How to Start Selling on Ebay

Ebay has opportunities for the serious entrepreneur, the small businessperson and even those people who just want to clean the junk out of their basements. Using eBay, you can sell your goods at a fixed price or maximize your earnings potential using the company's auction format. Whatever your goals, you can succeed as a seller on eBay as long as you have a clear vision and a plan.

Choose an item or a line of merchandise that you want to sell. If you already have something in mind, or if you just want to get rid of some old junk, you can skip ahead, but if you want to start selling part time or full time, you will need to choose a line of merchandise. Choose something that you can easily acquire at a low or wholesale price and sell at a profit. You might also choose something that you make yourself, like beaded jewelry.

Research your product and find out if you can really turn over a profit. You can do this by reviewing similar eBay auctions that have concluded. Visit the eBay homepage and click "Advanced" beside the Search box. Enter your desired product (or a description of your item) in the "Enter keywords" box and then check the box that reads "Completed Listings." Click "Search" and find out how other eBay users have fared with the same (or similar) items.

Take clear digital photographs of the item(s) that you want to sell. Listings with photographs have much higher success rates, according to eBay, and the clearer the better. Take closeup photos from different angles if selling quality merchandise like antiques or jewelry. Take at least one photograph of each item and upload it to your computer.

Register for a PayPal account if you do not already have one. Ebay integrates with PayPal to easily and quickly process payments from buyers, so you will need one of these free accounts before you begin selling on eBay. Just visit, click the "Sign Up" link and enter your information. You will need a credit card or bank account number.

Register an eBay account. Once you have chosen a product and determined its profitability, you can get to work. Click the "Register" link at eBay and enter your personal information. You will need to enter your name, address, contact information, a unique eBay user ID, an unique password and your PayPal ID.

Click the "Sell" link at the top of the main eBay homepage, and click "Sell an Item" (when it appears on the drop-down menu). The server will then prompt you to enter additional information to activate your selling privileges. Specifically, you must enter a credit card number, without which you cannot sell on eBay.

Click the "Sell an Item" link again to list your first item for sale. Before you proceed, the system may ask you to log in again as a security measure. When the listing form first appears, decide whether you want to use the "Fixed Price" or "Auction" options. If you choose "Fixed Price," enter the cost of the item. If you choose "Auction," enter a starting price (you might start with a very low price to encourage bidding wars).

Fill out all of the required fields on the following pages to list your item. You must enter a generic name or keyword (which eBay buyers might use to search for your product) as well as a description. Use the image upload form to upload your image(s) from your hard drive. Lastly, enter a shipping cost and click the "Publish" button to submit your listing.

Monitor your listing. You can return to eBay at any time and click the "My eBay" link to view the progress of your listing. If you receive questions from buyers in your email inbox, respond to the questions promptly to encourage bids and purchases. When the item sells, you will receive an email with the buyer's name and address. By shipping the item quickly and securely, you can ensure that you receive positive feedback, which encourages more buyers to purchase from you in the future.