How to Lower Your eBay Seller Fees for Maximum Profit

eBay fees
Lower eBay fees by paying attention to the details. Getty Images

 "A small leak will sink a great ship." This is a famous quote by Benjamin Franklin. Entrepreneurs should take this seriously, as it isn't just a witty quote, but it is true. Small expenses add up over time and can seriously impact the bottom line if left unchecked. eBay fees are no different. Just as you re-evaluate a cable TV, internet, cell phone, or life insurance bill from time to time, it is also smart to re-evaluate eBay fees to make sure you are paying the lowest amount possible for your specific business.

Here are  a few tips for how and where to check fees on  your eBay account and make sure everything is in order.

Start With the Profit Calculator

Start at the lowest level - meaning each individual transaction. Before you even attempt to buy an item for resale, or list something lying around the house, make sure it is going to be profitable. Some sellers use the "3 times rule" which means that the item should sell for 3 times what you paid for it, but this rule isn't practical if you only paid 50 cents for an item. The best strategy is to shoot for a particular dollar amount of profit per item. It takes the same amount of time (generally speaking) to list a $5 item as it does a $50 item. Focus on listing higher dollar items so that you are making more money for your time.

A great free tool to use for figuring out profit is the New Life Auctions eBay and Paypal Calculator. Simply plug in the cost you paid for the item, your desired selling price, the type of listing (auction, fixed price, or store), shipping charged to the customer, shipping to be paid by the customer, and the calculator will show your profit per item.

When you boil it down to the nuts and bolts, each individual sale adds up so make sure you are making money on each sale. See a demo here. 

To grow your eBay business, set a minimum profit goal for each item. For example, if your desired profit it $10 per item, and you sell 50 items a month, your total profit will be $500.

Increase that minimum profit to $20 per item, your total profit grows to $1,000 a month. The devil is in the details. Make sure you are selling profitable items and not just keeping yourself busy with listing and shipping. If you aren't sure that your business is profitable, this spreadsheet will help.

Re-Evaluate Your Store Level

eBay offers several store levels. You may see a discount on fees when either upgrading or downgrading to a different level. The store subscription level needs to work for your unique business. The fees are as follows:

Basic Store $24.95 per month, 250 free listings, 20 cents for each fixed price listing after 250 free

Premium Store $74.95 per month, 1,000 free listings, 10 cents for each fixed price listing after 1,000 free

Anchor Store $349.05 per month, 10,000 free listings, 5 cents for each fixed price listing after 10,000 free

See the full details on eBay store fees here.

Use the eBay Fee Illustrator calculator to determine which store level is best for your business. It is a good idea to check your numbers every few months to verify you are paying as few fees as possible.

Be Careful with Listing Upgrades

Listing upgrades are those features like bold, highlight, and subtitle that eBay claims make items sell better. (I have personally tested these and found no difference in sales when they are used, but you be the judge for your unique business. Everyone's business is different.) Listing upgrades can cost up to $4 per listing, so use these with caution. Also be aware that sometimes eBay slips in the "enlarge gallery photo" option for $1 on listings. Always check the bottom of the page for fees before submitting a listing. Make sure it says zero, 20 cents, or whatever is correct for your store subscription level. If you hit submit and eBay has snuck in an upgrade, you still have to pay it. Always review listings before pressing submit on a listing.


An eBay business can evolve over time so stay in the loop regarding fees and expenses. No one will watch out for your business so it is up to each individual seller to stay informed of the fees and how they are applied to the monthly summary. Remember that a small leak will sink a great ship. Don't let little eBay fees cost you more than they have to in the long run.


Updated by Suzanne A. Wells on September 26, 2016.