Becoming a seller on ebay can be daunting. Becoming a travel seller can be impossible, unless you know the secrets. My tips on selling on eBay can apply to all categories of items, but some steps are unique to selling travel.

The travel industry is highly regulated on EBay, as it should be. High standards keep out disreputable sellers and scam artists, and adds to your own company’s trustworthiness when you are approved by eBay..

1. Before you are even thinking about selling travel on eBay, it is important to get a username and email address just for eBay. Registration is free and only takes a few minutes. Register as a seller and you can use the same username to buy as well. Choose a name that reflects what you sell i.e., “Bermudabound” rather than “sexyblueeyes”. Other eBay members will come to recognize you by your User ID, so it’s a good idea to choose one you’ll want to use for the long term.

2. Your eBay name has sunglasses (i.e., read “shady character”) for the first 30 days, so don’t try to sell anything while you are wearing shades. Use this time to buy on eBay and learn good practices from other sellers.

3. Set up a PayPal account. EBay buyers feel more confident purchasing something from a seller who accepts PayPal. According to PayPal, “Listings that offer PayPal are 6% more likely to sell and experience a 5% average increase in final price.” Go to www. Paypal.com. Get a business account. Registration is free.

4. In the first 30 days, buy small items on EBay, pay for them promptly. I have always found eBay sellers to offer good values, provided that you check their feedback listing first.

5. Pay your seller promptly, because then you will always get positive feedback from your seller. Your feedback profile is the most important aspect of your reputation at eBay. Feedback is extremely important on eBay, as your future buyers can evaluate you at a glance. Even one strike against you counts heavily.

6. Create your “About Me” page on eBay. Use this page to tell other eBay users about yourself and your interests, your experience and your products.

7. While you are waiting the 30 days, also become a) ID verified and b)square trade approved. a) Get ID Verified through eBay as an extra sign of security for buyers. When a member gets ID Verified, a third-party company working with eBay confirms the member’s identity by cross checking their contact information across consumer and business databases. You’ll see the ID Verify icon in verified members’ profiles.

B) The Square Trade Seal is one way for sellers to show bidders that they are committed to high selling standards and have had their identity verified by a third party. You will need a credit card and your IATA, ARC, or seller of travel number. Both are requirements for selling travel, and you must place these numbers as the first lines of your ads on EBay. All members listing airline tickets, cruises, vacation packages, or lodging must be participants in the Seller Verify by SquareTrade Program. This program combines verification of sellers with ongoing monitoring. For instructions on this, go to eBay.com.

8. When you are ready to list your items at auction, sell small stuff first, building customers and credibility. Sell all items with no reserve, at the lowest price you can afford to accept, and fill all orders promptly.

9. Choose carefully what you will sell. You cannot sell some travel certificates, or vouchers and all listing must list the exceptions, blackout dates, and extra taxes and shipping charges. Travel agents, and other businesses selling travel services are regulated in eBay. According to the eBay rules for selling travel, “Businesses and individuals who sell and/or arrange air or sea travel or accommodations (but do not directly provide the travel service themselves) may list air and ship related travel items (i.e. airplane tickets and cruise trips), along with accommodations, on eBay only if they are licensed as sellers of travel lawfully able to do business in all 50 states and they themselves will be booking the travel for the winning bidder. Their listings should clearly set out their California seller of travel license number as well as any other license information required in other states. It is against eBay policy for travel clearinghouse affiliates, that are not actual agents booking the travel themselves, to list travel auctions on the site. Sellers are required to include the following disclaimer in all listings for travel exactly as it appears below and in a text size and color that can easily be seen and read by all bidders:

“By listing this auction I verify that I am the actual travel agent or travel provider and not a third party affiliate. The travel/accommodations in this auction will be booked directly through me and not an outside agency. I also verify that, other than the government taxes and related government fees stated within the listing description itself, there will be absolutely no additional fees, charges or after auction purchases associated with booking the travel within this listing.”

For travel services other than air or sea travel, businesses and individuals may offer gift certificates or coupons that are issued by a specific provider of travel, such as a gift certificate to a particular hotel. They may not, however, offer travel club memberships or “choice travel” certificates.”

10. Setting your price

Selecting your starting price requires balancing between how much money you want for the item, and what buyers will pay for it. As part of your pricing strategy, you can research the ending bids for similar items. You can look at similar item completed eBay listings using the completed listings search.

