Passive Income Selling on eBay

Whether you are trying to meet ends meet, looking to supplement your income or are searching for an online business opportunity, you can easily leverage the power of eBay to make money from the comfort of your own home. Selling on eBay is fast, easy, inexpensive and very reliable.

How to make passive income on eBay? eBay is a marketplace and search engine where anyone can sell used or new products. With over 180 million active users worldwide (Q1 2019) who are looking to sell and buy things online, you can easily make passive income on eBay – if you know how to do it smartly.

Below, we have listed step by step ways you can make passive income by selling on eBay, even if you have no prior experience selling online. Follow the steps listed below to learn how to create a profitable business on eBay.

How Much Money Can You Make on eBay

According to  35.3% of eBay sellers are making between $10,00 and 100,000 USD per year selling on the platform. The same source indicates that 26.5% of sellers are making $100,000 USD to $1M, and 3.9% are making between $1M and $10M.

But you probably won’t be a top seller right away. Many eBay sellers revealed that they make over $1,000 a month on this platform. We love how entrepreneur Gary Vanerchuck demonstrated how easy it is to make your first 1,000$ on the platform by finding sought products and toys at garage sales. Some users brag to be making over $3,000 a month, but they also invest several hours a day, and offer excellent customer support to a network of trustworthy clients.

How Can I get Started Selling on eBay?

It’s fairly easy to get started selling on eBay but you should follow the next steps to save you a lot of time and money in the process.

Find Quality Products to Sell on eBay

First things first, what are you going to sell? Here are six ways to find products to sell on eBay with little to no financial investment.

Start With Items from Around Your Home

We recommend you start by taking a tour of your own home. If you have any old toys, coins, brand-name clothing, cell phones, tablets, computers or any other electronics (even broken), you probably have potential revenue lying right there. This is the cheapest and easiest way to get started selling on eBay.

Pickup Some Stuff at Garage Sales

Another great place to get products to sell is at yard sales. You can find tons of cool items at low prices in garage sales. Entrepreneur Gary Vanerchuck demonstrates how easy it is to check if an item will sell before buying it and negotiate the price. He checks to see if products are selling by searching for the item and filtering by “sold listings” in eBay.

Check Craigslist, Facebook Groups or Kijiji

You can also find cheap things to resell on eBay in Facebook groups, on Craigslist or on Kijiji. For example, you can buy Holiday decorations in bulk on Craigslist, and then sell them separately. You can pay around $50 for a lot and make over $250 in revenue by selling items separately. This may take more time, but the profit margins are higher.

Check Your Local Second-Hand & Thrift Store

Thrift stores are great places to get quality second-hand items. You could go to places like ValueVillage, the Salvation Army, your local Church’s second-hand drive, and other Thrift stores alike to find cool items at a very low cost. These places are especially interesting for books, shoes and clothing. Head to wealthier areas in town to find products with higher resale value.

Search for Popular Products on Google Trends or Terapeak

Still not sure what to sell or what is popular on eBay? Google Trends and Terapeak are excellent resources to find trending products online and on eBay.

Google Trends is a free resource to find trending products. Just enter the search term and see what comes out. If you see many peaks and valleys, it’s important to note that indicates the product is seasonal.

If you are looking for a steady stream of income, try to avoid seasonal products. Terapeak is a paid solution that provides you with deep insight on trending products on eBay. Check out this list of trending products on the web by Ecwid eCommerce for more.

Avoid Stock with Drop-Shipping

If you do not want to deal with physical products, you could go the drop shipping route. Dropshipping is a business model that allows you to operate without having any physical inventory. In other words, you can sell online without having a warehouse or room to store your products, and without having to physically ship your products to the customers who ordered from you.

You can drop ship on eBay, however, you need to indicate the correct country of origin of the product in the product location section. If the product is located in China, and you are located in the USA, you must state the product is located in China and not the USA. Learn more about drop shipping below.

Drop shipping is also a more serious business model that may require you to have a business licence. Check with your local authorities and make sure to comply with regulations before heading down the drop shipping path.

Find Products WholeSale

If you think you have an awesome idea, you could purchase products in bulk (wholesale). However, this is more expensive up-front, and is time and space-consuming. We do not recommend this until you have carried out many tests over time. You need to be sure your products will sell at a certain price and your profit margins are high enough in case your competition decides to change their prices to match yours. You will have stock and an initial investment to put down, so this option is not recommended for beginners.

How to Make Your First Sales on eBay

Before you jump onto the platform and start selling on eBay, we have a quick recommendation – get familiar with the platform. There are two types of accounts on eBay, personal accounts, and professional accounts. We recommend you start with a personal account to get a feel for the platform.

Getting Familiar with eBay

If you’ve never used eBay before to buy or sell online, then now it’s the right time to start. Before launching your business, it is imperative to test the platform in order to decide if it’s right for you.

  1. Create your eBay account: Sign up as a regular eBay user. We recommend you purchase a product to test the process as a buyer.
  2. Create your PayPal account: You will need a PayPal account it’s much easier to pay and get paid via PayPal. eBay also offers buyer and seller protection on some products for payments made with PayPal.
  3. Buy something: Find an item you would like to purchase. Note that some items have fixed prices so you can buy them directly without a bid. Others are auction-format, so you can place a bid on them. If you only want to see “Buy Now” products, you can filter your search to hide Auctions.
  4. Sell Something: We also recommend you sell something using your regular account. By doing this, you’ll be able to test out how the platform works and you’ll start to develop a system for packaging and shipping. Look for an item in your home you want to sell, take photos of it, add a cool description and set up an opening bid, or a fixed cost.
  5. Choose your return policy: This will enable the buyer to return the product to you in case they are not happy with the purchase. Note that you can select “No returns accepted.”
  6. Lastly, describe the shipping policy: You can use eBay’s shipping calculator. We recommend you always request your parcels be tracked when shipping them at the Post Office.

