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Build It Yourself on eBay

Take your hobby to the next level using eBay as a parts supplier


Build It Yourself on eBay

Dedicated cyclists will find parts of every type and vintage on eBay.

Photo: Amber Edgar
eBay is a great place to buy consumer goods—common goods at reduced or even firesale prices and also market-priced exotic or rare goods that can't be found anywhere else. But did you know that eBay is also a great place to buy parts and components for whatever your hobby happens to be?

For Buyers (For Example)

There are many different kinds of hobbies in which the search for parts, components, or materials is a major part of the activity, whether for the pleasure of the search itself or for the end results that are desired. People have always thought about eBay in terms of collecting—things like stamps and coins, or baseballs and beanie babies—but the eBay hobby model can be carried much farther than that, even to the point of the serious hobbyist. Consider the following examples:

eBay is also a great source for the tools needed in each of these cases to assemble the parts that you collect into finished, usable items. Everything from engine stands and clutch pilots to soldering irons and chain tools to fine tweezers and jeweler hammers.

Many hobbyists have never engaged with their hobby at this level because it has traditionally been difficult in many cases to buy anything other than finished goods. Certainly parts availability has often been an issue filled with complexities, special orders, and crawling through obscure mail-order catalogs for items that are often no longer stocked. eBay has changed all of that. If you are a skateboarder, for example, that has never built your own skateboard from scratch all the way down to selecting your own bearings, or a guitarist that has never assembled a guitar or built a tube amp, now may be the time to start.

Just remember to brush up on your advanced search techniques before you start!

For Sellers

Obviously, there is a business opportunity here. Whether you are the bike shop or the clock repair shop just described, you probably have a back room full of old parts, unused spares, pulls of various varieties, special orders that were never picked up, and so on. With relatively little effort, these can be a nice side revenue stream on eBay. Yes, people will buy worn bicycle cranks and used frame-fork combos with nothing else bolted to them and shot headset bearings. Yes, people will buy boxes of "ten assorted clock hands of varying lenghts" and those old mainsprings that have been sitting, unused, for two decades on the rear shelf.

More to the point, if you run such shops, eBay offers not only the opportunity to sell off new old stock or for-disposal items, but also to enter an entire new market segment. When selling only through your bricks-and-mortar shop to customers in your local area, there generally isn't enough demand for components to warrant stocking or dealing in components, tools, and materials. But on eBay your market includes the entire world...and there may indeed be enough enthusiasts out there to keep you in business as an online parts supplier with an eBay storefront.

If you happen to be an airplane parts dealer—or anyone else, for that matter—the sky's the limit.

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