YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
*ahem* Sorry, that…that just slips out once in a while. Read on for the last for 5 tips, if’n you like…
5. Timing is EVERYTHING
Three day auctions and seven day auctions are your target here, everything else is window-dressing. Three day-ers usually stay on the first page of searches for their entire run and can get a ton of traffic. Seven day-ers will get more long-term watchers; but you risk losing them. Still, I’ve had good results with both, so it’s up to you. Don’t use the one-day auction. If you need to sell something fast, set a reasonable BIN price and let it fly.
The key for timing is simple – end your auctions on Saturday night (late if you’re on the East Coast – make sure you allow for the 3 hour time difference for those West Coasters). Not mid-day Saturday, not at 3:00 on Wednesday, NEVER on Sunday morning (in fact, never on any morning at all). The rest of the week shouldn’t even exist as far as you’re concerned. eBay offers a scheduling option for a small fee – use it (or buy a program that will schedule it for you). The difference between a Friday night and Saturday night ending can be 50% of your profit. It’s that important.
Oh, and dont’ sell stuff in January – just about everyone goes on a spending fast, so you’ll end up with a lot less traffic. Wait till February (or November if you really want to maximize profits!
4. Don’t Trust ANYONE
Seriously, they’re not your friends. Assume everyone is a sociopath and is out to get you. The only thing they care about is getting the best deal possible and they will screw you in the space of an e-mail if they think it’ll get a few bucks off the final price. Which leads me to…
3. Don’t End Auctions Early
Isn’t it great that people love your auctions so much that they want to offer you tons of cash for your stuff? All you have to do is end the auction early! Yeah. Don’t. They’re lowballing you and trying to get you to give them your stuff for a fraction of what they know auctions usually end up at. There are very, VERY few cases where this actually works out. At worst, you can end up being scammed out of your item without eBay or PayPal to protect you. And if enough people complain about it, you can have your account suspended altogether.
2. Price it Low
While all buyers are sociopaths, they’re greedy sociopaths full of envy and lust. They will buy your stuff. So don’t freak out at setting your starting bid 25% or more below what you want to sell it for. Set a nice high Buy It Now to a) cut down on e-mails from people bitching there’s no BIN and b) encourage early bidding (if people see a good deal and are afraid it’ll get bought out from under them, they’ll start the ball rolling ASAP). If it’s highly valuable and you can’t let it go for under a certain amount, set a Reserve Price.
There is one exception: if you know that the item you’re listing is a hot collectible and will garner a large Final Auction total, keep it as a traditional auction with no BIN. Just make sure you don’t forget Rule 3!
1. Your Stuff Isn’t Yours
OK, this one is the hardest for people to latch on to. Once you put your stuff on eBay, it’s not yours anymore; it’s someone else’s. It doesn’t matter that you paid $2,000 and the blood of your first born in order to buy it new, or that Mee-maw handed it down to you as her dying act – it’s only worth what the market is willing to pay for it. Your stuff is worth far less than your attachment to it.
Now, if you’ve done your research (there’s that word again), you can allay this by putting out things other people find more valuable than you do. This is the sweet spot to be in. eBay is as much a game of playing on other people’s impulses. Just make sure you keep your emotions out of it or you’ll end up in a heated e-mail battle with the likes of firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now go – make some side cash for Spring Break. Sell off Mee-maw’s crappy Hummel figurines for some laser eye surgery. I won’t tell anyone.