My husband and I have earned eBay’s “Top Rated Seller” and “Power Seller” status, with over 800 sales since March of 2014. We have 100% Positive Feedback and pride ourselves on extremely fast shipping service. eBay is a fun and exciting hobby for us, especially during our long, cold winters in northern Wisconsin.

We sell everything from sporting goods, to hunting and fishing items, to children’s clothing and toys. We acquire most of the items we sell from local garage sales and flea markets. Often, we will purchase something for 50 cents or $1, then turn around and sell it for $25 to $50!

To actually sell an item on eBay takes a lot of planning, preparation, and commitment. Here are some tips on how to actually sell the items you list on eBay.

How to Actually Sell an Item on eBay
How to Actually Sell an Item on eBay

Step 1: “Research the Item You Want to Sell”: Friends and family occasionally ask us to sell an item on eBay for them. However, you need to research what’s actually selling on eBay. Some things, despite how “rare” they might seem, either don’t sell or only sell for a couple of dollars, which is often not worth the time and energy that goes into listing an item. If something you want to sell is currently up for bids, but the auction won’t end for a couple of days, you can choose to “Watch” items on eBay to track them and find out if they sell.

Step 2: “Determine Your Exact Shipping Cost”: We have experienced several situations where we did not determine the exact shipping cost and have had to pay out of our own pocket the extra shipping. Unless it is a huge difference, it is just not proper to ask the winning bidder or buyer to chip in the extra money. As a seller, it is your responsibility to determine shipping costs. Before listing your item, package it in a shipping box, and add cushion or padding, just like you would when you ship it. Invest in a postage scale (you can purchase them at many places, like eBay or, and use the U.S. Postal Service’s website ( to determine your exact shipping cost.

Step 3: “Determine Your Item’s Starting Bid”: If you are doing an online auction (versus “Buy It Now” or “Best Offer”), consider starting your bidding at $0.99. Once in awhile, eBay does not charge you a listing fee if you do that, or you’ll pay a fee only if your item sells. However, if your item is worth a lot and is very valuable, you should not be afraid to list the starting bid at a higher amount.

Step 4: “Take Detailed Pictures”: You will need a digital camera for taking detailed pictures of your item, because buyers want to see what they are considering purchasing or bidding on. For example, if you are selling a pair of boots, take pictures of the tops, insides, outer sides, and bottoms.

Step 5: “Describe Your Item in Great Detail”: If your item has certain flaws (little stains or holes in clothing, etc.), explain that in your listing. That does not mean that people won’t bid or purchase your item. We have sold many pre-owned, slightly “flawed” items, and buyers want you to be completely honest with them. You do not want to risk receiving negative feedback for not being truthful in your item listing. Describing your item in great detail in your original listing also protects you from buyers who claim they were not aware of a flaw, even though you clearly stated that in your item description. eBay will help you with buyers who make claims against you, as long as you have the information to back up your side of the issue.

Step 6: “Use Popular Keywords in Your Listing’s Search Title”: People search by popular key words and phrases, so you need to make sure you use the best keywords possible to help potential buyers and bidders locate your item. Make sure to include brand names, makes, models, sizes (for clothing, shoes), and anything else that will help describe your item exactly. Something to keep in mind is that some people search using incorrect spellings of items (For examples, we’ve seen toys labeled as both “Little Tykes” and “Little Tikes”), so it might be helpful to list both forms of the spelling in your search title.

Step 7: “Proofread Your Listing”: Spelling and grammar errors can make you look unprofessional and you may not be taken as seriously as a seller. It pays to proofread once, twice, and even three times to make sure all wording in your listing’s description is correct. When everything looks good, click “List your item” and good luck!