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We make our money on eBay when we buy, not when we sell


Do you remember your parents saying “it’s easier not to make the mess than to clean it up”? make our money on eBay when we buy, The same goes for products we sell on eBay. If we have a product to sell which we have either paid too much for, or hardly anybody wants (low volume), then we are facing an uphill battle to sell it / them. Sure the items can normally be sold by optimizing / tweaking the listing however it is much easier and profitable to make our profits when we buy an item than when we sell it.

Conversely, if we only buy products to sell on eBay that everybody already wants (high volume) and we can purchase them for less than half of the price than they are being sold for, then it is a piece of cake to sell them.

Like most things in life, our only indication of the future is past history.  In the case of a product on eBay, if an item has been continuously selling for the last 3 months for say $50 and selling 20 times every month, all things being equal it should do the same next month. Obviously Christmas lights will not sell as well in January as they did in December however we never sell anything that is seasonal.

This also does not take into account extra competition that may enter the market however this is why we only sell items with margins over 100%.  If a new competitor sells the same product, we have plenty of margin left to still make profit.

Recently I was asked to consult for a company to help improve their eBay profits. The first thing I always do for clients is research the past history for each item on eBay. I check the average sale price for the last 12 months as well as the sales volume, i.e. how many of each item sold over each 30 day period so that i can analyze items that make money on ebay.

Out of the first 20 products I researched, only 4 made the grade of being what we class as an “eBay hot product” , that is they have a proven history of continuously making more than 100% profit, selling more than 15 times per month and are priced between $20 and  $150.

Last week I did an eBay seminar / workshop for the Warringah Chamber of commerce and this same issue came up for multiple people.

When we have a product which meets the above criteria for an “eBay hot product”, we can have the worst ad on eBay and they STILL sell.  However if we have a product which hardly anybody wants or we paid too much for it, then we are going to have to make sure we have a fully optimized ad listing.  See my previous blog on “Tips on how to get ranked in the top 5% with eBay’s new best match”.

During the  eBay seminar / workshop for the Warringah Chamber of commerce, this same question came up multiple times.

Sure, most often eBay ad listings can be tweaked to dramatically improve sales,  however tweaking ads for hot products with high margins gets even bigger results.

Next week I will write a list of tweaks we can do to improve an eBay listing.

To your success
Neil Waterhouse

Author – Million Dollar eBay Business from Home – A Step by Step guide –

Which Items make eBay Sellers the most money on eBay?

The most critical part of start successful ebay business

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14 thoughts on “We make our money on eBay when we buy, not when we sell”

  1. Chaminda Athapattu

    Thanks Neil,

    I love your blog.
    One thing I have noticed is that many products that seem to have a 100% profit margin on paper, actually don’t give that margin once the shipping costs are added in a ‘ free shipping’ situation .
    It happened to me a few times.

    Can’t wait for the next blog regarding ‘tweaks’


    1. Hi Chaminda,

      Yes you are correct, free postage does eat up some of the margin. Today we are shipping all small items with free postage as the eBay’s “Voyager” search algorithm bumps the listings higher with free postage.

      For small items, try to pack them in an envelope to make them less than 2cm high, this allows them to be posted for the price of a letter instead of the price of parcel. $1.50 against $6.50. Big difference to your margin.

      Sometimes this will involve removing the item from its packaging.



  2. Chaminda Athapattu

    Thanks Neil,

    I use the ‘ 2 cm’ rule to my advantage already.
    Isn’t eBay rolling out a new algorithm now?

    I saw some comments from sellers complaining that it brings cheap, poor quality to the top of the page


  3. This email is for small articles I use for ebay. I have rec’d numerious emails to do the same as your program, why? How is it that you can start with no money? Thanks in advance for your reply.

  4. I already sell an item on ebay and I’m looking to add more to build up to a stay at home business..
    You mention in your book about setting up several ebay businesses so you can keep your 100% feed back (I have 100% also) , not have any issues etc. Can I set up another front but still keep my same business bank account and email
    or is it best to keep all seperate

  5. Isn’t it hard, or nearly impossible to source items these days that have both high volume of sales AND provide high 100% profit margin? The competition is insane and the prices are a race to the bottom. Is there a solution?


  6. Hi Neil

    This is all fine information however you don’t go into any detail what so ever here on how to actually buy products that are profitable. I know you run your research company for this and I bought one product and thus far haven’t taken advantage of it as it is too expensive to buy and import at the MOQ the seller is requiring so I consider that a dead deal. Your information supplied was sound but the implementation of that information into use meant that there was no chance of me actually being able to afford the products to start selling. I sort of exected the products to be affordable with an MOQ that was reasonable. I also tried to source it from other companies and got ridiculous and meaningless quotes for unrelated products.

    I am specifically looking for instruction on how you go about finding great products and to date it seems that information is kept secret and rightly so as you are throwing money away by telling every one.

    If you have something you can point me toward that will educate me better on how to pick a profitable product to target and then source it then I could start fishing myself rather than relying on your service that is more like a lucky dip than something that is usable from my experience.


    1. Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Neil is not in the office today however in regards to “keeping the instruction secret to find products”, Neil offers this information in several ways.

      1. The free email service which he writes every week and offers the information for free.
      2. Neil’s book “Million Dollar ebay Business From Home – A step by Step Guide”
      3. “How to source products” DVD available on the website
      4. Neil does presentations every month for ebay meetup groups where he donates his time for free. One of the presentations he does is “How to source products”
      5. 1 day seminars which includes how to source – Information on these is on the website.
      6. Private consulting and coaching

      Currently Neil is writing a home study course which will also include product sourcing. Neil hopes to have this finished in the next 3 months.

      Hope that helps.


      1. Yes, the ‘how to’ will come along, but it’s the fundamental concepts shared in posts like this which are invaluable.

  7. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for your post — informative as ever.
    How does your hot seller check work with an existing stock of one-off hand-crafted jewellery. Do we look on the eBay records (via Terapeak presumably) for items of jewellery that are as similar as possible to the items we have in stock to see how well they sell on eBay. If we find we have items that are reasonably similar to items that are NOT hot sellers, do we then assume that our quite similar items will also be poor sellers, so we then discount them so they’re offered on eBay at much reduced prices (say at cost, plus a loading to cover shipping), just to clear them out? If these same items are listed on our website and on display in our shop, do we reduce these prices also, or should the reduced price only apply to items we list on eBay (that is, those items that are similar to items we have found to be poor sellers on eBay)? (As advertising on eBay is prohibited, our eBay viewers and customers will not know about our website and/or our shop).

  8. Hi Chris
    I have sent an email to you multiple times regarding your program.I am not getting any response.Can u pls reply

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Neil Waterhouse

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