Selling On eBay

I joined eBay in 1999. It became my go to place to find models no-longer-in-production, and it became a great place to periodically thin my stash.  It was really quite enjoyable.

eBay came in handy when we packed up and moved to Arizona in 2014.  We were downsizing.  Tons of stuff we had accumulated over the years in New England had to go.  Anything that was mailable was disposed of via eBay.

Then guess what happened.  You are quite correct, the stash got out of control again!  I consulted with a modeling friend back in New England who has been using eBay to thin out his stash.  (Thanks, Dave, your advice has proven invaluable.)

A lot has changed in the way eBay does business.

PayPal is gone or rather de-coupled from eBay.  They can work everything through your bank account.  It is much handier.

The sale fees have gone up, but what hasn’t?  On the good side, you can list a lot each month and pay no fee until the item sells.  This invites you to keep renewing your listing until the item sells.  A bazillion people a day browse the listings on eBay.  Someone will show up sooner or later to buy most anything.

Shipping rates are through the roof everywhere.  eBay is no exception, as they depend on the USPS.  Twenty years ago, a $3.25 stamp took up to 2 pounds anywhere in the USA.  Now it seems that the cost is at least $10 or much more.  And some of the major Internet retailers are selling on eBay and offer very cheap shipping, probably because they have some bulk shipping deal with UPS.  

Some people offer “free” shipping, but they seem to not understand what “free” means.  On those items I see the sale price loaded by the probable amount of postage.  For example, a kit reasonably selling for $15 with $12 shipping is sold for $27 with “free” shipping.

Everything seems to be offered by “stores”, i.e., people who are simply merchants using eBay as their storefront.  It used to a virtual flea market with individual sellers and just a few merchants.

None of this is a complaint on my part.  The cost is what it is in 2022.  1999 is way back in the rearview mirror.  But the increasing cost of shipping is driving the sale price of kits down as the sellers may have to eat some of that cost to make the sale.  Capitalism at work.

I read/hear some complaining about “eBay bandits” asking way too much and trying to rip off the poor modeler.  Frankly, that is nonsense.  The poor modeler needs to decide what price the kit is worth to him/her.  If the seller wants ten times that amount, ignore the listing and keep looking.  The buyer has no right to demand the item be sold for a certain amount.

One helpful thing eBay does when you are listing something for sale is to tell you where a successful seller started the bidding and what had been the average amount paid for the item in other auctions.  This helps quite a bit to give you a starting point when you are not sure.

If you do sell some items on eBay, huge profits are probably not going to appear.  That is unless you somehow foresaw the collapse of Wingnut Wings and bought many dozens of Sopwith Camel kits just before the end.

The bottom line is that a lot has changed, but eBay still provides us with a way to thin our stashes thereby giving other modelers a chance to enlarge theirs.  And, best of all, you have a little extra money to buy more kits and fill that stash again.  It is all good.