How to Be an eBay Trading Assistant

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eBay ended its official eBay Trading Assistant program in 2013, replacing it with the eBay Valet program, which was closed down in 2018. However, that doesn't mean you can't provide eBay assistant services in your own business. Many people have used and unwanted items they want to sell, but they don't want the hassle of photographing, listing, and shipping them, and they'd be happy to pay someone to do it for them.

What does an eBay Trading Assistant Do?

eBay Trading Assistants help people sell their items on eBay. eBay Trading Assistants who operate a home business typically go out to client's homes or businesses to photograph and pick up items and then sell them on eBay on consignment, with the Trading Assistant handling all of the details of the sale and collecting a commission once the item is sold.

The commissions that eBay Trading Assistants charge vary widely, from as little as 5 percent to 50 percent. A home-based eBay Trading Assistant offers convenience to customers, many of whom can't be bothered with selling the items themselves on eBay.

The Pros of Being a Trading Assistant

If you have experience on eBay but don't want the hassle of dealing with collecting items to sell, you can offer help to others who have items to sell. Other benefits include:

  • Set your own policies and frees, as long as they abide by the terms of eBay.
  • Little upfront investment — the clients supply the inventory. So there's minimal financial risk.
  • Tons of tools and resources to improve number and prices of sales.
  • Because official trading assistant program is gone and many of the walk-in trading assistant stores are gone, competition is down.

The Cons of Being a Trading Assistant

Building a client base is perhaps the toughest part of getting started. Most of your clients will come from your local area.

  • Driving to clients, organizing and inventorying items takes time and travel.
  • You need space to store customer merchandise. It will be important to check with your local zoning rules to make sure it's okay to store inventory.
  • eBay and other resources for selling stuff online is easier than ever to use, so many people are simply doing it themselves.
  • You may have clients that are unhappy with the amount their items sold for.

What You Need to Get Started

Getting started as an eBay assistant is quick and affordable, but there are a few things you need to know or have, such as:

  • A strong knowledge of eBay about everything from listing procedures to average prices.
  • Some retailing/merchandising ability.
  • Photography skills and a camera.
  • An eBay account in good standing/
  • Good people skills to work with your customers.

Along with these skills, you'll need to set up an official business including:

  • Creating a business name. You shouldn't use eBay in your name as that would be a violation of the eBay trademark.
  • Get a business licence
  • Decide what you'll charge
  • Create a contract outlining your services and fees, as well as policies such as what happens if the item doesn't sell.
  • Create a business plan
  • Write a marketing plan

Other Options

If you're successful on eBay, chances are you have the knowledge and experience to assist clients on other sites like Etsy, Fulfillment by Amazon, or one of the many other online selling platforms.

Some other ideas for making money with your eBay knowledge include:

  • Consulting: Instead of taking care of the sales, you can consult with people to help them do it themselves.
  • Training: You can offer training or workshops to teach others how to sell their stuff online.
  • Start your own auction or sell-used-stuff site: Instead of using other online selling platforms, start your own. Today it's easy and affordable with plug-and-play tools. For example, you can build a WordPress site and use an auction plugin.
  • Get a job as an online auction assistant: In some ways, this work is similar to being a virtual assistant, as it requires many of the same skills such as data entry. Sometimes these jobs require customer service as well. You can search or ZipRecruiter to find auction or ecommerce assistant jobs.