eBay Sellers Making Money With eBay Consignment Selling

I like to call selling goods on consignment for others the “perfect eBay business.” Often the biggest problem eBay sellers face is finding products that they can resell at a profit. Luckily, there’s an alternative: If you’re finding it difficult to locate products of your own, you may be able to make money selling items for others.

For every successful eBay seller, there are others who can’t figure out how to sell effectively or profitably on eBay. Also, believe it or not, there are still people who do not believe eBay really works, are afraid to try it, and/or are computer illiterate. There are also plenty of people who just don’t have the time to learn the skills needed to sell successfully on eBay. That’s where you come in.

eBay Trading Assistants

If you think there isn’t a market for selling other people’s goods on eBay, take a look at the eBay Trading Assistant program.  A Trading Assistant is an eBay seller who volunteers to sell products for eBay members who either don’t know how to –or don’t want to sell their goods themselves. If you go to the eBay site map and look under the Selling Resources heading, you will see a link to Trading Assistants.  

The Trading Assistants Program

When you join the eBay Trading Assistants program, you tell the world that you are willing to sell for others. Trading Assistants charge fees or commissions for their services. Selling as a Trading Assistant allows you to leverage your selling expertise without having to find products yourself—clients provide the items and you are compensated for your efforts on terms that you decide. Many sellers already do this as a way of making money on eBay; profit margins can be significant for higher-priced items.

 You can find this and more information about eBay Consignment Selling in my latest update
of How To Start and Run an eBay Consignment Business

To join the Trading Assistants Directory, you must have sold at least ten items in the last three months, have a feedback rating of 100 or higher, and at least 97 percent of your feedback must be positive. You also must be in good standing with eBay. Joining the directory is free, and you may have more than one profile in the directory.

Basically, eBay has already given any eBay seller who qualifies an opportunity to start a consignment business. When an eBay member is looking for a trading assistant, she goes to the directory, where she can type in her location and search for an assistant in her area. Once the seller performs a search, she receives a list of Trading Assistants and their contact information. If your name comes up in the list, the seller (in this case the consignor, or the person who supplies your products) can either e-mail or call you to work out a deal directly.

In you listing, you can state if you specialize in certain products. For example, if you specify that you specialize in antiques and collectibles, someone looking to sell a used printing press most likely would not call you. However, someone with a collection of old HO trains probably would.

There are thousands of eBay sellers running consignment businesses. These range from regular sellers who sell on consignment as a side business to full-time, large commercial businesses operating out of retail storefronts. A drop-off store is a retail storefront set up for the purpose of providing people with things to sell a convenient place to drop off merchandise you want to sell.

Marketing Your eBay Consignment Business

Once you have honed your eBay selling skills, it is a fairly simple matter to market your services. If you want to be successful finding consignors, you will have to go looking for them. The eBay Trading Assistants Directory may bring you some business, but probably not enough to live on.

Finding consignors can be simple and inexpensive. Here are the ways I market my eBay consignment services:

  • Classified Ads: I run  small classified ads that read something like, “I will sell your treasures on eBay, Call Skip 360-555-1111” or “Raise cash by selling your unwanted merchandise on eBay. Professional eBay seller does all the work for you. Call Skip at 212-555-2222.”
  • Networking: I like to use what I call the “three-foot rule.” Everyone who comes within three feet of me learns what I do for a living. I always carry business cards or even a small flyer that explains what I do. Whenever I meet people, I tell them that I am a professional eBay seller and that if they have something they would like to sell, I would be glad to help them.
  • Free Bulletin Boards: This works the same as the classified ads. Just create short ads on 3×5 cards and place them on community bulletin boards in supermarkets and Laundromats.
  • Direct Mail to Attorneys: You can create a short letter that explains the services you offer and mail it to all of the estate and bankruptcy attorneys in your county. When an attorney has to settle an estate or sell off the proceeds of a bankrupt individual or company, he often works with a local auctioneer. If you explain to an attorney that you can raise far more money by exposing the merchandise in question to over fifty million eBay buyers—rather than relying on the couple of hundred people who show up to a local auction—he will most likely listen.

There are many other ways to market your eBay consignment service, but these four techniques should net you enough business to keep you busy—and profitable—for quite a while.

 You can find this and more information about eBay Consignment Selling in my latest update
How To Start and Run an eBay Consignment Business

What to charge for your services

Commission rates for ebay consignment sellers vary from as low as 20% to as high as 50% charged by some drop off stores. Personally I charge 35% for items that will sell for under $500. From $500 to $5000 I charge 25%. Over $5000 I charge 20%.  I also charge a $3 listing fee for each item and 1% of the reserve price if the consignor wants me to put a reserve or a high starting price on the item.

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