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Q: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   11 Comments )
Subject: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
Category: Business and Money > eCommerce
Asked by: mdpa173-ga
List Price: $12.00
Posted: 22 Feb 2005 04:15 PST
Expires: 24 Mar 2005 04:15 PST
Question ID: 478637
i would like some opinions on whether ebay selling market is
saturated, or whether smart people can find a niche by selling
something - timeshares come to mind.
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
Answered By: siliconsamurai-ga on 22 Feb 2005 08:29 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi, thank you for submitting your question to Answers.Google, I hope I
can provide the information you are seeking.

I need to preface this by pointing out that I own an eBay store so
part of what I am saying is based on personal experience.

A quick answer to your question is a simple Yes you can make a living
and, no, the market is FAR from saturated. You don't even need to be
all that smart although that doesn't hurt.

Below I leave the timeshares topic to near the end but the rest of
this is important too, even if you do stick to timeshares as your
eventual business because you will need to understand the options and
the eBay community to be successful.

Recently a woman sold advertising space on her pregnant stomach for nearly $10,000.

Another woman sold a ?ghost? in the form of a haunted walking stick
for many thousands of dollars. Obviously you can make a living if you
can come up with a gimmick.

But simply reselling things you buy when they are on sale or something
you happen to know how to make, or how to get for free, is very

Seling something great which very few people know about is not as
difficult as you think - look around at things you may buy from
obscure stores or catalogs.

The biggest profit item for me is feathers dropped by a bird here on
my ranch ? I can?t go into details or I would be identifying myself
which we aren?t supposed to do.

I sell things we pick up at flea markets or garage sales, as well as
things I but in large quantities when they go on sale. These are
usually unique or not well known items so I am often the only one
offering them. Since I can buy very  cheaply a couple times each year,
the rest of the year I can often undercut even the importer and still
make a nice profit.

You might want to sell DVDs. You can buy new, legal DVDs of classic
movies, cartoons, and other new productions for $1 each. Others are
already doing this but you can bundle them in sets or offer birthday
kits or such including a plush doll or something.

You may even decide to produce your own DVD or VHS productions ? the
great advantage there is that you have no inventory, you just publish
as the orders come in.

Car parts are other high-profit items. I know someone who buys
performance parts new from dealers at a small discount and resells
them at a profit. If you have mechanical skills you can dismantle junk
cars ? even a new car costs less than all the parts which make it up
when they are sold one at a time.

You can also make deals with local businesses which don?t have the
time or knowledge to sell their surplus items on eBay.

Ebay itself makes things easier by posting notices about what the most
popular items are currently, and by offering various promotions and
suggestions for holidays.

Although you may wish to test the market with auctions or, as many of
us do, use an occasional auction item to drive visitors to your store,
you will definitely want a store, but an eBay store is inexpensive to
own, a lot cheaper than posting auctions.

For example, it only costs a few pennies to post an item or multiple
identical items in a store at a fixed price, so you can easily list
hundreds in a store month after month, even if few sell.

Most of my inventory listings cost $0.02 or so. A monthly store rental
will run $15.52.

Because my family only does this part time, I sometimes spend as
little as fifteen minutes each month operating the store.

Compared to a brick and mortar business, or even placing want ads in
the local newspaper and having to deal with visitors and phone calls,
eBay is an incredible bargain.

In fact, I?d say if you can?t make a living on eBay then you have no
business going into retail in any way other than as an employee.

Critical points to consider ? shipping will kill you if you don?t
watch it carefully. I try to select items which can go in a #10
envelope or a fixed-price Priority Mail envelope, then offer free
shipping ? people love it.

You can also specify both a handling fee and a calculated shipping fee
which is OK for big items, but nothing beats free shipping ? just
build the cost into the buy-it-now or store price.

Buyers also love a full guarantee; I nearly always offer them and
never had a claim. On big items such as cameras I give the buyer time
to run a roll of film through it to test it. My guarantee on new items
is unconditional except for return shipping unless the item is

Learn to take good pictures and get a decent digital camera as well as
a place to take well-lit pictures. Invest some time in learning to use
basic photo-editing software.

Get a PayPal account. It is difficult to establish any credibility on
eBay without a PayPal account. Consider only accepting PayPal payments
? that gives you a LOT of protection.

Make your ad copy fun to read, informative, and above all, accurate.

Be friendly and fast in your responses to e-mails.

Ship ASAP or a little sooner.

Return the favor of a positive feedback as soon as possible.

