How to start an eBay business

eBay is one of the leading online marketplaces in the world. The platform’s 159 million active buyers make it a great place to sell goods. So, if you’re wondering how to start an eBay business, there are plenty of opportunities for you to succeed.  

This guide will cover how to start an eBay business, including: 

  • What you’ll need for an eBay business 
  • How to get your eBay business set up
  • How to organise your eBay business 
  • How to market your eBay business for success

What you’ll need for an eBay business

The eBay platform has an established customer base that can help you reach customers worldwide. In fact, eBay’s UK market brought in 1.68 billion US dollars in revenue in 2020. But, you’ll need a few things to get started and succeed. 

Get to know the eBay platform 

To know how to start an eBay business, you’ll need to understand how to use the eBay platform effectively. You can begin to get to know eBay by looking at this instructional page

It’s important to know the difference between auction selling and fixed priced listings to see how much you can earn from a sale. Learn how to use the eBay analytics tools. You can also become familiar with your protections as a seller and the buyer’s rights.  

It’s important to learn how to write a good product listing on eBay to sell your goods effectively. You can also scan through eBay to see how other sellers are doing this. Read through sales listings to see average prices and how to write a good product description. The more detailed the listing, the more the buyer can learn about the product.

Knowing how to use the platform will help you appear professional to clients and make your eBay business run smoothly. 

Determine your market

A big part of how to start an eBay business involves becoming familiar with which products and markets perform well on eBay. Then, consider where there might be sales opportunities. Use this information to decide what you’ll sell on the platform. 

Do some more research on the eBay markets that sell the most. For example, maybe you want to focus on selling toys or technology. Or you could enter a current popular market, like face masks. 

When deciding what to sell, think about where your skills and interests lie as well as which product you know best. How will you maintain a supply of these products? Is there something that people are looking for on eBay that you can offer? Is there a missing market you could fill? These questions will help you choose the right focus for your shop. 

Find vendors and essentials 

After you choose your eBay business focus, find a vendor for that product. If you want to start earning a regular income from this business, you’ll need a steady supply of goods to sell. Do some research on how you can source your products at lower prices than you will sell them. You can decide to sell refurbished goods or use a wholesale vendor. 

Eventually, if you want to open a featured shop, you can start selling your own crafts and handmade goods on eBay. 

Aside from product supply, you’ll also likely need a reliable computer for posting and selling. Then, you’ll need packaging and postage for shipping your products. 

Build sales and marketing skills

To succeed with your eBay business, you’ll need to know how to market your products. This means great customer service and people skills. You’ll also want to research and develop your marketing skills to reach the right buyers and grow your business. 

How to get your eBay business started

To know how to start an eBay business, you’ll need to know how to get your business up and running. 

Create a business eBay profile 

First, you’ll need to create an eBay seller profile. You can create a profile using your Google or Apple account. You’ll need to choose between being a private or a business seller. If you start as a private seller, you can change to a business account later. But, you may want to create a business account if you see your eBay shop growing. 

Private sellers

As a private seller, you can list 1,000 items for free each month. Once you pass that amount, you’ll pay 35p per listing. You will also pay a final value fee to eBay, which is a small percentage of your sale earnings. You can look into getting a private seller basic shop subscription to have more listings for £19.99 a month. You can learn more about fees for private sellers here

Private sellers are personally liable for all of their products and must offer returns and refunds when necessary. 

Business sellers 

If you attach a business bank account to your profile, you will need to register as a business seller. This is a more credible profile on eBay, and you can earn more and grow your business with this type of profile. 

To reach more buyers, you can also look into getting a shop subscription. Without a shop, you can pay eBay as you sell. But, with a shop, you can get more from the eBay platform, such as more listings, selling tools, and packaging supplies. The shop options include basic, featured, and anchor. You can learn more about them and the monthly fees here

You will also need to pay an international fee when you ship items outside of the UK. 

