How to Make Money on eBay: A Complete Guide to eBay Selling

To make money on eBay, you must sign up for an account and sell a physical product. In this article, we will show you the steps you need to take to make money on eBay, including print-on-demand as a dropshipping process.

 min read
February 18, 2024
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I have been in the eCommerce industry for a long while now, starting in 2018. And I have sold a lot of things on eBay since then. 

We will discuss: 

  • What eBay does and how different it is from other platforms
  • Understanding niches and why it is important in eBay retail
  • Best tools to use to do eBay product research 
  • How to sell on three stores (platforms) with only one control dashboard

In the end, you will have the right mindset and information to start your eBay business. We will also throw in some of the best practices to speed up your eBay success. Let us start! 

What is eBay and How Do You Make Money?

To make money on eBay, you need to create an account, and then post items for sale. It is no different from Etsy or Amazon, except that eBay gives you the option to sell your items through auction. 

Auction is ideal only for pre-loved items that have a high demand, or limited-edition items that manufacturers will never produce again. 

For anything else that is typical—brand new products, for example, you must sell them like you would in any marketplace.  

Ways to Make Money on eBay

There are three main ways by which you can make money with eBay. These are: 

• Sell Your old stuff

• Buy stuff from others and sell for more

• Find a niche and a supplier and start selling their products 

Let us take a quick look at each one.

1. Sell your old stuff

If you take the time, there is always something in your house that you do not need anymore. These are things that have been lying around for years that you no longer use. 

Here are some examples: 

  • Old jeans and clothing
  • Playing cards or collectible items
  • Toys and action figures you bought on impulse
  • Machinery and appliances you no longer use


  • You make money off junk
  • You do not need capital
  • There is surely someone out there interested in what you sell


  • You will not make a lot of money
  • It can take some time to find a buyer

My take is this: anything that you no longer use and has no sentimental value or no future use is a good candidate for “disposal.” Sell these things even at a “financial loss.” It is better this way than to let them rot. Earn what you can from them and put that money to good use. 

2. Buy stuff from others and sell for more

Another thing you can do is to flip items or goods. You can buy stuff from flea markets and garage sales, and then sell them for a higher price on eBay. 

There was this show I used to watch on History Channel called “American Pickers.” In this reality show, two people looked for old stuff like old gasoline cans, Americana items, old plate numbers, and all sorts of things. 

They bought these seemingly ancient and forgotten things from collectors and then sold them for a higher price to people who could appreciate these relics of the past. 


  • You can easily double your money if you know how to find value in other people’s “junk”
  • There is no shortage of flea markets and garage sales
  • You do not need a huge capital; a hundred dollars is more than enough


  • It can take some time to find buyers
  • It is exhausting because you need to buy these things physically
  • You may misjudge an item’s value and not make a lot of money from it 

Some say that the show was rigged or that these programs were a set-up. However, it is not too far from reality. Even Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, suggests “flipping” as a side hustle.      

3. Find a niche and a supplier and start selling their products 

This process is what we call dropshipping. It is a kind of retail where you do not need to buy stocks. Instead, you sell someone else's products (the supplier’s products) and only pay the supplier once a customer already placed an order in your online store. 


  • You can do this for free
  • You can make serious money if you take the time to learn
  • Your likelihood or risk of financial is small   
  • You can use machines, programs, or AI to make your work easier


  • There is a lot of competition
  • There are so many things to learn like marketing, advertising, copywriting, product selection, etc.  

The entire process has automation options. For example, you can use a supplier database system like Printify, and then integrate that with your eBay store. You will then post the supplier’s product images to your eBay store as if you own these products. 

Once a customer orders a product from you, you notify the supplier, pay them, and then they will ship the item to your customer. The profit you make is the difference between your selling price and the supplier’s price.  

How to Choose an eBay Niche

You will find it hard to succeed if you do not attack a niche in the dropshipping or online retail business. It is always problematic if you just sell random items—or what we call general dropshipping or retail.  

