A Guardian reader recently submitted a question asking for other readers’ advice on making money on eBay – their idea was to trawl charity shops and car boot sales for cheap items that they can make a profit on selling on the internet auction site.
Regardless of the ethics of buying items from charity to sell at a profit, the advice given from other readers was less than positive. Here are the problems with trying to make money in this way:
- Charity shops are starting to factor in the “eBay effect”, and they’re raising their prices accordingly.
- The fees for both listing the items and for using PayPal (which must now be given as a payment option) eat into your profits, and we’re normally talking about low margin items, so the volumes you have to sell in order to make even a little money will be large. Then you need to think about paying tax on your earnings, as you’re buying these items specifically to sell on, so the tax man will want to know about it, and finally, you’ll spend money on packaging and postage.
- The sheer amount of time to craft the listings for these normally one-off items, take photos of the items and sending them at the post office, will also be vast. Add in to that the time spent answering buyers’ questions, and you’ve got yourself a serious time-steeler.
For flogging unwanted items around the home every now and then, eBay is great.
However, if you’re planning on making a business out of it, it now needs to be more of a professional operation than ever before, and it’s far from a way of making easy money.
photo credit: Fosforix
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