ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

The definitive guide to making mountains of sweet money on eBay

We won't tell anyone...

The definitive guide to making mountains of sweet money on eBay
25 December 2015

When it comes to flogging stuff on eBay, the difference between an unsold item and a tidy profit can often boil down to a single missing detail.

There’s money to be made, people; so gather your Christmas cast-offs and follow our foolproof guide to making mountains of sweet eBay moolah in 2016...


Your feedback score is integral to gaining buyers’ trust. If you’re new to the site, eBayers will become spooked by your zero rating and consider you a risk. 

The solution? Make a shedload of cheap buys rightoff the bat. We’re talking toothbrushes; Pop socks; Do The Bartman CDs. Pay immediately and build that squeaky-clean 100% rep in no time.


Your “Apple Mac” might fetch a few grand, but trust us, your “Apel Mack” will go for a lot less. Specialist sites like Goofbid and Fatfingers allow buyers to identify typos and grab a steal at your expense. 

If necessary, get someone to check your spelling over. Maybe even that unbearable grammar Nazi mate of yours. He is, after all, a deeply unhappy man, and would very much appreciate it.


By all means snag some product shots from Google, but there should be at least two original photos in the picture mix (especially if you need to point out minor flaws).

Plain backgrounds are best. Here’s a pro tip: place your item in the bathtub and take your photos there. Ta da – It’ll look just like a super classy, white-backed studio shot! (Provided you’ve cleaned the bath.) (And there isn’t any water in there.) (Or other people.)


Tempting as it may be to fudge the truth about a prominent fudge stain in order to make a quick buck, leaving out product faults in your description never works out in the end. Your buyer will notice, demand a refund and ultimately wreak havoc on your feedback score.

As always, honesty is the best policy. By all means big your product up, but never lie. It’ll come back to bite you on the eBarse. 


You get 20 free listings each month, so this won’t be a problem if you’re only selling a few bits and bobs. Fall back and relax, small-timer.

But if you’re peddling a lifetime’s worth of disappointing Christmas gifts in one go, you should always look out for free listing days in order to avoid that dreaded 35p insertion fee *shudders*


eBay will always give you a suggested starting price – but since when did you listen to authority, huh? You flipping renegade.

It’s a hard one: set the price too low and you risk losing out on a big result; set it too high and you risk losing out on everything.

The best option is to search for the item you’re selling, before ticking ‘Show Only Completed Listings’ on the left-hand panel. There, you’ll see the price that your item has sold for in the past. 


Yeah it’s long and boring, but you should always go to town on your item specifics. That way, you’ll always land a higher place in the search rankings, and people will know exactly what they’re getting.The same goes for your item description box – give as much detail as possible, and build trust with the buyer.


People get ripped off all the time on eBay; like this guy who sold an Xbox One, only to get an email back from the scamming customer saying that he’d only received a box full of garbage and wanted a refund. 

In order to qualify for seller protection, always use the Royal Mail’s Recorded Delivery Service. As long as you can track it online, then eBay’s got your back.


You’ve got to be seen if you want to sell, and that means mastering keywords (i.e. the words that people most often search for).

The best way to do this, much like with anything else in life, is to copy people who are better at it than you. Search for the item you’re looking to sell in this tool, and then just replicate the most successful entry’s wording and details.


God may hate shopping on Sundays, but mere mortals certainly don’t. Sunday evenings are by far eBay’s busiest period, so always aim to finish your auction around then.