Best Home Business for Online Auction Consignment Service

 Online Auction Consignment Service

Start-up cost: $50–$2,000 (depending on whether you already own a
  computer)
Potential earnings: $5,000–$65,000+
Typical fees: Varies, but is typically 50 percent of list price per item
Advertising: Local fl ea markets; garage sales; community newspapers;
  ads on eBay, Yahoo, and other online auction sites
Qualifi cations: Ability to use a digital camera and write sales-generating
  descriptions
Equipment needed: Computer, digital camera
Staff required: No
Hidden costs: Storage space, time involved in gathering and listing items,
  specialized selling software

What You Do

With the success of online auctions such as eBay and Yahoo! Auctions growing exponentially, it’s easy to see why everybody wants to earn money for items that are simply taking up space in their attics or garages. But who has the time to pho-tograph and write the kinds of descriptions that really sell these items, let alone the patience to manage the sales from listing through purchase and shipping? Even posting feedback can, at times, be a chore. That’s why the business of taking in other people’s items on a consignment basis makes so much sense. And that is why you can really make a full-time income if you are good at locating unusual or desir-able items and setting fair prices that take shipping and packaging into account. If you know your stuff (as well as other people’s), you can easily create a solid business for yourself with an “online flea market.” Millions of people buy and sell items on eBay everyday, making it a terrific marketplace for your consignee’s items. Just be sure they sign a consignment agreement that spells out your contract to sell specific items over a specific period of time for your clients, and what percentage you will take of each sale for your services. Be sure that your customers understand that you will remit funds to them once per month to keep your accounting time from biting into your listing and sales functions.

What You Need

Of course, you’ll need a computer and a good digital camera (preferably with zoom). If you want to be able to list several items quickly and efficiently, you might invest in power-selling software as well. Some auction sites will let you store your images on their server for free or at minimal cost, but others will not. In those cases, it may make more sense to sign on with an image hosting service. The technology and service options change rapidly, so it pays to check out any updates or policy changes on your auction site(s) regularly.

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