We've all heard the stories of people getting rich on online. Either by selling a piece of toast with an image of the Virgin Mary on eBay, or by getting lucky and finding some long-lost document in their attic that was signed by Abraham Lincoln only hours before his assassination. But did you know you can make money by selling everyday items on eBay?
I Never Would Have Guessed People Would Want My 'Junk'!
It started one day when the battery charger on my cordless phone died. I checked with the manufacturer and they wanted $70 for a replacement! I thought I could get a better deal from an internet reseller so I did a Google search for the batter charger. In the Google results I came across an eBay listing for what I was looking for, and it was only $5! I made a bid on that $5 item and won the auction. By using eBay I saved myself $65 !
Winning That ebay Auction Got Me Thinking
The person that sold me that battery charger on eBay probably thought it was a piece of junk, but to me it was gold. I wondered how much 'junk' in my closet might be gold to someone else? So I spend the next weekend going thru my closets, garage, and basement looking for all those things I had that were too good to throw away, but not quite good enough to use.
I Was Surprised How Much Stuff I had
Here are the results of what I found during my eBay 'junk' search:
- My old collection of comic books from when I was younger
- Camera equipment from my photography hobby days
- A spare part from my car that was still good
- An older digital answering machine
- Some old cordless phones
- Several old toys, dolls, etc
None of these things seemed particularly valuable, or even useful to me but my experience with the battery charger had taught me that these things would be worth something to the right person. Make no mistake, these things weren't 'garbage' - everything was in good condition and clean. If anything was dirty I did my best to clean it up.
How To Get Started Selling On eBay
So I had my pile of 'gold', but how did I go about getting it into eBay? I had already gotten familiar with how eBay worked when I purchased my battery charger. It's important to understand the eBay process and rules. If you've never bought or sold anything on eBay before, check our how to buy things on eBay for the first time page.
I Needed To Get A PayPal Account
One of the things I learned is that using a PayPal account at eBay for transactions was safer, and preferable by many buyers and sellers. Paypal has certain protections against fraud and makes selling and buying fast and easy. With PayPal there is no need to wait for a buyer's check to come in the mail and there's no worrying about bounced checks or other scams. With PayPal you get your money fast and easily!
With My eBay and PayPal Accounts I Was Ready To Make Money!
Now I was ready to get started, so I started off with the smallest, cheapest (so I thought)item I had to sell, a spare part from my car. There was nothing special about this item - it was a part of the grill. I had put on a 'fancier' grill, and I no longer needed it. It was slightly dinged, but in good condition. A brand new one was about $300 from the dealer. So I took a few pictures of the grill, wrote a simple description for the eBay auction being careful to explain that it was not new and had some scratches, and why I was selling it. I posted the pictures (very easy to do on the eBay web page) and started the bidding at $10.
I Watched My First Auction Like A Mad-Man
The first day or two I didn't get any bids. But on the third day I got my first bid! I was thrilled! Then, only a few hours later, the bidding was up to $20! I started watching my auction results like it was an addiction. After a few days the bidding price was over $100! I could not believe it! This car part that was just laying in my basement was already worth over $100! A few days later the auction ended and the winning bid was for $175! That was the easiest $175 I ever made!
After It Sells There Is More Work To Do!
A few hours after my auction ended the winning bidder had already transferred his payment into my PayPal account. Now that I had my money I was ready to ship the car part the winner so eagerly wanted. I took the part to my local UPS store had them box it up and ship it off. Shipping is where you can cut into your profit. After seeing how expensive it was to box up and ship my part I decided that I would do all the packaging myself for any future sales. This saved me a lot of money on everything else I sold on eBay.
After My First eBay Sale I Felt Like A Pro!
Once I got past my first sale I felt like I could sell anything. I started one new auction per day for the rest of the items I had. I was surprised at how much some of the items sold for! I had one camera, that was of no value to me that sold for $250, and several other items that sold for $50-$75. Of course I also had a few things that only sold for $5-$10.
I Was Running Out Of Stuff To Sell!
The following weekend I went to several yard sales in search of other people's junk I could make money from. I found some old radios, portable TV's, toys, etc, all which only cost a few dollars each. I put all of my Yard-Sale finds on eBay over the next few days. I was disappointed that my profit's were not as high as with the items I found around my house, but I still made over $200 ! The next weekend I went yard-sale'ing again and found more low-cost 'gold' for eBay. Again, making even more cash.
After 32 Days I Had Just Over $1000 In My Pocket!
It wasn't easy, there was a lot of learning involved and there was a lot of legwork involved, but I'd have to say that was the easiest $1000 I've ever made, and it was fun! For the next few months I kept-up the yard-sale'ing and eBay selling and continued to make money. I still haven't beat my first month's record for sales, but it's still a fun way to make a few extra dollars.
To learn about how to buy things on eBay for the first time see our Buying on eBay for Beginners page.