Skip to content

Running an eBay business

If you're thinking about starting selling your products to customers and turning your hobby into a business, why not start by running an eBay business to test your potential market?

You will learn

  • The basics of starting an eBay business
  • Tips for running an eBay business
  • How to research what are the best things to sell on eBay

So, you decided to de-clutter the house, you went onto eBay and sold some items, you enjoyed it and the light bulb moment came: I could start running an eBay business and give up the day job!

Well yes, you can, but it is still a business so before you actually do start look at how you will establish the business, what are the best things to sell on eBay, is there a market for it, where are you sourcing your goods from, what is your pricing strategy, think about your image and brand. Suddenly, it may not look so easy.


When running an eBay business, you need to know that your product will sell, find out how are you going to store them, and how will you pack them and ship them out to your customers? If you are doing this from home do you have the appropriate permission to do so? Is the insurance in place not just for your premises but potentially for goods in transit?


You need to make sure you have your own unique identity to use when running an eBay business. This comes down to your branding. Your User ID may be User78654, not memorable for your customers, is it? So think of a name and use that instead, after all you will be registering with HMRC and giving them your business name, so why not your customers? Exactly the same as if you were starting your business on the high street, the usual constraints will apply to ensure there is no-one else using that name, so do your research on that as well. Your brand will be the face of your business so make it original to help you stand out from the crowd.


Obviously, you need to build up good solid feedback, which you may have done when you started with selling a few bits and pieces. But now that you are running an eBay business, you want those larger, more profitable sales. Look at other sellers feedback to see how they perform and establish what the buyer is looking for, you can then understand the buyers expectations better and tailor your offer accordingly.

Remember, feedback is the evidence the buyer needs to buy from you with confidence.

Pricing and Fees

Like all business you need to work out your pricing structure, but, very importantly with eBay, you need to know and understand the fee structure. Even a few pence can make a big difference in the fee structure, especially when you start listing lots of items.

Managing your Stock

As your sales grow you will need to ensure your manage to control your stock accordingly. Devise a way of tracking what you sell, the seasonality of it, the time it takes to get new supplies in order to keep your buyers happy. This will also help with the financial control of your business.

eBay Selling Tools

When you started off you may have used the standard "Sell Your Item" form. However, when you have multiple items consider eBay Turbo Lister, this is a free listing tool and will help you create professional looking listing as well as upload and edit items in bulk.

The various selling tools eBay offers helps when you are scaling up the business. There are a number of tools, but it is wise to stick to the ones eBay approve. Take a look at your options here.

Seller Dashboard

When running an eBay business, it’s important to monitor your performance and top rated seller status, ensuring you comply with the policies and highlights buyer satisfaction.

Increase you visibility among buyers by using keywords in your title and description. Share expertise and enhance your reputation. Write reviews and guides about your top selling items. It really is exactly like running a business on the high street!

eBay want you to be a success, that is what drives their business so have a look at their Business Seller Guide, this is a great step by step guide to making your eBay business a success.

Communicate with your buyers all the way. You may receive a "ask a seller a question" - make sure you answer it! Let your buyers know when goods are being shipped, customer service is king.

Remember, just because you are on eBay does not mean you do not need to register with HMRC, need insurance or behave any differently to being a physical business.

Treat your customers right and they will keep coming back for more and your business will grow.

Good luck and happy selling.

Do you want to start selling online?

Our free guide to eCommerce helps you get set up to sell online and reach more customers

Written by:

Heidi Green

Senior Business Adviser

Email Address: