Sunday, 7 November 2010

How to Make a Million on ebay

Step one: Send me £10 for my amazing ‘Secrets to Ebay Selling’ DVD. 

One of my Frugal Gaming aims is to ‘Make Money from Gaming’, and until the call comes from Fantasy Flight to become their head of games testing, it looks like I’ll have to be selling on ebay.

There are lots of auction and selling sites out there, but the big one is ebay.  I’ve only had experience of ebay, but if you can recommend other good sites for buying and selling, let me know.  Here’s my 12 top tips…

Be realistic. 
You are not going to make your fortune on ebay.  Sorry.  If you’re working, consider how much you would have to sell on ebay every day to match your wages.   Keep it as a hobby.  Ebay is an excellent resource for clearing out items you don’t want or raising money for something in particular.  I bought my copy of the new Warhammer rulebook using money from ebayed items and I have a smug sense of pride from knowing that I effectively got it free. 

Count the cost.
If you’re selling to clear out unused figures, games and sets of rules then any money you make is a bonus.  However, if you buy items specifically to sell, then you have to be very careful with your finances.  The money that comes in MUST cover the initial cost of the items, plus postage, plus ebay fees, plus paypal fees, plus any packaging.  If you’re only just scraping even, then you’re wasting your time. 

Good photographs.
A fantastic photograph can make all the difference.  Take the time to set up a couple of lights, and consider investing in a cheap camera tripod to stop wobbling.

Strip paint.
If you have a metal model that’s badly painted, it can be worth stripping the paint, as many buyers will want to paint it themselves.  It could easily add a pound or two to the final selling price…

Paint it.
Then again, many people like buying prepainted figures, a nice cleanly painted, based figure may also bring in a few extra pounds.  However the extra money brought in may not be worth the time you’ve had to put in.

Buy big.
If you want to buy something, try and buy in bulk.  Even if you want only a couple of units, it can be worth buying a whole army and then selling the rest.

Sell small.
When selling, the opposite is true; it’s best to sell items individually or in single units.  You’re likely to get a better overall price, though it does add to the time you spend list and packing items for sale.

Sell overseas.
Of all the items I’ve sold on ebay, perhaps 60% are to international buyers.  If you only offer to sell in the UK, you severely restrict your market and the final sale price could suffer. 

Accept cheques/postal orders.
There are a few people that don’t have paypal accounts or don’t have funds in their account.  Allowing alternative payment methods increases your number of potential customers.

Local delivery.
I have sold a couple of items total buyers, this has a number of advantages.  The first is that if you get paid in cash you won’t have to pay paypal fees, secondly (and perhaps more importantly) you end up meeting people in your area that play games!  I met my Necromunda opponent Matt by selling him some figures which he collected in person.

Now this may upset a few readers, but sniping is one of the best things you can do on an ebay auction.  Sniping is watching an item and only putting in a bid at the last minute. People hate it, but it often works and since this is a Frugal Gaming blog, not a nicey-nicey blog, I’d be wrong to exclude it.  You’re not breaking any rules, and there’s always a chance your ‘sniping’ bid won’t be high enough anyway (someone else may have set a higher maximum bid).  I always do it and find it effective, give it a go.

Set a limit. 
Decide what you want to pay for an item and stick to it!  It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war and end up paying over the odds for something.

So there you go, my top tips to buying and selling, if you have any more, let me know.  Happy gaming!


BigLee said...

Just purchased a box of FoW models at something like 38% less than the RRP. They are listed as new and unopened and the seller looks reputable. I've used eBay several times before but this is the best deal I've ever had. With discounts like that I will always check out the listings before going to a regular retailer in future.

Conrad Hawkwood said...

excellent advice and I have, in my time on ebay done all those things, I can't think of anything to add..keep up good work..I have recently been holding Carboot sales, which may be the next step.. I do have the luxury of a big backyard, though OI am some distances between major wargames sots but I cleaned out over $1000 of stuff at the last one, met a lot of people and sold even more through my blog after it was all over ..

The Angry Lurker said...

The problem from selling comes with the fees ebay charge and the the paypal charge on that aswell.

Conrad Hawkwood said...

moving it into your backyard saves a lot of fees..

Snickering Corpses said...

One note regarding accepting checks and money orders. Unless they've changed it again, last I heard Ebay had made that a violation of Ebay rules, and required accepting only Paypal or one other payment processor.

So be sure to check the latest rules on that, or risk the Ebay ban hammer if they catch you accepting other methods.