Take your eBay selling to the next level. If you are hungry for the tips, techniques, best practices and resources necessary to run a high volume online auction business, eBay to the Max: Be a Trading Post Owner, Trading Assistant & PowerSeller will give you the information necessary to move to the next level of selling. Working your way towards PowerSeller status? Find out how to get there faster. Already a PowerSeller? Learn how, why and when to become a Trading Assistant. Ready to move on to running other people's auctions? Find out what it takes to become the owner of a retail Trading Post. This book will show you the technical, management and marketing skills it takes to professionally grow your business to the level you desire. You'll learn about: * Hiring, training and managing employees. * Real estate, local regulations, insurance and other issues that come with opening a retail storefront. * Obtaining co-op advertising funds, discounts, and VIP tech support. * All other aspects of running a successful eBay business, such as packing, shipping, and problem resolution.
This insider's view of running an eBay Trading Post and other types of eBay businesses is not available anywhere else. Get the edge on the competition with eBay to the Max: Be a Trading Post Owner, Trading Assistant & PowerSeller.
Table of Contents
What's Inside? I. TAKING EBAY SELLING TO THE NEXT LEVEL. 1. Ten Keys to Success. 1. Commitment. 2. Sufficient Start-up Funding, Well Spent. 3. Effective, Persistent Marketing and PR. 4. Find Great Stuff to Sell. 5. Never Sell Junk. 6. Give Great Customer Service. 7. Create an Efficient, Pleasant Facility. 8. Create Polished Listings and Photos. 9. Pay Attention to the Details. 10. Do Good Recordkeeping. 10 Keys Summary. 2. PowerSelling: The 40,000-foot View. Why eBay Needs Us. The eBay Seller Programs. Your Biggest Decision as a PowerSeller. How Much Do You Need? How Much Would You Like to Earn? What Do You Like? What About Lifestyle? Check Back In. 3. PowerSellers, Trading Assistants, and Trading Posts. What's a PowerSeller? Becoming a PowerSeller. PowerSeller Levels. PowerSeller Recognition. PowerSeller Priority Help. PowerSeller Swag . The PowerSeller Community. Reseller Marketplace. Other PowerSeller Benefits. What's a Trading Assistant? Trading Assistant Requirements. What's a Trading Post? Trading Post Requirements. To Franchise or Not? 4. Budgeting, Forecasting, and Cash Flow. Paralysis by Analysis? Developing Reasonable Assumptions. Check Out the Competition. The Mother of All Assumptions: Selling Price and Item Count. Per-auction Costs. Average Listing and Final Value Fee Rule of Thumb. When Things Go Wrong. Payment Processing Fees. Other Sales-related Fees. A First Stab at Income Estimating. The "Trading Assistant Effect". Estimating Other Expenses. Local Regulations and Expenses. Profitability Rough Cuts: At-home Business. Profitability Rough Cuts: Trading Posts. The Effect of Coupons. Cash Flow Considerations. What Now? II. FACILITIES, ACCOUNTS, AND SYSTEMS. 5. Home Business Versus Retail Space. Advantages and Disadvantages of a Home-based Business. Location, Location, Location. Advantages and Disadvantages of a Commercial Space. Office Space. Sharing Space with Others. 6. Insurance and Security Issues. Deciding on Insurance Coverage. How Much Is Enough? The Bare Minimum. If You Have Employees. If You Occupy Commercial Space. Shipping Insurance. Facility Security Considerations. Securing Your Computers. Getting It All Together. 7. Starting Your Business. Incorporation, Licenses, Agreements, and Accounts. What Type of Company Is Best for You? Partnership Agreements. Franchise Agreements. Business Licenses. Tax Collection Paperwork. Special Business Licenses and Permits. Bank Accounts. Do You Need Multiple eBay Accounts? Do You Need Multiple PayPal Accounts? Merchant Accounts. Other Business Accounts. Getting Started. 8. Computers, Office Equipment, and More. Computers. Which Platform? Which Machines? Broadband and Wireless. Broadband. Wireless. Networking. Printers. Scales. Cash Drawer? Digital Cameras. Photo Lighting and Backgrounds. Photo Backgrounds. Security Cameras. Alarm Systems. Credit Card Machines. Phones. 9. Software. Auction Management Solutions. eBay Selling Manager Pro. eBay Seller's Assistant (Basic and Pro). Auction Management Solutions for Trading Assistants and Trading Posts. What to Look For. Examples of Third-Party "Consignment" Solutions. AuctionTeller. AuctionWagon. Kyozou. Liberty4. TAM. Proprietary Software. Custom/DIY. Photo Capturing. Photo Editing. Contacts. III. FINE TUNING YOUR OPERATION. 