In my previous article I outlined the the ways of selling your iPhone5 online to make money.  In this piece I focus directly on eBay and how I managed to sell my phone for $875 (yes the retail price is $650) and make maximum profit in the first place.  These steps can really be generalized to selling any item on eBay.

Here are the steps

1.  Find a listing on eBay similar to yours that sold for a lot of money. 

There is no point re-inventing the wheel on eBay auctions.  Some listings have that magic appeal that get people to spend more to buy it.  It could be the way they use CAPS in the title to annoyingly DRAW YOUR ATTENTION, the way they the describe the product that engenders your trust, something else – who really knows?

The beauty of eBay is it is very easy to learn from other peoples’ sucess!  Use these steps below:

a.  Log into eBay and click the “Advanced” link next to search

b.   Type in the relevant search term for the phone you are selling (“iphone 5 verizon black 16 gb”).  Make sure to Click the “Completed Listings” checkbox.

c.  Click the “Buy it Now” tab and find a listing that’s similar to yours and that sold in the price range you want.    I found this iPhone5 listing for $880


d.  Once you’ve found your model.  Click this “Sell one like this” link near the top left of the listing.



2.  Create your listing  as a “Buy it Now” based on the model you selected 

If you’re followed the steps above , you’re now at a “Create your listing” page that is already pre-filled similar to your model.  Now you need to make some tweaks.

a.  Adjust the title as necessary so it is slightly different.  Add photos from the model listing.

You don’t want your title exactly the same as something else, just for uniqueness sake, but you can easily make slight tweaks as you see fit.

In terms of images, if you’re selling a new iPhone, they’re all going to look the same.  Save yourself the time and hassle of taking and uploading pictures, and download the ones provided on your model listing.  Simply go to the page, click the pictures and right click with your mouse and select “Save Image As.”  Download it to your computer and re-upload it.

b. Copy and paste the description then adjust.

The description from other listings does not come pre-filled, but you can easily copy it from another listing and paste it into your own.  Again, you want to make adjustments in the text so that you aren’t identical to someone else, but you can find ways to mimic the style.  Here’s the first few sentences from the model that I adjusted to my own:

Brand new Apple iPhone 5 16GB. I had to open the package to activate the phone.  I activated it and it was not used beyond that. It is now deactivated on my account and ready to use on your account. I used gloves to cover my hand to prevent any oils from getting on the screen. 

See – it sounds pretty convincing, and I didn’t have to make up any of the content from scratch.  It clearly convinced someone else to buy it already, so odds are it can do the same thing again!


c.  Mark your Listing as “Buy It Now” and set your desired Price.  You can always adjust down later.

The reason Buy it Now is important is because of commission you pay to eBay.  Compare the following for an $875 phone I sell on eBay.

On Auction-Style listings, eBay takes 9% of the final price.  That’s $79 in fees.

On Buy-It-Now listings, eBay takes 5% of most of the price (7% of the first $50).  That’s $45 in fees.

I keep $34 for myself by going with Buy-It-Now.

I also like Buy-It-Now because it removes a lot of the risk in selling an item (you know you can’t get sell it for less than you want), and the auctions can end quickly (no need to wait until the auction ends on Day 5, and watch a bidding war, when you can sell it on Day 1).



d.  Make sure you select “USPS Priority Mail” as your shipping method.

I find USPS is really good because you can print your labels right there from the computer at a discount.  It’s seamless, and allows you to do all the taping/packaging at home rather than at the mailing center.  You can drop it off in your mailbox or any post office.  No need to coordinate a UPS pick up or anything.   eBay will also fill in all the confirmation # details for you, so you don’t have to worry about manually inserting them and updating your Buyer on the status.  All taken care of for you!


3.   Fine tune, as necessary.   Make sure your auction runs on a Sunday.    Once sold, ship via USPS Priority Mail.

Once your auction starts, monitor it every few hours or every day or so.  If it doesn’t seem to be selling, you can lower the Buy It Not Price.  But first, make sure you have run it on a sunday (doesn’t matter what day you start).  The reason is that Sunday (evening specifically) is the time when eBay gets the most traffic, and is most likely to be when your item gets sold.

Once you sell it, make sure you ship it Via USPS Priority Mail – I recommend printing the label the moment you find your item sells.  It’s easy, and  the buyer will know you are in the process of shipping it, which makes them feel good and gets you good feedback.

And then you’re done!  Wow, $800+ in your own bank!  A handsome profit no matter how you look at it.  These strategies can apply to anything you want to sell, so go ahead and try your hand at something else as well!