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Selling on eBay?
Old 03-04-2015, 11:28 AM   #1
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Selling on eBay?

I've sold a few things on eBay, but not enough to know the ropes. I want to auction a custom made ukulele that will bring in excess of 4k and I'm a little nervous that I'll make a 'seller' mistake. This is a supply and demand thing and ukes made by this luthier are in very high demand. I should make a good profit on this sale.

Does anyone have experience with:

.99 cents, starting price or reserve? For a high ticket item what is best?
Shipping- should I offer 'free'... what about international shipping?
International- any issues with currency exchange?
Fees- any 'gotchas' from eBay or Paypal to look out for?
any other thoughts?

thanks in advance for your help...

if you're curious about these custom ukuleles (this is a forum of curious people ), here the link to the luthier's website to see some examples of his work..truly beautiful instruments.
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:35 AM   #2
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I'm at the same experience level as you. That said, I would:
I'd have a reserve price
I would have domestic shipping and insurance figured out and stated up front
I can't think of any gotcha's, except taxes. Sounds like you will meet the threshold
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:50 AM   #3
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I've sold a number of high ticket items include computers ($500-$1000) and camera lenses (up to $2000). See comments in red.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailgate View Post
.99 cents, starting price or reserve? For a high ticket item what is best?

It depends on the interest in the product. For some popular lenses you can start bidding at $1 and be sure to get lots of interest in it resulting in a fair price. But for items with few buyers (e.g. obscure product) I would start bidding at a price you find acceptable as there might only be one buyer. Check other auctions and see how much interest they get.

Shipping- should I offer 'free'... what about international shipping?

We generally have buyer pay actual shipping plus insurance. We only ship to the US to lower fraud risk. If you know the weight and package size, you can figure this out exactly. I think most buyers are aware of shipping costs and take that into account.

International- any issues with currency exchange?

I think there are four or so countries that eBay/paypal will provide seller protection. I wouldn't ship anything outside of these and actually we just limit to US

Fees- any 'gotchas' from eBay or Paypal to look out for?

I think you'll lose about 10-15% of final sales.

any other thoughts?

You can try to sell off eBay on a related forum and avoid fees. Some people do this for photo gear -- I'm sure probably some music sites have a "buy & sell" category.

Personally, I'd be hesitant to sell a big ticket item on eBay unless you have a fair bit of experience and a good feedback rating.

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Old 03-04-2015, 11:58 AM   #4
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Don't do it ! I have been selling on ebay for eight years and I cringe when I think of the things I sold before I had experience .Buyers will either avoid inexperienced sellers or seek them out to take advantage of them . If you do decide to do it start at the price you will accept .Believe me if the item is wanted you will get interest .If you are nervous add a reserve though auctions with reserves do not get as much action . Forget free shipping & forget international . Offer reasonable shipping with signature delivery . If an international buyer is interested they will contact you but opening it up to international invites scammers in. Good Luck !
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photoguy View Post
I've sold a number of high ticket items include computers ($500-$1000) and camera lenses (up to $2000). See comments in red.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
Don't do it ! I have been selling on ebay for eight years and I cringe when I think of the things I sold before I had experience .
good info and I am pretty nervous... if I proceed, I'll limit to USA and Canada...although, asians are really into ukes and have money, probably shouldn't take a chance..I'm sure there are a lot of Nigerians just waiting for noobies like me
Their are a couple of marketplaces related to forums that I could sell it for a fixed price..would just be limiting the profit somewhat. Will continue to ponder this..
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:30 PM   #6
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Good Luck !
btw Moemg... we have dear friends in Sarasota and will be there early April.. last visit they took us to the marina where the statue you have as your avatar is...what a beautiful place! Loved your area.
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:03 PM   #7
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In my experience, starting at 99 cents is great if you can do it. Normally, this will generate some bids right away on the "Oh, what the hell" basis. Once you have some active bidding generated from that, you can get real bids that keep your auction looking busy.

But I also would definitely place a reserve price on it for the lowest amount you would be willing to accept. For an item like this that doesn't have a big potential customer base, it's smart insurance.

I also have no trouble selling internationally. I've made sales to Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, and England with no problems ever.

Actual shipping cost is the best policy unless it's a very small, inexpensive item.
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:29 PM   #8
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You know the demand. Starting at $0.99 with a reserve is a gimmick IMO, but I know many people like the idea. I've auctioned a few things with a $0.99 price and no reserve, but on items that sold in the $50-$150 range that I was certain would generate good money on auction (multiple serious bidders).

