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The Auction Tutor - Article Archives

 

By Gregory Perry, eBay Seller and Writer

 

Each article below is listed with the most recently-published article first.
Scroll down to see earlier articles that lead up to the ones that appear higher on this page.

The Previous Columns:

You Can Buy on the Cheap...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... With These eBay Tricks!

Vol 3, No. 12, December 29, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429    

     One of the keys to eBayís success is its search engine. More than 99% of all items bought on eBay were found because someone typed some words in the Search box. For example, if you want to buy a Playstation Spider-Man video game, you would type Playstation Spider-Man video game in eBayís search box and a list of matching items appears.

 

        That search list contains both auctions and fixed-price listings (called Buy It Now items). You may see auctions starting for one penny that have no bids yet but that have a lot of time left and auctions with bids of $30 and only a few minutes left. Buy It Now items might range from $15 to $50 depending on the condition of the game.

 

        eBay is a place of choices. Often you can buy for less by bidding but you risk losing out to someone else. Always check shipping costs which appear next to item prices and factor shipping costs before you make a decision. Check the sellerís feedback if you find an item you want to see if the seller has a good reputation and if buyers have good things to say about that seller.

 

        If price is most important to you, you can change the sort order of the list to display by low price first. eBay calculates shipping and uses this in the sort so you will know the absolutely lowest-priced item you want currently selling on eBay right now. Read the description thoroughly to make sure the seller is selling exactly what you want as titles can sometimes be misleading. For example, it may be a Spider-Man video game for the Playstation but it might be broken or old. Only by clicking the item and reading its description will you know.

 

        As a seller your want to rank as high in the search listings as possible. If your price and shipping is not the lowest on eBay, you will not appear at the top of the search results when buyers sort by lowest price. Your goal should not always be the lowest-priced however. If you describe your items well and have excellent feedback, other bidders may have bid up your item for more than others selling the same thing. That happens to us a lot which is why people ask us to sell their items on eBay so often.

 

        Remember, eBay does not automatically show the lowest-priced items first. You must select that option every time you search. If the low price search option is not selected. eBay ranks items in search results based on several factors. Seller feedback and shipping costs are some of the biggest factors in being towards the top of search results when buyers look for things. Also, if you offer free shipping, eBay bumps you up even higher in the default search results whenever someone searches for things.

 

       Therefore, always strive for the best customer service possible to rank high in eBay's search lists. Always strive to keep your shipping as low as possible too. If you offer free shipping, two things usually happen: you rank even higher in the searches and your item will often sell for more than the shipping costs you over what others are selling the same thing for. Buyers like free shipping and they often reward you by paying more for that ďfreeĒ service.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


 

Simple Tips...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... Really Boost Your Profits!

Vol 3, No. 10, November 6, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429    

      You now have no more excuses!

 

     November 20th, join me at the Mounds Library for a free beginnerís eBay seminar. We should begin promptly at 7 pm, Thursday. Everybody who attends will get at least two gifts. I wonít yet tell you what they are (because I am not sure myself!) but they will be eBay-related tools that you can use right away whether youíre a beginner or an advanced user.

 

     My seminar will be geared initially for those absolute beginners who are new to eBay, and those who have bought or sold before but have lots of questions on how to notch up their sales and savings even more. Iíll give unique tips for both buyers and sellers. If you have been hesitant to sell, you will leave with confidence.

 

     If you can use email and look at web pages, you have all the skills you need to enjoy the seminar, learn eBay, and begin making money right away. We should be finished with the main session by 8:30 and perhaps even slightly earlier. It will be challenging getting everything in, but this will not be a typical seminar. We will discuss an overview of eBay, you will learn what buying and selling is really all about, you will pick up pointers you never thought of before, but we will not do a dry, step-by-step, follow-on-the-screen classroom. Such a session is far more detailed than you need for our seminar. If you need more hand-holding once you leave you can just drop me an email and Iíll help you through whatever you need help with but you will be surprised at how confident you will be leaving Thursday evening.

 

     In addition, if you have been an eBayer for a long time now, I guarantee you will leave with advanced selling tips that will astound you. We have eBay down to a science and I will share my secrets of success with you. Many of those secrets truly are secrets and come in the advanced eBay selling packages that I offer but I will give to you at the seminar. In other words, you cannot afford to miss this big night!

 

     You still have plenty of time to catch the Christmas buying and selling season on eBay. We have had a tremendous selling season already and it is not over yet. We try to ramp-up the number of items we offer this time of year. The last 2 months of the year and January are the three biggest selling months on eBay.

 

     We have not noticed much of a drop in sales since the economy got so shaky. As a matter of fact, discounters such as Wal-Mart announced a profit last week that was missing at most other retail stores. People still want bargains and with the economy they want more now than ever before. They find them at discounters such as Wal-Mart and on eBay where shipping costs are often less than sales tax in the stores and you donít have to drive to buy your stuff!

 

     In March I offered a free writing seminar at the Mounds library and we had a blast. I predict our eBay seminar will be more fun and even better attended! eBay is enjoyable and once you see that selling things on eBay is extremely simple Ė and shipping is far easier than most people know! Ė then you will be chomping at the bit to try your hand at your own auctions.

 

     I look forward to seeing you there.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


 

 

Some More eBay Changes...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... Are on Their Way!

Vol 3, No. 9, September 10, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429    

         Happy anniversary! This column is 2 years old today. Although still young, we hope weíve made a difference, especially to your pocketbooks!

 

        eBay recently announced several changes that affect buyers and sellers. For the past few columns, Iíve encouraged you to register on eBay. You save money on almost everything you buy already. eBay is loaded with staple items; we routinely purchase all our paper, ink cartridges, coffee, and even dog treats for Casper and Mozart on eBay!

 

        The recent changes affect both buyers and sellers so if youíve used eBay in the past you need to understand how the changes affect you. If you have not registered, go to this link TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg where you can watch a short sign-up video Iíve linked to and quickly register a new account. Youíll be clearing out that clutter in no time, making room for new things you buy on eBay!

 

        The biggest change that will occur by mid-October is that PayPal, credit cards, and a payment system called ProPay, will be the only way buyers can pay for eBay items. Checks and money orders will no longer be allowed. This means everybody should register for a PayPal.com account. If you donít have one already, go to PayPal.com right now and register. Although you can use your credit card to pay through PayPal without opening a PayPal account, using PayPal is quicker and makes paying for eBay purchases as simple as clicking a couple of buttons.

 

        Weíve already discussed the safety features of eBay and PayPal.com in this column and at TheAuctionTutor.com/TheAuctionTutor you can find back issues as well as a few other goodies. For example, I recently put a video at the top of the back issue web page that discusses security and offers you a free tool that youíll find invaluable when you begin selling things.

 

        eBay is even safer to use than it has been in the past. Sellers who do not perform at a 4.3 or higher rating (out of 5) when buyers give them feedback will be banned from eBay. This move encourages sellers to maintain top-level customer service and speedy shipping to stay in the game.

 

        eBay lowered fees for sellers who offer free shipping and who maintain a high level of buyer feedback. This further encourages a better buying atmosphere for buyers and will ultimately work to lower prices for the things you buy. To further reduce your costs, when sellers do charge for shipping, as most of us do for most things, eBay is going to limit the amount sellers can charge for shipping based on weight and similar items sold in the past.

 

        Speaking of shipping, a good reader wrote to us this week asking how to charge for shipping. Heís bought on eBay and wants to sell but does not know in advance what to charge for shipping.

       

        We will be giving you lots of shipping pointers here in this column (and remember, the past columns are always available at TheAuctionTutor) but as a general rule you do not have to worry about shipping costs. When you list an item for sale on eBay, you only need to tell eBay how much the item weighs. Be sure to add a half pound or pound to the weight for whatever boxing and packing may be needed.

 

            When a bidder looks at your auction, eBay takes the bidderís zip code and calculates how much shipping will cost that bidder depending on where the bidder lives. So a bidder in New York sees a different ship cost than bidders in Arkansas and you as the seller never have to worry about any of it! When the auction ends, eBay charges the bidder the correct ship cost for the bidderís zip code and item weight and you get paid however much you need to mail the item. You can also add a small fee to cover your boxing, tape, packing peanuts, and other mail-related costs.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


 

It's Not Too Early...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... to Use eBay for Holiday Buying and Selling!

Vol 3, No. 8, August 13, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429  

        If you have started selling on eBay Ė and if not, why havenít you? Ėget ready for the hottest selling season of the year! I do not mean summertime hot, I mean holiday hot as the months with Thanksgiving and Christmas skyrocket eBay sales. Surprisingly even January sales are still relatively high, perhaps because people who were given money spend their gifts in January.

 

        If you wait until November to think about eBay Christmas sales youíve waited too long. Mid-to-late September is the time to begin listing items you have that are in like-new, gift-giving condition that others may want to pass along to friends and family. Even if your items are not all like-new, if you have antiques and collectibles such as rare books, jewelry, coins, and old comic books, there are plenty of people who cherish such items and will be more than grateful to receive them as gifts from people who buy them from you.

 

        So if youíve been waiting to sell then now is the time to do so. If youíre afraid, whatís the worst thing that can happen? You list an item that doesnít sell? Youíre out about 25 cents if that occurs. So what? But what if it does sell? You will have extra money, less clutter, and you can use that to pay down your own Christmastime gift bills.

 

        In previous columns, I warned new sellers to buy a few things before selling. That advice holds doubly true this time of year. If you make a mistake and as a result your item doesnít sell in the best selling season you missed an opportunity. So hurry and register on eBay (Iíve put a quick video here for you to watch that walks you through the process: TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg), buy a few things you need (or a few things you want but donít want to pay full retail for!) and earn 10 or 12 buyer feedbacks. You will learn the ropes and be far more prepared to begin selling by mid-September.

 

        eBay has more buyers than sellers. Thatís good for sellers! But keep in mind there are plenty of sellers too. That means you should consider using eBay for your gift-giving. Iím certainly a cheerleader for eBay but Jayne and I practice what we teach. Although weíre written books and courses about eBay, we are primarily eBay sellers. We never teach someone a tool or technique that we ourselves do not use. Iíll never suggest something that we ourselves have not found to be truthful or helpful.

 

        We donít just sell but we buy a lot also. Just this morning I bought a book. Itís a book a friend loaned me and itís so good I wanted my own copy. The first place I checked was eBay and found that several sellers were selling mint condition copies for prices far lower than Amazon.com and Amazon is known as the ultra-cheap place to get new books. eBay rarely lets us down and you will be pleased that I kept riding you to get started once you do.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!

