Too busy to sell your stuff on eBay? There’s someone who’ll do it for you.
It’s 8.30am on a Monday morning and my dining room table is covered in Build a Bear clothes while on the floor Sylvanian Families houses are arranged along the wall. Upstairs, all the clothes I don’t wear but can’t bring myself to give away are draped across the bed.
I’m due a visit from Liz Law, eBay trader from Hale, who’s been recommended by no fewer than three people… and that was before I even knew what an eBay trader was.
Liz arrives bang on at 8.30am and after a quick chat to introduce ourselves, I pour some coffee and she gets started.
Yes, she’ll take all the Build a Bear stuff, and she’ll try with the games still in their plastic wrappers but won’t make any promises. She says she’ll come back for the Sylvanians houses, once I’ve paired them with some families and furniture which are currently all mixed together in a few boxes.
Then, it’s to the bedroom where she’s more ruthless, taking only higher-end brands (no Next or H&M, thanks) and items with their tags. She doesn’t take anything out of season or without a brand label.
Finally, I get her advice on some furniture I’m thinking of selling. She quickly measures up a bunk bed we agree to list for £100 and she takes some pictures. It’s now five minutes to 9am and we’re done.
Liz carries all my stuff out with her and says she’ll be in touch about the bunks. Later that day, she sends a link showing me my items listed on her eBay store. Needless to say, it’s all going for much less than I’d imagined, but that’s eBay reality for you.
Liz started selling her own things on eBay about 13 years ago and friends started asking her to sell their items as well. When she was made redundant a few years later, she took the plunge, launching her own business as a professional eBay seller under the banner Clear Up Your Clutter. She makes a full-time wage from it, pays the mortgage, pays the bills.
Liz gives her clients between 55-65% of the value of their items once they’ve sold. The rest goes to pay Liz, postage and eBay fees. The bigger and more valuable the item, the less she’ll deduct. Most of her big sales comes from reselling kitchens, doors, radiators from home refurbishments. Smaller clients like me are useful for filling in between these bigger jobs, which often come via builders and architects.
Would she recommend it as a business to other people? She thinks it’s great for mothers, because of the flexibility. You have to be organised (posting things on time, answering queries, keeping mind-boggling spreadsheets). It’s also physical: Liz sells 200-300 items a week, so that’s a lot of trips to the post office, a lot of carrying and a lot of measuring up.
You have to accept a small percentage of buyers who don’t pay (mostly by saying the item hasn’t arrived). But the trickiest part for Liz is managing customers’ expectations of what things will sell for.
The beauty is, if you’re on a mission to clear your clutter like I am, the stuff is out the door and dealt with. And even though it may not be worth as much as you dreamed, you’ll get a cheque through your door in the future and you’ve barely lifted a finger.
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