How to Make Money Selling on eBay

by Nancy Wagner; Updated September 26, 2017
Add to Cart Keyboard Button with Red Shopping Cart

EBay gives you a way to make money selling just about anything, including items you pick up at garage sales or merchandise bought at heavy discount. You can even make money on eBay without selling items. Either way, making money on the popular auction site requires careful research. If you want to list items, testing the waters is relatively inexpensive because eBay does not charge a fee for listings. You only pay a fee once the item sells.

View Completed Listings

Once you sign into your eBay account, find out what type of market exists for the items you want to sell by reviewing completed listings. Click on the “Advanced search” button and enter the keywords that describe your item. In the results, click on “Completed Listings” in the left-hand column and a list of items that fit those keywords will appear, showing you what sold and what didn’t.

Find Top Products

Search for top-selling products by typing "top selling items" in eBay's search field, and then selecting a category from the pull-down menu next to the search field. Because eBay no longer provides a list of its top sellers, you must comb through the results to see if a seller has sold any items and, if so, how many. The results also list the number of bidders and watchers, additional indicators that the item may be popular.

Set a Price

Review completed listings to determine the selling price. Items with multiple bids were sold via auction. Auctions get more traffic than the Buy It Now option. Since selling pricey items via auction is risky, use a reserve bid price to avoid underselling. Once you set the reserve price, you can start the bidding with a lower amount that’s geared to draw attention.

Create Your Listing

Click the “Sell” tab to create your ad using eBay’s template. Look at the titles and keywords other successful sellers used and then add the same words to be competitive. Add high-quality images –-- eBay allows 12 per listing for free -- from different angles. Provide a detailed description of the product. Choose a shipping method and indicate the cost. Use free shipping whenever possible, as it can often be the deciding factor on whether someone bids. Set the end date for your listing when buyers are most likely to view the product, such as on Sunday afternoon or evening. Upload your listing and wait for bids to come in.

Join the Network

If listing items is not your idea of making money, set up an affiliate account through eBay’s Partner Network instead. To make money, you must push traffic to eBay. Each time someone buys something you make a percentage. This way of making money works well if you have a large following through your blog, social media pages or website. To boost sales, review and recommend products. You can also sign up to create and add eBay banner ads to your website to encourage people to click on them and go shopping.

About the Author

Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Shane_D_Rymer/iStock/Getty Images