 


 

Make More Money on eBay...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... By Using These Tips!

Vol 3, No. 7, July 9, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429  

        Thank you everybody who came to the Mounds Public library last month for our writing seminar! Valerie at Oklahoma News Weekly and Kristen at the library were fabulous hosts and everyone felt welcome. From comments it appeared the filled-to-the-brim audience came away with good stuff and no fluff. Thatís always my goal whether I offer a writing or eBay seminar, or selling my books, courses, and other materials. I want to over-deliver and I always want my customers to feel they got extra value.

 

        Thereís a lesson for you with your eBay sales. If you sell on eBay (and if you donít why donít you?) your buyers need to feel they got a fantastic value. Some respond to that with, ďWe have no control over what an item sells for!Ē While itís true you donít control an auctionís final price you do control whether your buyer got good value for the price. You do this by making sure your descriptions are accurate and complete. Always describe the benefits and the flaws. Studies show that eBay sellers who describe every good point and bad get better sales.

       

        When you list details about an itemís condition, even when the item is flawed, your buyers perceive you as being honest and accurate. If you tell how that nightstand has a scratch on the top drawer and a quarter-inch stain on the left side buyers sense that if there was anything else wrong you would have told them that too. In other words, being too general by saying things like, ďGood conditionĒ without being specific makes a buyer suspicious that you omitted something.

 

        You also give your buyers excellent value by packing items well. Make it your goal that every item you mail arrives in exactly the same condition you shipped it. When buyers unwrap your auction item they will appreciate attention to detail you put into the packing. Buyers also feel they get excellent value if you ship promptly and communicate well. Send buyers emails when you ship items. Include tracking numbers if you ship using methods where tracking is available.

 

        If buyers win and pay for auctions but then donít hear from you until the item appears on their doorsteps, they will have an uneasy feeling that entire time wondering if itís on its way. You increase your value when you communicate well.

       

        Fortunately eBay and automated package-shipping programs (the best one is TheAuctionTutor.com/Stamps) take all the hassle out of after-auction emails. You can easily automate emails so your buyers get an emailed status of every aspect of their auction and you donít have to mess with them. By using eBayís automated tools and simple shipping programs your buyers are happier and you do less work!

 

        Gas prices are hitting us all in a bad way. If the extra $100-200 in gas you now spend over last year is eating into your spending but you havenít began selling on eBay, now is the best time to start! If you only sold a handful of items each month you would cover the cover of that high-priced gas and clear out clutter too. Registration is easy. I posted a link to a simple registration video and a link to register on eBay. Go here TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg and sign up now.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


 

Get Your Gifts on eBay...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... And Sell the Gifts You Got But Don't Want!

Vol 3, No. 6, June 11, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429  

        Thank you everybody who came to the Mounds Public library last month for our writing seminar! Valerie at Oklahoma News Weekly and Kristen at the library were fabulous hosts and everyone felt welcome. From comments it appeared the filled-to-the-brim audience came away with good stuff and no fluff. Thatís always my goal whether I offer a writing or eBay seminar, or selling my books, courses, and other materials. I want to over-deliver and I always want my customers to feel they got extra value.

 

        Thereís a lesson for you with your eBay sales. If you sell on eBay (and if you donít why donít you?) your buyers need to feel they got a fantastic value. Some respond to that with, ďWe have no control over what an item sells for!Ē While itís true you donít control an auctionís final price you do control whether your buyer got good value for the price. You do this by making sure your descriptions are accurate and complete. Always describe the benefits and the flaws. Studies show that eBay sellers who describe every good point and bad get better sales.

       

        When you list details about an itemís condition, even when the item is flawed, your buyers perceive you as being honest and accurate. If you tell how that nightstand has a scratch on the top drawer and a quarter-inch stain on the left side buyers sense that if there was anything else wrong you would have told them that too. In other words, being too general by saying things like, ďGood conditionĒ without being specific makes a buyer suspicious that you omitted something.

 

        You also give your buyers excellent value by packing items well. Make it your goal that every item you mail arrives in exactly the same condition you shipped it. When buyers unwrap your auction item they will appreciate attention to detail you put into the packing. Buyers also feel they get excellent value if you ship promptly and communicate well. Send buyers emails when you ship items. Include tracking numbers if you ship using methods where tracking is available.

        

        If buyers win and pay for auctions but then donít hear from you until the item appears on their doorsteps, they will have an uneasy feeling that entire time wondering if itís on its way. You increase your value when you communicate well.

       

        Fortunately eBay and automated package-shipping programs (the best one is TheAuctionTutor.com/Stamps) take all the hassle out of after-auction emails. You can easily automate emails so your buyers get an emailed status of every aspect of their auction and you donít have to mess with them. By using eBayís automated tools and simple shipping programs your buyers are happier and you do less work!

 

        Gas prices are hitting us all in a bad way. If the extra $100-200 in gas you now spend over last year is eating into your spending but you havenít began selling on eBay, now is the best time to start! If you only sold a handful of items each month you would cover the cover of that high-priced gas and clear out clutter too. Registration is easy. I posted a link to a simple registration video and a link to register on eBay. Go here TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg and sign up now.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!

 


 

Shipping Things You Sell is Far Simpler Than Most Think...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... But You Always Should Package Carefully!

Vol 3, No. 5, May 8, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429  

     Letís celebrate this columnís 20th month by throwing a party! (Well, maybe not exactly a party but almost as much fun.) Join me this coming Monday evening, May 12th, 7:00 pm, at the Mounds Public library. Iíll give you exactly what you need to get your writing published even if youíve never published before. Writing is my calling, career, and hobby. Major publishers have published more than 75 of my books worldwide and translated them into every primary language on the planet. I donít say that to brag; I say that to stress my credentials and to encourage you to hear what I have to say. I can and will show you how to get your writing sold.

 

    If you sell on eBay Ė and if you donít, why donít you? Ėyouíll get income-boosting advice also! Thatís because fiction writers will benefit from this writing seminar but Iíll primarily gear the evening to non-fiction writing since thatís the kind of writing I know best. My primary goal is to show you how to make money with your writing, how to get your work sold on Amazon.com (which is far more important in todayís world than being on the New York Times bestseller list), and how to get published especially if youíve never published anything in your life. In addition, my seminar includes writing tips that translate not only into better, clearer, and more concise writing that pulls your readers into your publication Ė but those same writing tips will add power to your eBay auctions!

 

     Come as you are, weíre informal, just a gathering of like-minded writers and soon-to-be writers discussing the best way to turn a hobby into a career. Refreshments will be provided and weíll have lots of Q&A if I happen to miss a topic you want to know more about.

 

     Speaking of eBay, people ask me frequently if they should offer worldwide shipping. Letís weigh the decision this way: selling domestically only makes your shipping slightly simpler and slightly less costly. Those are the advantages. The disadvantages of selling only within the United States? Your bids are fewer, sales are lower by 20%, and you make less money from higher postal fees!

 

     Often when sellers write asking if they should sell internationally and I tell them what I just wrote and within minutes I get a reply telling me, 1. They must learn how to fill out customs forms, 2. They must learn all the rules and regulations for mailing overseas, and 3. They would need to wrap their packages far better than they now wrap them for shipping inside the USA. I have to write back and say: 1. The custom form used most often has 2 blanks in addition to name and address, 2. I donít know international rules and regulations, and 3. We donít wrap our packages differently when we ship internationally.

 

     Iíd like to address the third problem first. You need to wrap your items the same no matter where or how you mail them and that means securely so every item you ship arrives in the same condition you wrapped it. Your buyers deserve that because they pay you to ensure they receive what they want in the condition you describe. Your feedback rating directly corresponds to subsequent bids. Sellers with bad feedback get fewer bids than those with good ratings. Even when you sell a used book, wrap assuming the post office will play kickball with your package. If you just stick the book in a padded mailer as opposed to wrapping in a box or cardboard mailer, the chances of a corner getting bumped along the way are huge even if youíre mailing to Jenks! The Golden Rule applies here as usual: wrap items as well as youíd want them wrapped.

 

     The hesitation to ship internationally is understandable. Ignorance breeds hesitation. Itís extremely simple to mail to Italy or anywhere else though. First, you need a customs form and there are only two customs forms no matter what or where you mail: A small and large customs form. The large one requires that you check more boxes (such as No Hazardous Goods) and fill in a few more boxes (such as each itemís weight and value inside Ėguess as long as everything totals properly).

 

     Itís easy to make shipping overseas even easier. Use an online service. You may never buy a stamp again. You easily print postage and addresses on envelopes, mailing labels, and even international labels with automatic printing of customs forms. The most popular service promised me that if you sign up for a no-obligation free trial for 30 days, youíll receive free postal scales and postage and supplies worth up to $80 worth! Thatís a deal. Use this special link they gave me: TheAuctionTutor.com/Stamps.

 

     Your eBay income skyrockets when the world bids for your items.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


 

A Way to Win More on eBay...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... For Much Less Money!

Vol 3, No. 4, April 9, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429  

    Thanks for making this column so successful! If The Auction Tutor instills enough confidence that you give eBay a try then my job is done.

 

    Even though it is difficult to please everyone in a column such as this, my goal is to encourage newcomers to buy and sell. Itís also my goal to give insightful tips to those who already have bought and sold and want advanced help. From your emails I believe both groups learn from this column. Feel free to write to ask eBay-related questions or tell me what youíd like explored more.

 

    If you are brand new to eBay, buy some things before you sell. Youíll quickly learn about the bidding process. By searching for something you wish to buy youíll get insight into what kinds of auction titles get found easily. Youíll get a good idea of effective auction description techniques and youíll see some auctions that are little better than horrendous! For example, an auction selling something without a picture or with a badly-written description likely will not earn your trust enough to bid. Also, if the seller doesnít describe the item well, you wonít know enough to place your bid. A clear and concise, well-written auction with at least one good photograph is far more likely to earn your bidding trust.

 

    Always check the sellerís feedback rating. Every time someone buys something, he or she can leave feedback, good or bad, for the seller. This feedback acts as a warning or praise for the job the seller did. A seller with a hundred positive feedbacks and no negatives is someone you generally can trust more than a brand new seller without any feed backs, or a seller with 25 feedbacks, 5 of which are negative.

