How to Lower Your eBay Seller Fees for Maximum Profit

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Like with any business, fees are part of reality for those selling on eBay. It's wise to re-evaluate eBay fees on a regular basis to make sure you are paying the lowest amount possible for your business.

Be Careful With Listing Upgrades

Listing upgrades include features like bold, highlight, and subtitle that eBay claims make items sell better. If on the phone with an eBay representative, he or she no doubt will try to sell you on listing upgrades. These representatives are call center employees reading from a script and likely have no experience selling on eBay. In many instances, the listing upgrades simply aren't worth the money. They can cost up to $4 per listing, so test them out on a few listings first, then make your own decision.


Also be aware that sometimes eBay slips in an "enlarge gallery photo" option for $1 on listings. Always check the bottom of the page for your total 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. 

Start With the Profit Calculator

Before you buy an item for resale, or list something lying around the house, make sure it is going to be profitable and worth your time. The best strategy is to shoot for a specific dollar amount of profit per item. It takes the same amount of time to list a $5 item as it does a $50 item, so concentrate on selling higher dollar items to earn the maximum amount of money per hour possible. Some sellers adhere to the "3 times rule," which means items should sell for 3 times what you paid for them. This rule isn't practical if you paid only 50 cents for an item.

This rule also comes from the regular retail world where margins, market conditions, and everything else is different from eBay.

A great free tool to use for figuring out profit is the New Life Auctions eBay and Paypal Calculator. Simply fill out the price you paid for the item, your desired selling price, the listing format (auction, fixed price, or store), shipping fees charged to the customer, and the calculator will show your profit per item. There also are apps for eBay profit calculating you can use on your phone, and most are free. 

To grow your eBay business, set a minimum profit goal for each item. For example, if your desired profit is $10 per item, and you sell 50 items a month, your total profit would be $500. Increase that minimum profit to $20 per item, and your total profit grows to $1,000 a month. Be sure you are selling profitable items and not just keeping yourself busy with listing and shipping. If you aren't sure your business is profitable, a spreadsheet can help.

Re-Evaluate Your Store Level

Ebay offers several store levels, so make sure you are at the appropriate level for what you are doing. Also, consider upgrading or downgrading when changes to your business or life make it beneficial to do so. For example, if you are getting ready to move across the country with a job transfer and downsizing your inventory, you don't need a higher store level. As of 2018, the fees are as follows:

  • Starter Store: $7.95 per month, 100 free listings, 30 cents for each listing thereafter
  • Basic Store: $27.95 per month, 250 free listings, 25 cents for each fixed-price listing thereafter
  • Premium Store: $74.95 per month, 1,000 free listings, 10 cents for each fixed-price listing thereafter
  • Anchor Store: $349.95 per month, 10,000 free listings, 5 cents for each fixed-price listing thereafter

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 little in fees as possible.