Is it worth the effort to make money on eBay selling ?

By Tony Lam

  • SumoMe

Some sellers are doubt about whether it is worth the effort to make money on eBay selling. More specific,  they are asking if it is justify to spend long time to take nice pictures, write detailed product descriptions, or create demo videos just to earn a few bucks for each transaction. It totally makes sense to ask this question if sellers consider eBay selling is a business, not a hobby. If the time spent is not in proportion to the profit earned , sellers will shift from eBay towards other business or marketplace.

My quick answer to them is YES and NO.  The outcome all depends on the direction or business strategy the sellers employ to make money on eBay selling. To explain the idea clearly, I quantify the profit earned per eBay listing against the time required to create the listing with a new term “Hourly Profit”.

Answer : YES, it is justify if you are selling replenishable items.

It is justify to spend hours on making and tweaking a eBay listing if you can use the eBay listing o sell many many items. For example, if you spent two hours’ work on an eBay listing and sell 500 pcs. Assuming you just earn one buck (on average) for each item and total hourly profit will be $250/hr. To achieve this result, the product listed should be replenishable, an evergreen product or a hot product in niche market.  In this case,  you can re-use the same BIN or auction listing to sell again and again.

Answer : NO, it is NOT justify if your items are unique.

On the other hand, for the item that is unique and needs custom made listing, two hours’ work  to make a eBay listing is not justified the effort unless you have a very high profit. If you can able to make $10 bucks for each item on average, you will have an hourly profit of $5.  It is less than the minimum rate. In the long run, sellers will get frustrated ultimately and will shift the attention towards other more profitable marketplace or business.

Use eBay mobile to make money on eBay selling.

In my past experience, I am actively selling around 150 items every day  to get 7000 feedbacks. I tested and figured out some niche and evergreen products  and learned (by mistakes) how to create and tweak the eBay listing to make them competitive, stand out or even outperform others so that one eBay list can sell for long time even though the profit margin is thin.

As to the unique items such as vintage, used, blemish, and collectable items that take huge portion of eBay revenue, I do not have a clue to sell them until lately when my business was hardly hit by the competition of low cost shipping option ePacket. As I mentioned it in my previous post, facing the challenge, I chose not to give up but trying a new business strategy of selling vintage or used items. Thanks to God, after testing for a month with around 30 listings, I am able to create eBay listing that sell for unique item within 10 minutes with eBay mobile app (iphone app version 2.6.2).  Please review my demo of selling with eBay mobile below.


If I set my target of hourly profit is $10, every hour I can make 6 listings and the average profit per item will be $2.  This profit margin seems not difficult for the vintage or used items that can be bought at flea market, garage sales, or thrifty stores at cheap price.  eBay allow 12 pictures free hosting and the pictures are better more than thousand words. I take lot of pictures with iphone to replace lengthy descriptions.  It may not be attractive to all buyers but good enough for those who are interested to buy. My test result is very promising, and I sold 90% of the blemish items and used items using eBay mobile in the past month. I look forward to your any comment and the new ideas you want to share.

Category: eBay Listing

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