How to Sell on eBay – A Reader’s Questions

A Reader Writes with How to Sell on eBay QuestionsI got a nice “How to Sell on eBay” email from a reader who had some great questions that others may also have. In fact, they are such great questions that I’m going to talk about it in an upcoming video.

I’ll paraphrase her letter and questions here:

(These questions are specific to a newcomer’s perspective, wondering how to sell on eBay).

“I wondered if there were certain times that some items sold better then other times such as holiday Hallmark ornaments, halloween decorations etc. 

“AlsoI wondered how you calculated postage for some of the bigger items andwhat amount if any do you mark up the postage…

“I found your YouTube videos to be very helpful and maybe you have something in regards to these questions I just have not found them yet.  I know that I will not purchase an item if I feel the postage is too high, if I feel it is a heavier or oversized item then I dont mind paying extra.

“I also try to comparison shop with other of the same items and what they are charging for shipping to see if I am being reasonable or not…I also wondered if items typically sold better around payday weekends or if you have not noticed a difference in the timing. 

“I understand that you want the auction to end at a reasonable time – not in the middle of the night or during the work day – but I am sure there are other secrets that I should know about in order to be successful. 

“Also I noted that most sellers now only accept PayPal and do not ship the item until the payment has landed in the account.  Although I did see a couple your YouTube videos that advised shipping right away, that does not seem like smart business to me.  (Note from John on this point for others wanting some basic how to sell on eBay advice: I should probably have made this more clear in my YouTube videos – I definitely wait until the item is paid for before shipping. What I meant was that I ship an item as quickly as possible AFTER I’ve received payment. Sorry about any confusion!)

“What about packaging, I know that some of my items have been poorly wrapped and others over wrapped, is there a rule of thumb?

“Thanks for your thoughts suggestions, I will continue to view your videos and hopefully like you on FB to stay up with your helpful tips…

(Name Withheld)”

As you can see, these are really good questions, and I can see how someone new and looking to learn how to sell on eBay might wonder the same thing.

Here is my response, paraphrased.

Dear (Name Withheld)

Yes, there is DEFINITELY a surge in “gift item” sales between Halloween and Christmas. We tend to sell a lot of holiday themed items right around Thanksgiving.

We strictly use the US Postal Service for our shipping – because during the summer we live in a very rural area, there isn’t much other choice. I know that some people (especially those who live in a more urban area) can easily use UPS or FedEx, it just isn’t that easy for us.

About Postage: We do not mark up our postage at all. (Note: I just added that emphasis, because we feel very strongly about providing as much value as we can to our customers.)

We DO add approx .50 for non-priority items to help pay for our packaging supplies (USPS Priority mail supplies are free), but we are firm believers in total transparancy and therefore always tell people (especially those who ask for quotes) the exact USPS link that we use to calculate their postage.

I know that some people add a bit for their time spent – and yes, we DO spend quite a bit of time on packaging and sending – but we are just not comfortable doing that. As a result, we are trusted by a lot of buyers that way.

About our Shipping Practices:
We ALWAYS package our items with the utmost care. It is part of our reputation that we’ve spent more than 10 years cultivating. It will be well worth your time to take care with this. We, too, have received some items that have been thrown together poorly.

We do ship as much as possible via Priority Mail since most of the supplies are free. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive that way – but you’d be surprised at how much you can fit into a “flat rate” box or envelope.

About Timing When Auctions End:
We haven’t noticed much about pay day purchases; however, we DO notice that Sunday nights are better than others to close auctions.

About PayPal:
Yes, you will notice that almost everyone exclusively takes PayPal now – it is required by eBay that PayPal be THE payment option. There is the “once in a while” exception where a potential buyer will email me ahead of time and ask is he can send a money order since he doesn’t want to use a credit card or electronic check from his account. But 99.9% of people are ok using PayPal.

Again, you have good questions, and as soon as my schedule frees up a little, I’ll make some more videos and posts to the blog!


I hope you have found some of these how to sell on eBay tips to be helpful! Please leave a Facebook comment below. I welcome questions from readers and viewers! Thanks so much for reading.