eBay Selling Tricks
Easily declutter, flog & make money
Many old items can be worth serious cash. But to really get the eBay cash rolling in, you need to know the etiquette and shortcuts.
This is a crash course on how to sell. It explains how to cut fees, the best time to close auctions, profit from bizarre items you never thought you'd sell and more.
43 eBay selling tips
Know where to start
As well as bringing in extra cash, eBay can help declutter your home and is environmentally-friendly too. After all, people are reusing your goods rather than flinging them into the tip, so everyone gains.
Selling on eBay isn't just for those in the first flushes of a major declutter either – continuing to get rid of things you no longer use can provide regular ready money.
For those who've got the eBay bug, it's addictive watching the bids flow in. The pounds can quickly add up, especially as you're profiting from stuff that was just picking up dust.
Not used it for a year? Flog it
Companies stock-check to value their assets – you can do the same. Walk through your home to find items of value you no longer need, then flog 'em.
Use the easy 12-month rule of thumb to help decide what to offload. Haven't used it for a year? Flog it
Here's a list of what sells best. Of course, if it doesn't fit into these categories, the pounds will still add up, and you'll benefit from a more ordered home.
Don't bin it, 'bay it
Don't be quick to cry "that's rubbish". Sell everything. When it comes to eBay, one man's junk is another's dream, and it's astounding what people will fight for.
Buy first to build your profile and ensure you can sell at a decent price
Before flogging cast-offs on eBay, buy a few small items you need. You can buy everything from tights to toothpaste on eBay, and may well save cash to boot.
This gives you an insight into how the site works and builds up your feedback rating. Few buyers will do business with zero feedback sellers, and even if they do, your item is unlikely to fetch true market value.
The worst mistake you can make is logging on for the first time to sell a pricey item, such as an iPhone, when you've no feedback.
Whether they're offering designer sofas, dishwashers, Wiis or children's books, sellers on eBay often specify items must be collected in person. As this often means fewer bids, there are bargains to be had.
Yet you can't search for "pick up only" on eBay, so we built tools to speedily track and map gems near you.
The results can be powerful, such as this from MoneySaver Jen_Jen1985: "Had been looking for a double buggy – most ended up selling for around £40. I found one via the Local Deals Finder and ended up winning it for £1.24."
Spy on what others have done to get tips on how to sell your stuff
The joy of eBay is you can see exactly how much other items have sold for, and how other sellers have described their wares. Just fill in the search box and tick "completed items" on the left-hand grey bar. If the price is listed in black, it means it did not sell.
You can list 20 things free each month – but you'll still pay 10% of the price of every sold item
eBay charges sellers two fees for basic listings.
Take advantage of free listing days
Regular sellers can find they use up their 20 free listings fairly quickly. To avoid paying a 35p insertion fee for each item, keep an eye out for 'free listing periods', when you can list as many items as you want without any insertion fee.
eBay still takes 10% of the final sale price if the item sells, and you'll still have to pay for any listing enhancements such as bigger pictures or adding a buy-it-now option. But, crucially, any items listed over free listing periods do not count towards your monthly allowance of 20 free listings.
Sell for more using the right keywords (eg, 'authentic' beats 'genuine', 'sneaker' tops 'trainer')
The study also showed that spelling and grammar mistakes lower items' values, probably because they suggest a 'don't care' attitude. For example, fashion listings described as 'men's' closed at £31, but 'mens' only £19. Some innocuous words aren't safe either. Car sellers should avoid 'timewaster', 'honest' and 'reliable'.
Check the list of keywords in your category below. Describe your item accurately – but try to use high-value terms and avoid low-value ones where possible.
Of course, some of the most effective words describe items that would fetch higher prices anyway, eg, 'Apple' in the tablets category. Equally, some low-value terms are unavoidable, eg, if you're selling darts – found in the toys and games category – you have to use the word 'darts'. Yet many terms are interchangeable.
Research what products are hot with a nifty tool
Want inspiration on what to sell? You can quickly research potential markets with a handy Most Popular Items tool. Type in a search term and it generates a list of the relevant auctions with the most watchers and bids. As an example, type in 'games console' and you'll get a list of the most popular gaming items on eBay.
Learn the lingo with our eBay jargon buster
eBay pros use certain initials to get their message across. These are useful for cramming extra info into titles without exceeding the character limit. Don't go overboard though, or newbies won't have the foggiest what you're on about.
Here is the most commonly used eBay jargon:
Describe your item in detail – warts & all
While you want to big up the product, ensure the description's accurate. It might be tempting to describe a shirt as "like new". But if it turns up with kebab stains down the front, the buyer will leave bad feedback. And if it's not as described, they may be able to demand their money back.
Always run your description through a spellchecker, especially the title. To show how important spelling is, tools such as Fatfingers, BayCrazy, Goofbid and BargainChecker are dedicated to profiting from people's slip-ups. Listings with spelling errors, especially in the title, go for lower amounts.
Get to the top of search results
As everyone who works for a web business knows, there is no point in creating fantastic content if nobody can find it. It's crucial to write your listing in your customers' language, and use the terms they search for – especially brand and product names
When buyers search, eBay automatically looks for words in the listing's title only, so every word counts (although buyers can opt to search the title and description if they want).
Imagine what you would search for. Take "stylish plunging neckline plum dress". No one's going to search for "stylish", "plunging" or "plum". Instead, try "new size 10 purple silk Whistles dress", and you'll cram in tons more search terms.
Even better, Goofbid's nifty free eBay Pulse tool shows the most popular search terms buyers use, by category. As an example, perfume is the second most popular search term in Health and Beauty, after Dior. An auction titled Dior Perfume is more likely to get noticed than Dior Fragrance.
eBay often gets you the best price for old mobiles
If you need to sell your phone quickly though, and can't be bothered with the hassle of listing it on eBay, several websites get you to enter your details, then offer you a price and send you a jiffy bag to mail your phone in. To find the best payer for each handset, use our MobileValuer comparison tool.