Once the sale is made, you will receive a payment via PayPal. Pack the product and ship it to the buyer! After you have completed a couple of sales, you may be ready to move on and start your own business.

Start Selling on eBay with a Business Account

At this point, after you have run out of items to sell, you need to look around you for a new source of inventory. Based on the items that sold really well, you can look for similar items to sell. For example, if you sold your home decorations very quickly, you want to find a source of cheap home decorations to monetize. Access a full eBay course here.

  1. Sign up for a business account: Before you sign up for a business account, it is imperative to have obtained all licenses required in your country to run a business. You should also have a clear business plan. Make sure to do through research before starting a business on eBay.
  2. Set up a store: Now that you have already sold a few items, it is time to go big and open up your first eBay store. eBay promotes stores on search engines and on social channels like Facebook and Instagram, so you can get much more traffic than by simply selling a product. Moreover, a store gives you credibility and allows you to increase the prices. With a business, you can ramp up and rent a warehouse, plus hire a few people to pack the products and ship them.
  3. Use Ecwid to push products to eBay: Another exceptional method to sell on eBay is to leverage Ecwid’s omnichannel capabilities. As an Ecwid merchant, you can sell your products on multiple sites at once (Facebook Store, Instagram Amazon…). Learn more in this Ecwid eCommerce Review.

How Passive is Selling on eBay

Selling on eBay is mostly an active way to make income. The more your business grows, the more time you’ll have to spend purchasing stock, packing parcels, shipping them and advertising your business. Expect to spend a few hours a day managing your inventory, advertising your items, taking photos and writing product descriptions.

  • One way to make selling on eBay more passive is to outsource the work, or part of the work (for example marketing and research) to lighten your workload.
  • Another way to make your eBay-related income more passive would be by referring eBay products through their affiliate program.
  • You could also make selling on eBay even more passive by drop-shipping.
  • And of course, you could hire employees to work for you.

Startup Costs

In terms of startup costs, eBay is a marvelous platform to sell on. All you need to get started are some items you do not use from around your home. You can start selling on eBay with no upfront investment.


If you would like to scale your eBay business, you’ll need to invest time and eventually money. Granted, you’ll have a higher revenue and ROI, but you’ll also need to dedicate more of your personal resources. The great news with eBay is that you can scale up your business and get to a point where you can have your own warehouse and people working for you.


Selling on eBay might prove to be a little difficult in the beginning, especially if you’ve never used the platform before. However, once you start selling a few products and you get the hang of how things work, you will fall in love with this way of making money online.

After a few months, you’ll be able to skyrocket your business by focusing on more advanced strategies. There are ways to automate your processes and focus on finding cheaper inventory to maximize your business.


Selling on eBay can be extremely time consuming. While you can expect to make a profit, sometimes within the first few days of listing an article, remember that the more profit you want to make, the more time you need to invest.

Between finding inventory, taking photos, creating product descriptions, packaging & shipping products, writing reviews, promoting your business and other miscellaneous tasks, you can expect to spend 10 to 30 minutes per listed item.

If you would like to avoid having to pack and ship physical products, you could always drop-ship on eBay instead.


Selling on eBay is not risky. You can start small with just a few items from around your home. You can start off by investing a very small amount of time. If you decide this is not for you, you can always quit. Because of the low risks associated with it, selling on eBay is considered one of the best home-based business opportunities for people of all ages.

The risk you may face are returns or disputes. Returns are easy to manage if you have a clear return policy (ex. “We do not accept returns” or “Returns are accepted for items in the same condition they were received within 10 days). eBay and PayPal offer seller and buyer protection to help you through any disputes.

We recommend always shipping parcels with a tracking number so you have proof you shipped your customer’s order. We also recommend blocking first time buyers because they are the most susceptible to leave negative feedback, request refunds or purchase and not pay.


The great news is that you can sell on eBay all year round. This passive income method is not seasonal at all. You can start in any month of the day and enjoy success. The seasonality of your sales will however depend on what you are selling. If you are selling Ugly Christmas Sweaters, they may not be as popular in the summer months as they are in the winter.

Source: Google Trends

All eBay sellers love the fact that they can start and stop their businesses anytime. You can sell for two months, then stop for 10, and then start selling again for 2 long years. You have full control over your business.

ROI (Return on Investment)

The ROI (Return On Investment) associated with selling on eBay is not, however, astounding. Do not expect to become rich overnight. As stated previously, the more time and energy you invest in this business, the more money you will make. The more focused effort you put into your product research and pricing (with competitive analysis), the more ROI you can expect. Access a full eBay Course here.

All eBay sellers love the fact that they can start and stop their businesses anytime. You can sell for two months, then stop for 10, and then start selling again for 2 long years. You have full control over your business.

Related Questions

Is it Easy to Sell on eBay? It is very easy to sell on eBay, however, there are ways to do so that will save time and money. Some ways to do this include selling products you already have around your home, making a purchase on the platform as a buyer before selling, and lowering your risk of disputes.

Is it free to sell on eBay? It is free to sell on eBay for up to 10 products for new accounts, and then up to 50 products for older accounts. eBay will only take a 10% commission once the product is sold. Restrictions and exclusions do apply, see eBays pricing policy for more details.

Beginners Passive Income

It takes time, effort, perseverance, motivation and skill to build profitable, sustainable passive income streams. We hope to inspire you and provide you excellent passive income ideas along your journey to financial independence.

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