Starting an eBay Consignment Business
Soon after I started selling on eBay, I was approached by friends without computers who wanted me to sell their items for them.
My friends had heard stories about the outrageous prices items some auctions brought. They knew I could get more money for them on eBay than they could get selling the items themselves. An added incentive was I did all the work. All they had to do is say "I don't want this anymore, sell it for me;" and within a few weeks I converted their cast-offs into cash.
I was already selling on eBay, and I had developed an eBay selling system that allowed me to list lots of items in a short time. The chance to make a few dollars without any investment was too much to pass up. I made some good money doing consignment sales and I didn't have to tie up my money buying inventory.
Selling On Consignment Is The Perfect Way To Start On eBay
When you start an eBay consignment business, there are no set up fees or investments. You won't need to risk your own money buying items to resell. You don't need a detailed knowledge of antiques and collectibles. You only need to know how to find the right category, write an adequate description and take some high quality photos.
Selling on consignment allows you to learn about antiques and collectibles without risking your own money. By selling other people's items you learn the value of items in the most practical way. By handling them and selling them. No matter how many price guides you read, and antique shows you attend, you will never get the feel for items until you sell them.
Your eBay consignment business provides a service that makes your clients additional money. When most people sell something, they sell to a dealer who needs to mark up the item to make a profit. This is not what happens on eBay.
On eBay the END USER is the buyer and will always pay more than a dealer would. Even after paying a consignment fee, the seller makes more money.
This is the true benefit of eBay consignment selling. Finding the END USER. Before eBay this was a difficult and daunting process. With eBay, a simple listing placed in the correct category, with a good description and some high quality photos, is enough to get a few END USERS to fight over the item.
A Successful Consignment Business Needs:
- You need to take possession of the items. Selling on consignment risks your eBay name and reputation. You take these risks when you sell your own items, but you are in complete control of your actions. To lower your risks you need to get complete control of the items you sell. This prevents owners from changing their minds, and allows you to ship the items as soon as you receive payment.
- You should always have a written consignment agreement. One of my friends was sued by a consignor who felt the commission was too high. The consignor agreed to pay 20 percent of the selling price, then when the item sold for $8500, got upset about paying $1700 to someone for doing 30 minutes of work. While my friend won in court, it would never have gotten to court if he had a written contract.
- You'll also need to perfect ways to get items. At first your friends and co-workers will provide you with a good stream of salable items. After a while this stream will dwindle and you will need to go out and find consignors. This is not as difficult as it may seem. Remember, by consigning with you, the seller gets more money than they would otherwise.
In Figuring eBay Consignment Fees, we'll talk about how much you should charge for your services.
PS Also check out my eBay Consignment Manual for an in depth explanation of consignment sales.
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