Upload quality snaps to show buyers exactly what they're getting
Lower your starting price to draw in bids (unless it's a niche product)
It's a delicate balance. Set the start price too high and no one will bid; set it low and there's a risk it will sell for the knock-down price.
As described above, searching completed items gives a list of prices similar auctions have already fetched – a useful guide to how much you're likely to make.
Consider lowering your start price to attract more attention. Boffins at London University did some research on this topic, and found auctions with modest start prices sparked more bidding and fetched higher final prices.
The exception is products you expect little interest in. The petrol cap on a 1974 special version Beetle may be niche, but someone who wants it could be willing to pay. Set start prices higher for items only a few specialist buyers may be after.
Close auctions on Sundays, when eBay's busiest
Avoid ending auctions at 4am, when nobody's about. Often bidders prefer to swoop in in the last few minutes, hoping others won't fight back.
According to eBay, its busiest time is Sunday evenings, so aim to end your auction then. If listing an expensive item, check TV listings to ensure you don't clash with the Game of Thrones series finale.
Remember though if you're aiming to sell to another country, such as the US, you'll want to tweak your end time accordingly.
Prior engagement? You can schedule 20 of your listings for free, so you can choose when your auction begins and ends
Sell in high season
Think about seasonality. Sell stuff at the right time of year. Few will search for Christmas crackers in July or barbecues in December.
The more precise, the better. If you're flogging an air-conditioning unit, wait for a hot spell to pump up the price.
Use eBay as a free removal service
Go global to attract more potential bidders
Whichever you choose, always add a higher postage charge, or the extra cost eats your profits. This isn't worth it for big bulky items, as high postage costs outweigh buyers' gains.
Use eBay selling instead of renting
The economics of trading are fascinating. The fluidity of eBay as a marketplace means stuff often moves quickly and at a reasonable price. This has a bizarre effect on some purchases.
Imagine you're intending to keep something for a limited time. Your flat needs a small TV for a few months or you want a computer game for three weeks. In the past, renting was cheaper than buying. With eBay, buying it, using it, ensuring it stays in good nick, then flogging it can actually undercut renting.
In fact, more powerfully, buy something for the cheapest possible amount (see the Cheap Online Shopping and eBay Buying Secrets guides), then re-flog when you're done. It's perfectly possible to get as much as you paid for it, so the period you used it doesn't actually cost anything.
PayPal charges sellers, so avoid it – if you can
The standard way to pay on eBay is using online payment system PayPal. This works well for buyers, as it's free and affords extra protection.
When selling, the argument's reversed. PayPal wallops sellers with a fee of 3.4% of the amount paid, plus 20p for each transaction. Add this to eBay's fees, and it's a fair whack.
Unfortunately, eBay requires all sellers to offer PayPal as an option, but if anyone does pay you by cheque, you save. If you're selling a bulky item that must be picked up in person, say you'd prefer cash on collection.
Use free software to perfect your pics
If you want to smarten your photos, top-end graphics software can easily cost £1,000s. Instead, download a free photo editing suite, where you can crop, resize, touch up and polish your pictures before sharing them. Be careful not to mask any flaws and scratches.
Go for 10-day auctions to ensure the max number of bids
When listing an auction, you can choose whether it lasts one, three, five, seven or 10 days. The longer your item is advertised, the more chance of people seeing it, so unless it's time-sensitive, pick 10 days.
For buy-it-now listings, you can choose three, five, seven, 10 or 30 days. They cost the same, so plump for 30.
Know the rules around paying tax on eBay sales
From April 2017, however, you will be able to earn £1,000 tax-free from trading. See the Online sellers and room-renters given £1,000 tax breaks MSE news story.
Stick to the law for listing and selling products
If you're a trader – a person who makes or sells goods bought with the intention of resale – the buyer has the same statutory rights as when buying from a shop. This applies to both new and second-hand items. See the Consumer Rights guide for more info. Traders are also required to register as business sellers with eBay.
If you're a trader and sell using the buy-it-now button, rather than just a standard auction format, then Consumer Contract Regulations apply.
Under the regulations, buyers have 14 days after the item is received to let sellers know they'd like to return the item. They then have another 14 days to return it.
It's worth reading eBay's returns guide for more help.
Be careful with descriptionsWith private sellers it's caveat emptor, or "let the buyer beware". Buyers' only rights under law are that the product is fairly described and the owner has the right to sell it. Under eBay's own rules buyers are also eligible for a refund if the item's "not as described", ie, it doesn't match the seller's description.
Business traders' sales are covered by the Consumer Rights Act – whether or not they use buy-it-now. This means your goods must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described. Therefore you need to be more careful with your descriptions than private sellers.
Build your reputation by selling as you'd like to be sold to
To build a sparkling feedback profile, you need to deliver goods speedily and in the condition advertised. While not a legal obligation, offering good customer service will boost feedback and protect you from problems.
So how can you get top-notch marks? The key is to put yourself in the buyers' shoes – how would you like to be treated?
Describe the item accurately, reply to questions promptly and try to dispatch within 48 hours. Let the buyer know when you've dispatched, email them the postal tracking number and include an invoice in the package.
Another nice touch is to email a message along the lines of: "Hi there, I've just sent your lovely puzzle/pineapple earrings/plastic parrot. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did – please shout if you have any questions."
Never bid on your own auctions
Don't bid on your own auctions with another account to boost prices – this is known as shill bidding. It's illegal to push up a price artificially by bidding against yourself or by getting family or friends to do so.
Hoard all brown envelopes and packaging materials. Big brown carrier bags are a good substitute for brown paper.
Make sure the items are secure and nicely packaged. Often traders like to add a personal touch by including a business card, or wrapping designer clothes in tissue paper.
