Ask the Reader – What Size is your eBay Store?

Dollar Flipper Ask the Reader, eBay Tips, Musings 22 Comments

Last week I asked “What the hell should I do with this sign?

Lorraine was interested about any legal ramifications, and Kate thought I was in the clear since I didn’t steal it myself. I think I’ll take the plunge and take the sign apart and sell it. Worst case, I’d have to lose my $4 investment if someone ended up reporting the sign. I can handle that!

Now to the question of the day.

How big is your eBay store?


Is that an eBay store in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

If you’ve followed along on my blog for a while now, you’ll notice that I’ve grown very slowly. I’m at ~350+ items right now (there’s a widget on the right hand side bar that links to what’s on sale in my store right now).

For a reference point, I started re-selling for profits in April 2013. It was a vintage Hungry Hungry Hippos board. I sold it on a 7 day auction. Everything was an auction in the beginning.

But then there was the slow growth. All of a sudden I realized that I could buy 10 more items for $1 that I could sell for $10-20 profit. This never really stops as long as you keep feeding the beast.

But that’s the thing, I haven’t just been selling on eBay over this time. We’ve moved, I changed jobs, my wife graduated with her PhD, we’re expecting another baby. In other words, there’s been a whole lot of life in there. Life is its own beast that also needs to be fed!

So, whenever I think about expanding my store I have to think about it like I’m committing to a relationship.



Remember when eBay and PayPal used to be this cute couple?

No Store

This is where we all start. It’s fun here. Auctions are flying around, you sell things quick but don’t make as much profits as you could. Your inventory system is really just a pile.

Your life involves printing out “labels” (they’re really just half of a sheet of paper) and buying boxes from Staples. Maybe you even print out your labels in the Staples (or at work) since you don’t own a home printer.

You may even have a tape roll in your glove compartment so you can pack up your item right there in the car.  At this point, I was even too cheap to have a tape holder!

You live for the offers of 2 million free listings in the next 24 hours from eBay. I would even list something for 30 days only and then either wait till the next month for a new promotion or wait until eBay offered me one. This is the “first few dates” stage. All glamour.

Basic Store

This is where things start to get a little serious. eBay requires monthly or yearly commitment (you still pay monthly but you get a discount by committing to the whole year).

You may even buy a printer just for labels (using the half sheets of paper is a PITA).

I upgraded to a Basic Store in April 2014. That means that I was in that No Store space for a whole year. Yep, it was wild. Looking back, I didn’t feel like the caveman that I was at the time.

Premium Store

This is the deep end. You’re committing to paying eBay a minimum of $600 per year just to have your store open.

I just upgraded to this level last month.*

I’d say me and eBay are at least engaged now. It’d be ugly if we tried to back out. We have a wedding we’re planning, have had several family holidays together.

Let’s just say that Grandma won’t be happy if I show up alone to the next Thanksgiving.

“Where’s that eBay girl? She was so nice!”

Anchor Store

I was going to say that this is the goal, but I’m not so sure about that. For me, I think I’ll be able to coast in the Premium Store arena for a long time. The Premium Store is the highest level where you can still call re-selling a hobby. Once you go Anchor, this is now a real business.


Now, is this relationship analogy good? Not really. There’s a lot of holes in my theory. I’m OK with that.

I think the important thing to note is that once you have a store, you need to use that yearly “should you renew” as a time to really look at where your store is and where you want it to go.

Getting sick of it? Maybe you shouldn’t upgrade. Having that extra “bill”** hanging over your head isn’t fun at all. It may not be worth it now even if it was last year.

Really though, you should try to take your emotions out of it and just use the eBay Fee Illustrator. This lets you look at your actual numbers and see your best option.

Question: What size store do you have? Have you upgraded recently? Do you regret it?


*I received a promotion from eBay to upgrade my store and save $25 off the first three months. I was borderline (the costs for premium and basic were about the same), so it pushed me over the edge!

**I don’t think of the “bills” from eBay as bills. I use YNAB, and at the time of shipping my items, I  budget the money from PayPal towards this future eBay bill. When eBay takes the money from my PayPal account, it doesn’t hurt since I’ve already set aside the money. If there’s any interest, I can go into a little more detail in the future!


