As a seller there are two basic ways to ensure that you aren't forced to sell your item for less than you'd like if bidder interest turns out to be low. Both methods will have an impact on fees, and both may also have an impact on the number of bids you receive.
- Set your starting bid at or above the minimum price at which you'll sell. The cleanest and simplest way to ensure that you aren't forced to sell your item too cheaply is to set a high starting bid. Every item auctioned on eBay is assigned a minimum starting bid by the seller. The first bidder must bid at least the starting bid amount in order bid on the auction.
- List your item with a reserve price. As a seller, for an optional extra fee you can list your item with a reserve price when you enter the pricing and starting bid information for your item. If your reserve price is not exceeded during the bidding process, you are not obligated to sell to the high bidder.
The fees you'll pay for either of these features is based on a percentage of the amount in each case, calculated according to eBay's table of item listing fees.
Effects on Final Sale PriceSellers should note that reserve prices and minimum starting bids both have an effect on the price at which most items ultimately sell. Contrary to what some might expect, items with high starting minimums or with reserve prices statistically experience a lower number of bids and a lower final sale price than items with low starting minimums and no reserve.
In all likelilihood this is simply because fewer bidders ultimately watch or bid on either type of auction, seeking to avoid the hassle.
Because of these factors, for most sellers it makes sense to list auctions with high starting minimums or reserve prices only if the item is very desirable or very valuable. For common items and mundane sales, high starting minumums or reserve prices are likely to merely lower the ultimate price of the item.