10. Pricing Strategies. Sample Pricing Strategies. Let's Make a Deal. Who Pays for What? What's a Fair Percentage? Sliding Scales. Standard and Platinum Pricing. Making Money on Shipping and Handling. Coupons and Sales-Friends or Foes? Creating Your Own Pricing Strategy. 11. Auction Types and Options. Enhanced Listings. Enhancement Fees. Enhancement Options. Combine Enhancements for More Impact. Enhancements in List View Versus Gallery View. Featured Plus! Home Page Featured. Picture Hosting and Features. Picture Manager. Picture Show. Supersize. Types of Auctions. Standard Auctions. Buy It Now. Dutch Auctions. Reserves. eBay Motors. Real Estate. Travel. Tips and Tricks. 12. eBay Stores. Storefront Features. Custom Listing Header. Store Categories. Store Subscription Levels and Fees. Store Feature Level Comparison. Store Listing and Final Value Fees. Saving FV Fees with Your Store. Cross Promotion: Another Store Advantage. Reporting. Customized Pages. Keeping Up with Store Features Evolution. eBay Store Tips. IV. MARKETING, PUBLIC RELATIONS, AND ADVERTISING. 13. Marketing Your Business. Elements of a Marketing Plan. What Is Your Target Audience? Where Are These Folks Found? What Are the Best Ways To Reach Out? What Do They Like and Dislike? What's the Competition Doing? Where Are Your Key Opportunities? What Pricing Strategies Make the Most Sense? What Are Your Short- and Long-Term Goals? How Much Should You Spend on Marketing? Importance of Branding. Creating a Marketing Plan "Rough Cut". 14. Public Relations. Why Good PR Is So Critical. Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro? Writing a Good Press Release. Spreading the News. When to Start. Keep It Coming. Promote Your Brand as Well. Why Do Readers Care? Fund-raisers. Be Careful About Mentioning the Charity's Name in Auctions. 15. Advertising. Timing. Targeting. Traditional Advertising. Signs. Brochures. Fact Sheets. Direct Mail. PennySaver and Similar Mailings. Newspaper Ads. Phonebooks. Radio and Television. Trade Shows and Events. Internet Advertising. Trading Assistant Directory. Related Web Sites. Keyword Advertising. Your eBay Store Can Generate Search Hits. Your About Me Page. Non-Traditional Advertising. Handbills. Car Wraps. Inflatables and Other Gimmicks. Measuring Success. Co-op Advertising Reimbursements from eBay. Make a Rough Plan. V. GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS. 16. What to Sell. The Level Playing Field Dilemma. What Sells Best on eBay. Specialize or Generalize? Selling What You Know and Love. Seasonal Items. But Will It Work? Can You Get Enough to Sell? Minimum Selling Price. What Margins Do You Need? Dollars-per-cubic-foot. Accessorizing. Up-selling. Trend Chasing. Mystery Sales and Other Gimmicks. That Crazy Community of Ours. 17. Getting Great Stuff to Sell. Direct from the Manufacturer. Local Retail Stores. Local Car Dealers. Wholesale Lots Warehouses. Local Auctions. Storage Company Auctions. eBay's Wholesale Lots Categories. eBay's New Reseller Marketplace. Hiding in Plain Sight. With a Little Help from Your Friends. Direct Solicitation. Want It Now. Spread the Word. 18. Customer Service. Customer Service for Buyers. During the Auction. Boilerplate Email Responses. Personalized Email and Phone Responses. Shipping and Post-Sale Communication. Additional Customer Service Tasks for Trading Assistants. Pre-sale Questions. Once the Auction Begins. When the Auction Ends. If the Auctions End Badly. Use the Telephone. Creating Your Own Customer Service Policies. 19. Research. Online Research Tools and Techniques. Terapeak. Other Research Tools. The Collector's Information Bureau. The PBS Antiques Roadshow and FYI Sites. The Antique Web. Building Your Own Reference Library. Community Resources. Research Do's and Don'ts. 20. When to Say No. It's Junk. It's Beyond Your Shipping Capabilities. It's on eBay's Prohibited List. It's On Your (or Your Franchisor's) Prohibited List. You Question Its Authenticity. You Think You'll Be "VeROed". It Appears to Be Stolen. You Have Safety Concerns. To Sell or Not To Sell? 21. Check-in and Recordkeeping. What Records Should You Keep? Item Information. Customer Information. Manual or Automated? Discussions at Check-in. How You Say "No" Is Important, Too. Negotiating Starting Prices, Reserves, and Fees. Terms and Conditions. Signed Item Receipt. "What Happens Next?" Information. Customer Paperwork. 