Monday, October 15, 2018

The True Cost of Selling on eBay

I followed a link in my eBay account to a pie chart that I had never seen before.  It presented clearly what I already knew.  I decided to share the information, since it shows that the cost of selling on eBay is indeed high.

The data is for September 14 through October 14.  My sales have been quite bad for this time period.  This is partly due to me putting far more effort into Etsy than eBay.  I have not listed many new items on eBay, and my sales always suffer greatly when I do not list new items.

Here is the breakdown of my eBay sales and fees for September 14 through October 14.  Click on the image to see a larger version.

One part of the data puzzled me greatly, which is the $43.90 in subscription fees.  I finally figured out that since my yearly store subscription renews each September that I was charged for both September and October on September 30.  I pay $21.95 per month for my eBay store subscription, which is $43.90 for both months.

Aside from that, everything makes sense.  My total sales were $590.57.  My prices are set as free shipping, so I pay for shipping.  The cost of shipping all of my items was $87.01, but that does not include my supplies.  $87.01 is what was sent to eBay to purchase the postage. 

I received a whopping $6.68 fee discount for being a top-rated seller.  What an insignificant discount.  I earn more in eBay Bucks each month for my purchases than I get as a seller for being top-rated.

The net sales of $373.95 is what eBay says I get after all fees are subtracted.  It sounds great until I consider what I actually paid for the books.  I suspect that most buyers don't think about that when they ask sellers for huge discounts.  The books sold during this time period cost me $234.40.  I also had to pay for shipping supplies, which is probably around $25.00 for boxes, tape, and paper for the shipping labels.

That leaves me with $114.55.  Wow, I made a profit!  But then, my time is worth something, isn't it?  I'd say that my time is easily worth at least that much.  So what did I gain?

I gained the pleasure of helping people acquire books for their collection.  I do enjoy it. 

Even though the profit isn't much, it still is a profit.  Every little bit helps me afford the books I want to purchase for my collection.

Now you know why I am putting more effort into my Etsy shop than my eBay store.  The fees are not as high on Etsy.

The next time you consider asking an eBay seller to take their $50 book and reduce it to $20, think about what the seller's true cost of selling on eBay is.  The seller did have to pay something in order to acquire the book.  The book wasn't free, and those eBay fees add a lot to a seller's cost.

The same goes for Etsy, even though the fees are lower.  I recently had a prospective Etsy buyer offer me $50 including postage for a group of books that altogether were priced at around $144.  Um, no.  I won't do extreme discounts like that.  The books actually cost me more than $50 total.  After the buyer persisted and asked what I would take, I came up with an amount I could live with and only responded because it would have been helpful to have had all of the books taken off my hands.  The buyer didn't respond.

Even on Etsy, keep in mind that the sellers had to pay for the books and that the sellers do still pay Etsy fees.

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