Selling on eBay: worth it? (No.)

 |  Budgeting

One of the ways I was hoping that we would pay off our mortgage (let’s pretend I’ve updated that page recently) was to sell the mounds of crap I have sitting around the house on ebay. Of course by crap I mean treasure … kids clothes, old PC parts, DVDs, books, that sort of thing. Things that people will pay for because they’re useful or interesting (not actual crap, which we do get through a lot of too [insert poo joke here])

I had it in my mind that I could quickly list a bunch of stuff on ebay, make a few quid per item, stick it in the post box and be on my merry way with some extra cash towards the mortgage (or the laptop I recently invested in, whatever). Except it’s not that simple AT ALL.

For starters, it took me at least 2-3 hours to list 15 lots on ebay, and that was using the handy dandy ebay phone app which meant I didn’t have to go through the pain in the arse process of taking pictures and loading them up on my laptop / editing them / etc. Anyway, 10 of these lots sold, 5 didn’t.

I ‘made’ a total of £31.86 including postage. It cost me £26 exactly to post all of the items (to which my response was nearly “holy shit what the fuck planet are you on woman I’m sending baby clothes?!!” but fortunately I was raised better than that) leaving with me £5.86

Except eBay then took off £3.24 sellers fees so really I only made £2.62.

Oh, and then one of my buyers complained that an item listed as new was stained and so I had to offer her a partial refund to keep her sweet (because while I know she was lying out of her arse, I just can’t be bothered to get involved in a payment dispute or risk my ebay rating) so that took off another 50 pence. Subtotal now £2.12. TWO POUNDS AND TWELVE PENCE.

Nearly forgot! I also spent £6 on packaging because I’d run out of old envelopes and brown paper.

So, people of the interwebs, I actually made, all in, minus £3.88 (and that’s before we count the money I didn’t make while I wasn’t working during the 3 hours it took to list these items and the 2 hours it took to pack and post them which actually puts me at approximately minus two hundred quid. Arse.)

Am I going to pay off my mortgage selling on ebay? Only if I somehow manage to score lucky on a gullible buyer who wants to give me a few thousand for a sick stained sleepsuit. Unlikely, somehow.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

9 comments so far

  1. Mumblies said:

    You forgot the petrol cost to the Depot or Post Office to post it all. If I were you I’d give up on that form of making money and stick to what you excel at :)

  2. Melissa said:

    I actually had decent luck on eBay this past month. Made $500 off of some old stuff that was collecting dust (electronics, purses). Postage and ebay/PayPal fees kind of blow, though. I would never bother listing clothing on there. I usually just donate what’s left that isn’t destroyed after being worn by three boys. The time and effort it takes to list clothing is so not worth it for the few pennies made.

    • Jem said:

      That’s what I’m thinking. I have some other bits which might actually make some money but the rest I’ll probably get rid of via facebook or just give away or something.

  3. Rebecca said:

    I hear you. I think if you sell on there quite regularly it balances out a bit more, I’ve had stints of making £50-80 in profit, like immediately prior to moving house when I’ve decided to get rid of *everything we own* to avoid packing it, but there have also been many many times when I’ve made a loss overall, and it is painfully time consuming :/ I hear car boot sales are a good way to go if you’ve got lots to sell and can’t be arsed to photograph/describe it all but I’ve never actually done one myself…

  4. Jeffrey said:

    I became a member of ebay in 1999. By 2010, I had bought and sold thousands of items, As time went by, there seemed to be more and more outright fraud perpetrated against me and other ebay members – and it was always IMPOSSIBLE to get ebay to do anything about it. In late 2010, my account was hacked by criminals who used my perfect feedback to defraud buyers worldwide to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I spent OVER A YEAR attempting to get hold of A SINGLE ebay employee, but could not. I finally gave up. It is my sincere hope that ebay goes bankrupt. It has become nothing more than a fraudulent scam.