top of page

Reselling on eBay (the act of buying and selling items for profit on eBay and other internet sites) is something that I've been very passionate about as a genuine "side hustle" for many years now. I think what makes me so passionate about this form of earning additional income is because, unlike 99% of "side hustles" you see preached about on social media, this one is genuinely doable by anyone (providing they have a smart phone, and some extra time).

 

When I first started reselling it allowed me to build up savings, start businesses, invest, enjoy some holidays, and just generally took the stress off my finances when time's weren't peachy! These days it's still something I enjoy doing as a hobby (a very profitable one), and has become something I often task my coaching students with getting involved in. Reselling teaches many core business practices like negotiation, understanding profit & loss, image photography, product research, capitalising on trends & pop-culture, keyword titles and so much more. 

Over the years I have done many social media videos about this topic and they have been viewed millions of times. During which time many people ask the same questions, so here's a brief FAQ for anyone looking to get started with eBay reselling!

For anything not covered here, feel free to pop your question under one of my social media videos and I'll try my best to get back to you! 

  • Where do you source your items from?
    A majority of the items I buy are found at car boot sales (yard/garage sales are probably the closest US/international equivalent) . But I also source from charity/thrift shops, flea markets, the discount/sale sections of 'normal' shops, Facebook Marketplace, and even sometimes eBay itself; where people occasionally list their items undervalued and I can buy them and sell them straight back on eBay for a profit!
  • How do you know what the items you're buying are worth?
    Simple, I look them up and see what they've sold for previously! eBay has a fantastic feature built right in to it's android and iOS app that allows you to search for items and then filter that search by Sold Listings - this will show you all the finished auctions and exactly what the item sold for! This is vital information for a reseller and ensures that you know how much profit you can expect to make (if any), how popular the items is (if there's lots of sold listings it means it's an in-demand product), and what titles/keywords are best to use when you list your item; which leads us nicely on to our next frequently asked question...
  • How do you know what keywords to use in the title of your items?
    Again, eBay has a super feature that allows you to click on a previously sold listing and then click where it says 'Sell One Likes This". Doing this will copy the title over to your new listing, where you can then add your photos, amend/add a description, set the price, and then publish your listing! You're essentially using somebody else's hard work and title to sell your product... I won't tell if you don't!
  • How do you know what postage will cost?
    This will take some work from your end. You need to decide what company you want to post your items with (DPD, Evri, Parcelforce, Royal Mail etc.) and then you'll need to visit their website or store and get a price list so you can be sure of what the postage will cost for certain box sizes etc. eBay does provide some guidance on this in when selecting the shipping method on your item listing, however I have found that it is not always accurate and you don't want to lose out on profit by getting this wrong. Also, don't overcharge on your postage. Buyers see through this and will simply avoid your items. Charge what it costs to ship it, no more, no less.
  • Do you ship internationally? If so, how do you deal with this?
    Yes I do sell internationally. Again, why would I limit my reach to only those in my own country when I can offer items to a global audience with ease! eBay makes selling internationally super simple with their "Global Shipping Programme", which means when a buyer from abroad purchases one of my times they will see an adjusted shipping price dictated by eBay. When they purchase the item I will only receive the shipping money needed to send the item to eBays warehouse in my own country, and then eBay themselves will forward the parcel on. This ensures that the buyer & seller are covered and makes the process very simple and less open to fraud/abuse. This does sometimes mean that the buyer will pay more for shipping than possible elsewhere, however this method makes it so simple that it is the only method of international shipping I have used for multiple years now (and have never had an issue). To find out more about this and how to set it up on your own eBay account, google "eBay global shipping programme" and follow the instructions to get set up.
  • Where do you buy/source boxes and packaging material from?
    In an effort to keep overheads as low as possible I recycle as many cardboard boxes from my daily life as I can, breaking them down and storing them for use later on. I also grab boxes from recycling bins at super stores and garden centres (who often have boxes available to take near the entry/exit doors). For wrapping paper, tape etc I simply buy this in bulk online (often times from an eBay seller). I try my best to never buy cardboard boxes as this is an overhead that can often be avoided.
  • What about eBay selling fee's and fuel and your own time? Doesn't that eat into profits?
    Yes. Tell me what business makes pure profit with zero overheads? eBay puts your products in front of a global audience of millions of potential buyers, the fee's they charge for doing so are perfectly acceptable in my opinion. Plus when you get to a point where you're selling 100's of items every single year the money eBay are paying into your account will be far greater than what they're taking out! Yes it costs some fuel and I sacrifice some of my time to go and find the items but A) I enjoy doing it and B) I'm making the sort of money from doing so that could totally change some peoples lives. If you're looking for a way to earn money without putting in work... you're going to be very disappointed in life. Every business has it's overheads; fuel, time, auction fee's, packaging materials - these are the overheads of a reselling business. This is down to you to make sure you have the profit right on your items to cover these costs and more.