Ebay also offers tutorials and mentoring groups on almost everything ?
take advantage of them.

There are also discussion boards you should participate in. Most
information on eBay is free if you have an eBay account and that too
is free.

Beyond possibly buying a basic book such as ?eBay for Dummies,? don?t
spend any money on eBay ?kits? or seminars at least until you have
tested the waters. As with most such home businesses, the problem
isn?t getting ideas, it is selling yourself and your products.

Start small and see if there is any interest in your items. Just
because someone else is selling the same thing doesn?t mean you can?t
outsell them even at a higher price, just market yourself better.

If you stick with timeshares, I still recommend you test out eBay with
some small auction items first just to get the hang of things, and
perhaps build up a good rating before you move on to expensive items.
Also, just because you sell timeshares as your main business, that
doesn?t prevent you from taking advantage of your good rating to sell
anything else too, perhaps to supplement your income until the
timeshare business takes off.

Create a free ?about me? page and make it interesting.

Google search term: success on eBay career_niche/2005/01/tips_for_succes.html

You might want to check out as a source for items to sell.

The ideas I provided above for specific items to sell are just the tip
of the iceberg and only meant as an example of how diverse you can be.

I listed them as examples because I know people who make money at
them. Pick something you are interested in or need anyway. For
example, we often put items in our store which we already buy and use.
By reselling some we cut our cost because we can buy wholesale due to
the extra quantity.

Regarding timeshares: there are 800 search items on eBay for that term
and a specific category: Real Estate> Timeshares for Sale. There are
650 timeshares listed for sale this morning.

That might discourage you, but look at it this way, if they weren?t
making money at it, would these sellers bother staying with eBay.
Since a timeshare might be a unique item, the fact that others are for
sale doesn?t really reduce the market.

One seller has 400+ transactions and a 98.8% positive rating.

Something to remember is that there are different pricing rules and
cost structures for real estate and vehicles but obviously someone is
making money at it. Why not you?

Thank you again for turning to Answers.Google for help. Since you were
asking for opinions and ideas rather than research, that is what I
tried to provide. I do it part time with an eye to making it full time
when I retire (for the 5th time, it never seems to stick). I make an
excellent hourly profit and see no reason that I can?t increase sales
by simply adding more items. Every time I have done that in the past I
increased business and profits.

As with most retail businesses, customer service is the key.

Clarification of Answer by siliconsamurai-ga on 24 Feb 2005 03:46 PST
Thank you very much for the rating and for the tip, glad to help.
mdpa173-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.50

Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: am777-ga on 22 Feb 2005 04:34 PST
the writer of this stuff sure knows how "to sell himself".......
for what it is worth....
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: pecospearl-ga on 22 Feb 2005 04:57 PST
I think you could still make a living on eBay.  And like any startup
business it takes drive and dedication to succeed.  I sold out my
lifetime collection of books on Ebay's last year and they
went like hotcakes. Here is a book that may help:
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: mdpa173-ga on 22 Feb 2005 06:13 PST
thank you for the response
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: gdminpid-ga on 22 Feb 2005 06:52 PST
There's plenty of scope for making a living. As long as you have
enough money to buy things cheap. If you're in the USA, then the weak
dollar makes its very attractive for you to sell in Europe, you could
undercut most domestic sellers. One thing to do would be to specialise
and import a specific good from say China, giving you more margin.
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: whistlefisher-ga on 24 Feb 2005 17:38 PST
I only had 70 products in my store & it was costing me 25 (about $45
USD) a month & nothing was selling dispite good quality products at
reasonable prices - unless you have a decent advertising budget (to
advertise in newspapers & magazines) I wouldn't bother - you'll be
virtually flushing your cash down the pan or delivering leaflets in
the rain.  Find that "niche product" the gurus talk of (the pot of
gold - at the end of THEIR rainbow) or a product that only YOU can get
your hands on/or get it cheaper than anyone else - then you'll make a
E-books are crap, people buy them but seldom read the things do they ?
no different to the pyramid schemes of the 80's - one person makes
loads from it -customer gets the "Book" which is normally a "clunky"
pdf -that still crashes most people's computers & the wisdom contained
? it just tells them to sell a copy of the pdf they have just opened
to "make a Fortune" - normally on eBay.
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 25 Feb 2005 07:23 PST
whistlefisher - I'm sorry you had a bad experience, I presume you
noticed that nothing was selling and closed your shop at the end of
the first month or lowered your prices or changed your product
offerings? Opening an eBay store costs tens of thousands of dollars
less than opening a brick and mortar business or even a direct mail

Of course I never indicated that EVERYONE will make a good living on eBay.

