Tips for Selling Furniture on eBay

man taking photo of furniture he built with tablet
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Most people might not think selling furniture on eBay is do-able. But if you craft a strategy, think about how to overcome obstacles, and use a few specific settings, small furniture can be a profitable item to sell on the world's largest marketplace. It just takes some planning and forethought. 

Concentrate on Smaller Shippable Items

Obviously, it isn't practical or cost effective for the buyer to pay for shipping for a mahogany wardrobe or cherry wood 12 piece dining room set.

(We will cover options for large items in another section.) But smaller items are definitely fair game on eBay. All kinds of small furniture is showing up a antique markets, flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. Combined with the repurposing movement, small furniture can definitely be a win on eBay. Focus on items like:

  • Ottomans
  • End tables
  • Bar stools
  • Plant stands
  • Mosaic tables
  • Accent tables
  • Child size rocking chairs
  • Lamps
  • Steamer trunks
  • Wicker items
  • Office chairs
  • Folding tables and chairs

If the item is unique enough, buyers may overlook the shipping cost. A lot of millennials have eclectic taste and are looking for the most unique items they can find. So go ahead and list the item on eBay and see what kind of offers you get.

How to Set Up Shipping

It is wise to think through shipping before you list the item. Can it be packed in a box? Do you have the right sized box on hand? If not, visit your local home improvement store and look at the moving boxes.

You can always fashion 2 boxes together to make the right size box. Moving boxes are a great choice for shipping furniture because they are strong, heavy duty, and inexpensive.

Do a dry run packing the item in boxes. If it is oversized, you will incur extra charges shipping through USPS. Oversized packages are 84-104 inches in girth.

It is very important to know the shipping charges before listing the item because if you don't charge enough, and the item sells, you are stuck. You cannot go back and charge the buyer more because you didn't do the math. 

Don't assume buyers won't pay an expensive shipping rate. If they want the item badly enough, shipping won't be an issue. If the item is an antique, collectible, or has other intrinsic value, shipping won't matter. Just make sure to do your homework before listing the item so you charge the right amount and pass the shipping charges on to the buyer. 

Offer Local Pickup

Another option for large, bulky, or heavy items is to offer local pickup. Some buyers will buy hundreds of miles to get the right item, so don't assume your item won't sell if you only offer local pick up. eBay's official word on local pick up:

"Sellers who don't want to ship large, heavy, or fragile items, or who would simply prefer not to ship an item, can offer a local pickup option.

Items listed with Local Pickup as the shipping option appear in search results along with items offering other shipping options, no matter where you or the item is located. Read the listing carefully to determine the location of the item and the shipping or local pickup options the seller offers. 

In addition to PayPal or a credit card, you can sometimes use a check, money order, or bank wire transfer to purchase a local pickup item, as specified by the seller in the listing. For more information, see the accepted payments policy."

After the item has been picked up, go to your My eBay and mark the item shipped. You don't want to leave the item in your shipping workflow or the eBay system will think you have not shipped the item and your metrics will suffer. Always require payment before the item is picked up, and always use Paypal so that you will know the funds are good. It isn't a good idea to take a check for an item that is picked up. Selling furniture on eBay is definitely an option if you think through shipping or local pick up options. 

Updated by Suzanne A. Wells on March 30, 2017.