Some eBayers even use popcorn instead of polystyrene to pack around fragile goods (buy kernels in bulk, cook the popcorn without oil and let it cool). If you're sending internationally, watch out as some countries have tight controls on importing food, so always check this before you package this way.
Make sure you price the postage right
The buyer pays for postage, and when listing goods, you must specify a postage cost. Try to be as accurate as possible, as if the price specified is too low, you'll have to make up the difference. If it's too high, the buyer may leave bad feedback.
Don't forget to factor in packaging costs when calculating postage charges. Buyers often don't expect to pay much more than the stamp price, so you may wish to factor postage into your sale price.
To get an idea of prices, weigh the item and use Royal Mail's price finder. If you're posting anything weighing more than 2kg, it may be cheaper to use a courier. Read the Cheap Parcel Delivery guide for full details.
Postage costs are included in eBay's final value fee (see eBay sellers beware: Its fees now eat into postage costs MSE news story). The final value fee is 10% of the final sale price and, as this now covers postage, sellers should factor this into their postage charge to avoid being left out of pocket.
Get proof of delivery to beat the cheats
t's not just buyers who get caught out by the unscrupulous – buyers get up to skullduggery too. One problem is buyers winning a mega-pricey item such as an iPhone and claiming it never arrived, then claiming the cash back – even though they have the item.
To qualify for eBay's seller protection, you must use a service that comes with "online trackable proof of delivery". For items valued over £750, it also requires signature confirmation.
You must also have sent the item within the number of days you promised in your listing, which eBay calls your "handling time". Read eBay's full postage rules.
Always send to the address PayPal gives you
Always post to the buyer's address provided in eBay's postage label. Otherwise, you won't be covered by eBay's seller protection.
A common scam is a buyer who claims to be in the UK, but wants the item to shipped to a friend or relative in another country. Only send to the address listed by PayPal.
Block dodgy buyers
Discourage dodgy buyers by adding a requirement that you'll only accept bids from buyers with a certain feedback score. To do this, in My eBay, under Account, click the Site Preferences link. In the Selling Preferences section, scroll to Buyer Requirements.
You can also block specific buyers. If you get enquiries from a buyer before your auction ends and don't like the cut of their jib, just add 'em to the blocked list.
Of course, much negative feedback is justified. But one issue is buyers who casually leave negative and neutral feedback for sellers most people would consider decent. To check if you're dealing with a cranky curmudgeon, go to their feedback profile and click "feedback left for others".
Be prepared to refund
Set up a bank account just for eBay
Consider setting up a specific bank account to pay your eBay earnings into. That way you'll see the cash pile up, rather than just disappearing into your current account.
It's not just eBay – don't forget you can sell on other auction sites too
While eBay is massively dominant, eBid and CQout* are decent-sized auction sites. Their advantage is they charge sellers less than eBay, which means some prefer them. On the downside, your auctions are likely to get less exposure than they would on eBay, so could get fewer bids.
Comparing charges is tricky, because all auction sites have different fee structures. eBid lets you list items free, and charges 3% of the final sale price. Alternatively, you can pay £2.50 to list an item and it will be featured on the homepage, then there's nothing to hand over when you sell. See eBid's fees.
With CQout, you don't pay a listing fee, though there is a once-off £2 identity check charge. You're only charged once your item sells – it depends on how much you item costs, but it's between 3.6% and 6.96% of your closing price.
Sell for free on classified sites
With local classified sites, the buyer usually collects in person and pay cash on collection. This means no eBay, PayPal or delivery fees – hurrah.
The king of local classified sites is Gumtree, which covers 50 big UK cities and lets sellers list for free. Interestingly, Gumtree is owned by eBay, but thankfully this hasn't affected its free community-based operations.
Many MoneySavers rate second-hand site Preloved*, where placing ads is also free. Plus try local online forums, Loot and your local paper.
Sell for free on local Facebook groups
Local Facebook selling groups are fast rivalling eBay as the place to earn cash by flogging unwanted stuff. The best bit is there are NO fees, so you keep the profit.
For a crash course in how to earn £100s on groups, see our Facebook Sellingguide. It tells you how to find the right local groups and get the best price, plus make sure you stay safe when selling.
Profit from old books
Listing books one by one on eBay* may get the most cash, but it'll take some time. One of the best options for selling old books is Amazon Marketplace*, as you only need to search for the book and write a short description. Your listing will stay up until it sells.
If you need speed and ease, trade-in website WeBuyBooks.co.uk lets you enter details, then offers price, and you post goods free.
However, prices are usually lower than selling them yourself. See Get max cash for old books for a full list of trade-in sites.
Quicker cash for old CDs, DVDs & games
For convenience, trade-in sites pay quick cash for your old CDs, DVDs, computer games and Blu-rays (plus some tech and clothing items).
For more recent items, you may be better off selling 'em individually on eBay, but hoarders of '90s CD relics and games could make £100s on the side. See the Quicker cash for old CDs, books, etc section for a full list of trade-in sites.
Can you profit from lost luggage auctions?
ver watched Storage Hunters, the U.S. show where people bid for the mystery contents of storage units? Now you can do it yourself, with lost luggage auctions.
When airlines are unable to reunite lost bags with their rightful owners, they often sell them off via specialist auction houses, usually costing £10-£75.
You don't always know what's inside the cases, but pick a winner and profits are possible from eBaying them on. For a full guide, including which auction houses do this, see Lost Luggage Auctions.
It's also worth checking out Police Auctions, where forces in England and Wales use an eBay-style site to sell lost property or goods seized from criminals when they can't find the rightful owner. It's cracking for bicycles, among other things.
Got old gold? You can flog it for serious cash
"Sell unwanted gold for CASH!" TV, mags and billboard ads pulse with promises, yet rarely seem to live up to them.
However, amid the scrap are shining examples – meaning £100s for old jewellery is possible. Like forumite Happypig, you could strike, er, gold: "I sent some old chains, earrings & rings – mostly 9ct, mostly broken. Your top site offered £970, almost double my £520 high street quote."
