If you’re looking for a bargain turn to eBay. It’s awash with the same old stuff that you see every day. The normal household things like DVDs, books, clothes, furniture, cars or even the kitchen sink! If you want it, you can usually find it, new or used, on eBay.
Over the years, eBay has seen so many things sell, some for pennies and others hitting big bucks. Personally, if I’m selling an item, I would want a big bidding war and for the item to sell well beyond my wildest imagination. I do not want it to sell for the starting price and for me to make any kind of loss.
So how do you go about finding things to sell on eBay that will make you any money?
It seems that the stranger the better and many people have been able to make quite a bit selling things that you wouldn’t have even thought of selling.
Strange eBay Item that Sold
Loom Band Dress – Originally sold for £170,100 (then as a re-listing and sold for £510.01)
In the news recently, you may have seen the loom band dress sell on eBay for ridiculous money. Our household paid particular attention to this story as Daniella is a loom band bracelet making pro and got a little jealous that she hasn’t considered making a dress yet (I have since found sketches of her intentions to make a dress – oh dear!).
This eBay sale was one using an already popular item but taking it to a new unique level. It’s not something that you can buy in the shop and its more effort that most people would put in. Therefore, the price starts to rise up straight away!
However, since it the bidding ended on 15 July, the winning bidder has since pulled out of paying for the item! It was then re-listed and still managed to earn a fair bit of cash. Lots of other loom band clothing has since made an appearance too.
Used (Urine-Free) Wetsuit – Sold for £8,999
This sale went so well due to the great description of the item and the wonderful questions it received.
The wet suit got picked up by a number of companies who also donated items to the sale so, one used wetsuit, turned into loads of free gear.
The seller donated 90% of the winning bid to the Red Cross but was still left with quite a good profit.
Since starting the eBay listing, the seller got over 2,000 queries so went on to set up a website dedicated to wet suit queries (which now will make money through advertising revenue).
Life – Sold for $399,300
In 2008, Ian Usher but his whole life for sale on eBay. He was selling off his house, belongings, car. Motorbike, jet ski, introductions to his friends, an online business and a trail run at his current job!!
After the sale, he planned to leave his house, in just the clothes he was wearing, his wallet and passport. It’s quite an amazing story from then till now but what he did was essentially sell his life – for quite a chunk of money.
You can read more about his story here.
Making a Sale
It’s all very well and good thinking that you can make some quick easy cash from eBay but, in reality, it’s really not like that.
To make the best sales, you will want to avoid selling items that will not sell. You will probably waste your time putting the listing up and get very little return, considering that you have to list the item, deal with queries, package it up and get yourself to the post office. If an item only sells for a few pennies, is that really worth your time?
To get the most chance out of making a sale….
….don’t sell what everyone else is selling
The latest copy of a Disney new release, paperback books and baby clothes are all over eBay. If you are a buyer then you are spoilt for choice but if you are selling one of these items, you are either not going to sell it, or you won’t get a huge amount of money.
Have a look on eBay before you list an item and search to see what competition you have. Carry out an advanced search and view items that have completed to see if it’s even sold, rather than just appearing.
…don’t get the listing to end at silly o’clock in the morning
You may be up at 4 o’clock in the morning but not many other people are. If you want people to have a bidding war when your listing is coming to an end, you want to make sure that people are looking at it.
When Chloe was little, and was up in the night, we used to look at listing coming to an end on baby clothes as we knew we could get them cheaper (I could image a tired mum or dad posting their used baby clothes while feeding their baby in he middle of the night in a bid to stay sane!)
The best time to end listings is on a Sunday evening, at the end of a popular programme, or between TV adverts. More people will be on the computer at this time and will have less to distract them from bidding on your item.
…don’t sell used items (if you can help it)
If the item is used, you may have less of a chance of selling the item and you will likely get less money for it. If you have a used item, try to give it a good clean and ask yourself if you would buy it as it is before you list it.