Image Credit: Pexel

Comments 22

  1. I have a basic store right now, sitting at about 125 items. I have dabbled in Ebay for years, ever since I was a kid and convinced my mom to let me sell on her account. I have only had a basic store since December 2014, but I am lovin’ it!

    1. Post

      That’s great! I was really hesitant to up my store size, but I’ve been listing pretty regularly and the eBay deal pushed me over the threshold.

  2. i have a premium store. i downgraded to basic august 1st and it took me about 4 days to use most my listings so back up i went…for now. i have 664 listings currently

    1. Post

      Yeah, it looks like you’re saving a lot of money by going back to the premium store, assuming that you keep it open at least!

  3. I just upgraded to the Premium store when they offered the $25 off deal. I was borderline. I’m at 400 items now and hope to break 500 by Sept. I’m hoping to get most things listed before the 4th quarter rush starts. I’ve been selling on ebay since 2001 but only got serious about 3 years ago.

    1. Post

      I’d love it if I could get everything listed by 4Q! I don’t think I will, but I’m just going to keep chipping away.

  4. I love the relationship analogy!! I’m still at the no store stage, though lately I’ve been thinking about taking the leap to getting a basic one. I just started getting serious about selling in the last few months, before it was just stuff that I was cleaning out of my apartment and didn’t need anymore. I figure I’ll re-evaluate and maybe get a store before the end of the year.

    1. Post

      I think that’s a good idea. It’s not worth it to rush into it. Even if you pay a few more dollars for a month or two, it’s good to really be sure you’re going to stick with it instead of regretting upgrading to early.

  5. I have the basic store with almost 700 items. I’ve never paid any listing fees, only my store subscription. I do all 30 day buy it now listings. I seem to get a promotion every month at the same time, so right now I’ve had no trouble. If the promos end, I will be upgrading my store to the premium level! 🙂

    1. Post

      Wow! That’s awesome that you get those promotions that often. I feel like I just don’t have enough time to restart that many listings. Keep saving that money though!

  6. We dabbled a just a bit in January, but then got busy with another project until recently, so Ebay was sidelined until Mid-June. 83 items listed right now, about 90 more in the pile to be photo’d and listed. $800 in sales in the last 60 days or so. Eventually want to get it up to 500 items listed and maintain that.

    The store calculator seems to show me it won’t make any sense until I get to a much larger # of items.

    1. Post

      Definitely true. Until you’re selling regularly, it’s much cheaper to deal with the promotions and free listings.

      1. Is there any other advantage I’m missing from a store? It looks like I can bulk edit without it, what else would the store give me besides listing discounts? (And a vacation mode banner option)

        1. Post

          Vacation mode, the premium store allows for automated feedback, and you also get discount on final value fees. You can edit more items at once with the store I believe, and there’s some other weird 1 off settings that are sometimes helpful.

          For me, it’s all about the cost. I’m able to list my items and forget them instead of having to re-list them every month like I used to. I’m able to focus new listings that will drive new business and get things out of my piles and into organized storage.

          If you’re unsure, plug your numbers into the Fee Illustrator linked to above and see where you fall. If you don’t have a lot of items in your store, there’s no point in paying in advance (or promising to pay in advance) for lower fees if you’re not going to use them.

          With some guesstimates around your numbers, I’d say you’re on the cusp.

  7. I currently don’t have a store. I only list between 20-30 items per month. Thats good for me right now.

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  8. I didn’t even know store sizing was a thing! I used to sell a lot back around 2008ish. Now I only sell about 5 items/yr.

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      Yep. You basically pre-pay for discounted listings. I try to be un-emotional about it.

      The other rule of thumb is to never compare store sizes in the locker room.

    1. Post

      I don’t think I’ll ever go anchor unless I do this full time. There’s a big gap between the two!

  9. Where do you guys store all of the items? Do you rent a storage or just free space in the house? My husband keeps making faces at me every time I bring a new item to sell =)

    Any suggestions?

    I have a basic store but my favorite part is to go shopping!!

    1. Post

      Oh man, I know that too well. I use the back of my garage. I used to just use one of those smaller wire metal racks that you can buy from Target or Amazon (like this one).

      I now have some industrial shelving that I put in and plastic storage tubs on it. The bottom two levels are all in tubs and the third still has some inventory to list. I also have some inventory to list on my garage floor and in the house. It tends to grow faster than I can list it. :/

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