The Top Tools All eBay Sellers Need

eBay tools
Only a few tools are really needed for an eBay business. Getty Images

eBay is its own universe with its own acronyms, language, and networking groups. All kinds of industries have sprung up around eBay. Out of the eBay platform, services, products, and tools have sprung up like wildfire. These companies want you to believe that their service or tool is essential for eBay success. Having been an eBay seller since 2003, I can attest with some authority that most of the ancillary eBay services and tools are completely unnecessary, and really just a way for someone (who usually has never sold on eBay) to make a buck.

There are really only a very few necessary tools needed to effectively operate an at-home eBay business. 

A Scale

All eBay sellers, large or small, absolutely need a good desktop scale. This type of scale isn't for printing postage, but for weighing items so that postage can be accurately calculated. There are a couple of fatal errors new sellers make when they try to run an eBay business without a scale:

  • Using flat rate mailers and boxes. Yes, they are convenient, but not always accurate. You may either over charge the customer or short yourself when using a flat rate mailer. 
  • Guessing. The weight may be wrong and the package could be returned or the buyer charged a fee upon delivery.
  • Using a household bathroom scale. These are not accurate to the ounce and again, you may overcharge the customer or worse, undercharge the customer and they will have to go the post office to pick up the package because postage is due.

    A great scale for eBay sellers is the WeighMax. It costs less than $20 on eBay or Amazon. The scale works with a battery or AC/DC adapter and goes up to 70 lbs. Remember, when selling on eBay, the most fair and accurate way to charge the customer for shipping is to use calculated. Here is a video on exactly how to charge for shipping on eBay.

    A Mannequin

    If you plan to sell any clothing on eBay, a half-torso mannequin is a good idea. Half-torso mannequins are hollow, made of plastic, and can easily hang on a wreath hanger on a door, or on a screw in the wall. They weigh less than 5 lbs, store easily in a closet, are durable, and last forever. Buyers can get a better idea of the clothing you are selling when it is displayed on a mannequin. Half-torso mannequins come in children, women, men, and plus size options. Best of all, these mannequins can be purchased on eBay for around $20 including shipping. 

    Most sellers start on eBay selling items in their own homes, and clothing is usually at the top of the list. You should definitely invest in a half-torso mannequin for ladies clothing. It just sells better. According to a clothing expert on HubPages:

    "Statistically, clothing being displayed on a mannequin is sold faster at a higher percentage of the time versus clothing which is on a hanger, or placed over a table. What's better is that it sells for at least a 5%-35% increase in sales price as well. Once a certain item begins selling faster, that's when you can start increasing your price."

    Presentation is everything. Remember, on eBay the only thing standing between you and your buyer is a computer screen.

    Make sure your merchandise looks as appealing as possible. 

    A Bookkeeping System

    Whether you are a hobby seller, full-time seller, or occasional seller, you still need to know how the money is flowing. Even if eBay is a hobby, it still costs money to sell things and you should know if you are making a profit, breaking even, or operating at a loss. Even more so if you are a full-time seller. Deposits to your PayPal account do not mean you are making a profit. 

    Any person selling on eBay should have some kind of bookkeeping system. It could be a simple Excel spreadsheet or QuickBooks. Or, it could be good old-fashioned pen and paper. Whatever it is, make sure you know if you are making profit! This is a great bookkeeping spreadsheet made for eBay sellers, by an eBay seller.

    Beware of companies approaching you with listing tools, marketing systems, or complicated photography paraphernalia.

    Most sellers don't need anything other than the items listed above. The key to success on eBay is offering a quality product, presenting it well, pricing it fair, and quick shipping. Anything else is just fluff.