So, I’ve actually received money for selling something on EBay. It was a shockingly positive experience, so I want to share.
First off, I’m not quitting my day job. I’m trying to de-clutter my life. Turns out that after a couple of years of deliberately giving away and not buying stuff that I don’t need, there’s a category of stuff that still lingers. It tends to be worth more than about $40. It tends to be electronic (though not always). It tends to be in those damn boxes in the office where I’m like “sure, someday I’ll get rid of that.”
So, as a test, I picked one piece of small electronics that hadn’t been turned on in over a year – made myself an ebay account, plugged it into my paypal account, and made a listing.
That one was dead simple, because they already had a database entry for the widget – and it’s still for sale on Amazon. “This type, this model, this color.” I just clicked on “gently used,” wrote a little story about how it totally works, and I have these two cables for it, and set my price. You could get it new on Amazon for $150.
I started the auction at $0.99, because supposedly that’s how you get hits on search engines.
I set a reserve price of $40 because that’s my threshold for not feeling screwed for the 15 minutes it took to set the thing up.
I said that the buyer would pay shipping, flat rate, $5.
I set a “buy it now” price of $120, which seemed fair – given that you could get it new for $150.
I got nothing but nibbles for the first 5 days, then I got a bid of exactly $40. The bids went slowly up to $55, and then it closed.
I logged back in to EBay, clicked the “print a shipping label” button (paid for out of that same paypal account), stuffed the thing in a flat rate box, taped the label on it, and walked to the post office.
EBay took something like 8%, so I got about $45 for something that was gathering dust.
Why do I like this? I like it beacuse I don’t have to wait at my house for some Craigslist jackass. I have a broker (paypal) to handle the money. I like a *lot* that I can click “print a label.”
So I’ve decided that I have a new chore. Once a week, I need to find something and make a listing. I bet that I can do this for 10 weeks without breaking a sweat. That’s (at current thresholds) $400 that I can drum up.