Sending Out the Item

IMPORTANT NOTE: These ebay pages are online for historical reasons. I would now advice my visitors NOT to use ebay. There are alternative sites which provide a far safer experience. Read my Ebay - Work From Home page for more details. However, for those that are required to use ebay for some reason, the information is retained below.

OK, you have the money in hand. You have been paid for the item. Now it is your responsibility to get that item to the buyer as quickly as you can. After all, at this point in time they have "lost" their money. For all they know, you are running off to Timbuktu with their cash. They don't have anything at all in return. This is always the "scary time" for a buyer, to see if their faith and trust is going to be rewarded. The more quickly you communicate and send the item, the more you reassure them that their trust is worthwhile.

So first, when you get the payment, send them an email and tell them you got it. That way they know they sent the payment properly.

Have your mailing supplies ready - the envelopes, labels, tape, whatever. For all of my CD sales, I got batches of CD mailers from Staples and just had them sitting by my desk. That way when a PayPal message came in, I could grab one and prepare it immediately.

Next, print out an invoice to go in the package. If someone paid via PayPal, this is easy. Just log into PayPal, click on that transaction, then click on Printer Friendly Version. Print it. That gives you a wonderful single-page invoice to go with the package so it's nice and clear exactly what you are mailing out.

You can print this on plain paper of course, but I personally like to print it on special paper. In my case it's two-tone, blue and white. It's just a small touch, but it makes the invoice look nicer and adds a touch of personality to the transaction. On it I write a little note, like "Enjoy! --Lisa". That way they remember that I'm a human sending them this item, not some corporate machine.

Next, you need a label for the package. I got a batch of labels from Staples that are rectangles - 2 across by 5 down on a single 8.5x11 label sheet. There is enough room on each label for me to have my return address on the top third of the label, and then I can write the "to" address beneath that. I used Word to create a pretty template that has my return address with a nice, blue background and even a picture of a rooster netsuke (Japanese carving). So in essence I print these out 10 at a time whenever I need more. It makes it easy to just stick a label on a package, fill in the address, and be set. It already has my return address on it.

NOTE: With ebay's current "maximum shipping cost" and also their requirement you have delivery confirmation, you almost HAVE to print your labels through paypal. No more pretty personalized labels. That money savings they give you online with delivery confirmation is almost the only way you can break even.

Finally, I always send a little extra item in my package as a bonus. I personally love to fold origami, so I fold up an origami crane and put it into the package. It's just an extra thank-you for the transaction. People LOVE those sorts of extra items. It helps them to feel good about the transaction, to write a good recommendation for you and to think to buy from you again going forward.

Note: I was told in the ebay forums that this was "stupid", to waste time and money on having happy buyers. The mentality of ebay sellers is to simply get the item out and earn as much money as you can. A key reason I left.

Put the invoice, extra item and actual sales item into an appropriate package. You want the packaging to protect the item of course. For CDs, I buy the padded CD cases. When I was selling HO train items, I packed them extremely well with packing material and newspaper. The last thing you want is for broken pieces of items to arrive at the buyer's home. That tends to lead to unhappy buyers :)

When the package is all set, get it to the post office as soon as you can. Again, the buyer is in angst after they send their money to you. The more quickly you get that item to them, the sooner they can relax and know their money wasn't stolen.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE DELIVERY CONFIRMATION. Otherwise someone can say they didn't get it and demand a full refund. And you can't even leave them negative feedback, because buyers are immune from negative feedback no matter what they do.

I was a long term member of ebay - from 1999 through 2009. In the beginning years, ebay was a fantastic community, full of fun bargains, friendly people and a general feeling of joy. It was like going to a fun garage sale on a sunny day and spending time with friends.

However, starting in 2009, changes made to the ebay system altered it overnight from a joy to a horror. In one auction set alone I had three different buyers attempt very questionable refund operations. I went on the forums to get assistance. The forum members' derogatory comments and snide responses shocked me. Literally in one week I went from being from a staunch promoter of ebay to someone who swore never to use the ebay system again.

I am maintaining these pages online for historical reasons, but I would now wholeheartedly warn visitors NOT to use ebay going forward to sell items. The risk to you is too great. Feel free to contact me for all details on the situation. Instead, I highly recommend these systems:

Amazon Sales for selling used CDs, DVDs, books and other products
Etsy for selling personal items (crafts etc)

I have used both of the above sites and they are wonderful.

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