Can You Still Make A Decent 2nd Income From Ebay?

I know a couple of years ago, it was all the rage. A lot of people were even bragging that they did so well that they could quit their regular job and ebay full time. Anybody here doing this? I didn’t get into it when everyone else was, but now I’m considering it. Is it fairly easy, and bonus question- do you think jewelry is a good thing to buy and resell?

It depends. If you are organized enough and experienced enough in a particular niche it’s possible. As an example I pick up stuff at thrift stores and flip them on eBay. I can usually do pretty well with the odds and ends I sell, but if you are going to be a merchant you need to be thinking about the bottom line and your time investment. Properly listing stuff on eBay to get bids is often very time consuming and includes researching and properly photographing your items. You have to deal with listing and selling fees, paypal fees, deadbeat bidders, items that just don’t sell which you take a loss on, storage space for the items, time and effort to pack, ship address and tote to the post office. You are in effect a merchant if you do this to make money and you need to take it seriously.

Where some people get stupid about eBay is in thinking they will sell some inexpensive imported commodity item out of their house or apartment and make a mint. They are actually multi-level marketing website scams built around this “be a millionaire on eBay” concept.

The only reason I can justify it is that I classify it as a “hobby” and I enjoy the “treasure hunt” aspect. If I actually calculated the time investment relative to the return it’s probably it’s only around $ 15- 20 an hour. And it’s not like I could do this full time even if I wanted to as the supply of salable thrift items is quite limited.

If you have some proprietary niche and a supply of goods you can make good money, otherwise you’d be better off with a second job.

Oh yeah- after reading your reply, now I remember why I never got into it when everyone was doing it. It sounds like a huge pain in the butt! But I did get a couple of used “ebay for dummies”- type books, so I guess I’ll look into it. Thanks!

Not any more, I would say. At least not as a “casual hustler that can scare some cool stuff up for free to sell”. Thats what I used to do, just sell stuff I could “scrounge” for free that I knew had some value.

Now, you may be able to make some money, but you probably have to work just as long and hard as a “real” job.

But at least you would be your own boss and avoid office politics.

I can’t see how it can be a proper second income unless you’re turning over high value items. The time investment needed to do it properly is too much, you’ll only be making beer money selling bits and pieces at the weekend. I know cars do well on ebay, but is there much else that regularly goes for 1000s of dollars?

You could do it full time as a job, mind. Not easy, but if there’s an area you know front to back it would work. Bicycles are one kind of item that do well on ebay, as an example. Few reasons - Bicycle parts are worth a lot more sold separate than a complete bike, you can pick up a lot of quality bargains from people who buy a good bike then never ride it, there’s been a significant increase in component prices in the last year so everyone is looking at the second hand market etc etc. You would still need to have a workspace, be a good mechanic and have connections to the industry to pick up trade stock.

The people I know who do this on ebay never seem to shut up about fees, deadbeat bidders, paypal etc. It’s like they hate ebay more than the worst corporate boss.

You should go to Usenet and look up Alt.Marketing.Online.eBay (that link is accessing usent through Google Groups)

Do a search there for history. The group isn’t very active anymore but at one time they had excellent advice.

I don’t think jewelry would do well, because there would be the problem of photographing it and disputes. I would be very nervous about buying gold or such online. I mean you can’t feel it, get a good reaction how it looks on you.

If your gonna sell something you need to find thing with a HUGE markup rate. At least 20 times the value bought. So if you buy a block of items for $1/widget you can sell that widget for $20/widget.

It can be done if you research it but the problem is the competition also can do this and force you out.

I’ll give you an example of such. Do you ever see those ads on TV where they have car auctions. And the guy is walking away with some fancy for a $100.00. These are actually true, well sort of.

You see I worked at a Days Inn, and we were located 3 blocks from the auction site where they had auctions every Wednesday. On Tuesday night, our hotel was always filled up. Why? Because DEALERS came to that auction.

This was South Suburban Illinois, and we 200 rooms total always filled up every Tuesday (The auction was Wednesday afternoon), by car dealers. They came from as far souuth as Alabama as far west as Omaha and as far east as NYC. They would come with those huge trucks that carry cars like 6 of them at a time

Now think for a minute, do you think with car deals, experts in cars coming from all over the US to these auction, not to mention all the locals who don’t stay at hotels, you are gonna actually win a car at an auction car cheap?

Probably not, the dealers are expert at knowing what cars are good and run and can be resold. Everytime those dealers left the hotel, those car trailer were filled up.

So yes there were bargains at those car auctions, people don’t drive from Birmingham or Omaha to Chicago just to look.

That’s the way it is now on eBay, not only do individuals sell but so do companies. A lot of brick and motar stores not only sell out of storefronts, but sell online at eBay too.

So you can do this, but you’re gonna have to research it. Find a unique item, people will buy again, or a source of unique item, that you can mark up A LOT. The scope out your competition using Froogle, Amazon and Pricegrabber and Buy.Com to see what others are selling for. And see if you can realistically compete.

Personally I would try, as long as your realistic and are willing to lose some time and money. Too many people in life are afraid to try things. So you try and it doesn’t work out, big deal, as long as your realistic and aren’t risking a lot. Start slow and make sure you are willing to LEARN from your errors.

My neighbor up the street sells vintage guitars, amps and jewelry on eBay for a living. He must be doing pretty well (his wife works too, I believe) because he has a new boat, a 2009 Chevy Malibu, a 2008 Dodge Caravan, a 2008 Dodge Challenger R/T and a 2008 Dodge Ram Pickup all parked outside his house every day.

Re unique items this vendor is a genius. He apparently has a source for notebook keyboard keys and the spring sets. He sells individual keyboard keys for around 5.50 each + 3.85 shipping (it costs him a 1.00 envelope.) It's much easier to fix a keyboard with missing keys this way than replacing the whole keyboard. I gladly paid for a Lenovo notebook key and just popped it on. My alternative was buying an entire keyboard for around 30.00 and the PITA of installing it. Manufacturers do not sell individual keys.