22. Managing Workflow. What It Takes to Sell an Item. Management Tasks and Communications. The Players. Order and Dependencies. Bottlenecks and Remedies. Layout. Setting Goals and Standards. Planning for Growth. Tips and Tricks. 23. Photography. Take the Right Pictures. Take Enough Pictures. Make Photos Inviting. Illustrate Scale. Think About the Gallery Shot. Don't Mislead. Use Props to Set the Stage. Include Nameplates and Serial Numbers. Ten Quick Photography Tricks. 24. Writing Great Titles and Descriptions. The Objectives. The Title. Abbreviations. Misspellings. The Description. What's Unique? Reassure Buyers About You as the Seller. Make Buyers Imagine Owning It. Cross-Promote. Build Customer Confidence. Point Out the Flaws. Text Sells! 25. Listing Items. Type of Auction. Get Help Picking Categories. Use Item Specifics When Offered. Pick Store Categories. Schedule for Your Audience. Use Your Own Picture Server or Service. Remember to Specify Gallery Photo Addresses. Specify the Right Payment Options for Each Auction. Choose Shipping Locations Carefully. Shipping Options and Costs Are Important. Get the Weight Right. Offer Combined Item Options if Possible. Fine-tune Your Buyer Requirements. Buyers In Countries to Which I Don't Ship. Buyers with a Negative Feedback Score. Buyers with Unpaid Item Strikes. Buyers Who May Bid on Several of My Items and Not Pay for Them. Double-check Your Listings. 26. Managing Current Auctions. Modifying Auctions. Watching Bids and Watchers. Answering Questions. Spotting Problem Bidders. Blocking Bidders. Canceling Bids and Ending Auctions Early. Harnessing Your Power. 27. Packing and Shipping. Getting Help from Carriers. Packing Everyday Items. Packing Fragile Items. Shipping Valuable Items. Oversized and Heavy Items. Measuring Dimensional Size. Send Big Items on the Bus. To Recycle or Not? Print Your Own Labels and Postage. Ask for a Discount. Use Stealth Mode Postage Printing. A Final Thought. 28. Feedback. The Feedback Forum. People Care About Feedback. New eBay Feedback Policies. The "Pile On" Problem. Spotting Troublemakers. Managing Feedback. Who's in Charge of Feedback at Your Place? When to Leave Feedback. Automating Feedback. Responding to Ugly Feedback. Mutual Withdrawals. Getting eBay to Withdraw Feedback. Mediation Through SquareTrade. 29. eBay As a Partner. Your PowerSeller Rep. PowerSellers' Site. Co-Op Ad Funds. Directories. The Announcement Board and Email Alerts. eBay Radio. Insurance Programs. Avoiding eBay's Wrath. Understand eBay Policy. Avoid Even the Appearance of Shill Bidding. Making Suggestions. 30. Problem Resolution. Nonpaying Bidders. Checkout Problems. Payment Processing Problems. Check's in the Mail. Waiting for My Invoice. Spam Blocker Ate My Homework. Hardship. Buyers' Remorse. Reminding and Filing. Sometimes NPBs Are a Good Thing! Unhappy Winners. Lost/Damaged Goods. Spoof Emails. Account Takeovers. Fraud Investigations Team (FIT). Book Dealers' Advice for eBay Users. Problem Resolutions Tips. VI. OPENING A TRADING POST. 31. Location and Layout. Working in a Garage or Basement. Opening a Trading Post. Get Professional Help. Know the Regulations. Make a Space Plan. The Lobby. Photography. Listing and Photo Editing Workstations. Inventory and Employee Areas. Shipping and Receiving. How Will It Look to Visitors? Start Dreaming! 32. Finding and Keeping Great Help. Revisit Your Goals. Hire Enthusiasts. Keep It Lean. Employee Handbook, Policies, and Benefits. Finding People. Not Getting Enough Candidates? Deciding. The Players. eBay Seller's Assistant. Manager. Photographer. Lister. Packer/Shipper. Sample Want Ads. eBay Seller's Assistant. eBay Drop Store Manager Wanted. eBay Photographer Wanted. Experienced eBay Writer Wanted. eBay Store Packer/Shipper/Greeter. Help Them Grow, Make Them Want to Stay. Index.
Ron Mansfield is a computer consultant, instructor, and freelance writer. Recently he joined the team at www.i-soldit.com to help roll out the premier eBay drop store franchise network with more 100 stores open and 400 under contract. In his spare time he enjoys collecting, restoring, buying, and selling collectible electronics from the fifties and sixties. He has achieved PowerSeller status, runs an eBay Store, and an active online community for enthusiasts of mid-century electronics. His best-selling, award winning books have been published by Que and others in eighteen countries, in more than a dozen languages.