I never sell to first time bidders, and never outside US and Canada. Tracking shipments and shipping guarantees/signatures are limited or non-existent in some countries. I sold a $500 camera to a buyer in Hong Kong, and tracking showed they left the item on the buyers doorstep. Worked out OK but I never took that chance again. Imagine if your $4K uke was reported missing in Farawaystan, you gonna go look for it?

I did free shipping once, my other 68 eBay sales have been buyer pays actual cost of shipping, and I have never had shipping cost/method come up as a problem. IOW, free shipping meh IMO.

My 2 cents, there are more experienced eBayers here than me. Good luck.
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Old 03-04-2015, 02:58 PM   #9
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I sell just enough on eBay to be dangerous. A couple of the items that I've sold ended up going to international buyers, but I was paid by and sent the merchandise to a US intermediary who evidently takes a cut and forwards the package.

So, I think you can limit sales to the USA and still attract international buyers.

I have buyers pay actual postage. I measure and weigh the package before I list it so I know what to put into the eBay postage calculator.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailgate View Post
good info and I am pretty nervous... if I proceed, I'll limit to USA and Canada...although, asians are really into ukes and have money, probably shouldn't take a chance..I'm sure there are a lot of Nigerians just waiting for noobies like me
Their are a couple of marketplaces related to forums that I could sell it for a fixed price..would just be limiting the profit somewhat. Will continue to ponder this..
Ebay has a shipping service to different Countries so you could limit it to certain asian countries . Then all you do is package the item and send it insured to their shipper .This option will pop up when you get to the shipping area .
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:55 PM   #11
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DH eBays a lot of stuff, mostly things he pick up at thrift stores. He's pretty good at pricing. Since he paid very little for most things he starts them low, sometimes with a Buy It Now price but he rarely uses a Reserve price.

A few years ago he brought home a album of 78rpm records from the 1940's that was full of autographs of performers on the recording, including Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich. He couldn't find anything comparable to set a price so he listed it with a reserve price higher than he expected to get. The item had lots of bids but didn't reach the reserve. He relisted it now knowing what it was worth (about $30 less than the reserve). It sold from the relisting and I don't remember the exact amount but it was a couple hundred more than he paid for it.

I've offered free shipping on small things that can easily be mailed for a few bucks. Makes it nice for the buyer. We've sold a lot of things internationally and never had a problem. Since most payments are done by PayPal it makes it very easy.

If you haven't sold anything on ebay in a while it's gotten much easier, I think. If you have the item packed in a box, ready to go, you just input the weight and dimensions and you have the option to have the buyer pick their own shipping method among your choices. They pay for the item and shipping together and you ship the box.

For your very unique, valuable item, either require insurance or take the cost of buying insurance yourself into account when you set the price.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:29 PM   #12
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I just sold an old Dell laptop. Starting price of 99 cents. It sold for $21.

I don't mind though as I really had no use left with that laptop (I bought a used one that better fits my needs).

I find that things which start at 99 cents usually get more bids and end up selling for more. But for something like high priced ukulele, I would start at the lowest price I'm wiling to accept (which essentially is a reserve price).

I use to give free shipping as an incentive but instead now make the buy pay shipping as once I sold this computer power supply but ended up paying more in shipping then what the item sold for .
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailgate View Post
...
if you're curious about these custom ukuleles (this is a forum of curious people ), here the link to the luthier's website to see some examples of his work..truly beautiful instruments.
Chuck Moore? But, but, but... Jake plays a custom Kamaka tenor ukulele by Casey Kamaka.

Jake Shimabukuro’s Ukulele

j/k, I'm sure it's a beautiful instrument. More seriously, why are you selling it? And have you seen Jake S in concert (another one I think I left off that thread!)?

