Sell My Soul? How About Shoes?
September 19, 2010 11:09 PM   Subscribe

How can I sell items online while keeping the most of my earned money?

If I wanted to resell like-new items (an un-tailored newly bought dress, for example), on what site could I sell such items while keeping the most percentage of my dollar?

Ebay? Etsy? I have items ranging very much in price, from a few hundred dollars down to probably around $20.

What sites can I most trust to treat me fairly, besides giving a bad buyer the proverbial mafia treatment if things go wrong (checks bounce, payments don't go through)?

Is this worth my time? Or should I be bringing my items to a physical location?

Do such sites require a pre-sign up payment? A payment to list my items? Help me to understand these websites, please. I need a quick n dirty guide to catching up on this.

*Sidenote: I've used Paypal before, if that matters.
posted by DisreputableDog to Work & Money (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
ebay and paypal will both take a cut of your money.
if you want to keep the most, go with craigslist.
if you want easiest, go with ebay
posted by lrodman at 11:20 PM on September 19, 2010

Best answer: if things go wrong (checks bounce, payments don't go through)

Always make sure payments are secure before shipping anything. On eBay, you cannot give a "bad" buyer a negative rating - so just protect yourself ahead of time.

Take your time and look for similar things that have and have not sold, and then try to figure out why it was or was not a success. This should help you in putting together a great listing.

Good luck.
posted by walleeguy at 11:22 PM on September 19, 2010

I've heard good things about bonanzle. I haven't bought or sold anything there, and I don't think it has the user base that eBay or Etsy do, but it appears to be on the rise and the people I know who use it absolutely love it. Here is their pricing structure.
posted by Balonious Assault at 11:38 PM on September 19, 2010

Unless the item you are selling is handmade, a craft supply (e.g. yarn) or over 20 years old, you cannot sell it on etsy.

Etsy TOS
posted by Kappi at 12:25 AM on September 20, 2010

Craigslist lets you keep all the money but also subjects you to the most headaches, and only works if people in your immediate geographical area are interested in what you've got. I live in a semi-rural area, where CL is fine for selling cars and video game consoles but terrible for anything that's at all specialized. It might work better for you if you're in a big city.

Ebay works best for me simply because it offers access to the largest market. Their policies tick me off and always seem to be getting worse (for sellers) but I haven't seen a competing site that can put nearly so many eyes on the things I sell, so I've stuck with it so far. I've had a few issues with scam attempts over the 11 years I've been a member, but the scams are usually pretty obvious (buyer with no feedback asks you to ship to Nigeria, etc.) and I've never actually lost money or merchandise to a dishonest customer.

Regardless of how you do this, keep in mind that you probably won't be able to sell things like clothes and shoes for anything like full retail no matter where you offer them; the prices you'll typically be able to net will be more similar to what you'd pay for similar items at a super-markdown after-holiday sale.
posted by jon1270 at 5:03 AM on September 20, 2010

Best answer: Here are the eBay fees page. You pay to list the auction (unless you let it start at 0.99 with no reserve, which you would only do if you were absolutely sure that it was an in-demand item) and you pay a percentage of the final price if it sells. Here are the fees for paypal. They will take 0.30 plus 2.9%, unless the person paying uses an existing paypal balance (i.e. no credit card used) in which case it's free. So you should expect to pay about 12% in fees minimum. eBay/paypal can also be very seller hostile if the buyer tries to scam you. All they have to do is claim that you sent them a box full of rocks and you're pretty much out of options -- the buyer is forced to return the box of rocks to you (keeping the actual merchandise) and you get nothing, and there is nothing that ebay/paypal (it's the same company) will do about it. It's one of those risks that you have to be prepared to accept if you decide to use ebay.

Why would anyone use ebay if it had all those disadvantages? It has by far the biggest audience of any site, so it's your best chance of getting a high selling price -- assuming that you list the item well, which usually means good pictures from many angles, a decent description, etc.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:17 AM on September 20, 2010

I use Bonanzle. It doesn't have the exposure of eBay, and things sell much more slowly there. However, I end up keeping a lot more of my money because the fees are much lower. If you use Bonanzle with Google Checkout, I'd imagine you'd retain much more of your selling price than if you use eBay + Paypal, but you may have to wait longer to sell it (unless your items are highly in demand).
posted by bedhead at 12:20 PM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you for the good advice! Everyone's pros and cons on the various sites have been a real help.
posted by DisreputableDog at 4:49 PM on September 23, 2010

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