Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Many people run small businesses primarily on eBay. It’s a great source of distribution and they have traffic that a small business owner would have difficulty matching. Media reports prove that just about anything (legal) can be sold on eBay, for sometimes astonishing prices!
If you like eBaying and are good at it, you could consider becoming an eBay trading assistant. A trading assistant provides a valuable service for those who have things they would like to sell but do not know how or are too busy to sell themselves. You would basically charge a fee (typically either a percentage of the price the item sells for or a per-item listing fee) to handle all the eBay issues for your clients. You would list the items and handle all transactions with buyers, including collecting payment. Most likely, you would have to take pictures of the items, too, if you wanted to post the listings with pictures.
You can either pick up items at the client’s home or office, or you could have a drop-off location. You will want to find out about the item so that you can correctly categorize it and write compelling descriptions. You might also want to research similar items on eBay so that you can suggest appropriate pricing strategies for your clients.
eBay has information on their Trading Assistant Program where you can research other Trading Assistants in your area, find out how to start and generally learn the ins & outs of being a trading assistant.
And, there’s a Trading Assistant’s Hub that will give you step-by-step instructions on creating a business plan and getting leads and clients. Don’t skip this step—you’ll want this information so that you set up your Trading Assistant business to be profitable and successful.
Some eBay trading assistants are already selling guides to show others how to write contracts, structure fees and so on. I have not read these guides, but you might want to look into them. Do start with the free information provided by eBay, though.
Once you decide to become a Trading Assistant and have researched how the program works, you will look for clients. You can list your program on eBay, but you will also want to market locally. Here are some ideas for finding clients:
--Create a simple flyer and distribute it to nearby businesses, day care centers, schools, colleges, community centers, and anywhere else you can find that will let you display them.
--Make or buy simple business cards to distribute to people you meet, leave in groceries stores, libraries, offices and businesses.
--Take your flyers around your neighborhood and leave them on doorstep.
--Talk with local small business owners about selling their products for them on eBay.
--Check into your area’s newspapers and shopper’s guides for low-cost classified advertising rates.
--For any associations you belong to, distribute your cards & flyers, and ask about advertising in their newsletters.
For shipping supplies, the United States Postal Service will send you free mailing supplies, including their flat-rate boxes.
Both UPS and FedEx have online shipping options, where you can print labels, track packages, and more.
You will also need a PayPal account to accept payments.