Register and understand your taxes

If you create a business eBay account, then you may need to register your business with the HMRC. You’ll need to decide between registering as a sole trader or a limited company

As a self-employed person, you will also need to manage your own taxes based on your earnings. You can learn more about doing that here

Get insurance 

Though it’s not a legal requirement, you may also want insurance to protect your eBay business. Consider looking into public liability insurance, which will shield you against product damages. You can also look at sellers insurance and eBay insurance to see if it’s right for you. 

Research the market 

Before you start selling on eBay, you’ll need to research your product market. If you sell technology, for example, research other sellers on eBay who focus on similar things. Compare prices and the size of the buying market. 

You will also want to research the market in general and determine your target audience. These are the people who will best benefit from your products. Look at the demographics of eBay and how you can reach your buyers most effectively. 

How to organise your eBay business

Once you know how to start your eBay business, you’ll need to organise your operations to succeed.  

Establish a business plan and budget 

When starting your business, first create a business plan to establish short-term and long-term goals for your company’s growth. Along with your plan, create a budget for your eBay shop.

In your budget you may want to consider: 

  • Product costs
  • Shipping costs
  • eBay fees
  • Insurance 
  • Taxes

Create a price list 

You’ll also want to determine how much you will charge for your eBay products. You may also want to decide between offering fixed prices or auctions on eBay. Products that are more in demand may work well as auctions. You can still set a minimum amount that your buyer can auction. 

If you choose a fixed price, consider the costs of your products and add a percentage to create a profit margin. With that said, if you charge too much, buyers may look to other sellers. So, try to balance between competitive pricing and earnings. 

Use management tools

To keep your business organised, be sure to check your eBay platform regularly. This way, you can communicate consistently with interested buyers. You can also keep track of sold products to ship them out in a timely manner. 

On top of the tools offered on the eBay platform, you can use business management tools. You can look into platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 to put your vendor communications, calendars, and documents all in one place. 

Organise with a business current account

You can separate your ebay business finances from your personal ones with a business current account. Keep in mind that if you connect a business current account to your eBay business, you’ll need to open a business eBay account. 

How to market your eBay business for success

A big part of how to start an eBay business is knowing how to market that business to reach buyers. 

Build your business brand 

To effectively market your small business, you’ll need to develop a brand. A brand helps your business’s identity and reputation. A consistent design, tone, and colour scheme will help you appear professional. 

Consider how you can reach your target market through your brand. How can your brand design reflect your business focus? The more you consider your brand and make it relevant to your business, the more professional you appear to buyers. eBay buyers are more likely to purchase from profiles that appear credible and updated.   

You can also establish consistent customer service through friendly communication with interested buyers. Think about what you can offer customers that other sellers cannot. Maybe you want to invest in free shipping or offer discounts. Also, consider sending thank you notes when you ship products to build a good reputation and earn positive reviews. 

Develop your eBay profile 

To reach eBay users, add as much information to your eBay profile as possible. Then, include a business name and a profile picture or logo. Write a clear description of who you are and what your business offers.  

Use social media for marketing 

You can also market your eBay store on social media channels. You can use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to find the right audiences. Try to engage with groups that are relevant to your products. You can also find other eBay sellers and connect with them to learn tips. 

When posting content on your social media pages, set a schedule to post regularly. You can post about products you sell, but also post content that isn’t as promotional. Consider posting tips about your products or the eBay platform. This will help you engage and grow your audience. 

You could also try using YouTube to promote your eBay store. For example, if you sell cameras and camera equipment on eBay, you may want to create videos about the best camera tools and brands. This will spread the word of your eBay business to people interested in photography while giving yourself credibility. 

Advertise in the right places 

To find customers, you can pay eBay to advertise your products. You can also advertise on relevant platforms and do paid promotions to reach people searching for similar products. This advertising can help you get buyers and grow your eBay business. 

Save time managing your finances with Countingup

Once you understand how to start an eBay business and get it up and running, you can start earning from your products. The more you earn, the more you’ll need to manage your finances. Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.