Monday, 23 July 2012

Tips to selling items on eBay as a private seller

I have been selling my own personal second hand items on eBay as a private seller for the past 5 years in the United Kingdom (UK), and with a 100% satisfaction rate after over 700 individual sales, I know what I am talking about. People seem to think that you can make lots of money selling your old unwanted goods, this can be true however there are a lot of fees involved when selling your personal goods on eBay UK. There are four different types of fees that you have to pay to sell your goods on eBay.

What fees are involved when selling on eBay.

  • Listing fees (the fee to place your listing on eBay
  • Final Value fees (the fee that eBay take from you if your item sells successfully
  • PayPal fees (when you receive the payment via PayPal, PayPal also take a cut from your profits)
  • Postage & Packing costs (the money it costs to pack and send the item to the buyer)

Insertion Fees (listing fees) explained.

As standard on you will receive 100 free listings for items in auction style with the starting price of £0.99 or less. This is extremely useful for cheap items that you want to sell, or if you want to encourage people to bid on your item and don't particularly care for what it sells for (basically you just want the item out of your house).

However if you want to sell an item for more than £0.99 then you will incur listing fees. Below is a table provided by as of the 23rd July 2012. 

Starting price
Insertion fee
All categories, except those listed below
£0.01 - £0.99
Free *
£1.00 - £4.99
£5.00 - £14.99
£15.00 - £29.99
£30 - £99.99
£100 or more
Media - Related
£0.01 - £0.99
Free *
£1.00 or more
Any price (single or multiple items)
£35 x number of items

So if you have an auction style listing with no added extras (no extra images, secondary titles etc) and want to start the bidding off at £0.99 then the listing will be free. If the starting price is £25.00 then you will have to pay £0.50 to list the item.

Final Value Fees explained.

If your item sells successfully on using the Auction style listing format then eBay do take a cut of the sale value of the item. This does not include the postage and packing paid by the seller. 

For example, if an item sells for £0.99 then eBay will take 10% of the final selling price, which would be 9p. Fairly reasonable as they will only take upto £75 of the sale price of any item. 

Final selling price
Final value fee
All categories including media related & technology related except those listed below
£0.01 or more
10% of the final selling price (up to a maximum of £75)
£0.01 or more
No fee

Examples of final value fee:
  • Item sells for 0.99p
    • eBay will take 0.09p
  • Item sells for £500
    • eBay will take £5.00
  • Item sells for £50,000
    • eBay will take £75.00

PayPal fees explained.

Even though PayPal and eBay are the same company, you still have to pay PayPal fees on the payment received from your buyer. It is somewhat frustrating, but PayPal automatically take their fees from the payment as soon as it is received in your PayPal account. 

Depending on the type of PayPal account you have, you will be charged a different amount of PayPal transaction fee. Assuming you are a private eBay seller, (someone who is selling off their unwanted used items that have been at your home and you no-longer have any use for, but are too good to throw out in the bin). Then you should have a PayPal Personal Account. 

For a personal PayPal account PayPal charge the following per transaction
  • £0.20p
  • Plus 3.4% of the amount received
So this means that if you receive the following then:
  • Receive £0.99 for the item + £1.65 for postage & packing (Total: £2.64)
    • PayPal Fees: £0.29
    • What you receive: £2.35
    • Pay for postage: £1.65
    • What you are left with: £0.70

Postage & Packing Costs explained.

If you do it correctly then you will not have to spend any extra money on posting and packing the item itself, when listing the item you must accurately weigh and measure the item when it is fully packaged, in a box, jiffy bag or envelope. You can then go to the RoyalMail website at and use their postage estimator to calculate how much it will cost you to send to the countries you are allowing to buy the item from. For example. Sending a box to Australia, America or Canada will be more expensive than sending it internal to the United Kingdom or to countries within Europe.

You will also have to add to the packing price that you want your buyers to pay for you to send the item, for example the cost of the bubble wrap and box that you are sending the item packed in. 

From experience PayPal will also include the price paid for postage and packing as well as the amount the item has sold for, to their cut of your profits so be warned regarding this. 


So to summarise when you sell an item on eBay as a private seller and use PayPal to handle the payment this is what to expect from your sales. 

Sell an item for £0.99 with £1.65 postage.
  • Listing fee (free as the item is less than £1.00 and in auction style)
  • eBay seller fees (£0.09)
  • PayPal transaction fee (£0.29 which is 0.20p + 3.4%)
  • Postage (if it costs £1.60 to post) £1.60
  • Packing (if it costs £0.05 to pack) £0.05
    • You will be left with: £0.61p

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