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Setting Up a Home-Based eBay Business

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Many businesses owners got their start by cleaning out their attics and selling their surplus belongings on eBay. Even if you have never been to eBay.com, you may be able to turn your clutter, crafts, hobbies, or interests into money by selling them on the site.

First, if you do not already have an eBay account, you will need to set one up. This is a relatively quick and painless process. Once you have an account, you will need to register as a seller. This involves submitting your checking account or credit card number for verification.

After you have become a verified member of eBay, you will need to decide what you are going to sell. Before spending money on inventory and marketing, do some research to see how many other people are selling similar items. It is possible to compete with other sellers on eBay, but it can be difficult when you are just starting out. If the market for your particular product is saturated, you may want to sell something else.

If you make unique crafts, candles, or other items, listing your wares will dramatically expand your customer base. People from all over the world shop on eBay and by adding your products to the mix you just might end up selling your homemade quilt to someone in Australia.

Selling informational products such as e-books or how-to guides can make inventory and fulfillment much easier. Since these items only take up space on your hard drive, it is much easier to handle the post-sale process at eBay. Of course, your product will need to provide real value; if word gets around the eBay community that your e-book isn't worth the asking price, you won't sell many, and it may sully your reputation as a seller.

Drop shipping is a great way to sell products on eBay without having to stock them in your home. If you can find a vendor who provides a good product at a price that still allows you to make a profit, you can ask the vendor to ship directly to your customers. However, you will need to make sure that your drop shipper is reliable and has a good reputation, which will affect your ability to attract and retain customers.

EBay charges listing and final value fees on the items that you sell through their service, so you will need to figure in these costs when you determine your auction prices. If you plan on listing many items, consider using a third-party listing service that allows you to post multiple auctions with the click of a button. There are also fees associated with most third-party services, so take these costs into account as well.

Regardless of what you sell, you will have to offer a valuable product at a good price. Prompt delivery and great customer service go a long way, too. Feedback — the number that represents your reputation among your fellow eBayers — is king, and potential bidders may be scared off if your feedback score is below average.

Maintaining a 100 percent rating on eBay is not easy, but if you work hard, provide quality merchandise, and go the extra mile for your customers, the majority of your customers will reward you with glowing feedback.

For more information, read The eBay Business Plan and Nine Reasons to Open an eBay Store.

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