 

    Sellers with poor feedback dramatically earn less in their auctions than sellers with high feedback. This encourages sellers to go the extra mile to make their buyers happy. Sellers know that negative feedback means lower final bid values. A recent eBay rule change that stunned sellers everywhere now makes it impossible for a seller buyers negative feedback. Although the feedback system is now highly biased for buyers, such a system means you can bid and buy knowing you will never receive negative feedback as you build a new feedback rating. If you do experience a bad seller, you can leave that seller bad feedback and his sales will be harmed by it.

 

    By buying a dozen or so items before selling, youíll get double-digit feedback. When you begin selling that feedback will help show buyers that youíve been around a while and can be trusted far more than someone with no or low or poor feedback. The feedback system is not perfect and a seller with good feedback certainly can mislead buyers but feedback is effective enough to use as a good gauge before you place a bid on something.

 

    Donít wait a moment longer! I point you to a simple registration link and video that shows you exactly what it takes to register with eBayís ultra-simple sign-up screen here: TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg - by signing up now youíll be registered for the day when you see something you want to buy.

 

    If you have already bought some things and possibly sold several items, Iíve got a wonderful tip for you! A person who waits until an auction is almost over before bidding is called a sniper. Snipers donít show interest too early and they donít bid-up the price. You can wait until the final seconds to bid but itís not always possible to be at your PC when the auction ends. A service called BidNip.com will place those last-second bids for you. Iíve been registered with BidNip.com for several years and itís never let me down. I just enter an auction number and my maximum bid. BidNip.com waits and places my bid for me 10 seconds before the auction ends. Iíve won many items for far less than I otherwise would have paid if I placed my bid earlier and caused the item to be bid up early in the auction.

 

    BidNip.com has promised me that any reader I send them gets five free snipes just for trying their service. That means BidNip.com will place as many as five bids for you in the final 10 seconds of five auctions and you donít pay a penny for the service. Unlike other bid sniping services you donít even give BidNip.com your credit card until those 5 free snipes are used up and you want to continue the service. If you bid through BidNip.com on your next 5 auctions your chance of winning those items at a low price are great. Here is your link to BidNip.com that gives you those five absolutely free snipes on your next 5 auctions: BidNip.com. Go there now and sign up while youíre thinking of it because the next time youíre ready to buy something you may have misplaced this column and youíll risk having to pay more to win your item.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell! 


 

eBay is the World's largest Used Car Dealer...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... On Earth!

Vol 3, No. 3, March 13, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429  

     If someone asked you what the largest used car dealership on earth is, would you know the answer? The answer is eBay! More vehicles are sold on eBay than any other location. eBay acts as the broker between buyers who want deals and sellers who have vehicles.

 

    eBay Motors is the name used to refer to the vehicle-related pages on eBay. You can easily get to eBay Motors by clicking here: www.motors.ebay.com takes you straight to eBay Motors.

 

     When you visit eBay Motors the only real difference youíll notice is an auto-related eBay logo as opposed to the traditional logo and banners you see when you visit other areas. eBay Motors offers searches and links to the following categories: Cars & Trucks, Parts & Accessories, Motorcycles, Powersports, Boats, and Other Vehicles. Thatís right, eBay Motors is more than just cars and trucks. Looking for a like-new Massey-Ferguson tractor? Just go to eBay Motors and you should locate the one you want. You can even buy military vehicles and busses RVs and racecars!

 

     When buying or selling vehicles, eBay Motors doesnít operate the way other auctions do. Many vehicles are sold in traditional auctions just like computers and flat-screen TVs on eBay Motors, but more likely than not a vehicle sold on eBay Motors will not sell in an auction format even though most begin that way. Iíll explain more so you know what to expect.

 

     Suppose you list a car for sale and use a starting bid of a penny. You should get a lot of interest! What typically occurs is youíll get emails from buyers who are interested and through conversing with them by email you learn who the serious buyers might be. Unlike all other eBay auctions, itís fine to make a deal with a buyer whom youíve been communicating with, agree to sell the car at a certain price, and cancel the carís eBay Motors listing early.

 

     In all other auctions, eBay frowns on you making deals outside of eBay and canceling auctions early. eBay usually charges a percentage of the itemís final selling price. When you make a deal off eBay, eBay wonít get its fee. The fee structure used for eBay Motors is more like a classified ad than auction. You pay eBay a fee up front, and if your vehicle gets one bid you pay eBay a second small fee and that is all you pay eBay whether you let the auction conclude to the end of sell the car early and cancel the carís auction. Since eBay gets paid up front, youíre welcome to use the auction listing like an ad that the entire world sees and then make a deal with the most interested party.

 

     Obviously, you wonít mail the car to the buyer! Normally, once you agree to a price the buyer sends you a down payment to hold the vehicle. This should be a cashierís check or a confirmed PayPal payment. Once deposit is paid you and the buyer agree on a time frame that gives the buyer time to inspect the car and pay the balance. This usually means the buyer comes to you or perhaps hires a dealer in your area to inspect the car and make sure the vehicle is just as you described. Descriptions are always important but with a high-priced automobile accuracy is most important. A buyer doesnít want to spend time and money to come see your car only to find out you failed to state in the auction listing that the car doesnít include tires, wheels, or an engine! Also, clear and numerous pictures always spur far more interest from would-be buyers than a fuzzy single photo so be sure you not only describe every detail, feature, and problem your car has but also take lots of photos and list them with your auction.

 

   After the inspection, the buyer presents you with the rest of the agreed-to payment in cash or certified funds. Start the title transfer and the buyer drives away in the car. By the way if you failed to describe everything and the buyer sees something unexpectedly wrong, he is correct in asking for his deposit back. Keep in mind that the buyer spends time and money to come see your car, sometimes from several states away. Itís reasonable to agree that if you fail to describe the vehicle accurately, that all funds are returned and the deal is off.

 

    Hereís a powerful selling tip if you really want to get people seriously interested. Make this offer in your auction listing: If I fail to describe this vehicle accurately, youíll not be obligated to buy the car, Iíll refund your deposit, and Iíll give you $25 for the time it took you to inspect the car. Doing this ensures you described everything well and shows the buyer that you are serious and that you will go out of your way to assume some of the risk for the sale. By offering this guarantee you are more likely to sell the car for more money than without it.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell! 


 

eBay Just Lowered its Prices...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... Make More By Selling Now!

Vol 3, No. 2, February 14, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429  

 

   How are you doing with eBay? For over a year this column has been telling you the benefits of buying and selling on eBay. I know from emails I receive that many of you have had much success. If you waited on the sidelines now is a great time to join the eBay ranks. Iíve put together a page with a video that tells you all about signing up on eBay and I added a simple link that takes you straight to the registration page here: TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg.

 

    One reason the time is right to join eBay and begin selling is because eBay just changed its entire price structure. For most sellers, eBay is less expensive to sell on. You now keep more money when you sell something.

 

    If you buy on eBay, whether you bid in eBayís auction-style format or a pay the asking price on a fixed-price item, you donít pay eBay any money. All income for eBay is derived from those who sell on eBay. You could register with eBay, buy for things for years and years, and never pay eBay one penny. The lack of any fee is one reason why eBay is such a bargain-hunterís paradise.

 

   I would ask you though, why would you only want to buy on eBay? eBay almost always brings more money than yard sales because youíve got the entire world competing for your goods! When you sell something eBay makes its money by charging you the seller two times: eBay charges a small listing price when you put an item up for sale and then if your item sells, eBay gets a percentage of the final value. The listing fee typically costs you from 30-cents to a few dollars depending on what price you start the bidding at. Before the price change this month, the starting cost was generally 75-cents and up.

 

   One of the price reductions eBay made was to give sellers free gallery pictures. This means when you sell something, you upload a digital picture of the item to eBay and eBay will display the picture in all search results where your item appears. The gallery picture used to be a 35-cent option and has cost sellers 35-cents for every item sold for years and years. Now gallery is free. Thatís a great deal.

 

  Where else can you place an ad for the entire world to see, with a color photo, for as little as 30 cents?

 

   If your item sells, eBay also takes a percentage of the final selling price. Again, the fee eBay charges you differs depending on the final value but the fee runs about 8 percent for most items. This fee is higher than before; it used to cost sellers about 5.25 percent of the final value when something sold.

 

   eBayís price changes mean that you are charged far less to test sales. If you donít sell your item it costs you far less than before because the listing fee is so low. If your item does sell, itís fair that eBay gets a cut of the final selling price. You should find that the prices eBay brings you are so much higher than you could get a yard sales so the fee is negligible.

 

   eBay also announced major changes to its feedback system as well as other services. You can keep abreast of these changes here because The Auction Tutor will keep you informed as the details are made known.

 

   I received an interesting question this month from Michael who asked, ďCan I buy or sell guns and ammo on eBay

 

   Sadly, eBay does not want to make it easy for you to protect yourself or your family. Over the past several years, eBay moved from allowing sellers of guns, knives, and ammunition to offer those items on eBay without any restraint to eliminating all such transactions completely. eBay went even further by disallowing any sale remotely related to firearms such as reloading equipment, holsters, and gun belts and gun purses.

 

   I doubt eBay made this decision lightly. eBay loses income when people donít sell their wares. Not surprisingly when eBay stopped sellers of all items related to guns, knives, and ammo last year eBay began struggling with meeting their sales goals. Their income loss from such sales might have something to do with eBayís major price decrease they just announced. The price decrease might be eBayís attempt to encourage more sales to make up for the sales they no longer allow.

 

   Itís almost for certain that eBayís lawyers warned eBay that eBay might be held responsible for crimes committed by guns sold there. This is ludicrous that our courts would even consider such a charge but in todayís environment it almost seems as though the actual criminal is the last one to be blamed for his actions. Fortunately, the free market fills in the gap when possible.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell! 


 

Gift Cards Galore Await You on eBay!....                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... Others' Bad Gifts Are Super for You!

Vol 3, No. 1, January 10, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

  

   Now that Christmas is over, your eBay buying and selling isnít! As a matter of fact January is a high volume month for eBay and sales donít drop a bit until February. Take advantage of the high sales still going on in January.

 

   One reason for Januaryís high eBay activity is people donít always want gifts they were given. Many are mailed gifts from distant relatives but the gifts were bought at stores not close to the recipients. Instead of returning them those gift recipients sell the gifts on eBay. That is your chance to pick up good deals. Not everyone knows to look at eBay right after Christmas. Theyíre all gifted-out, they are tired of buying, and they donít realize many unwanted gifts can be found sometimes for dimes on the dollar on eBay.

