Is it really possible to make money on Ebay?Ninety-nine percent of the time that I hear, “make money on Ebay” it turns out that the person is simply getting rid of stuff they no longer want. I don’t consider that making money, because you lose the possession – one that you likely paid more for in the past. It simply isn’t sustainable. It still serves the purpose cleaning the house and getting a little extra spending cash. Let’s be honest, this way of “making money on Ebay” is not a business.
However, there are a number of people who are making money on Ebay. When I bought coupons on Ebay, I found out that the seller has thousands of coupons for sale. I don’t really know how the person or company does it, but they’ve found a way to charge a fair price for their time and service (clipping the coupons).
It got me thinking, “What kind of business could I start on Ebay?” Like many of the best business ideas, they come when don’t expect them. Let me backtrack and give you the inspiration. My wife often falls asleep at inopportune times. It’s not narcolepsy or anything else that doctors have been able to diagnose. In any case, I often get a little worried when she’s driving late at night. Then I found this caffeine spray. It sounds like a good deal and something that would be handy to have in her purse or car (caffeine always helps her wake up). At $5 it’s about the right price… until you factor in the $6 of shipping to my home – making it a very unfriendly $11 for a single unit. I did an Internet search and found that others felt the same way as I did about shipping. I look around the Internet for some time and couldn’t find the product available cheaper anywhere else (Note: on publishing this article, I noticed that someone added a small quantity of cheap caffeine spray at a cheap price).
So here’s the business idea. Go to Think Geek and buy 1,000 of the sprays for $4,990 plus $121 for shipping (the price for locale may be different than yours). This is a total of $5,111 or 5.11 dollars per unit. If you can find a way to ship a very light item cheaply, you are in business. Of course, it also requires that there’s a demand for caffeine spray – something that I believe to be true. If you can provide it someone for $9 instead of $11, there’s got to be room for you to make a couple of dollars on each sale.
Why don’t I do this myself? Well, I’m Lazy. Physically shipping the item out 1,000 times sounds like work to me (though some of people are doing it, so it can’t be that bad). I don’t want to take the risk of having a 1,000 of these sitting around. I’ve also realized that I’m in the business of producing ideas on this website, not exactly implementing them. That’s a good thing because implementation is often not my strong suit.
So take the idea and run with it… or look run your own Ebay business as a reseller of a unique product. If you do, please leave me a note in the comments.
Photo Credit: Rick and Lynne
I just buy stuff on eBay and resell it on eBay for more. You have to choose your items you do this with carefully and keep track of the price fluxuations. I’m still not to the point I’m making alot of money, but I average about $30 profit per item I resell (after eBay and Paypal fees). Not quite enough to make a living, but good for some extra gas money.
I have been having some pretty good luck with using eBay to make some money (nothing great enough to let me retire). I have been finding what the current “hot items” are on the market. For example a video game, a video game console, etc and then buying them from Best Buy or Circuit City with coupons. Then I will post them on eBay for what others have been selling the item for. Usually after fees I can bring in at least a $50 profit per item. Of course this will vary with the type of item, the demand for the item, etc. Main thing is to get hold of the hot selling hard to find items that people are willing to pay more for.
I once met a guy at eBay Live (their annual seller conference) who sold prints of public-domain photographs (pictures of landmarks, etc.). The photos are free, the printing is pretty cheap, and he sold them for $10 each, with a little extra profit on the shipping. His only expenses were a good inkjet printer, paper, ink, and shipping materials. I thought that was a pretty good little scheme…
Mary Sue says
You may need a reseller certificate to do mass sales such as this.
Hey Lazyman, Love the name!! I’ve often thought about getting rid of things (junk) that are just hanging around. I had at one time decided to simplify my life and thought that making money from eBay would be a good way to make a little extra cash. But I agree with you on the shipping, when I thought about packing each item up and bringing it to the P.O. that great idea went out the window. Good Post.
One of our neighbors have a fairly successful ebay business. One example he said was about getting a shipment of 3000 RC cars from China for a few pennies each and selling them on ebay for $3 plus shipping. That sounded pretty good although having to ship 3000 items is a bummer.
I have a friend that had a rockin’ eBay business profiting about $80K/month until they changed their shipping policies a while back. Went from that to $2K/month and having to lay off all of his employees in about six months. There is definitely opportunity on eBay, but it can also be a pretty delicate business model when you’re dealing with penny profits.
I met someone tonight, actually, a retired pediatrician, who is 98 years old (!) who with his 62 years old son sells things on eBay. What do they sell? Tools! They buy them at a local flee market. He told me their profit margin was about 300%.
Last year, I posted on eBay one of my balloon sculptures of Borat for $10,000 LOL..I did it for publicity and to drive traffic to my blog. http://mylifeandart.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/11/borat_borart_ba.html
I had a few media interviews on that, including The Miami Herald (4th time!), and the traffic increased about 10 fold.
Now, this lady http://mom2my6pack.blogspot.com/
started by posting very simple items for sale on eBay. But because her posts where so entertaining they draw lots of traffic and people were forwarding it to each other. I think she stopped posting on eBay and began focusing on her blog and eventually got a book contract.
In this case, it doesn’t matter what you sell on eBay and it doesn’t matter if you sell it or not, as long as your post on eBay is entertaining.
This way you can draw traffic to your blog for pennies a day by linking to your blog from ABOUT ME page on eBay.
There are other side benefits to running a eBay business too.
Even if you’re low margin and you only profit a couple hundred a month if you use a rewards credit card for all expenses the rewards can add up.
The miles you earn each year from CC charges could easily be used for vacation purposes.
When I use to eBay it was a side hobby and worked into my routine as I didn’t mind carrying packages to be delivered on my daily walk to class.
this is kinda funny that you are writing about this now… I just finished a post about starting an ebay business on my blog. I agree there is a difference between selling junk around the house and starting a business, but just in the comments listed above there are some good ideas mentioned…
Bonnie Sayers says
I have purchased coupons on ebay for like baby wipes and soymilk. No idea how they get them done and so many, but it was worth the $1.50, I like the ones that have some time before they expire.
I bought my previous minivan on ebay motors, it was a rush at the end when someone showed up and outbid me by $250 and I won in the last minute.
Steve C | MyWifeQuitHerJob says
It’s gotten much harder to make money on Ebay thanks to their ridiculous fees. These days, when all is said and done, Ebay takes between 12-14% of your final selling price.
Jane Scott says
A friend of mine is making money on eBay and she was making $2000 a week and convinced me to start my own. She told me about this software helped her serve customers better. She said it was able to provide her customers with both digital and physical products with the Instant Digital Delivery they always desire. Check out this website for more information… http://www.myautomatedauctionmachine.com. I already have it and excited to be using it soon and make more money like my friend. Hope this helps you guys too.