10 ways to save money on eBay fees

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I’ve just had a phone call from the landlord of my office this morning. He’s sold something on eBay for £70.00 and was asking how I can make a living when the final value fee was £17.00! Well the answer is I couldn’t…

He made a simple mistake, he listed a car accessory but picked the wrong category and listed it in the Motors Car category instead of Motors Parts and Accessories. It’s an expensive mistake to make, he’d also have paid an £8.00 listing fee.

If you haven’t checked the eBay.co.uk fee structure recently it’s worth spending some time reviewing it. Not only are Motors more expensive but there are some huge savings to be made.

  1. Did you know that Technology (Mobile and Home Phones, Computing, Consumer Electronics and Photography) or Media (Books, Music, DVDs, Film & TV, Video Games) products have a different fee structure? Property and Motors also have their own fee stucture.
  2. Several categories even have no Final Value Fees to pay, eg Property and Mobile Phones with Contracts! Others have fixed Final Value Fees such as Motors.
  3. Choosing a different (but relevant!) category to list in can give huge savings, for instance listing a multifunction Fax/Copier/Printer/Scanner in Office Equipment & Supplies (either Fax machines or copiers) will cost more in Final Value Fees then listing in Printers. Incidentally if you use Feature Plus that will cost you double as well! Listing a “How to” DVD in How To Guides will cost more in fees than listing the same DVD in Educational / Instructional DVD’s.

  4. If you have more than one of a particular item to sell the most you’ll be charged for insertion fees on a multiple quantity Auction or Buy It Now listing is £3.00. For a single item the maximum fee is £2.00. If you list items worth more than £100.00 in total placing them all on a single listings saves money.
  5. Second Chance offers incur no listing fees! If you have multiple items and auction a product you can offer as many underbidders the chance to buy at their highest bid free of charge. If they buy you only pay Final Value Fees.
  6. If you’re an authorised Motor Dealer you can list Classified Format ads and pay no Final Value Fees, only listing fees!
  7. Using Pictures on your auctions is a great way to attract more interest, but you only get one picture free for each listing. If you use more than one use your own hosting which is often free with your ISP or available from third parties like Photobucket and Auctiva.
  8. If you want to appeal to a worldwide audience listing item on sites other than eBay.co.uk have different fees applicable, you pay the fees on the site you list on. If you want to sell to the US consider listing on eBay.com. The downside is your listings will appear in US$
  9. If you list Shop Inventory Format items on other sites they’ll still appear in your eBay.co.uk shop. Some eBay sites have very very low insertion fees for SIF items compared to the UK 😉
  10. Finally (and most important in my opinion), go through your eBay invoice, sort it by “Fee Type” and see where you’re spending most money. Look at each different fee type you’re paying and decide if you’re getting value for money and where you can make savings. If you don’t know what you’re spending you don’t know where you’re wasting fees.

If you have any more great tips for saving money please do add them in comments below.

7 Responses

  1. If you do a lot of Ebay selling it’s worth setting up your own store on your own server. I reccomend OS commercce, get a cheap webhosting account (you can find some for under $3-$4 a month) that offer a cpanel and fantastiko, register a domain name $8.95 a year, and you can have your own store set up and running fairly quick. Listing items in your own store costs you nothing, and there’s no final value fees. You can set your oscommerce store up to accept credit cards through paypal and money orders just like you do on ebay. If you have absolutely no internet skills to set the store up and customize it, you can always hire some India programmer like ebay does pretty cheap to set the stuff up for you off one of the internet hiring sites.

  2. Reference point 4 in the opening post.

    Look at how many items you are going to sell on BIN from past experience , dont list more than you anticipate on selling during the BIN exposure period. Alter the quantity amount to see the effect on insertion fees. You can save a wad!

    For one of my items if I list 10 items BIN, my base insertion fee is around 1.30. If I list 11 items BIN, my insertion fee doubles to 2.60. Hundreds of quid a year saved. Thank you 🙂

  3. Reference point 7 in the opening post.

    Most sellers I see now have their own domain. Dont be afraid to MOVE your webhosting company. You can get a very good web hosting package for 25 quid a year, or less if you shop around I bet. I know some people paying 25 quid a month! When challenged they feel locked into their provider. Dont be! Top tip is to register your domain directly with a decent registrar then buy your web hosting separately.

  4. Re. #4: this needs careful monitoring. Listing multiple items is usually cheaper in listing fees, but in some categories can cost you massively in sales. There are many lines I sell where if I list them in multiples, I sell one or more often none over a ten day period, whereas if I sell them one at a time *and increase my prices to cover the extra eBay fees* I have close to 100% sell-through within a day or two of listing.

  5. Yup, loads of useful stuff there, but beware of some restrictions on some eBay sites.

    The cheapest for shop inventory (in English) can only be seen on their own site – i,e, you have to log into India, Singapore or Malaysia to see inventory listed on there (all free for shops), However, India offers an International Listing Fee option which intimates a guaranteed visibility worldwide, trials are inconclusive – some are, some aren’t. That leaves the US as probably the best value for shop listings (size of market against cost) it’s also one way to hook your prior US buyers back into buying from you.

    It takes a lot of work to make PowerSeller, no, honestly it does. Generally it’s easier to maintain it than to get it. However, having some in-demand items in your shop selling for pennies each, listed as eaches, but with large inventory, helps you to pick up those volume sales to take the pressure off keeping your item volume based powerseller status. Items you pay a quid for 1000, and sell for a penny each (not ebooks though – please) are good choices and having a few percent of total shop listings given over to them can keep the dreaded “buck up or bog off” email at (e)Bay.

    As others said, as eBay continues chopping away at international visibility, list on multiple sites. If you’re not comfortable handling umpteen currencies – use BIN with immediate payment – that stops the requests for combined invoicing in multiple currencies, and avoids language issues with NPBs.

    Just a few of my ideas 😉


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