 

   Really hot items right after Christmas are gift cards. Suppose someone gives you a giftcard to a restaurant you donít like to eat at. eBayís the way to turn that unwanted gift card into cash! If the gift card is for $50, you might be able to sell it for $25 to $49 depending on the place. There will be some eBay selling fees deducted from your total but theyíre rarely more than 5%. You then are able to go to a different place you do like to eat and so the gift wasnít wasted.

 

   If you didnít get unwanted gift cards, keep in mind other people did! Buy their gift cards they donít want. Think of places where you like to eat or shop and search eBay for gift cards from those stores and eateries! Weíve often bought gift cards to places we enjoy eating. With the gift card we get 40-60% off our meals sometimes. Gift cards exist for places like Starbucks and Jamba Juice too so let your imagination run wild and save money everywhere!

 

   The amount you pay for a gift card varies tremendously depending on the store. The more plentiful and popular the store, the more youíll pay for a gift card. For example, Jamba Juice is everywhere so you may have to pay up to 98% of face value to get one of their gift cards. Still, if you go to Jamba Juice a lot anyway youíll then automatically get a 2% discount on every purchase so thatís not a bad deal really. The same is true for a Wal-Mart gift card too, of course, as people fiercely compete to get those. Even if you get one for 99% of its face value (after shipping), thatís 1% discount on Wal-Martís already deeply discounted items and it only takes 3 mouse clicks to place a bid and a 3 or 4 more clicks to pay with PayPal if you win.

 

   Generally, youíll do far better than 98-99% though. An eatery such as Mazzios doesnít yet blanket the United States. Only ten states have Mazzios pizza restaurants so far. That means youíll have fewer bidders competing against you so youíre more likely to get a big discount off a Mazzios cardís full value. Look for other places that are regional. You wonít always locate the store you want always but eventually you will.

 

   I always want my readers to have an advantage. Thatís why I created simple links that return all current eBay auctions that meet certain gift card criteria. In the links that follow, the columnís format might add a hyphen to the web address but donít type the hyphen. If a period follows the link, donít type the period either because itís just an end-of-sentence period.

 

   Hereís a simple eBay link where you can find all current gift cards for Wal-Mart:  www.TheAuctionTutor.com/wmgc. You wonít win every one you bid on but it costs nothing to bid and youíll win some once in a while.

 

   Hereís a simple eBay link to find all current gift cards to restaurants: www.TheAuctionTutor.com/restgc. Here youíll find more than 1,000 gift cards for less than face value. Included in those will be lots of specialty drink and food gift stores.

 

   Hereís a simple eBay link to find all current gift cards for popular home and garden stores: http://www.TheAuctionTutor.com/hggc. The most plentiful always seems to be the home improvement stores such as Lowes. Lots of department stores are also included in the more than 1,000 current listings youíll find.

 

   Hereís a simple eBay link to find all current gift cards for books, music, and movies: www.TheAuctionTutor.com/bmmgc. About 500 gift cards from iTunes, movie theaters, bookstores, and music stores are always waiting for your bids. Even Amazon.com gift cards often appear.

 

   The purpose of these columns is to provide a threefold benefit for you: I want to excite you about eBay, I want you to make more money, and I want you to save money. Youíve just been armed with powerful money-saving tools. Iíve just given you simple and easy-to-use web links I created that will take you straight to current, active, live eBay auctions where you can save money on purchases you would have made anyway at stores and restaurants you and your family enjoy.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell! 


 

After Christmas eBay is Where the Deals Are!....                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... And I Have a Free Gift for You!

Vol 2, No. 12, December 27, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

    Congratulations if you used eBay to buy gifts this year! Some people only use eBay to get fantastic deals and thatís fine. Iíd like to see everyone reading this column to use eBay for selling as well as buying.

 

   Iím often asked how eBay can be great for both sellers and buyers. People think that if one can find fantastic deals when buying then sellers wonít get much. This isnít the way it works though; both buyers and sellers get great deals on eBay and Iíll explain how this happens.

 

   Of the millions of people selling on eBay, many are not very good at it, many have low feedback, many misspell words in their titles so their items donít get located, some put too many flashing graphics in auctions, and these kinds of sellers donít earn a lot of buying trust. Other sellers are highly professional, paying web designers to create extremely advanced listings, offering shipping discounts due to being large-volume sellers, and they have access to close-outs and other huge inventory lots that allow them to fiercely compete.

 

   Most sellers are somewhere between those extremes. Low-end sellers with mistakes bring few or no bids. Professional sellers bring the highest bids. The huge number of sellers in-between are where your deals are to be had! They are individual sellers. The fact that they arenít storefronts with huge inventories means they donít sell at the very high end of the price spectrum but buyers often get items far below retail from them. Almost every item you look for will be sold by these kinds of sellers, people like you who want to get top-dollar for their items but being individuals they canít compete against the huge sellers in total price. They do much better than the sloppy sellers who donít know how to write an accurate and clear auction though.

 

   Recently I purchased a new rifle sight. The lowest price I found anywhere online was $525. The item retailed for way above $600 and Bass Pro and major other outlets discounted it only down to about $550. I searched on eBay and found several of them from one seller, brand new in the box, for a Buy It Now price of $425! I didnít even have to bid because it wasnít an auction but a fixed-price eBay sale. I clicked the Buy Now button and a week later it arrived in new, mint condition. I studied why he sold them so low. He tries to sell several of them in 20 or more auctions at one time. In other words, there were 20 others for $425 too. He competes with himself too much! By only listing one at a time I suspect he could charge more and make buyers think there is scarcity of that optic.

 

   Given that selling mistake, he had to lower his price dramatically to get a buyer once in a while. If he sold them for what others were selling them for, but only offered one at a time I think he would sell more and for a higher amount. See, these kinds of things work in your favor as a buyer. eBay is not a perfect market and you can get great deals on eBay.

 

   Make every listing you sell an education. When your auction ends, see how many bids you got, compare the price to others, study why your auction did better or worse than competitors. Youíll learn what you did or didnít do. By constantly reviewing what you do Ėmost sellers donít do this so youíll have a dramatic advantage over people who sell similar items! Ė youíll gradually see your sales creep up.

 

   By the way, never start selling if you have no or little eBay feedback. Buy 10 or 12 items first to get a feedback score of more than 10 and after that, you should be okay to begin selling. Buyers will see that youíve transacted a few times on eBay and will be more willing to bid your items up. This column has offered numerous tips on how to get more money for what you buy as well as how to get better deals on what you buy. You will find all past issues posted online at the link at the bottom of this column.

  

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


 

eBay is Where Christmas Presents Await You....                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... And Don't Fret Over Shipping!

Vol 2, No. 11, November 14, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

   Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again Ė Register an eBay account now and buy your Christmas gifts on eBay to save a lot of money! Iíve made it simple for you because you can watch a registration video at this web page that takes you by the hand and explains how simple eBayís registration process is: TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg. Donít just buy your gifts but get your wrapping paper, ribbon, labels, and tape on eBay too. Youíll save a tremendous amount of money over what you pay in a retail store, even if you buy at large, deep-discount stores such as Wal-Mart.

 

   A lot of people are surprised at what I suggest they buy on eBay. They figured eBay might be good for used computer equipment, old DVDs, and things like that. eBay is good for those things but eBay is also wonderful for getting your Christmas wrapping supplies, ordinary mailing supplies that you use throughout the year, and just about any item you use over and over.

 

     Just to show you whatís available right now, I set up a web address that you can go to: TheAuctionTutor.com/CM. There you will see live search results for all the wrapping paper, gift bags, and all the rest that eBay has to offer. Click the Gift Bags, Gift Boxes, Ribbons & Bows, Tissue Paper, and Wrapping Paper in the left-hand column to narrow the display to the item you need right now.

 

     Selling is hectic around the holiday season. When selling gets hectic, that means itís great. We sell more in October, November, and December than all the other months combined. Surprisingly, January sales are almost as good as each of the previous three months because people who return unwanted gifts and who get money for Christmas want to make every penny go further so they often turn to eBay in January to buy the iPods and DVDs and laptops theyíve been wanting.

 

    If you havenít started selling on eBay, why not? Go to that simple registration page I set up for you at TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg with the quick video of what to do and youíll be selling before the day is done.

 

    Before you begin, let me tell you that eBay makes it simple. The hardest part of selling is taking the pictures but everyoneís used a camera before. You need to know how to take a digital picture of what you want to sell and upload it to your computer. Once youíve mastered that Ė and that skill has nothing to do with eBay Ė the rest is easy because eBay makes it simple to upload the pictures youíve taken and create an auction listing to sell the item.

 

   I teach seminars about eBay and give lots of phone-based consulting for advanced eBay sellers as well as for beginners. Iím often asked if this busy end-of-year holiday season is a good time to begin selling. My pat answer, of course, is that itís always good to be selling on eBay! Selling in this busy time, however, certainly could offer extra challenges due to the increased traffic eBay auctions receive. More people will email you questions through the week as your auction progresses. That really is about the only difference in holiday auctions other than the higher bids you get. Once an auction ends, whether there was one bidder or one hundred bidders, your job is the same: collect the money, mail the item, and spend the money.

 

    Some newcomers are hesitant to sell during these holiday months because eBay is hectic. I always warn sellers during this time of year that quick shipping is mandatory because people need to receive items quickly so they have time to wrap them if they want to give those items as gifts. Prompt shipping and good packaging ensure the item arrives undamaged is always expected, and rightly so, but your responsibility to meet these goals is magnified during the Christmas-buying season.

 

    If you plan to begin selling on eBay but want to wait until the holiday rush is over, that is okay but if you wait until late January your bidder numbers will dramatically fall. That means prices will fall on the items you sell. Some things sell consistently all year and eBay is a world-wide sellerís market. So there isnít any extremely poor time to sell on eBay. Having said that, Iíd not want to see you get disappointed with a lack of bids and thatís possible if you wait until February to begin selling. Bidding activity does drop from about February through May, and also in July when people are on vacations and their minds are far away from the online world. We sell year-round and I know I can almost always get items sold but itís certainly harder during the early months of each new year. So I suggest that you do not wait until the Christmas rush ends. Start now. Your pocketbook Ė and the clutter that your unneeded items take up around your home Ė will thank you.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


How to use eBay to Profit From Christmas....                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... And Make Others Happy At the Same Time!

