Can You Make Money on eBay in 2020?

eBay is saturated! Selling on eBay is so 10 years ago! There are no more profits to be made! Believe us, we’ve heard every negative thing about eBay that the naysayers can come up with. In fact, we don’t ever bother with such people any more. We just quietly shake our head and get back to making $5,000 a month on our eBay store. The amazing thing about eBay is, even with 20 million listings, it is possible to consistently source and sell unique objects! For example, if you want to sell purses, seeing that there are 1.5 millions purses for sale might be a bit discouraging. What is someone is looking for a JPK Paris hobo bag? Well that narrows it down to 93 listings. If it has to be orange? Well then there’s only one….the one that we picked up for $4 at a thrift store last week.

There are however, very saturated markets on eBay. Categories with drop-ship products are saturated, categories selling cheap Asian imports are saturated, as is any other category offering low quality merchandise that anyone can get their hands on. To be successful on eBay in 2016 requires a few tweaks to the traditional selling methods. If you are dedicated to doing things the way they were done 10 years ago, then yes, you will beat your head against the wall of eBay for awhile and then quit. If fact, you may even become of the naysayers that we mentioned earlier. But, if you are able to be flexible and apply the 3 lessons below, it is still possible to build a thriving profitable business on eBay!



One of the first rules of selling anything is to know your buyer. You have to know what they want and how to market it to them. Fortunately, there is rather simple way to profile you eBay buyers without doing extensive testing and market research. Having been in this industry long enough, we can tell you that there are three types of people who shop on eBay:

  • People who just want to pay the cheapest price possible. This market is saturated with Chinese goods and knockoffs. You don’t want these people as your customer anyway.
  • People who are looking for a better price on what they already want. These are great if you have access to “new with tags” products at a huge discount.
  • People shopping for the weird, the rare, and the fantastic. This is where the real money is made! If someone really wants an “antique feather duster with a carved wooden handle shaped like a cat” where else are they going to find one? Pandering to people’s exact desires is why the eBay market is so huge. You can find hundreds of items at your local thrift store that aren’t even being sold on eBay! Perfect! You have a monopoly!

So who do you want to sell to?! The market for the unusual and the one-offs can never be saturated. It may take awhile for the perfect buyer to come along but rest assured, everything sells!


When we first started selling on eBay we gave into the “list, list, list!” hype and flooded our store with merchandise that made $5-10 per sale. We finally hit the wall when we sat down, did some math, and figured we were only making $15 an hour or so. Not terrible, but we could only work on eBay consistently for a couple hours per day and we had a goal to net over $100 a day. So we had to change the way we sourced product. No more low profit t-shirts, no listing individual baseball cards, low profit beanie babies, etc!

To make the most of your time both listing and shipping, you must maximize the profit on each sale. We are very selective about the things we source and list for two reasons:

  • You are more likely to get repeat customers if they know you sell quality items. Nobody wants to subscribe to a store that sells tons of low quality items.
  • Selling only high quality items gives us a much higher return on our time investment.  When we were trying to do high volume sales, we found that 80% of our profits came from only 20% of our sales (the high dollar items).  When we stopped sourcing the lower 80% of items, our profits went through the roof!  We were able to focus only on what was actually making us money instead of all the items which which we listed….and listed….and listed….  So next time you’re at the thrift store, look through the cart and find the 5 or so items that you’re actually excited about, and put everything else back.  Not only will it save you tons of time while making you more money, it will stop all the excess inventory that you really don’t want to list from building up around your house!


There was a time on eBay where is felt like free money was being given away.  Sellers would take terrible pictures, just copy their title into the description, and sell things like crazy!  When something sold, they could get away with stuffing it in any old bag or box and dropping it off at the post office.  Thankfully, with seller standards and the feedback system, these days are long gone!  While you might still make a quick buck with such low practices, you will get no repeat customers and likely lose your store.  The key to making real money on eBay is to be in it for the long haul.  Meaning, treating your eBay store like a real business and your customers like gold.

If you’re ready to take your eBay business to the next level of profitability, make sure you have the following things totally nailed down:

  • Take great pictures
  • Include measurements in all your clothing listings
  • Offer a customer friendly return policy
  • Respond to messages promptly
  • Package your order professionally and ship them promptly!

If you do those 5 things, you never have to worry about “eBay always siding with buyers” etc. because you and eBay will have the same goals: increased profits through customer satisfaction!

And that’s all there is to it!  Don’t be afraid to start an eBay store today, the gravy boat still has plenty of seats left, even in 2016.  If you want to see hundreds of items you can make a great profit on in 2020, check out our blog. Sell on!

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