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How to Sell Items on Consignment on eBay

Lots of eBay sellers let you sell items on consignment, and several retail locations base their business on consignment sales. You take possession of the item from the owner and sell it on eBay. You're responsible for taking photos and marketing the auction on eBay — for a fee. In addition to the money you earn selling on consignment, you also get excellent experience for future auctions of your own merchandise.

eBay publishes a directory of consignment sellers that you can search by inserting your address. Check out who in your area is a registered Trading Assistant. Read their terms and fees. Consignment sellers charge varied amounts based on their geographic location (some areas can bear higher fees than others).

To set up your business for consignment sales, you should follow a few guidelines:

  1. Design a consignment agreement (a contract) and send it to the owners of the merchandise before they send you their items.

    Doing so ensures that all policies are set up in advance and that no questions will arise after the transaction has begun.

  2. Have the owners sign and send the agreement to you (the consignor) along with the item.

  3. Research the item based on past sales so that you can give the owners an estimated price range of what the item might sell for on eBay.

  4. Photograph the item carefully and write a thoughtful selling description.

  5. Handle all e-mail inquiries as though the item were your own; after all, your fee is generally based on a percentage of the final sale.

Many sellers charge a flat fee for photographing, listing, and shipping that ranges from $5 to $10 plus as much as a 30-percent commission on the final auction total (to absorb eBay fees). Other sellers base their fees solely on the final sale amount and charge on a sliding scale, beginning at 50 percent of the total sale, less eBay and payment service fees. You must decide how much you think you can make on an item.

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