Vol 2, No. 10, October 10, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

   If youíre still hesitant to buy or sell on eBay, youíre missing out on the best deal of the Christmas holiday buying season! Youíll find rare items, youíll find new-in-box items, youíll find items that the local stores are out of. Not only will you find them but youíll almost always find them for less money than at the retail stores.

 

   Donít wait any longer to register a new eBay account so you can immediately buy and sell. Youíve been reading this column for months knowing that you need to sign up and start saving money and getting rid of extra items you no longer need. Iíve made it simple for you because you can watch a registration video at this web page Iíve set up that takes you by the hand and explains how simple the registration process is: TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg (be sure to use an uppercase R in Reg). You now have no more excuses and youíll thank me later because eBay isnít just about money Ė eBay is fun!

 

    ďBut what about shipping costs?Ē you might ask? Shipping costs are not a major factor. Shipping costs do not cause a good deal to become a bad one. First of all, youíve been keeping your eyes on the cost of gasoline lately right? Gas has gone up far quicker and in larger percentage terms than postage costs. eBayís customer service people are always monitoring and sifting through auctions looking for sellers who overcharge for shipping. eBay kicks those sellers off eBay which is good for everybody. Our experience is that most sellers do not overcharge for shipping; they try to cover their costs and thatís about it.

 

     When you compare gasoline prices and your shopping effort, as well as frustration in the hectic Christmas shopping traffic, shopping on the computer makes a lot of sense. With eBay youíll almost always come out ahead and in some cases youíll locate a deal you never dreamed youíd see.

 

     Donít save eBay for presents only. Did you know we buy toothpaste online? Itís true. We buy toothpaste, vitamins, and other items most people would never think to purchase on eBay. We get fantastic deals or we wouldnít do it. We like a special fluoride-free toothpaste (I know, some call that crazy but we think itís healthier) and itís extremely costly in the stores at Tulsa and the surrounding areas Ė if we can even locate it which we often cannot. We pay almost half of what weíd pay in the stores. And we always buy 6 or 10 tubes at once so the shipping cost per tube is negligible. The 20-cents or so we end up paying in shipping per tube is far less than the almost 10% in sales tax and high cost of gas to buy it locally.

 

    Do we ever worry about safety when buying consumable items such as toothpaste and vitamins on eBay? Not at all. Many still-new-in-package items are sold on eBay. Even better, scores of stores that sell to the public through retail channels and at other web sites also sell their items on eBay. eBay is just another sales outlet for them. Even though their products often sell for less on eBay than on their own retail web site, they more than make up for the smaller income per item by the much-larger quantities they sell.

 

    When weíre looking for consumable items on eBay we try to stick with sellers who sell large quantities of the same item and not for individuals who happen to have an old, spare tube of toothpaste they wish to sell. Itís easy to look at a sellerís history and see what kinds of things they sell. Even better, a sellerís AboutMe page tells you a lot about them. Each registered eBay user has available an AboutMe page where they can put pictures and information about who they are and what they do. Businesses using eBay will often provide background information about their products and offer discounts if you win multiple purchases within a certain time period.

  

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!

 


You Didn't Know You Could Buy That on eBay...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... Did You?

Vol 2, No. 9, September 13, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

    Happy Anniversary! This column is now 12 months old, still an infant, and yet itís my hope that many of you are making money selling your things in the worldís largest auction called eBay. If you arenít yet selling, perhaps youíve began buying. Doing so will almost guarantee to save you money over retail.

 

    If this column has encouraged you to buy or sell, itís done its job. But donít rest on your current status! If you buy things on eBay itís time to begin trying your hand at selling. If youíve been selling its time to increase your profits even more. Veteran eBay sellers constantly stay up with the latest selling techniques from  books and web sites. They want to learn more tips that may save them money on shipping or increase selling profits.

 

    Keep improving and honing your eBay knowledge. Doing so pays off. eBay always changes by adding new services and itís good if you stay up with whatís happening. Having said that, keep in mind that eBay is simple or millions of buying and selling transactions wouldnít be happening each and every day all over the world.

 

     Iíve recently seen eBay seminars being held across the country, advertised by full-page ads in major newspapers, promising riches and rewards for all who come. In most cases those seminars will end up costing you a lot of money and you wonít learn any more than you would by going straight to eBay and reading some of the help screens.

 

    If you need a little help to get started Ė other than these eBay Guy columns of course! Ėthen consider going to a bookstore and looking through some of the eBay book titles. Two of the best are The Absolutely Beginnerís Guide to eBay and I Married an eBay Maniac. The first book explains how to get started for the very beginner and the second book is one Iím extra partial to; Jayne my beautiful bride of almost 18 years wrote it. I guarantee between those two titles, any newcomer to eBay will be a pro in no time. Keep in mind, if you are hesitant to register on eBay, Iíve set up a link to a free video you can watch on your computer by going here: TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg and clicking the link.

 

     I received an email recently from a reader who said she didnít have a credit card for eBay. A checking account works too; you donít need a credit card to use eBay. The account acts like a name check to help ensure eBay that you really exist and that someone else isnít just signing up under phony names.

 

     If you never sell you donít pay eBay. It costs nothing to buy except the itemís price and shipping. When you sell, eBay keeps a small percentage of the item. This month, in September, eBay is running a special deal for all sellers: listing is absolutely free! You donít pay to list items for sale from now to the end of September. Even if the auction ends in October, as long as you create the listing this month you wonít be charged a listing fee.

 

    Now is a great time to sell. There is one catch: eBay requires that you buy something called a gallery picture for 35-cents and your itemís opening bid must be $9.99 or less. Neither is really much of a catch because all sellers should buy the gallery picture every time they sell. This places a small picture of your item next to its description in eBay search results. Gallery pictures generate far more interest than auctions without them. Also, by starting your opening bid at $9.99 or less you help generate interest for your item and you could begin a bidding war.

 

     Two years ago, we sold three rare first edition books, published in a boxed set, numbered, and signed by the author. We began the auction at one penny! Although the books were worth thousands, if we began the auction at an opening bid of $5,000 not nearly as many people would bid the very first day as did. By the time it ended, the books sold for more than $10,000. You should take comfort in knowing that even for extremely expensive items, a very low starting bid can result in a huge bidding war with lots of participation. That makes eBay exciting.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!

 


5 Power-Selling Tips for eBayers...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... Follow Them and Your Sales Will Soar!

Vol 2, No. 8, August 16, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

   Throughout this column Iíve offered lots of encouragement for eBay newcomers. I want you to start buying and selling on eBay as soon as possible. Use eBay to make money; you only need to know enough to send and receive emails and browse Internet web pages.

 

   Iíd like to switch gears a little today and offer advice to those who have been selling for a while. If youíve been making money on eBay, itís time you learned some tips that should boost your income even further. When the items you sell get higher bids, you will make more money. Here are five ways to help you do exactly that:

 

   1. Craft an effective and descriptive (but not cute) title. Searches return auction titles. As many as 99% of buyers use eBay's search feature to locate things to buy. Before writing your auction title, think of how you would search for that same item. If you sell a specific John Grisham novel, you might search for Grisham Last Juror. You're auction gets more hits if you put Grisham in such a listing as well as the book's title. To cover all bases, use John Grisham The Last Juror for your auction title. Such a listing appears in all search results for the author as well as for that specific book.

 

   2. State the obvious! If it's a John Grisham book, always use the word Book in the auction title. Buyers looking for Grisham books, as opposed to videos and movie posters, will use the word Book in their title because if they don't their search produces all kinds of Grisham-related auctions that are not books. When a buyer wants a Grisham book, you want to make sure that your auction appears in any search list.

 

   3. For higher-priced and rarer items, pay extra to post a 10-day auction. Most auctions run 7 days but you can run one for 10 days by paying less than 50-cents extra when you list an item. By posting on a Thursday, this ensures your auction will run over two weekends. Weekends provide the heaviest traffic for buying and selling. The majority of bidders bid the first day and final day of an auction so many sellers use only 3-day auctions to get their items sold fast. By getting sold fast, they give up extra bidders who would see their auction if it were listed for more days. The higher your item is worth and the rarer the item is, the more sell time you'll want to give to your auction.

 

   4. Never use ALL CAPS IN AUCTION TITLES OR ***LOTS*** OF !!SPECIAL!! CHARACTERS!!!! Such auction titles look cheap or, worse, they remind people of spam. Nobody likes spam.

 

   5. The best deal on eBay is the gallery picture. Itís a small picture of your item next to your title that appears in searches. When a bidder looks through search results and yours is the only one with a gallery picture, yours will be the only picture on the entire search page. Bidders are far more likely to click and look at your auction. A gallery picture is worth far more than it costs.

 

   Iíll toss in a bonus tip: Look for similarities in things you sell. Even when what you sell is unique items often relate to one another. When we list rare books, we try to list them in groups of subjects that relate when possible. For example, we often sell books about the Civil War. If we have 30 books to sell and 7 of them are related to the Civil War, we always make sure we list the Civil War books on the same day. Then, in each Civil War book auction, we will reference the other Civil War books weíre selling and promise our bidders reduced combined shipping charges if they win more than one book. Buyers end up bidding on several of the Civil War books and often winning more than one.

 

   Through our eBay consignment business, my wife and I run into lots of eBayers who have sold for a long time but don't understand the importance of selling similar items at the same time. If you want more money then you need to do this the very next time you post some auctions. Make connections to items and tell buyers in one auction about something similar youíre selling elsewhere.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


Problems Aren't Really Problems on eBay...                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... Don't Let Shipping Slow You Down!

Vol 2, No. 7, July 12, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

         Iím surprised that more people in my circle of friends donít buy or sell on eBay. The ones with things to sell often ask me to do it for them. I love to because it gives me a stream of inventory that always helps our part-time eBay consignment business. Still, Iím sad more donít give it a try.

 

        I have encouraged you to register at eBay. Doing so is rewarding financially as well as fun. If you want to watch an introductory video I set one up for you here TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg and youíll also find a direct link to register with eBay.

 

        When speaking to people, I typically hear the same reasons as to why they donít use eBay. These reasons are actually fears and Iíd like to address those. Iíve discussed some before in this column but new readers often appear and this also gives me a chance to update information to make it as current as possible.

 

        One fear is that financial information isnít safe online. That simply is false. Financial information is safer at a well-established secure web site such as eBay than it is when you hand your credit card to a store cashier. Problems can occur online just as problems occurred before computers. eBay doesnít amplify problems or eBay wouldnít successfully conduct millions of transactions weekly.

