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Work at Home Moms > Online Auctions > Auction Fees for Optional Add-on Features

Increase Your Auction Profits by Reducing Your eBay Fees
Part 2 – Auction fees for optional add-on features

NEW! Learn how to start your own eBay Business with the Moms Talk Biz Guide to Making Money with eBay.

In part one of this article, we discussed the basic fees that are requisite for any auction on eBay. Today we are going to take a look at some of the extra features eBay gives us that are optional, but have the potential to increase the fees and the final sale price on the items we are selling.

Home Page Featured – eBay charges a whopping $39.95 to list your item in this manner. EBay states that your listing will have a chance to rotate into a special display on eBay's home page. They say that your item is very likely to show up on the home page, although they do not guarantee that your item will be highlighted this way. 

I personally can’t see why anybody would use this feature. Almost forty dollars is a lot of money to spend to take a gamble that your listing would show up on eBay's home page. When I log onto eBay, I seldom give the home page a second glance.  I typically go directly to "My eBay" or directly to a search for a specific item. I suspect that there probably are not very many people out there that pay attention to eBay's home page. The few times I have bothered to take a gander at eBay's home page, the items I see are things like diet pills, Viagra, or the same old stuff that it seems like everybody out there is trying to peddle.

Featured Plus – This feature costs $19.95 and guarantees that your item will be at the top of the search for the category in which it is listed. Used carefully and in moderation, I have found that this upgrade can potentially be worthwhile.  Keep in mind that in addition to the Featured Plus fee, you still have to pay the normal fees associated with listing an auction, so listing an item this way typically puts the cost of your listing around $25.00. 

I might recommend using this feature if you are running a multiple quantity listing on an item that has already proven itself to consistently sell in a large enough quantity to make enough profit to compensate for the hefty listing fee. This option can also be beneficial if you are listing a large lot, i.e. 30 or more pieces of name brand children’s clothing.  Before you do take the plunge to do a Featured Plus listing, please do your research, research and more research - $20 is a lot to throw away on a listing that does not go as well as planned.

10-day auction fee – eBay does not charge for duration of listings, with the exception of a $0.20 charge for a 10-day listing. It's probably worthwhile to use the 10 day listing option when you are using the Featured Plus. Because your item will be anchored at the top of the category listing for the duration, you should take advantage of the extra three days.

If you are doing a regular listing, I don’t recommend the 10-day duration because, quite honestly, most people don’t even see auction listings until they are one or two days from ending. The only other time I would recommend the 10-day duration is to extend the auction for an item with higher starting bid that has run 6.5 days and has no bids (you can only revise an item if it has had no bids and has 12 or more hours left). In that case, it might be more cost efficient to pay the $0.20 fee for extending the listing to 10-days than to pay the full cost of relisting the item.

Relisted Items – If you have an item that did not sell the first time around, your insertion fee (not any of the upgrade fees) will be refunded if you relist the item and it sells the second time. This is very generous of eBay, but you do have to be careful. Depending on the value of the item, you want to watch how many times you relist it. I literally once saw a seller that relisted the same $5.00 item almost ten times and it never sold. Those listing fees are non-refundable and any profit that seller would have made if the item sold on the tenth try was already eaten up in fees.  So, you do have to know when to cut your losses, and either put the lower value items into a big lot together, or maybe just donate them to charity.

Bold – eBay will put your item’s title in bold print for $1.00.  I have not personally ever used this feature, but as reported in Auction Seller's Resource, a study has shown that the bold feature increases final value by 24% and bids by 23% on average.

Highlight – eBay charges $5.00 to highlight your item, and I have had any personal experience with this feature either.  The same study referenced above showed the highlight feature to increase final values by 15% and bids by 12% on average.  I couldn’t help but notice that although highlight is five times the cost of bold, the study showed a much better outcome with bold than with highlight.  If you are going to use one of these two features to draw extra attention to your listing, I would definitely recommend using bold.

