Thanks

  4. Thank Jean!

  5. Great tips in time for the holiday season!

  6. Thanks Carol!