A niche is a specialization, and it is the line of business that you want people to know you for. For example, if you want to sell sneakers, then you want to sell sneakers only or items related to that. In this section, we will show you the right way to choose an eBay niche.

1. You must understand the niche

Think about it: it makes no sense to sell bonsai tools and materials if you do not plant bonsai yourself. You are bound to fail because you will not know what customers are looking for in this particular niche. 

As such, you have to choose a niche that you understand. If you sell coffee brewer appliances, make sure you know how they work, what their common problems are, etc. 

Your knowledge will guide you in product selection and marketing. Without knowledge, you will be chasing trends and most likely fail. 

2. You must be passionate about the niche

Knowledge takes one foot in the door, but it is not enough. You must be passionate about the niche, or you will easily lose motivation. 

Here are some things to think about when it comes to passion: 

  • You live and breathe the idea
  • You follow trends in the niche 
  • You know what is good and bad
  • You understand the pain points of the people in this niche

So, instead of choosing a product or niche because you are merely knowledgeable, choose one that you care about. This should help you become the guru in this niche. In the end, all your marketing campaigns will touch on the emotions of your target market because you care enough.

3. You must have a market for this niche

Do not sell a product if no one is looking for it. There are proven niches that have a high demand but low saturation, and profitable niches that you can easily sell.

However, there is one caveat: these niches are also competitive at times. Prepare yourself to face challenges ahead. Your competitors may cut down on prices but do not give in. Instead, learn how to compete fairly and overcome these obstacles. 

While it is true that there are underserved niches, most of these are only profitable for a time. Once these customers have already made a purchase, it is not likely that they will buy again.

At best, choose a niche where there is no end to the demand and market size. For example, cosmetics is a good place to start. There will always be people who will wear make-up and lipstick.   

4. You must have a reliable supplier

This principle applies if you do dropshipping on eBay, but not if you sell old items or flip items from garage sales. 

It may be easy to identify a niche, but then it is a hard task to find a reliable supplier. Let us say that you want to sell drones. It is easy to find drone suppliers, but are they dependable? 

Here are some tips when looking for suppliers:

  • They must offer good quality for the price
  • They must be able to communicate with honesty and clarity
  • They should ship fast and with accuracy

Once you place an order, your fate as a seller is now at the mercy of the supplier. You have a feedback score to maintain on eBay. The last thing you want is for your supplier to fail you, as it will reflect in your feedback score if your customer is unhappy.  

How to Do eBay Product Research: 3 Best Tools to Use

One of the most critical steps in selling on eBay is to do product research. It applies if you will make money on eBay from flipping or dropshipping. 

It refers to an activity or process where you study and analyze data with one goal: find out if a product is likely to make sales and give you profit or not. 

You need a tool to do this. In this section, we will show you what tools to use and what features these tools offer. In the end, it is up to you to choose which tool best fits your business needs.  

1. Dropship.IO

Dropship.IO is a spy tool and a product research tool rolled into one. These are not the only things it can do, as Drosphip.IO is more than that. 

Dropship.IO Features

  • Product Research – you can analyze products sold in the Shopify universe through the product research tool. You will see the revenue in dollars, the units sold, who is selling the item, and what ads the seller is running. 
  • Dropship University – there are many videos you can watch for free to learn more about dropshipping. You can use all the things you learned from these videos on your quest for eBay success.    
  • Tracking – you can track a product or a store and find out how successful it is over time. From here, you can determine if the success is merely a trend or if there is a consistent demand.  

Dropship.IO has many other beneficial features such as calculators, product databases, and a Chrome extension. You can sign up for a free account to test it for seven days!  

2. Terapeak

Terapeak used to be a separate entity, but eBay bought the company. If you think about it, eBay would not have bought it if it could not provide an adequate product research service, and that tells us that this tool is reliable.

Terapeak Features

  • Listings – the tool will help you optimize your listings to give you a better competitive edge. You can also use this to take orders and process them in a few minutes.
  • Marketing – on top of the existing marketing options on eBay, Terapeak will give you access to promotion tools like buy-one-get-one promotions. These tools that other sellers cannot access can help you increase your conversion rate.
  • Analysis – Terapeak can also provide you with research data about the average price of a product. This information will help you learn how to compete against other sellers.    