…don’t neglect the listing itself
Spend a little time getting the title right – if you were going to search for an item, what would you search for? Make sure you use key words that people will actually search for and it will then show up. Also, read it back and make sure you’ve got the spelling right. If you mis-spell a word, people won;t be able to search for it easily.
You also want to enter a good description but not too much. People who may bid on the item will want a little more detail about what they’re buying (ie clean, pet free home, smoke free home, any damage) but may not want to spend ages reading through all the information.
Take a good photo that shows the item well and has good lighting. For instance, if you are planning to sell an item of clothing, iron it first.
…don’t forget to spell check
It may sound like an obvious thing to do but, if you’re in a hurry, or are using your phone which has auto correct you may have spelling errors.
Read your title and listing back and make sure you’ve got the spelling right. If you mis-spell a word, people won’t be able to search for it easily.
Odd Things That Could Sell on eBay
You may have some good tips to make the listing look good, and appear properly in search results but, if you’re selling an item that is also listed by 500 other people, you won’t be likely to sell it – well done if you do though.
If you don’t have a lot of things laying around that could sell, or really don’t want to have a clear out and part with your treasured possessions, what alternatives are there that could still make you money?
You can pick up or print out lots of different vouchers to get money off in loads of places. If you clip the vouchers out of newspapers and magazines, you could pop them onto eBay. Essentially you’ve got an item for free so any profit would be 100%.
They give loads of them out at fast food restaurants or on the back on train and bus tickets and even given away vouchers. As well as in magazines, supermarkets are giving away vouchers at the till point for discounts on food or petrol.
If you’re not going to use the vouchers, you may get more money using them yourself but, if you don’t use what’s on offer, why not pop them onto eBay and see what you can get – they don’t seem to sell too badly so what’s the harm in trying?!
You can normally find the vouchers listed in eBay here.
Have you seen the American programme where people bid on containers – Container Wars, I think it’s called!
In the same way, take a box and fill it will all sort of things. The person that buys it could get something great or they could get something weird but that’s the joy of a lucky box. People do seem to buy things even though they don’t know what they’re getting – like Last Minute’s top secret hotels or a tombola at school fairs.
Put a value on the box and then put a sale price of half the amount – this will get people thinking they’re going to get a good bargain.
So people have a small idea about what they are getting, try to keep things in the box a little similar and put it in a category that most resembles the items that are in it.
Just be sure to fill it with a mixture of good and not so good as someone could leave very back feedback if they bid high and get nothing, which could mean less people would want to buy from you.
Samples of make up and perfume
Most larger department stores always have make up counters and, as a way to get you to buy their stuff, they are quite happy to give out freebies of all sorts of make up and perfume.
There are lots of magazines that have lots of freebies too.
Instead of using them yourself, why not pop them onto eBay and make a little money. It may be worth waiting a month or so as other people may have the same idea and eBay could then be awash with the same products. If there are too many of the same item, you will have less chance to sell it so it’s worth waiting a little while
You can find make up samples listed here.
Why not just take a dare and be silly with it. You may just be wasting your time but, if it gets enough interest, you could get the listing to go viral and start major bidding wars.
Add a Brussels Sprout (a man has actually sold Brussels Sprouts two years in a row for charity on eBay!) and sit back in the hope you’ll make some money. If you put in on as a free listing you won’t lose a penny, and you could re-list it again at no cost.
I suppose there is no harm in trying to sell a very odd item – especially if it does sell! But watch out, sometimes they won’t pay up and you won’t get the money you’re hoping for (just like the person who pulled out of the loom dress sale).
The treasure trove that is eBay can be a wonderful and weird place. There are so many items that do sell and so many items that don’t.
Some people make a real business out of selling stuff, and others can top up their incomes selling bits here and there.
Others get really lucky and strike it rich selling loom band dresses, or wet suits, or themselves!
Have you ever been lucky on eBay with a strange sale? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve managed to sell, and did you make a good profit?
Ricky Willis is the original Skint Dad. A money-making enthusiast, father, and husband to Naomi. He is always looking for unique ways to earn a little extra.