 

        Often people tell me that eBay might be too difficult. Selling on eBay is simple. The minor difficulty in selling is taking a good picture of what you sell. Once youíve done that with a digital camera, getting the picture to eBay requires a single button click.  Buying is even simpler than selling which is why I encourage you to buy a few things and get used to eBay before selling. Again, if eBay were difficult to use, millions of people wouldnít buy or sell in the massive numbers they do now.

 

        Shipping difficulty is another reason people give who donít want to sell on eBay. Some items are difficult to ship but there is always some way to ship everything. The buyer pays shipping so you pick the best way to ship your item and send the buyer an invoice. We sold two full-sized cast iron wood cookstoves on eBay. Both times the buyer drove several states to pick them up. We were thrilled they did! Fortunately I have a tractor with forks and I lifted the stoves into their trucks. Without that it would have been more difficult but thereís always a solution. I could rent a lifter of some kind or I could require that the buyer rent a lift truck as they are plentiful.

 

        Having said that, if both wanted me to freight the stoves I would. Freight companies can come and crate what youíre selling and again, the buyer pays. My only warning is give buyers an estimate of all freighting and shipping costs in every auction listing so nobody is surprised when the invoice arrives.

 

        Most people donít sell things like stoves. Iím happy we have no more but if we did Iíd list them on eBay. For most items, the post office, UPS, and FedEx are ready to take packages you want to ship.

 

        We usually use the post office because our packages rarely run more than 5 pounds. We get mailing supplies from Uline.com which average the lowest prices in the nation. We place our Uline order before 5 and UPS delivers our shipping supplies the next day. Now that is customer service!

 

        Use UPS for heavier packages and FedEx for items buyers want delivered immediately. FedEx Ground now competes with UPS on price so always check both when you want to ship fairly heavy items.

 

        International buyers bid prices up quickly. I donít suggest mailing heavy items overseas due to the cost for your buyers but I wouldnít hesitate to sell anything under 12 pounds internationally. You will fill out a customs form. It sounds hard; itís not. Write your address, the buyerís address, and a list of contents for the import tax (again the buyer pays). If your package weighs under 4 pounds the form is very small and takes about 25 seconds.

 

        As you see, fears that keep people away from eBay shouldnít. You can do it!

  

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


Here is why eBay Is So Fun!                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... and You'll Meet New Friends Around the World!

Vol 2, No. 6, June 14, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

        For months Iíve been telling you how rewarding eBay can be. I want to expand on that some this week.

 

        As a buyer you can find great deals on eBay if you know some tricks. For example, suppose you want to buy the latest PlayStation Spider-Man video game for your kids. Misspellings are too common. When someone misspells an important word in an auction title, such as typing PalyStation instead of PlayStation, that auction wonít appear in search results and the seller makes less money because fewer people see the auction.

 

        That can work to your advantage! When looking for a PlayStation game, search both for PlayStation as well as PalyStation. You canít always locate misspelled auctions but when you do youíll often be able to buy for less. You might find an auction that nobody else has and as long as the seller doesnít see the error and remove the auction before you win, youíll get a great price.

 

        Another buying strategy is to buy when hardly anyone else is buying. Friday and Saturday nights are terrible times to end auctions because so many people are not home. When buying try to locate auctions that are ending on Friday and Saturday nights. eBayís Advanced Search feature lets you search in many ways and by searching by ending date and time you can zero into auctions that wonít have as much competition from buyers.

 

        As a seller you make money on eBay. Sometimes you can make a lot of money and throughout these columns Iíve given you loads of tips on how to do just that. Obviously, one way is not listing an auction that ends on Friday or Saturday nights!

 

        eBay is rewarding in ways that donít directly affect your pocketbook. You develop relationships. You wonít develop a long-distance relationship with most eBayers but once in a while something will click. In my wife Jayneís recent book about eBay (called I Married an eBay Maniac and I cannot imagine what she means by that!), she describes how we have developed a long-distance relationship between a Chicago couple whom weíve never met but feel as though weíre great friends.

 

        In her book Jayne tells the story of Kathy and Greg: The very week I wrote this chapter, we received a huge box from UPS. In it was about 2 feet of pounds of delightful, freshly baked cakes, candies, and other sweets from The Swedish Bakery in Chicago. About a year ago these people bought some books from us and were happy with their purchase. Greg and Kathy write us from time to time. This is the second box of scrumptious goodies they have sent from their bakery which Kathy owns. Let me tell you, long-distance friends you make on eBay really can make your heart swell. (And with these friends, our waists swell also!)

 

        Dear people such as Greg and Kathy are the reason we still list from 10 to 200 items a week. Sometimes we get tired of listing and mailing but about the time we do something special such as those friends happen.

 

        Kerry D. wrote this month to ask if we sell internationally on eBay. We certainly do.

 

        You will limit your income by 15% to 25% less than you otherwise would if you sell only to Americans. International bidders bid up prices even when they donít win. America is still one of the least costly places on earth to buy goods and bidders around the world are trying to buy our items. The higher shipping is still worth it to them.

 

        Another reason international buyers win a lot of our auctions lately is the weak dollar. A weak dollar isnít seen as the best financial situation to be in, but you will find that the weak dollar against currencies such as the Euro means Europeans bid far more than usual.

 

        Donít limit your income on eBay! Sell internationally. Shipping overseas isnít a big problem. Iíll talk more about shipping in the next column.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


Register NOW on eBay                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... and Begin Making Money on Your Stuff!

Vol 2, No. 5, May 11, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

Itís been great hearing from some of you who started using eBay after reading this column. We hope eBay has been financially rewarding. A book called The Long Tail recently said 30 million transactions occur each day on eBay! So 30 million people buy and sell things daily, much of which is extra stuff around their homes.

You can do the same. If you havenít started thereís no time like the present. The best place to begin is buy a few things and learn eBayís process. Buy what you were going to get anyway, such as a DVD movie. Use the Search box to locate what you want, find one of its many sellers who has good feedback and whose description and shipping terms you feel most comfortable with, place your bid, and keep tabs on the auction as it nears the end. Itís exciting! If you donít win raise your bid some and try again until you win.

Before buying or selling you must register on eBay. Iíve placed a link to a simple online video that shows you how to register at TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg and once you register you can begin bidding immediately.

Donít be worried youíll mess something up. If eBay were difficult there wouldnít be 30 million successful transactions every day taking place. If you want more background but have missed some of these columns in the past, I post past columns at TheAuctionTutor.com/TheAuctionTutor where you can catch up and learn enough to get started.

For those of you who already use eBay, this is more of an introductory column than the past few have been but itís always good to remind newcomers how to start. All eBayers benefit when more people start buying and selling.

For the past several columns Iíve asked if any of you have questions. Iíll be happy to answer all that I can so send an email to me at TheAuctionTutor@mail.com and Iíll reply to your email and also answer here so others benefit from your question. Terri recently wrote to me: Dear eBay Guy: Iím not an expert but Iíve used email and read Web pages and bought videos on Amazon.com before. Does that background tell you enough as to whether I can use eBay without too much effort? Also, you say you sell from 50 to 200 items each month; doesnít shipping get to be a hassle? Terri L.

Thanks for your question Terri! Actually, you asked two questions and thatís twice as good.

Youíre more ready than for eBay. The fact youíre comfortable enough to buy videos from Amazon.com truly means you have nothing to fear. Think of a good eBay ID and sign up!

Shipping is the biggest job of sellers. Itís good that shipping is the challenge and not something else like registering or listing items to sell. Itís good because youíve sent mail your whole life. Itís one area of eBay that everyone already knows to some extent. People have wrapped things to mail in the past. The biggest caution is to use care wrapping fragile items so they arrive safely. When you first begin, stay away from the fragiles until you get used to the selling process just because you donít need an extra variable in there, such as having to protect fragile glassware, when youíre getting use to eBay.

We ship dozens of things weekly. With as many as 100 mailed items each week, weíve had to learn how to shortcut both the expense and time of mailing.

Use clean boxing and materials. This doesnít mean you canít reuse a box. You want repeat buyers and good feedback so donít use a dirty, torn, smelly box. The post office gives you free Priority boxes in various sizes so youíll save money there. When mailing books and other non-fragile but small, heavy items, Priority Mail can get expensive so youíll need to locate another source too. Office supply stores almost always have a lot of spare, clean boxes they toss out so find out when they stock inventory and be ready to get good boxes then.

Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


A Picture with Worth a Thousand Words on eBay                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ... and Possibly a Thousand Dollars!

Vol 2, No. 4, April 11, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

   Once you begin selling youíll get used to eBay quickly. After 5 or 10 auctions youíll have a lot of confidence. You will have gone through a few auctions as the seller, handled some payments, and mailing your packages.

 

    Youíll now want to look for ways to make more money on things you sell. If you have two vintage glass toy soldiers from England and one sold for $32, consider how you sold the first one and try to get more money for the second. Perhaps you can give more history of the item or take a better picture.

 

   Speaking of pictures, you must use a picture in every auction. Use more than one picture if an item is complex or has multiple sides that someone bidding might wish to see.

 

   If you donít use a picture your item will bring less money. What would you do as a buyer? Would you bid on a blender with no photograph when 100 other eBayers are trying to sell you the same blender and they all show pictures of their blenders? The better your picture, the more bidders youíll get. The more bidders you get, the more money youíll make.

 

   An inexpensive digital camera is all you need. (Youíll find plenty of digital cameras on eBay.) Outdoor lighting is often great for auction pictures and helps eliminate shadows and glare but be sure to keep the sun behind you. Drape an offsetting colored cloth over a chair and put your item in the chair for the picture. Indoor lighting is fine if you can avoid glare but keep enough light on your subject to take the shot. Donít take a picture with a window behind the item that lets the sun roar over the item.

 

  Although it may be tempting, donít make the mistake of using a ďstockĒ photo. For example, if you want to sell a DVD player take a picture of your actual DVD player. Do not use one from a storeís Web site and do not use a picture that you copy from another eBay seller whoís selling the same unit. Buyers want to trust you so give them the opportunity by showing them exactly what you are selling. Always take a picture of your item.

 

  To boost your bids even higher, tell a short story behind your item when possible. ďIf only my husband had been clearer on exactly what he wanted, I wouldnít now be selling this once-used, like-new coffee maker.Ē Describe your item and especially disclose any flaws. The more you describe, the more trust you build. Marketers have known for years that the more you tell the more you sell. If you tell about the ď2 minor half-inch cutsĒ on a bookís dust jacket, buyers are likely to trust that nothing else is wrong or you would have told them about it.

