1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How do I make a fast, guaranteed sale?


How do I make a fast, guaranteed sale?

Sometimes you just want to sell fast and for sure, at any price. It's a simple process, so long as you avoid the mental traps.

Image: Franck Boston / Fotolia
Question: How do I make a fast, guaranteed sale?

There are a lot of strategies to make the most of your eBay sales, even turn them into a business with ongoing profits, but it's also true that sometimes you just want to get rid of stuff.

Maybe you've decided to have your annual yard sale online, or maybe you've stumbled across your old laptop, rapidly declining in value and just taking up space and gathering dust. Sometimes you don't particularly care about getting the most out of something on eBay so much as you want to get rid of it fast and be sure you get something for it. So how do you make this happen on eBay?


If this sounds like you, here's how to get a quick, painless, virtually guaranteed sale for almost anything that's in demand out there:

  1. Take photos. Use your mobile phone and take some photos of the item you need to sell.

  2. List an auction. Come up with a good title and a good description for your listing and begin to create an auction format sale. For double ease, use eBay's mobile app to start the listing---minimum fuss.

  3. Start low. Start the bidding for your item at just a dollar, since this will basically guarantee bids on all but the least desirable items.

  4. Make shipping easy. To be sure that you don't end up underwater, list with a fixed shipping cost that will be sure to cover the cost of shipping your item and all packaging materials. The USPS flat rates for priority can often make this simplest. It's okay if you overestimate a little bit; bidders can decide for themselves whether or not they want to bid. They'll know your shipping cost in advance.

  5. List for just 3 days. Use the three-day auction format (rather than the usual seven-day format or the even longer ten-day format) so that you have enough time to get some bids, but not so much time for your listing that you end up feeling like you're waiting for the end to come.

  6. Specify no returns. When you want to be done with an item, AS-IS is the way to go. Be sure to specify as you post your listing that you're not going to accept returns. Just be sure that you're not selling junk to minimize the chances that you'll be subject to chargebacks.

  7. Use eBay's shipping. Rather than spend a lot of time at a shipping counter, use eBay's online shipping label system to pay for your shipping directly from your PayPal account, so that you can just print, tape, and drop at the shipper.

Avoid the Traps

When you want a quick, guaranteed sale, there are a few things that you need to be careful not to do as you list your item for sale.

  • Don't get stuck on price. Listing with a fixed price or a high starting bid because you don't want to sell too low may be a success, but is certainly not a way to guarantee a fast sale. The closer you get to "what it's really worth," the more likely you'll be to wait and wait for bids or buys.

  • Don't let your auction hang around. Listing for seven or ten days to "get as many bids as possible" may sound tempting, but in practice unless your item is in high demand and relatively rare, you probably won't see many more bids in a longer auction than you will in a three-day auction.

  • Don't accept returns. Accepting returns means that you may be forced to…accept returns. It can also suggest to many buyers that you're willing to do a bit of email support and question-and-answer about your item after the sale---not the way to really "be done" with an item quickly.

  • Don't make shipping more complicated than it has to be. Trying to get exact shipping costs up front makes you spend time and energy on something that you just want to get rid of; just pick an amount that you feel sure will cover your costs and use that. Don't offer free shipping on items whose bidding starts at $1.00 either, in case you don't get too many bids and end up losing money on the deal.

  • Don't spend too much time on the listing. When you're looking for a quick, guaranteed sale at just about any price, there's no reason to spend a great deal of time on photos or descriptions. Make them good, but not the best you've ever done. Why spend two hours listing something that doesn't merit more than half an hour of your time?

Get Your Money Fast, Too

In many cases, when you want a fast, guaranteed sale, you also want fast access to your cash. So long as you accept PayPal, this is a snap. Look into some of the many ways to get at your money quickly on PayPal and have at it!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.