Debunking your myths about online selling

24th January 2018

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Many of us know the benefits of selling our unwanted things online but aren’t sure how to get started which means we miss out on making ourselves some extra money. We often hear stories of when things go wrong with online selling and these rarities become our excuses for letting things pile up in our cupboards somewhere between ‘will never use again’ and ‘I can’t throw that in the bin!

Here are some common myths to online selling which I can hopefully debunk for you and inspire you to start clearing out those cupboards and making some money!

My items aren’t worth anything anyway

You’d be surprised at how much your things could make. There are collectors out there for the most unusual of things and everyone is looking to bag a bargain. If your item is particularly low value, work out what your costs will be to sell it (delivery costs plus envelopes/packaging) and make sure you price the item above this, otherwise you’ll be making a loss.

If you’re not sure of your item’s worth, check to see what similar items are selling for, on whichever website you’re using to get an idea of how to price yours. If you’re selling on eBay, check the ‘completed listings’ section to see what the same or similar items have actually sold for. Knowing this, you can then decide whether it’s worth your while.

Delivery costs are too high

When using eBay, you can set your own price for postage, and it’ll often suggest a price for you based on similar listings or based on the size of the item. Make sure you check whether this is the correct price and adjust as necessary. Alternatively, you may wish to list the item as ‘free delivery’, but remember that this means the item price includes the delivery so you may need to price the item higher to absorb this cost.

For local selling sites like Gumtree, make your delivery options clear – if you’re not willing to deliver something, then say so. If you’re not willing to pay for a courier, say so. The more flexible you are, the better, but you don’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with.
To make sure you get as much profit as possible, look into other forms of postage besides Royal Mail – there are many parcel companies out there that offer lower prices, and for larger items, there are websites like Shiply that can help you find a suitable courier.

It’s unsafe

As long as you’re sensible, you should have nothing to worry about. Using PayPal is the best way to keep your payments safe and secure so you know you’ve received your money before sending the item. Avoid dealing with cash if you can, although this might be difficult for more locally-based selling. If you don’t already have a PayPal account, it’s easy to set up and worth it for the protection, it provides you when buying and selling online.

It’s complicated to set up

So many people sell items online and find it easy to set up. For your first stint of selling, stick with the basic settings before getting more adventurous. If you’re worried about how to get started, I would recommend copying what another seller has done if you’re worried, and once you’ve sold a few items you’ll be well on your way!

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Photo Credit: Ben Sauer Bench Accounting Hipster Mum

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