How to Run an EBay Business


For some, online auction sites like eBay are a lucrative hobby, and a way to clear the house of unwanted items. For others, however, eBay is a full-time career, and many entrepreneurs and small-business owners make a full-time income buying and selling products on the site. In many ways running a successful eBay business requires the same skills as running a brick and mortar business, but there are a few important things to keep in mind as you open your virtual store.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • eBay account
  • Paypal account
  • Spreadsheet or accounting program
  • Computer
  • Auction listing software

Decide what types of items you want to sell on eBay. Some sellers will enjoy great success selling a wide variety of items, while others will be more successful once they have found their own unique niche. If you have identified a niche you feel is under-served on eBay, you may be able to use that to your advantage. Niche categories tend to have less competition on eBay than broader categories.

Invest in a quality accounting program designed for small businesses. If you are starting out with a small number of auctions and a small number of sales you may be able to use a simple spreadsheet program to track your sales. But as your business grows, an accounting program will help you track your costs, your profits and your taxes.

Consider using a quality auction listing program to create and list your auctions. Many of the most successful sellers on eBay host an incredible number of auctions each week, and keeping track of those auctions one by one can be a daunting task. Using a software package designed for eBay sellers will make those multiple listings more manageable.

Open your eBay and Paypal accounts at the same time. Having the Paypal option available is very important for success on eBay, since many buyers will not do business with sellers who cannot accept credit card payments.

Track all of your expenses carefully, using either your accounting software or a spreadsheet program. Be sure to track all of your business related expenses, from the cost of shipping your products to the cost of the products themselves. Also be sure to account for all of your fees, including listing fees, final value fees and Paypal fees. All of these fees can be used to offset your tax liability.

Shop around among the shippers in your area. The cost of shipping the same package can vary quite a bit from carrier to carrier, so be sure to compare costs carefully. Also be sure to follow up at least once a year to make sure your chosen shipper is still the best bargain. Whether you use free shipping offers to boost your sales or pass the cost of shipping on to your customers, keeping shipping costs low can boost your sales and help you be more successful.

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