 

   For the past several columns Iíve asked if any of you have questions. Iíll be happy to answer all that I can here. The first question is here: Dear eBay Guy: Should I start with a low or high starting bid? - George D.

 

   George, debate rages over which opening bid level is best. Most eBay newcomers are afraid to post too low of a bid for fear their item will sell for less than itís worth. Keep in mind that the whole world is there to bid on your auction. The final auction price is often what an itemís really worth after so many have a chance to bid.

 

    If you sell a popular item such as a computer laptop in good condition, youíll get lots of bidders. Thatís good because the more bids the higher the sale usually. If you start such an item at a very low bid, even as low as one penny, you could start a bidding war early and get more bidders competing. I often start my most popular items with a penny and Iíve never been disappointed at the winning bids weíve received on those auctions.

 

  If you sell a less desirable item, such as an old AM/FM clock radio, expect few bidders and a low final price. Start these bids about 30% less than your realistic expected sale price. You may only get one or two bidders so you will need to start with a higher bid to ensure that you make what you deserve.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


You Will Never Run Out of Things to Sell on eBay                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       When You Sell for Other People

Vol 2, No. 3, March 14, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

        Once someone decides they want to make money selling on eBay, they first look around their home for items to list. Iíve encouraged you to do that very thing. Once you successfully sell extra household items youíll be hooked. You then will look for other things to sell.

 

         Without a doubt, the top question asked by fairly new eBay sellers is, ďWhere do I get more things to sell?Ē

 

        Itís a good question. If eBay can make you money Ė and eBay can Ė then the more you sell the more money you make. Once you run out of excess household items, where do you go for more inventory? The answer is easier than most people realize.

 

        Much of what Jayne and I now sell together belongs to other people. We run a home-based eBay consignment business. Other people let us sell their things. We sell them, keep a percentage for our time, and give them a check for the rest. If the items donít sell, we return them and the owners only pay eBayís small listing fee. We donít charge our own fee for anything that doesnít sell.

 

        Although beginners can and do successfully sell their items on eBay (we were all beginners at one point), youíll find that once you gain selling experience and build a good eBay feedback rating, buyers will trust you more and are likely to bid more for something youíre selling even if itís identical to someone elseís auction item. Your positive feedback combined with the growing history of items youíve sold tells buyers youíre more trustworthy than someone who hasnít sold as many things as you.

 

        Protect your reputation by offering fair shipping prices and honest descriptions of what you sell and your feedback will grow along with your sales. The more you sell, you more you will sell! Thatís because a selling history earns buyersí trust, gets more bids, and you end up with more money than anyone selling similar items.

 

        Itís that trust weíve earned as eBay sellers that entices our friends and family to have us sell for them. We handle everything: we take the pictures, write the auction listings, answer questions emailed to us during the auction week, send winning bidders notifications, handle the payments, package items for mailing, ship the boxes, leave the buyer feedback, and send the income to our eBay clients who gave us the items to sell.

 

        It turns out that once you begin to sell on eBay and are successful at it, finding things to sell is your last concern. Finding time to sell all the things others want you to sell for them becomes the true challenge!

 

        Selling on eBay is simple and that is why I keep encouraging you to do so. I do want you to be somewhat selective however. Donít take products on consignment that will earn you just a dollar or two. You must consider the time involved to sell something. Sure, one cannot always predict what an item will sell for but do a search on completed auctions in the past to see what price those same items earned and if your consignment percentage makes you enough for it to be worth your while, thatís great.

 

        You can actually increase your consignment profits by selling fewer items if you selectively refuse the lower-priced items. You have more time to devote to the higher-profit items and youíll get more of them listed because you arenít wasting time with low-priced junk.

 

            Finally, if youíre fair to the people who bring you things to sell, theyíll make sure you have plenty of stock. Most consignment sellers charge at least 25% and usually more for their services but we feel thatís too high. Our highest fee is 20% and for extraordinarily valuable items weíll drop that down some more. The result is that we always have an inventory. It may not sound humble but weíre now so good at selling for others that our auctions can bring 20% or higher than our friends would be able to sell the same item for just starting out. So they see our fee as a wash and they get to collect the income without effort. You can be just as successful; and since eBay is not our full-time career, you can be far more successful than we are.

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


How She Got the Nerve to Sell Something on eBay                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ...(or How Much is That 10-Cent Pack of Kool-Aid?)

Vol 2, No. 2, February 8, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

        In the previous column, my wife Jayne told you about her first eBay buying experience (that column is available here if you missed it). For a few months Iíve encouraged you to start buying and selling on eBay, the ďworldís largest garage sale.Ē Certainly buying is simpler than selling. But selling is where you make money so I encourage you to get started selling. Find a few things around your home that you donít use and put them up for sale.
 

   ďWhere do I start?Ē is always the question we hear. Sell anything you think has a good chance to sell at your next garage sale. Itís important to begin selling and learn about the experience and see how simple it really is than to take a bunch of classes or subscribe to online courses. Selling on eBay is simple or eBay wouldnít be the success that it is. Donít put it off; once youíve registered up for an eBay account (a free video at TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg walks you through the process) youíre ready to sell.
 

   You might be surprised at how much you make. After buying a few items, I encouraged Jayne to sell something to learn the process. Fewer than five years ago, Jayne knew nothing about computers or eBay. She moved from eBay Novice to eBay Pro, crowned by writing her first book entitled ďI Married An eBay ManiacĒ published by Sams Publishing.
 

   Once she successfully bought some things, she decided to try her hand selling. I hope you are encouraged to sell once you hear Jayneís own words about the first thing she sold:
 

   Our home-based eBay business involves selling items on consignment for friends and family who know about our eBay success. Before I began helping, my husbandís eBay business was getting far too much for one person to handle. Gregory asked that I help him. I was hesitant. I knew nothing about the selling side. I wasn't all that thrilled to learn. I figured it was tough.
 

   But then, a funny thing happened one day and as youíll see, it was a sweet experience! I had offered to help Gregory's mother clean out the cupboards above her oven. When I got up there and saw all the things in that cabinet, I was taken aback. It was obvious to me there were things there that had been put in that cabinet when they first moved into the house 30 years earlier! Most of those things hadn't seen the light of day until I pulled them out.
 

   One such item was an unopened packet of Funny Face powdered drink mix. These cost a dime when I was a kid. I don't believe they've been sold for many years. When I saw the drink packet, I showed Gregory how long things had been in the cabinet. When I saw him, I greeted him with a ďYou won't believe what I found today!Ē and presented him the drink mix packet.
 

   ďCool,Ē he said, ďlet's put it up on eBay!Ē I should have known what his response would be. It was his response to everything! After all, he is an eBay Maniac.


   I told him nobody in the world would look at an auction for a 10-cent pack of drink mix from the 1960s. My curiosity was piqued, however, so later I searched eBay for anything related to these Funny Face items. I found some. I found a lot. I couldn't believe it - one packet somewhat like the one I found had sold for over $20!

 

   I decided research was called for. I scoured the Internet for information on the drink mix and was able to determine when this specific packet was produced. I wrote up a description, Gregory added to it, we took pictures, and we got that drink mix listed. I was thrilled when we got our first bid, because until then I still doubted that anyone would even look at the auction.


   I watched with growing excitement as the 10-cent packet of drink mix slowly crept up in price. There was real interest in this outdated packet of powder that I had nearly thrown away. The auction ended with a winning bid that surpassed $100. My life changed. I suppose my husband might say that was the day I'd become an eBay Maniac too!

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


How She Got the Nerve to Buy Something on eBay                         Jump to Previous Week's Article
       ...(or How Jayne Became an eBay Maniac Too!)

Vol 2, No. 1, January 11, 2009 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

        For the past few months Iíve encouraged you to start buying and selling on eBay, the ďworldís largest garage sale.Ē Iíve set you up an Internet link to a quick video that walks you through a simple eBay sign-up process at TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg. Yet, you may still be hesitant. Much hype surrounds the Internet and safety concerns everyone, especially when money is involved.

 

        To encourage you to start, you might like hearing how my wife, Jayne, began her excursion into eBay. Fewer than five years ago, Jayne knew nothing about computers or eBay. She moved from eBay novice to eBay Pro, crowned by writing her very first book entitled ďI Married An eBay ManiacĒ published by Sams Publishing. (Iím still unsure what she really means by maniacÖ)

 

        To help bring you into the eBay fold, you night be interested to hear Jayneís own words about her first eBay experience:

 

        One day I told Gregory that I was looking for a CD that had just been released. He said, "Buy it on eBay!" My diagnosis of ďeBay ManiacĒ was now official because until then, he had never suggested ways for me to spend money.

 

        eBay was the last thing I wanted to do. I was new to computers although I had sent a few emails and visited a few Internet pages.

 

        I went to eBay and searched it to see if the CD I wanted was there. It was there, many times over. More than 100 of them were selling. Gregory showed me how to log into his eBay account and place my first bid.

 

        My husband suggested I put my maximum bid in place, the highest amount I wanted to pay for that CD, taking shipping costs into consideration. Because I was a little hesitant to trust all this, I decided that my maximum bid would be about half of what I could buy the CD for in a store.

 

        I watched that auction for the next couple of days as it neared its completion. There were other bidders, but my bid was consistently highest.

 

        I won the CD! I won the CD for less than half of what I could purchase it at a retail store. I didnít have to pay sales tax but I did pay a reasonable shipping charge.

 

        When you place a bid, you might get the item for less than your bid as I did. eBay's bidding system is done by something called proxy. This means eBay adjusts your bid as needed to ensure that you only pay the minimum you have to in order to win.

 

        Say you bid $10 on something that currently has a $1 bid. eBay changes your bid to $1.10, and you'll be the new high bidder. If others bid higher than $1.10, eBay keeps raising your bid at the preset increments, keeping you the highest bidder automatically until someone bids higher than $10.

 

        To get the CD quickly, I told Gregory I'd put a check in the mail right then. He said he already paid for it. "How did you do that?" He explained that 85% of all buyers and sellers use PayPal.com, an online payment system that eBay now owns. Once you fund a PayPal account, or link your PayPal account to a checking account or credit card, you can make or receive instant payments after an auction ends.

 

        I was a little hesitant to accept this PayPal thing fully at first. I was glad, however, that my CD was paid for already and that the seller didn't have to wait for my check before sending the CD. I told my husband I'd let him worry about the risk of this "instant online payment" called PayPal.

