Should I sell big items or small items on eBay?


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Have you noticed you can buy something on eBay the size of an Ipad case cheaper from China with FREE delivery for less money than it costs you to just post it literally to your next door neighbour?

As an example, it costs around $1.30 to post 2 ipad cases from Shenzhen in China to anywhere in the USA, Australia, Canada or the UK however from say Sydney Australia to Sydney Australia costs $7.30?

Why? The reason is most countries including the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK have done a deal with second and third world countries including China to deliver “small” items like letters and small satchels at a very discounted rate, very often way below cost. If you know this and understand it, it is actually very good news for us eBayer’s and I will show you why.

Although these agreements were setup many years ago, most people are not aware of it and when the eBay newbies enter the market, guess what they want to sell, yep small items like mobile phone accessories. Now you have all the competition from China on the small items plus all the competition from the eBay newbies too.

So many times I have seen eBay newbies enter the market, buy some small items from China then sell them on eBay only to find they are madly packing small items but hardly making any money. After a while they burn out and blame the competition from China and the eBay fees.

One of the biggest changes I consistently do for my coaching clients is to replace the small low profit items with bigger, more profitable items and make money online.

As soon as you get away from the items which fit into small satchels, you lose the mass competition from China and the mass competition from the eBay newbies.

On average profits from larger items are much bigger and the competition is much lower. By larger I mean the size of a shoe box or larger.

Many eBay newbies get scared off with the thought of importing larger items as they have never done it before however like anything, once you know how to do it, it is easy.

Let me know your thoughts.

Best regards
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Neil Waterhouse

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12 Responses to Should I sell big items or small items on eBay?

  1. Dan Holmes says:

    Excellent advice, as is your standard. Purchased your ” How to make a Million…”
    recently so still a few $$$ short of the goal. Selling collectibles (vintage) including
    stamps, ephemera, small antiques now but will branch into new, higher profit
    items soon. Any suggestions? (Not a new question, I realize)
    Thanks for the enlightenment, Dan

  2. McKalin says:

    Thank you for this advice as I am new to selling on eBay and was needing some direction.

  3. Lisa Lipman says:

    Very clear and straight forward advice that demystifies the world of eBay buying and selling – so simple even I could do it 🙂

  4. Bob Case says:

    Yes, many of us have been through this conundrum, and you are so correct Neil. Thanks for continuing to share your expertise with us!

  5. Angus says:

    Ah interesting…I wondered how you could buy an item for $1 from China with free shipping! Good to know and thanks.

  6. cameron scott says:

    Hi Neil, im already sourcing bigger items to dropship, once i have done this id like to get the feet wet with importing. so with the bigger items how do we find a great 3PL , specially for someone like me who has absolutely no idea what a good one or a bad one is. also the cost of this 3PL do you just simply add this to your price ?
    thx again love your work. cameron scott

  7. Glenn Ball says:

    Hi Neil and fellow students.
    Firstly I’d like to thank Neil for his valuable information as it gave me the confidence to import my first product.
    Delegating the required information between the relative parties was really the hardest part, but now it’s easy!

    I only used 3 people throughout the entire importing process.
    1. Supplier (Alibaba)
    2. Inspector (Alibaba)
    3. Freight Forwarder

    The key is to ensure all 3 contacts are communicating together and with you.
    Good Luck ?

  8. Sam says:

    Thanks for the information. I recently purchased your book and started listing some cheap items. Sold 3 items and after paying ebay, Paypal, and shiping cost, I lost money on all three items. Not so worried about losing little money since I just started and learning the business. Selling cheap items is not the way to go for sure and still researching items that will make good money.

  9. John says:

    …… probably why AusPost is going ‘broke’ / delivery service declining!
    Deliver millions of items from China for next to nothing and kill off local eCommerce suppliers.
    Increased imports (no profit / losses) and reduced local parcels (less profit) Increase local postage cost ……. reducing local parcels sent and increasing imports. An interesting formula!
    Thankyou for sharing your depth of experience Neil 🙂

    • Andrew Wilkerson says:

      Yep, they are going down, and they deserve it quite frankly, surprised it hasn’t happened already. Hopeless service who do nothing to look after small Australian businesses. No matter how much you learn or do with Ebay it’s Aus Post that will let you down eventually. They are the weak link in just about any online business. I pay them a fortune each month. Basically I just work for them to compensate for their stupid business model. I do all the work, they make all the money. Then when I ask for a discount from my local they act like it cannot be done. This is bullshit and we all know it. 14 years of this crap making THEM money with my online business and ideas, hard work, and what do I have to show? Nothing!!, just keep on taking each day at a time while those lazy arses sit behind their desks or in their trucks and scan items then act like they have the hardest most complicated job in the world when you ask them where your lost parcel got to.
      Goodluck!

  10. Leila says:

    Hi Neil,
    Your articles always provide a lot of insight – thank you.

    However, I refer to your comment “…countries including the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK have done a deal with second and third world countries including China” and would like to make a correction.

    China is now the world’s second largest economy, with the States still being number one.
    Comment such as above, “second/third world country” – I hope you’re not referring to China.
    If you have never been to China or dealt with any Chinese business (which I believe is unlikely), then you’ll find that the world’s SECOND LARGEST economy is overwhelmingly more than what we could ever imagine. Whether it’s technology or science, or in any aspect – it is a country that we should not underestimate.

    I respect the work you do, and as such sincerely hope that you consider twice before making such comments.
    As you know, you are a person of great influence, and impacting people’s perspectives.

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