Auction Selling Tips
by Monica Resinger
Selling items at auctions is a fun way to bring in extra income and reduce clutter in your home. If you're like me and peruse yard sales and thrift stores, you can add even more to your income. Most of the time, you'll get more for an item up for auction than you would selling it at a yard sale. Sometimes, it is very surprising and exciting to see how much you get for an item!
I recently began selling at eBay and have learned quite a bit about auction selling through trial and error. This article will teach you the most important things I have learned so far.
1. Shipping and Handling
You'll need a good scale. Mine is a modern food-weighing one (not the old ones that you can barely balance anything on). This type can be found at your local Target, Big K or Wal-Mart. When you weigh an item, be sure to also weigh the box/package it will be shipped in or estimate for it so you get a correct weighing and charge enough. I use U.S.P.S. and they have a website where you can figure shipping at www.usps.com/.
When figuring what to charge for shipping, we also add in other shipping expenses like the cost of boxes, envelopes, shipping tape, etc. Some eBay sellers like to add these expenses into the price of the item.
2. Packaging Items
This can be a personal preference, but we use newspaper because we have a lot of it. Just be sure the item is packed tightly in the box with whatever packing material you are using. You can also use shredded paper, packing peanuts, or bubble-wrap.
We purchased shipping boxes that are movie (VHS) size because we sell a lot of movies and another common size box. These are great because you don't have to wrap them with shipping paper. Just tape the seals with shipping tape. We get our boxes at papermart.com/.
This site has a huge variety of different sized boxes for good prices. If you plan to sell for a long time, I recommend you get a common size box for the type of items you are selling because it will save you a lot of time and hassle.
We also use other type boxes such as cereal boxes depending on what we are shipping. These boxes aren't as strong so they're better for things like clothing or things that can handle a "push."
You can ask your neighbors, friends and family to save boxes for you and be sure to keep your eyes open at local businesses for sturdier boxes. A lot of times, you'll see them sitting outside by the dumpster free for the taking.
If you use Priority Shipping through the U.S.P.S., they will give you free shipping supplies.
3. Postal Insurance
We have made it an option for customers to get this and we have noted on each auction that we are not responsible for broken or lost items. If something gets broken or lost, then they can use their insurance if they bought it. It costs $1.30 for anything up to $500. If they buy it, you just buy it at the post office when you are shipping and they give you a receipt. If someone's item gets damaged, you can then send him or her the receipt so they can take it up with the post office.
You will need pictures of the items you are selling. You will need to either invest in a digital camera or get pictures developed on disk. People will not buy from you without pictures. I know from experience.
5. Payment Options
As far as online payment services, my personal preference is Paypal especially now that they offer a debit card. When Paypal is used, you get instant payment and are able to instantly use that money with the debit card. There is a fee involved with each transaction, but it is very nominal considering the gas, time and hassle saved from cashing or depositing checks and money orders. Paypal's website is at paypal.com.
It is best to accept as many payment options as possible. This will help you get more bids on your items. Don't be afraid to accept checks. All the checks I have received from our customers have been good with no problems at all.
I know it can be intimidating. I was feeling the same way when we were first thinking about auction selling. But once you know the basics, the best way to learn is to just do it!
Copyright 2001, Monica Resinger
Monica Resinger is a loving wife and doting mother of two who enjoys gardening, painting, dancing and homemaking.
You can check out some of her other articles at http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Monica_Resinger
More Money-Saving Tips for Your Home
- Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- Check for a lower homeowners insurance rate
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- How much can additional payments save me on my mortgage?