Item Subtitle – You can add a subtitle to your listing for $0.50.  eBay was creative in the way they describe subtitles:  you can provide descriptive information on your item below the main title that buyers will see when browsing categories or viewing search results.  Please note that the subtitle is NOT searchable when somebody does a basic search. The ONLY time subtitles will come up in a search is when somebody does a search by title and description.  I only recommend subtitle on higher dollar auctions and if it is an item that really needs the extra space for item specifics. 

Listing Designer – eBay provides templates to improve the visual quality of your listings for $0.10 per listing. This is very much a personal preference, but I am not crazy about Listing Designer.  I personally don’t think their templates are anything to write home about, and it all starts to look the same now that more and more people are using this service.  Ten cents does not sound like a lot of money, but again, it does add up – after 100 listings, you have spent $10.00.

If you know or could teach yourself basic HTML, you can design your own listings and save a lot of money in the long run. Another option is that it is very easy to find a competitively priced designer to create a unique template that would stand apart from the others. You would only pay for the template once and be able to use it forever.

Gallery – The Gallery feature places a thumbnail picture of your item to the left of your listing title for $0.25. I don’t recommend using gallery for every listing as this could get rather costly. For example, If you are listing a well-known item that buyers are already going to know what it looks like, gallery really is not necessary. However, if you are listing a lesser known item, or a large lot, the gallery could be a very well spent quarter.

Gallery Featured – Gallery featured places your listing in the featured section above the general picture gallery for $19.95.  This option will give you more exposure, but only to buyers that choose to view items in the gallery view.  If you are going to spend twenty dollars on a feature to increase exposure for your auction, I would recommend spending it on Featured Plus, where your listing will be anchored at the top of the category for every buyer, not just the buyers that choose to use gallery view. 

Listing in Two Categories – Insertion and listing upgrade fees are doubled when listing item in two categories.  This can be beneficial if you have one item that is unique and likely to go for a higher bid secondary to exposure to twice the number of buyers.

Scheduled Listings – For $0.10 per listing, eBay allows you to schedule the date and time your auction starts, up to 3 weeks in advance.  Some people use this feature to be assured that their listings start during prime time, but I much prefer to save my dime and use the “self-scheduling” method.  If, however, you are going to be away from your computer for an extended period of time (vacation, PC maintenance, etc.) this could be a good way to keep your auctions running while you are away.

Buy It Now –  I absolutely love this feature.  For just a nickel, you can give buyers the opportunity to buy your item immediately, at a slightly higher rate than the opening bid, and voila – one more sold item under your belt.  It never ceases to amaze me how many buyers will use BIN, even on auctions that have been running for almost the full seven days with no bids and are closing within the hour!  If you use buy it now, the only caveat I have is to be careful not to undercut yourself with a low BIN price on an item that would likely be bid up to a much higher price.

Gift Services – For only a quarter, eBay will put a little gift icon next to your item.  This may draw extra attention to your listing, but when a buyer is looking for an item to give as a gift, I really doubt if they give a hoot that there is a gift icon next to the item.  It is hard to imagine your buyer is really going to think that just because an item does not have the little gift icon next to it, that it would not make a perfectly good gift.  Again, please don’t waste your quarter.

This article was just intended as an overview of eBay's listing fees and, if I have done my job, when you are listing auctions, you will think about exactly what that auction is costing you and remember to add that amount into your listing price.   The opinions expressed in this article are my personal opinions and are based mostly on my personal experiences.  If you would like to see a detailed breakdown of eBay's fees, you can find it here.
Bonnie Large is a single mother of two who owns Alpha Pet Products and regularly sells on eBay. Visit her eBay store.

2004 This article was written exclusively for Internet Based Moms™ and may not be re-published or copied without permission from Internet Based Moms™, except to print one copy for personal use. Any questions regarding use of this article should be directed to Linda. Comments and general questions about the article's content can be directed to the author.

NEW! Learn how to start your own eBay Business with the Moms Talk Biz Guide to Making Money with eBay.

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