For tips on how to safely get max ker-ching for your bling, see Gold Selling.
It's not all about selling – consider giving stuff away as well
Top-quality goodies are available daily across the country for FREE. It's all about web communities, and the big names are Freecycle and Freegle.
Instead of binning goods or trying to eBay them, people offer them to their local community. In return, they often hope they can grab back something when they want. For a full guide, see Freecycle & Giveaway Sites.
Freecycle & Freegle
Bag freebies on giveaway sites
From Etch-A-Sketches to espresso makers, designer sofas to dungarees, hundreds of top-quality goodies are available every day across the country... for FREE.
This guide to giveaway websites such as Freecycle and Freegle shows how to furnish your house, bag the best items and avoid spam, as well as the most common freebies.
32 giveaway site tips, including...
It's all about web communities
Giveaway sites are where, instead of binning goods or trying to eBay them, people harness the web's power to offer them to their local community. In return, they often hope they can grab back something when they want.
So as well as kitting up for nowt, there's the environmental benefit of saving unwanted possessions being flung into landfill sites.
It's all about web communities, and the big names are Freecycle and Freegle. They're free-to-join, volunteer-run local online groups.
It's up to you to monitor new freebies on offer. When you want to offer something, you just post an offer message to the group page.
Bagging the best is all about etiquette
Freecycle and Freegle are not just sources of freebies. The spirit is that it's a recycling community, so consider giving, as well as getting.
Don't worry if you've nothing special. You'll be amazed at what's willingly taken, including old magazine collections, spare carpets or EMPTY paint pots.
Advertising discarded items on giveaway sites is also an excellent way to offload objects unsuitable for donating to charity shops. Many no longer take electrical goods or collect large items.
It's not all crapola
While occasionally there can be grotty, moth-bitten junk, there's also top-quality unused stuff people just don't want anymore. It's astonishing what people chuck out. Everything from pianos, to windsurfs, to boats pop up at some point.
Office clear-outs or emigrating families are rich sources, while others are just from generous givers passing on hand-me-downs. After all, one man's junk is another's treasure.
Most commonly available are big 'n' bulky items that are tough to take to charity shops or the tip - like sofas, futons, computer desks, fridges and freezers - as well as baby buggies and DVDs.
A free car, sofa, boat and more – some inspiration
We've had reports of huge successes from giveaway sites. Reports include bagging a pristine designer settee and even a taxed car (see below).
How to sign up
Just find your village, town, city or borough on Freecycle and Freegle and sign up to those. It's worth joining both Freecycle and Freegle
Check freebies as often as possible
You can choose whether to browse freebies online or, for a better chance but more effort, to receive every offer to your inbox. In some cases you can also opt out of all emails entirely, if you just wanted to browse online.
To get your hands on the best finds, you still need to check your site's listing page throughout the day, as freebies are offered and taken at breakneck speed.
Set up a dedicated email address
You can opt to get every single new freebie emailed to you.
You can also set your email filter to filter out emails with the word 'wanted' in the title (giveaway sites let people post wanted ads).
Never, ever, use your normal email address. It'll be immediately flooded. As an example, after joining one group, within a week we had 1,500 emails (this also gives an idea of the scores of freebies on offer).
Set up a dedicated email account. As a powerful free option, Gmail is among the best.
Sign up in well-to-do areas
To ramp up your chances, also join one or two bordering areas, especially if they're swanky. Though be aware that strictly you’re only meant to join your nearest area – if you try to sign up to several, you may get rejected.
Get into the spirit - give in order to receive
This is all about a resource-sharing community. So to get in the spirit, you may wish to give before requesting goods (if you have something you don't want). A few groups insist on this.
Just ensure it's free, legal, suitable for all ages and accurately described. For example, that means no alcohol, tobacco, weapons or drugs. Sometimes giveaway sites ban finding homes for pets, though different groups have different rules.
How to post a freebie
Offering a freebie couldn't be easier. Just post a message directly on your group's page.
Always include your general location, but not your phone number or full address at this stage
Upload photos so people can see what they're getting
If there are no photos already online, consider uploading your own pic, by including a link to a free photo-hosting site. One of the best is Photobucket. Simply sign up, upload a photo, and you'll be given a special web address for that picture.
To minimise the risk of viruses, some groups have different rules on posting photos and links. On many groups, you can also add photos direct to your post online or to group albums.
Avoid freecycling old computers
You may wish to think twice about giving away old computers though, as even if you think you've deleted personal data, it can still be buried inside.
So try non-profit groups instead, such as Computeraid International. They give them to the developing world.
Wait 24 hours to give everyone a chance
Many folks offer freebies on a first come, first served basis. Yet this excludes many nice folks who don't sit at a PC all day. So try to wait at least 24 hours to give everyone a fair shot.
Decide who to pick
Deal with one person at a time. If they don't reply, move on to someone else, though remember some people are unable to get online as often as others.
Once it's been collected, update your listing as 'taken'.
Check for new posts as often as possible
When you first join, it's easy to get hooked as you see the staggering amount of freebies put up for grabs. Items are snapped up at speed, so to bag the best haul, check for new posts as often as possible.
Be ready to act fast and answer at speed. If something comes up and you can't collect it any more, let the giver know so they can give it to someone else.
Impersonal responses like "I'll take it" are loathed by many givers, so explain why you want the item, though avoid weepy Oscar-acceptance type histrionics.
Then propose a collection time, give your phone number but suggest you call them to save their costs. If something comes up and you can't collect it anymore, let the giver know so they can give it to someone else.
It’s easy to be taken in by what looks sweet only to discover what's on offer is actually a scam.
Beware ads from any person saying: “I'm giving away a laptop, iPad or smartphone and I just need you to pay the postage fees." Never transfer money or give bank account details – you won't see the item or your cash.
