Do your homework before selling anything on eBay - especially expensive items. Here are some tips I can offer based on my experiences (both good and terrifying).
-Realize both eBay and PayPal are going to take a chunk out of your sale. For specifics, go to their websites.
-Find out what similar items have sold for. Search for your item that you'll be selling - but restrict your search to "completed listings" or "sold listings"
-When you create your listing, include as many photos as you can, especially if it's an instrument that you're selling. Include a detailed description of the item. You should also get an appraisal of the instrument you're selling if it's worth over $1,000 or so. This is to cover you just in case someone tries to return your item after they've bought it and you've listed it as a non-returnable item. eBay likes to say they protect buyers, so any buyer can open a case against a seller to try and return a non-returnable item. This can be a real problem for you if the buyer claims the item isn't exactly as described in the listing...UNLESS you have an appraisal that states otherwise. Can you tell this has happened to me before? The appraisal I had saved me. As soon as I told the buyer about the appraisal he shut up about how the item was not original lacquer, had dents all over, etc. and dropped the case against me.
-Also when you create your listing, be sure to estimate the shipping costs correctly (if it's an instrument or more expensive item). Include the cost of insuring the item while shipping into the shipping cost. If a buyer wins a $2,000 clarinet, you can bet they're going to want to insure it while in transit.
-Do not spend the money you made on the transaction until after the time frame for buyer dispute is over (I think it's about a month or so...again, check their website). Just in case.
-List your item for a week and start the bidding at $1. People get excited and raise the price when they see a low bid on something they want.
-Pack the item well before the final day of bidding. That way you'll be able to ship it out asap after the listing ends. People love it when things come quickly and safely. On eBay your seller rating is very important so you always want good feedback.
-Don't count on your money from the sale to arrive the instant it's over. First, the buyer has to pay. Then, the money has to show up in your PayPal (I believe there are certain time restrictions for newer eBay users). After that, it takes PayPal 3-5 days to transfer it to your bank account. Keep in mind that PayPal takes a chunk out of the transaction. And you'll need to keep a little for the monthly bill eBay will send to you later. So in other words, be patient.
I've always been a hands-on, practical person. I like to know how things work - how all the pieces fit together. This blog is a collection of advice, experiences, and questions intended to be a practical guide for aspiring freelance musicians.