 

        Within an hour or two of paying through PayPal, we received an email from the seller telling us that my CD had been shipped, and the email contained the postal delivery confirmation information so I could verify it had shipped and was on its way. That mail was enough to convince me that Gregory was right; eBay is a wonderful thing!

 

        In the next eBay Corner column, Iíll let you hear about Jayneís first selling experience. It was quite a sale! Without revealing too much from her story too soon, you will be fascinated how she sold a 10-cent pack of drink mix for more than $100!

 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


Is eBay Safe to Use? Not Just Safe... Profitable Too!              Jump to Previous Week's Article

Vol 1, No. 3, December 14, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

    eBay brings millions of buyers and sellers together who donít know each other. As a buyer, how can you trust the seller of that clown lamp shade you won for $23? As a seller, how do you know that the person who placed the winning bid for your old college tennis racket will send you the $44 they bid the racket up to?

   If the trillions of dollars that exchange hands electronically each year were generally unsafe, such transactions wouldnít have grown to their current levels. The truth is that financial transactions are extremely secure as long as you know the source. Major web sites such as eBay, online banking transactions, Wal-Mart.com, Internet stock brokerages, and other shopping and financial web sites are extremely secure and they encrypt your data well that travels between your home and their computers.

   Still, youíre dealing with people and not computers on eBay. Even though eBay takes precautions to guard your personal data, once the auction ends itís up to the buyer and seller to complete the transaction.

   When you weigh the risks, sellers have slightly more leverage than buyers. When you sell, you donít have to ship until you get payment. Itís perfectly acceptable and prudent to wait until a check clears before you ship as long as you state that you do that in your auction. Still, sellers can be left unpaid having to pay listing fees and then must relist the item again, all of which costs money and time.

   Buyers donít really know if sellers are legitimate. Once you pay, will the seller ship the item? Will it be in the same condition as described? Will the seller refund if itís not or if the item arrives damaged?

   Buyers and sellers on eBay gain trust among one another with eBayís feedback system. Once an eBay sale completes, both the buyer and the seller can leave feedback about the other. eBayers guard their feedback and want as close to 100% positive as they can get. The higher the feedback, the more you can usually trust the seller or buyer. If a seller has 99.5% positive feedback and over 1,000 auctions, for example, that sellerís history means more than someone with a 100% positive feedback from a history of only 2 auctions.

   If you shop for holiday gifts on eBay, and you should consider doing so, before you place a bid with someone who has questionable feedback, click the sellerís feedback number and read what previous buyers said about their transactions with this seller. Sure, a seller with a fantastic feedback record might take your money and never ship the item. You must remember, though, eBay has been around for a decade and millions of buyers and sellers transact business each week. If the vast majority were fraudulent, eBay would have never been the major success that it is. (Also, determine if the shipping charge is fair, that should be stated clearly before you place a bid.)

   Out of 4,000 auctions, we have been sent a bad check one time. In the numerous auctions weíve won as buyers, there too weíve had only one seller ignore us after we paid. Ask any business owner you deal with if they would consider 2 bad transactions out of 4,000 to be good and that owner would immediately say that is an almost unbelievable high percentage of good transactions.

   Given that buyers pay quickly to build a good feedback rating and sellers describe there items accurately and ship promptly to protect their good feedback rating makes eBay one of the most successful online sites in history. Itís a way that eBay members police each other. eBayís feedback system works wonders and tells you far more about a seller than you know about the store down the street. How many unhappy customers did the store have that you shopped at last month? You donít know but you know how many unhappy buyers any seller on eBay had last month Ė just check the feedback.

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


New to eBay? The Best Way to Choose an ID and Register                                 Jump to Previous Week's Article

Vol 1, No. 2, November 15, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

    eBay.com is a website where millions of sellers sell things to millions of buyers. eBay is known as an auction site due to the thousands of bids that buyers just like you place each day on things sold by sellers just like you.

    eBay is not only about auctions. People buy and sell at fixed prices too. If you have an antique dish you donít want to sell for less than $45 you donít have to risk an auctionís final, low bid. Instead, you can list your dish on eBay for a flat $45. If you describe the dish well, use a good picture of the dish, and a buyer wants the dish and knows itís worth $45, the buyer clickís your Buy It Now button and pays you $45 (plus shipping). Not only do you get your price but you donít have to wait a week for the auction to end.

    Such a fixed-price listing, also called Buy It Now, is one way you get enough for your item but you can get the best of both worlds: start with a high minimum bid of $45 but sell the dish in an auction format. If only one person bids she must begin at $45 and others might bid more. The great thing about eBay is that you set the rules for things you sell. (Buying on eBay can be easy, safe, and secure too; weíll discuss buying soon.)

    Sometimes when you start an auction with a high minimum bid, you may not get many bids. Itís a paradox but starting with a high minimum bid may not make as much money. With a low start bid, several people might bid who otherwise wouldnít bid at a higher starting price. Auctions are funny because bidding wars begin easily and as the seller you like bidding wars!

    All of eBayís selling strategies have their good points and bad. One of the fun aspects of eBay is learning what works and what works even better. Weíll discuss ways to maximize your income here. Just remember you donít have to know all the selling strategies to get started. All you need is an eBay account which is free.

    Right now, register with eBay if you havenít yet. You only need Internet access, an email address, and a credit card. When you sell something eBay wants a 5-7% commission. eBay bills you once a month and eBay needs a credit card on file to charge your monthly fees. You can use a checking account if you prefer. You can remove or change the card for payment at any time. (If you only buy, you never owe eBay a penny.)

    One more thing: you need an eBay ID. Remember the old CB radio handles everyone used to have? eBay IDs are a lot like those. People you interact with on eBay, other buyers and sellers, know you by your ID. Choose an ID that identifies the things you sell if youíre thinking of selling a specific line of products such as MissCoolAntiques. Nobody knows your real name. When you sell something, the buyer does learn your name and address because buyers need to know where to send payments. Getting paid is the real fun and youíll get payments from all over the world. Donít worry about mailing to Italy and other places as itís much easier than you might think as youíll see in future columns.

    If youíre computer savvy, you probably can register on eBay by going to eBay and figuring it all out. You donít have to do that, however. eBay put together a wonderful how-to-register video you can watch and it only takes a few minutes. Iíve put an easy link to that video on a web page for you at TheAuctionTutor.com/Reg (donít use hyphens even if one appears in this article due to the column size). Go there and click the video link. Then, return to that page and click the registration link Iíve put there that takes you straight to eBayís registration page. It takes about 10-15 minutes and then you can buy or sell on eBay. Once you register, come back here next week and youíll learn a secret way to bid on items that helps you win with far lower bids than otherwise possible!

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!


Introducing eBay: The Worldís Largest Yard Sale                                  Jump to Top of Page

Vol 1, No. 1, October 18, 2010 - Oklahoma News Weekly, (918) 798-9429

 

   eBay has been called the Worldís Largest Yard Sale and for good reason. In a single year people buy and sell more than $30 billion worth of items on eBayís web site, eBay. Each hour 3,500 people sign up for a new eBay account. eBay has approximately 5,000 employees. More than 700,000 sellers make a full-time living on eBay.

 

   In spite of those dizzying statistics, eBay does not have any inventory. eBay never touches anything you buy or sell there. Those 5,000 eBay employees rarely meet their customers. eBayís true power is this: eBay brings buyers and sellers together and then gets out of the way.

 

   Ten years ago, Pierre Omidyar created a web page that he wanted to name EchoBay.com. His wife had some used Pez candy dispensers she was going to sell there. He saw that the name EchoBay.com already taken as a web page so he decided to use eBay. Today, eBay is so popular itís become a verb as in, ďYou should eBay that.Ē

 

    eBay is a web site where people like you sell things. eBay is a web site where people like you buy things. These things are often items just like youíd buy or sell at a yard sale. Many new items are sold on eBay too such as when someone gets a gift they donít want so they sell it on eBay. Money-saving items such as gift certificates and gift cards are sold on eBay, often far below their face value. People buy and sell sporting and concert tickets, computers, furniture, clothing, food, and even cars on eBay. Typically, someone lists an item to sell and itís on eBay a week for people to bid from their computers. At the end of the week whoever bid the most wins the auction. Just like an auction barn except you donít have to get dressed to sell your stuff.

 

   Whatever you have too much of there is probably someone who has too little of it. eBay is the place where you both get happier.

 

   eBay is better than a yard sale. When the entire world bids on something you sell for a week, the final price is often far higher than youíd get at a yard sale where only a few local people ever see it. eBay also commands higher prices for your items than a yard sale would bring because when someone looks at what youíre selling, they got to your eBay auction because they were looking for the thing youíre selling. Corporate America calls these kinds of customers ďtargeted buyers.Ē eBay sellers call these kinds of customers ďmore money.Ē

 

   If you know nothing about eBay, you can sell on eBay. If you donít know a lot about computers you can sell on eBay. If you donít have fancy inventory to sell but you have extra items around your home that you were going to sell in a yard sale Real Soon Now you can sell them on eBay. Itís easy.

 

   You will learn about eBay in this and subsequent columns and youíll see that you donít have to be computer savvy to be a successful seller. Unlike places like consignment shops where you might have sold used clothing, eBayís commission rate is tiny, usually between 5 and 7%. Your item is safe too because when you sell something, you donít mail it until you get the full payment from the person who wins your auction. That buyer pays all the shipping too.

 

   In the next column Iíll walk you through the eBay sign-up process so you can get started. Thee eBay Guy column isnít only for the newcomers; if you already buy or sell on eBay but have a question, Iíll answer your question here. Just send questions and comments to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com and if others might benefit Iíll answer you here. My wife Jayne and I have been buying and selling (I usually sell and she usually buysĖ itís in the genes) on eBay for 9 years. Iíll tell you what we do and weíre so successful eBay gave us a fancy-sounding title: PowerSellers.

 

   The most important thing you should know about eBay is that eBay is fun. Unlike a yard sale, you donít have to sit in hot or cold weather to sell your used mixer or DVDs. Mailing things you sell is far easier than most people think. Buying safely is also simple and secure. If eBay didnít make everything simple then millions of eBayers wouldnít be buying and selling hundreds of thousands of items each day. Youíll learn all about eBay here. Welcome to the world of online auctions.
 

      Whether youíre an eBay pro or newcomer, Iíll answer your questions! Send them to TheAuctionTutor@mail.com. If youíre new to this column I'll post past ones at TheAuctionTutor.com so you donít miss a thing. Now start looking around your house for things to sell!