Starting a Part-Time Business on eBay

Photo of author

( — August 31, 2018) — If you are looking to launch a part-time business for supplemental income, selling items on eBay is one economical way to start a simple business custom-tailored to your needs. Since September 1995, eBay has been connecting buyers and sellers from all walks of life with an online marketplace accessible to all. Today, eBay boasts 175 million active buyers globally and currently has 1.1 billion active listings on their platform, which makes it an ideal and established marketplace for you to use. If you’re interested in selling on eBay, here are some tips to help you get started. 

Purchase Returned Products

What happens to the products customers return to the store? Sometimes, these items are returned as unwanted gifts still in their original package, while other times, they may require a fix that would be too costly for a manufacturer to pursue. Several major retailers group these items into a similarly-themed pallet and auction it off at a significant discount. Purchasers can repair, reuse, or in some cases, resell these items to make a profit. It’s not only brick-and-mortar stores that offer this service; the Amazon liquidation process has a wide variety of items and categories that could help you get your part-time business up and running.

While retail liquidators have extensive inventory and can sell large batches of items for efficiency, you can also find great deals at a government auction as well. Though it should be noted that these products are more likely to be single or specialty items, as they have been seized from homes and business for various reasons. Smart buyers who are familiar with market pricing can occasionally score such inventory at major discounts. But before you head out to your next government auction, make sure to research the auction thoroughly to ensure it is actually affiliated with the government and not a scam.

Don’t Sleep in on Saturday Morning

In many neighborhoods across the country, Saturday is a popular day for yard sales, spring cleaning, or moving, especially if the weather is favorable in your area. A quick tour of your neighborhood could turn up anything from a great deal to freebies left on the side of the road, so make it part of your Saturday morning routine to traverse your neighborhood and scope out the activity. Some locations, organizations, or charities have annual fundraising yard sales, or you can mark your calendar to enjoy the “World’s Longest Yard Sale” each year in August.

Many people also choose to move or perform a major house cleaning on Saturday, so later in the afternoon or early evening could be a prime time to check your neighborhood curbside for unwanted items that could be repaired, re-painted, or refinished. Various municipalities also have places like transfer stations and dumps where homeowners can bring large items like unwanted furniture, machinery, or equipment. So be sure to visit these locations to find items for your eBay listings.

Become a Clearance Hawk

Almost every retail store has a clearance section with merchandise that changes daily. Once you know your niche or specialty, keep an eye on the clearance sections of local retail stores – especially during holiday merchandise changeovers. One common eBay sales practice is to create a “bundle” of smaller items. You could put together batches of things like school supplies, complete apparel outfits, or kitchen sets, carefully collecting a variety of smaller merchandise items.

Some of the most difficult aspects of starting a new business can often be the start-up costs and finding a location. With some patience, resourcefulness, and creativity, you could start a part-time business selling items on eBay while potentially maintaining a low overhead.