Don't be too worried though. The easy rule is simply to never send payment for anything to anybody for any Freecycle-related exchange. If you see anyone requesting cash, report them to your local group's administrators.
Ask if it's worth it
The stonking amount of freebies offered can be headspinning. If you like something, factor in collection time and possible petrol costs.
Follow via Facebook & Twitter
Many groups now let you browse for goodies on Facebook and Twitter. Just check to see if your local group has a Facebook or Twitter sign next to it on its page. You'll also be able to browse freebies on the go by visiting the group on your mobile.
One of giveaway sites' more controversial features is that you can post 'wanted' ads. Just post an add to the site's page, and say what you're after and why.
Some sites won't let you post a 'wanted' ad unless you've posted an 'offer' ad in the past. It's all part of the giving ethos of these community web group so even if it's something as small as a pack of unused lightbulbs, try offering before you start making requests.
Also, be careful what you ask for. People won't take kindly if you start slapping in demands for cars, MacBook Pros or diamond rings. But if it's an old fish tank for a school project, someone might just remember they have one in the garage.
Safety first! Always be careful
Incidents are rare, but be careful. When collecting, if someone's listing or email sounds dodgy, trust your gut and walk away.
Go with a friend, or failing that, tell someone exactly where you are going and arrange to contact them afterwards. Take a mobile phone. If collecting smaller goods, etiquette suggests waiting on the doorstep.
When giving, don't be pressurised into letting someone into your home. Do make sure someone else is in the house when the taker comes to collect.
It's also a good idea to have a mobile phone in your pocket, keep valuables out of sight, and to limit the collector's movements to as few rooms as possible.
You can always say no
If you arrive to pick something up and it turns out to be not as expected, you don’t have to take it. Just politely say, "No thank you, please give it to someone else."
Sadly, in rare cases givers will describe rotting items as "in great condition", just to get rid of them.
Get a freebie batphone
Find super-cheap local eBay bargains
Whether they're designer sofas, dishwashers, Wiis or children's books, sellers on eBay often specify items must be collected in person. While not free, as these items often get fewer bids, there are bargains to be had.
Try Gumtree and Ebay
Many people offload old gear on the 'freebies' section of the free classified site Gumtree. People give away anything from beds to bikes.
For most items, Gumtree doesn't charge either the buyer or the seller to post listings. If you post more than two car or flat/house listings a year, a job or service ad, charges are applied.
See its posting fees for full info.
Alternatively, put items on eBay with a buy-it-now price of 1p. People with fixing skills often buy broken washing machines and TVs.
Browse freebies on local Facebook groups
Local Facebook Selling groups are where, instead of eBaying second-hand goods, people harness Facebook’s power to sell to others in the local community. The best bit is there are NO fees, so you keep the profit.
The idea’s simple: sellers post ads for unwanted goods, and buyers pop round and pay cash in hand if they’re happy. Think old-school free classified sites.
As well as selling, people often give away items for free on these groups too. Try searching for the word 'free' in the group's search box.
More stuff-for-free sites
Freecycle and Freegle aren't the only options. Other giveaway websites include:
Offer what you have to charity shops
Donate to developing countries
Donate old bikes to riders in developing countries through the Re-Cycle scheme. The scheme isn't able to collect bikes, but has drop-off points across the country. Large Oxfam shops may accept bicycles.
For eye glasses try Vision Aid Overseas and shoes, Nike's Reuse-A-Shoecampaign. If you've old tools to donate, consider Tools for Self Reliance.
'If someone has your bank account details, it increases the risk of fraud against you.'
This is actually an old chestnut, and not particularly true. Sorry to disagree.
A fraudster can do very little, if nothing at all, with your bank account number and sortcode.
The old Jeremy Clarkson bank story occurred many years ago, and before the introduction of the Payment Services Regulations 2009 which improved banking in the UK for consumers.
A fraudster can perform a lot of mischief with your debit card number and security details.
Do not confuse the two.
Whilst it is correct procedure not to divulge your bank account number and sortcode willy-nilly, it is not particularly dangerous if these leak.
On the other hand, guard your debit card details very carefully, as these are a payment instruction instrument.
Safe ways to get paid
The Metropolitan Police recommend escrow services provided by FCA authorised firms as a useful method to pay and be paid for these type of transactions.
Escrow is the only method where both a buyer and a seller can be fully 100% protected simultaneously in a transaction.
With escrow services now provided in the UK by FCA authorised firms from 57 pence per party per transaction, selling on Facebook with payment via escrow is compelling.
The buyer is guaranteed through escrow to receive the goods promised, or their money back.
The seller is guaranteed to be paid 100%.
Facebook Selling Tips - Flog on local groups for FREE
Local Facebook selling groups are taking over from eBay as the place to earn cash flogging unwanted stuff – and now, with 'Marketplace' launching on the Facebook app, it's even easier. The best bit is there are NO fees, so the profit's all yours.
This is a crash course in how to earn £100s via Facebook Marketplace and selling groups. It tells you how to find the right local groups and get the best price, plus make sure you stay safe when selling
29 Facebook selling tips, including...
Facebook vs eBay – where to sell for max cash
Local Facebook groups and now Facebook Marketplace are where, instead of eBaying second-hand goods, people harness Facebook's power to sell to others in the local community.
The idea's simple: sellers post ads for unwanted goods, and buyers pop round and pay cash in hand if they're happy. Think old-school free classified sites.
One question that crops up often is: "Where's the best place to sell for the maximum cash – Facebook or eBay?" Facebook's boon is it's fees-free, while eBay takes 10% of the total transaction including postage when items sell – add this to PayPal fees and it's a fair whack.
Logic dictates goods should sell faster on eBay*, with its wider audience. However bizarrely many MoneySavers report shifting things instantly on local groups, while they remain unsold on the 'Bay.
That said, Facebook groups are run by volunteer administrators, so there's little comeback if you have problems. Buyers aren't always reliable – sometimes they just won't turn up, or they'll change their mind.