One thing to note here is that Terapeak only works on eBay-registered sellers. As such, you must first register for an eBay seller account before you can access it.   

3. ZIK Analytics

ZIK is a product research tool not only for eBay but also for Amazon and Shopify. The tool allows you to search for profitable products, learn how to drive traffic, and how to grow your sales.

ZIK Features

  • Product Research – the tool will give you data about the hottest products based on their sales volume and revenue. You can choose to search based on the platform. In our case, we can do the product research on the eBay platform only.
  • Dashboard – you can use ZIK to analyze your sales performance. You will have a dashboard of your successful listings, the average product price of what you sell, and your sell-through rate. All these stats will help you decide on what to do next to increase your sales.   

ZIK also offers online courses that will help you become a better marketer and online retailer. As far as pricing goes, ZIK is not free. There is a monthly fee of at least $14.99. if you want to get more services, you need to upgrade your account. 

Tips for Succeeding on eBay

eBay is such a competitive marketplace that it is so difficult to succeed. But then, all marketplaces, including dropshipping on Shopify, are competitive. There is no such thing as an unsaturated market. 

Take a look at this: 

As you can see on the right side, this seller sold over 35,000 units of their products. If a seller like this can do it, so can you, and we will show you how!

1. Sell unique items only  

One thing I can recommend is to try print-on-demand dropshipping. The screenshot above is an example of that. You can allow customers to submit their designs to you, or you can design the products yourself and ensure that your offers are unique—that the customer will never find such products but only in your eBay store. 

With print-on-demand or POD, you do not have to buy inventory. All you need to do is sign up for a free account with a provider like Printful or Printify

Then, do these steps: 

  • Choose the “blank products” you want to sell
  • Design them in the platform (Printify or Printful)
  • Upload or export the product to your eBay store
  • Wait for sales to come in 

In today’s e-commerce condition, it no longer makes sense to sell something that others can also sell. For example, it is not a good idea to sell phone cases unless they are unique; people can easily access products like these on Amazon at a far cheaper price than yours.

2. Make irresistible offers

There is a wide list of eBay offers you can make, which you will find in eBay’s marketing guidelines. Marketing is a huge factor in your success. Although one can say that coupons and discounts are worn-out ideas, they still work. 

Here are some ways by which you can make offers that are hard to resist:

  • Low prices
  • By-one-get-one or variations of it
  • Coupons and discounts
  • Bundled products

The eBay system also allows you to list items and offer free shipping. In addition, you can even offer free items that come with your products. For example, you can offer a free ID tag or lace for every bag purchased.

You can make irresistible offers not only by dropshipping or flipping on eBay but also if you sell pre-loved goods. Sell your old stuff in a bundle, or price them so low to ensure that buyers do not want to miss out on them.   

3. Guarantee the quality of your product

Online buyers are wary. They do not want scammers and they probably heard so many stories of online retail scams. As such, they prefer to buy with caution and only make a purchase from sellers who offer a decent return option. 

You will succeed in eBay if you offer any of the following: 

  • Warranty
  • Product replacement
  • Refund and return 

Although eBay already has a Buyer Protection Policy, it still makes perfect sense to offer yours. If a customer knows that you are backing up your product, you are more likely to convince that customer to make a purchase. 

4. Take the time to be competitive

Many eBay sellers do not succeed because they do not do what it takes to compete. It is not enough to merely list a product—you need to do more. There are millions of products on eBay with hundreds of thousands of sellers.  

The question is: what must you do to stand out? Below are some of the best practices you need to implement: 

  • Product research – you have to perform an analysis to find out what products people are buying on eBay. If you can do product research for another platform, like Etsy, or Amazon, do it. 
  • Competitor analysis – you need to take the time to find out what your competitors are doing. If they are top sellers, you need to know how they are positioning their products. Are they advertising? Do they have promos? Learn what you can about them and strive to make better offers.     
  • SEO and the basics – do not just slap together a product tile and description and images. Take t time to study what product titles people are searching for, what images grab attention, and how search engine optimization can help you make a sale.

eBay is a huge marketplace, and you will wear many hats. It takes grit and determination to succeed on the platform, especially now that it is so easy to get into retail with dropshipping. Overall, patience, hard work, and the right approach are what it takes to be a successful eBay seller. 

