For Seniors: How to Choose Your eBay Listing's Duration and Timing

When you list your item for sale on eBay, you need to choose both the duration and timing of your eBay listing. eBay gives you a choice to run your auction — 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days. If you choose a 10-day auction, you add $0.40 to your insertion fee.

If you have an item that you think will sell pretty well, run a 7-day auction (be sure it will cover a full weekend) so bidders have time to check it out before they decide to bid. However, if you know that you have a red-hot item that’s going to fly off the shelves — say, a rare toy or a hard-to-get video game — choose a 3-day auction.

Eager bidders tend to bid higher and to beat out their competition more often if the item is hot and going fast. Three days is long enough to give trendy items exposure and ring up bids.

Timing is not as important for fixed price listings as for auctions. It’s generally accepted that you run a fixed-price listing with multiple items for 30 days. (If you have only one of an item, run an auction with the Buy It Now option).

With auctions running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you should know when the most bidders are around to take a gander at your wares. Here are some things to think about when you’re choosing times:

  • Saturday/Sunday: Always run an auction over a weekend. People log on and off eBay all day.

  • Holiday weekends: If a holiday weekend is coming up around the time you’re setting up your auction, run your auction through the weekend and end it a day after the “holiday” Monday. This gives prospective bidders a chance to catch up with the items they perused over the weekend and plan their bidding strategies.

  • Time of day: The best times of day to start and end your auction are during eBay’s peak hours of operation, which are 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time, right after work on the West Coast. Perform your completed auction research, however, to be sure that this strategy applies to your item. Your timing depends on the item you’re listing and whether “5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time” is the middle of the night where you live.

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