Your user ID on eBay contains a comments section from customers and buyers. You are rated for your reliability and honesty and comments stretching back for a year are displayed. Although you have a public right to reply to comments, a long list of negative comments could prove disastrous. New eBay users, in particular, will be cautious when parting with their money and if you’ve gained a reputation for poor service they are unlikely to turn to you.
In the formative days of your eBay business, storage space shouldn’t be a problem. Once you have a profitable business up and running, you may then want to rent out space to store your items.
“Don’t rush into buying storage space,” advises an eBay spokesperson. “If you start off in a small manner, you can use your living room, garage or loft for storage. You’ll know when sales demand that you need more storage space.”
Once you’ve created a business account, you can set up an online shop by paying a monthly subscription fee. This ranges from £14.99 a month for a basic shop package, to £349.99 a month for the most advanced offering.
It costs between 10p and £1.30 to list an item for auction on eBay, depending on the opening value or reserve price of the item. For fixed price listings, the insertion fee is usually 40p (if the seller does not have an eBay shop), or 20p for media items such as books, music and DVDs. With a shop, the listing fee ranges from free to 10p, depending on the shop package purchased.
eBay then takes a slice of the selling price once an item is sold. In a bid to simplify its pricing model, eBay recently changed its business sellers’ fee structure. As of May 2011, the tiered model (where the fee charged depended on how much the item sold for) was shelved, in favour of a flat percentage fee depending on what category the item falls into.
For most items, eBay now takes 10% of the final selling price, regardless of how much the item sold for. Fees vary across certain categories though: for instance, on tech items such as computers and consumer electronics eBay takes just 3% of the selling price; for media items the fee is 9%; and for clothing, shoes and accessories the fee is 12%.
eBay says the new pricing model will make it easier for sellers to predict and calculate their fees and that fees will decrease overall for many sellers, but concedes that they may increase for some.
Making and receiving payments through PayPal, eBay’s online payment system of choice, also incurs a small transaction charge.