Selling on Facebook also works better for people in towns or cities, given it's all about selling to those nearby. If you're miles from your nearest neighbour, the market for your wares is going to be limited...
What sells best where?
Here's a rough guide to what sells best on Facebook. Of course, you've nothing to lose by trying your luck there first, then bunging it on eBay if you've no joy.
It's not so great for the following things, though – if you're trying to flog one of these, you might be better off on eBay* or Amazon*.
Selling on Facebook is quick and easy – and it won't cost you a penny
Facebook selling's major, erm, selling point is its sheer convenience. Facebook is free to join and there are no fees for selling either, so it's very low-risk – and because so many of us use the social network anyway for keeping up with friends and family, it's easy to get to grips with. What's not to 'like'? (Sorry...)
The thrill of instant sales is addictive. We've tons of success stories from people who've become minted through Facebook selling. Here are a few to inspire you:
Find top Facebook selling groups near you
Thousands of Facebook buying and selling groups have sprung up across the UK. To get started, search for your area or postcode in the main search box, alongside words such as 'selling', 'sale' or 'buy'.
Many areas have several groups. It's worth joining as many groups as you can find, though some are busier and deal in higher-quality wares than others. Ramp up your chances by joining one or two bordering areas, especially if they're well-to-do.
To start selling, just click 'Join group', and an administrator should approve you within 24 hours. Once you've joined, Facebook suggests similar groups – a list should pop up on the right-hand side, or just hit 'New groups' on the left-hand side.
Another cheeky way to scout out top groups is to check the 'about' sections in members' profiles to see which ones they've joined.
It's not just specific selling groups either – some other kinds of Facebook group also allow selling, for example parents' groups or those themed around a particular interest or hobby. (Do check the group's rules, as some don't allow it.)
Be very wary of selling beyond your local area, though.
Facebook has just launched its own classified ads service to challenge the likes of Gumtree and eBay, named Facebook Marketplace.
It's currently being rolled out through an update to the iOS and Android Facebook apps, with a desktop version available "in the coming months". It isn't available to everyone yet though – once your Facebook app has had the relevant update, an icon of a little house will appear at the bottom or top of the screen next to the notifications tab (the globe).
Marketplace allows sellers to list items with photos and descriptions, tagged to a certain location, for free. Users can then search for items and/or browse by location and category.
The service will, for the time being at least, operate alongside Facebook groups. As with those, Facebook isn't involved in payment or delivery for items listed on Marketplace – that's between the buyer and seller. So many of the same warnings about safety and cash payments – as well as the other tips in this guide – apply equally to the two systems of selling.
Most people already know how to use Facebook to upload wacky pet videos, post pics of their lunch or send a flirty message to an ex.
Posting items for sale on a local group is just as easy. Just post directly on your group's page and upload a pic. Most for-sale groups now have a super-simple 'for sale' form, including item, price, category and a photo. (If your group doesn't, ask the admin to fill in this form.)
Include as many salient points about the item as possible: size, dimensions, flaws, if you'll deliver and if it's so big a van's needed. There's nowt more irritating as a buyer than having to slowly prize the info out in the comments underneath... "Pic?" "Size?", "How much?", "Whereabouts?" and so on...
Remember, posts are public, so give a general location, but not your phone number or full address at this stage.
You can advertise on more than one group (unless rules ban it), but it's good manners to mention you've advertised elsewhere.
Handily, when you post an ad, any Facebook pals who are also group members get email alerts. Users can also tag friends who might be interested. Don't worry about spamming all your friends with ads for scrapped espresso makers and hamster cages though. If it's a closed group, only members can see ads.
How to list an item on Facebook Marketplace
In the final step you can also choose to post to any specific buying and selling group you're a member of at the same time as you list on Marketplace, if you want to maximise the visibility of your item.
All your for-sale items will be stored under the 'Your items' tab, including any offers and messages you've received from interested buyers.
Price it right
To get an idea of how much your item's worth before you put it on Facebook, head over to eBay* to do a 'completed items' items search (left-hand grey bar). If the price is listed in black, it means it did not sell.
Also search for similar items on local Facebook groups (top right-hand side) or on Facebook Marketplace (the magnifying glass icon). How much have others asked for and were there enthusiastic takers at that price?
MoneySavers recommend listing a few older things for free at the same time. This could tempt buyers to look at your other wares – just enter "free" as the price and upload your listing at the same time as your other items.
With Facebook groups, buyers may initially express interest with a comment on your post (though also check your 'secret' inbox). In most groups, the first user to comment gets dibs. If a few are interested, be friendly and let them know they're next in line.
A sneaky peek at the buyer's profile page reveals a lot, and you may have friends in common. If you're selling in a group, search for their name in the group (top right) to see if they've been fair and polite in past dealings.
If you like the cut of their jib, private-message them – or 'inbox' them, in Facebook parlance – to arrange where you'll meet to do the deal.
Facebook Marketplace works a little differently, as interested buyers can make an offer or message you directly from the listing. Similarly, check out their profile, and if you're happy to proceed, agree on payment and collection details. All your correspondence will be stored under the 'Your items' tab in the Facebook Marketplace section of the app.
Once it's gone, update the post/listing as sold. And if you didn't sell it, try another Facebook group or consider reducing the price in the Marketplace listing – or give eBay a shot.
Got a bad feeling about the buyer? Just say "really sorry, I've sold this to someone in another group" or "someone else messaged me just before you". This might break some groups' rules, but your safety comes first. (On Facebook Marketplace, you can just ignore them.)
Safety first! Always be careful
Incidents are rare, but be careful. If someone's message or profile looks dodgy, trust your gut and walk away.
For smaller goods, do the exchange in a busy public place – why not outside the local police station?
If they must come to your home, try to do the exchange on the doorstep – don't be pressurised into letting someone into your home. Also make sure someone else is in the house when the taker comes to collect.