-ERD50
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:58 PM   #14
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I sell a bunch of lower priced items, mostly in the $1.50-$50 range with a few pricier items. I won an Iphone 5C when it first came out ($550) and sold it. The prices were falling on ebay and I was shooting for ~93% ($495-515) of the retail price. I listed this as a "Buy It Now" with a Best Offer option. You get a lot of low ball offers, but they come pretty frequently. It took about 10 days to sell it this way. I don't really care for Reserve pricing or .99 starting price. Ebay charges a min of .35 on any listing, so my cheaper stuff needs to be priced at least $1.50 to make anything worthwhile on it. I sold a coupon once for .99 and after postage/ebay and paypal fees I made .28 net! Keep in mind ebay charges a fee on your postage, so a first class stamp of .49 is also hit with a fee, so to break even, you need to bump up the postage fee if you're charging the buyer. Make sure you get proper insurance, pack this thing to withstand handlers throwing your package around. If you sell to other countries, it ships to Ky (for me), and they handle the costs from that point forward. I just had 2 items sell this way. The tracking info gets completely changed and I couldn't track the package (or don't know how to).
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:05 AM   #15
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I sold something on ebay a couple of months ago. I was surprised by the fees. I used their shipping and paypal. the original price was 100. and after fees and shipping without insurance I ended up with 76. so pay attention to fees and shipping they will take a bite, espescially at the price your looking at.
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:20 AM   #16
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I'm always annoyed at the eBay/paypal fees but I keep thinking since they have the biggest market, you may recoup the fees in increased auction prices. I don't know if this is actually true but I have sold an expensive lens for more than I paid for it new 5 years later (it helped that the yen went up + a small amount of inflation).
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:51 AM   #17
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Chuck Moore? But, but, but... Jake plays a custom Kamaka tenor ukulele by Casey Kamaka.

Jake Shimabukuro’s Ukulele

j/k, I'm sure it's a beautiful instrument. More seriously, why are you selling it? And have you seen Jake S in concert (another one I think I left off that thread!)?

-ERD50
Ha.. ERD50, yep, most of the young pro players do play either Kamaka's or Kanile'a and they do sound great..those folks can flat play... I especially like Brittni Paiva ...here she is playing .. beautiful ... after selling this Moore Bettah, I'll be down to 2 ukes... just not playing them much anymore. Moved back to guitar for awhile.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:03 AM   #18
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I'm always annoyed at the eBay/paypal fees but I keep thinking since they have the biggest market, you may recoup the fees in increased auction prices. I don't know if this is actually true but I have sold an expensive lens for more than I paid for it new 5 years later (it helped that the yen went up + a small amount of inflation).
I don't disagree on eBay/PayPal fees. And it hurts when items sell for less than I had hoped/expected. But I have also sold about as many items for much more than I would have paid, and I wouldn't have gotten a premium selling anywhere else (within reason), so it all works out somewhat. I have an auction going right now, with 12 watchers, so odds are I will do well on that item.

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I sold something on ebay a couple of months ago. I was surprised by the fees. I used their shipping and paypal. the original price was 100. and after fees and shipping without insurance I ended up with 76. so pay attention to fees and shipping they will take a bite, espescially at the price your looking at.
As for shipping hurting net $, unless the seller offers free shipping, I don't get that. On 68 of 69 of my sales, I've left shipping costs on the buyer so it didn't impact my net $. What am I missing?
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:42 PM   #19
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As for shipping hurting net $, unless the seller offers free shipping, I don't get that. On 68 of 69 of my sales, I've left shipping costs on the buyer so it didn't impact my net $. What am I missing?
The paypal fees, and ebay fees, are based on the total dollar amount of the transaction. Example: a $10 sale price with a $5 shipping fee gets charged fees on the $15 total. It does not matter if you have free shipping and pad the price to include that, or have it calculated, total transaction amount is what matters.

The reason ebay did this is used to be based only on sale price and no fees on shipping amount. So sellers were selling for $1 and then charge $14 shipping. Ebay wised up quick to that loss of commissions and changed policy.

I have a small home based side business I sell several items on ebay each month. Mine are all new standard parts, so I only have buy-it-now and mostly std shipping which shows to buyer based on location. I have to jack up the sale price on ebay vs if I sell off my website or off ebay, just to cover the ebay fees. In the end I net about the same amount from either way of sale, but buyer pays more going through ebay. I use paypal even for my website, it does not bother me they take the 2.75% or so fees to process the payments. It is the ebay fees that are much higher.

Back to OP orig question, For a true auction type sale my feeling and experience is if you have good pictures, good honest description, and just start at the minimum price you would take without reserve, you have a good chance to sell. Only takes one bid, and it will sell. Reserve price works, but you will get questions asking reserve or bid retractions once people see the reserve met. I rarely use a reserve price, prefer to just set a good minimum price and let it ride no reserve auction to the end.
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Old 03-05-2015, 03:05 PM   #20
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I don't sell on fleabay only buy so I cannot help you there but as a suggestion you might look into Reverb.com. It is supposed to be much lower fees that fleabay and is a music dedicated site. So you are more likely to have knowledgeable people looking at the item. I have seen items on both sites so posting on one doesn't prohibit you from posting on the other
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