When you’re just starting out with your new business, you may have made the common decision not to register for a business account on eBay. You might not be sure if you need one, and want to see how things pan out before committing. If your business takes off and you’re making regular sales, though, you’ll probably have to look into it. Don’t worry – it’s simple enough to either register from scratch or swap your existing individual account. A word of warning, though – although you can swap from individual to business easily, you won’t be able to swap back!
When to register as a business seller
You should think about swapping your account from individual to business if you are selling more than 20 items a month, or think you’ll earn more than £11,500 a year. The advantage of a business account is that you can sell in the name of your business rather than your own name, building a consistent identity and tying in with a website or any other online presence you have.
Choosing how to sell
eBay offers several options for business sellers. If you’re new to the game and are still selling on a fairly small scale, you can just register for a standard business account. You’ll be charged 30p per listing, and a percentage of the final selling amount as a commission. Confusingly, the percentage varies with the type of item you’re selling but for handmade and craft items it’s currently 11%.
If you’re starting to sell more than 250 items a month, then it might to time to move up a level. eBay offers several grades of ‘shop’ packages, where you can pay a monthly subscription charge and receive a certain number of listings free. There are also other advantages, such as access to an email marketing tool and reduced fees on additional listings over your free limit.
Setting up a business account
If you’ve already got an individual account, you’re halfway there. Go to the eBay website and from your My eBay dashboard click the Account tab. Choose ‘Personal information’ from the list on the left, and you’ll see that your account type is currently set to ‘personal’.
Click the ‘edit’ link on the far right of the account type, and select the business account option before clicking confirm.
You’ll be redirected to a page where you can put in your information such as your business name and returns policy.
If you’re registered from scratch, visit the eBay home page and click on the ‘Register’ link on the top left.
Top tips for selling as a business on eBay
- Use clear photos and descriptions. The better quality your photo, the more appealing your product will look. Include several photos, and take your pictures from different angles or in different locations.
- Be on the ball. The internet is a fantastic invention that makes small businesses possible – but customers tend to expect a very quick turnaround. Answer questions or messages as quickly as you can, and post items out as soon as possible to ensure good feedback. If you spend most of your working time making your products, make sure to set an hour aside every day for admin. If a customer does have a problem with their purchase, deal with their query as quickly and fairly as you can.
- State your returns policy clearly, as this will help customers trust you. It’s normal to accept returns, but most small businesses ask the purchaser to pay the return postage unless there’s been a problem with the item
- When setting a price for your items, be realistic about how long they’ll take you to make or source, as well as any packaging you’ll have to buy and postage charges. If you live 20 miles from the nearest post office, you’ll have to factor in fuel as well.
- eBay has user forums, which are an invaluable source of advice and support when you’re just starting out – don’t be afraid to ask questions.