It's a good idea to have a mobile phone in your pocket, keep valuables out of sight, and if you let a collector in, limit their movements to as few rooms as possible.
Cash is king
Always ask to be paid in cash rather than by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal. If someone has your bank account details, it increases the risk of fraud against you. With cheques, you've no guarantees they will clear.
One common trick is crooks asking if they can pay by PayPal. They then send convincing-yet-fake emails ostensibly from PayPal, saying your account has received funds. Scammers often ask you to send the item as soon as possible, claiming it's, say, a birthday present.
Another PayPal scam is when unscrupulous buyers take your goods, then issue a 'chargeback', where they claim the transaction was unauthorised and the card issuer reverses a transaction that has already cleared.
Likewise, when buying via Facebook, don't get talked into making a bank transfer. If someone asks you to pay by Western Union or another instant money transfers service, run a mile.
Earn £100s doing personal stock control
Retailers cannily manage their stock levels, and it's time we did the same. Have a rummage through your home for abandoned items – clear out boxes in the garage, rifle through drawers and hunt under the sofa.
Not used something in a year? Consider flogging it on Facebook to raise cash. Whether it's CDs, TVs, LPs or even an old WC, even unloved items can still be worth ££s to someone.
In groups, it's all about etiquette
Before posting an ad in a Facebook group, read the rules pinned to the top of it. These vary but dictate the types of items allowed, how many you can list per week, and how often you can 'bump' ads (comment underneath so they rise to the top).
If the admin's a stickler for the rules, they may kick you out for an infraction. Don't worry too much though – rules are usually aimed at weeding out dodgy dealers and repeat offenders.
Have a quick scroll down to see how other transactions have gone down. What language do people use, what are prices like, do people haggle?
There aren't the same rules on Facebook Marketplace as it's not run by admins (though Facebook may still remove listings against its terms, such as those advertising illegal items).
Check your secret 'Message Requests' folder
There's a secret 'Message Requests' folder in your inbox. Facebook uses this folder to prevent spam, but often useful messages end up there too – usually from buyers outside your circle of friends if you're selling via groups.
To find it, click 'messages' (top right), and next to 'inbox' is an 'Message Requests' folder in light grey. Just don't blame us when you discover an invitation to an amazing bash you're five years too late to.
Give people 24 hours to buy
Frustratingly, some buyers may quickly post or message to stake their claim, then change their minds without telling you. Or worse, arrange to collect, but don't show up.
This is definitely one of Facebook selling's biggest downsides. To help, put a clear deadline in your ad, along the lines of 'will offer to the next person down if collection time not agreed within 24 hours'.
Search for wanted items to find waiting buyers
Another feature of Facebook groups is that people can post 'wanted' ads. It's worth searching the group first, in case someone's looking for that Etch A Sketch.
If you spot someone looking for what you're flogging, just private message the user to let them know you have what they want and take it from there.
Facebook Marketplace doesn't offer this function, sadly.
Declutter your news feed to avoid a deluge of for-sale spam
The downside of joining multiple groups is your Facebook news feed can get flooded with for-sale ads.
To change your notification settings for a group, go to the group and click notifications in the top right. Choose 'Friends' posts', so you only get notifications whenever your friends post. Don't worry, you'll still get email alerts when people respond to your ads.
An advantage of selling on Facebook Marketplace is that all messages relating to an ad you've listed are stored in the 'Your items' tab of the app, so your news feed should be safe from spam.
Look for specialist Facebook selling groups – but beware selling remotely
This guide focuses on local selling groups, where you do the deal in person. Specialist national groups are also springing up too though, covering everything from quad bikes and musical instruments to special needs equipment. Just search for your interest to see what's on offer.
The advantage is a bigger audience for niche goods, but we don't recommend posting items to strangers from Facebook, as you won't be able to get paid cash in hand. It's safer to sell on eBay, where you can see buyers' feedback and have more comeback.
If you want to stick with selling on Facebook locally, but want to expand your reach beyond the usual selling groups, try local Facebook groups for parents. Often these allow selling ads too – do check the rules at the top of the group though
Control your Facebook privacy settings
As you may be messaging strangers, now's a great time to check your Facebook privacy settings.
First, make sure only friends can see your stuff. Click the arrow in the top right corner of your profile, then go to 'Settings'. Select 'Privacy', then where it says 'Who can see my stuff?' select 'Friends'.
While you're in there, click the padlock and use Facebook's privacy check-up tool too. This lets you check the audience of your posts and adjust if needed.
Get a Facebook batphone
Got lots of junk to dump? List in bulk
If you've done a really big clear-out and have lots to offload, consider listing as many goods as possible in one batch. Pick a day when you're online, so you can answer questions promptly and don't lose sales.
This means you can arrange one or two time slots to wait in, rather than 10 different days. Another trick is listing similar items together, such as baby stuff.
Sell as you'd like to be sold to
Buyers have fewer rights when buying on the second-hand market than at retailers. The rule is caveat emptor, or "let the buyer beware". The law just states that the product must be as described and the owner has the right to sell it, ie, it's not stolen.
While not a legal obligation, offering great customer service is good practice and will stop you getting banned from your local group.
Facebook not right for what you're trying to flog? Use our eBay selling tricks instead
You can flog old gold for serious cash
"Sell unwanted gold for CASH!" TV, mags and billboard ads pulse with promises, yet rarely seem to live up to them. However, amid the scrap are shining examples – meaning it's possible to get £100s for old jewellery.
Like forumite Happypig, you could strike, er, gold: "I sent some old chains, earrings & rings – mostly 9ct, mostly broken. Your top site offered £970, almost double my £520 high street quote."
Try your luck on classified sites
f you've no luck through Facebook, consider free local classified sites, where buyers also collect in person and pay cash on collection.