  • Do you list your items as an auction or as a Buy It Now?
    Over the years I have trialled my listings a number of ways to see what works best. At time of writing the style I prefer is a Buy It Now listing - I could go into great detail as to why I prefer this, but the main reasons are because it requires less maintenance, I seem to sell more this way, and you can tick a box in the settings that require buyers to have to pay immediately (so no more waiting for payment!). My advice to you is to test different methods and do whatever works for you. I know people who swear by doing auctions, and I know people who say Buy It Now is the best. Do whatever works for you.
  • Do you promote/sponsor your listings?
    Depending on how much I paid for an item I will often promote it (meaning I set a % of the sale to be spent by eBay on showing my listing at the top of search results or elsewhere in prominent positions). I do this because I have found that I sell my items quicker when I do so. However, I will only do this is there's enough profit in the item and I will always tweak the % amount to something I'm comfortable paying. It's important to note that eBay take this % out of your sale price ON TOP of their standard selling fee's so be careful when doing this because it will eat into profits fast if you don't pay close attention.
  • How much money do you make from selling on eBay?
    This fluctuates greatly depending on how much time I put into going out and buying items and how good the items are that I find. However, I mainly only buy at weekends (max. 3 hours on a Saturday & Sunday morning, plus listing time when I get home), and I will only ship sold items on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's (max. 3 hours packaging and posting items). Adhering to this schedule I can expect to surpass £400-500 per month. With more time invested into it, I know of people making far in excess of £2000 per month. Of course there's a number of caveats to this but as a guide it's accurate in my experience, and remember that I am saying this should be considered as a "side hustle" i.e. a form of secondary income made on the side of a main form on income. So when you look at it this way it's a nice sum of money to be getting every month alongside your standard wage/earnings.
  • How do you take your product pictures and do you have any advice?
    I take all product imagery on my iPhone using the standard camera set to the Square format so that it fits perfectly on the eBay listing. Android has a similar feature that works fine. As for background I will always use a plain white background wherever possible, and if that's not possible I'll use as plain a background as I can with no mess or distractions around it. An ironed bed sheet, white chair, large piece of paper or a collapsible photo-booth are all perfectly fine to use - again, whatever works for you. Take pictures from all angles and always be sure to highlight any damage/marks etc in your photos. Buyers do not like to be misled!
  • What do you do when you have a build up of items that won't sell?
    This does happen. When you're buying as much stock as I do occasionally you will end up with some items you can't seem to shift. When this happens I will do one of the following: - Cut my loses and donate the items to charity/thrift shops - Do a car boot sale/garage sale of my own - Massively reduce the asking price of items and hope that they sell (this keeps my activity and sales rate high, and hopefully I'll get more good feedback from the buyers) - Bundle some of the items together and list them for sale as job lots Whenever I end up with dead stock, doing one of the above options will always get rid of it eventually!
  • Why do you sell on eBay and not Amazon/Facebook Marketplace/Other online platform?
    When I first started I was listing my items in lots of different places and I spent about 18 months testing what works best for me. eBay won hands down! For me it's the best platform, easiest to use, has the best quality of buyer, fair fee's, and works best with the items I'm selling. Others find success on Amazon (although their fee's are insane and second hand goods don't do so well on there), but I've always felt like Amazon is a different beast and requires a lot more of a learning curve to master. But I do know of people who resell on etsy, vinted, Marketplace etc and do very well so I'd recommend playing around and finding what works for you.
  • How much money do I need to get started?
    I actively encourage anyone looking to get started reselling on eBay to start with as little money as possible - let's say £10 - and challenge yourself to buy as much as you can with it, only buying more stock using the profits. Keep it like this for the first few months. This will encourage you to negotiate, make sure you're looking items up and finding their value beforehand, and will minimise the impact of amateur mistakes/losses in the early days whilst you're still learning. Also you'll be amazed by how often you can turn £10 into over £100 once you know what you're doing!

Hopefully that has helped you understand eBay reselling better and whet your appetite to get started. If you have a question that hasn't been answered above then feel free to contact me in the comments on social media and I'll do my best to get back to you. Due to high volume, emails sent with questions relating to reselling on eBay will not be responded to. 

  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Want to stay in touch? Enter your email below to join my mailing list!

I cannot stand spammy newsletters and will never create one myself. I only ever send emails when I feel I have something worth sharing - business advice, ideas, books or films i'm enjoying, topics i'm following closely etc. Over the past 2 years I have sent less than 12 emails. I believe quality is more important than quantity, so do not think that by entering your email below I will start spamming you. Do so only if you'd like to hear something from me every now and then. 

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page