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Union Blog

Tips for Second-Hand Selling

All of this time at home can be used as an opportunity to take up a new hobby and make some extra cash while you’re at it. There are many upsides to turning trash into cash, however it can be overwhelming looking at a pile of unwanted stuff and not knowing where to start to get rid of it. Hopefully these tips will make second-hand selling a lot easier for you. 

The first thing to consider is which platform will be best for the item you're trying to sell. There are pros and cons to all selling platforms out there, however here’s my pick of the top ones:

  • eBay
    Pros: More users nation-wide, it's likely you can ask a higher price for your item, you get 40 free listings a month, there's the ‘make an offer’ feature to potential buyers on your watchlist, a buyer won’t know your personal details.
    Cons: Numerous fees (Paypal, percentage of final sale, postage), it's more time-consuming to list items, ideally it's for items that you’re making $20-30 profit on (i.e. ex. fees), there's a chance you can be stung by high postage rates if your item is bulky (e.g. a pair of boots that won't fit in an Australia Post satchel).
  • Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace
    Pros: There's a different seller market on each platform (try to list your item on both), it's the best option for furniture / bulky items, quick and easy to list.
    Cons: Buyer knows your address / Facebook info, buyers are limited to your area / city, there's the potential for buyer no-shows and time-wasters

The following can be applied to any platform unless specified:

  • When listing include as many descriptive words in the title, and try to reach the word limit. For example a 'size 12 black top’ should be: ‘Stussy Long Sleeve Black Top Jumper 12 Crop Cotton Embroidered 90s…’ you get the gist. More words = more chances for it to show in someone’s search results.
  • Whether you’re selling or buying never be afraid to negotiate on the price, it’s almost expected with second-hand selling. However be sure to factor that into your price. If you’re selling something that you’d be happy to get $50 for (and you don’t need to sell it urgently) why not list it for $60-70. If someone makes an offer that you think is too low, don’t just reject it but counter with your lowest offer plus a bit extra for wriggle room.
  • When you’re just starting out with face-to-face selling, only accept cash. If you’re uncomfortable dealing with people, do not leave an item on your doorstep / letterbox unless you’re prepared for them to walk off without paying.
  • Been stung before by buyers who have stood you up? When someone agrees to buy an item from you, give them your street name and suburb, but tell them you’ll provide the house number before they’re ready to leave. This hasn’t failed me yet.
  • Even if you have to sell something urgently, don’t say it in the listing unless you’re prepared for lowball offers. The price you list it for will dictate how many offer you’ll get.
  • Try to find a Google image of the item you're selling, and use that as the main image (the one that displays first). Be sure to write in the description 'main image is a stock photo of the item'.
  • Be prepared for people to contact you asking if the item is available and when you reply ‘yes’ never hearing from them again. Try to avoid contacting them again though, it just puts you in a position where they can lowball you.
  • Do your research before listing something, because it's likely someone out there is selling something similar. If you’ve listed an item for $40 and someone is trying to sell the same one for $30 and has had it up for a month, chances are you’ll need to drop your price.
  • If you’ve bought something for $200, don’t expect to sell it for $190 just because you’ve only used it once. Unless the item is in high demand or sold out, you’ll have to accept that you’re not going to come close to making your money back. This is where your research comes in.
  • If you'll only be selling a few items here and there, it's likely you won't have to declare the income with the ATO or Centrelink. However do your research because everyone's circumstances are different. For tax info head here, however for Centrelink it may be beneficial to contact them direct.

eBay can be a bit more tricky to navigate, and my top tips for this platform are:

  • Try to limit your listings to 40 per month (otherwise you’ll pay a listing fee), and don't be tempted by reduced fees to open an eBay store unless you'll be selling 100+ items per month.
  • Don’t use the auction feature, instead use ‘Buy it Now’ and enable buyers to make an offer.
  • Don’t pay extra to schedule listings or create subtitles, just try to enter as many options in the ‘item specifics’ fields.
  • Make sure your photos are decent (this can be the difference between selling something for $20 or $100).
  • Familiarise yourself with Australia Post postage rates, and try to use the pre-paid satchels where possible. You’d hate to be in a position where you’ve sold a $20 item with $8.95 postage, but have to pay $20 to post to a remote/country location.
  • When withdrawing money from Paypal to your bank account from your eBay sales, try to leave enough in Paypal to cover your end-of-month invoice to avoid bill shock.

If you've got more tips and tricks to add to the list, we'd love to hear from you! Drop us a line hello@auu.org.au


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