Online marketplace eBay is a place to find nearly anything you need or want and pay less than you would at brick-and-mortar or even some online stores. Unlike many e-commerce sites, however, eBay itself does not sell any merchandise. All goods come from third-party sellers; eBay is their buying-and-selling platform.

The site makes money through fees on the transactions. Sellers have a variety of options for paying the fees, including automatic payments on a credit card or from a checking account.

The first item ever sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer that went for $14.83 in 1995. Over the years, many other unusual items have been offered for sale, including a cornflake in the shape of Illinois, some hair from Britney Spears and a UFO detector.

Rates for selling on eBay

So, how much does it cost to sell on eBay? There is no one-size-fits-all answer for that. Determining factors include what you’re selling, whether you have chosen any listing upgrades, and whether you are selling your products at a fixed price or in an auction.

For example, if you were to list a nursery changing table for a fixed price of $50, requested no listing upgrades and offered free shipping, eBay would charge you $5. If you decided to auction that same table instead, set a reserve price and asked that your description be upgraded with boldface letters, you would pay $7.

If you were to sell the table at a fixed price of $50, requested boldface portions of your product description and chose to charge for shipping, you would end up owing eBay an $8 fee.

EBay’s fee calculator lets you plug in precisely what you are selling, note whether you are setting up an auction or a fixed-price sale, add listing upgrades and include how much you plan to charge for shipping. These inputs let eBay provide you with a calculation of your final fees.

Tips for new eBay sellers

To get the most out of selling on eBay, follow these tips:

  • Be on the lookout for opportunities to buy items at a low price that you can sell at a profit.
  • List at least two separate types of items that complement each other. For example, if you sell tennis rackets, sell tennis balls, too.
  • Trust your intuition. There might be a time when you come across an item you think will be a big seller but do not see anyone else selling it. Rewards often involve risks.
  • Become a verified member of eBay. The company offers an ID verification process that can help you bypass many restrictions placed on new sellers.
  • Set up a dedicated space in your home, office, or business for inventory storage and other business-related items. The more organized you are, the faster you can fulfill orders.
  • Learn to write descriptions like a professional so sellers understand precisely what they are getting. This also helps you earn positive reviews.

Plenty of support for newbies

Between all the books available about eBay sales and the training the company offers, you have plenty of support to get started. The fee calculator lets you configure your approximate cost before you list your merchandise, so you can incorporate at least part of those costs into the price of an item. Test the fee calculator and try out the different configurations before you start to learn more about getting the most from the site.