Avril Harper, author of “Make Money Tearing Up Old Books and Magazines and Selling Them on eBay” writes a guest post for Mark-Kenny.com on UK Fast Start eBay Business Ideas.
Readers often ask for ideas for starting a really unusual business or unique line of products on eBay, hence the reason this month I’ve compiled a selection of those ideas I really do think have huge potential for new and experienced eBay sellers.
None of these ideas look to be over-used on eBay and I’m quite certain anyone can profit from them. As always do your due diligence before spending time, money and effort on any business. Select one or more of these ideas, research other eBayers selling similar items in the UK and other eBay sites, learn what you can from people already making money in these areas.
Two important warnings:
Target a different customer base from that featured in the idea. So, for example, the first idea you’ll listed below, about selling baby equipment and toys located at Mother and Toddler’s Groups, could be targeted instead at gardeners’ allotment groups (plants and garden ornaments), neighbours (unwanted household and personal goods), and so on.
Target a different eBay country site. ‘Free Stuff to Sell’, mentioned later, could involve collecting free guides and maps for places in the UK which have similar place names in the USA and would interest buyers on eBay.com. For starters try Washington, York, Norfolk, Birmingham, Dover, and many more. I keyed ‘places + with + same + names + in + uk + and + america’ into Google this morning and found hundreds of sites containing all the information you need to copy this idea.
So here we go with ideas for you to emulate (not copy):
CHILDREN’S CAST OFFS. Children grow quickly and discarded toys, clothing and hardware are sometimes in near perfect condition and worth up to fifty per cent their original value. Most parents are too tired, too busy, lack time and commitment to turn their discarded kiddieware into cash. But most will pay someone else to sell it for them. A one-off client is hard work, so look for a captive audience, and offer your service as consignment seller (trading assistant) to the largest Mother and Toddler groups you can find preferably close by. Most groups have a leader – official or unofficial – and this is the person to approach with offers to sell other members’ goods on eBay. Talk to the leader, make the offer, get that person to handle all communications with fellow members and also distribute money to members after the sale. This saves time and hassle for you and members are more likely to trust their leader with goods and money than an unknown agent. Have an agreement drawn up with the leader who must accept responsibility for collecting and holding all goods and all monies which absolves you from any wrongdoing that might ensue. With the exception of all but very small items it’s best to sell locally on eBay and have buyers pick up and pay for items while the group is in session. Either be there personally to claim the cash and pay the group leader once your commission is deducted or get the leader to hand over goods and take payment and you call every few days for your cut.
FACTORY OUTLETS: Most factory outlets deal in perfect and slightly imperfect goods and there are eBayers making thousands of sales every week of items picked up inexpensively at factory outlets. I personally know some who act as trading assistants for numerous factory outlets. Those people buy just one item to illustrate, describe and test resale potential and profits. From there most factory outlet managers are happy to put similar stock to one side for future sales. You’re spoiled for choice of products to sell from manufacturers of thousands of different product types, from clothing to tableware, cosmetics to socks, cutlery to most things you care to imagine. You must choose items with potential for unlimited sales via one standard listing template that does not require extensive changes between listings. Be careful picking goods and look for slight seconds as opposed to seriously flawed items. Faults vary and you’ll have difficulty using the same listing template for items ranging from slightly to seriously flawed. Look for near perfect items or perfect overstocks and you can use the same description for all similar items with specific add-ons like: ‘perfect overstock’, ‘cancelled order’, ‘button missing’, ‘light stain easily cleaned’, ‘broken zip’, ‘light chip on spout’, ‘cooking instructions missing’, etc.
You’ll find a comprehensive listing of factory shops at: www.shoppingvillages.com
Top guide to factory shops and other discount sources is: The Official Great British Factory Shop Guide by Gillian Cutress and Rolf Stricker published by Anthony Peters Product Development Ltd. (ISBN – 10: 0955065208)
FREE STUFF TO SELL: Just because it’s free doesn’t mean an item is worthless, especially on eBay, where really weird and commonplace free items can attract incredible prices. Newspapers and magazines published in one country and not available elsewhere is an obvious example, but FREE gifts given with publications are also potentially very profitable domestically and in overseas markets. Things that sell well include discount vouchers and money off tokens, bonus CDs and wallcharts and other items from newspapers and magazines, maps and travel guides from visitor centres and tourist attractions. Money Off vouchers sell particularly well on eBay, mainly cut from newspapers and magazines and product packaging. For example, just recently: £50 worth of coupons and vouchers for various foods and household cleaning items fetched £22, £48 Of Eukanuba (Pet Food) Money Off Coupons made £20, £20 worth of Pampers Nappies Money Off Vouchers went for £13.00.
Most of what I spotted on eBay were clipped from magazines and newspapers with the majority fetching around half their full discount value. That suggests you could even buy newspapers and magazines specifically for their vouchers, free gifts and other potentially resaleable items. A friend who did this, very effectively, was an avid competition enthusiast who gave up a full time job as a teacher to enter competitions that won her many thousands of pounds each year in cash and consumables. She bought newspapers and magazines for the entry forms and sold the discount vouchers to friends and neighbours to fund her hobby.
Newspapers and magazines with free bonus gifts might also yield a profit from selling gifts and coupons on eBay but you’ll need to take a risk sometimes and buy multiple copies or risk newsagents’ stock selling out fast.
Be careful, check the wording, a minority of companies prohibit you from reselling their products and vouchers.