The king of local classified sites is Gumtree, which covers 50 big UK cities and lets sellers list for free. Interestingly, Gumtree is owned by eBay, but thankfully this hasn't affected its free community-based operations.
Many sellers also rate second-hand site Preloved*, where placing ads is also free. Plus try local online forums, Loot and your local paper.
Know the rules on paying tax when selling
If you're flogging old unwanted stuff such as cast-off clothing or second-hand stereos, there's usually no tax to pay. But become a trader, making or selling goods bought with the intention of resale, and it IS taxable.
There are some grey areas, so read this HMRC guide to work out if you need to tell it about income made from second-hand sales.
From April 2017, however, you will be able to earn £1,000 tax-free from trading. See the Online sellers and room-renters given £1,000 tax breaks MSE News story.
It's not all about selling – consider giving stuff away as well
Get max cash for old mobiles
Whether you've recently upgraded or fancy a rummage through your drawers, old handsets can be worth serious cash. You can try putting them on Facebook, or eBay can often get you the best price – often 20-30% more than mobile buyers.
Yet if you need to sell your phone quickly, and can't be bothered with the hassle, several websites get you to enter your details, then offer you a price and send you a jiffy bag to mail your phone in.
It's not just selling... 10 Facebook BUYING tricks
Local Facebook groups and now Facebook Marketplace are brilliant ways to get quality, often little-used items for less. Here are 10 tricks to help you track down the uber-bargains.
(Plus while the rest of this guide focuses on selling, it's still well worth a read for buyers too, as much of the info is still relevant.)
Find selling groups near you
Just search for groups in your area or postcode in Facebook's main search box, alongside words such as 'selling', 'sale' or 'buy'. It's worth joining a few
Check if you have Facebook Marketplace
Facebook is gradually launching its own classified ads feature on its app, called Facebook Marketplace. If you have it, you can search by keyword or browse categories to find goodies. It also lets you change your location and search options to narrow down to a specific area.
Mark your place. Seen something you fancy? In most Facebook groups, the rule is the first user to comment on the for-sale post gets dibs. If another buyer gets there first, it's still worth posting 'can I be next in line please?' below, as many sales fall through.
On Facebook Marketplace, simply click the 'make offer' button.
Haggle. There's nothing wrong with politely proposing a lower figure – especially if a seller listed an item a while ago and doesn't have any takers. On Facebook Marketplace, all you need to do is click 'make offer' and enter a sum.
Check as often as possible. Unlike eBay, Facebook doesn't let you set up email alerts for specific items. So if you're after something, check throughout the day, as goods are offered and taken at breakneck speed.
Close the deal via private message. Once your offer's accepted, the next step is to private-message the seller, to arrange collection details.
Don't assume a Facebook deal's always a bargain. Just because it's on Facebook, doesn't automatically mean it's a bargain. Always compare prices elsewhere. As different shopping comparison sites are good for different things, we've designed Megashopbot.com to help you instantly find the right ones.
It's also worth checking the going rate for similar items on eBay. Fill in eBay's search box and tick 'completed items' on the left-hand grey bar. It'll come up with a list of prices goods have fetched.
Always pay in cash. To ensure you don't lose out, always pay in cash rather than by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal. If someone asks you to send money by Western Union or another instant money transfer service, run a mile.
Stay safe when collecting. If a listing or message sounds dodgy, trust your gut and walk away. If you do go to collect an item, tell someone where you're going, take a mobile phone and stay on the doorstep if possible.
Community Based Listings
Craigslist is huge—not just for selling stuff, but for listings of all types. It's all but replaced the classified pages in most major cities around the world, and you can find listings for everything from apartments to parking spaces to clothes to baby goods—all specific to your community and at a wide range of prices. Craigslist's user base is absolutely massive, and many people turn to it first when they're looking to sell something just because just about everyone uses it for something or another—especially bargain hunting. Best of all, since Craigslist is essentially just a big classified site, there are no fees for listing your items, no middleman charging you to list or host photos, and no one in between you and the seller—which can be a good or a bad thing.
Of course, its efficacy is up in the air as well—any service as large as Craigslist draws in a wide array of users, and many of you noted that the site brings out all of the lowball offers, weirdos who show up to make a sale but then try to weasel out of the deal or try and get you to take less than they promised, or other strange scenario—not to mention the safety issue. We have a guide to selling on Craigslist without getting screwed that specifically tackles all of these issues. In its nomination thread, many of you noted that Craigslist is great, but there's no accountability whatsoever by the site for anything that happens through the site, but at the same time its huge user base and community-based pages make it easy to offload even things like appliances and other large goods you can't ship and would rather have your buyer come pick up
Swappa focuses almost exclusively on smartphones and tablets of all types, and has a huge userbase of people both selling and buying devices in good, workable condition. Selling a used phone on Swappa is super-easy, and only requires that you verify your account, take some pictures of the device, post your listing, and get it approved by the Swappa staff. Swappa only deals in clean devices as long as you buy from a trustworthy, verified seller, so you don't have to worry that the phone you buy is stolen or won't be able to be activated. Buyers get the satisfaction of knowing that the phone or tablet they get is in good working order at a great price, and the sale is never closed until the buyer has the item in hand, inspected it, made sure it works and activates, and they're good to go. Swappa also handles things like payment and dispute resolution, which makes it a pretty good platform for buyers and sellers.
Of course, Swappa isn't perfect either. Their fees are lower than sites like eBay, which is great, and they have a large user base of people who are looking for great deals on phones—along with tons of protections for both buyers and sellers—but there are tons of people on the site with sketchy lowball offers and people selling dozens of the same phone who look like they may have lifted them from a warehouse or something.
Welcome To The Crafty Studios - Buy, Sell, Swap Page
Listen I understand, you want to make money online, from the comfort of your own home, I get it, i do too.
Here is where I share what I've learnt about making money working from home. I hope you find it useful and will engage with me, and together, we'll work on increasing our income from online activity.