expense control Selling

Save Money on Your eBay Listing Fees

We have been selling stuff on eBay for a few years, now. It’s how we used to generate most of our online revenue.

eBay Inc.
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I had a lightbulb “doh!” moment a few days ago. I’d like to share so maybe you won’t hurt yourself slapping your own forehead.

eBay’s Changing Environment

eBay, in its own efforts to attract more high-volume Sellers and to settle the fears of new Buyers, has been re-working various fees and listing policies.

Most notoriously, they have removed the option for a Buyer to use personal checks or Money orders as a method of payment, and forced most Sellers to accept PayPal as their only means of payment.

But, eBay has also raised the Final Value Fees on items sold from a Store, lowered the fees to List a Fixed Price item, and the fees for any Book or CD/DVD.

This is all wonderful and confusing and maddening and generating “who-knows-what-this-will-do-to-MY-business” howls from Sellers of every business level.

One change we have taken advantage of is the new Fixed Price Listing fee structure. They are now just a Flat Fee.

For a single price of $0.35, we can create a Fixed Price Listing offering unlimited number of the item. It used to be based on the Total represented by the cost times the quantity. Now – Flat Fee for any quantity/price offering.


The Gold Among Dross Secret

But, buried in these changes was a simple concept that I had overlooked or dismissed as not important.

Was I ever wrong.

It was a simple change to a previously forbidden or very restrictive policy. This is found in their “Circumventing Fees” examples.

Choice Listings – A listing where a seller allows buyers to choose from a selection of completely different items.  In general, sellers are permitted to offer a choice of sizes, colors and configurations of a particular item within a listing,  However, a listing may not offer buyers a choice of completely different items.

This is the final piece:

Listing a single item but offering additional identical items for sale in the item description is not permitted.

Exception: Multiple quantities may be sold in one listing through the following formats:

  • Dutch auction-type listing
  • Fixed Price listing
  • Lot listing

So What?

As it turns out, we sell primarily Brand New items. We do a good buying job, and then offer them on eBay and our other online store,

We sell 8 different designs of the same Locking Diary for teens. We sell a dozen different designs of Blank Book Journals. We sell several items that are identical except for design or color.

All Righty Then!

My light-bulb is that I now only need to create a single listing for Teen Diaries, show all the design choices, and ask the Buyer to indicate how many of each design they want.

I can then keep track of how many are left.

As we run out of a particular design (which happens far more often that I generally keep track of) I can modify the hosted photo of that design to say “Sold Out” and then any and all my listings with that design are current as to availability.

Ordinarily, I will have 3 or 4 listings of a design, sell out, and then have to find and cancel the remaining ones – wasting the listing fees in the process.


I cut my listings to only a fraction of my previous number and I keep track of inventory all in one swell foop.


What did I learn from this? Sure – I learned a technique for saving eBay fees.

Mostly, I learned to look a bit more slowly at the fine print, and to think more seriously about always finding ways to improve my business.

Saving a dime is a dime more of profit.

Save enough dimes, and the Profit dollars begin to add up.

What did you learn?

John L

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Getting Down to Business

If you want to be in business for yourself — be in business.

Think and Act like this is important to you.

Put your hobbies away and get down to business.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that your business needs to make a profit, or it isn’t a business, but a charity — for your customers.

At the end of the day, Profit needs to be at the end of the Income Statement.

Profit is your goal.

Now, you might think that your goal in business is to improve the lives of your customers.

Well, you might be able to manage to do that. But, without profits, you won’t do it for very long.

Profits are the ultimate goal for any business. Profits are Good. They are essential.

Making the Sale

Profits don’t start with keeping expenses to a minimum. They start with a sale.

Something has to be sold before any profits accrue.

So, your number one goal for any given day is to make sales. It doesn’t matter if you are selling a product, or a service, if someone doesn’t “buy” from you, today, you missed your mark.

Now, you might have other things to do throughout the day.

Activities like production and accounting keep the wheels on.

But, if you ask yourself, “Is this contributing to making a sale?” and say, “No”, then it is time to re-focus.

You make the sale by funneling suspects into qualified prospects, and from there, into paying customers.

If you do business online, this means generating enough targeted traffic to your sales pages so someone will click the “Buy” button.

It also means writing and re-writing your sales pages so your Conversion Rate improves.

If you do business from a store-front, you still have the same operational goal: attract targeted traffic to come in and look at your merchandise or service.

If you do any kind of in-home or in-office sales, then your phone better be burning up with your out-bound prospecting calls in between the inbound inquiries.

Going to Work

As a business owner, you have great freedom and flexibility.

I always loved how flexible my calendar was.

I only had to work half-days, and the Best part was that I got to choose which 12-hours that was.

As the owner, you have to be both the boss AND the employee.

How good are you as a boss? Do you have exciting plans for your business? Do you have plenty of productive work for your employees to do? Are you able to motivate even the most recalcitrant employee? Do you take good care of both customers and employees?

The larger question is:

How good are you as an employee?

Do you show up for work on time and ready to work? Do you get the most important work done first? Do you avoid the productivity sink of online browsing? Do you earn 10-times your salary? Do you take good care of the customers? Do you always seek to be a little bit better than last time? Are you a good role model for the other employees? Do you make the boss look good?

The key is for you to remember that your business success rests solely on YOU.

You have to make it go.

You have to keep it running.

If your business fails, it is probably because you weren’t a good boss, or you weren’t a good employee, or both.

Get Focused

Focus on Bottom Line Profits.

Focus on Making that Sale.

Focus on being the best Boss and best Employee you can be.