I do no advertising other than posting an occasional auction and my
store does just fine because I offer a mix of low-priced and unique or
nearly items and write interesting "copy" to go with the products,
just as the most successful mail order catalogs do.

Perhaps your product or prices weren't a good fit for eBay customers?
As I tell people when I lecture, the monetary value of anything is
only what someone else is prepared to pay at the moment.

As for criticising books others are selling, just check out the
vendor's rating, eBayers aren't at all shy about telling others when
they feel ripped off.

BTW, my rating is 100%
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: netman2000-ga on 01 Mar 2005 19:54 PST
Yes you can make a living selling on Ebay.  There are tons of people
doing it today but it is becoming more difficult due to the
oversaturation of sellers.  About 5 years ago you would be on easy
street but things have changed.  It's not just Ebay that is saturated
it is the entire e-commerce field on the web.  All this means is you
have to work a little harder than the competition now.  I have
actually helped many many business owners due just that, become
successful in their first online venture.

One piece of advice I can give you is seek out many different ways to
promote both your products themeselves as well as your online
storefront.  And yes you do need an online storefront in my opinion to
be successful.  Yeah put all your products on Ebay, then submit them
to froogle, then create feeds and put them on shopping comparison
sites like the ones I have listed below:

<a href=""></a>
<a href=""></a>
<a href=""></a>

Also advertise on search engines themselves.  Google Overture (Yahoo)
are the most well known but you can get great bang for your buck
utilizing the smaller ones also such as and
 Bottom line is you can make money online but you must do your
homework and be willing to put in the time to compete.  In this day
and age there is a lot of competition, but then again the internet
gains hundreds of new shoppers everyday.  Will you be there to scoup
them up or will someone else...
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: till2day-ga on 09 Mar 2005 08:57 PST
I had a friend who was selling wood grain dash kits through ebay..he
bought them wholesale from and was making an extra 2k a
month..they drop shipped everything for him.
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: carperform-ga on 26 Oct 2005 12:25 PDT
   It is certainly possible to do this with performance parts, in
fact, we do.  Specifically you still need to read alot, I can suggest,
EBAYm the complete guide, and the entrepreneur magazine book about
ebay management too.  For car parts, its important to check out high
quality sites and mimic what they do well, while minimizing costs. this site is a
good example of low overhead and price savings that go to its
customers, in addition, rpmoutlet is good too for making ebay
effective, you can find both companies on ebay and online, search
carperform or rpmoutlet, and compare them to jegs.  Thinking
critically about your business is crucial to success, and comparison
is just one of many techniques.
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: richtam123-ga on 31 Dec 2005 14:00 PST
It's just like anything else you do in life; it's all about learning
the ropes. I've been selling on for the last 5 or so years
taking advantage of a niche market. I know where to buy the items and
what to look for when I find it. Sometimes my mark up has been several
hundred percent. I also know that certain items only sell 3 or 4 times
a year and I take advantage of it. The drawback at first was shipping
but then I "discovered" media mail.  :)  Little by little I add to my
income almost every month.

I'll be moving onto eBay in 06 and I know I have to learn the ropes so
I've been reading everything in sight regarding eBay. I also know that
I'll need top drive customers to my sight so I'm in the process of
practicing that by starting a Blog of all of things, my goldfish! I've
been testing different free way of advertising. One little thing I did
was to include my blog address in my sig line of every forum I belong
to and more hits came my way. I tossed in a Goggle ads plus one for
Amazon to check for conversion rates. It's a learning process that I
intend to continue in order to learn about selling on the web. Start a
blog and practices how to drive people to it, it?s a free way learn!

Good luck with you full time eBay quest!

Goldfish site:
Subject: Re: EBay - Can I make a living selling on EBAY
From: nick1thegreat-ga on 13 Jan 2006 08:01 PST
Yes, you can! I am not making a living selling on Ebay, since I do not
have so much time, but I made some good money a few times. The main
ideea is to buy items that are in demand for less (whenever they are
in clearance, using coupons, etc) and sell them for a profit at the
right time (end your auctions on Sunday evening, etc). I am using the
DealAlert program from , it alerts me
whenever there is a good deal in a few seconds (before it's out of
stock), plus it has all the latest coupons up=to-date and organized by
store. There are some other good sites too that can help you buy cheap
stuff, but I preffer PocketDeal because of the DealAlert feature (and
I do not have time to browse on the net for deals)

<a href='"></a>

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