eBay Fees for Sellers - dummies

By Marsha Collier

On eBay you don’t have to spend much to start your business. This is one reason why eBay has become one of the most successful e-commerce companies on the Internet and a darling of Wall Street. eBay keeps fees low and volume high.

For the beginning seller (without an eBay Store), eBay charges the following types of fees for listing on the site:

  • Auction Insertion Fees: Up to 50 auction listings are free per month. After that, it can range from $0.10 to $2.

  • Fixed-price listing fees: For an item selling at $0.99 or more, you pay a flat $0.50.

  • Real estate listing fees: These vary because you have the choice of listing your property as an ad rather than an auction. Because eBay real estate auctions are nonbinding (due to legalities), you may be better off running an ad. eBay charges different prices for different types of real estate:

    • Timeshares, manufactured homes, and land

      Auctions: 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, or 10-day listing ($35); 30-day listing ($50)

      Ad format: 30-day listing ($150); 90-day listing ($300)

    • Residential, commercial, and other real estate

      Auctions: 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, or 10-day listing ($100); 30-day listing ($150)

      Ad format: 30-day listing ($150), 90-day listing ($300)

  • Automotive fees: The first six listings are free per calendar year, with subsequent listings $50; motorcycles are only $20.

  • Additional reserve-price auction fees: $2; auctions with reserves over $200 are 1 percent of the reserve with a maximum of $50.

  • Final Value Fees: A percentage of the sales price (read further on).

  • Optional fees: Vary.

Insertion Fees are negligible

Every item (after your first 50 listings a month) listed on eBay is charged an Insertion Fee. If you are listing more than 50 items a month, you might consider opening an eBay Store (as long as you are selling the majority of the items you list).

The Insertion (or listing) Fee kicks in after those initial 50 items and is based on whether you are listing fixed-price items or auctions.

Basic Insertion Fees
Number of Listings Insertion Fee
First 50 listings per month (whether auction or fixed
Additional listings over 50 (per month) $0.05 for fixed-price Books, DVDs & Movies, Music, and
Video Games listings $0.30 for auction and fixed-price listings in
all other categories

If you’re running a reserve-price auction, eBay bases its Insertion Fee on the reserve price, not the starting bid. eBay also charges a fee to run a reserve-price auction.

Here’s a snapshot of how a reserve price affects your auction Insertion Fee. If you set a starting bid of $0.99 for a gold Rolex watch (say what?) but your reserve price is $5,000 (that’s more like it), you’re charged a $50 Insertion Fee based on the $5,000 reserve price (reserve fee is 1 percent of the reserve price).

So what does the Insertion Fee buy you on eBay?

  • A really snazzy-looking display page for your item that millions of eBay members can see, admire, and breathlessly respond to.

  • The use of eBay services, such as the Trust & Safety program, which protects your selling experience.

Final Value Fees

If you follow the movie business, you hear about some big A-list stars who take a relatively small fee for making a film but negotiate a big percentage of the gross profits. This is known as a back-end deal — in effect, a commission based on how much the movie brings in. eBay does the same thing, taking a small Insertion Fee when you list your item and then a commission on the back end when you sell your item.

This commission is called the Final Value Fee (FVF) and is based on the total amount of the sale (the selling price of the item, shipping, and any other fees a seller may charge, excluding any sales tax).

eBay doesn’t charge a Final Value Fee on a listing in the Real Estate/Timeshares category as they do in other categories; instead, they charge a flat notice fee of $35 rather than an FVF for Timeshares, Land and Manufactured Homes. There’s no fee for Residential, Commercial and Other.

But in the Automotive category, you pay a flat transaction services fee of $60 for passenger vehicles if your auction ends with a final bid amount under $2,000. If your item’s final bid is over $2,000, you’ll pay a $125 fee.

In real life, when you pay sales commissions on a big purchase such as a house, you usually pay a fixed percentage. It is the same on eBay. A listing’s Final Value Fee (whether auction or fixed price) is 10 percent.

This is taken from the total amount of the sale, including the final price of the item, shipping charges, and any other amounts you may charge the buyer. Sales tax is not included.

Final Value Fees are different (and lower) for eBay Store owners.

Here’s a sample Final Value Fee calculation for a successful auction:

  • You sell an item for $95 with a shipping cost of $5.

  • Your Final Value Fee on the total amount is 10 percent of $100 ($10.00).

If you try to work out your own Final Value Fees, you may get an extreme headache — and come up with fractional cents. Know that eBay rounds up fees of $0.005 and more and drops fees below $0.005. These roundings are done on a per-transaction basis, and generally even out over time.

Optional fees

You don’t have to pay a license fee and destination charge, but setting up your auction can be like buying a car. eBay has a nice array of options to jazz up your listings.

eBay Optional-Feature Fees
Option Fee (Auction or Fixed Price, 3, 5, 7, 10 Days) Fixed-Price Fee (per 30 Days)
Value Pack (Gallery Plus, Subtitle, and Listing Designer) $0.65 $2.00
Boldface title $2.00 $4.00
Gallery Plus $0.35 $1.00
List in two categories Double-listing and upgrade fees Double-listing and upgrade fees
10-day auction $0.40 n/a
Listing Designer $0.10 $0.30
Subtitle $0.50 $1.50
International site visibility Auctions on a tiered scale based on starting price from $0.10
to $0.40
All fixed-price listings $0.50
Auction BIN (Buy It Now) fee Free