Be sure to include in your price enough to cover your insertion fees, final value fees, and your paypal fees. Set the LOWEST possible price you can afford to accept, but don’t offer something at a price you really don’t want to accept. Buyers expect bargains on ebay purchases, and you may, in the beginning, only get one bid on your item.

Attractively priced items (such as those priced at 99cents) may receive many bids, but unless it is a really outstanding items, the winning bidder may not have bid anything near your cost.

Setting your price involves not only deciding the starting price of your item, but also selecting pricing options based on which selling format you select.

Pricing for the auction-like listings:

The starting price is the lowest price you are willing to sell your item. Bidding will start at this price. Sellers have found that setting the starting price too high may discourage bidding.

If you do not want to sell your item below a certain price, you can specify a reserve price. A reserve price is an option you can use to stimulate bidding on your listing and reserve the right not to sell below the price you want. I do not recommend this option as it discourages buying.

Pricing for fixed price listings: In my experience, this is not a good way to sell anything, since the ebay method is based mainly on auction items. Enter the price at which you wish to sell your item or items as the Buy It Now price.

11. Build a store. EBay stores are free for the first 30 days. Afterwards, they are a small fee per month. ($15.95 / month) According to eBay, Store sellers see on average a 25% incremental increase in sales the 3 months after opening their Store.” Here is where you can list all those other items that are higher priced, but good value at a low listing fee – at Insertion Fees of .03-.10 per month – use good til cancelled

Note: The Insertion Fee covers a single listing (with any quantity of items in the listing), whether you list 1 or 1,000 of the same item. Final Value Fees range from 12.00% of the closing price for cheap items to

Over $1,000.01

12.00% of the initial $25.00 ($3.00), plus 8.00% of the initial $25.01 – $100.00 ($6.00), plus 4.00% of the initial $100.01 – $1,000.00 ($36.00), plus 2.00% of the remaining closing value balance ($1,000.01-closing value)

Auction and Fixed Price listings appear in your eBay Store as well as in eBay Search and Listings. The store allows your buyers to peruse your other items in addition to your auction items. Go to: http://pages.eBay.com/storefronts/openbenefits.html

12. Completing a sale: Remember, your reputation is of utmost importance. If your item sells successfully, the sale needs to be completed. This includes contacting your buyer, accepting payment and shipping the item.

13. I also recommend a “buy it now” listing, using the actual price of your item, i.e, what you really want. Using the “best offer” option allows members to make you a lower offer. Tip: Set a limit on “best offer” minimum bids, or you will get absurd offers of 1 cent or more.

14. Don’t use Listing Upgrades when you are new. Use your own hosting for pictures or eBay Picture Hosting.

15. For free templates for use on ebay, I like http://www.template-o-matic.com/

16. Examples of actions that are not allowed on eBay:

Bidding on your own item, or having family members, roommates or employees bid on your item (called shill bidding). For policy and examples, see Shill Bidding.

Interfering with another member’s transaction.

Accepting payment and sending an item that is significantly different from the item described in the item listing. For policy and examples, see Seller Non-performance.

Refusing to accept a buyer’s PayPal payment using a credit card when the seller included the PayPal logo in the listing.

Charging buyers an additional fee for their use of ordinary forms of payment including acceptance of checks, money orders, electronic transfers or credit cards.

If something goes wrong, including having problems with your buyer, there are options to help with your transaction problems.

17. Some ebay fees:

When you list an item on eBay, you’re charged an Insertion Fee. If the item sells, you are also charged a Final Value Fee. The total cost of selling an item is the Insertion Fee plus the Final Value Fee. The minimum insertion fee is 15 cents and goes to $4.00, depending upon the starting price of the auction. Final Value Fees:

Item not sold No Fee

$0.01 – $25.00**

8.75% of the closing value

$25.01- $1,000.00

8.75% of the initial $25.00 ($2.19), plus 3.50% of the remaining closing value balance ($25.01 to $1,000.00)

Equal to or Over $1000.01

8.75% of the initial $25.00 ($2.19), plus 3.50% of the initial $25.01 – $1,000.00 ($34.12), plus 1.50% of the remaining closing value balance ($1000.01 – closing value)

For examples of travel stores on eBay, take a look at: http://stores.ebay.com/Travel-Ireland-and-Britain_W0QQsspagenameZMEQ3aFQ3aSTQQtZkm

Ellen Mc Nulty is President of Lynott Tours, specialists in travel to Ireland and Britain.. Lynott Tours has been selling travel for 38 years, and can be found on the Internet at www.lynotttours.com and www.cruisetourplanners.com as well as www.australiatravelmaster.com

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