How to Make Money on eBay and Amazon

To make money on both eBay and Amazon, your best course of action is to build a Shopify store first. Essentially, you will dropship on Shopify, and then integrate your Shopify store with both eBay and Amazon.   

How does this work? the trick here is to connect (or integrate) your Amazon store and eBay store to your Shopify account.

What happens now is that most of the actions you take on Shopify will also reflect in your eBay and Amazon stores. 

Here are some examples: 

  • Change the product price in Shopify; product prices in your Amazon and eBay stores also change
  • Delete a product in Shopify, the same product disappears (gets unlisted) in Amazon and eBay
  • Add a product in Shopify, and this product will appear in your Amazon and eBay store

So, overall, you have three stores with only one control point. However, some things will not reflect in your Amazon and eBay stores, such as a change in your shipping rates. Tax calculations will also be different.

Is this a good idea? Yes, it is a good idea, provided that take the time to review the policies and intricacies of operating these platforms. In addition, the winning products on Amazon are not the same as the winning products on eBay.   

What I can say is that this approach works best if you have already established a brand. For example, if you sell coffee cups and mugs and you have a wide customer base or social media following, it makes sense that you give them three stores to buy from.

How to Make Money on eBay for Free

By default, it is free to make money on eBay. Many eBay sellers in the past had to buy inventory, and it was an expense that they worried about. 

Today, you no longer have to buy stocks to do retail. All you need is to dropship. Dropshipping is a process by which you sell someone else’s products. In this approach to retail, you do not need to buy inventory or stocks at all.

Essentially, you will only post the product of a manufacturer in your eBay store. Once a customer orders from you, you go to your supplier’s website, place the order, and ask the supplier to ship the item to your customer’s shipping address.

You can do all that without spending money. If you are new to dropshipping, I suggest that you read our basic guide on How to Start Dropshipping.    

As you may have observed, dropshipping does not entail any cost, except if you want to fast-track your success. The only costs you will incur are:

  • Advertising costs
  • Cost of research tools and analysis tools
  • Cost of fronting a product

You may also incur losses if the customer you sold to wants a refund. In this case, you will have to deal with your losses. That is why it is very important to know how to find dropshipping suppliers

Finally, you will also spend some money on eBay fees. While these fees are necessary, they are not that expensive. in addition, you may also want to spend some money on highlighting your listing. In any case, you do not have to do all these if you really want to sell on eBay for free.  

FAQ: How to Make Money on eBay

Can you make money with eBay?

Yes, you can make money with eBay by selling physical goods. The efforts and strategy required are highly similar to what it takes to succeed Amazon or Etsy.  

What is the most profitable item to sell on eBay?

It is hard to tell because there is no such thing as the most profitable product. Your profitability depends on your strategy and sales volume. There are, however, profitable niches with low competition that you can check out.   

How to sell 100 items a day on eBay?

To sell 100 items on eBay, you must either have a lot of products or create one that has a massive demand. One thing you can consider is print-on-demand, and you can expect to sell hundreds a day during a national election.       

Is it still profitable to sell on eBay?

Yes, any online retail business is profitable, provided that you work hard to learn how to make your store work. Be it dropshipping, private-label wholesale, or traditional retail, there are roughly 8 billion people in the world who will buy what you sell. 


What I recommend as a next step now is to sign up for a free account with Dropship.IO. Explore the tool and see how you can use it to find a winning niche and a winning product.

You can also spy on competitors to find out what makes them successful!

Try Dropship
Discover winning products to sell today.
Shopify Offer
Start and sell with Shopify $1/month for 3 months.
Try Dropship
Discover winning products to sell today.
Shopify Offer
Start and sell with Shopify for $1 for one month.

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