Start an Easy Home Business - Become an eBay Trading Assistant
EBay's online auctions have created business opportunities for thousands of people. Now the Trading
Assistant program is making it easier than ever to start a business from home. Trading assistants act
as brokers, selling merchandise for others and keeping a percentage of the profits. The profit
potential can be great, especially when selling high-value items.
Though there are millions of registered users on eBay, many people still don't know how to sell goods
themselves. A trading assistant fills a need in the marketplace, allowing you to make a profit while
helping others unload their stuff. Almost everyone has a box of items in their garage or closet that
they would like to sell.
You will need to decide what types of products you are willing to sell and may want to set a minimum
value on merchandise you accept. It can be difficult to make a profit on $5 items, so many assistants
require the products have a minimum estimated sales value of $10 or $20.
Most assistants set their fees between 20%-40% of the ending auction price. You may also want to
charge a per-item listing fee of $1 - $5, and possibly deduct this from the commission if the auction
As a trading assistant, you will list the item for sale, handle all buyer questions, collect payment
and shipping fees from the buyer and ship the item. You may also need to do some research on your
customers' items to determine their value. Search the closed listings to find out what similar items
have sold for and list your auctions accordingly.
You should create a simple contract that your customers sign to indicate that they agree to your
services and fees. You can check out the competition in your area to determine what services other
assistants are offering and how they are structuring their fees. Check eBay's
directory by zip code.
You will also need to decide how to obtain the items from your seller. You could offer a pickup service
and visit customers' homes and complete a contract there. Or you can offer a drop-off service, where
customers bring their items to you. Many assistants operate from their garage so buyers don't have to
enter their homes.
Promote Your Business on Ebay
Ebay offers a directory of trading assistants that consumers can use to locate services in their
geographic area. To get listed in the official trading assistant program, eBay requires that you have
a feedback rating of at least 50, have sold at least one item in the past 30 days, and maintain
satisfaction rating of 97% or higher.
A listing in the official directory is free and you can also download best practices information and
other tools from eBay at
Trading Assistant Toolkit.
Other Ways to Promote Your Business
Here are some ideas for getting the word out about your service:
Create a simple brochure and ask nearby businesses to display them for you.
Leave brochures or fliers on doorsteps in your neighborhood.
Place classified ads in the local newspapers.
Place free classified ads on www.craigslist.org.
Contact small business owners and offer your services to them.
They may want to unload their overstock and your service could provide the perfect solution.
Post fliers and brochures at colleges, retirement centers, and community centers.
Ask your kid's school to mention your service in the newsletter.
Visit garage sales and flea markets and offer your services to sellers.