No Tax Refund? The Best Tips for Making Money on eBay

We’re not going to pretend that selling your wares on eBay doesn’t require more than a little time, patience, and know-how. But once the “Your item sold!” emails start rolling in, it’ll all be worth it. Whether you’re an eBay novice or have some experience with the site, we have an easy, comprehensive guide to getting your goods sold—and for the most money possible.

Scroll down to get schooled in the profitable world of eBay selling, and to shop some of our favorite items for sale on eBay now!

What sells:

Save your well-loved items for donation and shop your closet for unworn, gently worn, and designer items. While eBay buyers appreciate brand name recognition, approximately 20,000 items come up when you search “Gap dress” on the site. So if you’re looking to sell mass-produced pieces, you might have trouble getting eyeballs to the individual items. Of course, if it’s from a designer collaboration (like say Isabel Marant for H&M or Target for Altuzarra) or was a wildly popular item that quickly sold out, then people are more likely to be seeking it out.

Certain brands and categories also yield more buyer interest than others. Popular brands that we’ve continued to notice include Madewell, Isabel Marant, Reformation, Equipment, Mansur Gavriel, Rag & Bone, Levi’s (especially vintage), Chanel, and Acne Studios. In terms of categories, accessories, shoes, and designer denim sell particularly well in a number of brands.

Listing Tips:

Listing an item on eBay is surprisingly user-friendly, but it can take some getting used to. There are a number of steps to take and decisions to make. Keep scrolling for our tried-and-true tips and tricks!

It’s helpful to include professional high-resolution photos from online retailers, if you can track them down. Use the photo for the main image that stands out and accurately portrays your item the most. Be sure to also always include photos of the actual item (not just the retailer’s image), taken at multiple angles and distances. If you don’t have a fancy digital camera, iPhone photos will certainly suffice!

Be honest:
If there is a stain or rip on the item, show it clearly in your listing photos and point it out in the item description. Disclose every discrepancy clearly so buyers know exactly what they’re getting. Things will be much easier for you in the long run if you can avoid demands for refunds and detrimental feedback comments.

It’s best to do your homework when determining your listing price. Take into consideration the original retail price, the item condition, the price that other similar items are listed for on eBay, whether the item’s currently discounted on retail websites, and how motivated you are to sell. You can list your item as an auction, buy it now, best offer, or a combination (i.e. auction with a higher-priced buy it now an option). Just keep in mind that eBay takes 10 percent of the final value fee and PayPal takes 2.9 percent + 30 cents per sale.

Item description:
Give as much information in the item description as possible, including measurements, original retail price, any damage to the item or alterations done, and sizing, material, and color details. Make your listing title as descriptive and enticing as possible as well.

When someone messages you with a question, respond as quickly as possible. Typical questions can range from measurements of an item to actual offers—buyers will often ask if you’ll accept a lower price. If you’re willing, simply go in and change the buy it now price to the agreed upon number and alert the interested buyer when it’s done. You can also send and respond to offers through eBay messages, which is a useful new feature.

To allow returns or not to allow returns:
There are plusses and minuses to both options. If you allow returns your item might sell more quickly. And if you don’t, you save yourself a lot of hassle of having to continuously wait for returns and relist an item.


Yay, you sold something! Now what? Our best advice? Ship quickly—we recommend within two business days. Print a USPS label through eBay (the cost is discounted and tracking information will automatically update for the buyer). Just make sure it’s the shipping speed that you guaranteed in the listing. Nothing promotes poor feedback scores more than seller that doesn’t ship ASAP.

The eBay app is your friend:

Trust us: The hands down quickest way to post a listing is through the app on your phone. You can take photos and easily upload them to your listing, and make edits on the go. The formatting of the app is simple and straightforward.


If your item doesn’t sell, don’t hesitate to relist it! eBay will save all of your original listing’s details. You can try adjusting the main image, the price, shipping option and price, and adding more details. You’d be surprised at how much these simple tweaks can affect how many views your item gets.

Leave buyer feedback:

If you have a good experience with a buyer that pays promptly and doesn’t make any unwarranted complaints, leave a positive feedback score and they will likely reciprocate. If you have an unhappy buyer on your hands, try to work it out with them. If you can’t come up with a solution, escalate the case to eBay to make a decision. Just keep in mind that they often side with the buyer.

Shop some of our current favorite items listed on eBay:

Reformation Azura Dress (XS) ($158)

Larsson And Jennings Watch in Brown Suede Leather 30 MM Total Face Thin Bezel ($300)

Have you ventured into the world of eBay selling? What has your experience been? Sound off in the comments below!

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