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Earn more money from your eBay auctions

by Dave

eBay is a fantastic platform for making money if you are selling your items, but for many things it is now quite saturated, meaning that competition for the most profit from your sales is high. Here is how to make sure you do everything that you can to make sure that you earn the most money from your eBay auctions.

Before you even begin to list your item, look around on eBay to see what other people are selling that is the same as your item. Look at completed and sold listings from the UK (this post is from a UK perspective) and see how much the item has been selling for. Check out a few that sold at a low price and check out some that went for a good price and make mental notes about them. Try to spot differences, were some in better condition, or did they have more included, or did they have better photos etc?

You need to put yourself into the mind-set of your potential buyer. What sort of buyer are you? I know I am quite cynical, and not only do I read what people say in a listing, I also look at what people are not saying, or skirting around. None of us want to be ripped off right?


Let us start at the top, with the likely first thing people will notice. Never use a stock photo unless you really, really must. Using a stock photo straight away gives you the potential to look like one of those sellers that although they say they are in the UK, are in Hong Kong or somewhere.

Make sure you take photos of the exact item that you are selling and have several photos. Make sure the item is clean and dust free before you photograph it, and that the room is well lit. It can make someone perceive how the item has been looked after totally different if the item is dirty. Take several photos, not just one. I like to do a main photo of the actual item and one with it switched on if it can be shown, and one showing everything included in the auction. If you can show the item working in a photo it speaks volumes! Subliminally people will trust your auction more because they have more reassurance. For example, I sold a digital SLR camera recently and made sure to have a photo of the back of the camera with the camera switched on and showing the date/time settings showing the correct date/time.

Make sure that you take your photos in a clean and uncluttered area. No one wants to see your half a cup of cold coffee or latest mail on the side in the photos.


The title is one of the main windows into your item from search results or listings. Where possible always include the make and model of your item, condition if it is good or above and any good points such as boxed.


Descriptions of your item for sale obviously depend on what you are selling. Do not just copy the specifications off the manufacturer website and add a few lines under it. Think about all the questions you may ask and then answer them. Here are some of the things I always do.

I always say what I am selling as the 1st line of the description, along with the condition and that it is 100% working. So, for example I would say something like “I am auctioning a Canon EOS 5D mk2 DSLR camera in excellent condition, complete with original box and packaging. The item is 100% working.” I will also say that the photos are of the actual item that I am selling.

I will then write a paragraph about the item such as describing how I have owed the item from new, or a camera’s case how many shots it has taken etc. I will then list what is included in the auction. In a camera’s case for example I will say that the charger is included, what memory cards, any lenses, camera straps, manuals, leads and installation disks etc. This may seem over the top but potential buyers can see exactly what they are or are not buying.

Only then will I list key specifications or link to them.

Starting price and buy it now

The consensus is to start your auctions at 99 pence to get the most viewers. I must be honest I am not a fan of this approach for many items, and I like to avoid time wasters. Sometimes I prefer to just set the tone and try to cut down on the day or so of everyone micro-bidding on my item that I want to sell for much more. I started a recent camera sale at £100 and a video card at £30 and both sold for a really good price. It is up to you what you do though!

I will often put a buy it now option on my items and I will often be bit a cheeky with the amount, putting about £10-30 or so above what I think it may end for and that I am happy to get in a successful auction. Items will often sell early if people can see that the item is a good deal and exactly what they want. Many will pay a little extra for the convenience.

It is up to you whether you set a reserve price, I generally do not. If you do not have one it can be worth mentioning in the description.


Make sure that you leave yourself a bit of a window unless you are 100% sure that you can post your item when you say. This can be difficult if for example you sell your item with buy it now. I tend to say that I will post the item within 2 or 3 days of sale. Make sure that you charge enough for your postage. eBay suggested for a camera £11 postage via Royal Mail Special Delivery, but when I went to post it, the cost was £26.60!  Collect+ is fairly good value for items of under £50 in value and is convenient. I posted one item at 7pm on a Sunday evening once because the shop across the road is a drop off point.


The timing and length of your sale can we quite important and have a direct impact on the end price. I will often do a 5- or 7-day auction for most items. I always schedule the item to start in the evening, ideally at the weekend. This is because it is the most likely time that many buyers have the time to bid and secure an item for sale. I will often try for around 7:30 – 8:30 in the evening on a Sunday.

Final notes

This is not a guaranteed process, but my sales, always go for above the average price.  How do you sell your eBay items? Do you have any tips that you would like to add?


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